How big can you go while still being quite small?
That nonsensical style question is best answered by a gun that seems as nonsensical as the question.
This apparently nonsensical answer is the Saint Victor AR-10 Pistol. While AR-15 pistols are a dime a dozen an AR-10 pistol just seems kinda crazy.
Should you go .308 in a pint-sized package? Does it totally beat up your shoulder?
We’ll cover everything you need to know to make your decision.
Table of Contents
AR-10 vs AR-15
If you aren’t hip on the AR denominators the AR-10 is the full-powered, .308 variant of the AR series.
It came before the AR-15 but has never been as popular. .308 or 7.62 NATO is a full-powered rifle round compared to the intermediate 5.56/.223 Remington loads the AR-15 uses.
The .308 is considerably more powerful. It has a bigger bullet that hits harder and goes further.
It’s commonly found in weapons with barrels 20 inches long, but in recent times the 16-inch barrel .308 has become popular. This is especially true with shooters using suppressed weapons.
What is relatively uncommon is AR-10 pistols, especially like the model we see here with its 10.3-inch barrel.
10.3 inches is pretty popular with AR-15 series, so it’s almost like a natural extension to take a similar weapon and use the same barrel length.
If you’ve never played with rifle caliber pistols with short barrels you may not realize there is a golden rule for shortening a barrel.
The shorter you go the more velocity you lose and the more concussion, recoil, muzzle flash, and noise you experience.
Shortening the barrels of intermediate calibers is somewhat common, but shortening the barrel of a full-powered rifle is a rather novel experience.
The Saint Victor AR-10 Pistol uses a very short barrel for a .308 caliber weapon. It’s not unheard of by any means, but still a relatively new phenomenon in the civilian AR world.
But because it uses this diminutive 10.3-inch barrel, it brings the gun’s overall length down to a mere 28 inches with the SBA3 brace fully collapsed.
The 10.3-inch barrel on a semi-automatic AR pistol is great because when you add a suppressor the weapon is still relatively short.
On average you are getting a combined barrel and suppressor length that is on par with a standard 16-inch barrel carbine.
What’s The Purpose?
Why would someone want a .308 caliber AR-10 pistol with a 10.3-inch barrel? It’s quite compact and handy but it’s a bit extreme for home defense.
It could work without a doubt but I feel there are better options out there, like an AR-15 pistol for example. Check out our Best AR-15 Pistol Picks.
The Saint Victor AR-10 pistol has a small niche where I believe it could be incredibly handy.
As a child of rural America, I can see a lot of value in a powerful rifle caliber pistol. When you live not on the edge of nature, but inside it you are your own first responder.
From experience, the biggest threat to me will likely be on four legs and not two.
From the American alligator to Eurasian feral hogs and now even massive pythons Florida has a collection of dangerous creatures I like to stay north of.
We even have black bears, coyotes, and in my area the unfortunately due to irresponsible scumbags we also have feral dogs. A powerful, compact weapon like the Saint Victor AR-10 could be a good wood’s companion or an ATV gun.
It’s short enough to be easily slung, or packaged in it’s included carrying case and hauled around easily enough.
At moderate ranges, it still packs a lot of power. With 180 grain loads, you are losing about 300 feet per second when compared to a 16.5-inch barrel.
This isn’t the gun you are going to be doing SPR matches with, but within self-defense ranges it’s a compact cannon.
Even within 300 yards, the Saint Victor AR-10 pistol is more than enough gun to get rid of pests like coyotes.
Another reason could be for use within vehicles. Allow me to put on my plate carrier, Wish.com ballistic helmet, and LARP for a minute.
A .308 going through vehicular metal and glass will hold on to a lot more energy than a 5.56.
A gun this small also makes it easy to get in and out of vehicles. If I was in Sicaro border scene I would happily have an AR-10 this compact.
It is like a battle-ax, big and heavy, and if you miss you are going to have a slower recovery than a lighter, handier sword.
It’s also just a fun gun. It doesn’t need a use or real-world application. This is coming from a guy who owns M11/9s and TEC 9s, so take it with a grain of salt.
Most of my guns are fun guns and this is a fun gun.
The Feature Filled Design
One thing I noted about the Saint Victor series before is that you get a lot of gun for the money.
The Saint Victor series is the mid-tier of Saint rifles and comes complete with a number of features that certainly grow the gun’s value. This tradition continues with the AR-10 pistol version.
One noticeably absent feature is iron sights. That makes a little bit of sense on a pistol that was designed to be strapped to your forearm. I still do miss the Saint spring-loaded sights and found them robust on my Victor AR-15.
What you do get is the same free-floating M-LOK rail system that provides you ample space for accessory mounting.
The Saint AR-10 pistol does come with the grip stop you see here and it’s certainly a good idea to keep your hands south of the barrel.
The gun is also outfitted with the BCM gunfighter grip thats easily one of my favorites. The brace is an SB Tactical SBA3 brace that’s adjustable for five different positions and my all-time favorite brace.
A nickel boron trigger that is quite comfortable comes standard and provides a very smooth trigger pull.
Thankfully, it also is equipped with a very necessary 2 piece blast diverter as a muzzle device that is very necessary.
This works like a linear compensator and pushes the blast and concussion forward of the shooter. It makes the weapon much more comfortable to fire. That is if you are behind it. This is an extremely loud gun.
It’s easily the loudest weapon currently in my arsenal, and I imagine that’s just what happens with a 10.3 inch barreled AR-10 pistol.
