Earlier in the month, I took my second trip to Iron Sights‘ indoor shooting range with my husband. We rented the Glock 21 and the Springfield Armory XD. Both are composite handguns chambered for .45 ACP. As I stated in my post about my second time shooting, I really didn’t care for either of the composite .45s much, and they certainly aren’t my first recommendation for novice shooters.
The Glock 21 and the Springfield Armory XD are both lighter and have a much different feel than their all-metal ancestors. Their light weight and durability make both the Glock 21 and the XD excellent tactical weapons. They are also fairly compact and are easy to clean. However, for somebody who is new to shooting and wants a home defense weapon that will mostly sit in a safe, I don’t recommend either. As a side note: I do feel that if you are going to have any firearm in your household you should practice with it regularly and know how to use it safely, accurately, and responsibly.
The Learning Curve
Because of the Glock 21 and the XD’s light weight, I found it difficult to control the recoil. Please don’t misunderstand what I mean by this. They do not kick harder or try to come out of your hands any more than any other .45, but when fired the muzzle tends to move around all over the place. This makes it much harder to repeatedly hit your target accurately or consistently, especially if you are an amateur.
The other thing that makes the Glock 21 and the Springfield Armory XD hard to shoot for a novice is their trigger pull. The safety is actually part of the trigger, causing the trigger pull to be longer but still lighter than a non-composite handgun. For an inexperienced shooter, like myself, this makes it very difficult not to jerk the trigger.
Both of these things are manageable through practice, but I believe you’ll need to do a lot more live-round practice to become skilled with the Glock 21 or the Springfield Armory XD than you would with a metal semiautomatic like the 1911 or a revolver.
Apart from the increased difficulty in shooting them, I found I didn’t really like them for a few other reasons.
There is a minor annoyance in the way that both of them eject spent casings. Instead of flinging it out sideways and away from the shooter, they pop the casing up and back towards the shooter. The only reason I can think of for making a handgun this way would maybe be to keep your casings from hitting the soldier or officer next to you in a group tactical situation. Whatever the reason the casing has a tendency to hit you in the face.
The most unappealing factor to me is the “feel” of the Glock 21 and the XD. They are so light and the triggers are so soft that they feel like toys. I only say this for a lack of a better description. NO real firearm is a toy and should NEVER be treated as such. That being said, my personal preference is a handgun with a more substantial feel to it. It is, at least for me, more comfortable. The fact is that I am using a deadly weapon, and I like it to feel that way.
Overall, I didn’t personally care for the Glock 21 or the XD because of their feel and trigger pull. Still, many people use and love them, and I’m not trying to “bash” them with this article. For the professional who has to carry a gun, they are very well designed. However, I just don’t think that they are the best choice for a beginner who needs to have a firearm that they can basically point-and-shoot. They are more demanding and are harder to shoot for someone who is unskilled than other handguns I have tried. My opinions aside, I do have tiny hands and someone who doesn’t have this problem may find the Glock 21 and the Springfield Armory XD easier to shoot than I did. I definitely recommend going to your local shooting range and trying one for yourself.