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Deep in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Springfield Armory hosted about a dozen gun writers to give us a sneak peek at — and a whole lot of trigger time behind — their new rifle, The SAINT. As you probably know by now, the SAINT is Springfield’s first foray into the AR-15 market. Late to the game? Just another AR? Yes and no…

Although I’ve put about 700 rounds through the SAINT, this is not the gun review. Not yet. That said, there is significant information and opinion about the SAINT in this post…but stay tuned for a forthcoming full blown review to include accuracy targets, TriggerScan data, suppressed shooting, and a lot more rounds sent downrange.

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Two taxis were harmed in the making of the SAINT event.

Also worth mentioning is that, although TTAG received access to the SAINT prior to its public release, Springfield firmly assured us that the guns we were shooting were production guns. The company has been building up inventory to get SAINTs into distribution and into dealer stock in time for today’s release (and for the SAINT test drive events at ranges around the country on the 5th), and these guns were apparently pulled right off the headed-into-distribution shelves.

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We actually kicked off the two days of shooting with optics-equipped pistol instruction from Rob Leatham. Everybody grabbed an XD(M) OSP with a Trijicon RMR, and we ran drills from a holster. I’d like to note, mostly because it’s a “lesser-known” option, that Rob’s competition pistol has a JPoint on it. Which I should also note is what’s on my EDC GLOCK 19 MOS. Which I should also note has never crapped out on me like two of the RMRs, including mine, did that day.

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Rob’s instruction was pretty hands-on. Literally. In a very short amount of time, all improvable shooters improved. Even my buddy, Patrick R from TFB, seen above being manhandled by Rob and another writer, eventually hit his own target. I kid, I kid; he’s a hell of a shooter! Rob made some really salient points, backed up with demonstrations.

Note the cameras, too, by the way. Apparently Springfield is working on some serious video production from this event. What I’m trying to say is that I’m now a male model.

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After pistol training we moved to a large warehouse building, which used to be PMC Ammunition’s U.S. factory, and were told to assemble our SAINTs. Each writer would be shooting two of them, each in a different configuration.

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One SAINT was to be set up for CQB-type work, equipped with a Trijicon MRO, SureFire Scout Light, and Blue Force Gear Sling. The other rifle received a Bushnell Elite Tactical 1-6.5x scope in a Warne mount. As usual, click any photo in this post to enlarge it.

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The SAINT rocks a bunch of polymer parts from Bravo Company USA: an exclusive PKMR handguard with KeyMod points, a Mod 3 pistol grip with a more vertical angle than the A2, an enlarged trigger guard, and a BCMGUNFIGHTER rattle-free buttstock with three sling attachment points (two QD sockets, one strap slot). 20161012_133937

Upper and lower receiver are machined from 7075-T6 aluminum forgings and Type III hard anodized. The upper receiver bore and buffer tube bore are then dry film lubricant coated.saint-serial

I think I’d need spelunking gear to get to the bottom of those roll marks. 20161013_160054

Bolt catch and non-ambi safety lever are standard (GI) pieces. As is the charging handle, actually, which seemed like a slightly odd choice to me given all of the other Bravo Company parts on the gun and the popularity of their BCMGUNFIGHTER line of charging handles. 20161012_133919

The SAINT employs a mid-length gas system with an elevation-adjustable F height front sight/gas block. I could take or leave the bayonet lug, but the sling point came in handy.20161013_160120

Frankly, KeyMod in polymer worries me. Heck, I’ve seen it crack in aluminum. It’s one reason I’m not particularly hesitant about expressing my preference for M-LOK, although I admit I own a bit of both. Nobody encountered problems during the two days of shooting, but when the two rifles I was shooting in Vegas show up here this week for further testing I intend to bolt on a bipod and load that bad boy up over and over and add a QD sling point, too. If these attachment points might be problematic under normal use, I intend to cause that problem.

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I took this opportunity to pop the SAINT apart and snag some photos of the internals. The lower receiver has “Springfield Armory’s Accu-Tite Tension System” — a nylon-tipped set screw that can be adjusted to provide tension between upper and lower, preventing any of the typical AR rattle.

Even more notable is the fire control group (trigger mechanism). It’s a GI/mil-spec trigger taken to the next level with a Nickle Boron coating followed by micro-polishing of the friction surfaces. The end result for your trigger finger is a smoother pull without the grit found in a parts kit/mil-spec trigger, but the pull weight, break, and reset are pretty standard along with the full-strength springs.saint-bcg

The bolt is Carpenter 158 steel, shot peened and MPI inspected. The carrier is M16 profile, the hardened gas key is very cleanly and properly staked, and everything is hard chrome lined where BCG things get hard chrome lined. My first photo was blurry, so the one above was taken after about 400 rounds through the gun.
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The castle nut is [gently] staked, too. I feel like this is overlooked much of the time, and after having receiver extensions loosen up and rotate on me while shooting two different rifles over the past couple years, I like to see this. The mil-spec extension (buffer tube) itself is 7075-T6 aluminum, Type III hard anodized. The buffer is a carbine H buffer (heavy tungsten weight).

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The SAINT’s barrel is 16″ of chrome moly vanadium steel with a 1:8″ twist rate. Instead of black oxide and instead of chrome lining, the entire barrel inside and out has been Melonite treated. It’s chambered in 5.56 NATO.

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I neglected to get a photo of it, specifically, but the final item of note included on every SAINT out of the box is a Springfield Armory low-profile, flip-up rear sight. It’s a dual aperture job and is adjustable for windage.

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Once eye relief was set, mounts were torqued to spec, and our rifles were otherwise fully accessorized (definitely could have gone for a bipod, though, if I’m going to whine, which I am), we got sighted in.

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The mid-length gas system, heavy carrier, and heavy buffer made for a smooth-shooting rifle.

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We were then told to grab our MRO-equipped SAINT and a glove, and move to another shooting bay…

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Whereupon we arrived to find the scene above. 100 Action Target pepper poppers were set up in what Rob Leatham called popperpalooza. Four magazines each, one rifle, and a shot timer. Fastest time to clear all of the targets wins, with any non-fallen targets adding a 10-second penalty each.

