Springfield Armory XD-9 Review

Black pistol case, Springfield XD 9mm pistol, magazaine loader, holster, and magazine holder

A guest post was written by Annette Doerr.

I’ve had my Springfield XD-9 for about 3 years now. I’m a huge fan of the 9mm platform, so when it was time to buy a new pistol I narrowed my choices between three excellent firearms: Glock 19, Smith & Wesson M&P and the Springfield Armory XD-9. All fine choices, but in the end I purchased the Springfield Armory XD-9. Having done a ton of internet research on all three of my contenders, I kept going back to the built-in safety features of the Springfield. Once I was able to hold all three, and compare them side-by-side, my choice became clear.

Black Springfield XD 9mm full-sized semiautomatic pistol with slide opened
The Springfield feels very comfortable in my hand.

The Springfield felt comfortable in my hand. I liked that unlike the 4th generation Glocks there are no finger grooves. Being a woman, my hands are smaller than a man’s; I prefer shooting a firearm that doesn’t have forced finger grooves. The stippling on the grip provides a secure feeling, even when shooting with wet or sweaty hands. It also keeps the firearm secure in the hand, helping to manage the recoil. Sure, it’s a polymer gun, but it feels solid and well balanced in the hand.

I’ll be honest; I had a little trouble racking the slide when it was new. My husband had no issue; I blame girly hands. My salesman suggested I get some grip tape and apply it to the slide to improve my ability to grip the slide to rack it. I never did apply grip tape; once the pistol broke in, and my hands got stronger, racking the slide was no longer an issue.

As this purchase would be my first 9mm, and my first “big-girl gun” as a step up from my Browning Buck Mark .22 LR, my choice ultimately came down to safety. The Springfield offers a backstrap grip safety, similar to a 1911. The firearm will not fire unless you have a purposeful and secure grip. It also offers an ambidextrous magazine release, which works well for me because I can use my thumb or index finger to drop the magazine. I’m right-handed, but southpaws will find the ambidextrous magazine release convenient as well.

The XD-9 offers several safety features that differentiate it from the other firearms in its class:

  • Loaded Chamber Indicator – At a glance, you are able to tell whether the firearm has one in the chamber.
  • Grip Safety – This was a major selling point for me. Similar to a grip safety on a 1911, you must have a good, secure grip on the frame of the firearm for it to function. This greatly reduces the chance of an accidental discharge.
  • Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Action Trigger System – Similar to the Glock trigger, the USA trigger on the XD has a lever that looks like a small trigger within the actual trigger. This lever must be fully depressed into the actual trigger for the firearm to discharge.
  • Firing Pin Block Safety – This prevents the firing pin from moving forward unless the trigger is pulled.

Pros and cons of the Springfield Armory 9mm


  • It feels good in my hand.
  • Ambidextrous magazine release. I like that I can drop the magazine with either my thumb or my index finger without changing much on my grip.
  • At 28 ounces unloaded, it’s not too heavy, yet not too light. Adding ammunition gives it a solid, balanced feel.
  • Advanced safety features such as a grip safety and USA trigger.


  • The sights seem to be combat sights. The gun is dead-on at the 7-yard line. The farther back I shoot, the more adjustment I need to make. Putting a laser in the chamber shows this:


  • The grip itself, while comfortable, is a little thick for my hands. It doesn’t affect my shooting and I doubt you’ll get complaints on this from a man.
  • The stippling on the grip can irritate my hands a bit after long shooting sessions (again, I blame girly hands).
Springfield Armory XD-9
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 4 inches, fully supported ramp
Caliber 9mm
Overall Height 5.5 inches
Overall Length 7.3 inches
Overall Width 1.2 inches
Weight Unloaded 28 ounces
Sights Dovetail front and rear, 3-dot
Grip Polymer
Capacity 16 rounds
Magazine 10-round New York-compliant model
Frame Black polymer frame

My XD came nicely equipped with a solid, hard plastic case that not only holds the firearm, it carries two stainless steel 10-round magazines (this may vary by state, but I live in New York), cable lock, retention holster, double magazine carrier for your belt and a magazine loader. The retention holster and double magazine carrier are both quite functional and a nice bonus to be included with the pistol. All of the extras were integrated right into the hard plastic case, which keeps the necessities together in one place. If that isn’t enough, there are tons of add-on accessories available for the XD.

Black pistol case, Springfield XD 9mm pistol, magazaine loader, holster, and magazine holder
The retention holster and double magazine carrier are both quite functional and a nice bonus to be included with the pistol.

