Not all pistols on the market are equal in terms of quality and reliability. Today, we will explore five issues with the Springfield XD that raise concerns about its suitability as a purchase.
Why is it considered questionable? When acquiring a firearm for self-defense, we expect it to be a dependable tool that functions reliably when needed. A pistol that is finicky or less reliable may be suitable for recreational shooting, but it becomes a liability in a self-defense scenario.
What are these problems?
The Springfield XD is associated with several significant issues involving the magazine, grip safety, firing pin retention pin, slide, and overall fit of the firearm.
While having a general idea of the major problems is helpful, it is essential to understand the specifics of these issues to be able to identify warning signs when the gun is exhibiting signs of failure.
Let’s take a closer look.
5 Problems with the Springfield XD
First off, we have to determine what a problem is. Guns jam, ammunition can be out of spec, or something can go wrong that is easily fixed with a “remediation” drill.
Stovepipe jams, among other things, can be easily cleared by simply removing the magazine of the pistol, racking the slide, reinserting the magazine, and chambering the next round. These are malfunctions, not problems.
Problems either cause malfunctions consistently or prevent the gun from being used in a way that can’t be fixed with a simple tap/rack procedure.
This brings us to the first problem with the Springfield XD
1. Magazine Issues
The magazine of a pistol is a critical component that can greatly impact its performance. Even a high-quality pistol can suffer from poor functionality if a damaged or faulty magazine is used.
It is essential to have a reliable and durable magazine, capable of withstanding multiple uses, without being overly expensive compared to the firearm itself.
In the case of the XD series, the magazine is constructed from thin sheet metal. This thinness makes the magazine prone to bending, particularly the feed lips. Bent feed lips can lead to issues such as failure-to-feed, improper seating of the magazine, and other malfunctions.
Due to its delicate construction, the magazine requires careful handling, despite being considered a disposable item. This cautious approach can discourage regular training and practice with the pistol.
In many reloading techniques, magazines are dropped on the ground or subjected to similar actions, increasing the risk of damage. This can result in malfunctions, such as the slide failing to lock back when the magazine is empty.
Another problem associated with the magazine is the difficulty in seating it properly. XD magazines can sometimes require excessive force to insert into the firearm before firing.
Early versions of the magazines also had weak springs, which could lead to failure-to-feed malfunctions.
2. Grip Safety
The next major issue is related to the grip safety. Other designs like 1911s feature grip safeties which perform reliably.
However, the XD’s grip safety is extremely narrow by comparison. The grip safety is in the center of the backstrap and does not stretch across the entire backstrap. This means you have to have a perfect grip in order to deactivate it.
Under stress this can be an issue since the gun cannot be fired without the grip safety being depressed. It also means the gun is harder or impossible to use with your non-dominant hand.
This leads to another serious problem. Since the slide cannot move back and forth without the grip safety depressed it can trap a live round in the gun. This has happened numerous times when the grip safety breaks.
The slide is effectively locked in place until it can be sent to a gunsmith with the added hazard of a life round being in the gun. This creates a major failure point in the gun itself by creating a situation where a malfunction cannot be fixed by the end user.
3. Roll Pin Retention
Another significant problem with the XD is the roll pin used to retain the firing pin. Over time, typically after firing several hundred to several thousand rounds, the roll pin has a tendency to walk out of position.
When the roll pin walks out, the pistol becomes inoperable until the pin is replaced. This can result in the gun being out of service for an extended period of time.
A quality firearm should not exhibit the issue of pins regularly walking out with usage. It is a concern that compromises the reliability and functionality of the XD.
4. Slide Easily Out of Battery
Another issue with the XD is how easy it is to put it out of battery.
Light pressure to the front of the gun, whether in or out of a holster, can put the slide out of battery. This means the gun is unable to fire despite looking like it can.
The slide must be racked with force in order to seat the next round with more effort than other guns in the same price point.
This can range from an annoyance to a safety hazard depending on the situation. If the pistol “puts itself” out of battery through normal carry it is unreliable as a defensive option.
5. Improper Parts Contact
This problem encompasses various subcategories of issues that affect the XD series.
These issues primarily involve the gun’s internals or the interaction between the internals and the magazine, resulting in damage to these components. Another aspect is when parts that should not come into contact with each other end up touching.
Some examples include noticeable trigger creep when pushing the magazine release, and the magazine impacting the rear of the slide.
Furthermore, there is a risk of the firing pin wearing against the internals due to excessive dry firing. While using a snap cap during practice can help mitigate this, it still highlights the potential for parts wear in a striker-fired pistol.
In addition to these concerns, broken guide rods, striker face walls, and trigger shoe fractures are among the multiple breakages reported with XD series pistols.
Despite its long presence in the market since the early 2000s, the XD series has shown shortcomings when subjected to higher round counts and demanding use.
Compared to other pistols in the same price range, the XD series consistently performs poorly when faced with similar challenges. These five major issues highlight the significant problems with the overall platform, although it’s worth noting that there may be additional parts failures not covered here.
If you’re in the market for a new firearm primarily intended for recreational shooting, the XD can serve as a suitable range toy. However, for any other purposes, I cannot recommend it due to its performance limitations. This is just my opinion based off personal experience and hearing from other owners and users. I am sure you will have plenty of people tell me I’m wrong and this is the best gun on the planet (hard to argue) but they might! It’s up to you to find a weapon you feel confident in.
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