Springfield Armory’s Saint series has stood out over the last several years as among the best budget-tier ARs. In 2022, Springfield debuted the Saint Victor, their first entry into the crowded pistol-caliber-carbine market. But what makes it compelling given all the options available?
Saint Victor Features
The Saint Victor is a 9mm blowback carbine with many of the same controls as the typical Saint in 5.56 NATO, albeit the dimensions of the receiver are shortened slightly to accommodate the smaller 9mm cartridge and smaller 32-round Colt AR-9 magazines. It also uses a straighter pistol grip and an enlarged trigger guard that you won’t find on many stock rifles.
The Victor has a six-position B5 Systems adjustable buttstock and both the ambidextrous safety, charging handle, dustcover, and magazine release are all where you would expect on the lower receiver of an AR. Both the upper and lower are milled from 7075 series aluminum. The Victor uses an aluminum M-Lock handguard that runs nearly flush to the muzzle of the sixteen-inch barrel. The handguard has a milled slot of Picatinny rail at the muzzle for the folding front sight but is otherwise rounded to meet the upper receiver’s rail where the folding peep sight rests.
The Springfield Saint Victor is intended to compete with other traditional pistol caliber carbines such as the Keltec Sub 2000, Mike Foxtrot 9, and Ruger PC 9. It sports a sixteen-inch barrel and weighs in at 6 lbs. 15 ounces, putting it firmly in the territory of those latter options. But with an MSRP of about $1200, the Saint Victor commands a premium. So, is the juice worth the squeeze? Jeremy Stone took an example for a field test to find out.
On the Range
The Springfield Saint Victor proved to be a fast-shooting carbine. When paired with a red dot and a smooth flat-faced trigger, it is a contender for club shoots. Jeremy set up his as a home-defense option, pairing it with a Radian Weapons ambidextrous charging handle, a Surefire weapon light, and a Holosun red dot.
Jeremy ran a series of rapid-fire drills inside the thirty-yard line using both full metal jacket and jacketed hollow-point rounds including Speer Gold Dot, Federal Punch, and Hornady Critical Defense. The recoil impulse of the Saint Victor is light thanks to its full carbine size and length, but that extra barrel length allows you to get the most out of conventional pistol ammunition over a typical braced pistol with a much shorter barrel.
After some shooting, some issues reared their heads. The overall length of the Saint Victor is a drag on weight if you are used to a braced pistol. Jeremy ultimately wished the Saint Victor was wearing a more typical seven-inch barrel instead and an abbreviated handguard to match.
After prolonged shooting, the moving trigger finger began to be scratched by an unnoticed outside bur on the B5 Systems trigger guard. At its price point, the Saint Victor should not leave the factory with that blemish.
More alarming, however, were the few failures to eject Jeremy experienced. As a lefty, it is easy to get your hand in front of the ejection port if you use a crowded grip around the magazine well. Jeremy blamed this for a few occasions in which the rifle failed to cycle the next round, leaving an extracted empty case hanging between the bolt and the feed ramp. But a look at his field footage suggests a case of weak ammunition failing to cycle the bolt completely. This can be especially relevant given the dwell time of having conventional pistol ammunition dwelling in a long sixteen-inch barrel for which it isn’t designed.
Despite its flaws, Jeremy thought the rifle to be a well-built addition to the PCC market, although there are more cost-effective options out there.