Calling all gun nuts! If you’re a fan of Springfield Armory’s 1911s and polymer pistols but have been craving something a little more AR-15ish, boy do we have a treat for you! Springfield Armory stepped up its rifle game with the Saint back in 2016. Since then it’s been a trusty off-the-shelf AR-15 that is turning heads. But why settle for good when you can make it even better? In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the logical paths of upgrading your Springfield Armory Saint to turn it into a true powerhouse. So, lock and load, and let’s get to it!
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Springfield Armory Saint Any Good?
The Springfield Armory Saint is their baseline AR-15. With an MSRP of $1,023, you’d expect it to be a solid performer–right out of the box and it is!
The components of the gun are rock-solid. The trigger is nickel boron coated but still described as a GI-style trigger. The break, though, is clean and it spanks most of the other GI-style triggers on the market.
The barrel and bolt carrier are both coated in Melonite. The front sight options include an A2-style front post or a pinned block with a Picatinny rail section on top. And the sights are steel flip-up sights that have the Springfield logo on top.
Even with all of the overbuilt components and extras, the Saint still comes in under 7 pounds. And the performance is excellent. Out of the box, this gun is ready to run, well-balanced, completely reliable, easy to maintain, and easy to clean.
The Saint features some rock-solid internal parts that set it apart from most AR-15 rifles in its category. On top of that, they are good-looking and fit the hands well. If you are more of a buy once cry once sort of gun nut then look for their Saint Victor and Saint Edge for stock upgraded options. Which Springfield Saint is the best? That is up to you! Worst case we are happy to suggest some of the best Springfield Armory Saint upgrades.
The base model is already rock-solid and will have your back, no matter what. But when the time comes and you’re ready to take things up a notch, you can dive right in and give it an overhaul, or take your sweet time swapping out piece by piece. It’s your gun, your rules.
So what can be better? There’s room to improve on every trigger. The gun needs an optic. And there’s likely to be something aesthetic you may want to do, too.
Why Upgrade a Springfield Armory Saint?
There are two main reasons. The first is easy enough to understand. Some AR-15s are just a basic assemblage of mil-spec parts.
While these parts will typically work (as in fire a live round), the ergonomics, materials, functionality, finishes, etc., may be an afterthought. On top of that, they were not made with you in mind but rather the everyman. The best way to approach one of these is to take the most impactful components first and begin a total overhaul of the whole gun.
The second reason, and the one that most would cite when upgrading a Springfield Armory Saint, is personal preference. All of the Saint’s parts are functionally solid, to begin with, but you may want a different handguard or a different trigger, and because these guns are modular you can make those changes pretty easily.
Major Springfield Armory Saint Upgrades
If you are serious about making full-on upgrades, start by swapping out the Springfield Saint’s plastic handguard for something a little more refined and utilitarian. Something like a freefloat handguard or a quad rail is one of the first changes we would recommend. There are a bunch out there. AT3 makes quite a few in different sizes and colors!
Begin with something that is just-as-functional, but more rigid. Aluminum handguards are typically light and strong. Other handguards for the Springfield Armory Saint that we would recommend are from Midwest Industries. The G4M is another great option.
Springfield Armory Saint Trigger Upgrade
If performance and accuracy are exceptionally important, consider a Springfield Armory Saint trigger upgrade. Most entry-level triggers are one step up from junk, which makes any upgrade a step in the right direction. But know that the stock trigger in these guns is far from garbage and that you’ll really need to be careful about how you upgrade the trigger.
As most Saints are carbines and not built for extreme long-range accuracy, ask what you will gain from an enhanced trigger. Is it material construction? Is it pull weight?
For a gun like this, look at the Elftmann Tactical lineup of drop-in triggers to decide what is the best one for your needs. If you are unfamiliar with the process of replacing an AR15 trigger make sure to check out this Free Army Service Manual.
