Review of the Springfield Armory XD(m) 4.5 9mm
Review of the Springfield Armory XD(m) 9mm
By: John B. Holbrook, II
November 30th, 2010
OK, I’ll admit it: I’ve never really been much of a Glock guy. My first semi-automatic weapon was a Berretta 92F when I was about 19. I started seeing Glocks in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s and thought there were absolutely hideous! And I couldn’t believe people were paying those prices for a <gasp> plastic gun! I shot a few, and never particularly liked the way they shot either. Of course, Glock changed the firearms industry and now every major manufacturer makes at least one model which is inspired by Glock – there’s certainly a lot to like and admire about a Glock. About six months ago, I started getting back into shooting very seriously, and joined a tactical shooting league. I had purchased a compact gun for carry and personal defense (the Ruger SR9c which I also have reviewed), but wanted to find a full-size, higher capacity weapon to shoot in the league. When I solicited some recommendations for this purpose, most people said “Glock.” So I shot one at my local range, but again just didn’t care for it. VERY long trigger pull, which wore on my finger as well. And I still thought Glocks were ugly. Then it was recommended that I give the Springfield Armory XD(m) a try. My local range happened to also have an XD(m) available to rent, so I gave it a try and had a much different and positive experience. So I immediately purchased one, and thought I would share my experiences with it after about six months of ownership.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Despite the fact that Springfield Armory is an American company, the entire XD (eXtreme Duty) line of weapons is actually manufactured in Croatia, where it is known as the HS 2000 (HS stands for Hrvatski Samokres which is believe translates to Croation Pistol). From what I can determine, the HS 2000 was introduced in 2000, and was originally imported to the US by a now defunct company called HSAMERICA. However, it wasn’t until importation of the HS 2000 was taken over by Springfield Armory (and their impressive marketing muscle) in 2002 that the American version of the HS 2000 was re-badged as the Springfield Armory XD and began enjoying significant commercial success in the US. By 2008, Springfield Armory had expanded the XD line considerably, including the introduction of the XD(m) – an improved version of the XD with better accuracy, improved trigger action, enhanced ergonomics and aesthetics, and even higher capacities—which sells at a somewhat higher price.
If you’re at all concerned by Croatian manufacturing capabilities, don’t be. The XD and XD(m) have won several industry press awards including the XD-45 winning the title of Handgun of the Year from both American Rifleman magazine and The Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. The XD(m) series of pistols also won Handgun of the Year again in 2009.
ON TO THE REVIEW
I purchased the XD(m) in the 4.5″ 9mm version (XDM9301HCSP) which is a striker fired semi-automatic handgun, with a 19+1 magazine capacity in 9mm. I can’t say that the XD(m) is a “pretty” gun, nor do I believe it’s designed to be. But I do think it’s attractive and very cool looking as compared to the average Glock or even S&W M&P.
On cursory examination, the XD(m) strongly resembles a Glock. However, the XD(m) isn’t simply a Glock clone, but rather borrows some of the best traits from Glock, SIG, and the veritable M1911.
The XD(m) is a safer gun by far (in my personal opinion) than the Glock. In addition to the Glock-like trigger safety, the XD(m) has an M1911-style grip safety, which prevents discharge unless the grip safety is positively engaged. I’ve owned .45’s before which have a grip safety, so I’m familiar with it. In my experience the grip safety is virtually invisible and doesn’t interfere at all with firing.
The XD(m) also has a loaded chamber indicator – a feature shared by my a fore mentioned SR9c which I really appreciate:
The XD(m) also has an internal safety system designed to prevent accidental discharge if the weapon is dropped. Again, this is a very safe gun.
I really appreciate the “M” factor features of the XD(m) which separate it from a standard XD. The biggest enhancement over the XD is the use of a match grade barrel – designed, engineered and manufactured to tighter tolerances for high level competition. I believe the XD(m) is the first handgun to offer such a barrel in a production (non-custom) firearm.
The handle of the XD(m) also has an entirely new and enhanced “Mega-Lock Grip Texture.” This makes the gun easier to hold on to than most, and is designed to reduce the tendency of a firearm to twist in your hand with recoil. This feature, combined with the three different sizes of adjustable back straps means the XD(m) should be an incredibly comfortable gun to hold and shoot – it certainly is for me.
The XD(m) also has one of the highest magazine capacities of any handgun on the market with its 19 round magazine. With one in the chamber, you have 20 rounds available, without any customization or magazine extensions:
The XD(m) tends to be on the higher end of the scale price wise due to the premium upgrades (around $600.00 depending on model and finish you purchase) but it comes with a VERY complete package including two magazines, a lock, cleaning brush, magazine loader, a paddle holster, and a magazine holster. Here’s an iPhone shot I took of my XD(m) box not long after I purchased it:
So how does the XD(m) shoot? In the last six months, I’ve shot around 100 rounds per week through the gun – over 1000 rounds I’m sure. I’ve never had any sort of mechanical failure, and I’m typically shooting Wal-Mart Federal target rounds, and sometimes even cheap Russian made ammo. The gun eats up any ammo I feed it without any problems. I’ve read plenty of “torture test” testimonials which point to the XD(m) being every bit as rugged and reliable as the gold standard for reliability Glock.
I absolutely love shooting this gun. The trigger is excellent – slightly more take up than my SR9c, but not much and a whole bunch less than any Glock I’ve ever shot. The white three-dot sights are also excellent, and make getting a quick, accurate sight picture a breeze. As a result, I tend to group more tightly with my XD(m) than I typically do my SR9c – here’s a target photo from my last range session at a distance of 25 ft.:
The XD(m) is also the easiest gun I’ve ever seen to field strip. Just lock the slide back, flip up the break down lever, and pull the slide forward to remove it. No pins to remove or special tools required:
My one criticism of the XD(m) is the mag release button – it can be quite stiff and requires substantial force to eject the magazine. This is particularly true when you have a full or near-full magazine. For most individuals, this won’t be an issue. However, in the tactical league I often shoot with, we often do magazine changes with retention under timed conditions. I’ve found the stiff mag release on the XD(m) to be a challenge under these conditions.
If you’re looking for a good alternative to a Glock handgun, I highly recommend you check out an XD(m). Do I think an XD(m) is a superior choice to a Glock? I think if you’re looking for a full-size service/duty weapon that you owe it to yourself to check out an XD(m) along with the Glock, S&W M&P, and a few others. You just can’t take anything away from Glock though, and they’ve got the track record and popularity numbers to prove it. For me however, the XD(m) is far and away a superior choice – your mileage may vary.
As a supplement to this written photo review, I also have a video review of the XD(m) 4.5 9mm to share:
You’ll also find several other review videos on my YouTube channel, so please do subscribe!
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.