Gun Review: Springfield Armory XDm-45ACP

JM Browning was the greatest firearms designer that ever lived. The Utah-born gunmaker held 128 unique firearms patents. His work is one of the main reasons that I’m typing this review in English, and not German. Gaston Glock was a thermoplastic expert and a pretty amazing engineer in his own right. If Mr. Browning and Herr Glock were working together today, I wonder what kind of handgun they’d devise. Something like . . . a bi-tone Springfield Armory XDm .45ACP?

I’d like to think so. The XDm .45 combines Browning-like ergonomics with Glock-like reliability and simplicity. Maybe that’s why I like the entire XD/XDm line of pistols. They provide even the most demanding shooters with everything they need in a combat gun: light weight, accuracy, reliability, and capacity. The XDm-45 adds one of John Browning’s greatest accomplishments: .45ACP punch.

Americans love the .45ACP—and with good reason. Weapons of that caliber have served U.S. troops through two world wars. And beyond! America’s elite Special Forces units still turn to their .45s. Even the FBI, whose commission led to the development of the super-snappy .40S&W round, deploy handguns chambered in .45ACP (along with a Springfield Operator TRP 1911).

Springfield may build their guns in Croatia, but they’re American enough to realize that their popular XDm series needed a .45ACP version to seal its reputation. Low muzzle blast, light recoil, low chamber pressure (extending service life), reliable penetration, deep wound channel . . . what’s not to like? Yes, the round’s expensive. But life’s too short to risk on smaller caliber weapons.

First Impressions…

Like all other XDm models, the XDm-45 comes in a factory Pelican waterproof case, along with all the other “XD Gear” goodies. These include a holster, two magazines, magazine holder, magazine reloader, and lock.

The XDm-45 is almost identical in size to an XDm-40. The same sleek lines have been carried over from smaller calibers, increased proportionally to fit the larger cartridge. The texture of the grips, the user-changeable back strap, and grip safety are all there. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I must admit, I was a little thrown off by the XDm-45ACP press release. I was expecting an increase in capacity over the XD-45. Instead, the XDm-45 carries over the same 13+1 capacity of the XD-45. The m version even uses the same magazines (great news if you shoot an XD-45 and want to upgrade). And for good reason . . .

When Croatia’s HS Produkt (formerly I.M. Metal) created the HS2000, the magazines’ proportions weren’t optimized. When Springfield developed the XDm series of pistols, one of the main goals: develop and use new magazines. Once proportioned properly, the XDm 9/40 gained capacity without a significant change in size.

The XD-45 was developed with the “optimized magazine capacity” mindset from the get-go. Thus the only way to increase the XDm-45 capacity: increase magazine size. Ultimately, this would have increased gun size. Springfield left well-enough alone. Again, right answer.

The gun’s ergonomics may not be flawless, but I challenge you to think of a way to improve them. Although I haven’t shot a Gen 4 yet, the XDm’s grip angle and texture put a Glock to shame. If this gun doesn’t feel more comfortable in your hand than a Glock, you’ve probably been shooting Glocks for a long, long time.

Function

The trigger on the Springfield XDm series of pistols is far superior to the XD line, but they’re far from 1911-ish. For personal carry, home defense, and even competition, the trigger is 100 percent manageable. It has a fairly long stroke, but it is predictable and linear from beginning to end. There is no noticeable stacking (like the terrible M9A1 I’m about to review) and the trigger reset is more than acceptable for a combat gun.

Sights on the XDm are acceptable. In outdoor or well-light situations, the 3-dot setup works perfectly. In the past, I have changed out the sights for a set of Trijicon tritiums. Since this pistol will be more of a competition gun, I plan on skipping the tritiums in favor of a set of fiber-optic sights (Dawson). In any event, better sights are often the key to better shooting.

Some (mostly Glock-heads) despise the XD’s grip safety. I wonder why I never hear any people complaining about the grip safety on a 1911? I think the mentality is changing, and that the grip safety is becoming more accepted. The truth of the matter: the XD and XDm are essentially single-action pistols. Unlike Glock’s “safe action” system, the XD and XDm’s striker is 100 percent cocked when the slide is manipulated. [For further clarification, please read my August editorial.]

At the Range…

The XDm-45 shoots like the other XDm’s in my collection—and that’s about as high praise as I can muster. As you’d expect from the lower velocity round, the XDm-.45ACP has less felt recoil than the .40S&W. The relatively demure explosion is extremely helpful for follow-up shots and target transitions.

As far as accuracy goes, I find no need to beat a dead horse. Or shoot one for that matter. The XDm has a well-deserved reputation for accuracy, and the XDm-45 does not disappoint. At 33 feet, 13 shot groupings are all inside a 6” Shoot-N-See target.

Hold the XDm-.45ACP with a proper grip, and the gun will shoot where you point it each and every time. During a recent steel match, I was able to win my Class with the gun. Bear in mind that I have yet to shoot this pistol at paper, nor have I had time to verify POA/POI. What you see in the video is the XDm as it came out of the box with factory WWB ammo.

I had some minor FTF’s [Failure to Feed] during my match. No worries; I hadn’t cleaned the XDm-45ACP before use. After cleaning out the gun and six filthy magazines (they drop in gritty sand during steel matches), the XDm-45 ran flawlessly. In its next outing I fed the XDm-.45ACP 700 rounds of FMJ, and 150 rounds of varying JHP ammo (including one +P loading). I have yet to experience any FTE’s [Failure to Extract] with this or any other XDm.

Overall impressions…

Some (myself included) will use the XDm-45 for big-bore pistol competitions. Most owners will keep the handgun loaded with high-quality JHP loads and relegate it to “home defense” duties. Shame. The XDm is a great full-size carry gun.

I use a DeSantis OWB thumb-break holster for the XDm-.45ACP when I’m riding my motorcycle. The DeSantis was a little tight at first, likely because it was designed for the XDm9/40. After putting the pistol inside a thin sock, holstering it, and then letting it sit overnight, the fit and tension are now perfect.

Conclusions…

The XDm-45ACP is an evolutionary gun, not a revolutionary weapon. It’s not a design to rival the innovations unleashed by Mr. Browning and Herr Glock. Nonetheless, both gunmakers would have recognized the XDm-.45ACP’s inherent strengths, and its debt of gratitude to their work. I bet that both men would have had no hesitation wearing a Springfield XDm-.45ACP into battle. Nor would I. Nor should you.

Ratings (out of five)

Style * * *
Modern Combat Pistol—better than a Glock, but not as sleek looking as the Smith & Wesson M&P. Of course, plastic guns can’t compare to 1911’s or S&W revolvers, but that’s just my two-cents.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Fantastic ergonomics, probably the main reason why the XD/XDm is taking away so much of the market share from Glock and S&W.

Reliability * * * * *
After the initial cleaning, she feeds everything and anything. From cheap Tula Ammo at Wal-Mart, to Speer Gold Dots, nothing gets hung up and everything gets extracted.

Customizable * *
Other than a comfortable holster, there is little to do to the XDm-45ACP. Owners can change sights out based on personal preference. As with all XDm’s, there is a light rail for whatever you feel is necessary.

Overall Rating * * * * *
Dollar for dollar, the best personal/home defense guns on the market.