The gun also has a QD endplate, a heavy tungsten buffer, and a .308 rated 9310 steel bolt carrier group that is HPT/MPI tested.
The Armalite design is quite genius ergonomically, especially when you consider the time period in which it was designed.
It’s become even better for lefties with Ambi safeties, larger charging handles, and more. However, the Saint Victor AR-10 pistol is all standard control-wise.
That’s not a bad thing by any means. It’s simple, and the safety, bolt lock, and magazine release are all easy to reach and engage. The charging handle is ambidextrous and placed to the rear of the upper receiver.
The BCM Gunfighter grip is superbly comfortable, especially for these short style AR pistols. The sharper downward angle is more comfortable to me for AR-type pistols.
The handguard is quite thin and does allow you to get a real tight grip around the gun and drive the gun from target to target.
Downside to an aluminum handguard and a 10.3-inch barrel when firing .308 rounds is that the handguard is going to start to heat up pretty good after a 100 rounds.
Not so hot to burn you, but it might be a bit uncomfortable. Gloves may be a good choice for this gun.
I find the SBA3 brace to be very comfortable when used appropriately. It wraps around the forearm providing a good level of comfort and support.
Should you “misuse” the brace in one way or another you’ll still find it comfortable and very stable.
The gun does weigh a hefty 8 pounds 6 ounces, but as far as full-powered rifles go that’s relatively light. It’s also short and very compact. It doesn’t feel unbalanced, or heavy on either end.
I mentioned this thing was loud right? Holy crap is it loud, and not for crowded ranges unless you like ugly looks. Earplugs aren’t an option, go straight to the muffs. Or better yet, just double-up.
The 10.3-inch barrel certainly has some muzzle rise, and rearward recoil. Luckily the recoil isn’t that harsh, it feels typical of any semi-auto .308 caliber weapon. And upward rise is what makes this gun a challenge.
That barrel wants to jump out of your hands and cause chaos, so make sure you have a solid grip on it. The blast diverter seems to do a good job at pushing muzzle blast and recoil forward of the shooter, but you can still expect to catch a good dose of it.
If it sounds like I’m complaining rest assured that I most certainly am not. I love the recoil, muzzle blast, and the challenge of controlling the gun.
It’s a lot more fun than every other AR-15 style weapon I’ve fired recently and offers me a new experience.
Accuracy is also impressive and as you can see I’ve added one of my all-time favorite optics the Meprolight Foresight to make up for the lack of sights.
Depending on your goals you can reach out and touch targets at some surprising ranges.
I went as far as 300 yards and consistently rang steel. For now with the current Quarantine climate that’s as far as I can find to shoot the gun.
What is really fun is seeing how much it rocks a steel gong. It nearly knocks it over as with repeated shots.
Inside of 50 yards, which is where this gun will be most practically applied, it’s laser-like. You can destroy clay pigeons perched on a berm, ring steel, and exercise proper shot placement in small targets.
If I needed to stop a mad hog I would feel plenty comfortable doing so with the Saint AR-10 pistol.
The Saint flat-faced nickel boron treated trigger is remarkably comfortable and smooth.
It’s not a match grade trigger, but its a step above a mil-spec trigger in terms of trigger pull. It’s not lighter, but smoother and grit-free.
- Barrel Length – 10.3 inches
- Overall Length – 28 inches brace collapsed
- Weight – 8 pounds 6 ounces
- Caliber – .308 Winchester
- Capacity – Includes 2 round magazines – up to 50 round drums available.
- MSRP – $1,363
By the Numbers
The Saint Victor AR-10 eats every load I’ve put through it. This includes your common Mil-Spec M80 loads, as well as heavier FMJs from Armscor.
I’ve also put a handful of different ballistic and soft tip type ammunition through it and have seen nothing be excellence.
For a pistol, it’s pretty accurate, but for an AR-10 it does lack a little bit of the range your average .308 rifle can achieve.
It won’t give you the same accuracy at 600 yards an AR-10 rifle will, but for such a small gun it’s very competent, at least with the right optic it is.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
The downside to this gun is the simple fact a brace will never be a stock regardless of how you misuse it.
That takes away one point, but other than that Springfield did a good job at balancing what makes an AR-10 a good weapon, and what it takes to make an effective pistol.
Looks are subjective, and to me, the Saint Victor AR-10 pistol looks like a sledgehammer. I mean that in the best way possible. The grip and muzzle line up perfectly to create a great looking gun.
The silver trigger stands out but doesn’t feel blingy.
It’s in the AR family and a great deal of AR-15 and AR-10 parts are interchangeable so you can customize at your heart’s content.
It is still a pistol and still an AR-10 so not all parts are interchangeable and things like magazines have a lot less variety.
An AR-10 pistol might not be effective at longer ranges than an AR-10 rifle, but for close-range power, it’s hard to find a more compact option.
Plus it’s a ton of fun to shoot, even if its loud, vicious, and brutal in the concussion department.
The Saint Victor AR-10 pistol is most certainly not a gun designed for everyone. But if it ticks your specific use case, its high reliability, accuracy, upgraded trigger, tiny package, and huge oomph of .308 will make you smile every time you pull the trigger. The only restriction is your wallet and what you are willing to spend to plink.
Is the Saint Victor AR-10 pistol for you? Do you like big booms and you cannot lie? Let us know in the comments! For a ton more AR-10 action, take a look at the Best AR-10s! Too big? Check out Best AR-15 Pistols. And don’t forget some Optics!