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« Firing Range Simulator for New Shooters | Main | U.F.B. (Unidentified Flying Brass) »

May 10, 2004


A friend of mine lent me his new autoloader and let me try it out at the range.


This is the new XD9103 with a 4" barrel. It's a polymer frame handgun chambered for the potent .357 SIG cartridge.

The gun is obviously heavily influenced by the Glock series of handguns. The polymer frame means that it's light enough to be carried comfortably, but it's large enough to provide a firm grip.

The XD doesn't have an external hammer, using an internal striker to fire the cartridge. A small pin pops out the back of the slide when the gun is cocked and ready to fire, a needed feature for the operator. The lack of a hammer allows the XD to have a smooth, snag-resistant profile. This is good as far as it goes. But the slide has to be worked to cock the gun, and you can't simply pull the trigger again if faced with a reluctant primer. A loeaded chamber indicator on top of the slide lets the operator know if there's a round waiting in the chamber.

The safety features are impressive. The XD has a grip safety as well as one of those positive trigger safeties. This means that the gun will not finction unless someone has a firm grip and is actually trying to fire.

The .357 SIG cartridge is a magnum-power round. While a bit less impressive than the .357 Magnum cartridge, the SIG round is certainly one of the more powerful choices for an autoloader. It's a very nice choice for someone who's determined to be ready for anything.

The necked-down shape of the .357 SIG rounds means that they're very reliable feeders. I tried every defensive load the gun shop had available, and it simply wouldn't misfeed. Since I gauge how good a gun is by it's reliability I'd have to say that a .357 SIG is one of the best.

The XD grip is designed to provide a comfortable, positive hold. The only real problem is that the polymer frame would transmit the shock of the firing cartridge right into your hand. After 50 rounds I didn't want to shoot the gun any more. A shooting glove alleviated the problem, but that's not an option if you're carrying concealed. After 500 rounds my hand was a bit numb and tingly, even with the glove.

So I'd have to cautiously recommend this gun. It's powerful, reliable, safe and comfortable to carry. It's just not comfortable to shoot. If you're interested in using one for defense I'd seriously suggest one of those after-market rubber sleeves that fit over the grip.

Posted by James Rummel