Springfield’s XD .45 ACP ‘Tactical’ – a great defensive option

Lee’s Springfield XD .45 ACP ‘Tactical’ has Trijicon night sights and a Streamlight TLR-1. Photo by Carla Varisco-Williams. (Click to enlarge)


Serious home defense should never be based solely on one firearm.

Any weapon is capable of a malfunction. That’s why most experts rely on several firearms to protect their families – the bigger, the better.

Handguns, in my opinion, are a stop-gap – something you use to shoot your way to your shotgun or carbine if the long gun is not immediately available.

The pistol I chose for this role is the Springfield XD .45 ACP “Tactical.”

While Springfield has newer models available, the Tactical has the caliber I want, a 230 grain bullet equals two 115 grain 9mm, a 14 round capacity and other features that have become standard for a modern defensive pistol, such as an accessory rail.

It’s also built like a tank and as reliable as a good bartender.

There’s no debating that the XD series owes a lot to the Glock’s “safe action” design, although the XD has a better trigger, something less squishy, and a grip safety reminiscent of the 1911. That’s enough for me. I don’t like external safeties, although Springfield makes a model with one. The less I have to turn off under stress, the better.

The five-inch barrel allows for a longer sight radius, which improves my accuracy. It’s also got more lands and grooves than Glocks or my wife’s HK, which cost considerably more. My groups average about 5-6  inches at 25 yards, which is easily good enough for defensive work, but a bit looser than I shoot with a good 1911. I’ve never had the patience to be a bullseye shooter, however.

As to ammo, the XD is voracious. It eats everything: Winchester white-box, steel case TulAmmo, factory reloads and Hornady TAP. I have shot about a 1,000 rounds through the gun and have had no malfunctions of any kind.  I can’t say that about any other pistol I own.

Mags are steel, not plastic. They drop free quickly, and are easy to disassemble for cleaning. While the springs are a bit tight from the factory, Springfield includes a loading tool that is more than adequate. Also, leaving the mags loaded seems to reduce some of the tension, but not too much.

Although the stock sights were steel rather than plastic, they were the first thing removed from my pistol and replaced with Trijicon night sights. I also added a Streamlight SLR-1, which gives the pistol the  muzzle-heavy balance I prefer.

Shooting the Tactical is easy – it’s a soft shooter. Given its weight, recoil is very manageable. Follow-up shots flow quicker than with a Glock 17. Muzzle flip is easy to control. You can shoot this pistol for hours at the range. It doesn’t hurt.

Because the Tactical is my go-to defensive pistol, I like the loaded chamber and cocked striker indicators. On sweep with my weak hand – even in the dark – lets me know the weapon is loaded and ready to go. There’s no real need for a press check anymore.

You can certainly spend considerably more for a .45 ACP – thousands more, in fact.  However, I doubt you’ll find anything better for the money.






About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Pingback: Condition red at 4 a.m. this morning | | The Gun Writer

  2. Nice article! Just what I needed to replace a Colt ggovt 45 I had to give up to pay the rent in the 70’s. Will purchase this one on April fools day next week. Thanks again!

  3. Love the gun. Beautiful look, nice case, and accessories come with. Mine will put a strain on the wrist after 6-7 clips at the range, but an intruder won’t ever know. Love that loud report and large holes of each squeeze. It broadcasts to others that your not shooting a child’s toy. Got my girlfriend to shoot it….ONCE! Lol

  4. Great article. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s the best gun I’ve ever owned. I’ve owned two already. A 4 inch xd and the 5 inch tactical. This is a great gun and it’s always on my hip. Even at home. Thanks again!

  5. I’ve shot some handguns off and on over the years but the xd tactical is my first purchase. I love it. Feels great, less recoil and muzzle flip than 9mms and 40’s I’ve shot. You can’t go wrong with this one. I’ll add a laser to it and be comfortable shooting it anytime…. it will certainly provide me with what I need to get to my 12 gauge if the need ever arises.

  6. Hands down, if you’re going to switch to a ‘Tupperware’ gun, this is it.

    I love 1991a1’s; it’s what I was trained on since a teen. I used a 1911a1 while in the Marines and became very accustomed to their fit and function. Like many who are used to the ‘old school’ tools, I was VERY skeptical at first about the durability of owning a plastic gun (solvents, impacts, etc). To my surprise, my concerns were completely answered by the XD.

    I can shoot anything that goes bang very well, and the XD45 Tactical I own makes it a breeze. When I wore a badge, it was my duty weapon. I had Trijicon night sights and a TLR-1 weapon light mounted on it, and I carried a total of 40 rounds (3 mags full).

    That’s a lot of firepower and I never once worried about reliability. Out of the numerous trips to the range for quals, I only had one misfire of a round and that was due to a bad primer (from the factory American Eagle ammo). That kind of stuff happens regardless of what ammo you use.

    I’ve never had a stovepipe, failure to feed, mag malfunction, nothing. I still practice those recoveries, just in case. Shooting weak hand, injury drills, slide cocking on the holster/boot, all no problem. Magazine and weapon cleaning is a breeze. it’s actually much easier compared to the the 1911a1. I remember having to scrub the 1911 top to bottom with a toothbrush for at least 1/2 hour to get all the carbon out of it. With the XD, you’re looking at 10 minutes, tops.

    I looked at Glock and the simplicity of the weapon, but found that I preferred the handgrip feel of the XD over the Glock. Weapon draw drills: timing the performance out of holster: a Safari level two retention- was a deliberate forceful maneuver (as all weapon draws should be). I found no ‘speed bumps’ over any other weapon whatsoever.

    No doubt about it, it’s a little bit bigger rig than an XD 4″ model, but the added barrel length is something I wanted if I needed to make that difficult ‘hostage shot’.

    Performance: I practice hostage shots a lot. This thing will easily place 4 rounds of .45 through a dime size hole in the left quadrant of the head if you do your part. I had to struggle to do that with a Glock. That speaks to the XD’s barrel being in line with the wrist plane. Trigger pull is normal, reset acceptable. Perfect for duty.

    Plainly put, the XD Tactical is the tool for the job. I would not hesitate one minute to put one into service, be it home defense, military or Law Enforcement.

    Finally, the wife shoots it too. She was never told to ‘watch out’ for the kick of a .45 or other such nonsense. That said, I kept my mouth shut, and let my buddy instruct her on how to shoot it.

    She came away smiling and said, ‘I like that 45″.

    Imagine my surprise, but then again, it’s an XD. What’s not to like?

    • EyeRoll, do you know how your post sounds like 150% truck load of bullshit? I’m still laughing as I read it to the boys at the barbershop, we all are laughing, thanks for the story.

      • You are an idiot, the xd is easier to shoot than a glock. much better trigger. Apparently you are one of those arm chair commandos who has NEVER carried or shot a firearm when your life is on the line. Until you have, shut the hell up.

  7. I purchased one last month. No telling when it will be taken off the California approved list. I prefer the XD over the Glock 21. It fits my hand better.

  8. Robert Gasaway on

    Great review!! I also have the same gun for home defense I have put over 2000 rounds thru it without one problem.Thanks for the review!

Leave A Reply