10 Simple Ways the Springfield XD Could be a Better Gun

By CTD Blogger published on in Firearms

I’ve owned a Springfield XD for nearly 11 years, and it’s a pretty decent handgun. But, like most firearms, it has its own little shortcomings and intricacies, most of which crop up after lots and lots of shooting. Many of these issues are minor; a handful are major.

So, here are 10 ways I think that Springfield Armory could make the XD a better gun:

  1. Eliminate the striker retainer pin.

The striker retainer pin sticks through the top of the slide and limits the travel of the striker. Without this part, the striker abruptly smashes into the back of the breech face. With this pin, the striker has something that controls its movement.

Close up of the slide on a Springfield XD .45

Here is the infamous striker retainer pin, between the rear sight and absent loaded chamber indicator.

This is the number one problem with the gun. The striker retainer pin breaks—a lot. Especially when you practice with any sort of regularity. In the years that I have owned the pistol, I’ve gone through over seven pins (Springfield Armory sent out new pins at no cost).

When it unexpectedly shatters, it locks up the striker and renders the pistol inoperable. That’s inconvenient during an IDPA match, but could be a very, very bad thing under different circumstances. Springfield just needs to do away with the pin entirely, like they did on the single stack XD-S series.

  1. Put some better factory sights on it.

The white dots fell out of mine years ago. This is an easy fix with the plethora of aftermarket sight options available, but the factory sights should at least retain the dots for a reasonable period of time.

What is it with companies putting lack-luster sights on their pistols, anyway? (here’s looking at you, Glock.)

  1. Stop marketing it as an ergonomic miracle.

Springfield Armory took the handgun world by storm in the 2000’s with their aggressive marketing campaign claiming “point-and-shoot” ergonomics. The only problem with that is… it’s not exactly true.

Where you point isn’t where you shoot. Where the sights are is where you shoot (see my post about how Grip Angle Doesn’t Matter, for more details).

Instead, Springfield should focus more on how outstandingly accurate the XD series is. With match ammo, 25 yards groups with my XD45 hover right around 2 inches. That’s pretty amazing for a pistol in its price range.

  1. Fix the magazine drop free issue.

Over time, something in the firing process causes the portion of the magazine spine directly behind the top round to bow outwards towards the grip safety. This causes sticky magazines that don’t drop free. It’s easy to fix by mashing it back in place on some sort of metal corner, like a filing cabinet, but it’s annoying.

  1. Do something about the feed lips.

They’re kind of fragile. In fact, the entire magazine isn’t terribly durable, as we can see from point 4. I’ve never had a magazine-related feed issue, but these shiny silver magazines aren’t exactly confidence inspiring.

  1. Change up the loaded chamber indicator.

It sticks in the up position when the pistol is fouled from lots of shooting. I removed mine long ago. It now functions much like the loaded chamber viewing port on a S&W M&P—a hole that allows you to see the rim of the cartridge.

  1. Disconnect the slide from the grip safety.

Currently, the slide can only be pulled back if the grip safety is depressed. That’s bad, primarily because it makes single-handed malfunctions clearing tricky, if not completely impossible.

Springfield XD45 with tactical light

The Springfield XD is a functional pistol, but it comes with some problems.

  1. Make it harder for stuff to get under and block the grip safety.

A blocked grip safety equals a locked up gun (see point number 7). It’s fairly easy for dirt and debris to work itself under the grip safety of the Springfield XD, especially when it’s taken out in the field for extended periods.

  1. Make a decision on what the trigger is or isn’t.

I don’t really care much what the trigger feels like (practice, practice, practice), but if Springfield wants to keep it as a “technically” single-action trigger, they should at least make it feel like one.

It’s only tripping the sear. It’s not as if it has to cock anything before firing, like other pistols out there with similarly long triggers (here’s looking at you again, Glock). Shortening the take-up stage would be very beneficial.

  1. Fix the parts interchangeability issues.

Swapping out most parts on these guns isn’t hard, but it is when the tolerances on some pieces are so varied. It was inconvenient to send my XD45 back to the factory when the sear spontaneously dropped the striker sans trigger pull (much practice wore down the surfaces). That’s a DIY-level job. Or it should be, at least.

So, should you stay away from the Springfield Armory XD?

All of this isn’t to say that the Springfield XD line doesn’t represent a good value for the vast majority of shooters. I think it’s a fantastic pistol for owners who don’t plan on shooting them for hundreds of rounds at time, in practice and competition.

