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Springfield XD 5-inch .45 compact.

Any pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge and offering a capacity greater than that found with the John Browning designed 1911 pistol is usually more than a handful That's because they are big and wide. For those of us suffering from a diminutive reach, it is a curse and one of the reasons I am such a fond follower of all things 1911.

The Springfield Armory XD in .45 ACP is the exception, because it offers what can be enthusiastically described as a reasonably sized grip. even for those with a short trigger reach, while offering an enhanced magazine capacity.

The Springfield Armory XD Compact features a reduced length grip, but it is also available with the standard length slide and barrel. In effect, it offers a somewhat odd combination of features. Yet. they are features that make sense for those wanting the ultimate in caliber, capacity and capability.


Origins of the XD

The design known in this country as the Springfield Armory XD is a pistol that was seen previously as the HS-2000. It was imported initially by a small firm in Tennessee and first developed in Croatia. It is manufactured in Karlovac, Croatia and was designed by Marko Vukovic. Obviously, the troubles that plagued that country during the early 1990s gave the designers and the manufacturers some poignant ideas about what makes a good sell-defense pistol. Springfield Armory secured the licensing rights to the design in 2002 and they have been the exclusive importers of the gun into the United States since then.

The base design is chambered for a number of common pistol caliber cartridges like the 9x19mm, the .357 SIG, the .40 S&W, even the .45 GAP, but it is the .45 ACP versions that have raised interest because they have proven so popular among a number of shooters in various competition-oriented venues like IDPA and IPSC.

Making a .45 ACP enhanced capacity pistol, even one with a polymer grip, comfortable and convenient is not an easy thing to do. With my foreshortened trigger reach I have found the ease of such pistols about as elusive as sunshine in a coal mine.

The .45 ACP version of the Springfield XD has been on the market for about three years now. There are a wide variety of different models in the Springfield lineup, but the sample pistol, it "Compact" version with the 5-inch slide, is intriguing. It is a combination pistol with a shortened grip and the regular full length slide.


As most know and understand with modern inside-the-waistband holsters, the length of the slide and barrel is no longer the main concern when it comes to concealment of the pistol. It is the size of the grip and in case of the XD Compact recognition of this fact is seen with its abbreviated grip.

Yet, the grip is not overly shortened as it still remains long enough for all the fingers on my shooting hand. All too often when manufacturers shortened the grips and corresponding magazine capacity they wind up leaving at least one finger, if not two, dangling free in the breeze below the grip floorplate on the magazine.



The magazine capacity on this reduced grip length Compact is 10 rounds, which is still more than the fabled 1911 pistol. Ten rounds is the politically correct magazine capacity in a few areas of this country, but the rest of the country still enjoys normal capacity handguns and rifles. For them, there is the added benefit of the regular 13-round magazine where the lower portion is surrounded by what would be the missing grip portion if it hadn't been reduced to compact length. Pretty neat trick, because this pistol allows the end-user to have the best of both worlds.

So it's possible to load 10+l rounds into the pistol, holster it, carry it concealed under the covering garment and then have two spare 13-round magazines in the double mag pouch that comes as part of the package when you purchase a Springfield Armory XD Compact. It's a very attractive combination when you think about it, because if you want firepower it's hard to argue with 37 readily available rounds of .45 ACP.

Other Features of the Gun

The big thing to understand with the XD in terms of operation is the fact it is a striker fired, single-action, semi-auto pistol. Not too many pistols like this have been experienced in this country prior to the introduction of the XD, and some care should always be exercised with its operation.

The main point is when the gun is cocked; the firing pin is fully cocked and not partially cocked as seen with previous popular polymer designs. Pulling the trigger releases the striker. There is no cocking involved. Yet, the pistol offers multiple safeties: internally there is a drop safety that prevents the striker from moving if the gun is dropped or struck abruptly.


There is an out-of battery disconnect that is considered a safety that prevents the gun from firing any time the slide is open in the slightest degree, in terms of conventional safeties, there is a trigger safety, a small lever positioned in the middle of the trigger itself.

Springfield Armory refers to this safety as the "USA" or "Ultra Safety Assurance". For its operation, a dedicated effort is required to depress the trigger to completion. The design also sports a grip safety like that seen with the 1911 design and operates in exactly the same manner.


Normally, there is no manual frame-mounted safety on the XD design, but a recent option for the Service Model XD pistols is the addition of an ambidextrous frame-mounted safety like that found with the 1911 design.

Personally, I find the combination of the four previously mentioned safety systems sufficient for this striker-fired semi-auto pistol. Although it is not listed as a safety device, I also appreciate the presence of the end of the striker/firing pin assembly out the rear of the slide when the gun is cocked. That makes it easy to determine if the gun is ready for firing and can be checked through a simple touch if the operator is in a low light situation.

The magazine release button is located in the usual position just slightly above the junction where the rear of the trigger guard meets the grip frame, but this push-button release is truly ambidextrous. A push-in on either side will release the magazine from the gun and the magazines do fall freely when released. The magazine tubes are metal with witness holes along their back side. The followers are synthetic and the magazines feed from a single feed position.


The little extras that come with the gun demonstrate the extra thought that has gone into this pistol because the consumer is getting far more than just a pistol when he purchases a Springfield Armory XD. Included in the hard plastic shipping box is a belt-slide type abbreviated holster, a double magazine pouch and a tool to aid in loading the magazines.

What is original and unique is the Kydex magazine pouch comes with rails on either end surface of the pouch. On the back side or end I found it easy to mount the magazine filling tool. That guarantees you will have it with you to help fill the magazines to full capacity.


As for the other rail, it would be easy to use it to carry a tactical lamp while the gun is bolstered and should the need arise for it to be mounted on the gun, it would be easily accessible from the off-side position on the pants belt.

The 1911 pistol is legendary as well as being a slim width pistol in today's modern world, but if you want a modern, well designed polymer .45 caliber pistol with an enhanced magazine, it is easy to recommend the Springfield Armory XD especially so with the Compact model featuring the 5-inch barrel and slide.
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Title Annotation:Double-Action or Semi-Auto ...
Author:James, Frank W.
Publication:Shotgun News
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:May 10, 2009
Previous Article:Gun control's "brass ring".
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