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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. Like many traditionalists, I was wrong in thinking that "plastic guns" would break quickly and not last the test of time. Though I steel prefer blued steel and old, "out of date" Hi Powers and 1911s, there are many who rather like these "modern" pistols using polymer in place of the traditional steel or aluminum alloy frame. Though there were such pistols before Glock, it was the design that entrenched polymer in handguns likely from now on.

Of late I've been reading and hearing about a newcomer to this field, Springfield's XD. The pistol's available in a compact version, the service version, and a longer, tactical version and is chambered in 9mm, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W at present.

Some opine that's it's a superior pistol to the Glock, which it obvious emulates while others firmly disagree. Me, I don't know, but decided to add one to my collection and find out. Understand that while I will make observations and give opinions, such are frequently subjective and might not be true for you. This report is a bit more detailed than others I've done as not all of us are so familiar with the XD as we might be other guns. I'm well-satisfied that some are considering buying as well.

The Pistol: I traded off a gun that I've not shot in years and came home with the XD9 Service version of the gun. I suspect that this will be the most common version of the XD in use.

I find the XD to be comfortable in handling...

Specs from Springfield Armory:

Barrel Length: 4.05"
Weight: 25 oz.
Length: 7"
Trigger Pull: 5.5 to 7.7 lbs. (They have the Glock-like safety lever mounted in the trigger, but refer to it in combination with the grip safety as "Ultra Safety Assurance" (USA) action trigger system.
Magazines: 10 round stainless steel "Easy Glide"
Finish: Bruniral

I also took some measurements that might be of interest:

Slide Thickness: 1.04" (Glock 26 measures: 1.003" for comparison.)
Frame Thickness: 1.18"
(Both are at the widest points.)
Barrel Diameter at Muzzle: 0.53" (It holds this diameter rearward for 0.36".)
Barrel Diameter Beyond Above: 0.52:
Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Depressed: 0.01"* (Gun not cocked.)
Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Not Depressed: Same (Gun not cocked.)
Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Depressed: 0.015" (Gun cocked.)
Vertical Bbl Movement w/Grip Safety Not Depressed: 0.02" (Gun cocked.)
Distance from Middle of Fully Depressed Grip Safety to Middle of Trigger w/o
Depressing Trigger Safety: 2.598"
*When released, the bbl moved back upward as do the Glock bbls when pressed in the same manner.

Unlike the Glock pistol which is close kin to a DAO auto in that pressing the trigger fully cocks and releases the partially-cocked striker, when a round's chambered in the XD the striker's fully cocked and blocked by a sear and also has an internal firing pin safety that allows the pistol to fire only when the trigger's in the rearmost position. In this instance, I DO like the internal firing pin safety as there is no half-cock notch should something go wrong.

The polymer frame around the magazine well, which is beveled on the sides and rear does not flex as do the Glocks, not that this really matters in terms of function. The front and rear gripstraps are coarsely checkered and do provide for a secure grip. The thumb rests are more like thumb depressions and are actually very comfortable to me. I find the grip angle and grip "feel" more comfortable than any Glock. There is a slight relief cut under the rear of the triggerguard.

The recoil spring system consists of two springs and the dual guide rods are steel. I don't have any idea what strength these amount to, but am guessing about 18 lbs. This system closely resembles the two-piece system sold by Wolff Gunsprings for the Glock 26. Unlike the Wolff, however, these springs are captive, something I don't like as it makes it more difficult to change out recoil springs. Also, the forward end of the guide rod consists of a flat disc, which protrudes from the front of the slide by 0.06". I'm sure that this prevents any problems or damage to the part, but this does not look all that great to me. Like most pistols these days, Springfield managed to squeeze in three front cocking serrations so as not to be out of style.

Here's the front of the steel spring guide in it's normal position. Looks kind of "wierd" to me.

Underside of the XD & Glock 26 slides. XD's on the left.

Here you can see the XD's recoil spring system, which is similar to the Wolff two-piece unit installed on the Glock 26 on the right.

