Monday Gun-Day: Springfield Armory XDm 4.5 9mm

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Springfield Armory is winding down their August Duel promotion, but there are still ways to win. This week it is the XD(M) Full Size 9mm. Contestants can submit entries once an hour, every hour. And even if you don’t win this contest, which most of us won’t, I’d suggest you give the XD(M) a look. This is an under-rated pistol, for sure.

Springfield Armory dominates several very different markets. They’ve cornered the market for the M1A. Their take on the John Moses Browning classic spans Mil-Spec 1911 A1s to high end, high-speed single-actions. And the XD-S is still still one of the most popular concealed carry pistols. Today, we’re taking a look at another gun from the XD family tree, the XD(M).

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Like the other XD pistols, the XD(M) is made in Croatia.

Caliber 9mm
Recoil System One Piece Full Length Guide Rod
Trigger 5.5 – 7.7 lbs.
Sights Dovetail Front and Rear (Steel) 3 – Dot
Weight (with Empty Magazine) 29 ozs.
Height 5.75″
Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
Barrel 4.5″ Steel, Melonite┬«, Hammer Forged
Length 7.6″
Grip Width 1.18″
Frame Black Polymer
Magazines 2 – 19 Round, Stainless Steel
Options

The XD(M) has some diehard fans. The follow-up to Springfield’s XD line has some updated features. To start with, the XD(M) has much more aggressive grip texture. A lot of what you’ll find in this pistol seems to address the desire for a more tactile gun. Not tactical, exactly, but that too. Every aspect of the XD(M) is designed for grip. Even the serrations on the slide are cut with more surface area for ripping the slide back.

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The 4.5 inch gun has a long sight radius that allows for reliable fine-tuned accuracy.

Springfield now has a wide variety of polymer framed guns. The XD(M) isn’t exactly a middle ground. While the guns are slightly larger than the XD-S line, and thinner than the XD line, the XD(M) is more than the middle child. It is a solid performer. While it hasn’t caught on for everyday carry the way the XD-S has, it is making headway with competitive shooters. The gun has a very flat recoil that makes it fast. And the light weight makes it popular for those who carry guns more than they shoot them.

Another appeal is the way the XD(M) points. The grip angle is the same on the XD(M) as it is on a 1911, which feels more natural to some shooters. The deep concave at the back of the XD(M)’s grip puts the hand in line with the barrel. The grip sits fully in the hand, and deep in the web between your thumb and forefinger. This engages the grip safety while centering the recoil energy in your hand. The physics of this are easy enough to understand. While the slide still rides above your hand, the force of recoil is driven deeper into your grip instead of over your wrist. This cuts out on the tendency for the muzzle to flip up. It just pushes back. As such, you may not even break your sight picture after shots. I find that I can hammer home double-taps and longer strings with greater accuracy and speed than I can with most pistols of this size.

And that makes this a contender. Light, fast, and accurate. And affordable, too. If you aren’t a fan of the stark black, you can choose an XD(M) with a stainless slide, or even one that is olive green.

The rear sights combine flat black serrations and small whit dots.

The rear sights combine flat black serrations and small white dots.

The other XD(M)s

The XD(M) line comes in a variety of lengths and calibers (typically 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP). This is the 4.5 inch 9mm. The smallest has a 3.8 inch barrel. At the long end, the 5.25 inch version has a much more competitive spirit. Its slide has been lightened to increase return speed, and it is equipped with target sights. The 4.5 inch version is more of a duty minded gun, though it hasn’t caught on there as well as many expected. It would make a solid service gun. With the 19+1 capacity, it can hold its own without the need for frequent mag changes.

Shooting the XD(M)

The trigger on the XD(M) varies form 5.5 to 7.5 pounds. This one is one the lower end of that spectrum. It pulls clean and has a short reset. Part of the timing inherent for a pistols success pits trigger reset with the forward return of the slide. With the XD(M), the light slide hits home faster than the already short reset on the trigger, so repeat shots are effortless.

The grip safety is easily engaged, despite being small.

The grip safety is easily engaged, despite being small.

When I’m pulling the trigger on a well aimed shot, the XD(M) shoots exactly to point of aim. I don’t always find this to be true with out-of-the box accuracy. And I may have just gotten lucky. We have an XD Sub-Compact in for review, too, and I shoot it left and low, just a touch, almost every time. Not the XD(M). From 7 yards, I can punch the bull’s eye. From 25 yards, I can hit inside a 2 inch circle. As I speed up, I can keep rounds within a 12 inch circle, moving as fast as I can.

One afternoon during the review process, we took the XD(M) to the cowboy action range and shot at a six shot plate rack. The plates were 8 inches in diameter. I’m not a speed demon. And I found myself moving through five of the six plates almost every time. The misses, as I now know from watching the video, were hitting just low. They may have even been on an 8 inch target, except part of those plates are hidden by the deflector. It was maddening to see that the gun was so much more capable than I was. If I slowed down and attempted all six plates in three seconds, I could knock them down. Any faster than that, and I needed at least seven rounds to get them all down.

Conclusion

If the XD, which was released more than a decade ago, has demonstrated anything it is that these polymer framed Springfields have serious staying power. Those who shoot them become loyal Springfield fans. Instead of phasing them out, Springfield continues to make refinements that make the guns better.

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The barrel is blued, so it will need to be well lubricated.

