First Look!

The Springfield SAINT AR-15 Pistol

By Michael O. Humphries

The AR-15 Pistol represents Springfield Armory’s entry into the popular AR pistol market. It sports a short 7.5-inch barrel
topped off with a blast diverter. The Saint pistol has an M-LOK free-float handguard that is slim and lightweight.
Photo: Springfield Armory

The more I observe Springfield Armory, the more I realize they have a unique approach to product development than most other manufacturers. I realized this on a recent writer’s event with them in Las Vegas revealing their new products for 2018 (hint—I can only talk about one of them here, but more are coming so stay tuned!).

Let’s start with the firearm that put Springfield Armory on the map back in the 1970s. It was the M1A, a semi-automatic version of the 7.62x51mm M14 US military rifle. Although the original M14 had been replaced by the 5.56mm M16 at this point, Springfield recognized a market for a high-quality, civilian-legal version of a proven design.

Fast forward to the introduction of the XD series of polymer-framed pistols in the early 2000s. While practically every other major manufacturer had already released a “GLOCKish” pistol, Springfield held back and made a cool, calm and measured move into the market with a solid, affordable and capable offering of their own. It was an instant success.

Same with the introduction of their AR-15 rifle in 2016. While Springfield was certainly not the first out of the gate offering an AR (by a long shot), they entered the game with a great rifle with excellent features at an affordable price.

As I was looking at the table of new products at the Springfield event, I was struck by how the company has established a solid track record by closely observing the market, and then developing great products with better features than its competitors for less cost. One of those products on the table, and what we are considering here now, fit the theme perfectly.

The pistol features standard left side AR controls and is powered by a traditional direct gas impingement
system of operation. The receiver extension sports an SB Tactical SBX-K stabilizing brace for handling the
large pistol. Photo: Springfield Armory

Coming Up Short?

The firearm was an AR-15 Pistol, a “chopped” version of the Saint AR-15. Clearly, Springfield is not the first to the market with an AR pistol, but the sample sitting there in front of me struck me as one of the best-featured ones I had seen yet—and one I planned on adding to my collection.

The direct gas impingement pistol is chambered in 5.56mm and features a stubby little 7.5-inch barrel. The barrel itself is manufactured from 416R stainless steel with a 1:7-inch twist and a Melonite coating. The threaded muzzle is topped off with a blast diverter that drives sound and concussion forward—a great feature considering the fact a 7.5-inch 5.56mm is basically a flamethrower thanks to unburned powder exiting the muzzle.

The free-floated slimline alloy handguard covers the rear portion of the blast diverter as well as the low-profile gas block and features M-LOK attachment points and an included forward hand stop—another great feature considering the short length of the barrel.

The forged upper and lower receivers of the pistol are manufactured from 7075-T6 aluminum and feature the “Accu-Tite” tension system that maximizes the tension between the receivers. Internally, the pistol comes with a nickel boron-coated GI single-stage trigger and a Melonite-coated M16 bolt carrier group. A Bravo Company enlarged triggerguard and Mod 3 pistol grip round out the package. The upper receiver sports a strip of Picatinny rail, and the forearm has a matching short strip at the front. No sights are included with the pistol. Springfield explained this helped keep the cost down to the $989 retail and allows the owner to select their own sights.

The slim forearm of the pistol covers the rear portion of the removable blast diverter as well as covering
the low-profile gas block. Note the blast diverter at the muzzle and the forward hand stop to keep your
hand away from the muzzle.

Tiger By The Tail?

The 800-pound gorilla in the room anytime the discussion of an AR pistol comes up is how to hold and control it. With a weight of 5.5 pounds, the 26.5-inch-long pistol is a handful of a handgun. Springfield’s solution was to add on the excellent SB Tactical SBX-K stabilizing brace on the receiver extension tube, which houses a heavy tungsten buffer.

I was pretty excited to get to the range and try out the Saint Pistol, so once the presentation and Q&A segment was over I quickly headed out to the range. The Springfield crew had kindly set up the Saint Pistols on the benches for us with boxes of ammo, spare 30-round Magpul PMag’s and even a handy little zippered case that comes with the firearm. I quickly loaded the pistol and began plinking away at a wide selection of Action Target steel plates the company had kindly provided for the event.

I soon found the pistol was a surprisingly pleasant shooter. I did not expect recoil to be a problem due to the size and weight of the pistol, but I did expect it to be a sonic-booming firebreather! The blast diverter really seemed to do its job, being quite tame to fire. I also discovered it is really accurate, as I was quickly dropping steel plates at 50 yards with the pistol. This one is a shooter!

Action Target provided a broad selection of steel targets for the shooting event.
Mike had no trouble ringing the steel with the pistol.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, we were only able to spend so much time with the pistol as there were many other new products to try out, but I enjoyed my time with it so much I requested a test sample go out to me after the event. I plan to really wring this one out on the home range as soon as it arrives! I think Springfield has another winner on its hands here.

Action Target
P.O. Box 636, Provo, UT 84603
(888) 377-8033
www.actiontarget.com

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