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!

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 Saint, in its most basic configuration, comes with Bravo Company furniture with M-LOK. They also have a version with B5 Systems furniture which you can see below.

The Springfield Armory Saint. This may be the best off-the-shelf AR-15 available for under $1000.

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.

Springfield SAINT AR-15 Rifle - .223/5.56 - Midlength M-LOK Handguard – 30 Round

Springfield SAINT AR-15 Rifle – .223/5.56 – Midlength M-LOK Handguard – 30 Round

Only$914.99

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!

The AT3 SPEAR M-LOK Handguard is a great option for added stability and Picatinny rail space. Available in 9, 12, & 15-inch Lengths!

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.

MI G4M Gen 4 M-Series AR-15 M-LOK Handguard - 5 Lengths Available

MI G4M Gen 4 M-Series AR-15 M-LOK Handguard – 5 Lengths Available

Only$209.95

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.

Elftmann Tactical triggers are well-refined and affordable drop-in style triggers that would suit the Saint very well.

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?

Elftmann Tactical Match AR 15 Trigger

Elftmann Tactical Match AR 15 Trigger

Only$249

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.

Streamlight ProTac Railmount 2L - Dedicated Fixed Mount Long Gun Light - Max 625 Lumens

Streamlight ProTac Railmount 2L – Dedicated Fixed Mount Long Gun Light – Max 625 Lumens

Only$129.99

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!

As far as Springfield Armory Saint flashlights go, the Streamlight ProTac is a good place to begin.

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.

The MVG is a great option but if Picatinny is more your style check out the RVG
Magpul RVG Rail Vertical Grip

Magpul RVG Rail Vertical Grip

Only$24.49

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.

M-LOK bipods are still less common than they should be, but Magpul has you covered

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.

For two-point or one-point, the MS4 is a great choice.

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.

3-Pack - Magpul PMAG M3 30 Round Window - .223 / 5.56 NATO

3-Pack – Magpul PMAG M3 30 Round Window – .223 / 5.56 NATO

Only$51.99

The Magpul PMAG is one of the most common magazines that you will find in just about any non-proprietary stock AR-15 on the shelf. They are cheap, work, and are sold by the dozens. Try a six-pack!

The PMAG has evolved some over the years, but they’re instantly recognizable and well respected. Buy in bulk and save.

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.

AT3™ Red Tail™ Rifle Scope with Locking Caps - 1-4x or 1-6x Magnification - 5.56 Illuminated BDC Reticle

AT3™ Red Tail™ Rifle Scope with Locking Caps – 1-4x or 1-6x Magnification – 5.56 Illuminated BDC Reticle

Only$299.99

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.

AT3’s Red Tail Riflescopes provide the clarity and speed you need at short range while helping you reach out to 600 yards with the BDC reticle.

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.

The ALPHA is a tank of a red dot with Shake Awake for long battery life, and a cantilever riser mount ready out of the box.

Conclusions

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?

FAQs

How far can a Springfield Saint rifle shoot?

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.

What makes Springfield Saint special?

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.

Can you hunt with a Springfield Saint?

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.

Where is the Springfield Saint made?

Geneseo, Illinois USA

Can I shoot 223 in my Springfield Saint?

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.

Read More

20 thoughts on “Guide to Upgrading Your Springfield Armory Saint (2023 Update)

  1. Hey all: I have the SA-EDGE. The handguard for some reason does not look right leaving a portion of the barrel exposed. Anyone know if the handguard can be replaced to cover more of the barrel? I like the sleek look my other rifles have but don’t know if this is an option. Thanks all

    1. Hi Frank!

      Yes the shorter handguard on the SAINT EDGE can be replaced. The catch is that the barrel nut will also need to be replaced since it is proprietary (most new handguards come with a barrel nut just mentioning for prep sake). If you want it to look similar to other AR-15s with a longer handguard we should be shopping for a 15″. This way your handguard would not be close enough to your muzzle to get damaged but cover up just the right amount of barrel.