The takedown on this firearm is very easy, which makes maintenance and cleaning a breeze. It’s quick to field strip and quick to reassemble—another bonus in my book. Knocking wood, it’s never failed to go bang! when I’ve pulled the trigger. It’s also not fussy with what type of ammunition I use.

In October, when I conducted my first NRA Women on Target Clinic, I shared my Springfield with the ladies who participated at the end of the class. A lot of them were only familiar with shooting a .22 LR pistol, and giving them a solid, full-size 9mm to try was a natural next step for them. Everyone who tried it enjoyed shooting it. The recoil is very manageable, even for my somewhat arthritic older students.

Overall, I’m quite happy with my selection and purchase. If you’re in the market for a full-size 9mm handgun, I highly recommend it.

Do you have a Springfield XD? What do you like and dislike about it? Tell us in the comment section.

Annette Doerr is a freelance writer, self-employed businesswoman, wife, mother, equestrian, and is active in Greyhound rescue. She and her husband Bob are avid shooters and are both NRA Certified Pistol Instructors and NRA Certified Range Safety Officers. You can read more of her writing on her blog, weshoot2.

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 (23)

  1. I have had my XD 9 4″ for the last 2 years and never had one fail to function in several thousand rounds put through it. I recently traded it in for an XD mod.2, 9mm to solve my only complaint. For everyday carry, the 4′ barrel digs into my pelvis bone. The Mod .2 fits perfectly in every way and shoots maybe even a bit more accurately than the full size model did! SA makes a very fine firearm no doubt about it.

  2. I got the Xd9 as my second handgun. The first was a euger lc9, which my wife carries. I can’t stand firing the ruger. Between the double action trigger, and the very short barrel, I can’t hit anything. I researched the xd before buying it, and settled on the xd-m. Unfortunately it was a few months after Sandy hook, and nobody had one. I chose to get the regular Xd9, and I am glad I got it. I found that it is very accurate, and I too like the safety features. I especially like the the 16 round magazines. I own five of these mags, and they all hold 17 rounds, which is one more than they are supposed to.

  3. I have two SA, XDM’s in 9mm, one 4,25″ and one 5.25″ and they are awesome shooters, have never had even one problem with any of my XD guns, I also carry the XD MOD 2 in 9mm in the warmer weather months and the XD MOD2 in 45 acp in the colder months, the MOD 2 line works perfect for me as a small carry gun with a lot of punch in either cal. the sights on the Mod 2 are a great improvement over some sights offered as standard, the red fiber optic front just pops when sighting, the safety features on all the XD line is IMHO the best out there, I own several guns by Glock , HK, Sig, Walther, Colt, Star 30 m, and Ruger, , and they are all keepers and find guns, but I find myself carrying my XD guns more often, I also highly recommend the Springfield Armory line of XD guns, and in most calibers…

  4. I have the 5″ XD-9. It was my first handgun. I absolutely love it. It does normally come with 2 16 round mags in non-police states. The 5″ barrel makes it a big gun for a 9mm, but it also makes it incredibly easy to shoot. Going from shooting my daily carry M&P Shield to the XD, it feels like I’m shooting a .22, it absorbs the recoil so well.

  5. Purchasing a pistol is like choosing a wife! If you aren’t compatible with it you are never gopnna be satisfied. Personally I always prefer a pistol with a hammer especially for safeties sake, especially with a lady starting to carry. I agree with Steve about purses but also men’s pockets!!

  6. I think many went away from the question on hand: Do you have a Springfield XD? What do you like and dislike about it? I love the XD line. I watched the torture test video and was impressed enough to buy an XD-45. The XD9sc followed and soon after the XD9 4″ Service. I just recently grabbed the xd mod. 2 .45 as well. I like them because they’re reliable, comfortable, manageable, and good-looking. I have no negatives about any of them, except maybe the xd9sc could be a little slimmer. But the capacity makes up for the bulkiness. You can’t go wrong with Springfield’s.

  7. I’ve recently purchased a Springfield XD-S, 3.3 barrel, in 9 mm. I’m using it as my carry piece. Very comfortable for all day wear…

  8. using the human brain as a “safety”, it would seem unreasonable to drop any firearm loose into a purse. if one is an intelligent gun owner, the gun in the purse is encased in a quick draw holster in the purse (or a pocket/slot designed specifically to encase a pistol. don’t need mechanical safeties, just need smart owners.

  9. now, dat’s what i’m tawkin’ ’bout.

    just follow the four rules, keep your finger off the trigger, out of the trigger guard, and you have all the safety you need.

    what is that meme??? oh yeah, your safety feature lies just behind your eyes, between your ears.

