Springfield Armory XD-E 9mm Compact Pistol
Single-stack pistols for concealment remain one of the strongest markets. Concealed-carry advocates want a pistol that can be carried easily, is reliable, accurate, and remains comfortable. Pocket pistols remain popular, but many are realizing palm-sized pistols are less then optimal in a fight. The XD-E fits that niche well as a compact, hammer-fired pistol using an ambidextrous lever that is a safety a la the 1911, or de-cocked for hammer-down carry. Hammer back and safety up disengages the trigger at the same time, allowing the slide to be manipulated. Push down and the hammer is safely lowered, turning it into a double/single-action pistol. Offered initially in 9mm, it comes with two magazines. One holds eight rounds using a lip/hook on the base pad allowing for the greatest concealment. A 9-round extended magazine is also included. There is a flat base pad that can be switched out if needed. The XD-E will fire and function without a magazine inserted.
Using a polymer frame it remains light. The 3.3 inch barrel keeps it compact, hammer forging provides strength, longevity, and excellent accuracy. A larger slide stop is optimally placed for use as a slide release. Magazine release is ambidextrous. Stippling on the front and back straps provide ample control without excess abrasion. A rail mount for mini-lasers and lights sits up front. A combat rear sight and fiber optic front sit atop the Melonited slide. A loaded chamber indicator sits at the top of the slide and can be easily felt if needed. Cocking serrations sit at the rear.
Fit and Feel
I was first introduced to this pistol at a media event held in Las Vegas. Admittedly, when announced it was a bit underwhelming. As an HK dealer when the USP was introduced it was a known system to me, one liked for the most part. Working as a police officer it met some policy requirements allowing me to carry it like a single action. The XD-E fit well in my hand and pointed like a 1911. Little pistols and my large hands seldom work well together. In this case even with the lipped magazine my entire hand fit, although snugly. One of the selling points of the pistol was ease of slide manipulation, and that was true. Unlike many compacts the slide was very easy to run, especially with the hammer back. Since the slide will run with the safety engaged this is more than workable. In single-action the trigger was about five pounds or so with an easily definable reset and crisp wall. Decoking the pistol required thought, unlike the USP, so inadvertently doing so was unlikely. Pressing the trigger in DA it was long, stacked quite a bit, but seemed smooth enough when pressed through. My only concern was how far forward the trigger goes, barely reachable with my large hands. Not so sure how that will work for smaller hands. It was otherwise well balanced and concealable.
Initial testing in Las Vegas during the event was quite useful. It may have been the best run such event I attended in a long time. Stages were setup similar to an IPSC or IDPA match testing pretty much every aspect of use. After shooting steel to get a feel for the trigger we moved on to each stage. This is where the XD-E came into its own. Running several passes on steel in DA/SA it was pretty smooth, in fact very easy to run. Press through on the trigger and it was great. Subsequent SA shooting was rather surpassingly fast. I sort of expect these pistols to be more of a chore than a joy to shoot, but this was very enjoyable to run. After running several magazines on steel it became clear I could run this thing hard very comfortably.