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Springfield XD Sub-Compact.

Any platform as successful as Springfield's XD is bound to spin off a substantial menu of variants. When the polymer-frame auto hit the U.S. market (as a Springfield product) back in 2002, there was a four-inch-barreled Service model and a five-inch Tactical version. Initial caliber offerings were, not surprisingly, 9mm and .40 S&W, followed quickly by the blistering .357 SIG, the now-moribund .45 GAP and finally--with a bit of frame-tweaking--the .45 ACP.

I've been shooting a Tactical model in .40 S&W for several years now and am a fan of the XD. It's tough, reliable, accurate and has a very manageable trigger. It's biggest selling point to me, however, is the CZ-75-ish grip, that--along with the 1911--comes about as close to the ergonomic ideal as you're likely to find in a handgun.

Recently, I had the chance to use a Sub-Compact XD, specifically the 9mm Bi-Tone Custom Carry package, which includes a combat action job, overtravel adjustment added to the trigger and Trijicon 3-Dot sights (Springfield Custom three-dot tritium, Heinie Straight 8 Slant Pro and Heinie three-dot Slant Pro sights are also available).


With a three-inch barrel and 6 1/4-inch overall length, this dwarfish powerhouse tits the description of a "big little gun" to a T. It's got a black Melonite-finished barrel in a satin stainless receiever upper and a black polymer frame for a distinctive two-tone effect. If concealment is an issue, it comes with a flush-fitting 13 (+1) -round double-stack magazine. For the nightstand (or perhaps open carry), it comes with an extended 16 (+1) -round magazine. Essentially, you're talking about having the choice between a two-fingered grip.


Even with the truncated magazine, however, we experienced to discomfort. The base is comfortable, broad and smooth--even with your pinkie finger wrapped under it (whether a .40 S&W version would be as comfortable to shoot is something I'd be interested in finding out). Although the XD Sub-Compact may be chopped down, ours had a serious sighting arrangement--Trijicon 3-Dot night sights--which, when combined with the highway-wide sighting plane, proved very fast and easy to acquire.



We fired Winchester's new PDX1 124-grain +P and the company's proven 147-grain SXT, Hornady's new Critical Defense 115-grain FTX and some old Uzi 115-grain FMJ. Velocity drop-off from the XD's three-inch barrel was surprisingly low with the Winchester PDX1; we averaged 1,130 fps compared with the listed 1,200 fps. The drop in Hornady's standard-pressure Critical Defense was a bit steeper, but nothing earthshaking--1,063 fps compared with the listed 1,140. Both these new loads appear to very good in the shott-barrel efficiency department.


Load              Bullet Weight  Average    Extreme   Standard
                      (gr.)      Velocity   Spread   Deviation
                                  (fps)      (fps)

Hornady Critical       115        1,063       26        9.3
Defense FTX

Winchester PDX1        124        1,130       11        4.6

Winchester SXT         147         942        14        5.2

Uzi FMJ                115        1,048       57       19.2

My range partner, Petersen's Hunting editor Mike Schoby, managed to shoot an impressive 4 1/2-inch group offhand at 25 yards. Twenty-five yards is quite a poke with any subcompact, but the XD's sights and clean Custom Catty-ized trigger made it easier than it might have been. Of the four loads we had on hand, the Winchester PDX1 grouped best, averaging 2 1/2 inches off a Fat Bag rest, minus the occasional flyer. The gun liked 115-grain stuff less, the Hornady Critical Defense averaging just under four inches, a shade better than the Uzi FMJ. The heavy 147-grain Winchester SXT stuff was not on the gun's preferred list at all. We had no malfunctions at ail with anything. Recovery time between shots was quick; not to quibble with anyone wanting a .40, but 9mm seems ideal for this gun, generating minimal muzzle upflip even with the + P stuff.

An added inducement in favor of the XD Sub-Compact is the shortened integral light rail, which holds a laser unit that's perfectly in scale with the reduced dimensions of the gun. Many people may be interested in the XD Sub-Compact as a carry piece, but just as many--or more--are going to want it for home protection. And with a laser and/or tactical light unit, its utility is significantly amplified.

The Springfield XD 9mm Sub-Compact may be small dimensionally, but it has most of the virtues--high capacity, ergonomics and sighting advantages--of a full-size pistol. And the Custom Carry treatment makes it that much nicer. Combine all that with the revolverlike simplicity of a striker-fired auto and it's easy to see the appeal.
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Title Annotation:PROOFHOUSE
Author:Miller, Payton
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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