It’s no secret the world isn’t a very nice place right now. In fact, by the time these words hit subscriber mailboxes and the newsstand, things might even be worse — though I’m not exactly sure how the world could get more “bat-excrement-crazy” than right now.
Regardless, as someone who has a bunch of dedicated guns for serious social purposes, I’m pretty well set if interpersonal violence would make an inopportune visit into my life. I make this point just to highlight I’m wholly and thoroughly satisfied with all the self-defense guns I currently own.
And then, Springfield Armory’s new SAINT Victor .308 Pistol came into my life.
At its most basic — even though Springfield will cringe at this description — the SAINT Victor .308 Pistol is essentially a chopped-down AR10 rifle, albeit with a “pistol brace” in place of a shoulder stock plus lots of other quality accoutrements and improvements. The direct-impingement gun features a 10.3″ CMV Melonite barrel with 1:10 twist, crowned with a proprietary two-piece blast diverter to keep the significant fire and brimstone facing forward. Both parts of the receiver are forged 7075 T6 aluminum anodized with Type III black Hardcoat and held together with Springfield’s Accu-Tite Tension system. Other enhancements include a Melonite-treated HPT/MPI BCG using a 9320 steel bolt and pinned gas block, tungsten buffer and nickel-boron flat GI trigger.
The furniture includes an M-Lok free-float aluminum handguard with Springfield-patented locking tabs: a forward handstop, an SB Tactical SBA-3 pistol brace and BCMGUNFIGHTER Mod 3 pistol grip. There is also a QD receiver end plate and the gun comes with one 20-round Magpul PMAG Gen M3 magazine. Length ranges from 28.24″–30.5″ and it weighs just a shade over 8 lbs. “dry.” The MSRP is $1,363.
I topped the gun with a Premier Arms red dot and went to work at the range, but let’s forego the preliminaries and jump straight to the conclusion — I’m shocked. After two days and nearly a case of ammo, I discovered the gun definitely had dietary preferences. Using Black Hills Ammunition Black Gold 125-gr. Hornady GMX, I routinely had three-shot, two-hole groups at 80 yards from a rest, including one measuring .544 center to center. This from a “pistol” with a 10″ barrel!
Why 80 yards? First, because it’s roughly 3/4 of a city block and a reasonable engagement distance for a gun such as this. Secondly and more important, somebody had already moved a heavy picnic table to the line and left it there, almost as if they knew I was coming. Work smarter, not harder I always say!
Meanwhile, 168-gr. rounds such as the Black Hills Hornady ELD-M did okay — as in grouping in the 1.5-2″ range. Note I’m being a little facetious when I’m saying a 1.5″ group was merely okay. Checking in with the folks at Springfield, they had no specific direction on preferred ammo but were happy I was getting great groups.
No kidding? In other news, Faith Hill is somewhat attractive and people with dirt on the couple from Arkansas tend to have shorter lifespans.
Regardless, there’s no denying my particular gun is a tack-driver with the light bullets. I would have been happy if this had been a full-sized AR10, but in a pistol, such accuracy is neigh-on unbelievable — which is the very reason I went to the range twice just to make sure!
Zero malfunctions were noted, even with no extra lubrication of the BCG. More powerful cartridges in AR-platforms tend to perform better due to increased kinetic energy available to make things work but lots of lube is always a good thing in this entire family of rifles. Regardless, with the SAINT Victor .308 pistol, my small bottle of oil stayed in the range bag waiting for difficulties to arise, such as failing to go into battery — and the oil is still sitting there unused.
Recoil is noteworthy in the pistol, not because it’s excessive, but for those who normally shoot a .556 AR-rifle, your first few shots will result in a “Whoa … ” moment. After all, you’re putting out nearly 2,500 ft lbs. of energy downrange with each trigger pull in a relatively light gun. Newton’s law still applies. Muzzle blast is likewise significant but what else would you expect? Fortunately, the two-piece muzzle device sends all the hot love downrange instead of back at the shooter or more typically with muzzle brakes, back at his range partners.
Tight Quarters Comfort
Where the SAINT Victor .308 pistol shines is situations where maneuverability or compact storage are prime considerations. Lots of manufacturers, including Springfield, make .223 pistols and they work well in these roles. But now, with the SAINT Victor .308 you can have “serious,” I’m not messing around firepower in a gun shorter than your granddaughter’s Chipmunk rifle.
I primarily carry the gun inside my vehicle. As the truck is too big to park in our residential garage, I must take weapons out of it each evening just in case some local hophead decides to break in overnight and harvest the loose ashtray change. This security concern previously meant lugging a full-sized rifle or shotgun in and out of the house every day, which in turn meant I didn’t carry a long gun all the time. Silly me, especially in today’s ugly social climate.
Now with the SAINT Victor .308, I grab the tiny black gun case — it actually looks more like glockenspiel road-case than something holding a firearm — and move it to and from my truck with ease. The gun is so small I can easily and discreetly grab it in the event I stumble into a situation where people are being dragged from their vehicles by “non-violent social justice protesters.” Unfortunately, like many places, the major U.S. city in my backyard has had several cases of this recently.
Having quick and easy access to such a diminutive gun capable of quickly throwing lead downrange in wholesale quantities — twenty .308 Win rounds — is very comforting in an uncomfortable world.
Don’t Come Knocking
Another prime use for the SAINT Victor .308 Pistol is home defense. With a 28″ overall length (with pistol brace collapsed to its shortest position), the gun is nearly as maneuverable as a traditional pistol but packs more energy into one round than some popular pistols pack into their entire magazine. Other than a pistol-grip shotgun (which brings significant shortcomings, especially beyond room distances) there is no faster way to put lead downrange unless you’re driving a tri-axle dump truck.
My only caveat in this self-defensive love-fest would be overpenetration. While some pundits poo-poo such worries about overpenetration in an emergency scenario, it’s not hard to imagine a .308 bullet penetrating the walls of an apartment then traveling onward through several more until striking an innocent toddler or visiting Supreme Court Justice. I’m not directing you should automatically disqualify the .308 Win as a home defense gun but simply noting you should consider your circumstances beforehand and adjust accordingly.
However, this specific concern aside, there are many more situations where having a short, portable yet powerful gun like this is a godsend. As mentioned, the SAINT Victor .308 is perfect for carrying in a vehicle regardless if you’re driving a full-size truck, utility vehicle or even a four-wheeler. In fact, if I were a rancher, this gun would probably win the competition for my EDC rifle of record. Having personally put down animals up to the size of errant beef cattle with the .308 Win, it has all the power you’ll need for most situations — if you do your job and put the bullets where they need to go.
If you are a cop, the SAINT Victor .308 might be close to the mythical all-round patrol weapon. Powerful yet easily maneuverable around vehicles and during building-clearing movement, it also allows you to engage targets at reasonable ranges. It won’t replace a full-size rifle for battling a sniper 400 or 500 yards away, but honestly how many of those incidents occur versus the common street-to-house gunfight or even an active-shooter incident in a large building.