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Patrick from TFB went first, and held the fastest time until the very last shooter beat him out. Rob got pressured into running the course, happened to grab my SAINT and set the new, fastest time despite having to clear a frangible ammo primer-related malfunction. I have various excuses.

We immediately began packing rifles into rifle cases for the drive to the hotel, but mine was still screaming hot having just dumped 119 rounds downrange in about 54 seconds. Not wanting to get left out in the desert — I was already this close to going all Bear Grylls on a lizard and drinking my own urine — I walked over to the giant cooler full of ice water and a few surviving water bottles and plunged the front half of the SAINT into it. The screaming, roiling, sizzling sound turned a few heads.

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The next morning began with Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training (among other tactical and training endeavors) giving us a taste of what Springfield means by “Defend Your Legacy.” This is the second aspect of the SAINT, and I believe of Springfield Armory as a whole now. It’s a mindset, a realization that one’s protection is one’s own responsibility, that one cannot rely on third parties to provide that protection, and that training plays a big part in being prepared to, well, defend one’s legacy. That means different things to different people, of course, but for me I suppose my “legacy” (other than the so-yclept Subaru in my garage) means my kids.

Pincus conducted a great classroom session, going over many aspects of self-defense but concentrating heavily on home defense. Speaking of which, that plywood structure behind him turned out to be a shoot house, and we were each about to defend it with a marker-ammo-firing SAINT in a couple of stress-inducing training scenarios.

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We didn’t shoot the Simunitions conversion for the XD(M), but apparently this has been a much-requested product that is finally becoming available.

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Next we were off to a long-distance range to stretch our SAINTs out a bit. A couple hours of unlimited access to 69 grain Federal Gold Medal Match went to my head a bit, and I think I put over 300 rounds downrange.

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Despite an on-and-off crosswind, I think everyone who attempted hits on the 900-meter steel targets was successful. I nailed a few in a row. Hits on steel from 100 to 300 meters were extremely consistent, with any misses off to the left or right due to the wind.

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At this point I was compelled by a chafed middle finger to make a field-expedient modification to my scope-equipped SAINT. That mold flashing on the pistol grip just had to go, and was shaved off smoothly and cleanly with my Hogue EX-02 knife.

We left for dinner, and returned to the craziest thing I have ever seen…

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Approaching in one of the shuttle trucks, all I could say was — and I did exclaim versions of this at least twice — “what in the literal f**k is this?” With the massive, Hollywood-style light booms turned off, we were staring at over two hundred yards of strobe lights, glow sticks, balloons, reflective tape, gigantic Halloween-themed inflatable lawn ornaments, and lord knows what else. With the lights on or off, my cell phone just couldn’t handle the insanity. But don’t fret, as a full film crew captured all of it and the video is supposed to be pretty epic.

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Turns out there was an absolutely ridiculous amount of target explosive downrange, beginning with the row of zombie targets at about 40 yards. Headshots to set those guys off, naturally. Behind them? “Over 300” zombie garden gnomes, each one holding a half-pound container of target explosive. Elsewhere on the range there were canisters holding larger quantities of explosive, and two taxi cabs at the very back, which we were told to save for last if possible.

An unbelievably long line of full magazines was laid out across a string of tables, which also served as the firing line. There were “at least eight” magazines (240 rounds) per shooter. This was effectively a race, with each person wanting to detonate as many targets as possible.

This whole thing, by the way, was the fever dream of Chad Dyer, who has been with Springfield for over 15 years and handles much of their marketing efforts. So shout out to Chad for being an entertaining lunatic and to Springfield for actually making his nightmare vision a reality for us to shoot at.

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At least 240 rounds in a matter of a few minutes will get things hot. Like, really hot. My handguard melted off the gas block and popped open, hanging on by the skin of its teeth at the rear. [Edit: Springfield informed me that they reviewed the “Field of Chaos” footage and apparently I went through fifteen, 30-round magazines! While this strikes me as not only possible, but probable, we’re working on getting the raw footage.]

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Whatever parkerizing or black oxide finish was on the A2 birdcage was long gone, as was most of the same finish on the gas block. The barrel’s Melonite treatment looked great.

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The heat shielding inside of the handguard did seem to work pretty effectively. The polymer only melted where it contacted the metal of the gas block, and I was able to keep my hand on the bottom of the handguard the entire time. Granted, yes, I was wearing gloves (although very lightweight ones from Hatch).

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After the festivities, the range looked not unlike an apocalyptic moonscape.

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Contrary to everything we’ve always been taught, it turns out that two shots to the head of a zombie gnome will not kill it. The gnome with that tight group in his noggin seen above was still out there, suicide vest firmly in place, mocking us from about 150 yards downrange.
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Most of his buddies didn’t fare so well, though.20161013_220828

The taxi on the left was opened up as if attacked by a giant can opener — roof and door ripped outwards. Sorry to say, I don’t know how much target explosive was in the cabs (Edit: 8 lbs in each). 20161013_220753

The roof was missing from the right cab entirely. 20161013_220757

Ah, there it is! It was awesome to watch that thing fly up in the air and then reenter the earth’s atmosphere, seemingly all in slow motion.saint-jeremy-cab

I claim this land in the name of TTAG!

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Bottom line for me, thus far in the course of my testing of the SAINT, is that it’s a completely serviceable rifle right out of the box. It’s made to a high level of quality and is ready for hard, long-term use. It’s built with nice enough parts that nothing needs to be upgraded or changed out and I wouldn’t even feel the urge to do so. Well, maybe I’d want to gussy up the charging handle. But for an MSRP of $899, it’s hands-down one of the best “entry-level” AR-15s on the market.

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Click image above to view Springfield’s promo video

There are two obvious competitors at MSRPs $100 and $160 lower. At this point I’m thinking the SAINT will be worth the extra bucks for most buyers, whether first-timers looking for a reliable, quality AR right out of the box or old hats wanting another nice rifle that they don’t have to tinker with and can trust to hold up, shoot straight, and look good while doing so at a good price. Comparing materials and procedures quality, finish choices, gas system, internal and external components, etc., that extra $100 over the competition looks like a heck of a deal to me.

