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Springfield Armory's XD 9 Tactical

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An Eclipse of the standard Springfield Armory’s XD 9 Tactical Competition Pistol Powered By The BrassTacs By Scott Lambin The polymer pistol market is growing to a level of dilution almost as fast as the AR. It would be audacious to try to count and name every company casting high-grade polymer and cutting slides to fit them. There are only so many ways to re design a firing pin (aka striker) and re position a hinge pin in a trigger safety to avoid those pesky cease and desist letters before it all runs together. Nonetheless, since polymer/ striker fired pistols are seemingly easy to make, everyone is dabbling. Springfield Armory is one of the few companies that don’t try to re invent the wheel, they stick to what works and doesn’t deviate. They must be doing something right; some of the best shooters on the planet are on their roster, and have been for quite some time. No matter what brand you find yourself loyal to, the fact of the matter remains; you like what you like! I am what’s called an “equal opportunity gun guy”. I have my preferences for applications so; the only fealty I show is to practicality. For Example; if I know that I will be taking a road trip and will not be holstered much, a micro pistol will not be my go to. Rest assured that there will be full sized/tactical pistol somewhere within arms reach. The flip side to that coin, when I carry concealed, the same full sized pistol is typically found locked up in my console safe. Savvy? Furthest from  the standard As of late, we have managed to get our hands on a pistol that is considered a trophy by both performance and sentiment standards. Eclipse Gun works out of East Moline, Illinois took an out of the box Springfield Armory XD tactical and turned it into a tack driving-tactical paradox. This XD is recognized and approved by the American Pistol smiths Guild (the authority behind customization and building handguns). I am going on record in stating that there are only a handful of pistol smiths that have the guilds stamp. This XD, and the smith behind its creation are among the handful! The only organic parts on the pistol, is the plastic that the frame was made from, the serial numbers stamped in it and the slide that sits on top. Even those had significant performance enhancing modifications done. I wont be shooting a stock class competition with it that’s for sure! Lighter and Faster Removing approximately 4 inches of forged steel from the slide allows the XD to cycle smooth and balanced throughout quick target acquisition and engagements. Omitting the factory sights with a dovetailed LED Trijicon RMR offers an aiming point that is unmistakable and true. Yes, I fully understand the gamble in substituting iron sights with battery-powered electronics. That said; I wouldn’t fathom practicing such atrocities if we didn’t have a product that was as tried and true such as the Ruggedized Miniature Reflex optic. Springfield Armory supplied a stainless match barrel with a polished feed ramp and a one-piece op rod with a tuned spring, a staunch difference from the melonite barrel and recoil system that comes standard. All of the slide modifications would not be complete without the meticulous application of KG ceramic coating done by Eclipse Gunworks out of East Moline, Illinois. Standing up to the rigors of shooting, holstering and the elements, KG is designed to withstand whatever the end user can throw at it, up to and including salt water. [caption id="attachment_127" align="alignnone" width="1024"]The slide has been milled and polished to ensure consistent functionality every time the trigger is pulled. Lightening ports reduce weight and ensure balanced cycling[/caption] Commanding Grip As most polymer pistol aficionados can attest,  one of the first orders of business out of the box is to one way or the other modify their grips. I can write an entirely different article on the various options behind grip mods, so stand by for further! The original grip for this pistol has been reduced to the same depth or height as the frame itself. A permanent 26 LPI texture has been applied by melting into the frame to accommodate a no slip grip without mangling flesh, think of it as a happy medium between conventional grip tape and the factory casting. Springfield Armory has marketed this same concept on other XD/M models appropriately called the “Grip Zone”. Eclipse Gun works applied that concept to this pistol. Each texture, whether it is out of the factory or at Eclipse is applied by hand at such a meticulous pace to ensure consistent depth and patterning. BE ADVISED:if you attempt to texturize