There is still life left in the aged Springfield XD9 platform.
Springfield has an excellent reputation of producing great firearms like the 1911 TRP, M1-A, XDS and others. A number of years ago the legendary company released their XD line of pistols. They come in all the popular calibers. I will showcase the 9mm version, but my talking points will hit on all the models.
Although the XD9 platform is a little aged there is still a lot of life in the system. This underrated pistol is a great buy for the price and has some extra features that appeal to first time shooters.
First, this pistol comes with a lot of extras right out the box. There is more stuff that comes with the firearm than a lot of premium tier products. You get a durable plastic case that is lined with nice, soft foam, a starting range holster, a two-magazine pouch, load assist and a spare magazine. There is nothing spectacular about the spare holster, but it will get you started until you can buy a better holster. You can find this collection reasonably priced at Cabela's.
This pistol is relatively lightweight with its carbon composite body construction. You get the choices of 3.8-inch, 4.5-inch and 5-inch barrel lengths to suite your shooting or carrying needs. However, the slide is heavier than expected, which decreases felt recoil and improves follow-up shot placement. With a full magazine, the weight is balanced well.
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There are a ton of safety features on this firearm. First is the blackstrap safety. There is a large, paddle-style button that sticks out of the back of the pistol's grip, much like a 1911. This prevents the trigger from being depressed or even the slide to be racked without a proper grip on the pistol.
Second, is the trigger safety. There is an extended button that must be deliberately pressed to get the trigger to fall. This is a great feature to protect against accidental drop, since the trigger can't be depressed without pressure on the spring-loaded button.
Combined, these are great precautions for the new shooter. The firearm cannot fire unless the operator has a firm grip and applies deliberate pressure on the trigger. Two more great features for new shooters would be the striker and loaded chamber indicators.
On the slide plate there is a small hole for the rear of the stainless striker to protrude through. It's clear if the striker is in the rear or forward position. The loaded chamber indicator is a clearly visible protruding over the slide when there is a round in the chamber. New or experienced shooters will appreciate the easy-to-navigate features that tell them what condition their firearm is in.
All these features, combined with Springfield Armory's quality control, make a great firearm for new or experienced shooters. The fact that it will not operate without a strong, positive grip on the frame teaches people to focus on properly holding the gun and can eliminate bad habits.
My only critiques for the firearm would be the firing pin. The retaining pin is in a weak spot. I have heard of them breaking after ongoing dry firing, but I have never witnessed it personally. If you are one to practice trigger drills, go and buy some snap caps or a SERP practice pistol to eliminate this issue.
There are better guns out there, but the bottom line here is the value that you get with the Springfield XD9. The case and the extras in it create a great starter package for any new shooter. The pistol is comfortable to shoot and carry, comes with a great warranty and is backed by one of the industry's greatest giants.
This pistol is one of the better buys for the price and will probably end up like your grandma: aged, but still kicking butt.