The XD-E 3.3 9mm from Springfield Armory

Springfield XD-E

[Guest author] Over the years, I’ve owned several of the Springfield Armory XD series of pistols. A few standard XDs, a few XDm versions, and an XD-S. One thing they all had in common was that through thousands of rounds (remember back when we could afford to shoot, back in the “Olden Days”?), I never experienced one single stoppage. Even the .40 Caliber XDm that I took to a shooting school right out of the box, never having lubed it, and proceeded to put 1,300 rounds through it in two days, the thing functioned perfectly. Not too long  back,  Springfield introduced another in the XD line, the XD-E (the “E” stands for external hammer). Here’s a rundown.

Springfield XDE 9mm

XDE 3.3 With External Hammer

by Jim Davis

So why in the world would anyone want an external hammer in this world of striker-fired pistols? Well, maybe that’s the point. Everything new these days seems to be striker-fired.

Not Quite A Pocket Pistol

The way I see it, the external hammer will appeal to a few segments of the shooting community. The “purists” cut their teeth on handguns that had exposed hammers. That crowd likes options, such as being able to carry “cocked and locked,” i.e., with the hammer cocked and a manual safety activated (which this pistol does allow).

That said, there is also a unique, new segment to our firearms community that is glaringly different: new shooters. They’ve arrived in droves, given the recent political developments. Finally, it has dawned on a massive segment of the American public that they may need to protect themselves in the very near future. They’ve finally concluded that seasoned shooters have long known, and that is that the government cannot protect us and that anarchists enjoy attacking people.

As a result, new shooters have joined the ranks like never before. I don’t know about you, but I think that maybe a pistol with an exposed hammer might be easier to learn on, and quite possibly, safer in the hands of a newer, less experienced shooter. An example is a revolver; when the hammer is cocked, it is evident that the revolver is ready to fire in single-action mode—the same situation with this pistol.

Springfield XD-E 9mm
The controls operated smoothly, including the takedown lever (far left), slide release, and safety/decocker. The safety is mounted slightly high for the author’s taste. Here, the XD-E is shown in “cocked and locked” mode.

XD-E 3.3 Specifications

At any rate, it’s time to take a look at the technical aspects of the XD-E. This particular model has a 3.3-inch barrel, which is hammer forged. The slide is forged steel with a Melonite finish, which is black. 

The pistol’s length is 6.75 inches, and the height is five inches. It is relatively thin overall, with the grip being one inch thick, contributing to its concealability. Make no mistake, though, this is not a tiny pocket pistol, by any stretch. Springfield classifies it as a “Compact,” which is reasonably accurate, as it’s smaller than a service pistol. The weight is 24.8 ounces with the nine-round magazine inserted.

The Magazine

There are two basic options of Springfield XD magazines available: eight or nine-round, both single stack. This contributes to the pistol’s thinness.

The eight-round magazine comes with a base plate with a finger rest, although a flush fit base plate does come with the pistol if the owner wishes to change that out.

The nine-round magazine comes with an extended floor plate, making the grip slightly longer, though not dramatically so. 

The magazines eject very nicely, in that when the release is pressed, they come shooting out! Magazines are constructed of stainless steel and are sturdily made. The XD-E will fire without a magazine inserted.

Springfield XD-E 9mm
A well-rounded carry package. XD-E, spare magazine, Federal Hydra-Shock Tactical ammunition, and a Strider SnG Tanto knife.

The Safety and Mag Release

A nice touch is that both the safety/decocker and the magazine release are ambidextrous. Not that they can be installed ambidextrously, but there is one on each side of the pistol! Southpaws will like that, and it’s handy for when a shooter is using his weak side. 

The safety/decocker works well but is mounted slightly high for my taste in that I have to adjust my grip to take the weapon off safe. Not a lot, but enough that it’s not at optimal efficiency for me. On the other hand, my wife wasn’t bothered by this in the least, and it worked great for her. If I had my way, it would be mounted lower in the fashion of the 1911. Being able to carry cocked and locked (that is, with a round in the chamber, hammer back, safety on) is a nice option. Others will prefer carrying with the hammer down and having the choice of the safety on or off. 

A loaded chamber indicator is on the top of the slide just behind the breach block that sticks up when a round is in the chamber.

A dual captive spring with a total length guide rod is used in the recoil system, and it does a nice job taming recoil.

The Sights

The sights on the pistol are very nicely done, consisting of a three-dot configuration that is pretty standard these days. The front sight is a red fiber optic that takes the sights to the next level into the highly effective category. The fact that the sights are steel is also a plus. All in all, high marks in this department!

