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PRP Spring Kit Review
for the Springfield Armory XD-S .45ACP
 

Having recently returned from a range session with a new Springfield Armory XD-S .45ACP single stack semi-auto pistol, I wanted to see if I could do something with the factory fire control group, a.k.a., the trigger and its associated components.  The factory trigger was the worst I have felt on a Spring XD.  This is the fourth XD I have acquired and it is the worst trigger I have come across.  It doesn't help that all of my other XD pistols have trigger kits on them.....all perform better than they did new out of the box. 

Having previously used the Powder River Precision (PRP) folks before for their XD trigger kits, I turned to them again to see what was available for the XD-S.  They had no trigger kits but they did have a spring kit for the XD-S.  The spring kit included the following 5 springs; striker spring, striker safety spring, disconnector spring, sear spring, and the trigger safety spring.

Next, I logged into the XDTalk forum as they have a specific sub-forum for the XD-S.  If anyone had a few threads regarding the spring kit, I should be able to find it there.  Nobody said the spring kit was worthless and a number of folks that responded to my inquiry indicated it was great.  I was somewhat suspect since the only hardware in the kit was springs but for the $15 + shipping price tag, I could get change back from a $20 bill and so opted to give it a try.  My parts arrived within a couple of days.

 

  The spring in the photo, along with a single piece of paper showing the springs along with their parts name/number (from the XD-S owner's manual), constitute the spring kit as delivered from PRP. 

 

I use a short length of 2"x2" wood scrap with a large hole drilled most of the way through it as a platform on which I can tap out the pins in the frame and slide.  It's not the most elegant gunsmith tool but it works well for me for this kind of task.  Brownell's sells one that looks like a large hockey puck and has more holes, made from nylon, for $22.  A trip to the drill press and mine can have more holes too.  Come to think of it,  a couple of hockey pucks, glued together, with holes drilled in them would also work.  I think I've seen them for a buck in the used sporting good store.

A fellow by the name of James Nicholas has produced a 3 part series of YouTube videos that are quite good.  They detail the disassembly procedures for the XD-S.  A search on YouTube using his name will locate the videos.  They are certainly worth watching, in my opinion.  Springfield has made a design change to the sear housing since James made his movie but it is of little consequence....the sear spring that you will be replacing is captured in the same fashion....it is just a little more awkward to install. 

 

Some time back, I picked up a hammer & punch set made by Wheeler Engineering.  If I remember correctly, I got it at the local Cabela's store although I've seen it listed on line from many vendors.  It has a variety of punches (brass, steel, and nylon) and for these kind of projects is handy.  There are no roll pin punches in the kit and if you really want to do things up right, picking up a set of them would be a good complement to those in the kit.  Even though there are a couple of roll pins in this project for the XD-S, I managed without the proper punch and caused no issues. 

So....I'll skip ahead to the point where I've finished the installation except for the striker spring.  I opted (at this point anyway) to skip the striker spring swap.

Prior to the spring kit installation, I broke out my Lyman trigger pull gauge and recorded the trigger pull weight....a 10 pull average yielded 6 pounds, 9 ounces.  After installing the PRP spring kit, less the striker spring, a 10 pull average yielded 6 pounds, 8 ounces.  A 1 ounce difference.....not impressive at all. 

I broke the XD-S down and pulled the striker assembly from the slide and completed the installation by swapping out the striker spring.  Again, the Lyman gauge was used and another 10 pulls averaged.....this time, 5 pounds, 7 ounces.   An improvement?  Yes and more so, no.

What I don't like about the trigger is the quasi-gritty take-up in the trigger.  It is not smooth.  You can feel it stage at one point....then it gives a little more and finally the increasing trigger pressure causes the trigger to finally allow the sear to disengage the striker. 

So, the end result....it pulls about a half pound heavier (I've no problem with that) than any of my other XD pistols but the trigger quality is not where the others are.  The spring kit did not make it worse....the spring kit didn't help it either.  I simply have a poor factory trigger that doesn't take as much effort to pull. 

