As part of a modernization process leaving the last of its MAS style bolt-action rifles behind, the French are now fielding the FN SCAR H PR.

The famed "blue devils" of the 13th Alpine Hunter Battalion (13e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins), a crack mountain infantry unit that dates to 1853, was the first to receive the new SCARs. Using a 20-inch barrel, a side-folding stock that is adjustable for length and height, and a 20-round detachable magazine, the 7.62 NATO rifle is the rough equivalent to the SCAR 20 on the U.S. consumer market. 

FN SCAR H French Army 13th BCA
Extended, the FN SCAR H PR is 42.16 inches overall, which compacts down to 32.40 inches with the stock folded. Note the coyote tan Gen5 Glock 17s, also new gear for the service. (Photo: French Army)
FN SCAR H French Army 13th BCA
Gas operated with a rotating bolt, weight on the rifle with a Schmidt & Bender 1-8×24mm day scope, bipod, and a loaded mag, is 14.85 pounds. (Photo: French Army)
FN SCAR H French Army 13th BCA
With a two-stage match-grade trigger, long one-piece top MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail for optics, and a barrel known for accuracy, the "PR" on the FN SCAR H PR stands for "precision rifle." While offered select-fire variants, the French went with semi-auto. (Photo: French Army)



The French military says the SCAR H PR "will allow marksmen to maintain superiority over the opponent, day and night, for shots up to 800 meters." 

The SCAR H PR, of which 2,235 were ordered from FN for delivery by 2023, will replace the aging GIAT FR F2 sniper rifle in French military service. Introduced in 1986, the bolt-action 7.62 NATO FR F2 is an update from the earlier MAS FR F1, a 7.5x54mm bolt gun developed in the 1960s from the country's WWII-era MAS-36 rifle. 

French GIAT FR F2 rifle
The GIAT FR F2 sniper rifle has been serving the Republic going back to the Cold War and is being phased out by the new SCAR H PR. (Photos: French Army)

The SCAR acquisition follows a planned modernization of the French Army's small arms, which will see the HK416 replace the FAMAS bullpup rifle and 75,000 Glock 17 Gen5s to replace the country's Châtellerault-made MAC50 pistols and a version of the Beretta 92F, the Saint-Etienne-produced PAMAS G1.

As for the 13th BCA, besides service in both World Wars – including transitioning to the Resistance after the German occupation in the latter – they have been very busy in recent years with deployments to Bosnia, Lebanon, Chad, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Djibouti.

The detail, in French, of the SCAR H PR: