SCAR Mags — What Are the Options for the SCAR 17S?

The FN America SCAR 17S is, in the opinion of many, one of the best battle rifles out on the market. It fires a 7.62×51 cartridge but the recoil is oddly soft for a rifle chambered in .308 Winchester. The short-stroke gas piston system allows the gun to keep remain effective in all manner of conditions. Even though it only has a 16.25 in. barrel with 1:12 twist, it is accurate out to 800 meters. So about SCAR 17 magazine options…which SCAR 17 mags should you choose?

SCAR 17 Magazine options.
Let’s take a look at the options.
SCAR mags ready to go loud on the range.
SCAR mags ready to go loud on the range.

FN SCAR mags — What are the Options?

FN offers magazines in two different capacities. 20 rd mags or 10 rd mags. The SCAR 17S magazine (those discussed in this article, as of this writing) is actually a modified FN FAL magazine. The SCAR 17S and FAL magazine bodies are the same. FN just cut a mag catch notch into the side of the mag body, removed the front notch, and changed the feed lip shape a bit. Then they added a plastic bumper to the base plate.

Edit: Now, long after this article first ran, there are several more options of SCAR 17 magazine to choose from!

SCAR 17 mags from FN
SCAR 17 mags from FN.

These mags are great but they are a bit pricey and they weigh a lot. Empty, the factory 20 rd mag weighs 8.6oz.

FN SCAR 17 magazines.
FN SCAR 17 magazines (factory, 20 rounds).
FN SCAR Magazine, 10 round capacity
FN SCAR 17 magazines (factory, 10 rounds).

For a lighter option, there are aftermarket polymer magazines.

One of the first to come to market was Molon Labe Industries.

They made a universal polymer magazine that they can cut to different lengths and have different capacities. Regardless of size, the magazines are all the same price.  They come in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 rd capacities. I have had some issues with reliability with the 25 round mags. Fail to feed. Also when loading the rounds into the magazine, the magazine tends to swell a bit and does not drop free if you need to fix a malfunction. They are lighter than the factory magazine though. A 20 rd mag weighs 6.1oz and the 25 round magazine weighs 8.1oz. 

Scar 17 magazines
One thing nice about the Molon Labe Industries magazines is their giant base plate. It is perfectly flat and a little wide so it acts like a monopod.

Another contender in the polymer category is Moses Mag.

They started off by making polymer magazines for FAL pattern rifles. And since the FAL magazine is not that different from a SCAR magazine, it was not that difficult to alter the mold and make a polymer magazine for the SCAR 17S. The magazine is the lightest of all the SCAR17S compatible magazines. Empty, it weighs a mere 4.6oz. That is almost half the weight of the factory FN magazine. The Moses Mag SCAR-H magazine holds 21 rounds of .308 Winchester. However, if you load it to a full 21 rounds, you will have a difficult time inserting it on a closed bolt. So it is best to leave it at 20 or open and lock the bolt for the full 21.

SCAR 17 mag
The Moses Mag is the lightest of all the SCAR 17S compatible magazines.

The final magazine is basically an extended metal magazine similar in design to the FN magazine.

ASC makes this long metal magazine and it holds 25 rounds. Weight wise it is not that bad at just 8.1oz. Still lighter than the factory magazine. Both the ASC magazine and the Moses Mag magazine have sloped base plates. While you can monopod the rifle on the magazine, all the weight is concentrated on that one narrow section of the magazine. Both magazines are equally priced at below $30 each.

ASC magazine
ASC makes this long metal magazine and it holds 25 rounds.

Save your Thumbs with the Maglula FN SCAR 17S Lula Magazine Loader

Gonna be doing a lot of shooting? Check out this FN SCAR mag loader.

maglula loader
The simple, spring-action lever loads/unloads one round at a time without tearing up your thumb or damaging your magazine’s feed lips.
FN SCAR magazine loaded up
FN SCAR magazine loaded up in author’s SCAR 17S.
 magazine loaded up in author's 17S.
What are your favorite SCAR mags?
Re-assembled rifle
This re-assembled FN SCAR sure is a beaut.

