It is really hard to keep up with all the new firearms coming out of the Springfield Armory company. They don’t sit back on past accomplishments. Nope – they keep coming out with new or improved designs. That is commendable.
I’ve tested several of the Springfield AR rifles and pistols over the years, and loved every one of them. Today, we’re looking at their newest AR pistol design, and it is simply called an AR Pistol. The lower receiver has a “Saint” logo, so i suppose this is considered part of their Saint series. The Springfield Armory item number is ST9096556BM. They offer another similar model, and about the only difference between the two that I can see are some minor changes in some of the arm brace and fore-end furniture.
With one party in control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, all pushing for some crazy gun control measures, we can be assured that some of this craziness will pass and become law this year. Sure, there will be challenges made and it will reach the US Supreme Court at some point, but that can take years to be heard. Everyone’s “favorite” anti-gunner is Senator Diane Feinstein, and she promises to reintroduce the “assault weapons” ban – will probably do so, before this article is even published. She is rabid when it comes to her hatred of guns in the hands of private citzens. So, I’d advise anyone looking to purchase some type of AR or AK firearms, to do so now – not later!
As most of us know, there is a shortage of firearms and ammunition these days. I couldn’t tell you how many times my local FFL contacted me, and wanted me to sell them some ammo, and its like this every place you look. When I alerted my FFL that this Springfield AR pistol was coming, they asked two questions – “what model is it, and how much do you want to sell it for?” Nope, not happening. End of story! On many ARs prices doubled – and in some cases, prices tripled. But be advised that prices seem to finally be coming back down – a bit.
Let’s take a look at the specs on this particular AR pistol from Springfield Armory. The upper receiver is forged 7075 Aluminum – tough stuff. It has a type III hardcoat anodized on it – plus a forward assist, and M4 feed ramps. Many ARs simply have a barrel with M4 feed ramps – not the upper as well. The lower receiver is also 7075 Forged Aluminum, again with the Type III hardcourt anodizing finish. Springfield has added the Accu-Tite tension system, for keeping the upper and lower receivers locked tightly together. That is adjustable, as well.
The bolt carrier group is M16 profile, with a Carpenter 158 steel bolt, HPT/MPI Melonite. The operating system is typical direct impingement, with the Picatinny pinned gas block – not just screwed down – but pinned. The furniture is BCM Gunfighter PMCR fore-end with a safety handstop so your hand won’t slip in front of the barrel, and it is M-LOK style, for attaching whatever it is you want.
Springfield went with the Trinity Force Breach Blade arm brace. This is a bit different than many arm braces or wrist braces. For more details on this, here is a link with a letter from the BATF approving this arm brace and it describes how this brace is designed to be used. It is not to be shouldered…so, save your hate mail – contact the BATF if you don’t like it. I was totally determined to not like this arm brace, but it grew on me – rapidly.
The trigger on this AR pistol is typical GI, except it is nickel boron-coated for a very smooth trigger pull. The flash hider on the end of the barrel is also GI, and I like it. There is a mil-spec buffer assembly, except it has a heavy buffer – a carbine “H” tungsten buffer. The safety lever is single-sided and once again, GI. The trigger guard is a bowed BCM Gunfighter – allowing use with heavy gloves on. The pistol grip is also BCM Gunfighter, longer than the GI and it feels very good in the hand. The gun comes with one 30-round MagPul PMAG (Gen 3) and I believe that these are the best AR/M4 mags made. (The US military finally figured this out, too, and issues them.)
The overall length of this AR pistol is 25.8 to 28.3 inches. And it weighs in at a mere 5-pounds, 8-ounces. A word about the Trinity Breach Force Brace is in order: It is “adjustable” – but not so simple. You can pull on a lever and move the brace farther out, or closer. There are two set screws, and they have to be loosened and then you can adjust the brace to where you want it – then be sure to tighten those two little screws back up, so the brace doesn’t slide back and forth when you don’t want it to. Personally, any pistol braces I’ve used, I just set ‘em – and forget ‘em.