your XD, S or M on your own, you are voiding the factory warrantee, if you mess it up you’re shit out of luck! Spend the few dollars and send your pistol to SA. [caption id="attachment_128" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Evenly textured grip ensures the pistol stays in place during engagements yet not overly aggressive. Various textures are available upon request from Springfield's Custom Shop Evenly textured grip ensures the pistol stays in place during engagements yet not overly aggressive. Various textures are available upon request from Springfield's Custom Shop[/caption] Top Secret Triggers The trigger is much like the elusive Sasquatch to those of us that don't tune them on a daily basis. We talk about it, but have yet to see (or witness) it. Anyone can log into their Brownells account and order a drop in. Yes, the break will be cleaner and the reset will be significantly shorter than it was out of the box, but you will not have the same performance. Springfield Armory’s triggers are not the typical DIY install, as a matter of fact; their triggers are the exact opposite. The custom shop guys will not disclose exactly how they install or tune them, but they have assured me that they don’t out source to other companies and parts aren’t added that aren't made in the factory, so it is virtually impossible to emulate a TRUE custom shop trigger job! “It comes down to Craftsmanship and being good at what we do” Dave Williams said, about the custom shop and his smiths that work there. Personally, I have spent thousands of dollars on drop in triggers and connectors for every one of my pistols and I have yet to find one that holds up to the custom shop magic. Running the XD through its paces the 3lb trigger broke in the same spot every time and the reset was crisp and short.   Gucci Gear The XD 9 Tactical by Springfield Armory comes with about every bell and whistle that you can install on a pistol without being distracting and…overdone. The extended slide lock/release and flared magazine well are great additions for speed reloads while on the move. The 3 – 16 round magazines equipped with matching KG Koted 2 round extenders allow the end users more time shooting and less time jamming mags.  SA always has magazines in stock that you can order factory direct if you like to have multiple laying around they will ship right to your door…so long as you don’t live in one of those states where people actually think that limiting magazine capacity will actually decrease gun violence and/or lethality. Once you purchase the XD Tactical, keep up with Springfield Armory and sign up for their emails. They occasionally do a "gear up" program that entails sending you free magazines and pouches. [caption id="attachment_131" align="alignleft" width="1024"] A "no machine required" adapter is available to accommodate Trijicons LED RMR to the dovetail notch in lieu of the rear sight[/caption]   Follow Through Throughout my testing I have yet to experience a malfunction with this pistol. I tested 4 types of ammunition with 4 different drills and the pistol performed with every pull of the trigger. Hornadys 135 grain Flex Loc Critical duty ammo proved to be the most consistent through the chronograph and accuracy testing. If you have been on the fence about buying a new gun, I suggest looking into this combination of a self proven polymer pistol with the craftsmanship of Springfield’s Custom shop and Eclipse Gunworks artistry. In any case you will not be disappointed what comes back. The world of 3 gun competitions has exploded and a custom XD or XDM would not be a bad choice for the first time competitor. Springfield stands by its products so long as you don’t go wrenching, grinding or melting inevitably messing something up, they will honor a no questions asked warrantee. THAT SAID…if something looks fishy, you would have someone with a southern accent (from an Illinois number) call you and very politely ask…what happened, you're in charge of your own fate at that point! Ballistics and Accuracy


Hornady Critical Duty


135 Flex Loc 










[caption id="attachment_130" align="alignnone" width="792"]Hornadys Critical Duty Flex loc (best group) measured at 1.11 inches from 25 yards. Hornadys Critical Duty Flex loc (best group) measured at 1.11 inches from 25 yards.[/caption] Springfield Armory XD Tactical Spec Column

Caliber: 9mm

Trigger: 3lbs

Weight (Empty): 27.5 oz

Length: 8.3 inches

Height: 5.5 Inches

Barrel: 5 Inch, Brushed Stainless

Sights: Trijicon LED RMR

Grips: Reduced/Textured (Grip Zone MOD)

Grip width: 1.18 inches

Slide: Forged Steel, KG Kote

Frame: Black Polymer

Magazine: 2 – 16 or 19 round




Eclipse Gunworks


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