Springfield has added the new Victor 9mm carbine to their Saint line of rifles. On the surface, this rifle is nothing revolutionary. Plenty of companies have produced 9mm blowback-operated PCCs so let’s take a look and see if Springfield has engineered this one to stand out.
The first thing that stands out to me about this rifle is its ergonomics. I know what you’re thinking -“it’s an AR… it has the same ergonomics as every other AR”. While I guess you would technically be correct, the way this rifle comes from the factory just works for me. Many features play into this so I will start with the ones I appreciate most.
The slim-lined 15” free float handguard gives me plenty of room to make use of my long arms and grip far out on the rail. It also provides plenty of M-Lok slots for accessories, and it has a small piece of pic rail near the muzzle, which is perfect for mounting a front sight.
This rifle comes outfitted with B5 furniture. This is my first time using B5 accessories and I am really starting to like them. The grip has a natural angle, so my wrist doesn’t become fatigued when carrying the rifle for long periods and it has plenty of texture. The stock provides a good cheek weld and multiple sling attachment points while remaining compact in overall size. I think B5 just might beat out Magpul for a spot on my next build.
Ejection Port is 9mm Specific
The ejection port is reduced in size for the shorter 9mm cartridge and has an appropriately sized ejection port cover. This may not sound like a very interesting feature, but it shows that Springfield put in the effort to develop an upper receiver optimized for a PCC when they could have used a standard AR-15 upper receiver from one of their other rifles.
Magazines Allow for Last Round Bolt Hold Open
A nice aspect of this rifle’s use of Colt pattern mags is that it has a reliable last-round bolt hold open. A feature that is often missing on Glock mag PCCs. Although, this feature doesn’t sway me enough to ditch my Glock-fed PCC for the Colt-fed mainly due to mag availability and cross-compatibility it is a very nice feature and there will be plenty of people that will love it and that will think the trade-off is worth it.
The 16” barrel is threaded ½”x28 and just barely protrudes from the hand guard. It comes with a forward blast diverter which can be swapped for a muzzle device of your choice, but you will probably need to take the rail off to remove the blast diverter.
Looking at how little of the barrel stuck out from the handguard, I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough clearance between the shoulder of the threads and the end of the handguard for a suppressor. I installed an ASR break and tried mine to test it. Turns out the clearance wasn’t an issue and I think the close fit makes for a streamlined appearance.
Other than one failure to eject halfway through the first mag, this rifle ran reliably with multiple brands of ammunition and bullet types. I was shooting remanufactured ammunition when it malfunctioned so that may have been the cause. That was the only one experienced.
You won’t be winning any precision rifle matches with this gun, but I think the accuracy is more than acceptable for a PCC. I shot groups from 50 yards and found that Monarch 124gr JHP performed the best giving me a 1” group. Remanufactured Miwall 124gr FMJ did the worst with a group of 3”. Some high-quality handloads would likely shrink groups even tighter.
The trigger is nickel boron coated but the pull feels like a typical mil-spec trigger to me but less gritty. The pull weight averaged 6.5 pounds and so it’s a little lighter than a mil-spec as well. The flat face makes it look like something special, but I wasn’t impressed by its performance.
One often overlooked aspect of blowback-operated rifles is the unusual recoil impulse. While only a 9mm, this rifle has longer and slightly stronger recoil than a typical 223 AR. It is still a light recoiling gun, but it takes more of a conscious effort to stay on target during a string of fire.
A set of Springfield iron sights are included with the rifle. They are fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The aluminum construction feels durable, and they lock in both the up and down positions. They are also relatively low profile. I am usually wary of sights branded by gun companies because many of them are junk (I’m looking at you Ruger) but Springfield did a great job with these.
The defensive use case for a 16” blowback PCC isn’t very strong when a standard 223 AR is the same size, has slightly less recoil, and packs a lot more punch, but one application to consider is the use with a suppressor. The long barrel gives plenty of time for every grain of powder to be burnt before the bullet exits the muzzle which makes it easier to suppress and subsonic 9mm is about half the price of 300BLK subs. Sure, you don’t have the same supersonic capabilities as 300BLK but if you only want to shoot subsonic, the differences are minimal.
Also, for plinking or practice 9mm is a lot cheaper to shoot!
Overall, I had a great time with this rifle, and I have no problem recommending it if you are in the market for a PCC. The $1300 MSRP seems a little high, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable when you consider the build quality. Here is a link to Springfield’s website where you can see the full spec sheet or find a dealer near you.
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$1,300 for a firearm that makes no sense to own, makes no sense to buy in my opinion. With a full size AR platform, I’d rather be shooting more lethal .223 / .556. Buy hey if you want a full size AR that shoots 9mm, there are a LOT more inexpensive options than this. Unless you’re a Springfield fanboy, I don’t see this going anywhere.
The 9 MM PCC debate rages on !!! ( And on, and on, and on … )
Not a fan of the Colt 9 MM Mags. I get the ” angle ” debate, but the double stack load by hand isn’t a PLUS, any more than the Single Feed Glock design is supposed to be a MINUS. Forcing cones be damned.
I see more Colt Mag malfunctions than Glock Mags gumming up the works. Even my AR .22LR PCC is supposed to be a ” JAM-O-MATIC “, but I win my Division every month at our Steel Competition… against 9 MM PCCs of all flavors.
And DO NOT get me started on the RIGHT barrel length … or AR design VS everything else… or SIGHTS vs RED DOTS … we’ll need to make more coffee … and adult beverages later !
AR is OK, 16″ barrels work just fine, OPEN SIGHTS wins for me ( and YES … I’m OLD SCHOOL ), a ” GOOD ” trigger is absolutely essential, and learn how to run the gun with what ever MAG trips your circuit !!!
YMMV … ” TACTI-COOL LOOK ” is a factor…