Springfield Armory’s new “external hammer” fired handgun, the XDE. At a quick glance it could be mistaken for the XDS, until a closer look reveals there is a hammer, it is not a striker fire handgun. Whether you are “old school” like me or someone who prefers a striker fire pistol, if you remove all bias and pre-conceptions, most will agree the XDE is… yes, totally awesome.
Filling the gap
Springfield has produced a sleek, well balanced, medium weight, compact, conceal carry pistol… with an external hammer! Call me “old school” but I do prefer an external hammer rather than a striker fire; that being said, lets take a look at what I found with the XDE.
My wife normally carries a S&W/PPK however, because of her arthritis, the slide has become to hard for her to operate. We had been look at several models for her, after visiting several gun shops, the only handgun she could operate the slide one was the PK380.
As for me, I wanted a new gun. Please note, I did say “wanted” not “needed” a new gun. I was handling, several models, Glock 29, PK380, M&P Shield and a few others that I immediately set down because of the feel in my hand.
One shop to check out, our favorite, but sometimes their stock is low at least for guns we have been interested in. As we stood at the counter, my wife and I were looking at what was on display. When the salesman heard we were looking at getting a new gun for my wife and the reason why, he immediately showed us the XDE.
SA/DA, hammer fired, 9+1 or 8+1 magazines (one each comes with a new XDE), ambidextrous safety and magazine release, decocker, single stacked, polymer frame, dovetail rear sight with fiber optic front sight, textured grip and L.E.S (Low Effort Slide), overall length: 6.75 inches, height: 5 inches and the width: 1 inch.
The XDE in my wife’s hand.
My wife racked the slide, once, twice, three times and kept going. After racking it six times she turned to me smiling, She loved the feel and fit to her hand, racked the slide not just easily but with no pain (obviously very important).
The thumb safety, to our surprise.. ambidextrous, easy to reach and operate. Safety lever all the way up, safety is on, slide down, fire mod, push down again, gun decocks and stays in fire mod but double action. A big difference from what both of us are use to, for us, safety and decocking happens at the same time with the same lever.
The magazine release, again ambidextrous, and in the traditional location; down and back of the trigger. Immediately, my wife was thumbing between mag release and the different positions of the safety, and smiling.
The slide release, left side only but not a big deal considering after popping in a filled magazine, pull back on the slide just a little, release, and it springs forwarding chambering a round, leaving the gun in SA mod. No need for a slide release for self defense. Please note, chambering a round can be done with the safety on or off.
The slide, is one of the easiest I have ever pulled other than maybe the PK380 but I have a couple issues with the PK380, still a ok gun though. If anyone has arthritis or any issues with their hands/fingers, they should consider the XDE.
She bought the Springfield Armory XDE.
The true test, shooting the XDE.
One hundred - fifty rounds by each of us of each: Winchester 115 grain FMJ, American Eagle 115 grain FMJ, Speer Lawman 124 grain TMJ. The XDE chewed through the ammo, not a single fail. Accuracy with no sight adjustments: 3 inch, 2.25 inch and 1.75 inch respectively of the ammo type. I am not saying one ammo type is or worked better, I believe the difference was my wife getting use to her new XDE.
If a person has small hands, they may have a bit of a reach for the trigger in double action mode. For my wife and I, no problem, in fact the trigger reach was comfortable and natural for us. In double action, the trigger pull is listed 10 to 12 pounds, I think it is closer to 10 pounds. In single action, the tripper pull is listed 4 to 5 pounds, I think it is closer to 4. In either S/A or D/A, the trigger has a smooth, comfortable pull.
For my wife and I, the balance loaded and unloaded, was very natural, on the draw and coming up to sight in the target, very natural, smooth and comfortable.
For our hands the grip is comfortable and not to thick or bulky. A slight finger contour give increased comfort, control and balance. Definitely something to mention is the beavertail contour, it is smooth and extremely comfortable for the shooter.
I can only compare the recoil with the guns I have fired, I am not going to go with the techy stuff since I know most of us will relate to a comparison.
XDE vs Smith and Wesson 915 (all metal, alloy frame), XDE 20-25% less
XDE vs S&W/Walther PPK380 (all steel) XDE 30% less
XDE vs Glock 19 9mm (polymer frame) XDE 20% less
XDE vs Glock 29 10mm (polymer frame) XDE 25-30% less
XDE vs Kimber 1911 45ACP (all steel) XDE 30% less
I ordered my XDE the following day of shooting, I pick it up in a few days. Yes I would recommend the XDE for the novice and the expert shooter. As a conceal carry, I believe it is a good size, not to heavy (25 oz.), the design and finish of the hammer will not be a concern as a CCP. As a range gun, I found the XDE fun to shoot, comfortable; even after a 150 rounds the beavertail design and contour left no wear and tear on my hand as some other guns have done.