First Look: Springfield SAINT Pistol — Full Review

Photo Courtesy: Springfield Armory

With the release this week of the SAINT Pistol variant, the Springfield Armory AR-15 family comes closer to completion. Not content to just chop down a SAINT and slap a forearm brace in place of the buttstock, Springfield has added some design features that make this AR pistol the one to beat.


  • Type: Direct-impingment semiautomatic pistol
  • Cartridge: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Capacity: 10; 20; 30 rds.
  • Weight: 5 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Overall Length: 26.5 in.
  • Barrel Length: 7.5 in.; 1:7-in. twist
  • Trigger: SA; Nickel-Boron coated
  • Handguard: M-LOK
  • Forearm Brace: SB Tactical
  • MSRP: $989
  • Manufacturer: Springfield Armory


At the heart of the system is the same basic set up as the SAINT rifles, which we have reviewed here and here. It features the same nickel boron trigger, same detailed engravings, and the same BCM pistol grip. The trigger I am especially happy about, it remains significantly better than Mil-Spec.

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The forearm brace is the key to making the SAINT a pistol instead of an SBR, and it is here that the Springfield version shines. The brace is longer than most pistols, I dare say the same length as a rifle buffer tube. The brace is made by SB Tactical, though it is a version not seen on their own website. Unlike many other braces, the SAINT version is rock steady and doesn’t move at all. The rubber of the brace is extremely stiff, keeping it from folding under recoil against your arm. The overall design of the pistol’s back end makes it feel like a collapsible rifle buttstock set in position four, or so I hear. Not that this would be a design feature, but the stock could very easily slip into your shoulder, and if it did it would provide excellent cheekweld and optimal length for shooting. The pocket for your forearm to Velcro it is roomy and easy to use.

The rail on the forend is a modified version of the free-floated SAINT rifle. Like its longer brother, the small diameter handguard fits nicely in the hand. Although, it’s important to note that there are some adaptations for the pistol version.

The top Picatinny rail has been mostly shaved off, leaving just enough on the muzzle end for a front sight post or a flashlight. This makes sense, most of that rail would be wasted space anyway, unless you plan on using clip-on night vision for your pistol. The underside of the rail comes with a handstop already installed, which is an important feature on a pistol. It is very easy to slide your hand over the end of the 7.5-inch barrel, the handstop is a must. Finally, in place of a normal muzzle brake, Springfield has put what they call a forward blast diverter. It functions a lot like the blast jacket, and pushes all the gasses forward. Another safety feature, I have seen more than one person lose thumb meat from the side of a muzzle brake on an SBR. This has the added benefit of making the SAINT slightly less noisy for the shooter, compared to other pistols.

Performance wise, I was very happy. I teamed my SAINT with a Vortex AR Sparc, as a red dot is an obvious choice on for this platform. I had to resort to the elite Center Axis Relock style of shooting because I would never shoulder a pistol brace. Scouts honor and I don’t care if the ATF said it is cool this week. From my experience using SBR rifles in the military, I would say the SAINT handles exactly like one. The recoil curve is stout, as the gas system has been radically shortened.

The SAINT pistol is a great addition to the Springfield Armory line. If you have been on the fence about an AR pistol, this is the one to get.

For more information about the SAINT pistol, click here.

For more information about American Eagle ammunition, click here.

For more information about the Vortex AR Sparc, click here.

To purchase a Springfield SAINT on GunsAmerica, click here.

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • michael May 22, 2018, 7:19 am

    Amazing looking gun I would Love it but i cant make up my mind to buy this Saint pistol or a freedom 9mm pistol

  • Inidaho November 18, 2017, 12:21 pm

    Thanks again Clay for the review! When is the Edge comming to you for review????? That looks like a cool tool! Thanks again….oh I see your favorite quarterback is on a cover of a magazine…..thanks again for your blog on that dude! We have quit watching football, and are protesting!

  • Justin November 17, 2017, 3:59 pm

    I just got both the pistol and the regular, testing it out tomorrow. I already own two of their regular pistols the XDS and the XD mod 2 both in 45 cal. Never had any issues from any of them. Love the springfield name and im sure that ill love the ARs as well.

