XD(M) 45: Usurper to the Big Bore Crown


It is not often that I get a gun in for review that absolutely blows my socks off. It is even less rare that a gun comes in for some other purpose, and it is so awesome I feel obligated to do a gun review too. And rarer still that I cover a gun GunsAmerica has already reviewed at its release date, which was years ago. But this week I got the surprise of my life with the XD(M) 45. Not only am I in love, we already got married in Vegas.

I actually got the XD(M) in for an ammo test, completely unrelated to the gun. I went into my FFL to pick it up, pulled it out of the box to check the serial number, and stopped dead in my tracks. The frame of the XD(M) was so small and comfortable that I assumed at first they’d sent me the wrong caliber. A glance at the gaping bore confirmed it was, in fact, 45 ACP. My first thought at the moment before firing it was, “How is this not absolutely dominating the Big Bore polymer market?”

I am going to blame the Gun Writers Guild of America in general on this one. Because, even looking back, there is not a lot of ink on the XD(M) 45. Maybe Springfield Armory didn’t buy enough ads that year or maybe everyone was focused on 380 and 25 ACP then. I don’t know. I was still in the Army in 2010. But I am correcting it now.

Also, let’s get the obvious out of the way. I don’t particularly like 1911’s for jobs that might involve shooting someone. Before the 1911 crowd moseys in on walkers all mad or sends a telegram to the editor, I carried one of those in the Jihad. I will concede that the 1911 has the best trigger, but I prefer the capacity and reliability of polymers. This is also not my first rodeo with a polymer 45. I carried a Mk23 for a tour and didn’t care much for it either. But all the things H&K got wrong with the Mk23, Springfield got right with the XD(M).

First, the size and ergonomics of the XD(M) are excellent. I have no idea how they still get 13 rounds in the magazine, but they do. In fact, the 45 is only about 2 millimeters larger that the 9mm XD(M) from front to back, and 1 millimeter thicker. Grabbing the XD(M) 45 is like grabbing a gun, not a 4×4 chunk of wood. As far as a family of weapons goes, the XD(M) 9, 40, and 45 are closer to identical than any other brand I have seen.

So why does that matter? Because it means training on cheap 9mm and carrying 45 ACP is a lot more of reality now. With other polymer weapons families, the 45 version might as well be a completely different platform. You don’t grab it the same, your hands don’t go to the exact same place when you shoot it, the trigger is further away…the list goes on. The XD(M) family is so close together in dimensions, I feel 100% confident going from one to the other.

It has been a while since I went out and shot manly bullets, and I must confess I liked it. The majority of the guns I have reviewed this year were 9mm, which is European for stun. There is something very John Wayne about running 45 ACP, slapping down targets with authority. Even at the range, I didn’t need to pull out an earplug and focus for a faint “ting” on steel. I could feel the earth shake instead.


Did I mention capacity? 13+1 is pretty righteous and matches the top standard for 45. The XD(M) comes with 3 full sized magazines, and spares are reasonably priced at $29.95.

I ordered the XD(M) 45 with the 5.25-inch slide, which is my only regret. Not that I don’t like the 5.25, but in retrospect a 4.5 would have been a better comparison to my XD(M)9. Still, the 5.25 offers another set of reasons to like the XD(M) family. This is the long slide model, out of the box competition ready. The top front of the slide has a lightening window removed, to keep the weight close to the Duty size model.

The slide has cocking serrations front and rear, along with Springfield Armory’s excellent front fiber optic sight post. The rear is unique to the 5.25’s, with an adjustable sight cut deeply into the slide. At first glance, the rear notch looks smaller on the 5.25 than the 4.5, but it is an optical illusion. It is the same width, but 2 mm shorter in depth. Which basically doesn’t matter. The 5.25 rear is also flat black without the white dots of the 4.5, which I prefer.

As much as the gun feels good in the hand, performance is actually what matters. And on that front, the XD(M) also delivered in spades. The accuracy on this gun is amazing, and from a guy who normally doesn’t check that. The day I got the XD(M) I was actually testing rifles, not pistols. Still, I wanted to make sure it went bang. Not that I was planning on making it my nightstand gun from that moment forward… but because 45 ACP makes things stop being scary…

Totally, so I could make it my nightstand gun. Stop judging me.

Anyway, I had rifle targets set up, and I decided to crank off a test fire magazine at 80 meters. And shockingly, I hit 8 shots at that range, from the first magazine this gun has ever fired. During the review, I repeated the performance at 50 meters with 10 hits. So, the gun is plenty accurate.

At more realistic pistol shooting ranges, the XD(M) 45 absolutely burned it down. I was amazed at how well the pistol shot. Springfield’s engineering team absolutely got it dialed on the recoil spring weight. Not only did the gun eat everything I put through it, but it also recoiled like a smaller caliber. I even took the absurd step of comparing split times between the XD(M) 45 and my XD(M) 9mm. The 9mm was faster, but by a smaller margin than I would have bet. On average, it was 1 to 2 hundredths faster. Which at street fight range, is small enough to count as statistically irrelevant. It would matter in a high stakes game of shoot the paper faster amongst pro’s, but on tissue, I would use the 45 every time.

