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Review of the Springfield Armory XD(m) 3.8 9mm Compact


Those of you who have read my review of the Springfield Armory XD(m) 9mm full-size model know I’m a big fan of the XD(m) line.  I use my full-size 4.5″ model regularly as my primary range/competition, as well as for home defense.  But when I went looking for a compact 9mm firearm for conceal carry duty (I’m a CCW permit holder here in Ohio), the only option from Springfield was the XD Compact.  Not only did it lack the refinements of the XD(m) line (the M-factors if you will), I also found it to be a difficult weapon to shoot with less than optimal recoil management.  Within the XD(m) line, Springfield offered a shortened barrel (3.8″) gun version, but the handle remains the same length, which detracts from the weapon’s value for conceal carry purposes.

The lack of a good conceal carry option that met my needs within the XD(m) line is what made me look outside of Springfield’s options, and ultimately settle on the fantastic Ruger SR9c.  However, Springfield Armory has very recently released a brand new model, and rectified the rather glaring hole in their XD(m) line up with the new XD(m) Compact 3.8″ 9mm:

Before I begin talking about the XD(m) Compact, let me explain this this review is a bit of an experiment.  The gun range and training facility which I’m a member of called Sim-Trainer provided the firearm used in this review.  Sim-Trainer does a really good job of keeping a finger on the pulse of the firearm market, and keeps the range well stocked with the newest and most exciting firearms which hit the market.  As soon as I heard that Sim-Trainer had received the new XD(m) Compact, I headed down to the range to check it out – I was the first person as Sim-Trainer to shoot the gun.  All the photos used in this article were taken “on location” at Sim-Trainer, so I’ll ask in advance for your forgiveness if the photos herein aren’t quite up to what I normally post in my articles under “studio” conditions.

The first thing I did was to grab a 50-round box of ammo, and go straight to the range – I was anxious to see how this gun handled.  I warmed up at 15 ft. shooting at the center square on my target:

15 Ft.

After I got the feel of the gun, I moved the target out to my usual practice distance of 25 ft:

25 Ft.

25 Ft.

I got a little better with each target, and ultimately performed as well with this gun as I do any of the others I own .  After firing 50 rounds, I can confidently say that I like the gun.  Trigger pull characteristics felt very similar to my full-size model – very short pull with very little slack.   I believe the Compact also has the same, excellent sights (I recently had night sights put on my XD(m) but I’m fairly sure the sights on the Compact were identical to my factory sights) As compared to the Springfield Armory XD Compact, it’s a night and day difference in favor of the XD(m) Compact.  The shortened handle on the XD(m) Compact took some getting used to – as you can see from this photo, my three lower fingers don’t fit (and I don’t have a very large hand at 5’7″ in height) so my pinky finger wraps under the bottom of the magazine:

Truth be told, I’m a little spoiled by my SR9c, and the pinky rest on the magazine.  I do think the XD(m) could benefit from a similar feature – perhaps Springfield or a third party manufacturer will come out with a pinky rest magazine attachment.  Speaking of the SR9c, the XD(m) compares pretty favorably to the SR9c in shooting characteristics.  It was difficult for me to tell which gun did a better job of recoil management because I can get a better grip on the SR9c with the pinky extension.  The SR9c might just edge the XD(m) compact out in this regard – but not by much.  The XD(m) is both slightly longer and thicker than the SR9c, as you would expect given the higher capacity of the XD(m) Compact – three more rounds in the shorter “carry” magazine, and two more rounds in the full size magazine.

For another size reference point, here’s a photo of the XD(m) 3.8″ Compact and my XD(m) 4.5″ full-size model:

Top: XD(m) full-size. Bottom: XD(m) Compact

For XD(m) fans who simply wanted a compact version of the full-size version, Springield did not disappoint.  All the great features which elevate the XD(m) from the standard XD line are here – match grade barrel, enhanced grips, interchangeable back straps, and a box which includes one of the most complete packages you’ll ever receive from any manufacturer:

Note that in the bottom left corner of the box there are two extra magazine spacers which allow you to use a standard 19-round XD(m) magazine in the XD(m) compact.

