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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CHRONOGRAPH RESULTS

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
JHP+P

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
Words:765
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