The bore axis on the XD-E is relatively high, unlike many other pistols on the market these days. I prefer a lower bore axis, but this didn’t prove detrimental in actual shooting.

The Trigger

The double-action trigger pull is long and incredibly smooth, stacking at the end, just before the break. The smoothness of the pull is surprising. There is a pleasingly short trigger reset, which will allow quick follow-up shots. The single-action trigger has some takeup before it breaks but is not excessive. Overall, it’s a decent trigger. I wish that my trigger finger was a fraction of an inch longer because the bottom corner of the trigger grabs the edge of my trigger finger.

The Grip

An essential part of any pistol is the grip, and the XD-E will fit a wide range of shooters in this aspect. My hands are on the smaller side, and I found the slim group to fill my hand well. However, shooters with larger hands will probably like that; although the grip is thin, it is also wide enough to accommodate their bear paws comfortably. Springfield was rather ingenious in how they managed to construct a grip that would appeal to so many shooters. 

The grip texture is rough enough that it seems to offer a positive purchase and yet not be so abrasive as to chafe the skin when carrying the pistol concealed. It seems they’ve arrived at a sensible compromise here.

Stripping the XD-E

Field stripping is accomplished in the same fashion as most pistols on today’s market; the slide is retracted and locked to the rear, the takedown lever is flipped up. From there, the slide is removed, and then the recoil spring and barrel can be taken out. Reassembly is in the reverse order. It all goes very smoothly with no hidden surprises. 

 

Springfield XD-E 9mm
Field stripped, the XD-E disassembles just like most other pistols on the market. Note the double captive recoil spring.

When the pistol is stripped down, the quality of construction that we’ve come to expect from Springfield Armory is in evidence, with no tool marks being apparent. The pistol works very smoothly overall.

Range Time with XD-E

We hit the range with the XD-E on a rare warm day to see how it would fare. I started at 25 yards resting the pistol on a bench to test the accuracy. Well, I won’t post a photo of that group because…I was getting used to the gun! Yes, I’m sure that was the case!

During rapid-fire, it was easy to keep hits inside the target. Headshots from 25 yards were no problem.

After my first dismal group, though, it came into its own. No, it wasn’t shooting one-inch groups at 25 yards. Still, it kept everything nicely centered on a man-sized target at a remarkably rapid rate of fire. Headshots were also possible at 25 yards. I didn’t shoot beyond 25 yards, but I’m sure it would perform admirably well past that range.

I did some drills transitioning from double action to single action. It felt pretty much like every other DA/SA handgun I’ve ever fired, except that the XD-E’s DA (Double Action) pull is smooth as glass. Of course, single firing action was easier and increased accuracy.

The Recoil

The recoil was pleasantly moderate (not light, but far from heavy). The grip offers enough area that the shooter has an excellent surface to grasp, which spreads out the recoil impulse. However, it was not snappy, and the sights settled right back to the target after each shot. As a result, rapid-fire drills with the pistol were easy to accomplish; you can quickly put a lot of lead on target with this pistol. 

Rapid-fire drills on bad guy targets. Recoil was quite manageable, with sights returning quickly to the target.

The pistol points quickly, and the sights seem to come onto target naturally to make matters better. That fiber-optic, glowing red sight makes acquiring the sights a no-brainer, and these are easily among the best sights that I’ve ever used in a pistol.

Reliability and Comfort

Reliability was impressive because I put some of the lowest quality ammo that I have ever used through it (“Perfecto” brand, bought at Walmart a few years back for $5/box). Perfecto sometimes has light-charged rounds and is just the junkiest stuff I’ve ever used. However, the XD-E ran through it perfectly, as well as the higher quality ammo that I fed it. So rest easy that this is a reliable handgun.

My daughter tried her hand with the XD-E and gave it high marks; she also thought very highly of the sights. Aside from that, one other aspect of the pistol is enamored here: it is easy to rack the slide. She has a disability with her left hand, and even with that, she could retract the slide to chamber a round. This might be an essential consideration for those who don’t have a lot of arm or hand strength and those who are…ahem…aging. Arthritis in the hands, wrists, and arms can do a number on our strength, and having a pistol that is friendly to our impediments can mean a lot.

Springfield XD-E 9mm
Putting the pistol through its paces. It handled very well! Smooth, accurate, and fast.

Post Range Time with the 3.3 XDE 9mm

The XD-E does have an accessory rail on the dust cover for those who wish to mount lights, lasers, and other accessories. It is a standard Picatinny rail. 