Of course, in the actual gun review to follow, we’ll see what kind of accuracy groups these rifles can put up and what else I can find out through a little more alone time with them. I intend to put another ~500 rounds through the SAINT that had the scope on it, as it already has the most rounds through it of the two. But I definitely want to shoot for groups with the other one, as it went screaming hot into an ice water bath and I’m curious to see if anything got weird there (I had no issues hitting plates at 100 yards with it, though, through the MRO the following day).

If you have specific SAINT questions that you’d like me to address in that article, let me know in the comments below. Here’s Springfield’s press release announcing the gun:

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GENESEO, IL, November 1, 2016 – Springfield Armory® is pleased to announce the SAINT™. Built to equip those who wake up every day determined to protect what they have, believe that safety is their responsibility, and are unapologetic and uncompromising about defending their legacy, the SAINT™ is what an AR-15 should be.

While equally at home on plinking and competition ranges, the SAINT™ is built for defense and packs features valued by warriors into a carbine with a price point at a fraction of what one would expect. With an MSRP of just $899, the SAINT™ brings affordable reliability to the market.

“Throughout our company’s history, we’ve been aggressive about launching new products to give our customers the best tools possible,” states Springfield Armory® CEO Dennis Reese. “Back in 1985, we moved into the 1911 business because we felt that customers deserved more than the market was currently offering. Again in 2001, we decided to invest in the XD family of personal defense guns to serve an unfilled market need for personal defense. Now, we’re offering a defensive rifle built the way an AR-15 should be.”

The SAINT™ is an optics ready flat-top design that includes an A2-style front sight and gas block. Type III hard anodized aircraft-grade 7075 T6 aluminum upper and lower receivers are joined using Springfield Armory®’s Accu-Tite™ system. Designed to lock upper and lower receiver into a rigid and accuracy enhancing platform, the system virtually eliminates the movement and shake normally associated with AR-15 rifles. The upper receiver houses an M16 bolt carrier group machined from Carpenter 158 steel that is shot peened and magnetic particle inspected for long-term durability.

The SAINT™ features a 16-inch Chrome Moly Vanadium barrel. The 5.56mm NATO chamber feeds a 1:8-inch twist rate barrel capable of stabilizing a broad range of ammunition types and projectile lengths. Chamber, bore, and barrel exterior are treated with Melonite™ for longevity and corrosion resistance.

All trigger components are micro-polished and treated with Nickel Boron. The result is a mil-spec weight trigger that operates smoothly and with no detectable grit. The SAINT™ includes a mid-length gas system paired with an “H” style heavy tungsten buffer designed to mitigate jerky recoil impulses and enable fast and accurate follow-up shots.

Out of the box, the SAINT™ includes upgraded stock, grip, and handguard components. The exclusive Bravo Company PKMR two-piece handguard features KeyMod-compatible attachment points at the eleven, one, and six o’clock positions for accessories. The handguard covers an internal aluminum heat shield yet remains slim for easy handling. The Bravo Company BCM Gunfighter stock offers a generous cheek weld comb, rubber butt pad, and QD and slotted sling attachment points. As with the Accu-Tite™ receiver tensioning system, the precise fit between receiver extension tube and buttstock eliminate distracting movement. The Bravo Company Mod 0 Pistol grip provides grip-enhancing texture and a vertical orientation designed to complement the modern combat stance. Last, but not least, the BCM trigger guard allows ample room for operation with or without gloves.

While optics ready, the SAINT™ includes a flip-up rear sight to pair with the fixed front sight equipped with an elevation-adjustable post. The dual aperture rear sight features ½ minute of angle windage adjustments.

The SAINT™ weighs six pounds, eleven ounces unloaded and measures 35.5 inches long with the six-position stock fully extended.

Created for the free and independent, Springfield Armory®’s SAINT™ represents the next generation of America’s personal defense rifle. Built with relentless dedication to reliability, it’s made to support the awesome responsibility that comes with defending one’s legacy.

For more information, please visit www.defendyourlegacy.com.

About Springfield Armory®

“The First Name in American Firearms,” Springfield Armory® was founded in 1777, when George Washington ordered the creation of an armory to store ammunition and gun carriages during the American Revolution. In 1794, the armory began to manufacture muskets and spent the next 150 years supplying firearms for every major American conflict. The original armory closed in 1968. In 1974, the Reese family took ownership of the Springfield Armory® name and began making the M1A™ rifle. Today, Springfield Armory® develops many products loyal to the company’s heritage, like the 1911 pistol, while ensuring its future with innovative products, including the XD®, XD® Mod.2®, XD(M)® and XD-S® polymer pistols.

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105 Responses to Hands-On With The Springfield Armory SAINT

  1. That’s two different reviewers with two major gun blogs who had their handguards melt off at this event. Not super stoked to hear that. And polymer keymod just screams of bad design. I really, really want to like this rifle. It’d be fun to pair it up with my Spike’s Crusader, if only for the names. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing really offered here that makes me want to add it to my stable.

    Also, please don’t stick hot firearms in coolers that are intended to hold beverages. The lead and other fouling goes in the water, which goes on the beverages, which go onto people’s mouths. If you really need to dunk hot firearms in ice water, go get a five gallon bucket and fill it up and use that.

      • Mine split open off the front (which is the first photo in that series), so I’m sure it melted up there, but it was hanging on at the back. I’m not sure I would have noticed if I didn’t actually try to separate it. It came apart up there without any fight at all, but didn’t pop open on its own. Patrick managed to get his a bit hotter (obviously, he was missing more! haha) and the whole thing was able to be pulled right off the gun. Patrick’s was the only one that came off a gun (out of 12 or 13) and I think there was one more that showed signs of wanting to open up like mine did.