The XD(M) is a dynamite gun. If I were competing, I would look at the 5.25 inch version as a solid option. Is there a better entry level competition gun out there? I haven’t found it if there is, at least not for the money. As far as duty pistols go, there are a lot of guns out there with which this 4.5 inch version competes. The cult popularity of the 4.5 inch gun may have more to do with brand loyalties than any actual performance. After all, it has just about everything you could want (except for those who require an additional thumb safety). But the field is crowded, and the XD(M) needs more exposure if it is going to dominate this market the way the XD-S has the concealed carry market.

The retail price for this version is hovering around $550. That should give it an edge. It is lower than most of the other popular pistols in this class. And if you win one in the giveaway–even better.

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If you can’t see the stainless pin, the striker isn’t cocked.

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When the pin is showing at the back, the gun is cocked.

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The feed ramp ensures that the XD(M) will eat anything you feed it.

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The front sight is drift adjustable.

The mag well has modestly beveled edges, but is still easy enough to load on the fly.

The mag well has modestly beveled edges, but is still easy enough to load on the fly.

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The back straps are interchangeable.

The front serrations allow for even more options for manipulation.

The front serrations allow for even more options for manipulation.

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If you are inclined to use a light or laser, there is ample room on the XD(M).

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The slide on the XD(M) is milled to remove extra weight, which speeds up its return.

The magazines hold 19. Not bad for a gun this size.

The magazines hold 19. Not bad for a gun this size.

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The mag release buttons are ambidextrous.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Silver Eagle August 25, 2014, 10:03 pm

    This really looks like a weapon that anyone would be proud and excited to own. I had the XD-S for several years and loved it but when my oldest son, in his late 30s decided that he wanted to learn to shoot, I took him out to our local out door range and we spent quite awhile firing several different pistols and a couple of rifles. He fell in love with the XD-S and could really shoot it well, so I gave it to him for his birthday – a few days later – and he has been even more happy with it than I was. Nevertheless, the Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 9mm appears to be just the pistol that I need to replace the XD-S. I have large hands, so the balance, grip, alignment and the flat recoil make it the replacement pistol that I have been looking for. Additionally, the comments by Monte, above, concerning the breakdown of the XD(M) which he says is exceptionally easy and fast and, “10,000+ rounds, no break downs or malfunctions, completely factory stock (no modifications), carried concealed or open daily for 4+ years, completely happy and satisfied.” is the icing on the cake for me. I’ll be getting one soon. SE

  • Monte Wright August 25, 2014, 8:05 am

    The breakdown of the XD(M) is exceptionally easy and fast. This wasn’t mentioned in the review so I wanted to add it. Ive always been a glock fan, but since i purchased my Springfield XD(M) stainless 4.5″ 9mm about 4 years ago, I have a new favorite and trust me, it earned every bit of that title. I have put about 10,000 rounds through it and can not say enough positive things about it. If there was anything negative to say about the gun, I’d have to say it shoots about two inches high at between 10-20 yards which I’ve heard is common in about 50% of the entire XD line. It wasnt a problem big enough for me to even address though. I simply adjust in an accuracy scenario and the gun shoots nice tight groups at all distances. So in conclusion, 10,000+ rounds, no break downs or malfunctions, completely factory stock (no modifications), carried concealed or open daily for 4+ years, completely happy and satisfied. Springfield, you out did yourselves.
    Sincerely,
    Customer for life

    P.S. Please make this in the U.S.A.

    • Brian January 2, 2015, 1:54 pm

      What holster would you recommend for concealing this pistol?

  • King Ghidora August 25, 2014, 5:35 am

    I have the 3.8″ .40 S&W model. It’s almost a perfect CCW for winter carrying. It’s not so big that it can’t be concealed with a jacket and it holds 16+1 rounds of .40 ammo. That’s a lot of power. It’s accurate, reliable and light enough that it doesn’t bother me to carry it at all. I have a couple of holsters I use at different times including a CrossDraw SuperTuck IWB holster and a Ace shoulder holster. I like the CrossDraw holsters but the shoulder holster also carries 2 extra mags and it distributes the weight of the pistol and the mags evenly across my shoulders. In the summer I still keep this pistol in my car and I generally carry a Ruger LCP in my pocket for CCW. The new ammo available for .40 S&W pistols is very impressive also. It makes it very effective in a car which is a place it seems a lot of problems crop up IMO. People think they are anonymous on the road and they sometimes want to start trouble just for fun. I’ve seen people be arrested for shooting at cars just for passing them on the road. A bunch of drunken teenage thugs thought it was insulting for someone to pass them even though they were driving 15 mph and were drunk out of their minds. I was about 2 minutes behind that situation and I saw them being arrested. I want a good pistol for my car. I have several good pistols actually but the one I carry is the XDm. I just think it has the best set of features for a carry gun. I have a Sig P220 which I love but it only holds 7+1 rounds. That is one heck of a shooter but I like having a lot more rounds available and I like the fact that .40 ammo will penetrate the steel in car doors even at an angle according Hornady. Their Critical Duty ammo is also said to penetrate car windshields at bad angles. Those aren’t common things for ammo. Between that and the high capacity mags I felt it was time to switch from the .45 ACP pistols I had been carrying for a very long time to a .40. I haven’t regretted it. Heaven forbid I should actually need to use a pistol for SD but I think I’ll have a good weapon if I’m ever forced into that position.

    • Larry T August 25, 2014, 10:42 am

      I have this and a Compact 9MM. Both very nice an accurate without modifications!

  • Sam August 25, 2014, 5:34 am

    Nice handgun

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