FightLite (ARES) SCR Gen 2 Review

| October 21, 2017

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I recently picked up a FightLite SCR, this is the gen 2 model SCR-011KM from Blue Cord Firearms in CT (HIGHLY recommend!). Being behind enemy lines and having bounced between NY and CT, I’ve had my eye on one of these for a while. Seeing this new model with dust cover, port for forward assist, upgraded trigger and sweet keymod rail, I decided to ‘pull the trigger’ so to speak. I mean, what good is a site focusing on NY and CT firearm info without a good review on a quality featureless rifle we can all enjoy. Not to mention, I’ve not seen a review of the KM series – so, what I’m saying here is, I’m doing this for all of you. Yep, i had to talk myself into buying a new rifle PURELY for your information. It wasn’t easy. You’re welcome. 😉

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OK so moving right along, I’m going to go through my opinions, mods I’ve made, etc. My goal with this rifle was to keep it light, and have a good close/medium range shooter. Out of the box its about 5.7 pounds, so that’s a nice starting point. And picking up this, then my mini-14, you realize how light this thing is.

So first impressions: as soon as I opened the box and picked it up, I really liked it. Sure, the stock is pretty basic – although the monte-carlo style is nice. But, the stock can always be changed out (Remington 1100 stocks work with a tad bit of fiddling). I wish they made a Magpul 870 stock that would fit this, but after looking at diagrams I just don’t think the buffer tube will fit considering the angle of the Magpul grip. With that, it feels really ‘familiar’ in the hand, and the stippling on the polymer helps keep a firm grip. (note: there are lots of descriptions of the buffer tube, bolt carrier group with ‘rat tail’ etc. out there, so I won’t go into detail on those in this post)

It shipped with a typical plastic foam box which I immediately placed in long term storage (pile of stuff behind the workbench) as I have far nicer range and travel cases. In the box was the typical setup, lock, manual, 5 round mag (metal, seems good quality).

Out of the box, here were my observations. Fit and finish was good. Some very slight wiggle between upper and lower. Trigger has some takeup but breaks really crisp, you can really stage it. I have no complaints on the trigger, and since gen2 came out I haven’t read too many. My gauge puts it just a shade under 6 pounds. Keymod rail seems to be very high quality, perfectly aligned with the receiver. Safety is intuitive and very tactile – although its missing the proverbial red ring when disengaged. It’s no matter to me, anyone who’s used any rifle with a trigger safety will be right at home. The bolt and BCG were TIGHT out of the box. They’ve loosened up as the round count has increased, but I had to almost pry the cam out when I first broke it down.

I’ve put a few hundred rounds of green tip 5.56 and lower powered 223, and it’s eaten it all with zero failures. Ejection is consistent and doesn’t throw brass 40 feet away like the Mini (I won’t lie, I kinda like how the mini shoots both forwards and to the right. But that’s another topic).

Handles VERY well. Some folks said that, but you have to hold it and point it to know what they mean. It points fast, moves fast and just feels good in the hands. Its a great platform for a red dot (with magnifier perhaps) or a 1 to X scope (see below, i put a 1-8 on it) because as soon as you point it you seem to be on target. If you’ve shot trap or skeet you’ll be right at home with this style rifle.

With that, it doesn’t ship with any sights, so you either have to put sights or optics on it (the KM model at least).

This model includes a dustcover and deflector, as well as a forward assist port. The FA port is plugged, as the BCG doesnt have grooves for the FA. But, this was good thinking by FightLite, as should you want to use this upper on a traditional lower with standard bolt/BCG you can seemingly drop in a forward assist.

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When I repeatedly charged it (as we tend to do with new firearms) i smelled a bit of ‘sulfur’. This boggled me a bit, but I realized that the charging handle was rubbing and causing a tad of heat. This stopped after a few shooting sessions, but was odd. I replaced it anyway as you’ll see below. But from what I read it was just the finish and would go away in time anyway.

OK, so being like most of you, I cant leave anything stock. Here are the mods I’ve done.

  • Custom kydex cheek rest w/ storage compartment
  • Blackhawk ambi no-latch charging handle
  • Odinworks extended mag release
  • Forbus Tactical ambi mag release
  • FightLite bolt release
  • Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8 on Vortex cantilever mount
  • Alumahyde 2 Magpul FDE paint here and there

For the Kydex, I simply molded it over the stock, then fit it to where i needed my eye to be, then (carefully) drilled through the stock to mount it. Its perfect right now, and as above this points where you’re looking. Maybe years of shotgun shooting helps, but I’m very very comfortable shooting this from any position. LPT here, if you make your own kydex cheek rest you can wedge foam in there and store allen keys, batteries, etc. I have a more detailed post on molding one of these here:

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Forbus Tactical ambi mag release. I was VERY impressed with the quality of this at a really good price, so much so I emailed the company to let them know. Mags drop free from either side (pmags included) after a week or so of shooting. Link:

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Fightlite bolt catch ($40 bucks. IMHO should be included with rifle, but so be it):

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Odinworks extended mag release (painted Magpul FDE). Another really nice part. You cant quite reach it with your trigger finger without changing position, but this does make it a good amount closer. I tend to drop mags with support hand as the release is really convenient from your shooting position. Link:


Vortex Strike Eagle. I love Vortex, so I’m biased, but man this glass is sweet – as is the mount. I had to mount it backwards to get the eye relief I needed, but it holds zero perfectly. The reticle on this 1-8 is SWEET. Very intuitive, and lights up really bright for us tech nerds.

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Because the scope is kinda far back, I added the Blackhawk extended ambi charging handle. Really really nice piece, as is anything I’ve ever owned from Blackhawk. You can see how far back the scope goes, so this charging handle is a must.

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As you can see above I also added a throw lever. Took a chance on this one and it worked perfectly for the Strike Eagle.

So thats pretty much that. I really like this rifle, its still very light (even with the scope/mounts), shoots really well, and is accurate – not a surprise. It’s fun to shoot and I like that I can take it to any state (you free-state folks may not understand this part…don’t move here).

They’re not cheap, MSRP is $1,331 per Fightlite. I got mine for less, but all told this was an expensive project. Worth it? Hell yea. If i move to a free state someday i can drop this upper on any lower, swap out the BCG and be in business, but in reality i think this little guy will stay just like this. It just feels good, points well, is light, and broken down can fit in a backpack no problem.

If i abandon this platform completely, all parts except the bolt catch can be migrated to a new rifle…and these lowers seem to be holding their value well (500ish currently on GB without the ambi mag/odinworks/bolt catch/cheek rest). Or, this can be the lightweight shooter, and I can build a rifle-length AR to go between this and my RPR.

For any of you also behind enemy lines (or not), I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about this rig, and if we end up at the same range I’d be happy to let you give it a whirl. Feel free to reach out using the contact form or info at smokingchamber dot com.




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Category: Gear and Mods

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