        It’s a slim handguard. Feels good, made well. BCM doesn’t field many complaints. Obviously dumping 240+ rounds in a couple of minutes is outside of the design parameters though haha

        Oh as for the lead poisoning, that cooler was about to get dumped out, and the gun had only fired lead-free frangible ammo at that point 😛

        • Well there’s lead in most primers that results in lead vapors and lead salt deposits…

          I believe most FMJ rifle rounds are open on the bottom, too. The copper jacket is cupped over the top. This also results in lead vapors and lead deposits due to the heat and pressure behind the bullet. See this pic: https://goo.gl/ULfywm

        • I believe you are correct, which was the impetus for the TMJ (Total Metal Jacket), which is jacketed on the bottom as well

    • FYI, Springfield informed me that they reviewed the “Field of Chaos” footage and apparently I went through fifteen, 30-round magazines! While this strikes me as not only possible, but probable, we’re working on viewing the raw footage to confirm with our own eyes and will make it available if possible.

  2. “Next we were off to a long-distance range to stretch our SAINTs out a bit. A couple hours of unlimited access to 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match went to my head a bit, and I think I put over 300 rounds downrange.”

    168gr 5.56 is a new one to me.

    • Cat slipped out of the bag for a brief, fleeting moment before being recaptured?

      Funny thing is all along I had figured Saint was going to be a gussied up XDM pistol of some sort a la Sig Legion. It’s all marketing to be sure, but it appears to be good marketing, and the MSRP is tolerable. That handguard issue needs to be fixed PDQ though.

      And 6lbs 11oz with what appears to be a heavy profile barrel? Sure about that? My PSA build with the same barrel profile weighs about 8.4 pounds with Magpul furniture and a Streamlight TLR-1. Since the light and M-Lok rail adapter only add 6 ounces to the weapon, I wonder where Springfield managed to lose the corresponding pound if it wasn’t in the barrel. Might the weight mystery and handguard issue be related?

      All in all, seems kinda interesting and I wish SAI well. But I gots other things to worry about getting at the moment.

      Tom

    • Yeah, I think that is a brain-fade error. I suspect that Jeremy meant to type 68 grain, rather than 168 grain.

    • Oh LOL, yeah. Apparently when I think Federal GMM I think 308. I’ll correct it when I get to my computer today. Thanks!

      …done. GMM in .223 is either 69 grain or 77 grain 😛

    • 1 – You don’t have to be “the best” on the market for your product to sell well. Hence the reason we have more than 1 major auto manufacturer in the U.S.
      2 – YOU may be able to build your own AR, just like many people can load their own ammo, but there are many, many more people out there who have no interest in either of those pursuits.

      I’m really not sure where this “There can be only one” mentality comes from, but it pops up constantly.
      Its almost like we (POTG) don’t WANT manufactures to make cool stuff for us. Every new product is greeted with a chorus of “Solution in search of a problem” or “Cheap junk” or “At that price they obviously aren’t expecting to sell very many”, or my favorite “Too late to the game” as though selling guns was going out of style somehow…

  3. Looks like a nice entry AR with some decent upgrades for the money…but as others have mentioned, it is pretty clear that the polymer hand guard is a weak spot. I know they had to hit a price point and tradeoff costs carefully, but I think that particular tradeoff is going to be an issue.

  4. “made to a high level of quality and is ready for hard, long-term use. It’s built with nice enough parts that nothing needs to be upgraded or changed out ”

    hang on…didn’t you just say the hand guard melted off after a couple hundred rounds? I know Springfield wined and dined you guys but come on…

    • Be careful how you portray that. The hand guard did not melt off after a few hundred rounds of casual fire spread out over several hours or days. The hand guard melted off after 240 rounds shot in a few minutes — a VERY short period of time.

      If a “few” minutes means four minutes, for example, that corresponds to a rate of fire of 60 rounds per minute, or one shot every second including eight magazine changes. How often do you expect to shoot like that?

      Even in real world combat, I doubt anyone would ever fire 240 rounds semi-auto in 4 minutes. Unless you are outnumbered 20 to 1 and impervious to bullet wounds, I don’t think this “flaw” is going to be a problem.

        • Standard combat (at least infantry) load out is 210 rounds, right? We exceeded that in what Springfield looks to be calling “Field of Chaos”…

      • We were racing to engage targets before the other shooters got them first, pausing only for smoke to clear now and then so we could actually see the targets haha. There are a zillion polymer handguards on the market and they serve the function for the buyer perfectly fine, as will this one. I don’t yet have reason to believe that it’s uniquely prone to melting; it was put through unique abuse. I doubt you’ll ever see a consumer complain of this “issue” on the SAINT ever. Dumping 8++ full mags through a gun nearly as fast as possible is not “normal.” BUT…I’ll try to do some testing.

        • Poor baby, I feel so sorry for you. Next time, give me a call, maybe I could take some of that weight off your shoulders.

  5. “….nice rifle that they don’t have to tinker with and can trust to hold up, shoot straight, and look good while doing so at a good price. ”

    Jeff Cooper called in on the Ouija Board and wants his tag line back please.

  6. Meh. Not impressed. I want pistol caliber carbines that take XD and XD(M) magazines. Everyone that wants can “roll their own” MSR.

    • I really want some interesting pistol caliber carbines.

      My favorite would be a pistol caliber carbine in .357 Magnum. (Not sure if .357 Magnum cartridges would feed smoothly in a 30 round magazine.) The 16 inch barrel would add a LOT of velocity to the .357 Magnum cartridge and generate insane velocities/energies. Of course there are no .357 Magnum pistols that take magazines so that would not be a benefit.

      Perhaps another great option would be a carbine with a 16 inch barrel chambered in 10mm that takes Glock 20 magazines. (Glock seems to be the only affordable and readily available handgun chambered in 10mm with 15 round magazines.)

      • “Of course there are no .357 Magnum pistols that take magazines so that would not be a benefit.”

        Coonan and Magnum Research beg to differ.

        Admittedly, they only hold 8-9 rounds per.

      • The KRISS Vector is available in a 10mm carbine and accepts glock mags. They should be releasing a high cap mag extension soon, too. There’s also the Mech-Tech carbine.

