Quality – Springfield XD and Smith & Wesson M & P

XDM and M&P

XDM and M&P

Next up – tracking the reliability of Springfield Armory’s XD/XDM family of pistols, and the Smith & Wesson Military & Police pistols.  Both are designed to compete with Glock, and like the Glock they are both available in full-size, compact and subcompact versions.

Same method as before: every review in Gun Tests magazine back to 1996.  A gun would be judged as “broken” if it stopped working, shed parts, or physically disintegrated in some way.  A gun would be “unreliable” if it had failures to fire, feed, extract or eject that were not attributable to a documented problem with the ammunition.  An obviously defective part like a single bad magazine would not render a gun “unreliable” if the manufacturer’s regular magazines worked when the bad magazine was replaced like-for-like.

Since these are relatively new designs, there is a smaller sample size of reviews to draw upon:

Test Results

Test Results

The Springfield Armory XDM is made in Croatia.  It was originally produced by I. M. Metal, and brought to market in 1999 as the HS2000 by Intrac.  Springfield worked with Intrac for the U.S. rights and renamed it the XD.  The XD was a success, and Springfield upgraded the XD to the XDM by modifying the grip angle, texture and slide serrations.  Robb Allen is a fan of the design.

Smith & Wesson, seeing the success of Glock, tried to break into the market with their Sigma pistols in 1994, which never really took off.  They then tried to adapt the Walther P99 pistols to the American market as the SW99 in 2000, but they also were not runaway hits.  So they developed the Military & Police pistols and seem to have achieved some level of success with them.


There was some buzz a while ago about the subcompact M&P models ejecting their magazines when the guns were carried concealed, or when the gun was being fired.  S&W apparently modified the design to make that less likely, and will retrofit older guns upon request.  Then the L.A. Sheriff’s Department had some quality issues with the M&P and had to de-authorize the gun as a duty weapon.  They have since re-authorized the weapon after S&W addressed the issues with the batch that the Sheriff’s Department received.

Once again, these are not huge sample datasets.  But the XD/XDM guns have a reputation for reliability that is supported by the Gun Tests experiences with them.

26 Responses to Quality – Springfield XD and Smith & Wesson M & P

  1. avatarGAKoenig says:

    There are a few things mucking with the data here:

    - The XD has effectively been available for a longer period of time.
    - The XD is targeted more at consumers, so it gets more articles written about it in glossy magazines.

    The point is, this survey sort of covers up a more interesting point; the M&P has far more penetration in LE circles than the XD. In fact, I don’t know of any departments dropping Glocks for XDs, where the M&P is the first weapon to really make inroads with agencies that routinely carried Glocks.

    This is sort of an important data point, because most LE agencies have an armorer (or staff of armorers) who get to enjoy a solid round of reliability testing paid for by their local tax base. They also get T&E weapons sent to them from all the major manufacturers. Some agencies take their science seriously while others just sorta bubba the whole thing.

    Point is, the M&P is replacing other service pistols and is impressing LE armorers all across the country while the XD remains a retail pistol sold mostly to folks who won’t put 1000 rounds through it in their lifetimes.

    • avatarPatrick Carrube says:

      Not true, at least not here in the Phoenix area. I know quite a few officers and sheriffs with XD/XDm’s, but I don’t know of any officers that carry M&P Pistols (although I’m sure there are some). I think the M&P Pistols have a larger LEO base because of the fact that they are made by S&W – a company with long-standing tradition and customer service in the LEO community (the same applies to Colt with the M4 and Remington with the 870 Tactical models). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Springfield take a larger market share away from both Glock and S&W in the years to come.

  2. avatarRalph says:

    I own an M&P40c and the only problem I’ve had with it is that the little white dots on the sights popped off. Disconcerting, but a few touches of glow paint handled that issue. Otherwise, it’s been completely reliable, even with the cheapest ammo that money can buy. My only beef with it is the absurd 200-lb. Massachusetts trigger.

    • avatarPatrick Brown says:

      I purchased an M&P40c recently, and after 300 or so rounds I just couldn’t deal with the trigger any longer. It’s now at the gunsmith getting some TLC…

  3. avatarTTACer says:

    Just ’cause it sez “M&P” in the name don’t mean that Smith aint trying for the consumer market. I have not heard of an LE agency that still issues revolvers, but you can buy an M&P revolver.

