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).
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.
Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
Barrel 4.5″ Steel, Melonite®, Hammer Forged
Grip Width 1.18″
Frame Black Polymer
Magazines 2 – 19 Round, Stainless Steel
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.