With the slides removed, you can see the similarities and differences between the XD (top) compared to the Glock

The grooved trigger is steel with the safety being polymer. The trigger pull is long, but with a very minimal amount of overtravel. Despite this weapon's firing from a fully "cocked" pistol, the trigger pull feels about the same as that of the standard factory Glock, but maybe not quite as smooth. Whether or not this smooths up with use, I do not yet know. Trigger reset is considerably longer than the Glock; it proved no problem for me as I'm an old double-action revolver shooter and currently shoot Browning Hi Powers quite a lot. Those who are really quick and welded to the 1911's exceptional trigger and short reset might have a problem with this pistol during speed shooting strings. The XD trigger is approximately 0.373" wide, centered in a triggerguard that's about 0.603" wide. This means the trigger's about 0.115" narrower than the triggerguard on each side. For comparison, I measured my Glock 26 for these dimensions. The trigger measured 0.385" in width, centered in a triggerguard that's 0.625" wide. Thus, the trigger is protected by 0.12" of triggerguard on each side. I see no particular "threat" from either being too wide for the triggerguard.

Here you can see the steel XD trigger and the disassembly lever in the "up" postion for removal of the slide. Note that the pin in the trigger is peened and is so on both sides.

The grooves in the frame allow for the use of a proprietary light source for those interested.

The ambidextrous magazine release is mounted behind the triggerguard ala 1911, SIG-Sauer, Browning HP, et al. Depressing the steel mag release retracts the catch from the notch located in the front of the magazine body. The stainless steel body is very highly polished and smooth as a mirror. It does drop free w/o hesitation. The follower is black polymer as is the magazine's floorplate. It loaded smoothly and w/o undue effort. Rounds stripped by hand did so very smoothly and the follower/spring/lips set up is such that loaded rounds are angled upward for slick feeding. Don't worry about losing this magazine at night. Just shine a flashlight in the general area and it should reflect like a diamond! Nothing bright shows while in the pistol. There is a hollow area behind the magazine well as is the case with the Glock.

A nice feature is the way the frame is recessed a bit in the area of the magazine release so that it's not so likely to accidentally be depressed. The grip safety is also visible.

The slide release lever looks very similar to the Glock, but is larger and operates the same way.

The firing pin locking plate on the rear of the slide does not extend downward toward the frame nearly so much as the Glock. I don't understand the reason for this as it appears that such might let gunk and debris more easily into this pistol that the one that is lower like the Glock's. There may be a reason for this that I flat just don't see.

Here's the locking plate gap I'm speaking of above.

You can also see the "firing pin status indicator" in the cocked position.

The pistol's take down lever is mounted on the left, forward side of the frame, but is rotated upward rather than downward for dismantling. It is an easier system than the Glock. Other than this, takedown is quite similar.

An obvious difference in these pistols is that the XD uses an internal extractor that's sort of similar to that of the traditional 1911's. There's a cylinder of steel at the end that fits a recess in the slide to hold it in proper position. This cylinder has a groove cut in it and it appears that the firing pin safety retaining pin fits in the cylinder portion's groove to keep the extractor in place. At the top rear of the very Glock-like ejection port is the loaded chamber indicator. This pivoting indicator does have what appears to be an extractor-like claw on it, but in checking it with 9mm hulls, it does not appear to aid in extraction. It does not protrude upward enough to interfere with sight picture nor does it present any potential snagging problems.

The extractor is on the cartridge's right side facing forward with the loaded chamber indicator on top. It holds the case pretty firmly, but appears to grasp it lower than midway. Though there's a claw on the indicator, it does not appear to aid in extraction. It does not push downward enough to move the round so my initial thought that perhaps the case was pushed downward during extraction is not correct.

On the rear gripstrap, sits the grip safety. Much narrower than the 1911's, it is easy to depress and really isn't even felt at all when preparing to fire. When the pistol's got a round chambered a small pin protrudes from the rear of the slide through the locking plate in a manner similar to the HK P7, but it doesn't protrude nearly so far. With a round in the bbl, but the grip safety not depressed, the slide will move rearward only about 0.12;" call it an eighth of an inch.

