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[Review] ARES SCR: Always a Way

Looking for a unique featureless AR solution? We hands-on review the Ares SCR for ergonomics, reliability, looks, and more. See if it's right for you.

Politician passes gun control.

Gun industry shrugs and finds a way around recently passed gun control. 

Ares SCR leaning on trees
Ares SCR looking good in the wild

If there is a market for it, then we can find ways to make it happen.

In California, and likely numerous other gun control powered states, we have featureless builds.

Best Featureless Grips
A Few of Our Featureless Rifles

These are typically AR-15s, AKs, CZ Scorpions, and more without the typical features of a supposed ‘assault weapon.’ 

Because people who endorse gun control know nothing about guns, they write the laws based on mostly cosmetic features.

The thing is a lot of featureless builds are ugly as sin. Some are okay, but rarely can one ever look as good as a standard style rifle. 

Stag 9mm AR-15 Rifle
Stag 9mm AR-15 Rifle in a “featurless” configuration

There exists one that, in my opinion, actually looks better. That is the Ares, now Fightlite, SCR.

The SCR is kind of an AR-15.

It’s a lower receiver that accepts AR-15 uppers and uses AR-15 mags and similar bolt design. However, it’s a helluva lot different than an AR-15. 

Table of Contents


What The Hell Is An SCR? 

SCR stands for “Sport Configurable Rifle,” and it came in both lower receivers and full rifles. I purchased a lower receiver and went from there to build my gun.

An important note is it seems like Fightlite has discontinued the SCR, but continues to produce the pistol variant. 

Sad goodbye

The receiver is where all the magic happens in making this gun 50 state legal. Sure the upper can’t have a flash suppressor, a grenade launcher, or forward pistol grip in most cases, but those are easy.

Radically changing the lower receiver is a little harder to do. 

First, it has no pistol grip, lacks a standard AR-15 safety, has an entirely different buffer system, and uses a Remington 870 stock.

Ares SCR wide view
Ares SCR Wide View

It’s an effective blending of both the AR-15 and a traditional style rifle. As you’d imagine, the rear buffer system is entirely different, as well. 

You are using standard AR uppers, so you have to use the direct gas impingement as well as a bolt and carrier compatible with the AR design.

To do this and ensure it works with an 870 stock, they had to modify the BCG. 

Ares SCR BCG, it might look goofy but it works.

The BCG kind of looks like a Benelli M1 bolt and carrier. Its a bolt with a weird long tail. The tail connects to the downward angled buffer system in the highly modified 870 stock.

When connecting an upper and lower receiver, you have to line up the tail with the small buffer face. 

You have the standard magazine release, but that’s about all it has in common. The safety is an 870 style button safety that’s friendly for righties only. There is also no included bolt catch on this receiver. 

Ares SCR Cross Bolt Safety
Ares SCR Cross Bolt Safety

This particular model appears to be a very early SCR lower, and it’s still marked Ares. I have seen SCR models with bolt locks and releases, but mine lacks that feature. 

Light And Ergonomic 

The SCR lower receiver is very lightweight, and when combined with the right upper, you get a very lightweight gun.

Admittedly ergonomically, it’s a mixed bag, but it’s super light. It pulls into the shoulder nicely, and the length of pull is nearly perfect. 

Ergonomics are rough control-wise. The trigger is outstanding; it’s quite lightweight and immaculate. I have to give them credit for the trigger. 

Ares SCR on a rock

After that, it gets tricky. The magazine release is placed in an area that’s tough to reach, especially when you are used to a standard AR-15. It’s way more forward of your shooting hand, and you can’t reach it with your trigger finger. 

An ambidextrous magazine release would fix this, and I’m currently shopping for one.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The safety is fine for me; it’s an 870 button placed behind the trigger. You press it to the left to take it off safe. Admittedly it’s pretty hard to get used to this safety when you’ve been running an AR-15 for years. Lefties will hate it. 

The charging handle is tricky too. You have to make sure your shooting hand’s thumb is out of the way.

Also, charging the weapon takes quite a bit of force to do correctly. It’s nowhere near as light as charging a standard AR-15.

I’m guessing its due to the buffer system being so different. One major upgrade I had to make was tossing in an extended charging handle.

Ares SCR top view of charging handle and optic

This charging handle made charging the gun easier and helped me avoid hitting my shooting thumb.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

You can check out our other favorites in Best Charging Handles.

All The Charging Handles
All The Charging Handles

The SCR lower is undoubtedly a mixed bag for ergonomics.

It’s usable, but for serious use, like home defense or competition, a standard AR-15 will work much better.

However, if you are in a state where the 2A seemingly doesn’t apply, it’s still a semi-auto rifle option.

The Complete Rifle 

Let us talk about the Upper I placed on the SCR lower. It uses a 16-inch barrel and is installed on an Aero upper.

at Aero Precision

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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The upper has an STNGR RPTR rail, an Axelson Tactical adjustable compensator, XS Troy Night Sights, and a SIG Romeo5 red dot.

Ares SCR Right Side

The combination of this lower and upper gives the gun a steampunk, or maybe even a pirate-like appearance. 

