A Superior Polymer Handgun that Will Withstand the Tests of Time
I have owned many handguns in my life and have shot dozens more. Each is suited to their intended purpose and there does not exist a "perfect pistol" since all display compromises of one form or another. The Springfield XD is no exception, but as far as living up to the needs of anyone looking at this type of gun it absolutely hits the bullseye.
I am going to withhold the technical information about this firearm since it can easily be found elsewhere. I do not feel as though a detailed explanation of the machine work or coating of the slide/firing pin/trigger etc. is crucial towards making an informed decision by the average consumer regarding a handgun for self-defense. First, let's see how the Springfield XD (made in Croatia) performs at the most critical aspects of what a handgun SHOULD be (this does not include custom or extremely expensive competition guns):
#1 Provided that a round is chambered, the gun should go "BANG!!" every single time the trigger is pulled. If it doesn't, I wouldn't use it for anything but a paperweight. A gun that misfires, even just occasionally, is worthless. If you want a gun for self-defense or home protection, your life could be forfeit if your gun doesn't do its job in a life or death situation.
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#2 Easy to take apart? The XD functions on a very simple design with few total parts. This adds to its reliability, it also means that it is easy to clean. In fact, with a little practice almost anyone can disasemble an XD blindfolded in less time than it took to type this sentence (don't do it blindfolded, SAFETY FIRST!). Why is this important? Because cleaning is a pain in the ass! But seriously, it means that it is easier to replace parts yourself and easier and quicker to keep the gun clean. Clean guns last longer, they shoot better, and are more reliable.
#3 Accuracy. Newbie gun buyers always focus way too much on accuracy. Are you buying a gun for Olympic target competition or for protection? If it is for protection then only reasonable accuracy is necessary. A self-defense shot at more than 10 yards is extremely rare. 7 feet is much more common, and most of the time gun-sights aren't even used. So if the gun (not YOU, the gun) can hit a dinner plate at 20 yards (I cant think of a full-sized handgun that CANT do that), it is most likely more than adequate in terms of required accuracy. I have personally found the XD to be very accurate out to the 25 yards I have tested it with results of less than 4'' per 5-shot group. It will more than do the job. The newer XD-M has a match grade barrel and retains "life or death" reliability with even more accuracy.
To conclude, if you are thinking about buying a handgun for the home or for carry, you can't go wrong with Springfield Armory's line of XD pistols. They are reliable and easy to clean, and will last you many many years of regular shooting. I like them better than the Glocks, M&P's, PX4's (my #2 choice), and others. It is a top-notch handgun that may one day save your life.