      • The M1Carbine shoots a ( .308 caliber projectile, i think)from a straight walled cartridge from 10, 15, and 30 round magazines at 1900 fps. Adapting the .30 carbine round to both modern pistols and AR type carbines would be a neat split the difference kind of system if someone would build it.

    • Thpbltblt ; 100% agreement.

      If a Saint is in my future, it will be for that reason alone. XD(m) magazine compatible carbine in 9mm or .40 cal.

    • Thureon makes a carbine that accepts XD mags.

      I think the issue is that a pistol caliber carbine is always going to be seen as an interesting novelty as long as M4 and AK variants are readily available.

    • ..and those that don’t can buy a nice one off the rack – like the Saint or M&P for example.

      You seem to think this rifle was designed and marketed solely to impress you.
      Spoiler alert – you’re not the target audience. 😛

  7. I’ve seen a C7 get so hot the barrel started drooping (thanks to a stupid amount of full-auto fire), and yet the ol’ A2 handguards were just fine.

      • I wonder how the timing of the election will affect things and whether they would have been better off getting it on shelves a month ago. Both the FFLs I frequent have reported significant increases in sales of “entry-level” ARs and I’ve had comments on my YT channel and e-mails from a lot of “I just bought a Ruger AR 556 and…” so I think it’s fair to say they’ve already missed some of the bump. Of course, I suppose you could go back 5 years and say that for all the time in-between, too. Not sure how many they’re putting in distribution right now, but if the election goes D I’m sure they’ll sell every last one and hopefully they stocked ’em freaking deep just in case.

  8. Yawn… This is what all of the hype was about? They enter the AR-15 market many years after other U.S. manufacturers and with a price point $400 over the lowest price “vanilla” AR-15 and $250 over the high quality Ruger AR-15. I’m all for any manufacturer making AR-15s but what a waste of a good marketing campaign just to announce that they are now like everyone else.

    • It’s exactly $100 more than the Ruger ($899 msrp vs $799 msrp). Comparing “street price” of one product to MSRP of another is totally disingenuous. I do believe you get more than $100 value from that difference, too. Barrel finish, mid length gas system, neater longer handguard with ability to mount accessories, 158 c bolt, m16 carrier, nickle boron polished FCG, staked castle nut, H2 buffer, darn nice stock.

      I admit I was bummed and disinterested when I found out the SAINT is an AR. But I ended up liking where they’ve placed it in the market. I believe it’s priced better than the $739 and $799 competitor options, for example, given the quality level (better value).

      Of course, I had also convinced myself “The SAINT” was going to be a line of stretchy workout clothes and that they were going to try to dress me in that crap and make me exercise in the desert. So on some level I was happy to see that it was a firearm, regardless of what kind haha. I mean, we get along just fine with Springfield, but if they tried to dress me up like a stuffed sausage to do crossfit shit in the desert our relationship would be deader than Harambe after my “review” came out hahaha

        • Oh give me a break. You find anything factually inaccurate about what I’ve said and I’ll eat my truck. You come here for TTAG’s honest opinion and that’s what you’re getting. If I thought the $100 wasn’t worth it I’d say so. Frankly, I’d pay that for the Melonite (aka QPQ nitride) barrel alone. But if price is the primary motivator, there are plenty of $499 ARs on the market that make the same loud noise as the ones we’re discussing here. Obviously you feel there’s something that makes the Ruger worth the extra $300 over those, so let’s be adults and realize maybe there’s something that can make another rifle worth another $100 over it. Guess what? If the SAINT had a better trigger (e.g. aftermarket like Geissele, etc) and an upgraded charging handle, I’d say another $100 would be money well spent, too (even if it were made by GLOCK or Ruger or whomever).

          BTW last month I was at my FFL while they were transferring a just-purchased Ruger AR556 to a customer — they sell a lot of them! — and it was his first AR and he was asking them about how to replace the handguard and if they’d give him a deal since he was buying the rifle there. What do you want to bet he replaces the GI stock, too? What do you want to bet if he were buying a SAINT he wouldn’t consider replacing either? I told the guy it was a good choice for a first rifle and it would serve him well. I meant it, and it still is a good choice. I just think the SAINT is a better one. Tough shit.

        • Lou, if i were you, I’d hop off that ruger 556 horse. The FFL I work at, we have received exactly two ruger 556s in the past few months with major qc fails. They forget the gas holes in the side of bolt carrier group. I’d never seen something like that, and have no idea what when happen. Best case the excess gas just forces itself out of the carrier and the gun malfunctions, worst case it blows the side of the upper off. Also, LOTS of them we’ve had to reinstall the gas block pins that drifted out. The springfield barrel being melonited and mid length alone is more than a $100 upgrade.

        • LOL! Allow me to paraphrase Lou:
          YOUR OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS INTERRUPTED MY SELF-IMPORTANT WHINING!! WAAAAAA! You must be a shill.”

          This is essentially the gun-community equivalent of “Everyone who disagrees with me must be a racist.”

      • All of their marketing videos said they’d be introducing the first gun in a new line of firearms on Nov. 1. Everyone on here thought it was going to be some marketing gimmick like workout clothes or a sporty watch because nobody listened (and people thought with all those beautiful bodies, how could it not be fitness related??). But, I heard the message, and I expected to hear SA announcing a new AR-15 on Nov. 1st. I’m just glad I was right, and I’m particularly glad it has many features and upgrades for only a bit more $ than the actual entry level rifles. I wonder what the rest of the line will bring, which means more should be coming “first gun in a new line of firearms” should mean more new guns are coming…what’ll it be?

        And thanks for pointing out the difference in his comparing street price to MSRP. To have all of these features on a rifle only $100 more than a Sport II or Ruger AR 556 is perfect. This is exactly what I was hoping for and will be calling my gun store now (he just opened 3 minutes ago) to see what his price will be.

