Healthy Growth: Springfield Armory Expands the Saint Line
Springfield Armory announced the company was now offering its Saint AR-15 rifle with flat dark earth furniture. While this is truly a cosmetic addition to the line, it is significant in that the company is expanding its new line at a time when the market is flooded with inexpensive AR style rifles. To my mind, this suggests that the company has encountered early success with the Saint.
If you missed the announcement, Springfield Armory rolled out the new rifle last fall. The initial Saint was a fairly straightforward AR style rifle with a price tag ($899) that suggested it would be going head to head with other quality, budget guns like the Smith & Wesson M&P15 and Ruger AR-556.
The first guns sported many of the specifications that you might normally expect:
- Chambered for 5.56 NATO
- 16” barrel with 1:8” twist
- DI gas system
- 7075-T6 upper and lower with Type III hard coat finish
- forward assist
- M4 feed ramps
- standard charging handle
- front sight tower
- 30-round Magpul PMAG
However, the gun had a few nice extras that made the price tag very interesting. Some of these included:
- mid-length system
- Bravo Company adjustable stock, pistol grip, hand guard and trigger guard
- nickel-boron coated trigger group
- 7075-T6 buffer tube (there are many 6061 aluminum tubes on the market)
- tensioning system for the receiver halves
At first blush, the guns looked to be good competitors in the sub-$900 AR market. Unloaded, the guns came in at just under 7 pounds, which I thought was a nice bonus.
Additional Line Expansion: M-LOK
Between the introduction of the Saint and the recent announcement of an FDE rifle, Springfield Armory rolled out two additional line expansions: one with M-LOK and another that is California compliant.
The standard Saint has a handguard with KeyMod attachment points. There are many shooters, myself included, that prefer Magpul’s M-LOK attachment system. Recognizing this, Springfield Armory added a Saint that uses an aluminum handguard with M-LOK attachment points.
The handguard floats free and looks good on the rifle. This handguard is not compatible with the front sight tower, so the company deleted the tower and added a low profile gas block in its place. The mid-length system was retained. However, this did bump the price up to a suggested $1,049.
As many shooters know, California has a range of laws that regulate semi-automatic firearms. Some of those are directed toward the modern sporting rifle and prevent the sale of standard AR-15 pattern guns. Consequently, Springfield Armory introduced a specialty gun that is designed to conform with that state’s unique laws.
The California compliant model deletes the Bravo Company stock. In its place, the company selected the Survivor Systems stock that prevents the thumb from wrapping around the back of the pistol grip. Though this decreases accuracy, it is a current legal requirement. The length of pull can be adjusted through the use of spacers.
Instead of the 30-round magazine, this rifle comes with a 10-round PMAG. Unfortunately for California residents, the changes made to the gun increase the suggested retail price of the gun to $998.
While the addition of FDE to the line may not seem like a big deal, when looking at the whole line it makes a slightly more significant statement. It appears to me that the line is healthy in this soft market. That bodes well for the long term survival and evolution of the Saint rifles.