There are several manufacturers of AR-15 rifles and quite a few assemblers. Springfield Armory’s Saint has been one of my favorite rifles since its introduction. There are cheaper AR rifles, and they usually work OK for recreation. There are also much more expensive rifles, and even a few war fighting rifles.
I understand a first time buyer’s confusion at the types of AR rifles in approximately the same price range. I began with a firmly grounded understanding of just how good a rifle the Saint is and the good reliability and accuracy the rifle has delivered. When I had the opportunity to obtain the Springfield Saint Edge, I wondered how much advantage this admittedly racy looking rifle would have over a product that was already a very good performer.
The Springfield Edge appears to be competition ready for 3-Gun Shooting. My role for the rifle is emergency use and as an all-around recreational AR-15, and for training. Tactical training is great exercise when done right, after coffee and when my head hits the pillow, I sleep well after a hard day of sprints and tactical movement.
The rifle may be more expensive than some, but you don’t buy cheap climbing ropes and ascenders, do you? Sooner or later, the cheap rifle will disappoint. Mostly through handling and poor accuracy. If a part fails, it is usually a poorly made trigger group. That won’t happen with the Saint or the Saint Edge. They are both worth the money.
Springfield Saint Edge
The Saint Edge is similar to the original rifle with its Bravo Company adjustable stock and well-designed pistol grip. The Springfield built handguard is free floating. You may mount combat lights with M-Lok attachments.
This forend is among the easiest production forends to remove. The rifle is supplied with iron sights. More on these later. They are good choices — as iron sights go.
The receiver is a billet type. Billet allows greater customizing and is way strong for rifle use. The effect is tasteful, but at the same time, it provides a unique profile. Springfield designed the magazine well with a triangular cutout. This makes speed loads under stress easier and cuts some weight.
The integral trigger guard has been skeletonized. An important feature for those whose practice tactical shooting — not to mention left-handed shooters — is the ambidextrous safety. The Springfield Saint Edge features ambidextrous integrated QD mounts. Now, let’s look at the bang! switch.
The Saint features a decent trigger — neither the best nor the average, but a good trigger at the price. This is a flat trigger. The design makes for better control and more feedback in my opinion. The trigger is a cassette type — a rarity in factory guns.
Creep is practically eliminated. Reset is fast. A good trigger should have a fast reset. Reset is as important as compression in a tactical trigger. Trigger compression is a solid smooth 4.15 pounds, measured at the base of the trigger.
Tip: Don’t forget to clean factory triggers of grease.
This makes for a more consistent trigger action. I have no complaints with the Springfield Edge’s trigger action.
The upper receiver also has points of interest. The barrel is a thin profile. This profile allows the Springfield Saint Edge to maintain an unloaded weight of six pounds. An extended charging handle is a nice touch. This handle is positive in operation and makes for much easier manipulation when you mount an optic.
The muzzle brake is an interesting new design. The compensator looks square, it isn’t the birdcage we are used to. The compensator isn’t ported on the bottom. You may be able to fire off the bonnet of the jeep and not damage the paint. Then again, you may occlude the windshield with powder burns — that don’t come out. I won’t poke fun at the individual who did this. He knows his shame.
When firing prone, the lack of lower vents would seem less likely to kick up dust. The AR-15 and 5.56mm/.223 Remington cartridges don’t kick much anyway. Just the same, a compensator makes for faster shooting when you are looking for the greatest degree of control.
The barrel twist is 1 in 8 inches. This seems ideal for a good mix of bullet weights from 50 to 77 grains. Barrel length profile and maintenance are important as well as regards accuracy. The 1 in 8 rotation is a viable choice for a wide range of loads. The gas block is adjustable with a supplied tool and a few bleed screws. I did not touch this feature during testing. For those who handload and wish to optimize function with lighter loads, this rifle will accommodate.
During the firing test, I used the supplied magazine, added other PMAG types, and a couple of Colt aluminum magazines. There were no function issues. Most of the loads were 55-grain FMJ with some 62-grain loads thrown in.
