November 2009

High-Capacity 40 S&W ‘Rail’ Guns: Glock, Springfield, & STI

All of our guns ran with zero malfunctions, making it fun to shoot, but harder to grade. Choosing between them comes down to your preference in features and the size of your bank account.

The 40 S&W has become the preferred cartridge for much of the law-enforcement community because itís more powerful than the 9mm, recoil thatís snappy but not as substantial as the 45 ACP, and magazine capacities than split the difference between the two. This month weíll look at three guns that fit this medium-frame high-capacity format. They could aptly be classified as "tactical" pistols, because they all featured an accessory rail capable of adding a weapon light and/or laser.

Our contenders consisted of two polymer-framed guns, the Springfield XD40 ($605) and the newly introduced Glock G22 RTF2 ($599). Both guns incorporated striker-fired systems with trigger-tab designs. The third gun came from Georgetown, Texas. The STI Tactical 4.15 operates like a 1911 but utilizes a double-stack magazine to dramatically increase ammo capacity. Designated as a 2011 frame, the Tactical 4.15 is built on a patented modular platform, and incorporates a wealth of performance upgrades. All of the bells and whistles come at a price, however. Occupying the highest price point of our test guns, the Tactical 4.15 comes in at a wallet-clutching $1999 MSRP.

We conducted our testing within the friendly confines of Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine, Texas. The climate-controlled indoor pistol range was ideal shelter from the sweltering heat and one particularly nasty thunderstorm that blew up during one of our sessions. Accuracy ratings were done at 10 yards using a slow, controlled trigger press. We then progressed to multi-round firing at 8 and 15 yards. Magazine changes were made during the middle of some of our runs to see how each gun handled in a more stressful environment.

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