Springfield Armory SAINT, the new 5.56mm semiauto rifle
Advertised as representing "the next generation of America’s personal defense rifle", the SAINT is Springfield Armory's first AR-15 platform and will meet the needs of hunters, sport shooters, and all enthusiasts at large
The intriguing and mysterious "Defend your Legacy" campaign came to its peak on the first day of November, when Springfield Armory, LLC. – a company known mostly for its line of M14/M1A semi-automatic rifles and M1911-type pistols, as well as for its XD, XDm and XDs series of polymer-frame, striker fired handguns – finally officially introduced the SAINT 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle.
Built "with relentless dedication to reliability" as shooters came to expect from Springfield Armory all through the years, the SAINT semi-automatic rifle is marketed in the U.S. as a personal and property defense rifle. Packed with features, it is however likely to meet the needs of a vast majority of potential users, from hunters to competition sport shooters, from recreational shooters to collectors and down to law enforcement and private security personnel.
The Springfield Armory SAINT is a classic 5.56x45mm / .223 Remington caliber AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle with a direct gas impingement (DGI) working system. It is built around two forged, Type III black hard-anodized 7075 T6 aluminum alloy receivers, sporting features such as M4 feed ramps and the company's own the Accu-Tite receiver mating system for perfect tensioning.
A flat-top rifle, the Springfield Armory SAINT comes issued with a MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail in lieu of the standard carrying handle that is still so common these days – not even a removable carrying handle is issued, making the SAINT optics-ready right out of the box. The controls configuration is standard, with a two-position safety switch located on the left side of the lower receiver along with the hold-open release catch, and a fenced magazine release button on the right side. Other standard features include a forward assist, a spring-actuated dust cover, and a GI-style charging handle.
The Springfield Armory SAINT 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle is fitted with a standard-profile, 16" chrome-moly-vanadium cold-hammer forged barrel sporting a birdcage flash hider and a full QPQ Melonite treatment on the outer surfaces as well as in the bore and the chamber.
The main feature of the barrel in the SAINT rifle is the rifling: six right-handed grooves with a 1:8" pitch. That's something uncommon on an AR-15 derivative, as the most widely used rifling pitch for this kind of rifles is 1:7", although 1:9" and even 1:12" are encountered – albeit much less often than they used to. But the faster twist rate will allow the SAINT to handle a wide range of bullet types – basically any commercial or military 5.56mm/.223 load – and will provide the optimum level of acceleration and stabilization to achieve tighter groups at comparatively longer distances.
Other technical features of the Springfield Armory SAINT 5.56mm semi-automatic rifles include: a mid-length gas system with a .750" diameter gas block; a carbine Heavy tungsten recoil buffer and buffer assembly, and a 7075 T6 Type III hard anodized aluminum MIL-SPEC carbine receiver extension; Springfield Armory's proprietary single-stage trigger with micro-polished and Nickel Boron treated components offering the right pull weight for defensive use; and an M16 bolt carrier group with a Carpenter 158 steel bolt, shot peened and magnetic particle inspected, that is fully hard-chromed both on the outer surfaces and on the inside to make it more impervious to dirt and easier to clean.
The Springfield Armory SAINT 5.56mm rifle also comes issue with an A2 type fixed front post sight and a flip-up polymer dual-aperture low profile rear sight that's adjustable for windage, offering 1/2 MOA clicks. Even with its flat-top configuration, the SAINT rifle is ready to be fielded right out of the box.
The polymer furniture for the SAINT rifle is supplied to Springfield Armory by the Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM).
More specifically, the SAINT rifle is issued with a six-positions BCM Gunfighter collapsible stock and with an ergonomic, slip-proof BCM Mod. 3 pistol grip and trigger guard, also featuring an airtight compartment for batteries or useful tools accessible through a flip, down cover on the heel.
The handguard, dubbed the BCM PKMR, is an exclusive feature manufactured by Bravo Company for the SAINT 5.56mm rifle. A two-parts, easy-to-install handguard, the PKMR comes with aluminum heat shields and KeyMod slots for maximum versatility in the installation of accessories
The Springfield Armory SAINT 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle is 81 cm / 32.25" long with its stock collapsed and 90 cm / 35.5" with the stock fully extended. The overall weight, when empty and without accessories, reaches 6lbs 11oz (around 3 kilograms).
Feeding from STANAG magazines, the Springfield Armory SAINT rifle is factory-issued with a single MagPul PMAG Gen.3 30-rounds magazine. MSRP for the U.S. is set at $899.00; no information concerning international availability has been released so far.