Brutally Tested Budget Red Dot
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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It’s October, near Halloween, and we wanted to have some fun with the SCR. I’m not wearing plates because even in Mid October, it’s 92 degrees in Florida. 

SCR Pirate

It does have a modern musket look to it, and the Raider pistol goes even further in on that with the pirate pistol look.

The SCR is unique in appearance, and earlier on, I mentioned how much I loved the look of the gun.

Without a doubt, this gun looks a helluva lot different than a standard AR-15. In my opinion, it kind of looks better. The combination of a retro-style stock with a modern weapon does it for me. 

It remains lightweight with this set-up, and that’s how’d I like to keep this rifle.

Range Time 

Okay, so on the first shot, I realized just how effective this buffer system is. Recoil is nil. The AR-15 is already a light recoiling weapon, but the SCR does a fantastic job of reducing recoil even more.

Have you ever fired a tuned AR-15 rifle with an adjustable gas block, a lightweight BCG, and a specialized buffer system? It’s like that, without the necessary parts.

With the SCR, the BCG is already super lightweight, and the buffer is also specialized, so I’m wondering what I could do with an adjustable gas block.

The gun runs with every mag I tossed through it. I used Pmags, Lancer Tactical mags, Troy Battle Mags, and more. As you saw in my video, I also wielded a KCI 50 round drum magazine, and it functioned perfectly in the SCR.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

This leads us to reliability. The gun cycles and runs most types of ammo, including most steel cased ammo.

I used Hornady training ammo, as well as Tula, and the gun ran fine. The only ammo it didn’t like was the Monarch Steel Case from Academy Sports. 

at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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The issue was failures to ignite. It seems like this ammo has hard primers, and the SCR can’t reliably ignite it. One of every five rounds or so wouldn’t fire on the first try and left a light imprint on the primer.

Ares SCR with a log
Ares SCR with a log

The SCR lower receiver has a tiny and light hammer, and it just might not be strong enough to ignite the Monarch ammo. 

With standard brass, there were zero issues. I used Winchester White Box, Federal, and Wolf Gold, and it all runs fine as you’d expect.

Best .223 Bang-for-the-Buck
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Accuracy And The SCR

Accuracy is a little bit more of a function of the shooter and the upper, but the lower’s trigger certainly helps the weapon’s accuracy. The gun outshoots me for me sure.

SCR Pirate
Pirate eye patch: +5 to awesomeness, -10 to accuracy

With the red dot in place an utilizing the prone position, I could make one hole groups at 25-yards. I found this out as I zeroed the red dot.

At 50 yards in the standing, the light rifle is plenty comfortable, and I was able to keep my rounds inside of a 4-inch circle.

In the prone, I was shooting groups of less than an inch. I can go back as far as 100 yards at my home range.

In the prone, I was getting 1.5-inch groups on the low side and 2 inches on the high side. With a supported barrel and a magnified optic, I could probably do a bit better.

Ares SCR and a range of magazines

Getting Closer 

In close quarter’s rapid-fire shooting, we see the SCR lower be a more significant effect on accuracy.

In close quarters shooting the reduction in recoil and lightweight design means the gun is quick and easy to move between targets and to get on target. The light recoiling design makes it perfect for accurate shots fired rapidly.

While it may not be apparent in my Pirate Vs. Skeletons video I was running a few different drills. This includes the Viking Tactics 1-5 drill, as well as a few failure to stop drills, and a box drill. The gun handles like a dream.

SCR Pirate (3)

The SCR lower does a lot of that work. Sure, the upper does an excellent job and is complete with a lot of awesome parts, but the lower’s trigger and low recoil helps.

The stock system is plenty comfortable and works perfectly with the upper. It allows me to easily use the red dot sight, as well as my iron sights.

I can get a very comfortable cheek rest that doesn’t pull on my beard either. 

Magazine changes aren’t going to be fast or rapid, so get used to that. The safety throws me for a loop as well.

Ares SCR Markings

It’s a blast shoot, and the gun’s unique ergonomics, stock, and low recoil give you something much different than any other rifle out there. 

Downsides Of The SCR


Admittedly you are losing out on a ton of compatibility with the lower being so nonstandard. You can’t use the wide variety of grips, stocks, ambi safeties, and triggers out there for the SCR.

People who buy ARs love to customize them, and you are a bit stuck when it comes to this lower. 

Popular Rifle Calibers, Part I
Definitive Rifle Caliber Guide

Also, you are limited to a few calibers because you are using a custom bolt carrier. It works fine for a 300 Blackout or 5.56 caliber rifle, but other calibers must have a bolt and firing pin-compatible with a 5.56 bolt carrier.

I’ve heard 6.5 Grendel can work, but have never seen it in action. 

We like Grendel, a lot. Take a look at the Best 6.5 Grendel Uppers!


I have two chief complaints. First, there doesn’t seem to be a way to use other 870 stocks.

I think a Magpul SGM stock would be fantastic. I wish Fightlite would support the rifle a bit more and release more stock options. 

Also, let’s talk about that bolt carrier. 

You get the carrier but have to source your own firing pin and bolt, which is kind of lame for a $450 dollar lower.

