The wonderful thing about the AR-15 is its popularity has driven manufacturers to offer endless variations. Consumers now have a boundless variety of AR configurations from which to choose, because the companies that make them are partnering with other companies that manufacture aftermarket accessories. That’s exactly what Springfield Armory did, teaming up with B5 Systems to offer four new B5 Systems-equipped Saint rifles and pistols.
The Springfield Armory Saint M-Lok AR-15 Rifle B5 Systems I received for testing comes equipped with a B5 Systems Bravo stock, M-Lok handguard, Type 23 pistol grip and polymer trigger guard. That equates to about $120 worth of B5 Systems aftermarket accessories already installed. By comparison, the standard Saint M-Lok AR-15 rifle without B5 Systems gear retails for the same price.
Aside from the addition of the B5 System components, for the most part the rifle is representative of an entry-level AR-15. A mid-length gas system and Melonite-coated bolt is standard. It also has a forward assist, A2-style front sight, bayonet lug, forward sling swivel and an A2-style flash hider. The upper receiver has a 13-slot Picatinny rail and the rifle is equipped with Springfield Armory’s well-made, low-profile, double-aperture, flip-up rear sight. As an aside, the factory sights were near-perfectly zeroed at 50 yards right out of the box.
I used a Meopta 1-6x24 mm scope in a Nightforce base for accuracy testing to get the most out of the rifle at 100 yards and beyond. Based on the testing of countless AR-15-style rifles from a host of manufacturers with prices ranging from as little as $500 to six times that much, this level of precision is slightly better than average. With a better trigger, I suspect the average group size could have shrunk.
Why? The factory trigger is a nickel-boron coated, GI-style trigger. It released the sear after 5.5 pounds of pressure, which is not terribly bad for an entry-level AR-15. However, there was noticeable take-up, but it was surprisingly smooth and did not exhibit any of the glitchy creepiness present in some AR triggers. An aftermarket trigger is an easy fix, but considering hits on a 12-inch plate from standing at 200 yards were commonplace, the factory trigger certainly suffices. This is especially true if the rifle was to be employed in the self-defense/survival context for which it is best suited.
As for the B5 System accessories, the Bravo stock was comfortable and positioned the eye perfectly behind the flip-up sights and the scope’s centerline, mounted 1.5 inches above the flat of the Picatinny rail. The handguard was just as comfortable, mostly because of its thin profile; it measured only 1.76 inches wide. With 24 M-Lok slots, the ability to mount multiple accessories in many positions exists. The B5 Systems Type 23 pistol grip is heavily and appreciably stippled, which makes for a solid purchase on the gun. However, the stippling is rough enough that for a full day on the range–like you might experience during a carbine class—a glove would probably be advisable.
The only real negative feature of the Saint B5 Systems AR-15 rifle was the polymer trigger guard. The arch in the guard makes for plenty of room around the trigger, but where the guard joins the lower receiver, just forward of the grip, it has a sharp edge on both sides. These sharp points are perfectly positioned to chew into the first knuckle of the middle finger of the shooting hand. Of course, a different hand might find these sharp edges of no consequence at all.
With the fixed A2-style front sight, the Saint B5 Systems AR-15 Rifle is probably best paired with a co-witnessing, non-magnifying optic. In the sunlight, with the Meopta riflescope set to 6X, there was some distracting reflection off the front-sight frame. If you’re looking for a rifle better suited to a magnified optic, the Saint Victor B5 Systems Rifle, which comes with a pinned, low-profile gas block and a folding front sight, would probably be a better option.
The most impressive thing about the Saint B5 Systems AR-15 Rifle was how well it digested any ammunition shoved in the magazine. In addition to the loads tested for precision, several 30-round magazines containing a hodgepodge of ammunition were pushed through the rifle without a stoppage. Also, for an indescribable reason, recoil—which with an AR-15 in 5.56 NATO is not much to start with anyway—seemed mild. The Springfield Armory Saint B5 Systems AR-15 is a reliable, good-shooting, solid rifle well outfitted for the price.