Many times I am asked, “What kind of gun should I buy?” There are many other follow-up questions required in order to properly make suggestions. Is the firearm going to be used for target practice, protection, competition? Is it for an experienced shooter, a new shooter, or a combination thereof? What about size; particularly large or small hands, or a person with limited strength or disabilities? Time and time again my recommendations turn to Springfield Armory, particularly the XD family.
The Springfield Armory XD family consists of the XD, the XDm, and the XDs, all available in a variety of size, finishes and calibers. In 2001, Springfield introduced the XD Series, followed by the XDm in 2007, and the slim XDs in 2012. The XD models come in a variety of barrel lengths ranging from a sub-compact 3” to a full size 5.25”, with calibers ranging from 9mm through .45. The angle, texture, and form of the grip allows for a very comfortable shooting experience.
Springfield XD series models feature a comfortable, lightweight polymer frame, which can be easily modified for larger or smaller hands. The XDm and XDs models come with adjustable backstrap thicknesses to compensate for larger or smaller hands. A few safety features include a grip and trigger safety, as well as a loaded chamber indicator and a “hot trigger” indicator (though you should never fully rely on safety features of any firearm).
The XD is the base model, but quite satisfying and more affordable. It usually comes with one or two 9- to 19-round magazines, a holster and magazine pouch, and a speed loader. All the basic needed equipment is included in the XD series. Retail typically averages around $500- $800, depending on the barrel size, caliber, finish, etc.
To step it up a notch, try the XDm. The “m” stands for “match grade” which features upgrades such as the “match grade” barrel and other performance perks. This model includes similar accessories as the XD, but with an extra magazine or two, and the adjustable grip thickness. It typically retails for around $100-$200 more than the XD.
Coming in at about an inch thin, the XDs is designed for concealed carry, and is the newest in the XD family. Similar features and accessories to the XD and XDm, though due to its size, the magazines hold far fewer shots. The grip also has a little more “bite” to it, to prevent it from slipping in tense situations. The XDs typically retails for around $550-$650.
I tend to recommend the XD family to new shooters, though many advanced shooters select XDs as well. It’s easy to understand the mechanics of the firearm, and it’s easy to operate. The slide is a little easier to rack, it’s a little easier to drop the slide, and it’s user friendly. The frame tends to absorb the recoil, so new shooters feel comfortable shooting with without a big “kick” thrown back at them. It comes with basic accessories such as a holster and magazine pouch, which do just fine until the shooter is ready to upgrade accessories down the road. The XD series is also quite versatile; it’s great just for fun target practice, but it also doesn’t mind getting ground into the dirt during intense training situations, so it can grow with the shooter as skills are enhanced. Its reliability is perfect for competition and self-protection as well.