        • OK so I compared MSRP to street price by mistake – its still $100 over the Ruger and hundreds of dollars over other models – it was a waste of a good marketing campaign. I like Springfield Amory and have bought guns from them as far back as 1989 but this hype about their AR-15, which must NOT have been tested thoroughly (melting hand guards, discolored flash hider & gas block ), shows that they did a poor launch of this this very average rifle. I’ve run M-16s until their barrels were a light red/yellow in the dark and NEVER had a hand guard melt off (I own 12 AR-15s and my first was one was purchased in 1978).

          Do both of you have cubicles next to each other at Springfield Armory?

        • I specifically like that they didn’t try to make the least expensive AR on the market. You obviously feel otherwise, and think that the only way this gun would have been a success is if it undercut the competition on price. That’s fine, I simply disagree and I like its position in the market.

          BTW if you like how the black oxide or parkerized finish burned off the flash hider and gas block, you’d love running this test on the Ruger with its black oxide finished barrel. Pretty sure that handguard would have been damaged, too, but the barrel would be missing most of its finish even on the outside of it. The inside would be long gone, and will be gone from normal shooting, too. Again, you’re ragging on an aspect of the SAINT and overlooking it completely on the Ruger. Can’t compare prices honestly and how the flash hider finish is a failure but the fact that the entire barrel on the Ruger has the same finish is a non-issue?

          “Do both of you have cubicles next to each other at Springfield Armory?”

          How do you reconcile these statements when you’re such an outspoken fan of, specifically, the Ruger AR 556 when the extremely comparable S&W M&P Sport II can be had for $60 less? I feel like I’m the kettle to your pot here, man.

        • Lou- “I’ve run M-16s until their barrels were a light red/yellow in the dark”
          On an M16? Really? How’d that gas tube hold up?

        • Thank you for responding FlamencoD. Oh and be sure to tell your marketing group that I will be immediately selling my dialed 6920 and buying a SAINT due to all of the hot, fit, sweaty girls.

          I will say this, if attractive 20-30 somethings step away from FB and start buying AR’s due to SAINT then I’ll eat my words.

      • Wait, now, you were bummed and disinterested when they started dragging you off to things like “let’s melt down the handguards firing ammo we didn’t have to pay for or even load into mags, so fast at exploding targets we did not have to pay for or position”? At freaking NIGHT, for crissake? YGBSM.

        • LOL. Despite the fact that I know you’re ribbing me…

          That’s not exactly the timeline of those events haha. I found out (for sure) that it was an AR the morning of the first day. I was simultaneously relieved that it wasn’t stretchy crossfit clothes and underwhelmed that it was yet another AR-15. After they went through all of the specs and informed us of the MSRP I felt it was a very solid value, at least on paper, and I figured it will find its place in the market because of it. Still, it’s another AR-15. After firing a good 700 rounds through them I believe it’s a well-executed product, too (but am definitely not done testing). The shenanigans were a lot of fun and it was a cool event, but that’s entirely unrelated to my opinion of the gun. Being initially bummed to find out The SAINT is an AR-15 and having a ton of fun shooting it are mutually exclusive. I could have a ton of fun shooting most any gun. FWIW, I really don’t care if they put me in the Econo Lodge or the Four Seasons (we stayed at the Paris, which was fine), paid for hookers or not (they did not), simply loaned me a SAINT to shoot for a few weeks at my home range by myself, etc., it wouldn’t change my opinion of the rifle. It is what it is, we’re The Truth About Guns and we try to take that seriously. The site’s reputation for candid reviews is worth more than some fun in the desert. So if you’re suggesting that I should have been wooed by their entertaining event and pretend like I was excited to see an AR-15, you may want to go back to reading the magazines that extolled the virtues of the R51 😛

          …and you’d better believe I paid for it in grief from the wife for leaving her alone with our little ones from Tuesday before sunrise to the following Monday afternoon haha 🙁 (left the Springfield event in Vegas to fly straight to the Texas Firearms Festival).

    • It’s not just another AR.

      It’s an AR that young, attractive, successful (implied) and multicultural people can use with incredible skill but without any regards to age, race, sex, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy, medical condition, marital status, and sexual orientation as long as your young, attractive, successful and multicultural.

    • Well all of those companies reinvented that very same wheel, too. And did a top-notch job! But starting at like $400 more than the Springer here and going up very quickly from there. Other than a free-float handguard, specs on this SAINT are highly competitive to, for example, the BCM CQB-11 KMR (they actually share quite a few parts)…or maybe more like the BCM MID-16 MOD0 w/ the midlength gas system and magpul forend, although I don’t think this is a current production gun.

      • The free-float handguard idea is tempting. Do you think it’s worth waiting a few months to see if they come out with one?

        I don’t really NEED another AR but the Saint is tempting.

        I’m looking forward to a longer-term test and review. Good luck.

        • I have zero inside info on this at all, but considering what was pointed out in the comments here that Springfield says this rifle is the 1st in a line of firearms, it’s definitely possible that will mean more ARs outfitted in different ways. Or it could mean a SAINT pistol and other, non-AR guns. Dunno.

    • “No thanks. I’ll stick with BCM, Daniel Defense, and Noveske. They just reinvented the wheel.”

      BCM, DD and Noveske just reinvented the Colt M4 wheel no?

    • You are aware there are over a hundred different successfully companies selling vehicles that use *GASP* the same wheel, right?

  9. Happy this is what it is…an AR-15 at a good price point with a boat load more standard features than the S&W M&P 15 Sport and Ruger AR556s of the world (not that I don’t love my S&W Sport). For $100 more than those other rifles, I will probably buy one.

      • Howdy, my man! Considering the Ruger has crappy standard furniture, non-melonite barrel, non-MPI bolt (and not made of 158 carpenter steel either), carbine length gas system, non-polished/non-Nickel boron coated trigger group, what appears to be a thinner barrel profile…yeah, they are pretty much the same gun, right? The Ruger has a 16″ 1:8 barrel, just like the Springfield. All those extra features for about $100-150 more. Worth it to me. I already called my gun dealer, he’s penciled me in for the first one he receives. I just have to decide which gun to sell so I can acquire the new one 🙂

    • Tis a fine rifle! But the M&P Sport is $60 less than it. Of course, an ATI or Del-Ton or Palmetto or dozens of others can be had for another $150+ less still. Race you to the bottom in 3, 2, 1… 😉

      • I am just joking with you and FlameD – lighten up a bit! Both of your responses sounded like damage control from their marketing department.