  • Krayg November 13, 2017, 5:49 pm

    Being a gun guy for 50 years with dozens in my collection from wood and steel to polymer and stainless…buckhorn sights to trijicon…please answer this: Why don’t I like these kinds of guns? And don’t say because I’m old, I know that already.

  • Jakester November 13, 2017, 12:34 pm

    Put a wind screen on your microphone to cancel out the wind noise. Parts of your video were hard to understand.

  • Larry November 13, 2017, 10:24 am

    And the SIG has a pinned and welded flash suppressor so no addition of a sound suppressor.

  • FirstStateMark November 13, 2017, 10:13 am

    The look on Dianne Feinstein’s face after watching this video………………………Priceless!

  • Ovo November 13, 2017, 8:09 am

    Can the muzzle brake be removed, and replaced with a suppressor?

  • Zorro November 13, 2017, 7:58 am

    Geeeeeez – about the only difference with this than anything else is the trash can flash hider on the end which there charging dearly for looking at the price point. Otherwise you can build this from scratch for about $375.00 yourself…

    • Owen November 13, 2017, 2:34 pm

      Sure build me one for $400

    • George November 13, 2017, 10:59 pm

      Just built one for 365.00, used a Kink2 for forward blast device. Love it. With the savings you can buy a Beta C-mag. Fun, fun, fun.

  • Jack D November 13, 2017, 7:49 am

    Looks like a copy of SIG MPX to me. The interesting thing about the MPX is the interchangeable calibers, I wonder if this will offer the same capability? I have the Sig MPX and love it. Greta gun.

    • WhoIsDaddyAndWhatDoesHeDo November 13, 2017, 9:29 am

      You do realize the MPX is a PISTOL (hence the P in mPx) Caliber Carbine, right? Its chambered in 9mm.

      Also, the Sig uses a proprietary gas piston recoil system, completely different than a direct impingement like this AR. The Sig has a fold-able buttstock, this does not.

      So no, it looks nothing like a Sig MPX or even the MCX (c for carbine).

      • Bill November 13, 2017, 12:02 pm

        MPX is also twice the price of the Springfield.

  • Bill November 13, 2017, 7:39 am

    Make it in 9mm, and I’ll be all over it!

    • Scott November 13, 2017, 4:41 pm

      Buy a Colt C.A.R. It comes in 9mm and is very good.

  • Ace McGurk November 13, 2017, 3:25 am

    Why poke the Bear? In a car seat, pistols rule — real pistols.

    • roger November 13, 2017, 5:39 am

      What do you mean ACE. Pistol ARs have been around for decades. Nothing new except for Springfield attempt to get more sales. The 2nd Amendment allows up to own guns we want. Sheep people afraid of AR pistols, braces and bump stocks . They bobble their heads to the liberals.

  • Jack Tors November 7, 2017, 10:12 pm

    Is this exact configuration, California legal?

    • Scott November 13, 2017, 4:41 pm


    • Justin November 17, 2017, 3:56 pm

      Nothing short of a potato gun is legal in that god forsaken state. And the potato is regulated.

  • SuperG November 1, 2017, 10:35 am

    Is it made in the US or Croatia? I like their pistols, but if they can’t manufacture in America like others, then they don’t get my dollars.

    • Mrninjatoes November 2, 2017, 4:49 pm

      Ha ha ha! Only the XD’s are made in Croatia. Springfield probably sourced Saint parts from FN or BCM.

    • Brian November 11, 2017, 11:15 pm

      Umm, you do realize that the XD series of guns is a Croatian pistol being sold in the US, right? The Croatians are the ones that made the original PHP and HS2000 and then Springfield sought out a license to sell them here under the XD name. Springfield does carry American designed weapons that are built in the US as well, btw.

    • shrugger November 13, 2017, 7:18 am

      Last I heard there are only 3 Company’s that cast/forge every milspec AR15 receiver that every firearm manufacturer uses.

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