Everything You Need To Know About The Springfield XD Family Of Pistols

The Springfield XD series of pistols is one of the most popular brands of striker-fired pistols, and one of Springfield Armory's most popular products overall. While they are also known for their legacy pistols like their 1911s and the SA-35/Hi Power, they move a lot more XDs.

With the exception of the XDe, the XD product line are polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols. They're offered in multiple frame sizes, multiple trim levels, and in most of the popular calibers such as 9mm, 10mm, and .45

So…what should you know about these guns? What's different about them? What are the different models they offer? Let's dive a little deeper…

Yes, The Springfield XD Is Imported

Springfield XD pistol in an Alien Gear Holster

Yes, the Springfield XD series is imported. The guns are made by HS Produkt in Croatia, then imported into the US by Springfield Armory. Some people get their socks in a twist over it, but it isn't new for A.) Springfield Armory or B.) the US firearms market in general.

At various points, Springfield Armory has imported components or whole guns and rebranded them for sale in the US throughout its entire history, and they are far from the only gun company to do so.

In the 1990s, Springfield Armory imported and sold Tanfoglio TZ-75 pistols (a very capable CZ clone) that were rebranded as the Springfield P9. They've imported and rebranded FN FAL and HK91 rifles…it's not a new practice for them or almost anyone.

Their production 1911s were formerly assembled in the US from foreign components made by Imbel in Brazil. Their custom shop, however, is the real deal; handmade 1911 pistols made to order.

HS Produkt HS2000 pistols were being imported into the US by various entities in the early 2000s. Springfield Armory saw an opportunity with the then-nascent market for striker-fired/polymer-framed pistols and struck a deal with them to be the exclusive importer, becoming the exclusive importer and seller by 2002. HS Produkt pistols continue to be sold in the US under the Springfield Armory name, but are sold as HS Produkt pistols elsewhere.

They cooked up the "XD" name - it stands for "eXtreme Duty" - and got to work. It seems to have worked fairly well for them so far!

Is The Springfield XD A Good Gun?

Springfield XD handgun

Some people wonder if the Springfield XD is a good gun and for a number of reasons.

You might be a new gun owner, and it's an option at your local gun store or something. You might have just bought one and heard some people saying some bad things about them.

The truth? It's complicated!

Name a type of pistol or rifle and it has malfunctioned. Glocks can and do malfunction. Anyone who says revolvers always work probably hasn't shot them much.

Another thing to bear in mind is that it's very hard to objectively separate malfunctions due to the gun and malfunctions due to the user.

Imagine a hypothetical person limpwrists while shooting a Glock, causing a failure to return to battery. Limpwristing is actually a common cause of failures in Glock pistols…but is that a design issue or a shooter issue?

Imagine a 1911 pistol has a nose-down failure to feed (a common malfunction in that platform) because the magazine spring is worn out. Is that because the 1911 pistol and its magazines are poorly made or designed? Or is it the owner's fault for not replacing the springs like they're supposed to?

So while a lot of respected shooters and instructors have noted malfunctions in their courses and so on, it's impossible to know if the issues that they or their students encountered are because of the guns or the people running them.

Rob Leatham is objectively one of the best pistol shooters on the planet, and easily one of the best ever. He shoots XD brand pistols (usually XD-Ms) a lot, and he makes them work. Obviously, most people buying XD pistols aren't Rob Leatham, but the point is that if one of best shooters in the world trusts them to work in matches, they have to be good enough to work.

So is the XD a good gun? It's not a Wilson Combat pistol, to be sure, but it's a capable, reliable firearm. In the grand scheme of things, it would be far from the worst thing to have in your concealed carry holster.

What Makes The XD Unique?

Springfield firearm in cloak tuck holster

The XD series as a whole is unique because of the grip safety (though the Hellcat and XD-E lack them) which is not a feature of any pistol in current production besides 1911 pistols. Aside from that, all features of any of the XD pistols are the same or similar to other pistols of the same type offered by other brands.

Aside from that, there isn't too much that any XD pistol has that you can't get elsewhere or add to another pistol of the same type. Some XD-M pistols have magwells…but they also make those for Glocks. Some models are optics-ready, but so are everyone else's guns these days.

