Retiring my XDS

I’m sad about this. It’s got so few rounds through it. But it’s got to go.

Here’s my gripe: it’s unreliable. The extractor is messed up. When I put a round in the chamber before I go out the door, sometimes the slide doesn’t go into battery. When I come home and unload it, usually the round catches and I have to rack it several times before I can get it out. I did lots of investigation and it’s clear that the extractor is just bad.

I did the Internet research. I’m not the only person to have this problem. I got it on a recommendation from a friend and the only single round I’ve ever seen him fire out of his had exactly the same problems (in and out). This is clearly not an isolated problem.

As for solutions, one person says that you should run the thing wet, dripping oil except for the outside. I can’t carry it like that. I’ve gotten caught in the rain and I’m not willing to risk what happens if the lube — apparently critical to its proper operation — washes off. Plus a significant portion of carry is your quality of life when you’re not using it (I carry most of the time and I’ve needed to use it zero times, thank God, so the vast majority of the carry, “experience,” is what it’s like when it’s just sitting there loaded) and who knows what the oil is going to get all over.

Another solution was to call Springfield and have the extractor, “adjusted.” I’ve owned 3 Glocks and this is my first Springfield. I’ve never had a single problem with any of the Glocks, except for the one time I replaced the original return spring with an aftermarket part (putting back the factory spring returned it to perfect condition). I do expect — and I believe very reasonably so — that it should work perfectly as delivered from the factory. I paid a lot for it and for that price I expect that they make sure it comes in full working condition. If they don’t want to take the time to adjust each piece that comes off their line, they should update the design to eliminate the need for adjustment. Is it possible? Yes. H&K does it. Glock does it. Ironically, almost the entire design of this thing is copied from Glock and they did an inferior job. I’d understand if it cost less but you can actually get a Glock cheaper.

Yet another solution was that the round in the pipe should always be loaded from the mag and not have a round shoved in. There was some explanation about how this was bad for the extractor. I can’t even begin to explain how little sense it makes that an extractor that sits directly behind chamber pressure wouldn’t be able to withstand getting pushed out of the way by a brass base. Once again, I’ve never had this problem in anything else I’ve owned and suddenly I’m supposed to change my habits because someone didn’t copy someone else’s design properly.

One person went so far as to buy another and compare the two of them down to the millimeter. That sounds like something I would do. It also sounds like something I’d never do for a piece of hardware that I don’t have particular expertise in designing. I do expect that Springfield would do exactly that with the first one that comes back bad, then recall every single one they sold in order to implement the fix for their problem. That’s their job, not mine. In addition, I’m not going to buy another one of something that doesn’t work. This is akin to people buying French wine to pour it down the drain as a slight to the French.

It chews up my rounds too. Getting a live round out of the chamber causes the base to get mangled. Once again, thank God I’ve never had to use it which means my carry rounds go in and out frequently. For this price, I expect my rounds not to get chewed up.

Having the round get stuck on the way out is problematic for other reasons also. I carry extra mags with this. It’s good practice — especially with something as unreliable as this — because in a tight situation the best recourse is to drop the mag, clear it and start with a fresh mag. I envision that I may have to rack the slide more than once if the round doesn’t come out of the chamber. This is an unacceptable risk to take for something that I’m prepared to take into a live fire situation.

All the forums I read were Springfield forums. They’re full of people who are foaming at the mouth about the perfection of any product Springfield makes regardless of the problems with it. They cite general problems about other manufacturers and give unreasonable solutions with nonsensical reasons why the work-around is actually the better way to do it. They also commit every statistical fallacy in their, “authoritative,” studies of Springfield’s perfection. I’m sure every other manufacturer has the same sort of problems — the LAPD had issues with Glocks for a while — but this did little good to color my perception.

My perception started in the negative: Springfield isn’t Glock and it’s certainly not H&K. I got it to mirror my best friend’s setup and because it’s small. I had very high hopes for it. I actually wanted it to work better than it did. I even carried it for a while. I ignored the problems with it and tried to justify them as operator error.

