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The Gun Safe

Springfield Armory XD .45 ACP Review: Better Than Glock or Sig Sauer?

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 10mm. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Image: Springfield Armory.

Those of us who are old enough to have participated in the shooting sports – particularly International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) and International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) – during the first decade of the 2000s will recall the crazy surrounding the Springfield Armory XD, which was taking the handgun world by storm and saw a meteoric rise in popularity (which seems to have cooled down a bit since then), challenging Glocks and M1911-pattern pistols alike for sheer popularity amongst competitive shooters. I myself got caught up in the XD craze ever-so-briefly, specifically in the guise of the full-size Springfield Armory XD .45 ACP

Springfield Armory XD History and Specifications 

The XD (as in “eXtreme Duty”) debuted in 2002 in the 9mm chambering, based off of the polymer-frame striker-fired Hrvatski Samokres 2000 (HS2000) 9mm pistol manufactured in Croatia. The .45 ACP chambering came out in 2006 and made an immediate impact, winning not only the NRA American Rifleman “Handgun of the Year” Award that year but the same title from the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence.

Specifications for the full-size XD .45 include a barrel length of 5 inches, an overall length of 8.3 inches, a height of 5.75 inches, a grip width of 1.2 inches, and a weight of 13 ounces. Standard magazine capacity is 13 + 1 rounds. Slide and barrel are made of hammer-forged steel with a Melonite finish, whilst the frame is black polymer. Sights are of the dovetailed 3-dot front & rear variety.

As Springfield Armory’s official info page proclaims: “It’s not every day that you rub shoulders with a living legend…The XD® set the bar for polymer pistols. In 2001, Springfield Armory redefined the industry standard for superior ergonomic comfort, ease of operation, features and performance in one fell swoop with the XD…The grip safety, Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Action Trigger System™, and the firing pin block safety combine to make this an undeniably safe defensive tool…If you’re looking for a solid handgun for duty, concealed carry, or self-defense at a price point you can respect, the legend awaits…So when you enter the presence of the XD®, play it cool— because rest assured, greatness always notices greatness.”

Famed gun writer Wiley Clapp elaborates further on the USA trigger and the grip safety alike: “In this design, trigger pressure disengages two safeties in the action. There is also a grip safety that is a spring-loaded lever mounted in the backstrap. When depressed by a shooter’s hand in a strong shooting grasp, the grip safety’s internal surfaces clear the pistol’s striker mechanism and allow it to move.”

Personal Shooting Impressions

I got to try a rental full-size XD .45 at the Insight Shooting Range in Artesia, Calif. back in the fall of 2007. Joining me at the time was my then-roommate and fellow U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Officer “D.G.” (his work nickname; inside joke); our duty issue pistol at the time was the HK P2000 LEM .40 cal, and we were both pondering sidearms to add to our off-duty collection (even if our agency wouldn’t allow personal pistols for off-duty carry).

We each fired 50 rounds of 230-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) “hardball” through the gun and were both quite blown away by it. From 7-yards head shot to 25-yard center-of-mass (torso) shots, accuracy was a breeze thanks to the delightfully crisp trigger, excellent sights, and user-friendly ergonomics of the piece. Reliability was flawless.

Impulsively, “D.G.” and I both said that we wanted to buy one at some point. Alas, we never did get around to it, as other life priorities eventually got in the way…but who knows, maybe someday…?

Want Your Own? 

According to True Gun Value, “A SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XD .45 pistol is currently worth an average price of $774.07 new and $599.99 used . The 12-month average price is $762.94 new and $599.99 used.” Meanwhile, the manufacturer lists an MSRP of $623.00, whilst GumsAmerica has a couple priced at $500.00 and $669.00. If you want a more compact version as opposed to the full-size, Guns International has ‘em for as low as $329.99.

Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.  In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports. 

Note: Image is of a Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 10mm.

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).