The SAINT AR-15 Pistol

By Steve Horsman
Posted in #Guns
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The SAINT AR-15 Pistol

May 12th, 2019

4 minute read

In the LE and defensive worlds, it has often been said that “A pistol is used to fight your way to a rifle.” The virtue of the modern duty or defensive pistol is its size and weight, which eases concealment and portability. And as good as modern ammo has become, no one would argue that a concealable pistol would be preferable to the greater power and reach of a carbine.

So it comes down to size and weight. The Springfield SAINT Pistol offers the virtues of a compact rifle while still being classified as a pistol.

Bottom line is this: You get near-carbine performance in a much smaller package. It’s not likely to replace your XD-S or EMP as your EDC (every day carry) but the SAINT Pistol is definitely more compact and maneuverable than your standard carbine, allowing it to be nearer to you and ready to go when a bigger rifle wouldn’t.

And this is the whole appeal of the AR pistol genre.

So in the unfortunate event where you may need to fight your way to a rifle, you might instead “fight your way…” to the new SAINT AR-15 Pistol.

Steve Horsman – An LE Agent’s Perspective

Several years ago when I first saw an AR pistol, I thought to myself, “What is the point of this product?” And when I handled one, it confirmed my thoughts that it was a little silly, bulky and not very useful because it was not set up to be a rifle. 

Initial offerings of AR-style pistols just had a buffer tube, or receiver extension, that may or may not have had a sort of neoprene pad attached. It didn’t have any groves or notch points for a stock, again because it was a pistol.

As I continued to visit gun stores and shooting ranges, I began to sporadically see these AR pistols and began changing my mind, thinking, “They are kind of cool, but they’re just not very easy to accurately shoot beyond about 10 or 15 yards.”

Fast forward a few years, and with technological advancements and improvements, arm braces attached to the rear buffer tube/receiver extension became available. The first ones I saw were shaped in the profile of a traditional collapsible stock on the AR platform rifles. The brace was designed to put your shooting hand through it and use the Velcro strap to attach it to your forearm. Your hand was to be positioned on the grip.

These second gen designs made the AR pistol much easier to shoot, but I never envisioned the widespread use of this type of firearm until recently, when I saw utilization of a red dot optic on an AR pistol which made it much easier to shoot accurately.

Springfield Armory’s AR-15 Beginnings

Within the last couple years, Springfield Armory introduced its first AR, the SAINT Rifle, and it took off like a wildfire! The initial SAINT was a traditional AR platform rifle with a 16-inch barrel, a collapsible stock and a traditional-style front sight.

The second generation of the SAINT arrived soon after, with the free float M-LOK handguard. This is currently my favorite AR.

Springfield Armory’s next evolution of the AR platform is the new SAINT Pistol. The first time I saw the SAINT Pistol I thought it was cool, and I had a blast testing it.

I put a two-point sling on it, allowing me to create tension and rigidity by pushing the gun away from my body. This allowed me to better stabilize this compact AR in pistol configuration. I shot a couple hundred rounds through it and the more I shot it, the more I liked it. This technique allowed me to gain total control and excellent accuracy without ever shouldering the weapon. While I was tempted, I didn’t want to be in the gray area of shouldering what is in fact a pistol. And didn’t need to anyhow.

ATF Rulings: Shouldering an AR Pistol

When the first braces for the AR-15 style pistols were introduced, there was some confusion as to whether or not they were legal. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms & Explosives (ATF) made a ruling that the arm braces for the AR-style pistol were, in fact, legal.

My understanding is also that the ATF has recently introduced a ruling on shouldering of the AR-style pistols indicating that shouldering of the units is also in fact legal. Please contact the ATF and review the ATF ruling for any questions and clarification.

The grip on the SAINT Pistol is the same that is found on the entire family of SAINT Rifles – the Bravo Company grip. The SAINT Pistol differs in that the rear buffer tube/receiver extension utilizes a wrist/arm attachment unit.

The SAINT Pistol has a 7-inch barrel with a blast diverter that forces the muzzle blast forward and away from the shooter. It not only works really well, it looks really cool!

The forend is free floated and includes a safety stop that attaches to the M-LOK sections. I installed it at the 6 o’clock position on the most forward M-LOK point.

When I started to think about the uses for the SAINT Pistol, I initially thought it would have no use in the Law Enforcement environment. But as thought more and more, I realized that for most LE agencies in America, the Police Departments are comprised of 50 officers or less. The SAINT Pistol fills a roll for the individual officer to have a small, compact and powerful firearm that is easy to utilize in and around patrol vehicles and deployment for responders that are first on the scenes of really bad situations.

For the average American gun owner, the SAINT Pistol fills a role that nothing else can. The advantage of the AR-15 pistol in general – and the SAINT Pistol in specific – is in comparison to a full-size carbine. It is light weight, compact and easy to maneuver.

Compared to other traditional pistols, it is powerful and accurate. It is also a lot of fun to shoot and most importantly, extremely reliable. I know I will be getting at least one!

Due to an ATF ruling regarding the configuration of pistols with stabilizing braces, these firearms can be subject to NFA (National Firearms Act) regulations as short-barreled firearms. It is the buyer’s responsibility to comply with all rules, restrictions and/or laws determined by your city or state. Please ensure you are up-to-date on all current laws.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Steve Horsman

Steve Horsman

Steve Horsman has extensive experience serving in military and law enforcement. He spent four years in the U.S.M.C. and followed with 27 years of experience as a police officer. While in law enforcement, he served as an undercover officer, a member of S.W.A.T. and as a police sniper. Adding to his already impressive resume are 30 years of competition shooting.

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