The FedEx Fairy delivered the LaserLyte RL for my Springfield Armory XD and the RL – Tool that I wrote about last week. They arrived with a LaserLyte media kit on DVD and a glossy catalog that already has me drooling, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here is what it all looked like when I pulled it out of the FedEx box. Sorry for the picture quality, but Oleg Volk I’m not.
Obviously, being both American and a male, I did what came naturally: I disregarded the instructions, pulled the slide off my XD and slid it into the RL-Tool.
The first thing I noticed is that you need three hands to get it aligned properly. Looking at it from the back side as I have it set up in this picture, the knob on the left controls the elevation of the slide and needs to be tightened once you have that correct, and then you need your right hand to tighten down the screw-tight mechanism so that the slide is held correctly. You use your third hand to move the slide forward and back while you’re doing the other two tasks to make sure that your lining up the sight pusher against your sight and not your frame.
Of course, if you’re a smart person, (or read the instructions), you might decide to figure out the elevation first and tighten that down, leaving you with lining up the sight pusher and capturing the slide with two hands… but what fun is that?
Just for giggles, I tentatively tried pushing the factory rear sight out without putting any sort of penetrating/lubricating oil on the sight or slide, and it didn’t want to go anywhere. After I put the kids to bed tonight I’ll actually follow directions and use some lubricants, which should make things easier.
I soaked the XD’s rear sight base liberally with Slip 2000 gun lube, and waited two hours for that to penetrate. I then greased the threads of the RL-Tool with Tetra Gun Grease, and had a go at removing the rear sight.
The first thing I noticed try to mount the XD is that it is not flat-sided all the way down like a Glock and other pistol designs. Instead, it flares out at the base for the slide rails that run on the inside. This put the RL-Tool at an immediate disadvantage; without some sort of shim, there simply wasn’t a good way for the tool to get a solid grip on the XD’s slide. As a result, any attempt to apply significant pressure to remove the sight torqued the slide out of alignment.
I’ve decided to stop attempting to use the tool on this pistol so as to avoid damage to the slide, or additional damage to the tool. Even calling it tool damage may be pushing it, but the rubber compound that pads the contact points between the slide and the tool quickly tore and separated under the torquing forces exerted upon them.
I do not view this as necessarily being a limitation of the tool–it seems quite solid, with the exception of the rubber compound–but was simply a design decision that didn’t pan out well with the specific geometry of the XD slide. Now, if the geometry of the tool was manufactured specifically to work with the XD, would that have made a difference?
But the big problem with removing the XD’s sights are well known, and rumored to be very much intentional (I would love to get confirmation, if anyone can explain why). I’m now forced to take my slide to a local gunsmith who has a more robust sight tool that he says can remove the rear sight.
I’ll put any updates to this little experiment into a new post.