The newest handgun in the XD line-up of Springfield Armory line-up is the compact XDe 9mm. I’ve been a huge fan of their XD line since the first one came out well over a dozen years ago. I purchased the first one I saw. It was used, and it looked “oh-so-GLOCKish” with a green polymer frame. But it was much more overbuilt than a Glock. And none of the parts will interchange with a Glock either. My first, but not my last, XD functioned with everything except Remington UMC bulk .40 S&W 180-gr FMJ ammo. I had numerous rounds that would not even chamber in that XD. And this isn’t an isolated case, either. Other handguns in 9mm and .45 ACP also had problems with this Remington ammo. I’ve even had primers installed backwards and sideways in this ammo, so I steer completely clear of it, period!
The Springfield Armory XD Line-up
Springfield Armory has a complete line-up in the XD line, starting with the original XD, which was a full-sized handgun. Then, there is the XDm. The “m” supposedly stood for “More”, I guess. Then we hand the XDs, which was a subcompact gun available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and even .45 ACP. The “m” model was also chambered in those calibers, and all were striker-fired, too, because that’s been the trend for quite a few years now. The “m” model has a better feel to it in the grip area than the original XD, and the trigger reset was shorter, too. With the XDs line, the trigger pull was short and a bit stiff, and all guns have the trigger bar safety in the face of the trigger. We also have the XD Mod.2 now, which is a very, very nice gun!
What’s New About the XDe
So, what do we have “new” in the XDe model that just recently came out? Great question! We have a compact, some call it a subcompact, 9mm handgun with a 3.3-inch barrel. One of the new features claimed is a L.E.S.—Low Energy Slide— that is supposed to require 27% less effort to rack the slide to chamber a round. I will contend, it is easier. The gun has a black polymer frame with a forged steel slide, coated in black Melonite. It’s tough stuff to help protect the slide from the elements. The front sight has a red fiber optic rod in it. And the rear sight has two white dots on either side of the sight opening, plus you get spare fiber optic rods—one green and one red. They are very easy to swap out.
There is an ambidextrous mag release and ambi safety, too. The gun comes with two magazines; one is an 8-rd model with the Grip-X-Tension, which serves as a pinky catcher. There is also the flat mag bottom in the box. The other mag is 9-rds and has the X-Tension. It sticks out a little lower, but not much, from the butt of the gun. On top of the slide is a loaded chamber indicator. It is up when there is a round in the chamber. There’s a lanyard hole in the butt, but it’s not needed for a compact handgun.
I know I won’t get credit for this. However, I am going to toot my own horn. I’ve mentioned this numerous times in my XDs articles and suggested to Springfield Armory dozens of times to also include the Pearce Grip grip extension with those little guns as well as the flat magazine bottom. Everyone, and I mean, everyone who shot any of my XDs models with the pinky catcher mag bottom on it, much preferred it over the flat mag bottom. The pinky catcher mag bottom just gives the pinky finger something more to help hold on to the gun. It adds very little to the length of the magazine.
The pinky catcher mag bottom came installed on the XDe, and it is a tiny bit shorter than the Pearce manufactured version. However, I’m betting Pearce is producing this pinky catcher for Springfield. I could be wrong, though. I don’t see myself installing the flat mag bottom on the 8-rd mag!
So What’s the Big Difference in the XDe?
The new XDe isn’t all that much different from the XDs, is it? Well, I didn’t mention one feature on the next XDe. That is that it’s not striker-fired! It has an external hammer. It’s hammer-fired. It would appear that Springfield is taking a few steps backwards. Everyone else is pumping out striker-fired handguns as fast as they can, and Springfield produced one that is not hammer-fired? Hmm? Not so fast! The designers at Springfield know what they’re doing. Many people complained about the stiff trigger pull on the XDs guns. They said it was way too stiff and caused them to pull the sights off target before the gun fired.
I told people, many people, who had an XDs, to give the gun a good break-in period. It’s not that it needed it to function 100% because mine always did. However, the stiff trigger needed to break-in a bit, so it was smoother to use. Enter the DA/SA trigger pull on the XDe. My wife said the “E” should stand for “Exciting”. Maybe so. The DA/SA trigger is a little bit different than you think it is on the XDe model. You can chamber a round and use the safety to decock the XDe by pressing down on it.
Cocked and Locked
Great. It works that way with many DA/SA handguns. However, with the XDe, you can carry the gun cocked ‘n locked, like a good ol’ 1911, by simply pressing upwards on the safety. That’s outstanding. Plus, with the safety in the “on” position, you can even insert a magazine and chamber a round while the gun is in the safe position. Firing from the Double Action mode, the trigger pull is long and a bit heavy, but smooth, just like other DA/SA handguns are that have this feature.
