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Reviews : Arsenal

Springfield Armory XD-45ACP

With Springfield’s new pistol, plastic just got a bit plumper.

April 01, 2006  |  by Paul Scarlata - Also by this author


New Gun in Town

Naturally, this required the design to be slightly upsized and the resulting XD-45ACP pistol is, respectively, five and three ounces heavier than its 9mm and .40 caliber brethren, and a mere quarter of an inch longer. The staged column, steel magazines hold 13 rounds of .45 ACP ammunition and are tapered toward the top so as to provide the reliability of single-column feed. Their shape and a generously sized magazine well opening ensure smooth, snag-free reloads while the witness holes are most convenient when it comes to loading.

Over the past few years I have used several models of the XD for concealed carry and competition shooting and have come to have a high opinion of their reliability, accuracy, and user-friendly characteristics. Accordingly, when I heard about the new big bore XD I asked Springfield’s Debbie Williams if I might borrow one to T&E for Police.

A few weeks after the 2006 SHOT Show I received a package containing an XD-45ACP Tactical model, which differs from the standard Service model in being fitted with a five-inch barrel and longer slide. To my way of thinking, this model’s longer sight radius provides better accuracy, superior recoil control, and higher muzzle velocity without sacrificing anything in the way of portability to its slightly shorter cousin. These features would be welcome for holster carry by uniformed officers or when used by a Tactical/SWAT unit.

Despite its slightly larger size, the grip still displayed the ergonomics the XD is famous for. It fit my hand very comfortably and, when I brought the pistol up to eye level, the sights were aligned on just what I was looking at! In my opinion, this grip is one of the pistol’s most attractive features and is superior to those on high-capacity .45 ACP pistols offered by other manufacturers. Because of its USA trigger system, the only external controls are the slide release, take down lever, and ambidextrous magazine release buttons.

Shooting the XD-45ACP

With the help of my friend Butch Simpson, a recently retired EMT, I ran the XD-45ACP through the mandatory accuracy testing protocol by firing five-shot groups with four different brands of ammunition from a rest at 15 yards, the results of which are listed on the chart below. It would appear that the sights were regulated at the factory for the traditional 230-grain bullet, as both the Remington and Black Hills loads printed to point of aim and produced matching 1.675-inch groups.

We then set up a pair of D-1 targets and, using the XD Gear System holster and mag pouch that came with the pistol, Butch and I took turns running it through a series of offhand drills at distances ranging from “reach out and touch someone” to 15 yards, firing it with both two-handed and unsupported grips.

Performance was most impressive, with few rounds wandering outside of the targets’ respective X and 10 rings. Recoil control was very good and fast, accurate, follow-up shots were easy to make. My only complaint was that after extensive firing, the residue from the muzzle blast obscured the dot on the front sight. But a quick wipe with a cloth corrected the problem and the shooting continued.

After running approximately 500 rounds through the Springfield, I feel safe in making the following half dozen observations about the XD-45ACP that I feel are mandatory when choosing a handgun for police service:

1. It proved 100-percent reliable: feeding, firing, and ejecting rounds of varying bullet weights and profiles.
2. Overall balance and “pointability” were above average for a service pistol.
3. All controls were placed where they could be manipulated without moving the pistol around in your hand.
4. Recoil control was excellent, even with +P ammunition.
5. Magazines fell free when either of the ambidextrous releases was pressed.
6. It could be disassembled quickly for cleaning.

Springfield’s XD has already garnered a respectable following among U.S. police agencies and I see no reason why the XD-45ACP won’t follow in this trend. I hope Springfield will offer a Sub-Compact version, which would be a very practical choice for use by plainclothes officers or for off-duty carry.

Disassembling the XD-45ACP

1. Remove magazine and retract slide to verify the chamber is empty.
2. Lock slide to the rear with slide stop lever.
3. Rotate takedown lever 90 degrees upward.
4. Pull trigger and then remove slide forward off the frame.
5. Push recoil spring guide rod forward slightly and lift it and spring out of the slide.
6. Push barrel forward slightly and lift out of slide.
7. Reassemble in reverse order.

Paul Scarlata has served as an auxiliary police officer and writes for several firearms publications.

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Tags: Springfield Armory, Firearms Reviews, Duty Pistols

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