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I picked up my new XD9 bi tone today. There was a significant delay as the Fed's computers were down, requiring me to wait about 45 minutes before I was able to leave the store with my new gun after completing my paperwork.

Still... the day was warm, the sun was shining, and I had brought about 1000 rnds of various 9mm ammo with me in hopes of going to the gun club after acquiring my new gun.

After a 20 minute drive I arrived at the Tri County facility here in Tualatin Oregon, and proceded to the outdoor IPSC pits to set up for some break in of the new XD. I set up a standard IPSC "cardboard man" at about 15 yards, as well as a 6' 1X2 with 6 wooden clothespins screwed to it, 3 to a side, which I use to clamp cheap paper plates in place for perforation purposes. I like using the paper plates because they are a good size, cheap... meaning I don't have to patch them with tape and can just replace them after each magazine has been unloaded into one of them, and are high visibility and fun to shoot.

I began with the plates and standard sandbox ammo... that is NATO 9mm FMJ. This ammo is relatively hot, like +p ammo. I had purchased 2 additional 15 rnd magazines to accompany the 2 that came with the gun, and found it relatively easy to load them all to full capacity on the first try with this ammo. The brass cases are relatively smooth and the cases slide over each other nicely in the magazines even under firm spring pressure, making them easy to load. This is not true with say, Wolf ammo, which has a rougher texture on the cases... even with the poly coatings, and loading the magazines to full capacity with Wolf was beyond my force or will today.

I fired a full magazine into a single plate at the 15yrds, and tried to note where to hold. I had recently been shooting several double action only guns, mainly Taurus 24/7 and Millennium Pro's, which require a hold slightly higher to hit where the white dot is on the front sight. This resulted in very high hits on the first plate, with some of the rounds going over the top of the plate. I scored only 10 hits on the first plate for 15 rounds fired. However, once I knew where the gun was shooting, pretty much a standard 6 o'clock hold, I was able to put all 15 rounds in the second plate and most of the subsequent plates until I had fired 150 rnds of the Nato stuff. My groups were not bad, with many shots touching each other and measured about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches for most of the plates. I was shooting at about 1 shot every 1-2 seconds without lowering my arms between shots until the magazine was empited.

I then switched to the Wolf ammo, and as noted above, was not able to fully load the magazines with those because of the internal friction of the rougher cases, so I decided to go with 10 rounds per magazine as to avoid thumb fatigue and make it more pleasant rather than a slog to see how macho I could be about loading the mags.

I have found Wolf ammo to be relatively accurate in the past in my XD40, as well as my other 9mm pistols, and this proved to be the case with my new XD9 as well. Also, I was getting used to the pistol by now, and so my groups seemed to tighten up slightly, or at least show promise with more shots touching and better clusters although overall group size was probably about the same. Still... if I could pick the best 7-8 out of 10 shots with the Wolf ammo vs. the Nato stuff, it would seem the Wolf would have produced better groups. At least that is my story and I'm sticking to it!

I fired about 200 rounds more with the Wolf ammo at the plates, making about 350 rounds so far. At this point I noticed two things:

I had a small blister forming on my trigger finger, and the gun and trigger were getting pretty hot!

Now I don't know if the blister was from the heat or from abrasion from the only objectionable part of XD pistols... that is that stupid grooved trigger they put on there, but it was beginning to hurt. I decided to fire a course of 4 magazines into the cardboard man IPSC target to finish up, rapid fire, point shooting at 7 yards. This would test the pointability of the pistol for me. That is, its natural point of aim under stress. I would draw and fire as rapidly as possible, without using the sights, though I do bring the gun up to chest height for these drills. I don't do magazine changes for this... just fire a complete magazine, then walk away, insert a fresh mag, holster the gun, walk up to the assigned distance, draw and fire again.

I am happy to report that all 40 shots were on the cardboard... with the last two magazines being well centered. The first two were a bit more scattered, but I was trying to empty the gun as rapidly as possible and concentrated more on that with the first two magazines, until I realized I was forcing the issue a little, and concentrated more on looking at the target center with the last two mags. In all cases, I was emptying the magazines in under 3 seconds, probably more like 2-2 1/2 seconds, but I didn't have a timer.

By now the gun was pretty hot, I was pretty tired (and hot myself... it was about 90 degrees and sunny out there), and I decided to call it a day.

