nb: In the case of butthurts, please take a moment and reread this post. Also see Part 1: The Ruger SR. tldr: That your singular pistol works fine and you are happy with it is not a statistically relevant piece of information. Without the magnitude of numbers involved in police contracts or competitive pistol leagues, it’s impossible to make a judgement on how good a particular design is. If what I have to say hurts your feelings, I don’t care. But if you could demonstrate how I’m wrong, I’d appreciate it.
The pistol currently known as the Springfield Inc. XD was originally introduced to the US market as the HS-2000 in 1999, and was renamed the XD when Springfield Inc bought the rights to the design in 2002. The XD is a polymer framed double-stack Browning style short recoil autoloader that was designed in Croatia during the Yugoslavian Civil War. It is available in all common service pistol calibers and a variety of slide and frame sizes and finishes. It features a single action trigger, a grip safety lever and an internal key lock. It has not been issued by any major domestic police organization, but it is on the approved list for a few and has been sold to some undemanding foreign customers. It is not popular in competition, although Springfield Inc. does pay some shooters to say good things about it.
There are two main problems with the XD: It was designed wrong, and it is built wrong.
Apart from general sloppiness in manufacturing and spotty quality control, the XD has a number of design faults. The first deal-breaker is that the grip safety not only locks the trigger and prevents it from moving, but also locks the slide and prevents it from moving. This means that the shooter needs to maintain a perfect firing grip in order to clear malfunctions or perform remedial actions. An additional risk is that if the grip safety breaks or gets debris under it (both of which have been frequently documented), the gun is out of commission until it can be fixed.
Unique among modern service pistols, the XD can be assembled wrong. There are pins that can be inserted such that they need to be drilled out, the slide can become locked open hard enough that it needs to be hammered apart, and it’s even been observed to malfunction when loading.
The trigger is also a puzzle. Although it features a Glocklike trigger-on-a-trigger and has a long, mushy trigger pull, the only function of the trigger is to trip the sear and release the striker, which is held back under full spring tension. Unlike real designs, the XD offers the feel of a trigger-cocker with the lack of failsafes of a single action pistol. This is why IDPA classed the gun in ESP for many years.
All of these would make the pistol unacceptable even if it wasn’t assembled poorly, which it is. For many years, Springfield Inc. refused to sell replacement parts for the gun, requiring the pistols to be sent back to the importer for even small parts breakages. This is because the gun-to-gun variance in dimensions was so great, parts had to be selected and fitted to the individual gun. The Croatian geniuses at HS/Springfield hadn’t even managed to master early 20th century parts interchangeability, previously featured in the Colt 1903, 1911, and M1 Garand. This problem was somewhat improved in the XDm redesign, although lack of QC is still an issue and its design faults remain untouched. There are several other designs that retail for about the same price and do not have these faults, and are popular in competition and police service. Choose one of those instead.
I have been accused of being an “elitist” (if encouraging people to spend the same — or less — money and get a better gun makes me an elitist, so be it), so perhaps my motivations aren’t clear. I honestly do not care what an individual shooter shoots. What I do care about, and offends me greatly, is when companies choose and are rewarded for a cynical marketing strategy that puts their customers lives at risk. Instead of putting their money into designing, building and shipping the very best pistol they can, a pistol that could be depended on to work right, the first time, out of the box, Springfield Inc. supports the XD series with a lavish, expensive advertising campaign. Their ads are in all the magazines, and they’ve bought more than a few awards for their derpy gun. Springfield Inc. thinks you’re dumb enough to prefer advertising over quality. I’d like you to prove them wrong.