While it is important to ensure that your defensive/controlled expansion rounds will cycle and function in your pistol, that kind of ammunition is expensive. Trigger time for training is a lot easier on the wallet with the bulk boxes of FMJ ammo from various manufacturers. Before beginning the range portion of this piece I picked up a 250 count box of American Eagle .45 ACP from Federal. This is quality ammunition to be sure, but it was made for training, not duty or home defense.
On the first afternoon at the range I would be accompanied by my oldest son, Jarrad. Jarrad would help with the pistol’s break in and shoot some of the action shots as my assistant photographer. You’ve heard the term “sweating for your craft”? Well we were sweating that day as the mercury pushed into the high nineties and the barometer showed high humidity.
As it had been a while since I’d handled an XD pistol I wanted to reacquaint myself with the controls and unique aspects of the gun. Specifically, I wanted to get used to the XD’s trigger. This striker fired system has a relatively long reset when compared to others in its class. I was immediately impressed by two aspects of the pistol. First, for a .45 ACP the grip dimensions are comfortable and fit the hand well. My second impression was that the sights were right on from the factory. Head shots on a Birchwood Casey silhouette target were simply enough at ten and fifteen yards.
Jarrad and I ran somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred and fifty rounds through the pistol on our first outing. All three magazines were loaded to capacity. The supplied loading tool proved invaluable. It helps you get the 12th and 13th rounds into the magazine without killing your thumbs. All five loads were mixed in to test the pistols eating habits. From the fast moving +P load from CorBon to the slow and heavy 230 grain FMJ’s from Federal and CCI, all the ammunition fed and cycled without issue.
Range session number two would begin with a slower pace. Chronographing chores were completed on my Shooting Chrony F1. Step two would be to post several targets downrange at 25 yards. With my arms resting on a rolled up range mat I set about the slow, deliberate testing. I was definitely happy with the results. Please refer to included table for complete details for each load.
The last portion of the test would include presentation from the holster, reloads, footwork drills etc. I donned the included holster and dual magazine pouch and loaded the magazines to capacity with Am. Eagle and CCI FMJ ammunition.
I worked both with and without gloves, fired single and weak handed. Targets were engaged from a seated position (folding chair), from my back, kneeling and prone. I moved forward, backward and laterally. By the time I completed my training session over two hundred pieces of once-fired brass were strewn across the range. The slide was too hot to touch with bare hands and I was convinced beyond a doubt that the new XD(M) .45 ACP pistol was a solid performer.
As with all handguns each one has its own unique features and characteristics. To truly master and appreciate a pistol you need to spend some quality time (read trigger time) with it. This is particularly true when learning the trigger on a new gun.
Regarding the .45 ACP XD(M) I believe the kit is a great value and should certainly give the owner reliable service. Though functional, for my money I can definitely do without the 3 White Dot sights. First of all, if you begin with a clean, out of the box pistol all the white dots will be bright. The rear sight having double the white paint will draw your focus to it as it is brightly colored and closest to your eyes. A quick moment of adjustment and you are now focusing on your front sight. No problem? Perhaps not, think about this.
After a magazine or two you will notice that the front portion of the slide/muzzle area is a bit dirty. That’s where the burning propellant gas escapes. Guess what? Your front sight now has a light coat of carbon and the white dot is now dimmer that the clean rear sight. This makes finding your front sight and focusing on it quickly, versus the clean rear sight, even more difficult. How about we start with a bright, easy to pick up front sight and leave the rear sights dark?