The question, therefore, becomes whether you find that you prefer them and can run the gun.

So, what are the XD pistols that are available?

Base Model: Springfield XD Pistols

Springfield XD-40 pistol

The Springfield XD is the base model. It's offered in four sizes - Subcompact 3", Compact 4", Service 4" and the 5" Tactical model.

All models have a railed frame, double-stack magazines, simple 3-dot steel sights, and little other adornment. There are some models (the 3" subcompact and 4" service) that are also offered with a stainless steel slide.

All models are offered in 9mm and .40 S&W, and the 4" Compact, 4" Service, and 5" Tactical models are also offered in .45 ACP.

Capacity is 13+1 of 9mm in the Subcompact, and 16+1 of 9mm in the 4" Service model…however, the 4" Compact and 5" Tactical models are only offered with reduced (10+1) capacity magazines.

There were formerly more offerings in the base model, but Springfield Armory has been winding them down…and indeed have been winding down across the entire XD model line.

XD-S Mod.2 Pistols

The XD-S Mod.2 incorporated some the Mod.2 series' features into the XD-S, the single-stack subcompact variant. The Mod.2 series were a mid-shelf trim level of the XD between the base model and the XD-M, which have been discontinued.

The XD-S Mod.2 guns have some niceties, but pickings are slim as the gun overlaps with the Hellcat in terms of features…despite being more expensive and having less carrying capacity. So with that said…

The XD-S Mod.2 is offered with a 3.3-inch barrel or a 4-inch barrel. The 3.3-inch pistol is offered in 9mm and .45 ACP; the 4-inch model is not offered in .45 ACP. All models have an optics-ready slide, and all models are offered with a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 optic.

All frames have a different texture from the standard XD, with relief cuts on the frame for a better grip and a railed frame for attaching a micro light. The standard sights are a steel rear sight and white dot steel front sight.

The 9mm model has a standard capacity of 7+1 with a flush-fit magazine, or 9+1 with the extended magazine. The .45 ACP model has a capacity of 5+1 or 6+1.

The XD line formerly had far more single-stack options in the lineup. The reality here is that the XD-S is slightly more expensive than the Hellcat and has a lower standard capacity, despite being the same size dimensionally. So there's little reason to buy one instead unless you just prefer it.

XD-M Pistols

Springfield XD-M handgun

The XD-M (the "M" stands for "Match") is formerly the top of the XD line, which has since been replaced by the XD-M Elite series. Formerly, the XD-M pistols were available in multiple frame sizes and calibers, but the offerings over time have been whittled down.

As of right now, the XD-M line is only offered in a full-size railed frame, with a 4.5-inch barrel or a 5.25-inch barrel. The gun is offered in .45 ACP and 10mm only, and the 4.5-inch guns are offered with a threaded/extended barrel. The 10mm 4.5-inch threaded model is only offered with an OSP (optics-ready) slide.

The XD-M series feature a match barrel, railed frame, swappable backstraps and target sights.

The 5.25-inch models have an adjustable BoMar-style rear sight; the 4.5-inch models have a black rear ramp. All models except the threaded barrel editions have a fiber optic front sight; the threaded barrel models have suppressor-height steel sights.

The original XD-M line is being slowly wound down, but for now is the trim package for a big-bore XD.

And Now For Something A Little Different: The XD-E

Springfield XD-E firearm

The XD-E is a curiosity, a polymer-framed and hammer-fired single-stack DA/SA series of pistols. While compact single-stack DA/SA pistols used to be fairly common (such as the S&W Model 39 and Sig Sauer P225/P239) they have fallen out of favor with the gun-buying public.

The XD-E actually offers some good features for those interested, including a railed frame for mounting a micro light, a combat sight set with a black steel white dot rear and fiber optic front sight, ambidextrous decocker/safety levers, and XD Mod.2-style grip texture.

The XD-E is offered with a 3.3-inch, 3.8-inch or 4.5-inch barrel. The 3.3-inch model is offered in 9mm and .45 ACP; the 3.8-inch and 4.5-inch models are 9mm only.