The gun had functioned perfectly thruought the entire process. There were no failures of any kind. I suppose I should add, that from past experience I have learned that with a new gun, straight from the store, it is best to field strip, and wipe the working parts with a paper towel with a dab of oil on it before shooting if you want the best experience with it. There is always some sticky stuff on the working parts from the factory which is best removed before initial firing, and using a Qtip with a little oil on it to wipe the chamber and the breech face doesn't hurt either. That, and a drop of oil on the rails and trigger bar also makes cleaning it later a little easier.

Like many of you, I am very impressed with the XD family of pistols. The 40 cal version I bought previously has gone through many thousands of rounds of various ammo with no problems, save the last time I had it out a week ago, when I tried some Silver Bear 40cal in it, which has a zinc coating on it, and is very rough to the touch. It works well in my 40 cal Millennium Pro Taurus, but I had several failures to eject and double feeds with that ammo in my XD40 until I fired some Wolf stuff, and went back to it later. The gun had not been fired for some months and perhaps it was a little sticky until it loosened up again. After it did, it even ate the Silver Bear ammo. I also have some Silver Bear in 9mm, which unlike the 40 cal version has a nickle plating on the steel cases which is very smooth and works exceedingly well in my Taurus pistols. However, I did not bring any with me today, but will try it next week when I go back out there. The 9mm Silver Bear is hollow point 115grn ammo and has been fairly accurate in my other guns.

I hope some of you will find my ramblings about my new XD9 useful, although there was nothing really to report except it worked, shot were it was supposed to and was enjoyable to shoot. Now I have to find a way for it not to put a blister on my trigger finger.
 

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Any gun will get hot with continuos shooting. it is wise to let them cool down a bit after a few mags. thas why i always take a few different guns to the range at the same time. as far as the ammo if you put in any half way decent ammo in them they will be problem free.
 

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I usually do bring a few guns with me, and in fact did on this occassion, but the object was to test out the new XD9 and so I foreswore using another that day. It did function perfectly, but it did get hot. I did leave it upright with the breech open for several minutes a few times to cool it off, but it was hot out and the sun must have contributed as much to the gun's heat as the ammo did.

I am pretty much convinced that the shape and style of the trigger is what is causing the blister on my finger more than the heat. I remember getting irratated by my other XD in much the same way in extended range sessions. I wish they would offer a replacement trigger with the smoothness and shape of say, a SIG226, or even Ruger P95. It is, I think, the left edge of the trigger as my finger wraps around it that is causing me grief. The sides are so straight and sharp and the trigger sort of on the thin side so that even though I might be able to smooth the front of it and eliminate the ridges, the side will still be a problem until they offer a different shape of trigger that curves around smoothly on the edges. I know I am not alone on this, as others have complained of the same thing and some even modified the triggers to a certain extent... Still, I don't think this will solve the problem completely until a new trigger is designed. Perhaps some enterprizing aftermarket supplier will see the need and fill it. The Glock suffers from the same defect and between the two of them there is probably money to be made with this modification.

A simple stamped trigger or even one made from polymer (which would not heat up in sustained fire either!) would be preferable to the stock trigger.

As to the ammo... I like the Wolf stuff for accuracy and reliability, but I bought 1000rnds of Silver Bear in both 9mm and 40S&W to test out because they offered a hollowpoint at reasonable prices. The 9mm version, being plated with nickle is very satisfactory and I have had no failures with it in that caliber in my other guns, and I suspect will have no problems with it in my XD9 when I bring some with me on my next outing. The 40S&W version of the ammo however, is coated with zinc, which presents a rougher surface and I think that since I had not used my XD40 for some time that the breech and chamber were dry and that may have caused some problems with that ammo. After firing about 100rnds of Wolf stuff through it with no malfunctions, I went back to the Silver Bear that day and had no further problems. Perhaps the extrator was a bit stiff from non-use, or the zinc plating was too thick to easily slip up under it in the loading cycle. It is, after all, just range ammo that I was testing to see if it was as good as the Wolf stuff. The 9mm is, the 40cal is not. However, both brands are manufactured in major production facilities and have been used by the Russian military since the days of the Czar. They also make a "Golden Bear" version of both calibers which is plated with brass and that may offer better function in the 40cal version than the zinc plated one. We shall see. My only objection to the Wolf stuff is that it leaves my thumb black from the coating they apply to the steel cases to make them slicker in the chamber. As far as function goes, Wolf goes bang and goes where you point it. I have fired many thousands of rounds of the stuff in my XD40 with no malfunctions of any kind, and would not feel unarmed should I need to rely on it in an extreme situation in that gun. I do agree that quality ammo is best for absolute reliability, but when you can buy new ammo cheaper than questionable reloads, I will go with the new stuff unless or until it proves itself unworthy.
 
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