The Croatian Army pistol that became a commercial success in the US

The Springfield Armory XD and XDM

Article and Research by Nick Jacobellis

  In the 1990s the IM Metal Company of Croatia developed a striker fired 9mm pistol for the Croatian Army that was designated the HS2000. This polymer framed pistol was imported into the United States by Intrac and distributed by HS America. In 2001, Springfield Armory became the sole distributor of the 9mm HS2000 that was renamed the XD or Xtreme Duty.  In time, the XD lineup of pistols would include various models chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG and .45 ACP caliber. 

            Ever since the original 9mm HS2000 and the subsequent Springfield Armory imported Xtreme Duty (XD) Pistols were introduced to the U.S. market, these handguns developed an instant following for various reasons. In addition to being flawlessly reliable and very accurate, XD end users also found these pistols to be comfortable to shoot. Adding a set of Talon Rubber Gun Grips to any XD variant can also improve upon perfection. To be more specific, the texture of the Talon Rubber Grips can enhance your ability to maintain a firm purchase or grip on XD pistols under firing conditions.  A major component of improved ergonomics is the added level of comfort a shooter experiences, when they discharge a handgun using premium brand hollow-point service ammunition. 

            The XDM lineup of pistols has a more rounded off grip design that some end users might prefer over the traditional XD ergonomics. Personally, I find the ergonomics on XDs and XDMs to be very comfortable and user friendly. That said, the topic of ergonomics is very subjective and affects each operator differently.

            Over the years I have field tested and evaluated XDs and XDMs in different configurations and in every caliber offering. This includes an XD Service Model in .357 SIG, a caliber option that is no longer being offered. While doing so, I NEVER experienced a stoppage or a malfunction of any kind with any HS2000, XD or XDM pistol. Even when I conducted environmental testing that involved burying and covering XDs in .45 ACP caliber in sand and dirt, these pistols performed admirably. Speaking of sand and dirt, I should mention that Croatian Army troops have carried their super reliable HS2000/XD service pistols while deployed to war torn lands, to include Iraq, Afghanistan and Chad.

Clearly, any military service pistol that can survive harsh operating conditions in any combat zone is worth owning.

            In this Firearms Test and Evaluation for ARGunners I decided to conduct a review of two brand new 9mm XD variants. I did so to see if the XDs that are being in manufactured in 2021 are just as reliable, accurate and comfortable to operate, as the examples that I have owned and evaluated in the past. While the 9mm XD Service Model that was tested was fitted with a four inch barrel, the 9mm XD Sub Compact has a three inch barrel. I included a 9mm XD Sub Compact in this review because sub compact pistols are widely used for concealed carry by legally armed individuals. During testing both XD pistols proved to be flawlessly reliable and as accurate as any other XD that I field tested and owned in the past.

XD Construction and Standards features    

 All XD variants are short recoil operated locked breach loading pistols, that are fitted with a hammer forged barrel that insures long barrel life and reliable performance, a super smooth striker fired trigger system, a grip safety, a loaded chamber indicator, a set of very easy to acquire all steel white three dot fixed sights, an ambidextrous magazine release button, a dual captive recoil spring, an easy to use take-down lever that rotates up to facilitate slide removal, front and rear slide serrations, a Picatinny Rail for the installation of tactical lights and lasers and a rugged polymer frame with a magazine well that accommodates incredibly well made corrosion resistant metal magazines. (The 9mm XD Service Model can accommodate a 10 or 16 round magazine.)  The front of the recoil spring also protrudes a bit from the slide assembly and serves as a “standoff device,” which allows an XD to remain in battery and able to fire, even when the pistol is pressed up against a threat. The carbon steel metal parts on the Springfield Armory XD (to include the slide assembly on the non stainless models) are treated with Melonite.  Melonite is used to effectively protect the metal parts on XDs from excessive wear and corrosion, without changing the dimensions of the metal components.  In addition to the grip safety, XDs are also fitted with a trigger safety and a drop safety that prevents a loaded XD from firing if dropped.  XDM variants include the same features except for their more rounded off ergonomics and their sights, which include a red fiber optic front sight.

Closing Remarks         

            Ever since I evaluated the 9mm HS2000 some 20 years ago, I have remained incredibly impressed with the superb reliability and handling characteristics of the entire lineup of Springfield Armory XD and XDM Pistols. Regardless of the model or the caliber, Springfield Armory XD and XDM pistols are Top Gun Personal Defense Weapons, that have been carried by armed professionals and massive numbers of legally armed citizens for over 20 years. This means that the XD and XDM Xtreme Duty design has passed the test of time.

About the Author: Nick Jacobellis is a Medically Retired U.S. Customs Agent and a former NY police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent. To date, the author has published over 180 magazine articles and nine action-packed nonfiction, historical fiction, and fiction books: Controlled Delivery Books One and Two, The Frontline Fugitives Books I, II, III, and IV, Buck Banderas U.S. Marshal Books One and Two and A Special Kind of Hero. These books have received 5 Star reviews and are available on Amazon.com (US), and (UK). He was born and raised in Flatbush section of Brooklyn NY and has an BS Degree in Police Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

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