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.