First experience shooting and XD (pretty long)
Today I went with James and his friend to a USPSA match. Since I'd never drawn from a holster before James (being an NRA certified trainer) showed me how and gave me several general shooting tips before the match started. I then practiced drawing and firing from the holster and I got my first chance to shoot the XD (well, HS2000 Gen. 3). The HS2000 I was using already had more than 60,000 rounds through it but fired like it was brand new. James takes damn good care of his guns!
My first concern when I held the pistol was that the recoil would be heavy on the gun. I'd been shooting my dad's all steel Browning Hi-Power my whole life and it's a bit heavier than the XD, buy my concerns were soon put to rest after firing a few rounds. It was only a 9mm and the recoil actually felt lighter than on my father's gun. The biggest difference for me to get used to was the lack of an external safety.
Once we had a runthrough of the stages the competition began. On stage one the only problem I had was during a reload I didn't slap the magazine in hard enough and it almost fell out while firing. It only took me through Stage 1 to realize that shooting on a course like that where speed mattered alot was a heck of alot harder than shooting at a range where you weren't moving and reloading/firing quickly. Needless to say that my score was quite low.
Stage 2 was a bit better as it was a less confusing stage and probably my best stage. No problems with this one. Stage 3...a few problems there. We had a metal sillouette target to shoot that would fall down and release another swinging target. It took me about 9 shots to knock that one down (I hit it three times!) and I got a bit frusterated. I was in such a rush that I didn't even notice two of the targets.
Stage 4...a complete screwup for me. This was where we practiced using only strong hand and weak hand. Luckily for me my brain kept telling my supporting hand not to release the gun. The first time I forgot to reload (it was a 5 shot, reload, 5 more shots with both hands). The 2nd time I remembered to reload but forgot to switch to strong hand only for the 2nd set of 5 shots. The 3rd round I did everything right but shooting with my weak hand I shot so high on my last 2 shots that someone said I hit a tree about 15 feet up in the air or so (slightly embarassing).
Stage 5 taught me that steel targets are a thing of evil. 13 circular steel targets...and I hit 1. I don't know why I had so much trouble hitting them but God knows I unloaded 26 rounds at these targets and the only one I hit I wasn't aiming at. So yeah, that was a bit embarassing.
Overall I was very happy with the performance of the XD and I can easily attribute my missed shots soley to my bad accuracy. I've not shot as much as anyone else there and I had never handled the weapon before. Still, I had no feeding errors at all and the only problems I had were the magazine coming out that one time and clearing the final round when the stages were over (thanks to my sweaty hands).
A few things I noticed:
-James and I weren't the only ones with an XD so apparently it's gaining popularity in competition shooting.
-The guy in our group shooting his Glock was an excellent shot but was absolutley plagued with feeding errors.
-James is a much better shot than I am (as was...everyone).
-USPSA shooting is extremely fun although very difficult to get used to.
After the match was over I got to fire a few rounds out of James' XD-45Le Tactical. I really don't think the recoil was much worse than the 9mm service. I was expecting the thing to jerk around like crazy but found the recoil light.
Then I found the weapon that I seemed to fire the best by far. I borrowed Andrew's (I believe that's his name) USP 40 Compact and for some reason shot that much better than the XD. This can probably be greatly attributed to the fact that I wasn't being rushed to fire like I was during the competition and also that the gun's trigger pull feels like the Single Action Browning Hi-Power that I'd been shooting my whole life. The sights also seemed to suit me better.
Overall I had a great time. James is an incredibly friendly guy who definately knows his guns backwards and forwards and loves his XD's to death. I plan on participating at as many USPSA matches as I can and now that I've actually fired the XD I can judge wether it's the right pistol for me, which I think it may be. At one time I was considering the USP's and then dropped it, but now it's definately back in the running as well. Hopefully I'll get the cash up soon enough to make a purchase. Thanks again James!
P.S. Sorry this is so damn long