I’ll be honest; I was lukewarm toward the XD-E when I first unboxed it. In my book, it’s not an exciting pistol for me to look at, sort of a “plain vanilla” pistol. But after getting it to the range and putting rounds on target, my excitement for the XD-E tripled. It’s accurate, 100% reliable, smooth, fast, and user-friendly.

All controls functioned as they should, including the slide release. Usually, I don’t use slide releases because they demand fine motor skills, which we lose when adrenaline affects us. As such, I typically rack the slide using my hand, which utilizes gross motor skills. Those slide releases on many pistols, especially new ones, can be very stiff and difficult to operate. Not so with the XD-E; it was easy to manipulate and large enough to do so comfortably. All controls on the XD-E were smooth and easy to operate; they get a 100% from me.

The XD-E’s MSRP

At the time of this writing, the retail of the pistol is $542, so it will be available for considerably less from suppliers. Nevertheless, Springfield Armory has certainly priced this one reasonably, especially compared to some offerings from other manufacturers.

In summary, the XD-E is a winner; given its ease of use, accuracy, reliability, and comfort, it is a solid choice for defensive carry. I would feel comfortable carrying it for defense. 

 

About the Autor: Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.

 

ASP Raptor DF Flashlight review

ASP Raptor DF Flashlight review
ASP Raptor DF with Holder

By: Fifty Shades of FDE

For my profession in Law Enforcement, a handheld flashlight is a must have tool on a sam browne or duty belt. It’s often is an overlooked piece of equipment and it shouldn’t be at all. Over my years on the job, I have heard many excuses for not having a flashlight and none of them were logical to me and to them after I started with some follow-up questions. The number one reason that I’ve heard the most is that, “working day shift, you’ll never need a light!” They couldn’t be more wrong. A handheld flashlight is for illumination, that helps you with information gathering for your eyes and brain to process when you’re in low light or no light conditions. None of us have the ability to control our lighting conditions in every environment so it’s best to be prepared with your own source of light when you need to find something, someone, directing traffic…you get the idea. In this line of work, you rarely get a heads up about what’s going to happen next. So deciding not to carry a flashlight on your person puts you at a great disadvantage. For those who are fortunate to have a weapon light attached to their duty pistol, that light should only be used when there is a reason to have your duty weapon drawn and not for any other purpose. That is why you still need to have a hand held light on your belt. Having a quality flashlight that has performance to back it up is important too. I see too many home depot and in some occasions, dollar store lights in the duty role and that is definitely better than having no light at all but not much at all. Those inexpensive lights usually don’t have much output and weren’t designed for hard use so relying on these with your life doesn’t seem like a wise choice.

Good stuff from ASP

The new ASP Raptor DF (DF stands for Dual Fuel) was designed specifically for duty use. It’s definitely bright and powerful enough to light things up with a maximum output of 1,900 Lumens and has a range of 240 Meters with a runtime of One and a half hours. It also has a low output mode of 15 lumens and a strobe feature with 300 lumens. Those are some really impressive stats for a flashlight. It weighs in at 9.2 Ounces and has a rather large profile with a length of 6.5″ and bezel diameter of 1.57″ making it ideal for duty carry or in a backpack or around your home, it wouldn’t be ideal for an EDC flashlight. As a duty flashlight, it works great, it is easy to grab and takes some features from the ever popular ASP Batons with the foam located at center of body body. The bezel is heavy duty and makes the Raptor DF available as an impact weapon if needed. My sample came with the available Tactical Light Case and it is a nice rotating belt mounted holster that is similar to that of the Baton cases, it allows for an easy draw and reholstering of the light.

Having the option to use CR123s is nice if you run your 18650 dry!

The Raptor DF can be powered by the included 18650 Rechargeable battery or two single use CR123s. This comes in handy if your 18650 dies and you don’t have the ability to recharge it. Just throw in some spare CR123s and continue on with the task at hand. Both the Raptor DF and the included 18650 battery have a micro-usb port to charge. It came with a micro usb charging cable but any would work. This is a great feature for duty lights as it gets expensive to use CR123s and having to replace them over and over. Having a more powerful light and ability to recharge the batteries makes it a very practical and cost-effective light. The bezel rotates to uncover the charging port. It has a color led gauge, it blinks red while charging and displays a solid green when fully charged.

Charging the Raptor DF

The Raptor DF has a unique tail cap that rotates in to three positions. On the far left, marked ‘0’ is for momentary, the middle is Off so there won’t be any accidental activations and on the right, marked with a solid ‘0’ for constant. The push button itself is programmable and I have it on the Maximum Output with the first press and Minimal Output with a quick second press. This works on both momentary and constant positions. There is a strobe mode that can be programmed but I prefer not to use that function on any of my lights. It’s just my preference, however it’s there if you want it.

