Below is a post I wrote for Springfield Armory’s blog, “Armory Life” a few months ago. I’ve been a bit busy of late (all positive reasons) and writing has been at the bottom of the priorities list. As things start to settle back into a routine here I will be putting out more posts.
I bought my first polymer-framed pistol (a Glock 17) in 1989. Between comparing the Glock’s 22 ounces in weight to my Browning Hi-Power’s 35 ounces, (the difference in capacity being 17 and 13 rounds, respectively) I figured the upgrade just made sense.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m looking to replace/upgrade from my full-sized 1911 in .45 ACP. I already had a Glock 30 as an “off duty” gun, so I figured I would get a pistol that would use the same full-sized mags interchangeably with a pistol I already owned.
I’ve had that Glock 21 for twenty years. Other than changing out the barrel for one that will shoot cast bullets and take a suppressor, I’ve been satisfied with it. That being said, the “suppressor-ready” XD-M .45 from Springfield Armory has made me reassess the Glock 21 I’ve had and recommended over the years.
I normally tell people to try one of three pistol brands and models in 9mm or .45ACP if they are buying an automatic pistol. I recommend Glocks because I’ve owned them “forever”. I recommend S&W M&P’s because I’ve carried both their 9mm and .40S&W’s as “Duty Guns”. Finally, I recommend Springfield Armory XD’s because not only do I carry an XDs45 all the time, but when I bought my children pistols 11 years ago, I bought them both 5” XD 9mm’s. Did I also mention my Wife bought an 4” XD 9mm based on my recommendation (all three of them use the same mags)?
Why the Change?
Two things have become apparent to me when recommending a pistol to the average person. First, most people like the more vertical grip angle of pistols like the 1911, XD and XD-M. Second, most people don’t like the grip size of the Glock 21 .45 ACP pistol because they’re larger than a typical semi-auto pistol.
Even with the largest grip insert (there are three included with the pistol) in place on the XD-M .45, its diameter feels obviously smaller than a G21. I have very large hands, so it’s not a big issue for me. However, this can be a big deal for the new shooter who is just getting used to their new gun. Being comfortable with your gun’s grip is important.
Down to the Details
Do I think a grip safety is important/necessary on an automatic pistol? No. Do I think it’s a “nice to have,” especially if it’s being used by a new shooter? Definitely! Teaching a person how to properly shoot a pistol with a grip safety is easier than teaching how to properly use a slide release.
How about the mag release? Being a lefty, I appreciate when a company makes their product ambidextrous. Although I think it’s important to teach someone how to manipulate the controls of right-handed weapons, I like that they’ve given the customer options with the XD series.
There are more advantages to the XD-M .45. When I first taught my kids how to use and shoot their XDs, I taught them how to determine the status of their pistols in the dark. The firing pin/striker protrudes out the back of the slide when cocked, and a loaded chamber indicator sticks out of the top of the slide when a round is in the chamber. This is an excellent safety feature I wish other brands of pistols had.
And finally, this XD-M is set up right from the factory for suppressor use. Not only does Springfield give you a threaded barrel, but they give you tall suppressor sights for a complete suppressor-ready package.
Putting the XD-M .45 through its paces, I ran it through the standard ICE Qualification Course I usually shoot with a 9mm M&P. The Springfield breezed through it with flying colors. The three rounds from the draw in two seconds was no problem, and the pistol was easily controllable. Beyond that course of fire, accuracy at 25 meters was excellent with the Federal ammo I had on hand.
A good, reliable full-sized pistol is something I think every adult should own. If you’re a new shooter and interested in going the .45 ACP route, give the XD-M .45 series of pistols a serious look. Compared to the Glock 21, it has a smaller grip and doesn’t have the “Luger” angle many shooters don’t like. It has the same magazine capacity at 13 rounds, and if you’re planning on getting a suppressor, the XD-M .45 is set up for one right out of the box. Sounds like a winner to me.
"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.