The “eXtreme Duty” pistol, or XD, was first introduced in the most popular L.E. / self-defense calibers; .40 S&W and 9mm. Pistols in .357 SIG, .45 ACP, and .45 GAP were soon to follow. Naturally, we’ve seen the obligatory upsizing and downsizing of the XD as “tactical” and compact models were introduced.
A number of factors have worked in the XD’s favor. The most important of all from a consumer standpoint is price. XD pistols are priced at or below that of other comparable models. This aspect cannot be discounted as when all else is equal, the American gun buyer will favor price.
Not just another plastic gun knock-off, the XD boasted a number of attractive features including an ambidextrous magazine release, well designed grip safety, and excellent ergonomics. The pistol rides high in the hand and “points” naturally.
As with most modern duty quality pistols, the XD includes an internal, striker-driven firing mechanism combined with a positive, trigger safety. The loaded chamber and cocked striker indicators can be both seen and felt. The polymer frame includes an accessory rail, use it or don’t every modern pistol has one. Also, as you would expect, the pistol disassembles easily without tools.
Following handgun evolution, the XD transformed into the XD(M) a couple of years back. The “M” stands for Modular. New pistols have interchangeable backstraps in small, medium and large. More aptly they are thin, medium, and thick. The grip design was updated to provide a more secure hold on the pistol. Sticking to the modern handgun formula, the 9mm and .40 version of the XD(M) were introduced first. American gun buyers being who they are naturally took a look at the upgraded XD pistols and said “That’s nice. When are you going to come out with one in .45?”
XD(M) .45 ACP
It’s not really a secret that in order to be a serious player in the American handgun business you must catalog at least one .45 ACP pistol. I have no intention of arguing the pros and cons of this, it is simply reality. The new XD(M) chambering the beloved .45 ACP cartridge combines two things that many American shooters love; price and capacity. Magazine capacity for the .45 ACP version is 13 plus 1. When I sat down to pen this review I did some online research and found that the average gun shop price was well below $800. The median price was closer to $699.
As with all the XD(M) pistols, the .45 version is not just a gun, but an entire firearms kit. Inside a very nice padded hard case you will find a pistol, three stainless magazines, a polymer holster and twin-mag pouch, three interchangeable backstraps, a gun lock and magazine loading tool.
Getting to some specifics, the .45 ACP XD(M) weighs only 31 ounces empty. The hammer forged barrel is 4.5 inches long and has a fully supported and polished feed ramp. All .45 ACP barrels are Match grade. A forged steel slide sits atop a polymer frame. Black Melonite or Silver stainless steel slides are available. Top to bottom the pistol’s height is 5.75 inches. The manufacturer’s spec weight for the trigger is 5.5 to 7.5 pounds. Springfield now calls their XD trigger/action the “Ultra Safety Assurance” or “USA” trigger.
Sight channels are cut fore and aft on the pistol. The pistol I had to test included fixed sights in the three white-dot variety. Tritium® night sights are available from the factory or the shooter can install a number of aftermarket variations.
In order to test the appetite of this autoloading pistol I took several .45 ACP loads of varied weights and manufacture to the range to test. Looks are great, but function in king and I wanted to test many type of ammunition. Along for the field trials was ammo from Black Hills, CCI, CorBon, Federal, and Wolf “Gold”. It has been many years since I worked with an XD pistol of any kind so I intended to get out on the range several times to really give me and the pistol a work out.