New ARES Semi-Automatic Rifle Legal in All 50 States

New ARES Semi-Automatic Rifle Legal in All 50 States

ARES Defense SCR Semi-Automatic RifleARES Defense’s new rifle is ingenious. At the same time, it’s hard to miss what the cleverness of the Sports Configurable Rifle aims to defeat.

In short, the Florida manufacturer expanded its product line in response to potential and actualized gun-control legislation. In fact, it has been reported ARES came up with the design when it was rumored the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban would be reestablished in 2013.

Inspiration such as that is tough to gut for those who cherish civil rights. But at the same time, one cannot help but be heartened with what ARES has accomplished.

The SCR is legal in all 50 states, giving those subjected to recently passed state-level legislation the ability to buy and own an AR-style rifle. Well, almost an AR-style rifle.

Unlike many of the conversion kits meant to strip the accessories that run afoul of the law – pistol grips, bayonet lugs, etc. – the SCR is a redesign of the AR platform.

Most obviously, the semi-automatic rifle has the lines of more traditional long guns. It features the choice of sporter, sporter short and Monte Carlo stocks and is outfitted with a cross-bolt safety. But it’s not the exterior that is the radical departure. The guts of the gun is where the leap away from the AR design is really found.

Given the stock, ARES has done away with the buffer tube on the SCR. Instead, the company opted for a system similar to many semi-auto shotguns, utilizing a carrier link and action spring system in the gun's stock. Due to this, the gun most likely will have a different feel compared to the AR when fired, with the recoil going downward as opposed to straight back into a buffer tube.

These tweaks certainly make the SCR a shift from most AR-style rifles, but the firearm does retain some important features from the popular platform. Perhaps the foremost is ARES preserving the same bolt as traditional ARs, in turn making the gun compatible with any AR-15 upper without any modification.

This is a big plus, given part of the allure of the AR is its versatility. The rifle has earned fans with its ability to quickly change calibers with a new upper, as well as its compatibility with a slew of aftermarket add-ons meant to optimize and customize. ARES also, wisely, made the SCR able to accept any AR/M-16 magazine.

Where there might be a potential bone to pick is the SCR's fire control. It has been reported by those who have handled the gun that it appears to have a proprietary trigger. If this is true and it is non-compatible with aftermarket upgrades, it could prove to be a strike against the SCR.

The SCR is a more than manageable 5.7 pounds and is presently – off the shelf – available in two calibers: .223/5.56x45mm and 7.62x39mm. Shooters can choose from a carbine-length barrel (16.25 inches) or rifle (18). Each has a 1:9 twist rate. The firearm comes with a black hardcoat anodized finish. There was no MSRP on the rifle available at writing.

Certainly, the SCR has the ability to stir mixed emotions, given its origin. But gun owners, overall, should be pleased with its appearance. ARES is keeping shooters shooting, even the ones stuck in un-enlightened corners of the country.


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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


  1. Actually, I would like to have the SCR lower. The fact I can use any upper with it is a plus, and for states that restrict the evil black rifle it helps you bypass the legal hassles. I have had several normal AR pattern rifles, from the SP-1 to an HBAR, to an M4 type with an lightweight barrel for use as a patrol rifle, but I am not restricted to any particular platform. I like the multiple caliber capability you get with the platform, but I am not a fan of the “planet of the apes” thumbhole stock designs – they are bizzarre and fugly. That being said, this is a cosmetic difference.

    I look at this rifle as yet another design variation, and I would be interested in trying one out to see how it works and feels when used. I would think the conventional type stock would cause recoil to be more prominent, but I think you would have to try it out to know. One of the advantages of the in line recoil buffer system in the conventional AR was that it puts the recoil energy directly to the shoulder and not downward. I am not sure how much of a factor the recoil force is in most AR calibers with this design. I would imagine however that this isn’t an issue until you start getting into .308 Winchester and larger cartridges.

  2. So it’s a gun designed solely because of gun control laws rather than out of any market need for it. Who would buy something like that? If I still lived in NY, I’d just stick with those ridiculous ARs with the bizarre looking stocks, a proven design, rather than this thing. If you don’t live in a ban state, there’s no point in this at all.


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