I just had a problem with an XD 45acp 4 inch pistol. The pistol was having to extraction and ejection problems and the empty was staying in the chamber. I searched high and low online for a reason and found nothing. So this post may be the answer if your XD has the same troubles. I’m going to have to eat some crow on this one as it was my fault, not the gun’s.

So I always train people to do what I think is the right thing to do. I figure they will develop their own shortcuts and bad habits as they become more proficient. Like a lot of us I often find myself being a “do as I say not as I do” guy. I had just finished the morning before telling 2 people at my gym who asked me about their new pistols NOT to put a live round in the chamber and drop the slide to fully load up. I told them to insert a full mag, rack the slide, drop the mag and top it off and finally put the mag back in. Yeah, it takes longer and most of us probably know it’s considered “bad” for your extractor to load the other way. Never the less I find myself doing it all the time in spite of telling others not to. I never had a problem before.20130901_200411

So my XD was a single shot for some reason. I fired my first round and then squeezed again and got nothing. WTH?? I thought…so I racked the slide. I noticed it seemed to hang up a bit when racking the slide with ammo but had seemed smooth without it. I fired a couple more and got the same thing. One shot and the empty still in the chamber. I fired another round with no magazine in when yes, once again, I dropped a loaded round in the chamber and released the slide. Same result, empty case still in the chamber but at least a bad mag was ruled out.

So I went home and searched for a couple of hours with no results. I looked at the gun over and over and didn’t see anything out-of-place. (or at least I didn’t at first) I played with the recoil spring  a bit thinking maybe the 2 piece deal was messed up somehow. In the end I went and got another XD, sat down with a small bright light and compared every millimeter of the 2 guns. This is what I found.

20130901_200459My extractor was knocked out of place and sitting lower in the slide then it is supposed to. It was maybe 2.5 mm’s lower than the XD 45 that was in perfect working order. It all made sense then. I think it was pulling the case downward during firing and hitting whatever in there (Thankfully I had no damage of any kind) and it was not cycling like it was supposed to. Why I could cycle it by hand more smoothly I am not sure. Perhaps because that is my hand power and not 20 some thousand pounds of chamber pressure on it. Rest assured though firing it was a single shot.

I am 99% positive this is due to me doing exactly what I said not to do. Putting a live cartridge in the chamber and hitting the slide release instead of loading from a magazine. The extractor does not seem to be held in by any pin. It looks to be in there by the tension from the curvature of the piece itself. I believe that as I kept doing that the extractor would hit the case too hard and it was just enough to shift it out-of-place just a smidge at a time until finally  she said I’m not working for you anymore. The fix was as simple as a punch and 3 little taps to push it back up where it belongs. She ran all day today, no problems and didn’t shift in the tiniest bit.

I have to take the hit on this one. I won’t be cutting that corner any longer. I had no idea that gun didn’t work. Imagine I had actually needed it?! That corner cutting could be a disaster in the wrong situation.20130901_200439

So I hope this helped somebody, don’t cut that corner any more folks. I’ve done it forever and it finally got me. Fortunately it got me training and not needing the thing for real. If you have a similar problem look to see that extractor is pushed all the way up in its track. If you look at the claw itself there will be a gap above it if it’s out-of-place. If it is then use a small punch and hammer to tap it back up until that gap is gone. From now on I will be a good little boy and load from the mag. No more slide drops on loaded chambers.

As always thanks for reading and train often.

By: Cary Kieffer


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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran/MUESOC/Sniper School - Med Retired LEO w/ 8yrs on job before Iraq wounds caught up with me.

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