A trigger tuning package is offered by Langdon Tactical. You can order their "Trigger Job In A Bag" or send your pistol in for tuning by Landgon Tactical if you so choose.

Despite the XD-E's novelty (and lack of a grip safety, which a lot of people don't like) the ding against them has always been relatively low capacity for the size.

The 9mm model has 8+1/9+1 magazines (the .45 ACP model is 6+1/7+1) but is almost the same size and weight of a double-stack pistol of the same barrel length. The XD-E 3.8-inch model is barely any smaller than the XD-M Elite 3.8-inch compact which has capacity of 14+1 of 9mm…and barely costs any more in MSRP.

Granted, some people also have a preference for DA/SA systems, and there aren't a lot of gun companies still making them.

XD-M Elite: The New Top Of The Range

Springfield XD-M Elite

(Credit: SpringfieldArmory.com)

The XD-M Elite series, first announced at SHOT Show 2019, is an improved version of the XD-M. In fairness…they really are an improvement.

The XD-M Elite adds removable magwells, ambi slide stops, revised slide serrations, and Springfield's META (Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly) and flat face trigger. The META trigger system reduces uptake and overtravel, giving the XD-M Elite a crisper, better trigger.

The XD-M Elite also has a revised grip safety, adding a memory bump just like many 1911 grip safeties and it does work pretty well. Along with that, you get standard XD-M features like a railed frame, swappable backstraps, an undercut trigger guard and thumb relief cuts on the frame.

Standard sights are a U-notch rear and front fiber optic, but the threaded barrel models have black steel sights.

XD-M Elite pistol models include 3.8-inch Compact (14+1 of 9mm) and full-size (20+1), 4.5-inch full size with or without threaded barrel and OSP (optics-ready) slide, and a 5.25-inch barrel model. The 3.8 Compact model is also offered with the OSP slide, with or without Hex-brand optics. 10mm and .45 ACP models of the 3.8 Compact are only offered with the OSP slide.

While there is a premium for the XD-M Elite pistols compared the standard XD tier, the additional expense is worth it in terms of features. The XD-M Elite adds all the upgrades a person could want to make to an XD, and at a fairly competitive price point.

Which XD Pistol Is The Best? That Depends…

Springfield XD pistol and cloak tuck holster

Which XD pistol is the best? Well, that's incredibly subjective. It mostly comes down to preference; some people just love their plain Jane, bargain-basement XD. Other people think it's XD-M Elite or get lost.

However, if you were curious about which ones would be good to look at, here are a few models to look out for. Each has some features or does something that makes it worth considering.

The XD 4" Service is a basic service-size 9mm pistol. While there are a lot of guns that fit that description, what makes this gun worth the look is the fact that you can find it online for very reasonable prices. If you wanted a 9mm plinking pistol, nightstand gun or what have you (that isn't a duty pistol or carry gun) it'll fill that role.

The XD-M Elite 5.25 is a pure competition pistol, with 22+1 capacity. It's ridiculously easy to shoot. It holds a lot of bullets. It has a very decent trigger.

The XD-M 4.5 10mm is a decently-appointed big 10mm. It's rated for the full-house Norma loads, but shooting the FBI loadings (basically .40 S&W in a longer case) the recoil impulse is incredibly tame. A great choice of entry-level 10mm that isn't a Glock or as finicky as a 10mm 1911.

While we're at it, the XD-M 4.5 .45 ACP model is also worth a look. While it's a big striker-fired .45 and there are others about, there aren't many with a 13+1 capacity or more. For the person who wants a big .45, it's one of the few.

The XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact in 9mm is worth a look in both standard and OSP editions, if you wanted to add an optic. They're slim, compact, feature-laden and have great capacity (14+1) for the size. If you wanted a decently-appointed "Goldilocks gun," it's a great choice.

Those would be our picks for best XD pistols, given what these guns have to offer in those niches.

Regardless of which XD pistol you buy, or indeed whatever pistol you buy or have at all, what makes the difference is practice and training. If you can't hit, it doesn't matter what gun or caliber you have. Guns and gear are meaningless if you aren't doing the work.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober