While it is perhaps best known for its extensive line of 1911A1-style pistols and M1A rifles, in the 1990s Springfield Armory wanted to break into the police market; the company saw what it needed in a polymer-framed pistol made by IM Metal Corporation of Croatia. After some minor changes, it was introduced to the American market as the Springfield Armory Xtreme Duty pistol, better known simply as the XD.
The XD uses a polymer frame to provide superior resistance to abuse, wear, oils, solvents and environmental extremes. Only three small internal components are also made from polymer, and the frame contains a steel locking block that also houses the lower portion of the feed ramp. The slide reciprocates on two pairs of steel inserts while the dust-cover area features rails allowing the mounting of lights or laser sights.
The slide is machined from solid steel and is protected by a high-tech Melonite finish, both of which enhance the pistol’s resistance to the above named nasty things. Locking is achieved by the barrel hood moving up into (and bearing on the front edge of) the ejection port. When the pistol is fired, the barrel and slide move together a short distance before the barrel drops down on the locking block, allowing the slide to continue to the rear extraction point and ultimately eject the spent case. A single spring system located under the barrel then pushes the slide forward, stripping the next round out of the magazine and chambering it. As the slide goes into battery, the barrel is pulled up and its hood enters the ejection port, locking the two units together.
XDs have six separate safety devices—a grip safety at the rear of the frame; a trigger-block safety on the face of the trigger; a plunger-type firing-pin safety; and a disconnect feature. In addition, at the rear of the ejection port is a loaded-chamber indicator, and, when cocked, the striker status indicator extends out of the end of the slide. Both of these devices provide visible and tactile indications regarding the pistol’s condition.
While the XD’s Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) trigger system functions like a double-action (DA) trigger, it’s technically a striker fired pistol. When the slide runs forward, a wide tail on the striker engages a fixed sear in the frame that holds it to the rear. Pulling the trigger through a full stroke deactivates the trigger-block safety before the firing-pin safety is depressed and the sear is tripped. Unlike others of the breed, the USA trigger has a very light take-up before an SA-type let-off.
The XD has another nice feature that accommodates the southpaws among us—ambidextrous magazine releases. That’s right, you lefties don’t have to have to learn to handle the pistol with the “wrong” (right) hand! No need to learn awkward means of manipulating the release with your trigger finger; you don’t have to switch releases from port to starboard side. Seeing as the grip and trigger safeties can be deactivated with the trigger finger of your left hand, you don’t have to do anything—except shoot the autopistol!
All in all, the XD is a very attractive package, and its popularity with law enforcement agencies and civilian shooters has led to Springfield Armory offering it in Sub-Compact, Compact, Service, Competition, Tactical and Custom models fitted with 3-, 4- and 5-inch plain or ported barrels, and chamberings in 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.
I have been a fan of XD (and the product improved XDM pistols since their introduction. While brainstorming with our editor over subjects for new articles, we were examining Springfield’s website and came across an XD model that neither of us had been aware of—the XD 5-inch Compact Black.
While we at first thought that “5 inches” and “compact” sounded like a contradiction in terms, once we checked out the pistol in detail it became obvious that it was indeed a very practical name.
The fact is that a number of persons prefer a full-sized autopistol for concealed carry. Now, with a proper-fitting holster, a pistol with a barrel length of 5 inches can be carried concealed in complete comfort except for one thing—its full-sized grip.
When carrying a handgun concealed, you should always take “signature” into consideration. For the newbies out there, by signature I mean the imprint the butt of your handgun makes in your concealment garment. For the knowledgeable among us, this signature is a visible indication that you are carrying a handgun.
RELATED STORY: Springfield’s Range Officer Compact, XD-S 4.0 & EMP
The problem can be made worse if you live in an area where the weather requires you to wear light clothing. In some jurisdictions, CCW permit holders are discouraged, if not forbidden, to let anyone know you are carrying a handgun. So signature should be a prime consideration when you choose your CCW handgun and the clothing you wear when carrying.
Springfield designed the XD 5-inch Compact just for this reason. The pistol combines a 5-inch barrel and full-length slide with the shortened grip frame of its Compact model. This gives you the benefit of a longer sight radius, better recoil control and superior ballistics along with the reduced signature of a compact.
The XD 5-inch Compact comes with two magazines: a flush-fitting 10-round unit and an extended 13 rounder with a sleeve that approximates the outside diameter of the grip. The latter provides additional firepower, comfort and controllability. I believe that Springfield’s intention is for you to carry the pistol with the 10-round magazine and carry the extended magazine for a reload.
I test-fired the XD 5-inch Compact for accuracy with four different brands of factory ammo and two handloads. Firing off a rest at 15 yards produced some very respectable groups, especially with the fast-stepping Federal Guard Dog ammo.
After chronographing the six loads, it was time to see how the XD really handled. And in my lexicon “really handled” means off-hand shooting, not punching holes in bullseye targets from a stable rest.
A combat target was set up and, using the belt slide holster that came with the pistol, I proceeded to engage it from 5, 10 and 15 yards. While the commonly accepted belief is that you need an SA trigger to get real accuracy out of a pistol, the XD’s trigger proved (at least to me) that is not the case. Even though all firing at the nearer distance was done with an unsupported (one-handed) grip, not a single round impacted outside the target’s X and 9 rings. In fact, the majority of them ended up in the red X ring.
The well-known propensity of polymer frames to absorb recoil pulse was evident and the hot +P loads were comfortable to fire, even with the compact magazine. The extended magazine provided a full-hand grip, which made the pistol a regular pussycat to shoot.
RELATED STORY: Gun Review – Springfield’s Lean & Mean XD-S Pistols
Perhaps the fact that I regularly use a Springfield XD(M) for Action Pistol matches has something to do with it, but I found that the pistol’s USA trigger let me put rounds exactly where I wanted them—and fast. This was one shooting machine!
During two range sessions, my wife Becky and I fired approximately 500 rounds through the XD 5-inch Compact without cleaning it and—this will come as no surprise to the XD owners out there—we are still waiting for the first malfunction. I make it a point to always mention any shortcomings in the firearms I test, or problems I encountered. In the case of the XD 5-inch Compact (and I don’t say this very often) there weren’t any! It’s a winner.
For more information, visit http://www.springfield-armory.com or call 800-680-6866.
Editor’s Note: Springfield Armory has stopped producing the XD 5-inch Compact, but it still has limited inventory (black only) available. Also please check the secondary markets.
Original source first seen Here