This article is a bit long but after several outings with the Springfield XDm, I've found there’s a lot to write about.
Currently, the most talked/written about pistols are the Springfield XD and XDm family. There’s a good reason they’ve been on the cover of so many magazines and the subject of so many forums. From everything the media says they’re obviously great guns. Instead of just taking the word of others, I took my brother’s recently purchased Springfield XDm .40 cal. And spent a day at the range shooting it side-by-side with a Glock 27 .40 cal. (belonging to my friend Doug), a Springfield XD 9mm (belonging to my friend Bruce) and a Glock 34 9mm (Belonging to my friend Josh). What a fun day!
First off, I want to say I have not been a huge fan of the polymer pistol. They’re growing on me at such a high rate of speed as I began to buy and shoot them. I’ve shot Glocks for years and have never really developed “big love” for one of the world’s most popular and best selling pistols. Several of my friends owned them and I wanted to jump on the band wagon back in the late 80s, but after several shooting opportunities I didn’t see the big deal and stayed with the old “standard all metal” guns. It shows how closed minded I was.
As time passed, I’ve come to appreciate Glock’s design leadership and those that have followed. But until the Springfield XD and now XDm, I’ve seen most as “Glock wannabes”. The XDm is no “wannabe”.
To be fair, this is as much of a Springfield XDm vs. Glock article as it is a review of the XDm. But as a familiar baseline, I thought it would make the review more relatable to most readers.
Let’s start with this; it seems like the things I don’t like about the Glock I love about the XDm and the things I love about the Glock, I’m disappointed in with the XDm. Here are a couple of examples.
For me, in-hand comfort is one of the first (of many) things I evaluate in a gun since that point of contact is crucial to functionally interacting with the firearm. The second I picked up the XDm (with medium back strap) I got that, “Ohhhh, that feels nice” tingle up my spine. To me, the ergonomic feel is perfect and with the replaceable backstraps (S, M, L) the gun should feel good to any sized hand. The checkering is aggressive and provides a lot of grip against the .40 S&W recoil.
Now, let’s flip back the other way. Springfield claims the XDm has the shortest trigger reset of any polymer, striker-based pistol on the market AND since the trigger releases the striker only (does not pull striker back like other striker based pistols) it has the lightest pull/break. Well, I love the light pull and quick, short reset of the Glock and after shooting the XDm along side two Glocks and an XD, the claim is false. The XDm definitely has shorter reset than the XD – 50% shorter by my estimation - but it’s in no way shorter than, or even as short as, either the Glock 27 or the Glock 34…period. A couple of my friends and I shot and reshot and reshot…and reshot the guns over and over and we unanimously came to the same conclusion. The Glocks resets quicker (shorter) – hands down.
We were divided on the pull. Without a digital device that measures trigger pull, we had to rely on feel. And the results were so close, we were split on which was lighter.
I like the XDm’s sights but I like the adjustability of the Glock’s ingenious, low-profile combat sights better. Most combat/CCW guns have fixed sights that are bullet-proof and snag-free. Glock managed to build a tough, snag-free, low-profile set that can also be adjusted.
Let’s face it. The Glock’s passé safety system (trigger-lock only) is the subject of much debate – love and hate – and has encouraged potential Glock owners to look at other options. In the past, I’ve personally have looked at their system with apprehension that has more to do with distrust of my own trigger finger than it does of Glock’s safety system. Now, as I’ve learned more about gun safety I can say that I’d carry a Glock without hesitation.
The XDm takes that same safety system and improves on (or just adds to it) to give shooters an improved “feeling” of safety. It adds a 1911-like palm safety that adds a marginal amount of added security and even offers a more logical thumb safety that option that I think should be standard and the palm safety eliminated. Either way, they’ve heard the public opinion and smartly reacted accordingly. In the long run, this will have a positive two-fold effect in purchasing decisions and in courtrooms.
Safety Part 2:
Both guns disassemble very easily but the XDm (only – not XD) can be field stripped without pulling the trigger to “de-cock” the striker. This reduces that possibility of an accidental discharge in your living room. Nice touch.
Now it’s time to get to the good stuff. All four guns shot like a dream. At 10 yards all four were quick to sights and easily delivered lethal hits on silhouette targets. At targets downrange, the Glock 34 reached out to 75 yards the easiest (by far) while the Baby Glock 27 struggle just a bit but still did a fine job for a 3” barreled gun. There wasn’t a dog among them. BUT, the things that differentiated them while throwing bullets down range were the things I already write about. For example, while the XDm and the Glock 34 both felt balanced the Glock grip felt bulky and slick forcing me to repeatedly re-grip the gun between shots. The XDm has more aggressive checkering and a better ergonomic feel that allowed me to keep my hands firmly attached to the grip for 10 continuous shots.
You already know how much I like the Glock trigger for the reason that the less you have to move your trigger finger the more likely you are to keep your gun on target.
In a long day of shooting and hundreds of rounds, not one of the four guns malfunctioned in any way, at any time. My Kimber Ultra Carry II has an occasional failure to feed but these guns fired without a single hiccup. As a matter of fact, there was a recent 20,000 round torture test done on an XD (see it here: http://springfield-armory.primediaoutdoors.com/SPstory11.php that’s so impressive, it literally made me want to run out and buy one on the spot! Read the torture test (after finishing this)!
While the trigger reset is demonstrated fact, the following is shallow opinion. Glocks are a utilitarian, flawlessly functional tool and look that way. They’re cool looking in an ugly kind of way (if that makes sense) but I don’t like the style. The Springfield XDm, on the other hand, is much more appealing to the eye. It comes in stainless or black and the angles give it an oddly “futuristic” look that I really like. It’s a good looking gun that also functions flawlessly.
Glock has set the standard in polymer pistols but Springfield definitely raised the bar. They listened to the focus groups, police officers, military personnel and average consumers to create a product that’s an improvement in almost every way (except one).
With all of the XD and XDm size and caliber options, there’s definitely something that will fit your needs – carry, home defense, target, competition, etc. If you’re looking for a new gun, don’t buy anything until you look at, shoot and evaluate a Springfield XD/XDm. If you’re resistant to the polymer trend, snap out of it and shoot one! They’ve been so popular that someone you know has one, or someone you know knows someone that has one. Don’t be shy, ask. They will gladly let you give it a run, but you’ll have to buy your own ammo… $$$
My Brother Says:“I love the look and feel of the gun, especially with the SureFire light on it. The stainless steel slide allows me to keep it on my boat with minimal worry about rust and I also love the fact that it has a utility rail so I can mount a light for defense when I spend the night on my boat or at home.”