I began firing and sighting with iron sights at 10 to 25 yards. Ten yards is close, and I have learned to begin the zero at this range. Surprisingly the supplied metal sights were dead on point of aim at 10 yards. This is unusual, it is often difficult to sight an AR in for home defense range. The flat-topped AR Edge did not have that fixed sight riding high over the barrel.
The Edge doesn’t kick more than any other AR — despite its lightweight. Then again, this is a light-kicking caliber. I fired four magazines from timed fire to rapid fire without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. The Edge is fast handling and fast on target. It is all we may ask of a home defense rifle.
The iron sights are viable to 100 yards with good results in a variety of drills. After a decent rest, review of my notes, and research into optics, the following week saw the Saint Edge wearing optics. I mounted one of the finest mid-range optics available, the Vortex Strike Eagle. This is a mid-priced optic designed around a specific set of parameters.
The Strike Eagle features an adjustable, illuminated, BDC reticle, and easy to use adjustment turrets. The reticle subtensions are especially welcome. The lower magnification setting of the 1×6 power scope allows both-eyes-open shooting, for those that practice. For speed shooting in 3-Gun, well there you go.
The reticle lines are well defined, with one set used for short range and the other for longer range shooting. This optic really deserves its own report. The bright, red dot is a neat trick when you need rapid target acquisition. I moved to 50- and 100-yard testing and enjoyed excellent results. I cranked the Vortex up to 6x at 150 yards, and took a few shots at 200 yards. I need more work, while the combination of rifle and optic is viable.
I carefully searched for a rock-solid scope mount. Here is what Burris says about its P.E.P.R.
Providing the necessary clearance and adding as much as 2 inches of forward scope positioning. It also ensures proper eye placement — in fact, P.E.P.R. stands for “Proper Eye Position Ready” (although it’s easier to just say ‘pepper mount’).
- The PEPR Mount is a perfect AR or flattop mounting solution.
- Allows up to two inches of forward scope positioning
- Provides optimum eye relief and full field of view
- Includes both smooth and Picatinny ring tops
- Available in 1 inch, 30mm, and 34mm sizes
- Quick-detach models are available in 1 inch and 30mm sizes
- 34mm size is designed with 20 MOA of built-in cant
Affixing the mount and scope was easy enough. I burned up a lot of ammunition firing the Edge. I cannot recall when I have enjoyed firing a rifle more or enjoyed better results. I eventually settled down for accuracy testing. I had been chewing targets to pieces but only slowed down in sighting the gun in.
It was time for the tale of the three-shot group. I settled into a solid, braced position and gave the Springfield Saint Edge a workout with several quality loads. The range was 100 yards. Among the most accurate was the Fiocchi 50-grain loading. This is a new load to me, clean burning and accurate. More on that in a few lines.
The rifle is well fitted. The barrel is a thin contour, and the Edge is lightweight at 6 pounds. Just the same, the rifle proved accurate, very accurate for any AR-15. I fired 50-, 62-, 69-, and 77-grain loads. The Fiocchi 50-grain loading put three shots in .9 inch. The Fiocchi 69-grain SMK, a longtime favorite, went 1.25 inches.
The Federal American Eagle went into 1.5 inches, the Federal Fusion 62-grain JSP cut a nice three-shot group of .9 inch. Black Hills’ legendary 77-grain MK 262 sailed three shots into .88-, .95-, and 1.2 inches for three groups. I wasn’t surprised, but very pleased.
- Type: Direct-impingement semi-automatic carbine
- Cartridge: 5.56x45mm NATO
- Capacity: 10, 20, or 30 rounds
- Weight: 6 pounds, 3 ounces
- Overall length: 35.75 inches
- Barrel length: 16 inches; 1:8-inch twist
- Trigger: 4.15 pounds
- Handguard: Springfield Armory
The good optics, trigger, and excellent fitting came together. The Edge is fast handling for personal defense and makes for a great target gun. For those who hunt deer-sized game with appropriate loads, this is a great rifle as well. I like the Saint Edge a great deal. It suits my needs and will likely suit yours as well.