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  4. Springfield XD-40 Review: A Solid Self-Defense Pistol
Springfield XD-40 Review: A Solid Self-Defense Pistol preview image
Jul 31 2023
10 min read

Springfield XD-40 Review: A Solid Self-Defense Pistol


Admittingly, I never really saw myself as a fan of the .40 S&W cartridge. I had a bad experience with the P229 and never liked how snappy the round could be.

But I was also 75 pounds lighter and a whole foot shorter. Nor did I know my way around the gun yet. So I dismissed the .40S&W round.

Until I shot the Springfield Armory XD-40. Now here I am, about to tell you why I absolutely love this pistol.

Does it have everything I look for in a pistol? No. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Let’s get down to it.

Springfield Armory XD-40 Review

Springfield Armory XD-40 For Sale

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We all know how snappy the .40S&W round can be. Especially when shot from pistols with smaller barrels.

But I ain’t gonna lie; I shot my P320 M18 right before getting rowdy with the XD-40, and I could not tell the difference in felt recoil (too much).

Of course, many of you fine shooters don’t mind the recoil impulse of the .40, but some shooters do. And it’s important since many folks may be here searching for their first pistol.

If you want something with as minimal recoil as possible, or maybe you are just getting into shooting, I would advise against the XD-40. The XD-9 might suit you better.

a close up of a springfield armory xd40 laying on the ground

But those of you who have been in the game for a while might actually be surprised by this little pistol. I know I was.


ActionDouble Action Only
Barrel Length4 Inches / 1:16 twist
Frame MaterialPolymer
Weight1.8 Pounds
Overall Length7.3 Inches

Pros & Cons

  • Loaded chamber indicator
  • Great trigger
  • Dual recoil springs
  • Good grip angle
  • Sights are exceptional
  • No optics cut
  • Magazine release requires grip adjustment

12 Rounds With The Springfield XD-40

Not literally 12 rounds. It just sounds cool.

The only two issues that I had with the XD-40 were the lack of an optics cut and how I had to adjust my grip when going to release the magazine. Besides those two small issues, I could not find any fault with the XD-40.

And I tried. Since I get paid to sit here and tell you, fine shooters, how much I like or dislike a firearm, it’s only best that I keep it one hundred with you, right?

Good. Glad we got that established.

Anywho, shooting the XD-40 was nothing short of a surprise. Not only did I overly anticipate the first shot (as you can see in the picture below), I completely misjudged how well this pistol would do once I got on it.

The recoil was lower than a Flo-Rida song, and keeping this thing on target was almost as easy as keeping my 9mm Sig Sauer on target. I guess we can thank the dual recoil springs for that. And those iron sights? Whew.

Talk about easy.

Probably some of the best irons that I’ve ever seen on a factory pistol. Like seriously, bro, it was a breeze. Even my five-foot-100-pound girlfriend could keep the XD-40 on target.

Do my hands deceive me? Did I load 9mm into the XD-40? There’s no way. The recoil was absent, like my mother, after I was born. And that’s saying something.

I don’t have any failures to report either. Not one or a sign of one. It just shot all day like Johnny Sins.

The trigger made a huge difference in how much I actually liked this pistol too. It feels good, doesn’t have too much creep, and you can actually feel it when it’s about to break. Overall, great trigger.

So after 100 rounds with the XD-40, I decided to wrap it up. Which is unusual.

After shooting the XD-40, I was surprised by how much I loved it. Despite the little things I don’t like about it, it still shot perfectly well. My opinion on .40 caliber pistols has changed.

springfield armory xd40 review groupings


I had zero issues with the XD-40 when it came time to send some lead down the range. It fed reliably, ejected reliably, and did everything I asked it to do. No problem.


I thought the iron sights would have sent this pistol down the drain. But the accuracy is great. Just as good as you are. I’m sure there are millions of fine shooters that can shoot better than three MOA with the XD-40 from 40 feet.

Get it? .40 at 40 feet? No?

Overall Feel

The XD-40 also feels good in the hand. It feels balanced and well-built. Fits in my hands nicely. I would recommend it for shooters with medium and larger hands. Smaller-handed shooters may find some issues.


Springfield Safety Assurance Trigger

springfield armory xd40 review trigger close up

The trigger on the XD-40 was one of the biggest highlights of the firearm for me personally.

I loved how smooth it was and how it sounded when I dry-fired. It doesn’t sound like my P320 trigger, which seems like a dud compared to this one.

There’s a small bit of take-up, a defined wall, and ever-so-little creep, and then it breaks. I love defined walls, and I love when it all comes to a head. The reset comes at about 90º when you start to let off.

I notice a bit of a gritty feeling when pulling the trigger slowly. It’s not unbearable, but it’s there.

No big deal. I still like it a lot.

Dual Recoil Springs

springfield armory xd40 review recoil springs

What makes the recoil of the XD-40 so easy to control? Aside from the relatively low bore axis you have dual recoil springs that also help keep her flat.

