Marketing is a funny thing. Sometimes it can get folks to buy something they really shouldn’t and sometimes it can help them buy something that they really should but otherwise might not. Such is the case with the Springfield Armory XD series of pistols.
Springfield Armory, the self-proclaimed “oldest name in American firearms” or something like that, is actually a relative newcomer to the industry. Yes, the name is old but unlike the US government-owned armory, these folks haven’t been around for over 100 years. Nevertheless, they make some outstanding guns. I’ve already written about my 1911 TRP and how much I love it. I will shortly be doing a piece on the M1A rifle, also one of my favorites. The funny thing about the XD is that SA doesn’t actually make it. It isn’t even an American design. It is however a fine pistol, deserving of its recent accolades.
In the late 1990’s the Croatian IM Metal Company developed a pistol for the Croatian army. This design was released in 1999 as the HS2000. The pistol made its way to the US in 2000 but it did not sell very well. Late in 2001 S.A. became the sole importer of the pistol and began marketing it as the XD (Extreme Duty) series of pistols. The XD had some very minor design changes but is functionally and cosmetically identical to the HS2000.
I first bought a .45 Tactical and then later an XD9 sub-compact. I liked both pistols very much. At first glance they can be mistaken for Glocks, especially if you don’t look at the grip closely. The slide is very blocky and wide which is in sharp contrast with the grip which is impossibly thin and incredibly comfortable, even with my small hands. In fact, the ergonomics of the pistol are what seems to be the favorite feature among owners everywhere.
Even with the double-stack .45acp rounds inside the grip, my XD45 Tactical was comfortable and easy to handle and shoot, even with one hand. This is a testament to modern polymer technology. The walls of the grip must be very thin but I never noticed any problem, nor have I ever heard of a crack or break in the grip.
In terms of safety, the XD has both a grip safety, like the 1911, and a trigger safety, like the Glock. Later models also have an external thumb safety. There is thankfully no mag disconnect.
The triggers in these pistols are typical of striker-fired guns. Long take-up with short over-travel and reset. Not bad at all but if you want better, Springer Precision can “Springer-ize” the action for you. SA’s custom shop also offers carry/duty and competition action jobs.
I think the XD and its progeny the XDm will be around for a very long time. They are accurate, reliable, easy to field-strip and clean, and above all they are very comfortable to shoot. Lucky for most of us those marketing folks steered us right this time!