However, by leaving the gun in the SA mode, with the safety on, you simply have to (easily) push the safety down with your thumb and you are ready to fire the first and all shots in the SA model. Love it! There is some slack, though not all that much, when pulling the trigger in the single action mode. But when that slack is taken-up, the gun fires while staying on-target! I will carry the XDe in the SA mode with the thumb safety on! The hammer itself is a slick design, so it won’t catch on clothing. It’s nice.
The XDe also has the new XD Mod.2 “Grip Zone” texturing on the butt of the gun. It’s not overly aggressive, but it tends to grip you back. What a great addition to the Mod.2 version of the XD line-up. I’d like to see it on all the XD handguns. This was an amazing design feat, if you ask me on the Mod.2 line-up. It’s just perfect all the way around.
Rail and Trigger Guard
On the dust cover of the frame, there is a Picatinny rail, just one, at the front for attaching a light or laser to the gun. I wouldn’t install either on this compact handgun, but it’s there if you want it. The trigger guard is nicely curved, not squared-off. There are some horizonal grooves on the front of the trigger guard if you wrap a finger around it. I don’t know of anyone who does these days, but it is there. The XDe is only one-inch wide, too, which is very nice!
Ammo For Testing
I had an outstanding selection of 9mm ammo on-hand from Black Hills Ammunition and Buffalo Bore Ammunition to test in the XDe. Many readers have asked why I don’t do a torture test when testing handguns. The simple fact is that the gun makers have already done that, so why just burn ammo for the sake of burning ammo? Plus, that takes a lot of time, and I’d need assistants to help me. I try, whenever possible, to run about 500-rds of ammo through firearms for my articles. And I do this without cleaning them. I think that’s a fair test, especially when I test a good variety of ammo.
From Black Hills, I had their 115-gr JHP +P, 124-gr JHP +P, 115-gr FMJ, 115-gr EXP Extra Power, 124-gr JHP, 115-gr Barnes TAC-XP all-copper hollow point +P, and the newest from Black Hills—their 125-gr HoneyBadger solid copper bullet. Their newest HoneyBadger solid copper bullet is not what it seems. It has grooves milled into the bullet nose. This baby rotates and rips and tears through flesh and bone, and it doesn’t expand. It doesn’t need to. I believe the HoneyBadger line-up is the future of self-defense loads. Plus this 9mm round is sub-sonic, too.
Buffalo Bore never ceases to amaze me with their outstand line of ammo, ever! I had their 9mm Outdoorsman, 147-gr Hard Cast FN round that is +P+. This one is “the” round you want to stoke in your 9mm in dangerous game country. Check out their website for a guide who stopped a brown bear with this round. Also, we had the 115-gr Barnes TAC-XP all-copper hollow point that is +P+, 124-gr FMJ FN Penetrator round that just goes and goes, and their 124-gr JHP +P+ round.
Springfield says that the XDe will handle all the +P ammo you want to fire in it. However, no gun maker says you can use +P+ ammo in their guns. Be advised. However, I’d never had a problem with any 9mm +P+ ammo, except in some sub-compact 9mm handguns. However, there were no problems encountered with the XDe.
My Test Results
I spent several shooting sessions, over several days, going through 500-rds of ammo. Due to a recent hip replacement surgery, I’m still not able to stand for any long periods of time when shooting. My accuracy testing was done at 25 yards with this little XDe. That’s quite a distance for that 3.3-inch barrel. The gun was rested over the hood of my truck, using a sleeping bag as a rest. The XDe gobbled up all the various ammo I fed it, without a hint of a bobble. It was outstanding. With the +P+ round, they were a bit hot. You could tell when you touched one off, but the gun ate it all up.
Best accuracy was slightly under 3-inches, but I think the gun could do even better, when I’m 100% on my game. That 3-inch group came from the Black Hills 124-gr JHP load— a non-+P load. Right on the heels of that load was the Buffalo Bore Outdoorsman 147-gr +P+ load. It’s hard cast and flat nose. So, there’s a big difference in bullet weights between those two loads and velocities, too. Everything else was around 3¼ and 3½ inches. That’s nothing to sneeze at for a little gun at 25-yards. However, like I said, I know the gun can shoot better than I did this time, when I get on my game.
Final Conclusions and Pricing
Full retail on the XDe is $519. However, shop around, and you’ll find them for a bit less. This one is a keeper. I like the option of carrying it in the Single Action mode with the safety on. And, if there is a misfire, I can pull the trigger a second time in the Double Action mode and the round will most likely fire. So, be sure to check out the new XDe, if you are looking for a new concealed carry handgun.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio