I did not want another 9mm, or a .40 S&W. I’m a .45 ACP man—1911 pattern being my favorite flavor. Besides that, I just hadn’t found a polymer-framed wondernine to match the original .45’s grip size and sheer point-ability. That was, until 2002 when Springfield Armory began importing the striker-fired HS2000 9x19mm pistol from Croatia and renamed it the XD. I resisted the pistol until Springfield released the 5-inch barrel Tactical Model a few years later—since I’m a sucker for any gun whose manufacturer has the word “tactical” in the firearm’s actual model designation.
The XD slide shows the Dawson front and rear sights and the polished feed ramp.
I did my usual “blind taste test” at my local gun store—I took the unloaded XD in my waist level, two-handed shooting grip, and with my eyes closed, shoved the pistol out into firing position. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to see that the sights on the XD were right where I was looking. I was sold. Soon my assorted 1911s began to languish in the safe as the OD green-framed XD became my “go to” gun, doing home defense duty with a SureFire X300 and taking on the steel at Taran Butler’s personal training facility.
But the XD-9 wasn’t completely perfect. The trigger was good, not great. The frame’s grip angle was close to the 1911’s, but the checkered polymer got slick in the sweaty summers. I had heard of people grinding away on their “plastic” framed pistols with a Dremel tool, even applying epoxy resin and skate board tape to change grip characteristics. I asked my local gun store’s owner what he knew about such grip work on XDs, and he pulled up the Bar-Sto Precision Machine website on the store computer. I knew that Bar-Sto has been making some of the world’s finest quality match barrels for semi-auto pistols for nearly 40 years, but I always associated them with 1911 barrels. He showed me the various custom options for the XD family of pistols offered by Bar-Sto, and I was hooked.