Originally, Springfield Armory of Geneseo, Illinois, were known for their extensive line of 1911-A1 pistols and M1A1 rifles. Then, in the 1990s, they decided to break into the burgeoning polymer pistol market. After some minor changes to a striker-fired pistol made by IM Metal Corporation of Croatia, Springfield Armory introduced their X-treme Duty Pistol, better known simply as the XD, or HS in South Africa.
The XD proved popular with civilian shooters, law enforcement agencies and competitive shooters, leading Springfield to introduce the XD(M) and XD(S) series with enhanced ergonomics and triggers. Today Springfield’s website lists thirty-four XD models in subcompact, compact, full size, long slide and competition, and they are available in 9mm, .40 and .45.
But, XD pistols have a disadvantage – they tend to be a bit wide for concealed carry. While this is not a problem when carried in a belt holster under a roomy coat or jacket, it can be troublesome if you prefer IWB, pocket, ankle or handbag carry. With the recent introduction by other manufacturers of compact polymer frame pistols with slimmer dimensions, Springfield have stepped up and now offer the 9mm Springfield XD-E.
The XD-E combines old and new design features. ‘New’ being its polymer frame with aggressive GripZone chequering on the sides, front and back straps that provide a secure purchase, even with wet, oily or gloved hands. ‘Old’ being the standard ambidextrous magazine release. Unique among pistols of this class, is its Picatinny rail that allows you to mount tactical lights or lasers. The slide-release and takedown levers are serrated for positive operation and are mounted close to the frame, so as not to snag on clothing or gear when the pistol is drawn from concealment.
The slide is CNC machined, has a Melonite finish and is fitted with a low- mounted rear sight and a red fibre optic front sight for fast alignment, target acquisition and transitioning. Breech locking is achieved by the barrel hood moving up into, and bearing on the front edge of the ejection port. When fired, the barrel and slide recoil together a short distance, before the barrel is cammed down, allowing the slide to continue to the rear, extracting and ejecting the spent case. A dual recoil spring unit located under the barrel then pulls the slide forward, stripping the next round from the magazine and chambering it. As the slide goes into battery, the barrel is pulled up and its hood enters the ejection port, locking the two units together. The slide reciprocates on four steel rails, one pair on the internal locking block and another pair on the hammer housing at the rear of the frame.
Read the full article in the January 2018 issue of Magnum.