10 Simple Ways the Springfield XD Could be a Better Gun

Springfield XD45 with tactical light

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.

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.

2. 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.)

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 don’t exactly inspire confidence.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (30)

  1. (1) I have issues with the magazine…but I have never had a failure. What did I just read (head scratch).
    (2) The grip safety should work differently. Then build and get one approved by all the Nancy’s in our nanny state (you’ll hurt yourself) government. That is why the old timer guns are worth their weight in simple gold.

    Call Wilson Combat or similar, and for something over $2,500.00 they will listen and make a gun for you. My 2 $400.00 – $500.00 out of the box Springfield Armory ones do just fine.

  2. XD45 ten round mags very hard to insert when loaded to capacity. Have found the magazines bulge noticeable when loaded. Measured up to .015 inches change in width of magazine which makes inserting mag almost impossible. Have 8 magazines, all factory and all but a couple have this problem. The magazines are to soft it would seem. Would not buy another XD. No problems with any of my Glocks, not a Glock guy, they just work.

  3. This is garbage. IÔÇÖve 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.

    1. 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.

  4. #7
    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?

  5. 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”

  6. 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.

  7. 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 .

  8. 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!!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. I got to say I don’t agree with this article at all. I admit the xd is a mechanical device and is therefore subject to breakage as any…even glock believe it or not. Anyway I have owned my xd since I was 21 and was able to buy it…I still remember the article that turned me on to it unload 13 RDS quicker then any 1911 unloads 8 lol and I believe that still. I’m 32 now and this firearm has yet to break or jam or fail to eject..etc. As a matter of fact the only problem it has given me other then feeding it…is two failure to fire on some tula ammo….problem turned out to be me….left it “cocked” for 6 months with some greasy oil that set up and gelled up on the stricker,…several blasts of “gun wash” cured that…

    As for the trigger….I glued the lever flush and put a piece of shrink wrap on it….only other thing I did was mount some trueglo night sights….it’ll out shoot my friends pt1911 all day long….though that may be more him then his gun.

    I’ve owned many firearms and have only ever had one to break on me….broke twice….Stevens favorite from the early 1900s to late 1890s era….broke the trigger spring and firing pin….old and wore out. Point is… I would say the trouble your xd gave you is because of abuse and neglect… If your using in the field as hard as it sounds you may need to clean it more often then necessary.

    Bottom line is the xd is a remarkable pistol and my go to for self defense carry

  12. I sold my 9mm XDm because of the poor sights issue…and the fact that I needed money to purchase the newer XD Mod.2 9mm. I fixed the sights on the XDm, but the pistol was just too cumbersome for concealed carry. My new Mod.2 is perfect.
    ~1,500 rounds and not one problem.
    For everyday use, I prefer all metal pistols such as the Sarsilmaz K2 .45 ACP and the Canik TP9V2.

  13. I own an XD9, an XD45 Compact, and an XDM 45. I’ve fired several thousand rounds through the first two and have never had a single parts breakage, FTF or FTE. I’ve only put about 300 rounds through the XDM so it’s not in the same cycle “league”.

    I do think it’s a bit disingenuous to criticize the XD because, after all, there are only two kinds of pistols; those that are broken and those that will be broken someday.

  14. I’ve had my XD9 5″ (like the one in the pic) for several years. Haven’t counted but I believe I have thousands of rounds through it. I do, however, clean it after every range session or match.
    I have only had one malfunction which was due to some underpowered reloads.
    I replaced the striker retaining pin a couple of years ago as a preventative measure. The old one didn’t look bad at all.
    Bottom line: the gun is solid. I’ve never experienced any of the problems mentioned. BTW my carry gun is an XDm 3.8 compact.

  15. Stick with ol reliable….springfield, or colt, 1911 government model….steel, heavy, low sights….KISS…Keep It Simple Stupid!