Sights are fixed and the common 3-dot style and mercifully, made of steel. I've read that SIG-Sauer pistol sights will work in this pistol; I do NOT know that as I've not tried it, but if that's the case, it might be of use to those wanting to replace the factory sights. Though more durable than the polymer fixed Glock sights, the sight picture's similar with both pistols and both sit on the flat slide top. To me the Glock's slide is "cleaner" than the XD's. The latter's is wider at the bottom than the top and kind of reminds me of SIG-Sauer P226, 228, etc's, slides.

Ammunition: Four handloads and six factory rounds were tried. They were:

Federal M882 124 gr FMJ
Speer Lawman 124 gr TMJ
Federal 115 gr JHP
PMC Starfire 115 gr JHP (This load's not offered in anything but 124 gr now to the best of my knowledge.)
Winchester USA 115 gr FMJ (This is NOT the same company's "target ammo.")
Remington 115 gr JHP +P

Handloads included cast, plated, and jacketed bullets. This was done as some will want to reload for this pistol.

124 gr Hornady XTP
6.0 gr Unique
Winchester SP Primer
Starline Cases
LOA: 1.11"*

124 gr Speer GDHP
6.0 gr Unique
Winchester SP Primer
Starline Cases
LOA: 1.115"*
*(Both of these hit over 1200 ft/sec from Browning Hi Powers.)

124 gr Rainier Plated RN
6.9 gr Blue Dot
Winchester SP Primer
Starline Cases
LOA: 1.15"

122 gr Rucker Cast FP
6.9 gr Blue Dot
Winchester SP Primer
Starline Cases
LOA: 1.075"

The handloads using Blue Dot average about 1140 ft/sec from Browning Hi Powers and have proven reasonably accurate, something frequently not so easy to find in 9mm pistols.

Note: I forgot to grab any of the Corbon 115 gr +P JHP today, but will try it in the near future. Should there be any feeding problems with this short, blunt 9mm round, I'll report it.

Shooting: There was no 50-yard shooting today; it was sprinkling off and on between true showers and I stayed dry shooting at the closer distances as the 50 yard range was ankle deep in water. Groups were fired off-hand at 15 yards standing and w/2-hand hold. I did shoot the groups at 25 yards seated and using a rest. The 10-yard rapid-fire group was fired standing w/2-hand hold. Due to the rain, I did NOT chronograph ammunition from the XD today. I'd never fired this pistol before today and had no idea where it would hit so I aimed "dead on" at the 15-yard targets.

Fifteen Yards:

The arrow drawn on the groups shows the first round fired after being chambered by hand.

...and the final groups fired at this distance.

Twenty-five Yards:

The cast bullet handload worked pretty well out of this service rifle and with conventional rifling there should be no kaboom problems.

...with a warmer load...

Remington's 115 gr +P JHP shot pretty well in this pistol.

Ten yards:

This was not timed, but I'd estimate that the ten rounds were fired well under a second apart.

Observations: The most obvious one to me was that this particular XD suffers from "first-shot flyer syndrome." The first shot fired (chambered by hand) usually hit a bit low and left from the subsequent group. Until I saw the pattern developing after a few groups, I had thought it was just my shooting. The range master came over and fired with the same results. (He is a very fine shot.)

Feeding, extraction, and ejection were 100% reliable in this admittedly low-round test. My concerns about the extractor's low grip on the case rims has proven unfounded….so far. The loaded chamber indicator caused no problems that could be seen. Fired cases landed about 5' to my right regardless of their being standard pressure or hotter.

All rounds chambered slickly and w/o hesitation.

Recoil from any service-size handgun in 9mm is not much and this gun proved no different. I did note more muzzle flip than expected, but whether this has to do with its bore axis being 1.79" above the middle of the trigger, grip angle or a combination, I don't know. (On the Glock 26, the same measurement yielded 1.48".) It was not "bad," but was there.

The XD bbl was conventionally rifled, having lands and grooves and appeared to be a 1:10 twist.

The XD bbl showing how much it supports the case.

For comparison, here's my Glock 26 bbl.

