It seems like it was a lifetime ago, when I shot a Colt 9mm submachinegun, I do remember how much fun it was. I was determined to get the civilian-legal semiauto version, someday. Well, at long last, that someday finally rolled around, in the guise of the new Springfield Armory Saint Victor 9mm AR. Springfield Armory always seems to have their finger on the pulse of what consumers want. However, at times they are overwhelmed with demand for many of their products. Such is the case with their brand-new 9mm AR-style pistol carbine that recently came on the scene. I waited forever to get my sample in hand – but it was well worth the wait.
What we have in the 9mm Saint series carbine is a 16-inch barrel little shooter that has all the bells and whistles you could ask for. The 16-inch barrel is Melonite coated, that will handle any and all types of 9mm fodder, with very little recoil. The gun weighs in at 6 lbs 15 ozs. It is a bit top-heavy due to the 15-inch MLOK handguard…I would like to see a version with a shorter handguard — thus a lighter version — at some point. However, the MLOK offers you a seeming endless number of attaching points, for various “toys” you might wish to hang on the gun. I prefer to keep the profiles of my AR-types of guns fairly clean, so the only thing I installed on my sample, is a Riton small red dot sight on my sample. More about that sight, later.
The Saint Victor 9mm has a small Picatinny rail on the upper receiver – and that is where I mounted the red dot, with a riser mount. This gun is a blowback design so there is no gas tube to maintain, and I like the simplicity of that. The gun can go a long time before you have to clean and lube it. The upper and lower receivers are made out of 7075 T6 Aluminum, and the lower has a built-in Accutite Tensioning system, to take up any slack between the upper and lower.
An ambidextrous safety is standard for this carbine. It is noteworthy that the safety lever has a short “throw” from the safe position to the “fire” position – a very short 45-degree throw, and I like that a lot. The barrel has a Springfield Armory forward blast diverter instead of a flash hider – and I like that a lot, as well. The trigger is a flat version and it works quite well – makes for an easy and light trigger pull. By the way, the MLOK handguard leaves the barrel free-floated. Springfield Armory’s current lower receiver group components provide a nice trigger pull – nothing I’d change, because it is a great trigger pull. The trigger is nickel boron-coated and I believe that contributes to the smooth trigger pull.
The gun comes with only one 32-rd 9mm magazine – I was a little disappointed, until I shopped around and found brand-new stainless steel ASC-brand magazines that have a black coating for only $14.99 each. That’s a real bargain, so I stocked up on plenty of spare magazines.
The one major complaint is loading the magazines, they are a real thumb-buster. I found if you lay a loaded 9mm round on a hard flat surface, you could press the mag down onto the round and they easily loaded into the mag. However, Springfield sent me a MagLula loader/unloader – and it made easy and fast work loading magazine – a great investment if you purchase one of these guns. Seriously, you should get one or two of these loading devices.
The end plate is designed so you can easily attach a single-point sling, and that is what I attached to the gun – sweet! The Saint Victor 9mm came from the factory in a nice padded case to transport your rifle in.
Back to the Riton red dot sight: it is a very small little red dot. And, I thought it might be a bit fragile – it isn’t! My 12-year old German Shepherd managed to knock the Saint down – several times – and the gun hit the floor – hard! But the Riton held its zero. I purchased my version from CDNN Sports – my favorite place to shop on-line for just $110. One minor complaint – the red dot didn’t come with a rubber cover – ugh! I treated the red dot front and rear, with Fog Gone, so the sight won’t fog up in any weather.
Okay, enough on the specs and features of the Saint 9mm. I hate going into too many details on any gun, however this gun has a lot of special features. So, how did this gun shoot, is the big question. I’m glad that you asked.
For once, I had a great selection of Black Hills Ammunition www.black-hills.com 9mm on hand. And, to be sure, I fired every type of ammo Black Hills makes in 9mm. I experienced zero malfunctions from this Springfield Armory 9mm carbine. When I got this gun, I inspected it and lubed it. But then I didn’t stop to clean or lube it during more than 500 rounds of shooting.
I did my shooting from 35 yards instead of my usual 25 yards. The gun was placed on a jacket on top of a huge boulder – I had zeroed the red dot sight for 25-yards and with the 9mm round, I figured that was a decent zero, because the round would start to drop a little bit. You have to understand, that this is a 9mm “rifle” and not an AR in 5.56 mm – that can reach out there to 400 yards or further. Recognize the limits of the 9mm. I don’t think I’d have any problems hitting a man-sized target out to 150 yards. This gun was more or less designed for urban law enforcement work. I’m sure anything much farther than 150-yards could be hit, but not with too much knock-down authority. I would avail itself as a good home defense round, without risk of over-penetration — that is, going through the walls of neighboring houses, as 5.56mm NATO is apt to do. I suppose that would also work fairly well out in the country or on a farm or ranch.
Now, one thing you need to take into consideration is the increased velocity of the 9mm round out of a 16-inch barrel as opposed to from a much shorter handgun barrel. Where a lot of 9mm velocities might be around 1,150 FPS, the 16-inch barrel was giving me velocities between 1,500 FPS and 1,600 FPS – that’s a big boost in speed and potential knock-down power.
The overall winner in the accuracy department was the Black Hills 124-gr JHP load, and it was easily giving me 1.50-inches at 35-yards. All the other Black Hills Ammo, was right in the same ballpark — even the subsonic Honey Badger load.
Just a side note, I’ve been shooting Black Hills Ammunition since 1992, and I’m sure I’ve shot-up a million rounds or thereabout, and I’ve never had a bad round, and all through several ammo droughts, they still managed to get ammo into my hands. They are outstanding people to do business with, and they are just some of the nicest folks I’ve ever dealt with – bar none! Without their kind help, I couldn’t write articles on firearms, at all.
My wife isn’t “into” guns like I am, and she has a particular taste in handguns and rifles. She had to have a Springfield Armory Saint Victor of her own…ugh! Other than what I earn from SurvivalBlog, I haven’t seen a paycheck in about 9 months and it was out of the question to pay for another one. However, the folks at the local FFL I haunt had one in stock, and it took a rather monumental trade to get her one….and she loves it. I just placed an order for a dozen more 32-rd magazines so she would have her own supply of spare magazines.
One minor drawback to having an AR-style rifle in 9mm is the added weight. The 32-rd steel magazines are a lot heavier loaded with all those 115-grain (or more) 9mm rounds, compared to light-weight Aluminum alloy or polymer 30-round magazines loaded with 55-grain 5.56. I think it is worth the added weight when it comes down to it. I have several thigh leg pouches, each holding 4 magazines of 9mm ammo – it is heavy on the thigh when walking, but you get used to it. I’m shopping around for some tactical assault vests, that hold the skinny 32-rd mags – can’t find any at all, so if someone can direct me to a supplier of these vests, I’d be most thankful.
I’m going to purchase my sample from Springfield Armory – the one I got from the local FFL is a done deal – it was a hard-fought trade but well worth it. One good thing about my local FFL, I’ve been doing business with them for about 17 or 18 years now – good people to work with and they do their best to make deals these days. No easy task when guns are in short supply – due to pending anti-gun laws in Oregon. Things are on hold right now because of lawsuits against many of the laws and some very lengthy appeals court processes.
Here in Oregon, people are buying guns like crazy. At one point, the nearby small gun shop was selling more than 500 AR 30-round magazines per day. People are stocking up – while they still can.