October 06, 2005
Springfield has added .45 ACP-chambered models to its line of accurate and reliable striker-fired polymer-frame X-Treme Duty pistols.
Springfield Armory's family of XD pistols just keeps growing. The group is based upon a polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol and has been offered in 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .45 GAP. Now the .45 ACP is being chambered in the auto pistol.
The XD guns are available in three different barrel lengths: the 3.1-inch barrel is called the Sub-Compact, the 4-inch barrel is the Service Model, and the 5-inch gun is the Tactical Model. Shooters also have a choice of finishes and can opt for the black model, the OD green, or the Bi-tone, which consists of a stainless slide mounted on a black frame.
But, like that rabbit on the commercial, Springfield Armory just keeps on going. The latest addition to the XD family has really gotten my attention. The XD Service Model and Tactical Model are now available in .45 ACP. And, fully loaded, the new XD .45s carry a payload of 14 rounds.
Springfield Armory's design engineers were able to offer this high-capacity, big-bore loading by only slightly enlarging the pistol's grip circumference. I was pleased to see that the comfortable feel of the XD pistol grip has not been significantly changed with the addition of a 14-shot .45 ACP to the group.
I received both the .45 ACP Service and Tactical Models for testing, and both guns had the standard black finish and the other features we have come to appreciate from the Springfield XD. The sights are the popular three-dot combat version, made of steel and dovetailed into the pistol's slide. Barrels are all hammer forged and have an integral feedramp to ensure positive chambering.
Springfield has put a lot of thought into the design of the XD's grip frame, and it shows. The curved backstrap and flat sides seem to fit most hands very well. And the backstraps and frontstraps also have a checkering pressed into the polymer to assist the shooter in maintaining a positive grip. Springfield has also molded a slight depression at the top of the grip that is a perfect spot for the shooting thumb to further enhance a secure shooting grip. This thumb depression, by the way, is found on both sides of the pistol, an indication that Springfield is aware of the needs of their left-handed customers.
Another ambidextrous feature of the XD pistol is the magazine release button. Located in the pistol's frame just behind the trigger, this release is full-time ambidextrous, which allows shooters, especially military and police, to completely function and fire the XD pistol with whichever hand gets to it first. That's a handy feature when someone has pushed the panic button.
From the beginning, I have been on record commending Springfield Armory for installing a grip safety in the XD pistols. The safety trigger, common to most striker-fired pistols, is a nice touch, but I never have believed that it is sufficient for adequate safety. With a round in the chamber, such a pistol is only safe when it is carried in a holster that is specifically made for it. During defensive encounters, a shooter may have to shove his pistol into his waistband or hip pocket in order to have both hands free to deal with a non-lethal threat. On the standard striker-fired pistol the trigger may become engaged by clothing and discharge the pistol. This is far less likely to happen with the Springfield XD pistol because the grip safety must be depressed and the trigger activated before firing can occur.
All XD pistols have an accessory rail located on the bottom side of the polymer frame just in front of the trigger guard. This handy but unobtrusive feature allows the shooter to install a flashlight, a laser sight, or whatever other accessory he might want to include in his handgunning program.
My two XDs in .45 ACP were only slightly heavier than their comparable XDs in other calibers. The 4-inch Service Model weighs 30 ounces, an increase of five ounces over other Service Models. And the Tactical Model, coming in at 32 ounces, has an increase of only one ounce over the other caliber 5-inchers. By the way, the Service Model has an overall length of 7.25 inches, and the Tactical Model is 8.1 inches long.
ACCURATE & RELIABLE
Itook the two .45 ACP XDs to the range along with an assortment of popular .45 ACP ammunition. I like Hornady's 230-grain jacketed flatpoint ammo and always try to keep some in stock. And lately I've been shooting a lot of the Magtech 165-grain JHP defensive load. The Black Hills 230-grain JHP load is another favorite that made the range trip with me, as did the 230-grain JHP Winchester-USA loading and the Winchester 230-grain JHP SXT offering.
These various loads shot very well in both pistols. Group sizes averaged from 2.25 inches to 3.75 inches, which is about what one can expect from polymer-frame service pistols. More importantly, all of the ammunition functioned reliably. There were no malfunctions or failures to feed during my entire shooting test. This is indicative of Springfield's attention to detail and to the inclusion of the integral feedramp. In any sort of a service or defensive pistol, accuracy is nice but reliability is critical.
My subjective evaluation of the two XDs revealed that the recoil was quite manageable. I think this is due to the amount of thought that was given to the design of the XD pistol grip. The grip shape also allowed me to obtain a very quick sight picture as the grip felt very natural and everything was lined up when the gun came to eye level. And while I did not measure the gap in the rear sight, I found it to be wide enough to allow plenty of light to appear on each side of the front sight. I find that this is a great aid in quick acquisition of the front sight during fast shooting.
Another nice feature with these new XD pistols is that a holster, magazine holder, and loading tool are all included with the guns. All three items are made of injection-molded material and appear to be quite sturdy. The holster is sort of a polymer Yaqui Slide and will fit any XD pistol, regardless of barrel length. The forward edge of the holster has an accessory rail on it so that the accessory light, or sight, can be stored close at hand when not in use. This is a nice touch from Springfield, and I would like to see some of the other companies begin to include holsters and magazine holders with their products.
At the present time, the XD .45 ACP pistols are only available in black finish with the Service Model retailing for $559 and the Tactical Model going for $595. However, by the end of 2006 Springfield tells us that OD green versions (same prices as black) and Bi-tone ($595 and $626) will be available.
Modern ammunition being what it is, there is much to be said for the 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG cartridges. And, certainly, the .45 GAP cartridge is beginning to make a name for itself. But I'm sure glad to see the gun companies humor us old geezers by including the .45 ACP in their lineups. In reality, the .45 ACP cartridge is the standard that all other autoloading cartridges are still compared to. That is simply because the .45 ACP works very well and is always an excellent choice for the defensive shooter, soldier, or policeman.
I think that Springfield Armory has really rounded out its family of XD pistols quite nicely with the inclusion of these guns in .45 ACP. The good old .45 ACP cartridge just keeps going. It's as historical as an old 1911 in the hands of Alvin York and as modern as an XD pistol from Springfield Armory.