By Dan Smith - genitron.com
Although recently marketed in the US through Springfield Armory as the XD, this design has actually been around since 2000. Developed and produced in Croatia, this design was originally imported by the now defunct HS Arms and was marketed as the HS-2000.
This remarkable 21st century design from Croatia's IM Metalworks facility was not lost on Springfield Armory who quickly acquired exclusive importation rights to the weapon, and now sells the line as the SA-XD (Springfield Armory Extreme Duty) series.
When I came across this SA-XD 357, it was the combination of two unique modern-day designs; the Glock-style trigger action and the SIG 357 cartridge, that attracted my interest. I thought this to be a good choice for my first handgun review.
Caliber: 357 SIG
Action: recoil operated semi-automatic
Length: 7.25 in
Width: 1.25 in (includes slide lever)
Height: 5.5 in (to the top of the rear sight)
Magazine Capacity: 10, 12 rounds
Barrel Length: 4.05 in
Rifling: 6-grooves, RH twist
Trigger: Ultra Safety Assurance (U.S.A.) action trigger system
Sights: White 3-dot, both front and rear dovetailed, drift adjustable
Weight without magazine: 27 oz
Weight with empty magazine: 30.4 oz
Weight loaded (1+10 rd magazine): 35.4 oz
Ambidextrous magazine release.
Stainless steel magazines.
Machined metal trigger with plastic safety lever.
Slide rails - front: metal insert, rear: molded polymer.
Cocking indicator, located at the rear end of the slide.
Straight checkered "frontstrap". Curved checkered "backstrap".
Loaded chamber indicator, located on top of the slide to the
rear of the ejection port.
A captive dual-spring recoil spring assembly is employed
to reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil.
5" barrel "Tactical"
4" barrel "Service"
3" barrel "Sub-Compact"
Note: the Sub-Compact has a decisively shorter grip.
Design Notes -
Although most striker-fired guns are classified as double-action-only - including the Glock - the XD is correctly classified as a single-action design, which has confused some. This is because when the slide is racked, the striker is charged to a full cock position. And although the trigger pull is as long as the Glock's, its pull weight is noticeably light and constant, taking no part in cocking the striker, only releasing the sear at the end of its stroke.
Most single-action autos have manual safeties, but the XD's Croatian designers eliminated the need for such safeties by adopting the Glock-type trigger safety as well as an internal firing-pin block. They also added a grip safety which blocks the sear from releasing the striker until it is squeezed.
The caliber -
SIGARMS, in partnership with Federal Cartridge, developed the 357 SIG cartridge in 1994. The 357 SIG cartridge uses a bottlenecked .40 S&W casing crimped to a 9mm bullet; this is why the 357 SIG is not written as ".357", as it is not truly a .357 caliber bullet, but is instead a standard 9 mm parabellum (.3550 in). The 357 SIG design is an attempt to create a cartridge with stopping power that would approach the larger .357 Magnum revolver round, but in a smaller package that can fit comfortably in the grip of a semi-automatic weapon.
There is a large selection of 357 SIG bullet weights available in factory loadings. Generally, the range is from an 87 grain "screamer" (running 2000 FPS+ in velocity) to a high of about 150 grains.
The following data set is based on standard factory loaded cartridges fired from a 4" barrel chronographed at 20 feet. This is only a very small sample of what is available.
100 grain Cor-Bon Pow R Ball: 1,703 Feet Per Second
115 grain Triton BHP : 1,564 Feet Per Second
124 grain Hornady JHP XTP : 1,329 Feet Per Second
125 grain Cor-Bon JHP : 1,439 Feet Per Second
147 grain Speer JHP GD : 1,186 Feet Per Second
Handgun Observations -
The XD's square slide, polymer frame and trigger safety are extremely similar to the Glock design, although in my opinion the single-action trigger pull is much more appealing.
150 grain Federal JHP : 1,130 Feet Per Second
The slide is tight and trim with virtually no rattle when shaken.
The XD has a grip angle and grip safety similar to the 1911, and the takedown lever and barrel lockup appear to be copied from SIG.
Like most polymer frame guns, the XD is a little top-heavy when empty, but not nearly as noticeable as a Taurus PT, Beretta 9000, or similar S&W design. When fully loaded, the gun is perfectly balanced.
The gun tested was marketed during the "ban era" and as such, came supplied with only 10-round magazines.
You can't load the +1 round into the open breech. The loaded chamber indicator gets in the way and prevents the breechblock from locking. The +1 round must be loaded from the top of an inserted magazine, after which the magazine can be removed, the top round replaced, and magazine re-inserted.
I was completely surprised by this pistol's shooting action. The trigger's single-action pull weight and great grip ergonomics combined to make this one of the most accurate guns I have fired. Although the 357 SIG cartridge gave a loud report, actual recoil was minimal.