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Double duty compact: the Springfield .45 XD Compact can switch to a full-size duty gun, too.

The Springfield XD is one of the best autopistols currently on the market. As its reputation spreads among autopistol fans and new models appear, its popularity will continue to increase.

Today's handgunners are blessed with an incredible array of choices, and frankly most are pretty darn good, The market is too competitive and shooters too well in foxed for inferior models to last long. With so many good guns available, what makes the XD special? It's a combination of a lot of things done right.

Start with quality of construction. The XDs are beautifully made guns. Slides are forged and machined from high-grad steel. All lines are crisp and straight as they should be, yet there are no sharp edges to abrade hands or clothes. Barrels are hammer forged, accurate and durable.

Every one of the several XDs I've shot has been 100=percent reliable. The design uses the conventional and time-proven tilting barrel lockup, with a shoulder on the barrel locking into the front of the ejection port, It is a strong, durable, and dependable design.

The XD is an easy pistol to shoot well with, yet it is an extremely safe gun, providing the dependable simplicity of a double-action revolver. Just draw the gun, index on target, and press the trigger. There is no manual safety to release, no levers to flip or keys to turn. In a defensive situation, where neither time or fine muscle control may be available, simplicity is a virtue.

Safety

It is simple yet safe. There are three passive safety devices, which operate without having to be consciously manipulated by the shooter. The first is a tab in the trigger itself. Should the gun be accidentally dropped onto a hard surface from a considerable height, the tab ensures the trigger will not move from inertia.

The second safety device is a grip safety in the backstrap. Unless the pistol is held in a normal firing grip it will not fire. The grip safety also locks the slide closed, Unless the safety is depressed by a normal firing grip, the slide cannot be cycled.

Finally, the design includes a positive firing pm lock, which is only released when the trigger has been fully depressed. All three safeties function without any special action being required from the shooter. If you toad the gun, grasp it correctly and depress the trigger fully, the gun will fire. If you don't, it won't.

The XD has two more features which are not safety devices but provide the shooter with information on the gun's status. A small pin protrudes from the rear surface of the slide to indicate the striker has been pre-loaded and the gun is ready to fire. And an indicator on top of the slide pops up when a cartridge is chambered.

Neither feature negates the need for proper gunhandling. Even if the chamber indicator is flush with the slide it is still the responsibility of the operator to check the chamber to ascertain whether a cartridge is loaded. Still, these are worthwhile features, helping the shooter check the status of his pistol either visually or by touch.

Handling features of the XD are superb. For those of us conditioned to the grip angle of the classic 1911, the XD points just right, It feels much like a Browning Hi-Power or CZ-75, which I consider high praise indeed. No high-capacity frame feels better in the hand.

The magazine release button is in the familiar "1911" location at the base of the triggerguard. It is ambidextrous, so both lefties and righties have the option of using either the thumb or the trigger finger to depress the release.

Magazines

XD magazines are among the very best I've ever used. Magazine bodies are made of heavy gauge stainless steel with properly formed feed lips and reliable plastic followers. They lock in place and feed reliably, lock the slide back when empty and drop free when the magazine button is depressed.

An XD9 Tactical I tested for this magazine really turned me into an XD fan. I ended up purchasing the test gun from Springfield. It's on my nightstand right now, with a Surefire light attached to its accessory rail.

The 9mm and .40 S&W share the same size grip frame. America is still ".45 country" as it has been for well over a century. An XD .45 was inevitable, but I was concerned the bigger grip frame required might sacrifice the wonderful feel and handling qualities of the original.

I needn't have worried. Somehow the makers managed to fit a 13-round double-stack .45 magazine into a grip frame only marginally wider than the original. This is the most comfortable high-cap .45 I've ever used. My hands are only a bit larger than average and I can easily get a solid grip on the gun, with my trigger finger squarely across the face of the trigger.

The standard XD .45 is a great choice for open carry in a duty holster or for home defense. Some shooters may find it acceptable for concealed carry. In a belt holster, even an inside-waistband type, the long grip frame of full-size duty guns can be a problem. With a good holster and jacket, the gun conceals well enough when you are standing, but bending over or sitting down, a long grip frame lifts the jacket, making its presence obvious.

Whether you are a plainclothes or off-duty officer or licensed private citizen, keeping the gun discreetly concealed is both a responsibility and commonsense. Having the gun spotted in public can have several consequences, none of them good. My permit says "concealed"--not "semiconcealed"--and I bet yours does too.