    “Smith & Wesson, seeing the success of Glock, tried to break into the market with their Sigma pistols in 1994, which never really took off”

    I heard they didn’t take off because they were junk-no data, just anecdotally.

    BTW Yankee I am glad you are here today. The most recent American Rifleman has two 1911 reviews, with the added bonus that one is an expensive compact/commander and one is a cheapish full size (and coincidentally an XD(M), funny how life works out sometimes). They mention that the compact STI had a number of stoppages until it broke in, chalking it up to the tight fitting of the gun. They don’t say if the full-size Remington stopped but they are usually good about reporting stoppages-albeit couched in the most positive way possible-so I assume it did not. I was wondering what your take on break-in stoppages was. I thought it was funny, the STI required about as many shots to break-in as the Rorbaugh can go between rebuilds.

    • Well, if a gun says in its manual that you need to run X rounds through it to break it in, I say do it and then test the gun. But if the manual doesn’t say it, I wouldn’t waste that ammo.

      And, there are different kinds of unreliability. A stoppage due to tight fitting, or a failure to return all the way into battery, I can understand how that might be due to a lack of break-in.

      But a failure to feed hollowpoints is not something I would automatically ascribe to lack of break-in.

  4. avatarRyan Finn says:

    I for one can speak to Departments dropping Glocks for XD’s. I was the only one carrying a XD in the county I worked in. After firing my XD and the lone M&P in both the Sheriff’s Office and City PD, many city cops dropped the Glock for a XD. (This didn’t happen in the Sheriff’s Office because the Sheriff started to authorize 1911′s.) However the City Chief started to authorize other polymer pistols and many officers liked the XD because of the grip angle. That’s why I carried it and can attest that through thousands of rounds that XD40 service never failed, ever.

  5. avatarTyler D. says:

    The HS2000 has been out since 1999 and the M&P since 2005.

    But on a purely anecdotal front, I have not seen any issues with friends XDs. Other than excessive muzzle flip.

    But I have on a few M&P’s. Mostly due to a gritty and heavy trigger. Although I know I have more total rounds through my M&P than everyone I know that has an XD.

  6. avatarBen Shotzberger says:

    I’ll weigh in on the side of the M&P. I’ve shot both, but have never owned an XD

    Smith&Wesson created a beautiful firearm here. I’ve heard the complaints / failures that some have had, but I for one never experienced any of it. I personally owned a full-sized M&P for about two years. I never had any sort of failures or issues with the firearm beyond personal preference. I lean more towards the “heft” of steel-framed pistols, and just couldn’t adjust to the perceived recoil of the polymer frame. It functioned flawlesslythough, right up until it became a safe-queen.

    In firing the M&P, I noticed nothing that isn’t typical in polymer guns. I shot it well, and it handled everything I put down the tube from 115gr – 158gr. It was just a preference thing for me. I no longer own one, have no intention of ever owning one again, but can’t speak badly about the pistol because it did everything it was meant to do.

    Comparing it to shooting the XD, I’d rate the M&P as having higher “shootability,” but this is likely due to my own limited experience with the XD.

    Both Smith &Wesson and Springfield have dropped significant R&D dollars into the creation of these pistols. Wisely, they realized Glock had something going for them. Expect to see this series hang around, and hopefully mature further.

    The issue Smith&Wesson is running into here with their M&P series is variety; namely … too much of it. Check out the Smith&Wesson M&P pistol section of their website; currently there are 25 variants of the M&P in 9mm, 15 variants for the .45ACP version. Smith&Wesson followed the Glock polymer-frame design revolution well, but missed the bit about the “KISS” rule; in this case, “Keep it Simple – Smith.”

    – Ben

  7. avatarBen says:

    I’ve had a LOT of experience on the Glock and M&P platforms (daily carry guns for a 40-hour/week firearm instructor job for 6 months) and have fired several XDs & XD-Ms. My personal verdict is the XD/M pistols are probably the best marketed but don’t offer any tangible advantage over like-cost competitors. I shoot them well, but don’t really like how top-heavy they felt in my hand and I didn’t find the “additional features” of the XD/M guns to be compelling reasons to switch platforms. That was the general consensus of all of us at the range… and we saw a LOT of guns come through there.

