I finally decided that my interest in recreational shooting is more than a passing fad, and bought myself a pistol. After doing some research on my options, and having fired a few of them, I picked up the Springfield Armory XD 9mm
Tactical Service you see to the right.
The XD shares many features with the Glock 19 I rented. Both are polymer-framed, striker-fired compact 9mm pistols with roughly 4” barrels. Both hail from Europe—the Glock from Austria, the XD from Croatia. Like the Glock, the XD has a trigger safety and an internal safety to prevent accidental discharge if the gun is dropped, but no conventional manual safety. Unlike the Glock, however—and this is part of what attracted me to the XD—the latter has an additional safety feature, a grip safety similar to that on the Colt 1911, which you can see in the picture at the top rear of the grip. Unless this is depressed, both the trigger and the slide are locked. Unlike a manual safety, which requires that you consciously think to release it, the grip safety disengages effortlessly when you hold the gun in a normal shooting grip.
I find the XD’s three dot sights ever so slightly less visible than the bright white dovetail sights on the Glock, but they are still very clear. Like the Glock, this is a gun I find engenders confidence. I took my folks out to the range to try it a couple of weeks ago (Mom’s first time shooting) and they like it too. Between us, we’ve put about 800 rounds through it at this point, and it has performed flawlessly. I am well pleased.
Oh, and despite being quite a bit less expensive than the Glock, the XD came with a nice accessory package, including a two magazines, a holster, a mag carrier, a cleaning brush, a lock, and a magazine loader. The last item was particularly welcome, as several weekends of loading semi-autos at the range had left my fingers very sore.