July 2007

Versatile Polymer .45s: Two XD45 Compacts Are Our Picks

Springfield Armoryís 4-inch Compact may be the most versatile pistol in this matchup, but we slightly preferred the 5-inch Compact Tactical. Taurus and Glock also make good guns.

In this test we will look at four different polymer handguns that offer higher round capacity but take up less space than full-size models. Our first pistol, the $503 Taurus PT24/7 Pro 45-BP-12 could be considered a true compact, especially when compared to Taurusís new OSS pistol. The Springfield Armory XD45 4-inch Compact XD9645HCSP06, $589; and the Springfield Armory XD45 5-inch Compact Tactical XD9655HCSP06, $619, have undergone the Colt Officers treatment, receiving a shortened grip frame attached to a full-length slide. The $637 Glock SF21 is a remodeling of the Glock 21, but the SF21 does not seem to be much smaller. We wanted to find out if any of its subtle streamlining added up to a better pistol than the original.

We established basic accuracy for each pistol by measuring five-shot groups fired from a rest at 15 yards. Our test ammunition consisted of a typical practice round, Winchesterís 230-grain FMJ Q4170 load and two hollowpoint defense rounds. Our JHP rounds were Winchesterís USA45JHP ammunition and the Hornady Custom 185-grain JHP/XTP No. 9090 load. In terms of accuracy all three guns exceeded our expectations.

We also put the guns through an action-shooting test in which the operator pressed the trigger as fast as he could confirm an acceptable sight picture. For this test we visited American Shooting Centers in Houston (amshootcenters.com). There, we posted a Hoffners ABC16 target at the 7-yard line. This target measured a full 35 inches tall by 23 inches wide with six 3-inch aiming circles on each side of a humanoid silhouette. We fired 10 three-shot strings at the silhouette for a total of 30 rounds. The first two shots were aimed at the 5.5-by-8.0-inch A-zone chest area. The third shot was aimed at the B-zone, represented by a 5-inch-diameter half circle in the head. Firing from the bench at a 1.5-inch bull and unsupported at the Hoffners target were simple but revealing tests. Here is what we learned about each pistol.

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