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Springfield Armory XD 9mm, by Pat Cascio

Some years ago, there was a 9mm pistol coming into the States, called the HS2000. It looked very similar to the Glock line of handguns. It was (and is) being made in Croatia, and when it was first marketed here in the USA, the importer just didn’t quite market it in the right way. Springfield Armory [1] soon purchased the rights to market the HS2000 in the States. Rebranded by Springfield Armory, it became known as the XD9. Soon, sales of this gun took off, like you wouldn’t believe. Variants were also soon available in .40 S&W and in .45 ACP. I carried an early-production XD chambered in .40 S&W for two full years. The only time I didn’t carry it, was when I was testing other handguns for my review articles. I believe that this was the longest period of time that I ever carried one particular handgun in my entire life. I liked it that much!

During my carry period with the XD, I only had just two malfunctions, and they were NOT related to the gun. I was doing a qualification course, for armed private security here in Oregon, and I was using the then yellow box Remington 180-grain FMJ ammo – and while using this ammo, I had two loaded rounds that wouldn’t fully chamber – they were oversized and wouldn’t chamber in any of the .40 S&W handguns I owned. I stopped using that ammo years ago – obviously, very poor quality control. Other than that, there were no other failures of any kind and I put thousands of rounds through that gun in two years.

As many readers will surely know, Springfield Armory, has a full line-up in the XD line these days, from the original XD, to he XDm, the XDs and many other XD handguns – and each time around, Springfield improved on the newer models. Their hottest seller these days is the Hellcat, and while not “exactly” an XD, you can see the family resemblance in the Hellcat.

The XD under review for this article is the original version, and it is simply called the XD 9 – and it is chambered in 9mm Parabellum. The XD is no longer produced in .40 S&W – but you can probably find one if you do a search on the ‘net. For some reason, the .40 S&W caliber has fallen out of favor with both law enforcement and civilians. I believe most of that comes from the fact that the FBI, switched back to the 9mm chambering, and many police departments followed suit – as did a lot of civilians. Too bad, I still believe the .40 S&W is a better stopper than the 9mm is. However, a lot of people just couldn’t shoot the .40 S&W accurately because of the stout recoil – including law enforcement. Agreed, the 9mm is a lot easier to shoot accurately, and faster. The FBI is also stating in their tests, that the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP loaded with quality JHP ammo are all very close in “power” when it comes to stopping a violent attack – their stats say there is only a few points difference between the stopping power of those three calibers.

Of course, before this latest, and ongoing ammo drought — that I believe will last for years to come — 9mm ammo was a lot less expensive than the .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Of course, that’s no longer the case – all handgun ammo is priced too high. I just talked to a friend who said he found a new gun shop, and 9mm FMJ was selling for $55 per box!

[2]Back to the XD 9, the frame is black polymer, and the slide is black forged steel, as well as the barrel being forged. The barrel and slide have a Melonite finish, and it is tough stuff – will hold up to the elements easily. The slide has the combat-style three-dot white sights, two on the rear sight and one on the front – very fast to pick up under stress. There are slide serrations front and read, on both sides of the slide – and they are deeply milled into the slide, for a sure grip. You will also notice there is a tiny hole in the rear of the slide, and when the XD 9 is cocked and there is a round in the chamber there is a tiny protrusion. You can both see it and feel this indicator – so you know there is a round in the chamber when that is seen or felt.

[3]There is a dual captive recoil spring guide and one of the first things you may notice is that the recoil spring sticks out past the barrel ever so slightly. This is designed that way for one good reason. If you are in a situation where you have the muzzle of the gun pressed up against a bad buy’s body, the slide won’t come out of battery and the gun can still be fired. Most semiauto handguns will allow the barrel to come slightly out of battery, and you won’t be able to fire – simple as that. The barrel on the standard XD 9 is 4-inches long – perfect for concealed carry in the right holster as well as open or duty carry, too.

[4]Moving down to the frame, you will see a single Picatinny rail that only has one cut – one position – for installing a light or laser. The trigger has a blade safety in the middle of it – a la Glock, much like many other striker-fired guns have. There is a full-time ambidextrous magazine release – I like that a lot. We also have the slide release on the left side of the frame, as well as the take-down lever, which is rotated up and instead of down, in order to remove the slide. Something most handguns don’t have is a grip safety, just like those found on a good ol’ 1911 – if you don’t have a good grip on the gun, and have the safety depressed fully, the gun won’t fire. The polymer frame has checkering in all the right places too, for a sure hold under any weather conditions.

In the generation that I bought, the XD9 only came with one 16-round magazine. It is stainless steel and coated inside and out, for easy insertion into the magazine well, These mags are easy to load to capacity, too – another nice touch. I shopped around and found spare factory magazines for as little as $20 each and I have a good supply of them – along with a few 32-round ProMag extended magazines. But I must mention that it has been my experience that many of the ProMag brand magazines are NOT reliable. However, I found a deal on these for $25 each – and found that the darn things work 100% of the time. I only load them to 30-rounds instead of 32-rounds. I’ve found that a lot of extended capacity mags work better that way. I plan to get several more of them, since we have a gun-grabby new Administration, in DC.

The XD 9 weighs more than a similar-size Glock does – it comes in at 28-ounces unloaded. The length of the gun is 7.3-inches and height is 5.5-inches. So, this gun is very similar in sized to many other polymer, striker-fired handguns. It is easy to conceal if you pick the right holster, too. Again, I carried the XD 40 for two full years.

[5]Like everyone else, I’m really hit with the ammo shortages. It is very hard to find much ammo, and I find myself using my own personal stash of ammo for my review articles – so you know I’m limiting how much shooting I do in my articles. Most of the time, I’m only firing about 100-rounds. For my testing, I used some Blazer, 9mm FMJ and this is fairly under-powered ammo. I also had some Black Hills Ammunition [6] 9mm 115-gr FMJ, 124-gr JHP and their 124-gr JHP +P and some of their HoneyBadger 100-gr all-copper solid +P load – needless to say, the Black Hills ammo was used as little as possible.

At 25-yards, with the XD9 resting on a rolled-up sleeping bag, I could easily get 3.5-inch groups, however, with the Black Hills HoneyBadger load, I got a group right at 3-inches. And I know the gun will do every better, I didn’t want to waste too much ammo in my accuracy testing. I believe with more practice and the right ammo, I will be able to get groups around 2.75-inches – that gun can shoot – very well, thank you!

Recoil was nothing to be concerned with, and the gun came back on target fast. Some of my shooting was functioning tests, shooting at large rocks and tree branches out to 50-yards or so – and I always hit what I aimed at – without any trouble at all.

I can highly recommend the XD 9 for duty or concealed carry. It is an outstanding and very well-built 9mm handgun that should last you a lifetime with a little bit of TLC. It is priced right at $399 and that’s a lot less than a Glock. I honestly believe that the XD 9 is a stronger pistol than the Glock. You can’t go wrong with it…check one out soon! I think you’ll find as I did, that the XD 9 feels better in the hand than the Glock does – and I love my Glocks!