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SHOT Show: Springfield Goes Retro With the SA-16 A2 Rifle

Springfield Armory has made a lot of noise about the six new models of their TRP Operator series 1911s, a new Garrison 1911, and a more compact frame Echelon modular pistol, but there was barely a peep about the SA-16 A2. In fact, I went to the booth and would have completely bypassed it if the Springfield rep hadn’t pointed it out.

The SA-16 A2 – What’s Old Is New

Springfield Armory isn’t a stranger to the retro market. The M1A series of rifles aren’t exactly new, and neither are the numerous M1911 designs. However, their Saint line of AR-15s has always been more focused on the modern tactical genre.

The SA-16 A2, however, is a product of the 1980s and the United States Marine Corps. Springfield has faithfully reproduced the classic A2 rifle that many a serviceman trained with and carried for decades. Heck, even in 2008, that was the rifle I originally qualified on in boot camp.

The rifle has a fixed stock with a cleaning kit compartment that can store a full bag of Skittles. The A2 stock has always been too long, but if you stand in a bladed stance, it’s workable. The 20-inch barrel is topped with a fixed sight base, and the barrel is surrounded by the traditional round polymer hand guard.

At the rear, we have that classic carry handle that’s overly complicated for an infantry rifle, but perfect for a target rifle. The SA-16 A2 is an A2, inside and out…except for the fact it lacks a three-round burst feature. The upside to not being able to own a machine gun is that we’re spared the terrible trigger created by the burst mechanism.

The return to tradition that is the SA-16 A2 is a welcome touch. I’m all about bringing more rifle-length ARs back to the market. Plus military clones without needing to mill out an 80% lower is nice too. Too many shooters have never experienced how sweet and smooth a rifle-length gas system can be. Plus, while it mat lack a free-floated barrel and all the modern accuracy-enriching features, these guns can’t help but shoot straight.

The SA-16 A2 should be on the market sooner rather than later.

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