The new XD .45 Compact is a great solution. It uses the same barrel and slide as the standard 4"-barrel XD, but with a shorter grip frame. Loaded with flush-fitting 10-round magazines the Compact measures just over 5" in height, compared to 5.75" for the full-size model. Concealability under a light jacket is definitely improved. Even with the shorter frame I could get a full three-finger grip on the frame.

Versatility

Springfield has made the Compact even more versatile by supplying it with a full-length magazine fitted with a spacer. With this magazine in place the grip feels identical to the full-size XD .45. The magazine supplied with the test gun had the spacer, but was blocked to hold 10 rounds in order to comply with California law, so it could be shipped to our peerless photographer Ichiro Nagata. In states where high-caps are legal the longer magazine will have a full 13-round capacity.

Many shooters are going to appreciate being able to change grip frame length simply by changing magazines. I have police friends who usually work in plainclothes but occasionally moonlight in full duty gear. Others normally work in uniform but want a smaller gun for off-duty wear. With the Compact they have the option of a powerful, compact .45 for concealed carry, and a full-size, high-capacity duty gun for open carry.

I tested the Compact with a variety of full power and +P loads from Black Hills, Cor-Bon, Federal, Hornady, Speer and Winchester. Reliability was perfect, as expected. Accuracy was acceptable, if not quite as good as I've come to expect from my XD9. Five-shot groups at 25 yards averaged a bit less than 3", ranging from 2.5" to 3.5".

Weighed with a Lyman electronic gauge, and taking pains to see the gauge's trigger hook was centered in the trigger, the Compact's pull averaged a very consistent 8 pounds, 2 ounces, a bit over the claimed 7.7-pound pull. There was also considerable take-up and over-travel and some perceptible creep, I believe a trigger tuneup, as on my XD9 Tactical, would have made shooting groups easier.

The XD uses a guide rod and double recoil spring. With its comfortable grip frame recoil proved easily manageable even with hot +P loads, despite the gun's relatively light weight (29 ounces empty).

In speed drills at seven yards I was able to fire doubles with breaks between shots around 0.18 seconds. With a crisp 1911 trigger I can generally get breaks down to 0.13 to 0.14 seconds, so I can't say the heavier XD trigger hurt much in practical terms. Still, if it were my gun I'd have Springfield smooth the trigger up, reduce take-up and overtravel and bring weight down to six pounds or so. Fortunately the XD trigger responds well to tuning, so a trigger job should be neither time-consuming nor overly expensive.

The only other change I'd make is just personal preference, swapping the standard sights for either fiber optic or tritium sights. I like fiber optic sights on guns used primarily for competition or general shooting, tritium night sights on defensive pistols. However, the standard sights with white dot inserts are quite acceptable. Unlike some fixed-sight pistols I've tested, these actually shoot close to point of aim at 25 yards.

With the dramatic growth in popularity of the XD series holster choice is getting better every day. However Springfield supplies a good quality synthetic belt holster, double magazine carrier, and magazine loading tool with every XD. The holster fits a 1 1/2" belt quite well and holds the XD securely. Both holster and mag carrier have accessory rails for storage of a white or laser light or the magazine loading tool.

The Springfield XD is a proven winner at the highest levels of competition. I expect the versatile XD .45 Compact to be another winner with discriminating American handgun enthusiasts.
XD .45 COMPACT
Maker: HS Produkt d.o.o.
M. Bogovica 7, 47000 Karlovac, Croatia
Importer: Springfield Armory
420 West Main Street, Geneseo, IL 61254
(309) 944-5631
www.springfield-armory.com

ACTION TYPE: Locked breech,
 semi-automatic
TRIGGER PULL: 8.2 pounds
CALIBER: .45 ACP
CAPACITY: 10 rounds (flush fitting),
 13 rounds (extended)
BARREL LENGTH: 4.04"
OVERALL LENGTH: 7.25"
HEIGHT: 5.1" (with
 10-round magazine)
WEIGHT: 29 ounces (empty, with
 10-round magazine)
FINISH: Bruniral
SIGHTS: Fixed 3-dot
GRIPS: Integral polymer
PRICE: $589


PHOTOS ICHIRO NAGATA
COPYRIGHT 2007 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Anderson, Dave
Publication:Guns Magazine
Article Type:Cover story
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:1683
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