This pistol hit a bit high for me. Switching to a 6 O' Clock hold helped, but it is still on the high end on POI. Windage seemed about right out of the box and while I prefer plain black on black fixed sights, these were not hard to use.

I found this pistol "hard" to shoot accurately in slow-fire @ 15 and 25 yards, but got a little better as the testing proceeded. While I had no scales by which to measure the trigger-pull, it did not seem that much different than the Glock, although it did seem less "smooth." I could get decent groups, but had to work/concentrate for them more so than with some other pistols. In rapid-fire, I could tell no difference between this pistol and a Glock in terms of getting good hits.

Certainly, this pistol would need to be shot more before I'd consider it for self-defense use and I plan to use it as a "loaner" in CHL class I teach as well as personally shoot it quite a bit. Should there be dramatic changes, I will report them, good or bad. I have no idea how this gun's dark rust-resistant finish will hold up compared to the Glock's tennifer. Time will tell and so will I.

A personal concern that I've had with striker-fired pistols is reliability in firing "hard primered" rounds. I recall some Greek surplus 9mm that was not recommended for Glocks due to this. I checked primer strikes with CCI,known for harder primers, a military Federal load, and a +P Remington load. Though not definitive, it does show reasonably well-centered strikes along with some cratering and firing pin "wipe." This caused no problems, but I'd sure be sure of my ammunition, not only in feeding/extraction, but in firing.

It's my opinion after looking the gun over pretty closely that its intrinsic accuracy potential is there, but I had a somewhat challenging time in practically being able to get it due to the trigger. Part of this is just me as I can usually be found shooting light, crisp 1911 triggers or very nice BHP triggers. However, some more practice and familiarization with the XD might result in some tighter groups.

So what's it good for? I think it's obvious that the pistol's meant to be a down-and-dirty defensive tool rather than a match-precision target pistol, but I do think it has the mechanical capability of doing some tight groups with practice and ammo it "likes." If you like holsterless carry and prefer the Glock genre of defensive pistols, this would be the one I'd pick over the Glock. Fully loaded, weight is NOT a problem and I personally find the feel of the XD more comfortable than the Glock 19. (I think the G19 is the best Glock to compare the Service XD to, but I only own one Glock, the G26.) Assuming reliability, I would not hesitate to carry this as a trusted personal defense pistol and think it would be capable of "rescue shots" at 15 yards in my hands right now. However, in a tactical type situation or taking small game, I'd have to go with my 1911s and P35s. This does not mean that I wouldn't take a shot at a jackrabbit 40 yards out, only that I'd have to "work at it" more. I'm sure that this is due to my having used the single-action automatic pretty heavily for just over 3 decades now.

I've heard that some of the gun magazines are writing up the XD pistols now; I've not read any articles on it so I have no idea if the scribes' opinions will match mine or not. I don't really care as this is what I experienced and is true as I can put it out. I know the report is long, but wanted to inform as much as I could for those interested in the XD series.

I have no perfect pistols and didn't find it with the Service XD, but I do like it. It will fill a nitch in my perceived firearm needs. I wouldn't be surprised to find this thing riding with me in the car console on occasion or concealed in a waist band if unexpectedly wanted.


6 Posts
I enjoyed this review of the XD9. I own an HS2000 which was the XD9 before Springfield bought them out. You are right on the money, the XD is not a tack driver and I don't think it was meant to be. I put a set of Express 24/7 pro standard dot sights on mine and feel VERY comfortable with this gun's accuracy at defensive ranges. It is built well, the redundant safety system is second to none and the feel (grip angle) of the gun should appeal more to the 1911 shooters than the Glock crowd.
This is a very good reasonably priced weapon that also comes in .40 S&W and .357 Sig. It's rumored that the .45 will come out by the end of this year.
There is also a sub-compact style of XD that I have not yet had the chance to shoot but most that have like it very much.
Again, it was a very well written review, Thank-you.


719 Posts
Time will tell?

Appears to be well made with quality material from a sound design.

I've fired 13 of 'em to date. Two of the 9s had probs w frequent failures to extract, one new and one after about 3K rounds, and 2 of the 40s often failed to cock the striker/reset the trigger when new out of the box.