Springfield Armory Saint Accessories
Even if you’re completely satisfied with the stock configuration, adding some basic accessories can take your shooting game to the next level. From bipods to flashlights and foregrips, there are plenty of options to personalize your firearm and make it even more fun to shoot.
Every home defense gun should have a light, though you might need an adapter to connect one to an M-LOK forend. Streamlight is a titan of the weapon light industry. There are a lot of options and each has its pros and cons. Are you a lumens guy or a candela guy? We actually shot a video to help you answer that question!
Go get yourself some sort of forward grip. Some parts don’t need to be fancy to work well, and this is one of them. Add a forward grip. The handguard on the Saint is polymer, but a Magpul MVG will help add that forward stability.
Let’s find you some bipods for the Springfield Armory Saint. To find the right bipod for your AR15, consider the shooting type and terrain, height and stability requirements, weight and materials, and compatibility with your rifle. Magpul bipods fit the tactical bill and are a popular choice.
Slings for your Springfield Armory Saint are a must as these rifles are a utility at heart. The Magpul MS4 sling is arguably the most versatile in that it can be either a two-point sling or a one-point sling. It has been a juggernaut as far as slings go over the past few years. On top of everything it still looks simplistic and ergonomic. No extra straps or floppy bits.
Magpul Magpul Magpul. It may feel repetitive when we’re discussing AR-15 upgrades, but there’s a good reason for that. Magpul makes a huge variety of AR15 products. The Springfield Saint’s magazine is a Magpul. The trusty PMAG is a fine choice, but it is lonely. If this is your first AR-15, one of your very first purchases should be a slew of mags and the rounds needed to fill them.
Springfield Armory Saint Optics
What’s the best scope for Springfield Armory Saint? Again, this depends on what you want to do with it. The gun is dependably accurate, though, so scopes with magnification work well. Low-powered scopes are very popular for rifles like the Saint. A good 1-4x or 1-6x scope allows you to balance having speed at close range, with quick target transitions, while helping long-range precision at maximum magnification.
For a rifle that might be used for hunting, tactical, or defensive applications, the AT3 Red Tail scope will provide everything you need, including the mount.
For faster target acquisition and closer quarters, look at the AT3 ALPHA. Especially for defensive purposes and usage 200 yards and in, there’s nothing that beats the speed and precision of a red dot, which lets you shoot with both eyes open.
An aluminum handguard will add some stability. A target trigger may help you connect at extended distances. The addition of some basics like slings and a foregrip will make the gun easier to carry and use.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the overall weight when customizing your Saint, and make sure you only add the best of the best to this bad boy. With Springfield’s top-of-the-line features straight out of the box, the Saint is truly a force to be reckoned with, leaving other entry-level AR-15s in the dust. So why settle for average when you can have extraordinary?
Most AR-15s that are of “carbine length” (typically have a 16″ barrel) will be accurate out to around 500 yards. Of course, they can go further but 500 yards is a realistic distance where you could still consistently hit a target with the right ammunition.
The Springfield Armory Saint sets itself apart from most other off-the-shelf AR15 rifles under $1000 by having higher quality internal parts. Their trigger/hammer assembly is nickel boron coated so they are wear-resistant and provide a smoother feel. Basically, they are made to last longer. Their bolt carrier group is also Melonite coated for corrosion resistance and overall slicker action.
Hunting regulations vary from state to state and can fluctuate (check your local laws). In many states, it is legal to hunt with an AR15 and/or .22 caliber centerfire. Be aware of the type of hunting and the ammunition choice.
Geneseo, Illinois USA
The short answer is yes. As a general rule, you should only fire whatever chambering your barrel states. In this case, it is 5.56 NATO. The manufacturer will tell you the same thing. That being said, dimensionally 223 is similar enough to 5.56 where it will operate fine. It does not go the other way around for cartridge throat reasons.
One Last Tip
If there’s anyone that knows the AR-15 platform, it’s the US military. As a special offer for our readers, you can get the Official US Army Manual for AR-15/M4/M16 right now – for free. Click here to snag a copy.