I read all of the horror stories of removing factory XD sights.
My wife wanted some fiber optic sights on her XD9. Pistol was purchased new in January 2008.
I borrowed an MGW sight pusher from a friend of mine. I've got one for my Glocks, but it won't work on XD's (duh).
I sprayed both front & rear sights with Sili-Kroil industrial penetrating oil. It's flippin' magic, trust me.
Next, I tossed the slide in the freezer for about 2 hours.
I went after the rear sight first. Yup, she was tight, but never once did I touch a hammer, punch or bench vise. The rear sight was removed by aid of the MWG puller and bare hands. I didn't try to take her all in one move. If it felt like it was tightening up, I'd let a little pressure off then try again. Total time for rear sight removal once pusher was attached: 3 minutes.
The front sight came out even a little easier. No muss, no fuss. Add another 3 minutes.
The sights my wife chose as replacements were Dawson Precision wide blade rear and thin fiber optic front.
I cleaned out both dovetails with alcohol and a brush. I then gave them both a couple of drops of Loctite (I used blue, because it was handy). I understand the properties/uses of different colors/numbers of Loctite.
The Dawson rear sight slid in snuggly. I used a digital caliber to center them, then tightened down tightened the set screw with a drop of the same Loctite.
We're almost done. The Dawson front sight was a little different design than the oem XD sight. The base of the front sight is not flush with the top of the slide like the oem. This caused the sight/slide fit with the MGW pusher to be very tight vertically. In a perfect world or if I owned the sight pusher I would have milled a couple of .0001's off the base of the pusher.
I was able to fit it in, again, no hammer, punch, or vise needed. I centered the front sight the same way as the rear using my calipers.
My total time from start to finish was less than 30 minutes.
Notice oem sights could still be used.