Given their extreme modularity, ARs are the chameleon of the firearms world. They can be configured in scores of different ways to fulfill a variety of missions. I don't imagine Eugene Stoner had any idea he was creating a completely new industry whose products would be endless variations of the pieces and parts making up an AR-an industry so large the first 94 pages of the current Brownells catalog is devoted exclusively to them.
So when Springfield Armory decided to add quality ARs to the highly successful MIA, 1911 and XD lines, they focused on using the finest components possible while keeping their newest AR, the Saint Edge, affordable.
There are so many interesting features in the new Saint Edge, it's hard to know where to start, so let's look at the name first. According to Springfield's Steve Kramer, "The name 'Saint' was chosen to denote how Saints are classically regarded as guardians/protectors over one's life, like a rifle can be."
The lower receiver is machined rather than forged, giving Springfield the flexibility to make cuts and create contours not seen in a typical AR receiver. Without sacrificing receiver strength, Springfield has milled out a series of lightening panels most visible around the ambidextrous safety selector switch and just above the trigger well. The triggerguard itself is pierced with two lightening cuts.
A larger cut-out panel and horizontal lightening cuts can be seen on the sides and front of the magazine well while the flared magazine well itself has been completely recontoured with a visually pleasing upward sweep. An additional feature of the Edge lower is it sports two QD mounting points visible below the forward assist and just aft of the takedown pin.
Springfield's "cheesecaked" lower lends some real character to the Edge and, just as importantly, reduces the overall weight while accentuating its slim lines. The Saint Edge is a light rifle. With a set of Springfield's low profile, fold-down sights, the Edge tips my Sunbeam scale at 6 pounds 3 ounces. But in my hands, it feels lighter--due, I think in part to its ultra-slim handguard.
An important adjustment built into the lower is a nylon-tipped tension screw bearing against the upper to eliminate any play between upper and lower. Springfield calls it their "Accu-Tite System." The tension screw is adjustable by the owner and the procedure is fully detailed in the owner's manual.
The Edge upper is a flattop with its integral Picatinny...