This not only helps with not making the gun pleasant to shoot, but it also helps you get those follow-up shots right where you need them.

Grip Safety

springfield armory xd40 review grip and safety

The XD-40 also features a grip safety instead of a manual thumb safety. So on this pistol, you have two safeties in total. One on the grip and one on the trigger.

Now I know what you may be thinking. It might get annoying, or you’d rather not have a grip safety. But it doesn’t get in the way at all. I personally don’t find it annoying or anything.

And when you have that high tang on the grip, you never even notice it’s there. It’s simple and will make sure you don’t go blowing your johnson off when appendix carrying.

How We Tested

This XD-40 that I tested was provided by Springfield. I did not have to pay for it, and they also are not paying me to say nice things about this pistol. We not gonna do that here. Feel me? Cool.

Anyway, I got my hands on this pistol, went straight to the range (in the same building), and gave her a quick lubing. A few shots and some more lubing. Just to make sure we have some oil in there.

A well-oiled machine is a working machine. Unless it’s a Ford.

I started off slow to get a feel for the recoil. But after that shot, it was no holds barred. The recoil was low, and I was excited. So excited that I went through three boxes of ammo before realizing I was also there to give feedback to you fine shooters.

Ammo Used

springfield armory xd40 review with Hornady critical defense ammo

As usual, we want to focus on the firearm itself and not any issues with ammo that could change our opinion of this firearm. So we try and go with the best ammo on the market from one of the most well-known ammunition brands in the fine shooter community.

And, since this pistol may end up being carried under a shirt, we wanted to ensure it did well with self-defense rounds.

And the Critical Defense round from Hornady features the Flex Tip for consistent spreads. Having seen a lot of self-defense rounds not open up after hitting gelatin, I want something that won’t ask twice when it’s time to get to work.

Score Card

Reliability (10/10)  

No failures to report.

Ergonomics (10/10)

Feels amazing in the hand when shooting and drawing.

Customization (5/10)

There is very little aftermarket support for the XD-40 (that I’ve seen).

Appearance (6/10)

It has more curves than a Glock. But won’t turn heads. It’s all business.

Value (8/10)

Once you learn how to manage the slightly larger recoil, this pistol is great for concealed carry. But I would personally opt for something with an optic cut.


Streamlight TLR-1

Streamlight TLR-1

No matter what, you always, always need a light on your firearm, especially for self and home defense. You always want to get positive identification of the assailant for picking up small details and even as a deterrence and distraction.

You know, like when you get stopped by the fuzz, and they shine that flashlight in your face?

Not only does it take the assailant’s night vision, but it also keeps them at bay without having to fire a shot.

The TLR-1 HL won’t break the bank and lasts longer than I do. I have one on a few of my firearms.

Alien Gear Shapeshift Holster

Alien Gear ShapeShift 4.0 IWB Holster

You also need a holster. How else do you plan on carrying a firearm? Ghetto carry? You might shoot yourself in the no-no square, but whatever floats your boat.

The Shapeshift Holster from Alien gear was my first holster for my P320. I eventually had to find something that would accommodate my tendency to change parts on my concealed carry pistol.

But this is a great option for those of you who are just getting into the concealed carry game. It features a guard that will lower your need to wear an undershirt when carrying.

Along with the retention of the Shapeshift, the guard was my favorite. Now I have to wear Under Armour undershirts.


Heckler and Kock VP40

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Heckler and Koch are infamous for producing high-quality pistols, and one of the pistols that give a clear indication of how well their pistols are built is the VP40.

Although some American shooters may not like the paddle mag release, the trigger on the VP40 is sure to make up for any gripes you may find with it.

I found none. I’m sure you won’t either.

Smith and Wesson M&P40 M2.0

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Smith and Wesson has been a household name for American firearms since the times when people named their kids Horace. 171 years ago. When Horace Smith and Dan Wesson came together to make things go boom.

The M&P40 M2.0 features a few things that the VP40 and XD-40 do not, like an optics cut and suppressor height sights.

Smith and Wesson say that it was machined to be one of the most accurate pistols in the industry. And it is pretty damn accurate, if I may say so myself.


I don’t think the .40S&W cartridge gets enough love. The Springfield Armory XD-40 was an all-around fantastic pistol that left very little to ask for. I had an amazing time shooting this little .40, and I think any shooter looking for a concealed carry pistol with a bit more punch than the 9mm may find comfort in this pistol.

There may be better pistols out there, but the XD-40 will get your feet wet and then some.

Is there a pistol that you think would make a great alternative to the XD-40? Do you own one of your own? If so, how do you like it?

Let me know.

See you on the range, fine shooter.

Written by Brian Zerbian
Brian Zerbian photo Brian is a USMC Veteran and avid gun enthusiast from New Jersey who loves to spend his time shooting, writing, listening to classic rock, and learning new things. His goal is to help new gun owners and people who are getting into guns get all the best knowledge in the simplest ways. With no technical jargon and seasoned with fun.


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