FN SCAR 17S

Specs

  • Caliber: 7.62x51mm
  • Operation: Short-stroke gas piston
  • Mag Capacity: 10 or 20 Rd.
  • Weight: 8.0 lb.
  • Barrel Length: 16.25″
  • Twist Rate: 1:12 RH

General Specifications

  • Semi-auto only
  • Rotating, locking bolt

Receiver

  • Hard-anodized monolithic aluminum
  • MIL-STD 1913 accessory rails at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions
  • Adjustable folding front and folding/removable rear iron sights

Barrel

  • Hammer-forged, chrome-lined, fully free-floating
  • Compensator

Stock

  • Telescoping side-folding polymer stock
  • Adjustable cheekpiece
  • A2-style pistol grip

Operating Controls

  • Ambidextrous safety lever and magazine release
  • Charging handle may be mounted on right or left side
  • Enlarged trigger guard for easier access when wearing gloves
  • Composite polymer trigger module

Magazine(s)

  • Steel or aluminum body
  • Low friction follower

SCAR 17S Review

Looking to learn more? You may want to read NRA’s Steven Buis review of the SCAR 17s on American Rifleman:

“For me, practical ergonomic characteristics are critical to the success of a firearm’s design and very often 7.62 mm rifles come up a bit short in that category. With this system, however, the safety selector, magazine release, and charging handle are conveniently located, the buttstock is stoutly built and comfortable, and the weight is evenly distributed across the length of the rifle. One shortcoming relating to practical ergonomics is the SCAR’s short rail system, which leaves a large amount of exposed barrel. For many, this is not an issue. For me, I prefer to be able to extend my hand farther out, supporting 70 percent of the rifle’s weight with my off hand and 30 percent with my shooting hand.”

 (SCAR Heavy) Magazine Options

Nicholas Chen is a firearm aficionado. Growing up in California, He learned about firearms and hunted with his father growing up in Southern California. Once he moved out to Pennsylvania and then spent a few years in New York State, he learned to truly appreciate firearms and the second amendment. It was in New York State where he became a USPSA competitive shooter and learned about 3Gun. He is an avid fan of running and gunning. Nicholas is a fan of pretty much anything that shoots although the slicked-up race guns are what interests him the most. Having spent time with FFLs and other friends with NFA items he has begun his collection of NFA items and has learned that everything should be suppressed and full auto where possible and legal.

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9 thoughts on “SCAR Mags — What Are the Options for the SCAR 17S?

  1. Um so get the original FN factory mags because the other ones suck. I had that hypothesis going into the article so good to know.

    1. No. The Pro-Mags and Thermolds DON’T suck. I haven’t had any failures with any of them, OR the FN Steels since purchasing the SCAR 17 in March 2013. I am on my second barrel and bolt assembly now with more than 10K rounds through the original barrel. Accuracy on the OEM barrel is still pretty good, but switched to an 18-inch 1:10 twist a year ago to get better stability on longer bullets. The magazines all still work just fine; even the Thermolds work just fine. I do prefer the steels for serious occasions, but I can’t claim that they work any better than the cheaper polymers.

  2. Actually, I have had very good performance from ProMag 20-rnd SCAR17 magazines. I own 26 of the FN steel mags, and they are very good. I bought 2 ProMags for testing and really punished them for about 5 months. They were also very good. So I bought 20 more ProMags (at less than half the price of the FN steels). That was three years ago and I have not had any single problem with any of them. ProMags are much lighter than the FN Steel mags and they are a LOT easier to disassemble for cleaning. I bought one Thermold magazine last year for testing and I have been brutalizing it continuously since receiving it. The only thing that I decided to change on the Thermold mag was to use a box cutter and finish cutting out the magazine catch depression so that it is an actual hole (like the FN and ProMags) which feels like it gives a better and deeper gripping area for the magazine catch. It hadn’t given any problems before I modified it (30 seconds to cut the rest of the plastic depression) but I just felt that an actual hole would give a better grip for the mag catch. Thermold is also easier to disassemble than the FN steel mags but does not feel as sturdy as the ProMags. I keep all my magazines fully loaded all the time and none of them have demonstrated any problems from doing that. I was concerned about the polymer mags, but they have not shown any tendency to spread the lips or bodies or have problems from the pressure against the magazine lips. Very happy with the FN steel, and ProMag and Thermold polymer mags. On the other hand, I had ten of the Molon Labe magazines and they were nothing but junk. Sides of the mags swelled so much when fully loaded that they could not be inserted in the mag well, lips were so poorly designed that they deformed after only a single weekend fully loaded and produced constant double feeds and failure to feeds. They cost me more than the FN steel mags but at the time there were no other polymers available (2013 I think). I should have bought ONE to test first, but I thought they would be okay and I wanted polymer mags, so I ordered ten (for nearly $600 bucks!!!). Junk. Absolute junk. No returns either. I kept one as a reminder and threw the rest in the rubbish bin. I wouldn’t have anything from Molon Labe again even as a gift.

