By Jeff Johnston
I saw some dumbass on Youtube a few days ago saying how Springfield Armory products aren’t anything special.
Really? I’m not sure what this dude is into, but it sure doesn’t seem like guns. Every Springfield I’ve ever tested—from its 1911s, to its AR-15s, Hellcats, XDs (not my favorite, but solid guns), Waypoint rifles, and M1As—have been practical, fairly priced, and quality-made.
And then a couple weeks ago Springfield introduced a 16-inch barreled 9mm carbine into its Saint Victor AR-15 line. Practical? Not so much. After all, aren’t PCCs (Pistol Caliber Carbines) meant to be short—like 12-inch barrels or less—and handy? Why get an anemic 9mm when the .223 or 300 BLK is ballistically superior in a 16-inch setup?
Then I shot it. And after installing some accouterments, plinking steel like a mad xylophonist, and then doing some quick math, a few numbers began to stand out. Here they are:
16. That’s $16 per 50-round box of practice 9mm ammo. These days—that’s about as cheap as centerfire ammo comes. (Around 40 percent less than 5.56)
32. The Colt pattern stick mag holds 32 rounds. That means more shooting, less reloading.
3. As in, 3 ft-lbs of recoil energy produced by the 9mm round in this 6 lb carbine, despite it being a straight blowback action that doesn’t do much to mitigate recoil. But at just three pounds, it’s the gun your daughter will grab when the family goes to the range.
135. That’s 135 decibels when suppressed with Silencerco’s 4.5-inch Omega 9K can, which is under the threshold for hearing damage without wearing ear pro.
I could get into the gun’s details, but by now you’ve heard them all before, because it’s basically an AR-15 that’s chambered in 9mm. Most notably, this one wears a full length M-lock stock that has a small rail for a backup iron sight at the muzzle. I like its Magpul furniture, and additional stick mags can be had for around $30. Its flat trigger broke at 5.5 lbs, which is great for a factory AR. I suspect Springfield decided on the 16-inch barrel to prevent it from being scrutinized by the ATF if this brace-ban bullshit comes to pass. Of course, the 16-inch pipe produces maximum velocity and excellent accuracy, but it sure would be neater if it was 12 inches or so, but then again, if it were shorter you wouldn’t get the full figured stock that definitely contributes to the gun’s shootability. You can literally triple tap this thing. And to date, I haven’t had a single malfunction.
I set my test unit up as the ultimate practice gun to take advantage of the 9mm’s minimal cost and recoil. I also worry less about shooting steel at combat distances than I do with 3200 fps .223 rounds. Mine wears an Aimpoint ACRO, Silencerco’s outstanding Omega 9K can, and a sling. Although I’m fully aware 32 rounds of 9mm is a capable if not excellent arm for home defense, the Springfield 9mm carbine is, at least in my mind, the ultimate plinker. Carbine: $1300; Aimpoint ACRO: $600; SilencerCo Omega 9K $750
Pros: Reliable, low recoil, low cost of ammo, almost as much fun as yachting with your mom
Cons: 16-inch barrel produces supersonic 9mm rounds; shorter barrel would be neater