  10. I don’t mean to knit pick but an xd9 is not a full size handgun. it’s a compact. Also, the statement that “The firearm will not fire unless you have a purposeful and secure grip” is simply not true. If the backstrap is depressed and the trigger is pulled it will fire. You need to practice safe firearm procedures, including always carry with a holster that covers the trigger. These stories of women carrying a pistol loose in their purse, or people carrying in a pocket or waistband without a proper holster make me cringe.

    1. When it comes to barrel length, full size vs compact is usually just a matter of how the manufacturer labels a specific model relative to the other models in its line. While it doesn’t have a barrel length similar to a mil-spec 1911 or Beretta 92, the grip is large enough to accommodate all fingers of both hands.

    2. It’s advertised as a compact. I’ve got one, and a Glock 19. I can certainly see why there may be some confusion regarding the size. It’s definitely larger than my 19, and heavier also. Comparing it to a Glock it’s right between a 19 and a full size 17. But it is a compact. Whether a compact or full size, I do agree, it is a fine pistol. Mine shoots nice and it is very dependable. And I got a great deal on it. $350 brand new with 4, 16 round mags. I just don’t carry it because of the size and weight. If I could conceal it and wear it as comfortably as my 19 I would carry it in a heart beat.

    3. The XD-9 shown is the 4″ Service model that Springfield describes as a “Full Size pistol” in their product listings. The XD 4″ Compact has a shorter grip and is only offered in .45 ACP.

    4. Just to clarify, I re-checked and you are correct. my appologies to Annette and the community for my error. And thank you Adam for bringing my mistake to my attention. All this time I thought it was a big compact. I also thought they made a larger XD that held 18 or 19 rounds. It’s a good thing I never decided I wanted one of those. I would have been disappointed.

  11. Always go with something goes bang reliably, feels good in YOUR hands and you can hit what you aim at more times than not. If you are looking to choose a hand gun I highly recommend getting together with friends who have the ones you are initially interested in and shoot them quite a bit – if you don’t have friends who have the ones you want to try, go to one or more ranges that rent guns and shoot theirs.

    As far as selecting between the three plastic guns mentioned in the article, I would shoot them all, or at least spend considerable time in a gun shop holding them and dry firing them in a realistic way (pointing in, at a target, correct firm grip etc.) and select the one that you can most easily hold steady and the trigger is smooth and the trigger break consistently surprises you.

    As to the XD line, I like them over the other plastic pistol choices for my normal reasons, they are comfortable in my hand and I like the triggers by and large. My final “like” for the XD in plastic guns is that it feels much more heavy duty/industrial to me. The plastic seems heavier and thicker and sturdier. This, obviously, isn’t a scientific finding, but simply my own observations. for a plastic gun they seem pretty tough. I’d have to run all the contenders over with a heavy truck to find out though . . .

  12. “Safety should never be a factor……” ?? Really?? That’s about one of the least intelligent statements I’ve ever read! Accucury and reliability are certenly primary requirements but no less important than safety.

    Liked the article. Well written and stated. Would have liked to hear your view on how the M&P stacked up. As an XD owner/ EDC,CCW
    It’s nice to have a woman’s POV concerning this platform. Although I have several of the XD’s in 9mm, I don’t carry one preferring the .40 or .45. I’m kinda old school when it comes to the 9mm and still maintain my Browning Hi-Power and on occasion my IMI Desert Eagle compact in .40 as backup or fall back firearms.
    Would like to know what you thought of the M&P if you would care to share.

    1. “Safety features” is not the same thing as “safety” in general.

      I’d insist that a pistol be safe enough to not fire unless the trigger is pulled, but a specific design feature (such as the XD grip safety or the manual safety on certain M&P models) would not make or break a purchase decision for me.

  13. at this point I am leaning towards the taurus slim i 9mm. It appears to do what all the others do and at less then half the price. For some, price is a definite factor as long as it is comparable to the others.

  14. You mentioned you looked at a M&P and Glock before deciding on the XD, but all your direct comparisons were simply XD vs Glock. Other than the presence of the grip safety, what did you like about the XD compared to the M&P?

  15. safety features should never be a factor is choosing a handgun. shoot what works best for reliability and accuracy. if you follow the four rules of safety, and keep your finger off the trigger until you need to shoot, all those safeties just create additional points-of-malfuncton/failure.

    1. Ladies purses, among other things, are clueless about gun safety. With a loaded POS Glock all it takes is a pen or a bottle of nail polish to have an AD.

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