Springfield XD Tactical .40 Review
April 16th, 2022
7 minute read
Be it a competition timer or a home alarm, when you hear the buzzer a full-size, full-power pistol is often the best choice to fill your hand. In today’s Springfield XD Tactical .40 review, I examine one of the hidden gems in the company’s catalog. It offers a lot of potential for an affordable price – and is accessible to our friends in California.
Springfield Armory is well known for its rifles and pistols. However, the XD line is where I got my first real taste of the company’s guns some 20 years back. Fast forward to today and the company is still offering a full range of original XD pistols. Why is that?
Frankly, if it ain’t broke there’s no need to fix it. I think that is why the XD line successfully continues into a third decade of sales. While the company expanded the line to include exceptional pistols like the XD-M Elite, the original XD handguns simply worked. And why mess with success?
The pistol I am reviewing today may be one of the lesser-known of the bunch: the XD Tactical .40. As the name suggests, it is chambered for the .40 caliber cartridge. The Tactical designation lets you know this is a gun with a 5” barrel.
There are a lot of good reasons to prefer the .40-caliber cartridge. While the 9mm seems to be in favor today – and I have a lot of 9mm pistols myself, so no hate here – no one ever claimed the .40 was an ineffective cartridge.
For competition, the .40 can be loaded to hotter or milder levels to meet your needs. Likewise, you can run tame loads in the gun for a fun day of target practice.
The round is also very effective at stopping attackers. Twice during my law enforcement career I’ve seen what Speer Gold Dot rounds will do to a violent felon, and neither incident left any doubt as to the effectiveness of the bullet or caliber. While I can make a solid argument for the 9mm cartridge as a defensive load, I carried the .40 for years as a cop and would willingly do so again.
Longtime fans of the XD line will find the features of the XD Tactical .40 to be familiar. Newcomers to the line might be surprised at the high-quality features baked into these reasonably priced pistols.
At the top of my favorite aspects of this pistol is the ergonomics. To start with, the grip fills my hand without feeling too large. At the web of the hand, the backstrap is scooped out to allow for better finger reach to the trigger and an overall higher hand location.
Speaking of the trigger, it is light and crisp. It has a fair amount of take-up and virtually no overtravel. While the trigger feel is similar to other striker-fired pistols on the market, it feels cleaner than most to me.
An ambidextrous magazine release is standard on this pistol. Let me be clear – it is ambidextrous, not reversible. That means at any time you can activate the release from either side of the pistol without having to tear the gun apart and swap parts around.
Springfield equips the XD Tactical .40 with metal sights for long-term durability. The gun is also equipped with a non-proprietary accessory rail that will accept practically any light or laser unit.
California may know how to party, but it is better known as an authoritarian nanny state by many gun owners. The state ignores the natural rights of individuals and artificially restricts what guns and magazines its citizens can purchase and own. Consequently, some companies have pulled out of California altogether or merely don’t manufacture guns that are legal to sell in the Golden State.
Springfield Armory, however, did not abandon the residents of California.
Instead, the company seems to have taken the opposite approach. The XD line of pistols is on the state’s roster of “approved” firearms – guns that are ok for the public to own. So, the company offers the California compliant gun with a pair of low-capacity magazines (10-rounds each.)
The Springfield XD Tactical .40 is available for sale throughout the United States. Additionally, it is one of the relatively few handguns that is also for sale in California.
Here’s a look at the features and measurements of the Springfield Armory XD Tactical .40:
|Magazines||10-round, 2 included*|
*As this gun is available for sale in California, it is offered with low capacity, 10-round magazines. Standard capacity (12 round) magazines are available from Springfield Armory.
Regardless of any other reason you might choose the XD Tactical .40, you likely want a pistol that is reliable and easy to shoot. The only way to determine how the handgun measures up is to get it on the range and shoot it. I probably don’t need to say it, but I really like my job.
Here’s a look of how the gun performed.
I ran five different loads through the XD Tactical .40 pistol. Two were FMJ-style while three were suitable for self-defense.
All of the ammunition functioned perfectly in the Springfield Armory pistol. None of the ammo presented any challenge whatsoever.
I ran each of the loads over my chronograph to measure the average velocity of the loads from the Tactical pistol. This data is recorded in the table below:
|Federal Champion 180-gr. FMJ||1,000 fps||400 ft-lbs||1.19”|
|Hornady Critical Duty 175-gr. FTX||1,020 fps||404 ft-lbs||1.28”|
|Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense 60-gr. JHP||2,111 fps||594 ft-lbs||1.51”|
|Speer Gold Dot 180-gr. JHP||1,031 fps||425 ft-lbs||1.44”|
|Winchester USA 165-gr. FMJ||1,049 fps||403 ft-lbs||1.53”|
Additionally, I measured the accuracy of the loads. The accuracy of most modern firearms is far better than what many of us can shoot. Nevertheless, the ergonomics of a pistol can greatly impact how well we shoot.
For me, the XD Tactical .40 shot very accurately. The XD line of pistols fits my hand well, and I find the triggers to be light and crisp. The XD Tactical .40 is an excellent example of those ergonomic features. Consequently, I am able to shoot the pistol well.
Does an Extra Inch Matter?
You might be wondering if a little extra length makes any performance difference. Generally speaking, yes – adding an inch or two will often develop more projectile velocity while reducing felt recoil.
While at the range, I tested the same ammo in both the Tactical model and the XD Service pistol in .40 with a 4” barrel. Here are the average results from my measurements:
|Ammunition||XD40 Service (4”)||XD40 Tactical (5”)|
|Hornady Critical Duty 175-gr. FTX||1,022 fps||1,020 fps|
|Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense 60-gr. JHP||1,982 fps||2,111 fps|
|Speer Gold Dot 180-gr. JHP||997 fps||1,031 fps|
I was a bit surprised to see that the Hornady Critical Duty load showed no increase in bullet velocity by moving up to a longer barrel. However, the other loads followed the pattern I’ve seen over the years: heavy bullets gain a modest velocity increase while lightweight bullets can gain substantial velocity increases.
The Springfield Armory XD Tactical .40 is an amazingly versatile and useful handgun. It fits several use categories including:
- Duty/service use
- Home defense
- General recreational shooting
There are a lot of things going for this pistol. First off, the gun is affordably priced and should fit within most budgets. Second, the .40 cartridge is powerful enough for a wide range of applications – yet it can be downloaded for an enjoyable afternoon of plinking.
The full-size nature of this pistol also lends itself to greater accuracy potential and reduced felt recoil as compared to smaller guns chambered for the same cartridge. Lastly, the gun is very reliable – something that everyone likely wants in a pistol.
While it may not be the best choice for concealed carry, for a lot of other applications it makes sense. Add to the mix that the gun is California legal, and you wind up with a gun that ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of people.
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