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.