First Look! Springfield’s New Saint AR Rifle – Full Hands-On Review.

The new Springfield SAINT rifle features numerous upgrades and enhancements over the base model previously released.

Springfield Armory has just released an updated version of the SAINT, which is going to make a lot of people happy. All of the change is in the upper receiver, which gives the new version a much more modern feel. The original SAINT was built like a classic battle rifle, including an A-frame front sight post and a heat shielded hand guard. The hand guard had modern touches, like Key Mod, but it felt like the evolution of an original AR-15.

A folding iron sight is one of the features of the new SAINT rifle.


  • Chambering: 5.56
  • Barrel: 16 inches
  • OA Length: 35.5 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds 9 oz
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Grips: BCM polymer
  • Sights: folding
  • Finish: Melonite
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • MSRP: $1,029

The new version has gone with a low-profile gas block, which allows the use of a 12-inch free floating hand guard. The extra length is a lot more conducive to modern AR shooting technique, and features enough M-LOK slots for a swiss army knife of add-ons. The new hand guard lacks a heat shield, but that is the price of progress. In my testing, it was able to go about 90 rounds of rapid fire before it was no longer fun to hold, like pretty much every other AR on the market. This is a far cry from the 7 magazine combat load mag dump I did on the original, but for most purposes that won’t matter.

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The barrel of the new SAINT rifle is free-floated in the new railed hand guard.

The free-floating hand guard is secured with patent pending locking tabs, which makes me think other hand guard options will be released in the future. The top of the rail has integrated picatinny rail, so you have plenty of space for lasers etc. So that was the good.

Now, for the bad. No idea why Springfield Armory went with a 12-inch rail instead of a 14- or 15-inch rail. It does make a difference for shooting, at least if you are taller than 5’10”. Maybe this was a weight savings for smaller people, but I wish it was longer. Those 2 inches do matter here, as they do a lot of places in life. The hand guard is also extremely small in diameter. With a wrist over grip, my fingers touch my thumb with ease. This might be a benefit to small handed shooters, but it also means your hand is very close to the barrel. Without heat shielding, that matters too. It might not make a huge difference in how long the gun is comfortable to shoot, but it makes some difference.

The new SAINT (top) has a rail-ready hand guard as opposed to the polymer hand guard of the original model (bottom).

The last thing on this list was the accuracy. I thought with a free float hand guard, the SAINT’s groups might shrink a bit. I was only able to choke out one 1.5 inch group in my tests, with most groups around 2 inches at 100 meters. ( Freedom Munitions Pro Match with a 77 grain Nosler projectile, in case you were wondering.) This was with the factory trigger and factory stock, which are not exactly ideal for precision work, so there is that. This is really close to the 1 3/8ths group I posted with the original SAINT, so it seems like the free float hasn’t improved anything in this department. 1.5/ 2 inches isn’t bad for a rifle at this price point (which, by the way is $1,029), and certainly better than some. But it also isn’t fantastic.

The new SAINT takes everything that was good about the original rifle and adds more.

For normal shooting conditions, I paired the new SAINT with a Bushnell Elite Tactical SMRS 1×6.5 with an illuminated reticle. This is to me a pretty ideal set up, and the Bushnell is by far my favorite of the economy 1×6 market. 6.5 magnification is great for the realistic ranges of a rifle like this, and the 1x power on the Bushnell model is fantastic. The illumination is easily daylight bright, and in a cantilever mount the eye box is extremely forgiving. If you are looking for the one gun solution, and on a budget, the SAINT with the Elite Tactical is an excellent set up.

The SAINT features forged alloy upper and lower receivers for durability.

How about the rest? This is a pretty solid gun, and the market says people have been largely happy with the original SAINT. This is a lot of rifle for an MSRP of $1,029, which pretty much assures a street price of under $1,000. It has all the things we liked about the original SAINT, including the Nickel Boron coated trigger and BCM furniture. And now it has a modern upper receiver assembly.

For more information, visit

To purchase a SAINT rifle on, click this link:

Yours & Mine Guns & Gear Giveaway

By the way, while we are talking about the new SAINT rifle, let’s also talk about a great new guns and gear giveaway featuring the original SAINT rifle. The “Springfield Giveaway” gives you the chance to win over $10,000 worth of products for you and a friend of your choice.

So, get on over to Giveaway Link and register for free to get your chance to win!

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,

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Brad December 4, 2017, 10:57 am

    Clay, love your videos. But as a life time Boy Scout I have to let you know that your flag in the back ground is hung the wrong way. The blue field should be on the upper left side as you are facing it. Not the way you have it hanging.

    “When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left.”

    As a vet I just thought you should know. Keep up the great work, Brad

  • Listedverse December 4, 2017, 8:31 am

    Appearantky springfield didn’t get the ar15 memo that prices have dropped substantially in the oversaturated ar15 market.

  • hey June 15, 2017, 1:02 pm

    Normally ARs reviews are boring and so far out of price range, but the Saint does seem to offer alot of great value for the money. I think I would buy it versus having one built.

  • Doc W June 12, 2017, 7:28 pm

    Yawn!!!! Just another black gun, (i.e. AR), sorry but what’s to get excited about?

  • Will Drider June 12, 2017, 5:34 pm

    I looked over the Terms of the Giveaway, for some undeclared reason gun frendly Florida residents are excluded as are the normal dregs with heavy gun restrictions: CA, NY, NH.

    Bad time to bring a $1K+ AR to market even with the new frills as competition abounds at lower price point. Heat sheld or heat venting is a contentious issue. I like heat shields an have built two into rifles that didn’t have them.
    Good article and vid, loved the bobbing target systems!

  • Shane Philipp June 12, 2017, 1:13 pm

    Is the bolt catch roll pin coming out?

    • FirstStateMark December 4, 2017, 10:44 am

      Looks like it to me. Not good

  • Mark Beall June 12, 2017, 7:49 am

    Excellent review as always. Might even get one myself someday, but Mr. Martin, you being a military man, please display our flag in the correct manner, the union goes on it’s own left. By the way “Saint” Mattis in the background is always a nice touch.

    • clay martin June 12, 2017, 12:33 pm

      yep, I screwed the pooch on that one, its corrected now. thanks for the support. Saint Mattis, war be upon him.

      • Allen Alexander December 4, 2017, 7:24 am

        I always enjoy reading your reviews first thing in the morning. That said, I am waiting for on Savage’s Recon in .223 Wylde. The five groove rifling, long hand guard and scalloped lower has me interested and I am putting it on my Christmas wish list.
        Have a great day,

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