The xd is a great gun, but there are certian key drawbacks. I probably would choose a glock or a 1911 if budget allowed, if i could do it over again. Keep in mind, that I have never had a misfire, FTF (failure to fee), or FTE (failure to fire). It has functioned flawlessly, though I don't shoot much. I probably only have a few thousand rounds through the gun.
I purchased the 4 inch .40 caliber version. I like the XD because it is a bit heavier than glocks (by six oz if i remember correctly), it has a grip safety, which I think is a wonderful feature. I don't understand why all guns don't have them. It has a better grip angle than glocks (it has the same grip angle as the 1911). The cocked and loaded chamber indicators are also wonderful additions.
My main complaint is that the finish sucks. I have holster wear marks. If the finish was better, i would not have that problem or rust. I did experience some rust once, it was not serious, just cleaned it off with a little oil. It happened when i was carrying it and sweated a little on the back part of the slide. Sweat is especially corrosive. Springfield has fixed the finish issue on the new XD 45's, but i don't know if they have rolled out those changes to other models yet. I could send the gun off to be finished somewhere (springfield would do it for me) or do it myself, but i have not really messed with it.
Other problems include springfield parts policy, which is due to either liability concerns or supply problems, depending on who you talk to. Basically, if something small goes wrong I cannot replace the part myself, because i can't buy it. I would have to send the gun to springfield and have them replace it. Glocks and 1911's don't have that problem. Springfield will do it for free, though. Also because the xd is a bit newer there are less aftermarket items, though there are a lot more than there were two years ago.
They only modification I have made was changing out the guide rod: http://www.pistolgear.com/products.php?id=8
I feel the stock guide rod is the XD's greatest weakness. I choose a 22 pound spring, but I am going to try a weaker spring to see how it shoots (the stock on is 18 lbs.). I think that the slide could be causing my sights to dip when it slams home, though not sure.
Here is an xd forum, if you want to do additional research: http://www.xdtalk.com/
I choose the 4 inch model because it is easier to conceal than the five inch and is more accurate than the 3 inch. Basically, it is a good compromise between lengths. I choose the .40 cal, because it was a compromise between the 9mm and .45 cal.
Presently, my gun feels fairly snappy when shot. Don't know if it is just he .40 caliber round or the strong spring, but my next handgun will probably be a .45 of some kind.
Here is a video for complete assembly and disassembly for you XD.
I would suggest at least breaking down the slide every few years if you don't shoot much and carry it a lot. If you shoot a lot and carry, I would probably clean the slide once a year.
If you buy it, you won't be disappointed. Springfield also has a great warranty and will fix it if anything goes wrong at all.
How do you plan on using your gun? House gun? Car gun? Conceal and carry? Range gun only?
Have you looked at other pistols? Sig, S&W, and Beretta have entered the polymer market with the last few years. HK and glocks have been around a long time and are time tested. I have fallen in love with the 1911 myself. As to metal framed guns, you can't go wrong with a 1911, though in general they are more expensive, though Tarsus recently came out with one for about 500 dollars.
Are you going to get your CCW?
if you have any more questions please email me.
hope this helps