    1. Update (2021-02-16): Another year since the above post. ProMags are all still doing great, including the two original ones that I continue to use at the range every week. The Thermold mag has also been a real champ. Two years that I have been using the original one. Lots of use and light abuse. So I ordered ten more of the Thermold mags. Some things that I considered beyond price (although FN Steel are going for $49-$60 each now if you can find them and ProMags are $30 and Thermolds are $$20). Weight. FN Steel are 9.0 oz (261 grams), ProMags are 5.25 oz (153 grams), and Thermolds are 3.5 oz (98 grams). That’s a big difference when you are getting older and the loads are getting heavier than you like. I like the FNs but they weigh 3 times what a Thermold mag weighs. An 8-mag bandoleer of FN Steels loaded with M80 Ball (18 per mag) weighs 12.3 lbs. The same in Thermold mags weighs 2.9 lbs less than the FN Steels. 24% less. It is something to think about.

  3. I have 3 other rifles that run SR25/LR308 magazines and wanted everything to run the same mags for convenience so I bought a used 2nd gen HANDL M110/SR25 lower and now my SCAR 17, Ruger RPR, KAC SR25/Rock Creek carbine and Aero M5E1 pistol all run the same magazines.

    My SCAR had 8,000rds with zero malfunctions on the OEM lower with a Geiselie trigger and I am on round number 620 from my SCAR since the HANDL lower was installed with zero malfunctions but I won’t trust it until it hits 1400rds without a hiccup(MRBS for an Army Issue M110 before the 2010/2011 upgrade).

    I have still have 17 FNH OEM 20rd magazines left out of the original 31 I bought and the original plastic lower with trigger mechanism(still need to replace bolt catch, selector and mag release cannibalized for the HANDL) “just in case” the HANDL doesn’t work out but so far I am loving the simplicity of unpacking cases of Federal FGMM and Portuguese Milsurp and just loading 10, 20 and 25rd PMAGS that will be used wherever they are needed without having to guesstimate how much of my stash my 16yr old will shoot up in the Ruger RPR when he heads out to the mesa in his Jeep to shoot with his friends.

    Why FNH didn’t adopt the current M110 standard for magazines and chose to use a tweaked 60 year old FN/FAL mag design completely mystifies me from an end user perspective.

    I bought bulk packs of 25rd window Pmags from GunMagWarehouse when they were dirt cheap in both grey follower M80 and red follower M118 versions and feel secure that even if I started losing my empties on the regular I would still be set for mags for decades to come.

    Look for 10 pack deals from GMW and buy an extra set of mags every month until you run out of places to store them and you won’t regret it. Especially next time you make a cheap score on a case of your favorite ammo you can just load it in mags ready to use instead of moving dozens of cardboard boas around watching them get beat to hell.. It certainly beats fooling around with $35-$50 SCAR mags by an order of magnitude and will make that expensive conversion lower pay for itself in short order.

    1. A lot of 7.62 nato rifles from around the late 90’s to the early 2000’s use proprietary mags because the M110/SR25 mag hadn’t been standardized on yet.

  4. I too switched to Handl lower receivers from the factory lowers that came on my SCAR 17S & SCAR 20S and couldn’t be happier every time I go and purchase C Products Defense M110 standard mags vs. the POS proprietary FN factory mags. FNH certainly had their Belgian heads up somebody’s spacious backside when they made the decision to go with their one off design. I’ve gotta believe that there are a lot of operators that use the SCAR 17 “over there” that find themselves keeping a close eye on their limited supply of rare magazines. Another benefit of going with one of the few aftermarket SCAR receivers available is you get some metal on the lower end. I’m no fan of ANYTHING like a receiver being made out of plastic, whether it’s a Glock or a SCAR. Give me metal & wood & let everyone else have their lightweight wunderguns…

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