There’s been a lot of noise about the demise of the .40-caliber cartridge in recent years. Numerous police departments have transitioned away from the cartridge to the 9mm, with many armed citizens following suit.
But, does that mean the .40 caliber pistol is no longer effective? Of course not. The cartridge continues to offer the same benefits it always has. And I bet there are still a lot of fans of the round out there, despite the seemingly unstoppable ascendance of the 9mm.
And just as many shooters remain loyal to the cartridge, so does the Springfield Armory XD line. In today’s review, I take a look at the Service Model XD chambered for the .40 cartridge.
One of the original polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols from Springfield Armory, the Service Model XD is a full-sized pistol suitable for home defense and uniformed carry. With a quality holster and belt, the gun can also be used for concealed carry.
The XD in .40 has a 4” barrel typical to guns in this size class. A 4” barrel allows defensive ammunition to reach optimal velocity for handgun performance, while still being very maneuverable in tight quarters.
Currently, Springfield Armory offers the XD-40 with two 10-round magazines. The company calls this its “Low Capacity” model due to the fact it can be sold to citizens living in states like California and Massachusetts.
Standard capacity magazines hold 12 rounds, and they can be picked up from most retailers including the XD-Mod-2-12-Round-Magazine-40-SW-40p102.htm”>Springfield Armory online store. Fortunately, Springfield Armory doesn’t gouge people on the price of these mags, so you can pick up several without taking a second mortgage.
Even with the low-cap magazines, 11 rounds of .40 SW before a reload is ample power to have on tap.
Benefits of the .40
When comparing the .40 cartridge to the 9mm, the current conversation often revolves around modern bullet design. In other words, one of the main arguments for the 9mm instead of the .40 boils down to, “technology makes the 9mm almost or as effective as the .40.”
While I believe the 9mm is an excellent self-defense cartridge, it does not negate the excellent performance of the .40-caliber cartridge over the past three decades since its launch. In general, the .40 launches a larger projectile with more energy and momentum than the 9mm. While those things do not translate directly into the elusive concept of stopping power, they are factors that can play a role.
Consider, if you will, the common internal combustion engine. A four-cylinder engine can be upgraded through technology to produce similar horsepower and torque specifications as can be achieved in an eight-cylinder motor. Yet, the increased displacement of the eight-cylinder engine can achieve the same performance levels – often with less effort.
I have personally seen the performance capabilities of the aging Speer Gold Dot .40 round in “real world” shootings. It is effective, and I have no hesitations in carrying it to protect myself.
Here are the specifications on the Springfield Armory XD 4” Service Model .40:
|Weight (unloaded)||30 oz.|
|Magazines Included with Purchase||Two 10-round magazines|
I’ve shot more than a dozen different XD pistols including the 9mm version of the Service Model. As a result, I had high expectations when I headed off to the range with this gun in tow. I’m happy to report the gun easily met those expectations.
I ran 500+ rounds through the pistol, including a mix of practice and self-defense loads. Regardless of the bullet type or how hot the load was, the gun shot and cycled without any issues.
Recoil was manageable. While a little sharper than the 9mm variant, I felt only a moderate level of snap when shooting this gun. Without naming names, I felt less recoil with this gun than I have with a competing brand that has a block-like grip. I suspect the superior ergonomics of the XD helped to mitigate the recoil impulse and muzzle rise.
And let me talk for just a moment on the ergonomics of the XD-40. As I’ve said in other reviews of other XD guns, the grip feels very good in my hand. Not only is the angle near-perfect, the inward sculpting of the backstrap under the slide gives me the exact trigger reach I want. The pad of my finger falls perfectly in the center of the trigger for an even press.
Another thing I like about the XD line is the use of metal magazines. The smooth finish on the steel magazine body slips easily into the polymer magazine well for super-fast reloads.
Groups were well within my expectations for a defensive pistol. Frankly, I’m not a fan of three-dot sights. I much prefer the U-Dot sights found on the Hellcat pistol. Nevertheless, they functioned as intended and helped me achieve good groups at all ranges.
|Blazer Brass 180-gr. FMJ||962 fps||370 ft-lbs|
|Hornady Critical Duty 175-gr. FTX||1,022 fps||406 ft-lbs|
|Speer Gold Dot 180-gr. JHP||997 fps||397 ft-lbs|
One of the things I appreciate about the original XD line is the trigger. While many striker-fired pistols have crunchy, mechanical triggers, the XD-40 has a slick feel that is light and consistent. There is a moderate amount of take-up with a short pull and quick reset. At this price point, I don’t know if you will find a better trigger.
This is a solid pistol for self-defense. It is reliable with a track record of success that stretches back many years. As it is chambered in .40 SW, the gun offers a good balance of capacity to power – especially for people living in capacity-restricted states.
If you find yourself in the market for a .40-caliber pistol, but you don’t want to overpay, consider the XD Service Model. I think you’ll like it.
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XD® 4″ Service Model, Low Capacity