Evening with some ambient light.
Full power from the Raptor DF.
A little later that night with near dark conditions.
It illuminates a nice large area evenly with a good center hot spot.

The Raptor DF is by far, the most powerful hand held flashlight that I’ve used for work. The beam is wide and it has a good sized hot spot that goes far and it does well at illuminating at closer range at the same time with a decent spill. Some flashlights have better throw and be terrible at spill or vice versa, the Raptor DF does a great job at both. Is 1,900 Lumens too much? I definitely don’t think so, the more, the better. If you’ve heard from anyone who has said that there is such a thing as too bright a light and that you’ll blind yourself; to that, I say get some more training behind the use of lights tactically and then come back at me. The more light output you have, the better you can see, which gives your eyes and your brain more information to gather and then react to. For sure the Raptor DF will be blinding to whoever is on the business end, giving you a brief tactical advantage if you are faced with a deadly force situation.

Raptor DF on my duty belt next to the ASP Collapsible Baton.

I have had the Raptor DF on my duty belt for a good few weeks of receiving it and have taken it with me while outdoors. It has continually impressed me with it’s raw power and ability to illuminate in low light and no light conditions. It’s like having a portable spotlight without in a manageable size and weight.

One serious and heavy duty bezel.

The engineers at ASP know what it takes to make hard-use duty equipment and the Raptor DF lives up to the excellent reputation of tools that are 10-8 everyday all over the world. The Raptor DF is a great light that is also very practical and with the rechargeable 18650 battery, it’s also very cost effective. With all of these features, the Raptor DF is the perfect light for your duty belt as well as any other task that requires a good amount of illumination.

For more information and to order:

Here are some other reviews on the Raptor DF!

https://www.housemorningwood.com/the-raptor-df-from-asp-the-night-killer/

Goat Guns Miniatures

Goat Guns Miniatures
Miniature M4 in FDE

If you’re into miniature weapons for decoration, check out Goat Guns! They sent me two M4s in FDE. They are about a foot long in length at a 1:3 Scale. All the parts are die cast metal and the attention to detail is excellent. The rear A2 sight on the carry handle is adjustable, charging handle is functional as well as many other parts. Here is the link to the same M4s that I have:

Their selection is huge, it includes the Barrett M107 and more are coming!

SBA4 Now Shipping!

SBA4 Now Shipping!

SB Tactical’s latest Brace was unveiled at SHOT Show 2019 and is now shipping! Truth be told, I built my first AR Pistol around the SBA3 and my next one will have the SBA4 on it.

From SB Tactical:

SB Tactical® Now Shipping the SBA4™ Adjustable Pistol Stabilizing Brace® for AR Pistols
Saint Petersburg, Fla. (May 2, 2019) – SB Tactical®, inventors and manufacturers of the Pistol Stabilizing Brace®, continues to support the PDW pistol accessory market with the much-anticipated release of the new SBA4™ Pistol Stabilizing Brace.
Based on the popular SBM4™ brace design, the SBA4 is a 5-position adjustable brace compatible with all pistol platforms that will readily accept a mil-spec carbine receiver extension. Featuring an integral, ambidextrous QD sling socket, the SBA4 greatly enhances usability by adding a third point of contact for stabilization.
Shipping with a 7075 mil-spec carbine receiver extension and adjustable nylon strap, the SBA4 offers the user enhanced cheek weld ergonomics, increased stability, and improved accuracy, while only adding 10oz of overall weight.
Like all SB Tactical Pistol Stabilizing Braces, the SBA4 is BATFE compliant, U.S. veteran designed, and proudly manufactured in the U.S.A.
For more information visit www.sb-tactical.com

The Primary Arms Platinum 1-8×24 FFP Optic – up on Mag Life

The Primary Arms Platinum 1-8×24 FFP Optic – up on Mag Life

The first LPVO I had on my SCAR 17s was a disappointment and couldn’t even get zeroed because it broke in less than forty rounds of 7.62×51 ammunition. The SCAR 17s is notorious for breaking optics due to the way it manages recoil. It is known for being a very low recoiling platform for the 7.62 Nato Cartridge…for the shooter that is, but the recoil has to go somewhere and that results in a lot of broken glass. So, I looked to the Primary Arms Platinum 1-8 x 24.

Read my thoughts on the optic over on Mag Life.

Phục