        First, of the 12 AR-15s I own, none are made by Ruger although I know one of their engineers and have fired their AR line in 5.56 and .308 – I only used Ruger as an example. Second, I am NOT ragging on the Springfield Armory AR-15 as I’m sure that they made a good rifle except for a couple of early hiccups. I AM ragging on their lack of proper testing as they should have never encountered those problems at a media event – it should have happened at their facility under the supervision of the engineering department BEFORE releasing it to the public which the media are. From a marketing perspective, those two failures at a press event are a disaster and would not have occurred if this product (and project) were properly managed – it was not. Also, the marketing concept was very well done and targeted the 20 – 30-somethings BUT (my other point) the product was mediocre from an innovation standpoint and is a letdown UNLESS you are a 20- 30-something who never considered an AR-15 then maybe this campaign will work for this small sales segment (provided that they don’t see the photos of the melted hand-guard which will probably scare off a newbie).

        • I agree that if the handguard was going to fail after a certain number of rounds were dumped through it, they would have been well-served to have established that ahead of time and then not intentionally put us in a situation in which it was going to happen. However, with what I know at this time, I think viewing it as a problem in need of fixing is a stretch. Is it a weak point? Yeah, it probably is the first weak point on the rifle under this sort of use (and, again, I’m more nervous about KeyMod in polymer than this melting issue). Is it something more than 0.001% of those who purchase this rifle will ever come close to encountering? Strongly doubt it. I think this rifle is built to go tens of thousands of rounds with 100% reliability and no parts breakage, etc., but obviously the handguard isn’t built for dumping 240+ rounds through it in a couple minutes.

          I also don’t think there’s anything “innovative” going on here. It’s simply an AR-15 built with high quality, durable components (esp barrel and internals) and put together properly at a very good price, considering. And I think there’s a place in the market for that.

  10. Jeremy – did the hand guard snap back together after it cooled and fit tightly and function well, or was it ruined? Any visible issues or scars from the outside if it reassembled without any issues post-meltdown?

    • I didn’t have a chance to inspect mine closely or try to put it back together. Obviously the front popped out of the ring on the gas block and it did so because plastic melted or got so soft that it flexed and came out. Patrick from TFB’s was trash for sure, but mine may have been salvageable. When that rifle shows up at my FFL this week so I can test it further, I’ll check to see if they replaced the handguard or just popped it back in place.

      • Did you show Springfield the melted hand guards? Will they address the design issue to prevent this from happening again? It seems that is an embarrassing failure that they would want to fix – even if it was an extreme condition.

        • They’re aware. I don’t know what, if anything, they will be doing about it. Frankly I’m not yet convinced it’s a problem. Actually, I’m much more worried about the Key-Mod attachment points holding up in polymer. If that’s a weak spot, that’s something consumers will experience. That’s the sort of thing we’ll see in posts on forums and such as it would happen under normal use, whereas I doubt anyone will encounter a melted handguard on this gun unless they’ve read this article (or Patrick’s article on TFB) and try to replicate the situation intentionally. It’s just so far outside of even hard, normal use (e.g. a weekend-long, high-round-count tactical carbine course) that if Springfield didn’t specifically put us in a situation in which we mag dumped 240+ rounds I kind of doubt if the market would have ever become aware of this potential issue. I, for one, would not have.

        • Done deal. I just got confirmation — I am getting the first one in stock at my LGS, which should arrive either Thurs or Fri. of this week. Yes!! This is exactly what I wanted — an AR-15 with better specs. than the Sport (which I already have and love) and the Ruger AR556 for only a slightly higher price point. It has everything those have (chrome lining where it’s needed, staked gas keys, etc.) and…158 steel shot peened/ MPI bolt? Check. Factory polished and nickel boron coated trigger? Check. 1:8 twist melonite treated barrel? Check. Upgraded furniture that isn’t Magpul? Check. Heavy buffer? Check. Mid-length gas system? Check. I’m glad they didn’t just put Magpul furniture on it and call it a day. Those that are saying this is just a Sport or Ruger AR556 are not giving those aforementioned upgrades their due.

  11. BTW if you want Rob Pincus to make that face at you, too, just ask him about his own [non-Springfield] CCW gun that he’s finalizing design and R&D on while he’s being the consummate professional working a Springfield Armory event 😛

    • That was something I was wondering myself. I like the idea of the PD10, but I’d feel a lot better about it if it had SA’s name attached instead of this unknown Avidity Arms

  12. Well, now we know how big of a dog-and-pony show you have to put on to get attention for a “me, too” product that’s several years late to the market. Looks like it was a tremendous amount of fun, but another AR-15 (albeit well-equipped at a decent price) hardly seems worth all the build-up and hoopla. Might be a good rifle, but I was expecting something a whole lot more interesting for all the marketing effort they put in.

    Also, is SAINT an acronym for something? If not, then why the ALL CAPS?

    • Agreed. They’re putting significant resources into the launch of this product. I do think it will sell well based on quality and price, but they’re seriously going all-out on the marketing front. Hard.

      Unsure on the all caps thing.

    • Their videos all say “On Nov. 1 Springfield Armory will announce the first gun in a new line of firearms…” So, there may be more to come. This may be just part 1. And an excellent part 1 in my book. So excellent that I reserved the first one in my LGS. Should be in my hands either Thurs or Fri of this week.

    • Yeah… and all of those other Billion dollar auto manufacturer should have just given it up, because, hey – Ford got there first, right?

      ..How ignorant.

      • Where did I say that Springfield shouldn’t make this gun? I just said that, with the shit-ton of marketing money they’re spending on this product, I was expecting something a little more worthy of all the noise they’re making. I’d have no criticism at all if they hadn’t been building expectations so high for what is just a slightly-better-than-entry-level AR.

