Why Handl Defense Selected Magnesium for the MK.17 – M110 MOD 2

A question that is commonly asked by customers is “Why did Handl Defense select magnesium for the MK.17-M110 MOD2?”. Material selection is more than just a simple answer of cost or weight. Often times there are other considerations that come into play. In this post I will highlight some of the considerations Handl Defense took when selecting Magnesium for the Mk.17 – M110 MOD 2.

It goes back to who we are and what we do. Handl Defense is a Veteran-owned innovation, solutions, and manufacturing company. What Handl Defense does is produce small arms solutions that enhance the effectiveness of the American Warfighter.

One might ask how we do this. We do this by providing military solutions that improve performance, support doctrine, and support logistics. By improving performance, we mean; increasing durability, adding a new capability, or upgrading the functionality.

When looking through this prism, it becomes apparent that the genesis of all SCAR PMAG lowers, the SCAR 25, needed to evolve further. In Aluminum it is several ounces heavier than the polymer FN SCAR® 17S / Mk.17 trigger module. Even though the SCAR 25 has subsequently been phased out for the Mk.17-M110, in Aluminum it is still noticeably heavier than polymer.

Handl Defense develops products directly from input of current and former Special Operations Warriors and US Military Specifications. The pure focus on doctrinal applications is specifically unique to Handl Defense within FN SCAR® aftermarket community. The specifications set forth by USSOCOM for the Mk.17 is where everything starts for Handl Defense.

FN-Herstal lead designers of the FN SCAR® and the leadership of Handl Defense met at USSOCOM headquarters a few years ago. There was a new found appreciation for the design theory behind the FN SCAR®. The constraints on a strategic manufacturer to produce such an innovative system are more profound than most might think. The cascading effects of decisions at that scale require solutions for FN that lead to certain features. Decisions at FN’s scale literally mean millions of dollars.

The Specification sheet for the Mk.17 states “that the FN SCAR® Mk.17 must weigh no more than 8 pounds fully loaded”. The few ounces the polymer saved in weight, could be used elsewhere in the system. Not to mention multiple cost benefits when looking at a system intended for global market competition.

One of the advantages Handl Defense has is that our decisions and solutions can be executed on at a much smaller scale. We can focus on elements that would be financially prohibitive to competitiveness on new weapon system intended for such expansive distribution. Handl Defense takes an open approach our design emphasis and material selections.

Once again the military standard is the military standard. A few years ago, when I was purely an unpaid advisor to Handl Defense. Handl Defense was setting a direction for product development. With my input, the SCAR specifications, FM 7-8, FM 31-20, and SH 21-76, were now going to be their guide. Special operations combat experience, was now going to guide development.

In any improvement effort, weight is a critical element. Aluminum is heavier than ideal. It possessed the proper tensile strength and yield strength sought. But 8 pounds fully loaded is 8 pounds. We wanted alloy attributes but polymer weight. Handl Defense feels that there are enhancements to the SCAR platform from a stressed member trigger module. To attain these benefits, we wanted more compressive strength, more torsional rigidity, and less deformation under load.

If you want to know how well a material resists deformation, you measure something called modulus. To measure modulus, we measure the stress loaded on the material. We slowly increase the amount of stress, and then we measure the elongation it suffers at each stress level. We keep doing this until the item breaks.

At a point before breaking, a material will reach its yield point. A yield point is when stress causes a material to deform. Prior to the yield point the material will deform elastically and will return to its original shape. Once the yield point is passed, at least some of the deformation will be permanent. Handl Defense wanted something that provided less initial deformation.

Magnesium has wide application and acceptance in aerospace, racing, and electronics. Magnesium alloys are a great structural material with low density, light weight, high strength, and good machinability. For these reasons magnesium alloy was selected.
Our Mk.17-M110 MOD2 is only 2 ounces heavier than polymer FN SCAR® trigger modules. It possesses similar strength and durability to Aluminum, with only 66% of the weight. With this selection we were able to meet the required strength and material properties we sought.

This coupled with other platform enhancements to the SCAR ® by other Handl Defense products, allowed the Mk.17 / FN SCAR® 17 to come in under 8 pounds fully loaded. This includes The Handl Defense Heavy Duty Stock Hinge and the Rifle Length Advanced Fore Rail assembly. Again this is unique to Handl Defense within the SCAR® aftermarket community. We are the only company to provide a fully modified weapon and still be under specified weight, fully loaded.

Handl Defense FN SCAR® accessories, enhancements, and small parts provide the lightest weight, the most adaptable, the most durable, and the most capable solutions. These solutions are created by, with, and for Special Operations Warfighters.
We seek to enhance an already potent platform. We seek unrivaled performance. If this is what you seek, order your Handl Defense Mk.17-M110 MOD2 today.

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