Update:  4/1/2013

I went to the range this morning to try out the spring kit.  I did have a slight surprise....actually more of a disappointment. Let me explain.

One of my shooting buddies packed up and moved to Hawaii a couple of years ago. He could not ship his ammo, so he donated it to me (yes, we are good friends).  In the batch was about 700 rounds of 230 gr lead RN reloads.

I started with the lead RN in the XD-S.  3rd round....CLICK!  Reset the striker....CLICK.  Removed the round and looked at it....then shot the remaining 3 rounds in the magazine.  Put the "dud" back in the mag, cycled the slide....pulled the trigger....BANG.

It is possible (probable) that my buddy didn't fully seat the primer. I'm also running the reduced striker spring.  I had another 3 or 4 failure to fire rounds in that box of 50.  I'm kicking myself for not taking the factory springs with me in my range bag, although the possibility of launching the striker spring retaining collar at the range was the reason I did not.

My next trip to the range will be with the factory striker spring back in the XD-S and I'll let it chew through another box or two of my buddy's reloads.  With the failure rate as high as it was in that one box, it's not likely that the only poorly seated rounds all made it into that one box of reloads, especially since I transferred them from a large box of loose rounds and into my own plastic ammo boxes.

Prior to this morning, I had concerns about light primer strikes with the reduced PRP striker spring....and my concerns were validated.  While I am not condemning the PRP striker spring, it is obvious to me that it is right at the edge of being marginally functional.  Yes, I understand that it is not the striker spring's responsibility to overcome an improperly seated primer (and I assume that was the problem), but I don't appreciate running a spring kit that has no margin for error either, especially in a firearm intended for CCW.

I probably won't be back at the range for se veral weeks....but I'll provide an update once I do.

With all that being said....I still like my XD-S and believe the sub-par trigger is outweighed by the other positive aspects it brings to the table.  I'm not inclined to dispose of it just yet.

With that being said....a little on the range session.  I ran some of the drills I typically run when doing handgun practice.  Since my holster has not arrived (and I'm not crazy about the factory supplied version), I didn't do any holster work.  I did some "from the ready" presentations under time pressure along with some untimed head shots. 

 

 

This is my standard practice target.....I buy lots of them from Front Sight when I attend their training classes in Nevada.  In this photo, the target is set 10 yards from the shooting line. 

 

Most, but not all, of the hits on the target came from the XD-S.  About 20 of them were from my XD45 compact as I was evaluating its trigger pull and diagnosing the light primer strikes I mentioned above.

 

Springfield Armory XD-S head shot target @ 10 yds

10 rounds in the 3.5"x4" head box, from 10 yards, using the XD-S, shot two handed off-hand.  Even with the rather short 5 1/4" sight radius, I could guarantee the head shot each time. 

As I write this, I remember a comment a XD-S owner made in a forum thread I was participating in.  Here it is just as it was written....."I want the triggers my SD/carry guns to be hard and gritty. I hated the XDS trigger initially, comparing it to my Triggers on the stock XD's. This aint no sniper rifle. Its a 10yd and in weapon for me. I wouldnt want it to go off because I was trembling. I think Springfield had to make them unbearable hard and gritty purposefully so they wouldnt get sued if some knucklehead shot someone and blamed the gun."

Can't say that I agree with anything he said....and while I am not confused enough to think that my XD-S is a sniper rifle, I surely will not limit myself to 10 yards and in.  Perhaps his skill set dictates his 10 yard limit....and if so, then that is just fine.  We all have to know our limitations and that is a good thing, in my opinion.  However, I'll push my XD-S's range out as far as possible as long as I can guarantee the shot.  It is why I take training classes.  Besides, it is a heck of a lot easier to carry the XD-S than it is to pack along my sniper rifle.  <grin>

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