  16. Well, Suzanne, you promised we’d hear more about his issues with the XD being at the top of the best of the worst list. You weren’t kidding. 😉

    A lot the problems he brings up sound more like a case of poor operator maintenance and care of the gun. In truth, after reading several of this guy’s other blog articles, he sounds like he has a lot of complaints about everything. Which is really interesting since he doesn’t even identify himself. But that’s fine too, since I’m sure he just doesn’t want to open himself up to a lot of Internet ninja’s attacks.

    Anyway, the XD is not a perfect gun . . . what gun is? I have owned and shot a lot of guns, and I like my XD45, which this guy has a lot of complaints about. But, I shoot better with my Glock 21, which he also seems to have issues with.

    I wonder what gun he DOES like? Wes Baer? Kimber? Dan Wesson? Sig? Who can say. Perhaps some custom, hand made item running in the thousands of dollars.

    Again, the XD is not a perfect gun, but mine has never failed in thousands of rounds. I like my Glock better and it has never failed in more thousands of rounds either. Not once. I carried Glocks and Kimbers and even High Powers in Iraq and they all worked great. Why? Because I took care of them.

    And manufacturers don’t normally put high end sights on their guns for a couple of reasons. One, they want to keep the price down, two, people have a lot of personal preferences about sights. I bought a top of the line Ruger target pistol for indoor matches, and the first thing I did was take the sights off and replace them with Lucite rod sights for better target acquisition in indoor situations.

    Sorry, I am fine with people putting their opinions out there for everyone to consider, but every article from the nameless blogger seems to be little more than a complaint session based on personal opinion intended to stir everyone up, and little more. Well . . . I guess it worked. 😉

  17. I bought a Springfield XD40 a couple of months ago. The first time I shot it the trigger seemed Funkey. It might just have been me but after the 2nd magazine it double fired. I was completely letting off the trigger after each shot I think. I’m a little gunshy of my XD since than and have not fired it since. Going to the range later this week to try it again. An other thing I am not crazy about it is it does not have a slide safety. The trigger and blackstrap safety makes me a little nervous about carrying this weapon IWB. One more thing I’m not crazy about is the length of the 4″ barrel. Make it a little more uncomfortable to carry IWB. I have no problem with my G111 3″ 9mm Taurus Millennium. My thoughts on the XD

    1. @Dwal

      You need to get with the factory on that. That’s not “normal” and they will definitely work with you on it.

    2. Coyote lips, Don’t know if I’m unhappy with it or not yet. If you would have read the post I only had it a couple of months. Only had one chance to shoot it. First impression wasn’t the greatest. I was just explaining my experience with is as everyone else has posted. How do you like yours if you have one.

    1. @ss1


      This is the same guy who wrote the grip angle article, and consequently, it seems pretty clear that he just wants a forum to voice all his complaints about . . everything, i guess. All this complaining and yet, he’s owned the gun for 11 years. If I was this unhappy with any gun I owned, it would have been on Gun Broker after the first year or two.

  18. I do have a 9mm. for several year but I never experienced the issues that the author is talking about mostly because I mine most likely doesn’t see as much action. So I can’t talk about most of the point he made. One thing that I do disagree with him though is point 3. When you instinctively use your gun the ergonomics matter. I always found the XD fitting much better than any other gun I tried (Berettas, Glocks, Walters, etc) and that is most of the reason why I am sticking with it. Especially when shooting without aiming you get that control and feedback from the gun that help you to pack all your shots in the center of mass really quickly and with a certain accuracy. Something that I never experienced with other guns.

    1. @marco

      This is an excellent comment. Guns are very individual things. Yeah, if you are unfortunate enough to own a Jennings then there are some universally accepted issues, but for the most part how well you shoot any of the more decent guns depends a lot on your style as a shooter. For me, I like my XD 45, but I am simply more accurate with my Glock 21. That doesn’t make the XD a bad gun, it just means the Glock (and incidentally the Beretta) fits me better. I like my XD and I won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon.

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