        Also, most of Ford’s competitors brought something at least a little bit different to the market. They didn’t just all make copies of the Model T, with the same drivetrain and body panels, only changing the wheels and upholstery.

        • Comparing a standardized gun to a car is not really an equal comparison. AR-15s are made to be modular and universal; if this gun had so many new proprietary components and was so updated that it was no longer transparent to other goodies, it wouldn’t be a good sell. Also, cars have thousands of parts, unique shapes, designs, engine sizes, etc. The AR-15 is a standardized machine with only a handful of parts (compared to a car).

          That said – there may be more announcements coming – as their videos say “On Nov. 1 Springfield will announce the first gun in a new line of firearms…”. We’ll see what’s coming next.

  13. Wow. If only _______ had the same marketing budget as SA for the ________.

    I’ll start. If only Colt had the same marketing budget as SA for the 6920 OEM.

    Same, exact concept (high quality at low price) minus the millions of dollars of ads containing hot sweaty chicks and hipsters.

    • Do tell me, what is wrong with the videos of hot, sweaty women shooting awesome guns? Why are a bunch of OFWGs (I am not one of those) complaining about a bunch of beautiful young women shooting guns? Sheesh, bunch of pessimists.

  14. Based on the early marketing, my bet is that Jeremy’s original guess was right. This was probably supposed to be a training and apparel line.
    But then they realized that most people really just want a gallon of diet coke to go with their double double and think sweating is grody. Big marketing meeting ensured. And voila!, new AR15.

    • LOL

      On the plus side with this marketing, BTW, is a HEAVY push aimed at women. So far, actually, I think it’s fair to say that most of the video marketing is aimed almost exclusively at women. Yet, it’s a black AR-15. No pink crap and dirty girl camo or any of that BS. “Here’s a great firearm for women who want to take defense of their home, etc., seriously and train towards those ends,” and guess what it’s a black AR-15. This is good. Frankly, none of the marketing appeals to me as a consumer, but I very much like how they’re pitching it for the womenfolk.

    • They are already starting to ship the guns (I reserved the first one to arrive at my LGS Thurs/Fri this week). There’s no way they could have designed, manufactured, and started shipping them all in the last month or two.

  15. I kinda sorta like Springfield as they are from my home state. However, like those above, I’m concerned about a gun that has major parts melt off after a couple of hundred rounds of fairly rapid fire. That makes me squeamish.

    But, we’ll see.

    John

  16. “I could take or leave the bayonet lug”

    On a 16″ barrel, the bayonet lug is only there because the sight/gas bloc is a molded unit which includes it. The bayonet only works on 20″ or 14.5″ barrels. Yet the AWB made the lug a big deal on all barrel lengths, because none of the legislators had a clue what they were doing, or why! It is interesting to me because I actually *HAVE* a bayonet, and have played with it on a variety of guns. To me, the best application is shooting piggies, and a jammed gun followed by a bayonetted pig would be *so* viral so quick you wouldn’t believe.

    • I haven’t gotten a bayo yet but – shouldn’t it fit properly on a mid-length gas system and 16″ barrel? The 14.5″ (plus FH totaling 16″) works with the carbine-length gas system, of course.

      And I agree…..a pig sticking would be pretty viral stuff. You first.

      Tom

  17. For the handguard… I see there’s keymod on the sides and bottom, but what about the top? Is that just useless real estate, or is there some type of functional rail up there?

    • You can’t attach anything on the top. It’s sort of ‘zippered’ up there as the two halves of the upper clamshell click together along that 12:00 line. I think there’s some venting for heat to escape, but the Key-Mod attachment sections are along the handguard only at like 1:30, 6:00, and 10:30.

  18. At 47 I’m just jumping back into the gun market after a 22 year absence and I have to say that the marketing was effective. It doesn’t have to target a specific demographic, it simply has to make you hold off on a decision and keep checking back for more. I have only started testing pistols and the XD 9 Mod2 was the first I tested and was impressed by the accuracy, ergos and handling of the gun. The ad grabbed me and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing in my LGS. They currently have a Ruger AR556 and an M&P Sport II in their demo lineup and I’m really hoping that when I get there tomorrow, I see a SAINT up there too so that I can try it.

    Based on everything I’ve seen in the price range, it’s definitely a competitor, but the price difference is more than $100. I can get both the Ruger and the M&P for $550-$600 and the street price of the SAINT is looking like it will be about $800.

    I have significant nerve damage in my back, so anything I get will have the stock swapped for one that manages recoil better and most like a muzzle brake to reduce recoil even more, so I’ll have to take a really close look at the bottom line, but so far my impression of SA is a good one based my time with the XD.

  19. Meh, yet another garden variety AR hits the market. You can get a Colt for the same price, or a Radical for 475.00 and customize it for the price diff. Nothing new under the sun it appears, notwithstanding the glossy ad campaigns and buffed models. Springfield would have been better served making a bullpup with an actual good trigger. Now THAT would be something new.

  20. Looks to me like it is just another AR, for too much money (*I would buy a Rock River Arms over the SAINT any day*).
    Springfield Armory must have a ton of $$MONEY$$ for this kinda marketing.
    I’ll stay with what I know, RRA for life. Oh, and DD, CZ & BCM too .

  21. Great review will definitely look into one of these
    And what a great job you have getting to do this review and a great review you did sir great job Springfield Armory

  22. Jeremy S. – I picked up my Springfield Saint on election day – the fit and finish and level of quality is exceptional, and exactly what I would expect from Springfield Armory. Also: I inspected the key mod attachments and I noticed something shiny and flush around the perimeter of each hole. It appears the key mod holes are reinforced with thin steel and the polymer is molded around the metal to help strengthen the attachment points.

    • Yes, there’s a thin strip of mild steel sheet metal that runs the length of each keymod section (those little dimples above and below the keymod strips must be to hold the metal in place during molding). This is a good thing. But it’s super thin. My SAINTS just arrived this Tuesday the 15th and I’m out of town for a week now for Turkey Day, but when I get back it’ll be time for thorough accuracy testing, making sure those keymod holes stand up, etc.

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