The Glock 42 the same size plus the mag carries an extra round. I don’t know how to justify switching from one extreme to another — from 45 to 380 — but realistically, a hole is a hole. The USP Compact — that’s a misnomer as it’s anything but compact — is fine in the winter. Incidentally, all the searches I’ve ever done about problems with that lead me to realize that that it’s better hardware than what’s holding it up. That, I will carry without extra mags and full confidence that if I die because I had problems while using it, they were my problems and not the hardware’s.

I’m going to have to track down Springfield and go through the process of having them fix it. Even upon its return, it’s unlikely it’ll get its place back in my carry lineup. My hope is that I never need to use what I carry, but if I ever did, I’d want to make sure it’s the most reliable thing I could possibly have. There will always be doubt in the back of my mind that this may be unreliable.

This is too bad because I liked the thing. In the time I carried it, I developed a little bit of an emotional attachment to it. It went with me through some rough places. I really wanted to like it and I’m sad that I have to retire it to range duty. I don’t have any passion in this either way. I’ve simply lost confidence in Springfield’s engineering practices. I don’t hate them or anything. I’m sure there are people who have perfectly good results from their products, people in all different situations. The needs of my situation have not been met by Springfield.

Going Dark

I’m moving. Physically. From one place to another.

People ask me from time to time how many computers I have. In my mind, this is a pointless question. It’s akin to someone in their 40s asking a new partner how many people they’ve been with. At cocktail parties and with my partner’s parents, it leads to fantastic conversations about Sorites Paradox. It’s great with the future in-laws because ancient philosophy rarely touches directly on hot-button subjects.

I have a lot of computers and some of them aren’t mine. I’ve never stolen a computer. Google and Amazon own some of them but I buy computing time. Even considering just the ones for which I own the physical hardware… not including the one I’m writing this post on despite shutting everything down… you get the picture.

It’s a magic thing when you shut down your computer. Not the other ones that you have in reserve. Not the other one that you have running at the other place where you’re not at presently. The one. The special one.

It’s the one you’ve spent thousands of hours in front of. It’s gotten parts replaced or upgraded. The OS has been upgraded and re-installed more times than you care to mention. It’s just hardware but it’s special. It’s reliable. It’s your go-to. It’s like the comfy couch that makes you feel like you’re home.

There’s a little emotional trauma and anguish when it gets shut off. Like the slots in a Vegas casino, it’s fan hum has become part of your life, part of your existence. It’s been rebooted plenty, but rarely full-on shut off. That just doesn’t happen. It would take a cataclysmic event for that to happen. It’s like your phone running out of battery for more than 20 minutes (while you’re awake). This just… doesn’t happen.

Yet it’s strangely liberating. Life continues to be. The one constant in the world doesn’t cease: time transpires at the constant rate of one second per second. The websites are still up. No frantic calls like a couple weeks ago when the supposedly Automattic update broke things. Just… quiet.

And peace. Happy, unforgivable peace.


Open Source Idealism

As someone who swims in software waters, I run into this all the time: a bunch of open source developers argue why something just shouldn’t be. Very often, it’s a feature request and they’re refusing to implement it on ideological grounds.

It is this very ideological opposition that has held open source back from taking over the world. That’s right, if a bunch of people could get over themselves, we’d all have Ubuntu on our desktops instead of Windows and MacOS.

The Internet isn’t someone’s pet project. There is a very significant amount of real money that went into building it. Likewise, everything on the Internet has taken lots of money to build. These things are, by definition, commercial. The success of a commercial project is making as many of the customers happy.

Customers have a choice on how to spend their resources, both money and time. What they want is rarely what you tell them they should want.

Customers don’t like to be told that they’re wrong or that their idea is stupid. Ideological arguments are that: you’re telling someone that they’re wrong because your system of beliefs doesn’t include their request.

Someone will write them the software that they want. Problems are solved when people put ideology aside and focus on meeting a need.