Some of the factory mags (and modified preban hicaps) seem to fit sloppier than others, too much wiggle room up and down. May be why some break ejectors (saw a new 9 do it) and some don't? Beats me.

Bruniral is OK, would prefer Tenifer/Melonite on 'em. Would prefer a stainless bbl in all the stainless slide models too.

They handle very well, and their is plenty of case support and thick chamber walls; the XD 40/357s were thicker than Glock 9s (not thinner), the 9s thicker yet. Can't hurt.

All in all, like 'em a lot and hope they do well and stick around.

447 Posts
I was having some tendonitis problems with my right arm for awhile and .45 ACP was no longer enjoyable to shoot. So I decided to switch to a 9mm for a while. I tried the G17 bu the new finger grooves just do not fit my hand on the 9mm framed Glocks. The .45/10mm frame feels great. Go figure.

The XD sits very comfortably in my hand and the "pointability" is excellent. This gun FITS my hand and I like it a lot.

It shoots well, too. The manual states that the correct sight position is a 6 O'clock hold and the gun hits point of aim if that is done. It shoots about as well as my G21 did. CNS shots at 15 yards aren't too hard.

My only gripe is using 2/3 capacity magazines but hopefully that issue will resolve itself next Sept.

285 Posts

As usual, great report.

I've had an HS2000 since they first hit the shelves. It's the Gen 1 version sans front serations or accessory rail.

Sights for the P-series SiGs do fit the HS2k or XD. The accessory rail is standard GLOCK so anything that fits a GLOCK will fit on the XD.

Unlike some, I've never had any problems with extraction with the one exception of a batch of Wally World white box that also failed to extract from my SiGs.

For comparisone purposes, here is a picture of where it began, the Gen 1 HS2000 (AKA the Croation Sensation). :wink:


21 Posts
My XD-9 subcompact was shooting too high, the finish was scruffing off and I was getting a failure to eject once every 400 rounds. I sent it off to Springfield Armory, and 3 weeks later, they replaced the back sight with a lower one. They also applied the "Amory-Kote" which is a baked on Teflon. They replaced the extractor and tuned the new one and also told me to avoid greasing it, which I never did, but it's nice to know. They also bead-blasted off the old finish from the barrel and gave the hood a brushed stainless steel finish. I don't know if they chromed it or not but it certainly looks a lot better. They didn't charge me anything which speaks volumes about Springfield Armorys customer service, which I regard as top notch.


34 Posts
I love my XD-40, never had a problem with it. At first it seemed to be shooting to the left a lot. So I had my shooting buddy try it and most of his hits went right. I guess we won't be signing up for any IDPA matches any time soon.

From a very non technical point of view, my XD feels good in my hand, shoots as accurate as I do, and is comfortable to carry. It never gives me any problems and all I have to do is keep it clean.
For my purposes, that's all I need from a gun.

1,368 Posts
Quality report


Your report is top quality. Excellent exam of weapon, well described, and well supported by clear photos.


I may have to consider this gun for myself.

22 Posts
Stephen A. Camp said:
The firing pin locking plate on the rear of the slide does not extend downward toward the frame nearly so much as the Glock. I don't understand the reason for this as it appears that such might let gunk and debris more easily into this pistol that the one that is lower like the Glock's. There may be a reason for this that I flat just don't see...
I can give you a reason as to why the gap exists on the locking plate. I learned why from experience.

I has disassembled my XD40 one day, looking it over, figuring out what-went-where, etc. I put the slide back on the frame without the barrel and spring, and soon found out that I couldn't remove the slide from the frame using the conventional methods listed in the manual (I guess they didn't assume some idiot would put the frame on the gun without the barrel and/or recoil spring when they wrote it). That gap in the back comes in handy, because it allows you to slide something like a jewler's screwdriver into the gap and depress the sear, allowing mentally-inept people like myself to remove the slide from the frame when something stupid happens.

Just FYI, it DOES serve a purpose. ;)

Oh yeah, by the way, I love my XD!
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