For all that whiz-bang testing, I was using Fiocchi 230 grain FMJ. I am glad to announce a new partnership with Fiocchi, sponsors of this week’s review. Fiocchi has been one of my favorite value priced ammunition, mostly because it always works. They won my off-the-shelf cheap ammo shoot-off in 5.56 last year and are one of the best values in bullets today. If you are working on your stockpile, I highly recommend them.

In conclusion, I could not be more impressed with the XD(M) 45. If you have never held one, swing by your local gun store. I would bet dollars to donuts you leave with it. This is by far the best handling 45 caliber gun I have ever picked up, and it has actually caused me to re-evaluate 40 S&W as my preferred choice. The time for skinny jeans and soy milk lattes has passed. A new King of 45 ACP’s has been crowned, signaling an end to the era of softness.

Visit Springfield Armory to learn more about the XDM series by clicking HERE.

***Shop GunsAmerica for your next Springfield XD(M)***

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Scott January 8, 2019, 10:51 am

    I have the 5″ Mod 2 and love it. Lots of fun at the range when the 9mm crowd starts realizing i drop mags at almost the same rate they do

  • Buz January 8, 2019, 9:25 am

    About 4 years ago, I was looking for an inexpensive, but reliable 45 (always been my preferred caliber). I ended up buying a XD. Love it!!!

  • Jason Guilmain January 7, 2019, 7:02 pm

    I own an Xdm and an Xds , both in 45 acp. Love em both. Able to hold 2 to 3 inch group with the Xdm at 35 to 40 yards consistently.

  • Rasputin Smith January 7, 2019, 6:23 pm

    I have the classic 5″ XD45. What are the primary differences between it and the XDM 45?

  • Scott January 7, 2019, 12:12 pm

    Good pistol, and it can handle the 460 Rowland upgrade.

  • JC Flag January 7, 2019, 9:54 am

    In 2005 it was the XD-45 Tactical 5″ that was my first 45ACP pistol. Have bought and sold many others trying to find something better. Only one that comes close is a P227 at twice the price. Clay, try out the XDM-45 4.5″ and the classic XD-45 5″. The later can be had for under $500. I find that I like the older 5″ model better than the new M versions. Thanks for the laughs (European for stun).

    • Robert Campbell January 7, 2019, 12:43 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. The 5″ XD 45 Tactical was the polymer gun that finally weaned me off the 1911. That’s got to be close to 10 years ago and I’ve never looked back. Since then I’ve acquired the XDm in 45 and 9mm. Again, never looked back. SA got it right and with the new version that accepts popular red dots, has suppressor height sights and is can ready, well….count me as a fanboy. No apologies.

  • CDJ January 7, 2019, 9:48 am

    Last year I acquired an XD Mod 2 subcompact in 45 ACP. Similar footprint as the XDS but since it is a double stack it has 9+1 capacity. This is the best small 45 I have ever shot. It has replaced my small, single stack 45s.

  • George l January 7, 2019, 9:01 am

    My XDM 10mm 5.25” out performs my .45ACP Springfield R.O hands down.

  • Jim N January 7, 2019, 8:46 am

    I fell heads over heels for my XDM several years ago and it sits in my nightstand. I have shot them all but the XDM is my favorite. Great review Clay. Keep them coming.

  • triggerpull January 7, 2019, 7:47 am

    “9mm–which is European for stun” That’s about the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in a review–keep them coming.

    • Robert Campbell January 7, 2019, 12:46 pm

      Funny yes…true…not. Ask those poor bastards at Ft. Hood. Oh wait, you can’t. Today’s bullet technology makes the 9mm vs. 45acp caliber arguments obsolete. It’s all about placement, placement and placement.

      • DAMON January 7, 2019, 9:10 pm

        I believe that ft hood guy had an fn 57, but ok.

  • Nicholas West-Miles January 7, 2019, 7:37 am

    How did this compare with the XD(M) 10mm? I recall you liked that one a lot too.

    • CLAYTON MARTIN January 7, 2019, 8:49 am

      they are exactly the same size. I actually wrote this 45 review before the 10mm existed.

  • triggerpull January 7, 2019, 7:20 am

    I met and married my XDM 45 acp 13 years ago–and through the years and other lovers–she still puts out the best time is the one beside me at night when I go to bed.

  • Stirling Shippey January 7, 2019, 6:15 am

    I have an XDM45 and I love it.

  • JimA January 7, 2019, 5:28 am

    I’ve had a Springfield XDM45 on my nightstand for several years. I also fell in love when I first shot it!

  • JIM MANGHAM January 7, 2019, 4:47 am

    I’ve had an XD(M) in .45acp for many years and 100% agree with your article. SA makes A+ products. I’m also

    very pleased with Fiocchi.

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