The barrel on this pistol – and it is a pistol – is 9.6-inches long, and it has a Melonite treated chrome moly vanadium coating. The gun is chambered in 5.56mm NATO, but of course, will handle .223 Remington ammo as well. 5.56 is a little hotter than .223 is – be advised! The barrel has a 1:8 inch twist, so it will handle some heavy bullet weights.
Back to the Trinity Force Breach Brace. It is very simple and extremely rugged – no moving parts to break or lose. That is, unless you don’t tighten down the two set screws. I’ve had a few AR buttstocks break on me over the years – something broke inside – and the stock was worthless. This won’t happen with the Trinity Force Breach Brace – it is rock-solid with adjusted and tightened down – I strongly suggest a drop of blue Lok-Tite on each screw so that they stay in place.
I have a few other AR pistols. However, this latest from Springfield is very fast handling. I added an ambidextrous sling swivel to it, so I can carry it with a single-point sling – very nice. I also added a Bushmaster red dot sight – very inexpensive – $69.99 at CDNN Sports. These red dots are rugged, and I like the quick detach lever for removing it from the upper receiver. I have these on several of my firearms. I also added some back-up “iron” sights – that are machined out of aluminum – in the event the red dot fails, I can see the irons through the scope tube, without removing it from the upper receiver. Note that this AR pistol does not come with any sights at all, from the factory.
My Shooting Tests
Unfortunately, with ammo is short supply, I didn’t get to shoot as much ammo through this little AR Pistol. Black Hills Ammunition has managed to get some of their outstanding .223 Rem/5.56mm ammo to me. Still, I limited my shooting for this test to just 100-rds – I know, its not a torture test. However, Springfield Armory, fully torture tests all their newest designs before placing them out to the public. I still like to run 400-500 rounds of ammo through guns for an article, but I simply can’t do that any longer.
I had some BHA 55-gr FMJ, 55-gr Barnes MPG, and their 60-gr Soft Point that I used in my shooting. Once I got the red dot sighted in, I did my accuracy testing at 50-yards – and that’s more than a fair distance for accuracy testing, without having to hike back and forth a hundred yards to record my findings. Of course, as I expected, there were no malfunctions in my shooting. I only shot 100-rounds of ammo.
The overall winner was the 60-gr Soft Point load and that came in at an inch and a half group – could have done better if I had more ammo to expend. Next up with the 55-gr FMJ and 55-gr Barnes MPG – the 55-gr was just under two inches, and the Barnes MPG was at 1.75-inches and once again, I know the gun can do better than that. I think with more practice, I can easily get all those groups down to an inch at 50-yards.
I like this gun a lot – and make no mistake, this is a pistol, according to the BATF. They are always changing their rules, regulations, and interpretations. For a time, the BATF said you could not shoulder an AR pistol. Then they said you could shoulder it intermittently — whatever that means. So, be advised and act accordingly.
I believe we will see most ARs and AKs with formerly “approved” pistol braces banned in the not-to-distant future. They may require that you register them with a $200 SBR tax, or replace their barrels with 16-inchers or surrender them to the FedGov. Once again, act accordingly – but if you want one of these AR pistols from Springfield Armory, now is the time to act. They are in short supply, just like all firearms are these days.
While Springfield has several different types/models of AR pistols, this one is the least expensive – at least at the retail level. Odds are, your local FFL dealer will be selling them at a higher price. The retail on this particular model is $895 – so shop around now – if you want or. In a future article, I’ll cover one of the more expensive AR pistols from Springfield Armory. But I think that this one I covered in this article, will serve your needs just perfectly. Check one out!
Update, from The Editor: The ATF has proposed some absurd new rules banning most arm-braced pistols, in direct contradiction of many previous rulings and product approvals. Please post your comments (without any foul language or insults) at the ATF website. And while you are at it, also send a comment on their planned “frame or receiver” rule change. Thanks! – JWR