While not as light and easy to conceal as a sub-compact firearm, the XD(m) Compact is the perfect conceal and carry option for fans of Springfield Armory’s XD(m) line, and strong consideration for anyone looking  a weapon which strikes a strong balance between magazine capacity and concealability.   Had it been available as an option to me,  I likely would not have purchased my Ruger SR9c,  and would have instead purchased the XD(m) Compact – consistency of operation and shared magazines would be a huge plus.  The XD(m) 3.8 Compact 9mm carries a suggested retail price of $697.00.

As an added bonus, I decided to do a tabletop video review of the XD(m) Compact on location at Sim-Trainer (with apologies to the Nutnfancy Project on YouTube).  This is my first-ever video review (be kind please), but perhaps I’ll do more if there’s a favorable response.

Again, many thanks to Dayton Ohio’s premier firearm training facility and gun range:  Sim-Trainer!  If you enjoyed this review, be sure and let Jeff and Mark know – maybe they’ll give access to more fun toys to play with and review.  The XD(m) Compact used in this review is certainly available for anyone to try out at the Sim-Trainer range, and Jeff can order one for you if you like it!

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. Janie Wells says:

    John, your XD(m) is impressive, your reveiw was very well done….I enjoyed it….Thanks for sharing….Janie….

  2. Great review! Thanks for posting.


  3. frank heath says:

    Another ” stellar ” review, I love the video. We will be looking for this gun in action on T3 league when you get back back in action.

  4. Thanks Frank! Glad you liked it! 🙂

  5. vash_241987 says:

    I too wished that it was available before I bought my PPS 9…which now is for sale and its funds will go towards the xdm9 compact. No need to learn two different grip feels and using the same mags is a huge plus… 4 19rd mags plus the 13 rd = alot of firepower. I dont think I’ll get anytime soon but I really would like to get in on the 3 free mags and 1 mag holder from SA that ends on 1/31/11 :(.

  6. MedusaOblongata says:

    There exists a Pearce +0 grip/mag extension for the XD SubCompact that gives a pinky rest. Someone should test it and find out whether it will fit on the XDM mags as well.

  7. finally got around to reading your review- thanks. I love the XD SC in 9, but I added a Pierce grip to my mags to help make it handle better. They do very slightly increase “printing” though. Thoroughly reliable, durable and easy to maintain. Enjoy your XDM!

  8. HeartbreakRidge says:

    Nice review! This gun is on my to-buy list. Between guns and my own photography habit, I don’t need more hobbies! 🙂

  9. Thanks….in my case, I’ve got those with golf and watches to contend with. 😀 😀

  10. I am very new to guns.. I am receiving a gun as a birthday present and was wondering what is the difference between the compact and the sub-compact? Every time I look for the sub-compact it directs me to the compact??
    Thanks in advance for your help… just starting my gun hobby!!

  11. p.s. excellent review.. helps me make my decision a lot easier!

  12. Hi Glo – if you check the Springfield Armory site, you’ll see they have very different descriptions for the compact vs. the sub-compact models.

  13. Thanks for the review. I went to a few gun shows to purchase my first handgun and tried holding a few different makes and models and without a doubt the XD(m) 9mm Compact felt just right. I went ahead and purchased it and I’m looking forward to visting the range.

  14. That’s it! Its settled. I made up my mind. My first personal firearm will be a XDm 9mm 3.8 end of discussion i liked the XDsc 9mm and the crisp trigger of the S&W MP 9mm sc but in the end the XDmc 9mm is the one.

  15. Can’t really go wrong either way Bruce – just practice, practice, practice now.

  16. dennis s. says:

    has anyone noticed that the rear slide rail on the xdm 3.8 compact is all polymer ? my xds .45 has steel rails front and rear and my sr9 has steel on glass on rear rail. polymer slide rail does not seem to be something to increase long term durability . is this on all xdm’s ? a new production shortcut ? or a non issue , just shut up and shoot . my new xdm 3.8 compactshoots great but a polymer slide rail ?

  17. I think that’s standard and a non-issue.


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