      Asked the guys here what their top picks for sleek handguards were and their top picks were the SPEAR, MI Combat rail, and the UTG Pro Super Slim.

      Hope this was of some help. Safe shooting!

  2. Hey, I have a SA Saint Victor 556, but seemed to have overlooked the availability of picatinny rail on the handguard. Besides selling to get the Edge, is there a way to change the handguard without the messing around with the barrel nut? I learned of an option at “Aeroprecision,” however it looks like you must use their barrel nut to make this change possible.

    1. Hello!

      Potential easy fix – If we are talking the need for a picatinny rail on the sides or bottom there are MLOK slots that you could put picatinny rails.

      If we are talking for the top portion, yeah Springfield seems to have dropped the ball on that one. Unfortunately after conversing with a chunk of very knowledgeable folks here at AT3 and also taking apart a Saint Victor we have on hand, it seems their barrel nut is proprietary (you probably already knew this) and would need to be replaced in order to properly accept a new handguard. There may be direct replacements out there but this is the first time we have had this question and our guess would be as good as yours.

      We have two suggestions. One, before buying another handguard try reaching out to Springfield Armory’s customer service (they have a good reputation) and ask if they know of a replacement handguard. They probably get this question daily. Two if Springfield is unable or unwilling to help we would encourage you to roll with whatever handguard you want and if you are understandably uncomfortable with the prospect of replacing the barrel nut, we would suggest taking it to a local reputable gunsmith or armorer and it should be quick job for them. That way at the end of the day you get the handguard you want.

      Hopefully this was of some help. Please keep us updated and let us know if you have anymore questions. Safe shooting!

  3. Can the Saint be configured for a left hand shooter?

    1. Hello Bob!

      The quick answer is yes. The SAINT is mil-spec just like 99% of other modern AR-15s being produced. This luckily means that all sorts of aftermarket parts or accessories can be swapped in and out. Ambidextrious items will be found more readily availible but there is left hand specific support out there too.

      For example:

      Fortis makes a left hand charging handle.
      CMMG makes a ambi magazine release.
      Geissele makes an extended bolt release.
      AT3 Tactical makes uniform ambi safety selectors.

      All of this may not feel like a true left handed AR15. There are left hand upper receivers out there. At this time we currently do not stock any on our website. Just be aware that if you were to go that route there may be some growing pains. A new bolt or bolt system would be needed since the extractor system is opposite the norm. Make sure to look into a given manufacturers requirments in order to convert your AR15 to left handed with their upper.

      If that route sounds overwhelming and you don’t mind brass flying past your face, the normal SAINT upper will do fine but if you find that the pesky long debated forward assist button is in your way we do offer some nice slick side upper receivers.

      Hopefully this gave you an idea of where to potentially start and answered some questions! Safe shooting!

  4. Can you extend the length of the stock stock on the saint without buying anything else. It seems like you could drill a hole to the desired length.

    1. Hi Robert!

      The short answer is you could if you modified your buffer tube/stock but it is definitely not advisable.

      It would be more work than it is worth in my humble author/certified gunsmith opinion. Modifying it in such a way will also void any warranty that the Saint has. I have know Springfield to stand by their stuff and fix issues time and time again but if there is an outright machined/drilled modification I am sure they would hesitate to help if you needed it.

      The easiest length modification would be getting a different stock. There are a few out there that will extend your length of pull about an inch. There are some rubber buttpad extensions but they usually have to paired with a particular stock. The more precision/long range style stocks will have some sort of LOP adjustment but can get a bit spendy.

      A more in depth length add-on would be adding space between your receiver and your buffer tube. This can be done with a folding stock modification or there are even literal spacer extensions out there. This will require some disassembly that may be better suited for an armorer or gunsmith if you are not familiar or comfortable with the process.

      Hopefully this was of some help. Safe shooting!