$450 lower and they can’t include a $40 retail part? Really?

Also, putting it together is a huge pain. A small pin holds the rat tail to the bolt. That pin is a very tight fit. 

It took a ton of effort and time and a good punch to get it in there. I’m not taking it apart ever again and will be creatively cleaning the firing pin. 

That’s it, other than the ergonomic issues I pointed out prior. 

Ares SCR wide view 2

All in all, I still really like the SCR. It’s light, comfortable and cool looking. Sure it’s expensive, but boutique items usually are. 


This might be the sad part, it doesn’t look like the SCR is currently in production anymore.

Ares become FightLite and according to the FightLite website, there are no SCRs anymore. The categories is still there, but nothing is on it.

Brownells has some of the pistol lowers still in stock, but all of the rifle configurations are marked as “Discontinued by the Factory”.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

We don’t know if the SCR will be coming back or if it’s gone for good, but if you want one — get it now while there are still some out in the wild before they’re all gone.

By The Numbers 

Looks 5/5

It’s certainly not normal, and that can be terrible or excellent. I like to think this design is excellent.

I live in a free state and have no reason to own an SCR, but I do because of how nice it is. It’s pirate/steampunk veneer is quite nice. 

Ares SCR on a rock

Ergonomics 3/5

It’s really rough. The safety is okay, but the mag release is a pain, and the lack of bolt hold open is crappy — granted that seems to be fixed on other versions of the SCR.

The weapon is lightweight and points very easily and quite nicely. The trigger is fantastic and with a good upper your ergonomics can be rounded out well. Also, low recoil is pretty sweet. 

Reliability 4/5

I knocked a point off for the hard time it has with hard primers. One brand of rather low repute ammo isn’t a big deal, buts its big enough to knock a point off. Other than that the gun runs very well. 

Accuracy 5/5

It’s an accurate little gun. It’s so easy shooting and the trigger is so nice it’s accurate when you take things slow and when you start speeding up. I can’t wait to take it on a hunt and see what it can do. 

Overall 4/5

Parting Shots

With gun season right around the corner, I plan to toss on a variable optic, get some American White Tail hunting rounds for Hornady and a five-round mag and try my hand against some Florida whitetail.

Best 1-6x Scopes
We’ve tested a bunch of LPVO optics, take a look at the Best 1-6x Scopes!

The SCR is fun, it’s a great way around some gun laws depending on where you live, and it’s a cool innovation to see on the market.

What do you guys think about the SCR? Is it an overpriced gimmick? A smart means to be maliciously compliant? For some more awesome not-free-state rifles, take a look at the Featureless AR-15 Rifles Guide!

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9 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin Lunsford

    I want to us this stock on my build, my question is will it work with 6.5 grendel that’s the caliber I am got to us??? Can anyone confirm that it will work before I start this

    June 14, 2021 3:03 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      I would recommend reaching out to ARES to double-check. Since the stock uses a custom BCG, I don't know if it is compatible with a Grendel bolt.

      June 14, 2021 6:40 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Seems cool, but seem like a mini-14 does the same thing. I recognize the ability to customize the upper is the plus here, but Ruger isn't discontinuing the mini14

    March 2, 2021 2:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    So, the shotgun stock isn't detachable? The receiver and stock are the same piece? My Blackhawk knoxx gen 3 would be fantastic for this if the stocks could be switched out. Has a king nut(?) to add any AR stock. Talk about recoil reduction.

    July 30, 2020 8:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I recently picked up a "Raider" pistol lower with the idea of making it into a hunting rifle with my 450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend uppers. No AR restrictions in my state, I just like conventionally styled rifles to hunt with. I have no trouble with the ergonomics/safety since many hunting rifles and shotgun have cross bolt safeties. I also didn't have any trouble installing the tail on the bolt carrier. The pin easily slipped into place. As far as the stock goes, it doesn't use an Remington 870 stock it uses an 1100 stock. It will take some tweaking to convert my pistol to use a rifle stock but it's been done but it's been done by others so it's possible. In the mean time, I'm having fun shooting it with my AR pistol upper

    June 6, 2020 9:28 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Forcibly residing in California, I'm very interested in Fightlite's SCR and was delighted that they are once again available. However, they are only making the wood stock and have decided to forgo the black version.

    Thank you for the review. It helped in making my decision. I don't trust anything without a PewPew review.

    April 17, 2020 8:19 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andrew Schomburg

    I'd love to get the pistol lower and throw on a .450 Bushmaster pistol-length upper. Throw a sling on it, plus a green laser and a reflex sight, and viola! a backcountry anti-bear gun.

    March 17, 2020 10:20 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have two of these. I don't understand why the customer support with parts isn't there anymore. I have a set.of iron sights that were made for the gun and now I can't get anymore. Living in the peoples republic of NY, this is a perfect weapon system to run. Wish they'd re-intro it. What a shame.

    January 18, 2020 5:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    You know there is a market for this; but are shooters willing to pay it? In states where the AR platform has been 'legislated out', hell yes. Any changes to the existig law to include this I think is asking for a winning legal challenge.

    November 1, 2019 6:47 am
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