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:
After I got the feel of the gun, I moved the target out to my usual practice distance of 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:
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!
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *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.