Up until now, most of the commentary I’ve read about Springfield Armory’s line of XD pistols has typically run along the lines of “love it!” to “meh.”

Springfield Armory 3" Subcompact XD pistol
Springfield Armory 3″ Subcompact XD pistol

Personally, I’ve owned both the 3″ subcompact and the 4″ service model in 9mm, and found them very pleasant to shoot.

I had zero problems in the 3″ subcompact through perhaps 5oo rounds, and the only failures I had in the service model in roughly 700 rounds were a pair of stove-pipe FTEs in successive strings of fire during a personal defense class several years ago as I tried to shoot around barricade weak-handed. I chalked that up to my limp-wristing, and not a fault of the gun.

Springfield Armory 4" Service Model XD pistol
Springfield Armory 4″ Service Model XD pistol

From where I sat, XDs were always sort of the “beige” of the handgun world: not too sexy, not all that appealing, but they got the job done pleasantly enough with a minimum of fuss. Friends of mine (some of whom shoot handguns quite a bit more than I do) swear by them. I eventually got rid of mine not because there was anything wrong with it, but because I had a case of the “gotta haves” for something else and traded it in.

I therefore a little bit surprised when I read pdb’s scathing review of the Springfield Armory XD:

There are two main problems with the XD: It was designed wrong, and it is built wrong.

Apart from general sloppiness in manufacturing and spotty quality control, the XD has a number of design faults. The first deal-breaker is that the grip safety not only locks the trigger and prevents it from moving, but also locks the slide and prevents it from moving. This means that the shooter needs to maintain a perfect firing grip in order to clear malfunctions or perform remedial actions. An additional risk is that if the grip safety breaks or gets debris under it (both of which have been frequently documented), the gun is out of commission until it can be fixed.

Unique among modern service pistols, the XD can be assembled wrong. There are pins that can be inserted such that they need to be drilled out, the slide can become locked open hard enough that it needs to be hammered apart, and it’s even been observed to malfunction when loading.

The trigger is also a puzzle. Although it features a Glocklike trigger-on-a-trigger and has a long, mushy trigger pull, the only function of the trigger is to trip the sear and release the striker, which is held back under full spring tension. Unlike real designs, the XD offers the feel of a trigger-cocker with the lack of failsafes of a single action pistol. This is why IDPA classed the gun in ESP for many years.

All of these would make the pistol unacceptable even if it wasn’t assembled poorly, which it is. For many years, Springfield Inc. refused to sell replacement parts for the gun, requiring the pistols to be sent back to the importer for even small parts breakages. This is because the gun-to-gun variance in dimensions was so great, parts had to be selected and fitted to the individual gun. The Croatian geniuses at HS/Springfield hadn’t even managed to master early 20th century parts interchangeability, previously featured in the Colt 1903, 1911, and M1 Garand.

Admittedly, I’ve only go about 1,200 rounds XDs, but I simply didn’t encounter any of the issues that put the XD squarely in pdb’s hate list.

What’s your opinion of the XD?