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Is Springfield’s SAINT AR-15 Rifle the Best AR-15 Rifle?

Is Springfield’s SAINT AR-15 Rifle the Best AR-15 Rifle?

Mark Episkopos

Security, Americas

It’s pretty good.

Key point: With the SAINT, Springfield plunged headfirst into a particularly crowded segment of the AR-15 market.

The AR-15 has long been the dominant semi-automatic rifle platform in the U.S., prized for its unparalleled modability and component diversity. The AR-15 platform’s immense popularity has spawned a fiercely competitive consumer market, with firearms manufacturers constantly searching for ways to innovate a better price-to-performance ratio. This competition has been especially good for a growing segment of first-time shoppers seeking a well-rounded, out-of-the-box AR-15 experience in the coveted sub-$1000 bracket. That is precisely the audience that Springfield, a relative newcomer to the AR-15 industry, is targeting with its recent SAINT series of AR-15’s.

Unveiled in late 2016 on the heels of Springfield’s prolonged “Defend Your Legacy” ad campaign, the SAINT is designed around a common premise for AR-15’s in this price range: reliable all-around performance at a reasonable cost. Sporting the no-frills, but prolific “black gun” aesthetic commonly associated with the AR-15 platform, the most significant aspect of the SAINT’s outward design is that it manages to clock in at a competitive 6.11 lbs. However, the SAINT achieves this impressive weight through the use of a polymer Bravo Company PKMT handguard that may incur flexing issues; meanwhile, the comparable SigM400 Tread weighs a virtually identical 7 pounds while sporting a factory-installed aluminum handguard. Those looking to take the SAINT to prolonged, high-intensity shooting sessions should also consider that the A2-style birdcage flash hider may get hot enough to melt the front of the handguard.

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