If you match that description, buy with confidence. For everybody else, I’d advise looking elsewhere, until Springfield works out some kinks in the system.

Have you had any problems with your Springfield XD, or do you have any ideas on how to make one of your guns better? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments (28)

  • John


    This is garbage. I’ve had my xd9 subcompact since 2004 and have NEVER had a feed issue or any part break! I purposefully went 2000 rounds without cleaning it to force a jam and never got one. I also have never had any mag drop issues or deformities of any of the stock mags I received with it. This pistol is bar none the most reliable firearm I have fired to date. To answer his alleged issue with gunk getting into the grip safety….if you maintain a firearm PROPERLY, you would never have that much build up to accumulate to cause the safety not to be engaged. If it gets that dirty you lost control of your firearm and done buried it in mud in the middle of an engagement.


    • Andy


      I agree with you 100% John. This guy is clueless. I have stripped my XD45 clean on several occasions and understand the ins and outs of this gun. Don’t blame the gun for your abuse and overuse. These guns are as reliable as any Glock. And as for the grip safety, if you understood that the striker is cocked in this pistol after chambering a round, and that the trigger merely releases the striker (as opposed to a Glock where the trigger partially sets the striker before releasing it), he would understand that without the grip safety we would have “XD Leg” as part of our vocabulary.


  • Jake


    I actually had to go to my XD9 and see this for myself.
    My hand always activates the grip safety so I never knew it was a “thing”. What is the author doing? Holding it by the trigger guard and racking it?


  • tgiv


    Not really finding what Google sent here for: can anyone tell me what parts are ‘factory replacement only” + their “frequency of replacement”, specifically on the Mod.2 (45) purchased this year?

    Source: some utube video comparing a Glock to a SA via debate forum pros/cons … this SA factory-only item weighed strongly in this “study”


  • Andon


    Not sure what his gripe is with the magazines. I own several XD, XDM, XDs series pistols and would like to get a few more. The magazine is some of the thickest metal I’ve found besides maybe a few 19ll mags. Naked eye difference in metal thickness and structural durability between Springfield and other gun mags. Even after obvious spring fatigue I haven’t had a single ftf related to the springs and these magazines literally spring out of the (buttery smooth if clean) magwell when empty. (even when held 90 degree sideways. Try it.) The walls are high polish nickel plated that allows light scratches to rub out and in rainy Oregon does an outstanding job of protecting against rust. The inside of the magazine is smooth too. I’ve seen few other magazines that compare. I also know several other friends and family members with these guns and no problems with the magazines.


  • Igor


    This article couldn’t be further from the truth I’ve put 7500 rounds through my xd9 duty and it’s pretty great, without a single malfunction. If you don’t like the trigger get the PRP trigger kit and you will be amazed, no one has any issues getting the zev triggers for glocks or the apex triggers for M&Ps .


  • Jeremy


    He is just hating on XD. I have the XD45 tactical and the XD45 Service Model which is my everyday carry. I wouldnt trade them for a glock, sig 320, or M&P if you paid me.I love the fact that is has a 1911 style grip safety. Its the most natural feeling polymer handgum ive ever held
    Its a descent trigger ( unlike the gritty glock amd m&p). They are great guns, and the XDM is even better, i pick up the 3.8 9mm compact Friday…cant wait!!!


  • John Quinn


    This article is litteraly some random guy bashing the XD. I shoot generally from 800 to 1300 rounds a week. All out of an XD-9 duty. I had one before it that went 22,000 rounds without a malfunction before I sold it. Sounds like personal problems. Sure as hell shoots where I point for me. I don’t train to shoot paper. I train to kill people that want to kill me.


  • Chris


    I own 2 xd’s in .40s&W. I purchased my duty (4″) about 10 years ago, carried and trained with it for about 8 of those years (worked private sector security contracts and investigations). I have put countless cases of ammo through that machine. Not once has it hiccuped. I’ve used only brass ammo. It cycles 155g up to 180g flawlessly, to this day.
    I bought my sub compact about 5 years ago, and that became my EDC. That lil guy has cycled a few thousand rounds as well, with no issues.
    no striker pin breakage, no magazine issues, no grip safety issues out of either. I’ve put both of them thru hell. Been on several day rage trips, getting rained on in VA, getting baked by the NV sun, rolling around in dirt and gravel, sloshing thru mud. Never once has either of these machines let me down.
    I feel you on the trigger, the throw is a bit excessive and the reset is not as quick as other manufacturers, but for a $500 machine its more than workable.


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