  5. My son has the Springfield Saint in 308 with a 16 inch barrel. Is there an option to upgrade to a 20 inch barrel?

    1. Hello Robert!

      Barrels for the Saint in 308 can be swapped out no problem. We have a bunch of different options but for a standard 20″ AR10 barrel like the the Anderson which is hard to beat given its price. Please note that swapping to a longer barrel length like 20″ means your gas system will also have to be replaced. This swap would require a rifle length gas system. Regarless what you may decide as far as a barrel goes just make sure your gas block is the right diameter for your barrel. In this case (using the Anderson as an example) you would need a .750 gas low profile gas block with a rifle length gas tube.

      Hopefull this was of some help. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Feel free to reach out to us.

  6. Will or can you recommend a 410 conversion upper that will fit and function on a Saint lower. I know that ATI has one but from what I have read from several gun and ammo sites they only function properly on an ATI lower.

    1. Hi Ray!

      Unfortunately we do not have a good recommendation for you (hopefully some other kind folks in the comments will chip in here). We know of the ATI upper as well as the Bear Creek one and have heard mixed reviews. We currently do not offer any uppers in 410 for this reason. However we will definitely look into the prospect further in the future and hopefully have a better idea. Our recommendation as it sits would be to look into a dedicated 410 shotgun since the cost/reliability ratio would be more beneficial.

      We appreciate your comment. Be safe and happy shooting!

  7. I have the 300 blackout pistol, and removed the brace. I submitted the form one to make it a short barrel rifle. Does anyone make a rifle stock that will fit over the existing buffer tube? Or do I need a kit that will replace the buffer tube?

  8. I removed the brace but what about the tube?

    1. Hi Joe!

      To our knowledge, the ATF has not changed its written position on this subject. In that, they stated that basically, removal is all you would need to do to avoid any law-breaking. Modification or removal of the buffer tube is not required. However, it should be mentioned that recent interviews, hearings, and small publications have shown contradictory wording from officials of the ATF. Unfortunately, it seems that that particular government entity is not on the same page across the board and it further reinforces that they appear to be making things up as they go along.

      If you are concerned with the current state of your pistol and would like to go the extra mile in making it impossible for a normal brace to be attached I would suggest a pistol buffer tube with a foam cover. We offer one (Phase 5 Weapon Systems AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tube Assembly) and are looking into stocking more. There are many out there.

      I hope this was helpful. Be safe out there!

  9. I have the base model Saint w a 16” barrel, I want to chnage the upper but not sure what size the takedown pin holes are on the OEM upper are.

    1. Hi Woody!

      Just to be thorough, I ran over and measured one of our Saint rifles, and the takedown pin hole (rear) on the OEM upper measured roughly .270″ to .275″ and the pivot pin hole (front) measured .250.

      If I am not mistaken I believe you are concerned about the pin hole size that will be either “large” (~.315) or “small” (~.250). Most modern factory AR15 rifles will lean to the small size which hovers around the .250″ mark.

      In the case of the Saint, it uses normal milspec pins that are intended for the .250″ holes.

      I hope this was helpful. Safe building!

  10. I have a “Saint” pistol. What can I do with it considering the ATF ban?

    1. Hello Joe!

      As you are probably aware, at the beginning of 2023 the ATF changed its position regarding “stabilizing braces” on pistols. As of this update, this revised rule will deem 99% of pistols with stabilizing braces SBRs. There is an amnesty period (ends May 31st, 2023) to remove (the brace), destroy, turn in, or register your pistol which has a stabilizing brace. This a new thing and will likely see some modification with the number of legal happenings going on. This unfortunately will likely take a while. Although we as a company do not have any recommendations, it seems that a large portion of the firearm community has decided to simply remove braces currently attached to their pistols until further legal developments arise.

      It should be noted that (as of this comment) owning a pistol brace is not illegal nor is owning an AR pistol. Your AR Pistol is only an SBR if it has a stock or stabilizing brace attached.

  11. Good day,
    Will a BCM bcg fit in a Springfield Saint pistol?

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