    I’ve personally seen Glocks, M&Ps, and XD/Ms break on the range and in competition. Nobody makes a perfectly-reliable handgun at the $500 price point… but I’ve personally seen fewer problems with the Glock and M&P handguns than I have with just about anything else. I’ve been working an M&P 9 (JG model) hard between carry, competition and training and haven’t had a single mechanical failure of the firearm in something between ~5,000-7,000 rounds through the pipe. I’ve seen a couple FTFs in that time I attribute to badly-manufactured ammunition, our M&P has been 100% reliable.

  8. avatarTexas Jack says:

    I have a full size and a subcompact XD9. With well over a thousand rounds through each, failures of any kind = 0. If I leave the house, the subcompact is in my pocket, or on the passenger seat.

  9. avatarEvan says:

    The M&P is the most comfortable polymer gun on the market IMO. Fantastic ergonomics. I dislike the slide height on the XD’s just like I dislike it on the Walther PPS. It doesn’t sight-in for me like the M&P. As far as quailty& longevity….jury is still out on both. Glock has the track record, the other don’t. Not to say they are bad weapons, but they still have to prove themselves over the long haul.

  10. avatarRon says:

    I owned a Glock 19 but not anymore. I own an XD-45 Service and like it a lot except for the weight. I own 3 M&Ps all bought since the first of the year and here is why. I shoot those suckers like they were made for me. I have a 9mm fullsize, a 9mm compact and a new 40cal. compact. Guess what my choice is, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.

  11. avatarJim Kelly says:

    As an individual working for over twenty years in the private security industry I have owned, or been issued: Glocks, Rugers, and almost every common service variant of Smith and Wesson pistol over the years. All where “serviceable”, But on a security officers paycheck you want all the quality you can get for the best price. ( Yes we all do….but those of us with 6 figure salaries tend to buy more on impulse. )
    That said….the best “guns for the money” I ever owned as a security guy…..3rd place was a police surplus S&W model 19, 2nd place was the ruger P-89, 1st place (HANDS DOWN) Springfield Armory XD9 Sevice. ( 2 magazines, loading tool, double mag carrier, and a useless holster…in a decent hard case, no extra charge. )
    Just my opinion:)
    p.s. Extra mags run 50+ dollars.

  12. avatarGabe says:

    The xdm is one of the finest manufactured weapons on the market. Although the smith & wesson m&p is another greatly manufactured firearm, i think in my opinion the xdm is a more better gun. Simply because of the fact that the xdm has a grip safety that is very effective for reducing the risk of injury, but you can be just as safe if you have an m&p. It really just depends on the user for firearm safety. But i also think that the xdm has better grip, it just feels really good in your hands when you shoot it. The m&p kind of has an awkward since of touch to me, they feel smooth on the grips. But the xdm has sort of slits in the grip that just gives you a since of better control of the firearm. The xdm also has a higher capacity magazine unlike the m&p series. My xdm holds 13+1 while my m&p holds 10+1, but they are both really good firearms. If you are in the market for a really great firearm i recommend the springfield armory xdm 45 acp, truly a great firearm. But this is all my opinion of course, so choose what you feel is comfortable for yourself. Gabe

  13. avatarSinatra91 says:

    I’ve got to counterpoint GAKoenig’s first comment here. Go on the Outdoor Channel and You will see WAYYY more M&P commercials than you will XD/XD(m) commercials. So as far as it being a more publicized gun…..I would beg to differ. If you mean that they get their ads in more magazines….that’s just smart marketing. My dad has an FFL on the side to make a little cash. As such I’ve seen my share of different types of firearms. Occasionally he would order a gun or get a gun shipped to him for an officers replacement “duty pistol” In all his years of doing that I never once saw an M&P come through our door….They were all XD-9 service models.

    • avatarDaniel says:

      So are you saying that the M&P never needed to be replaced or that nobody was using them and that xd9 had more of a following? Thanks.

  14. avatarJerry says:

    I have been reading reviews and visiting my LGS over the last week trying to decide on buying a M&P 40 in a couple of weeks or waiting for for the XDS 40 to come out in the coming months. My general consensus so far is that the XDS is a 100 percent reliable gun with a significant snap back, and M&P has its reliability problems with a snap that pushes the gun back into your hand . 50/50 as of yet , can somebody push it one way or the other for me?

  15. avatarProf. says:

    Here I am with the pistol most prone to failure ( allegedly) in the S&W99. It has been out of its holster twice in a “intense situation”. Both times and at the range I have never had a FTF, misfire, mag fall out, and have run over 1,000 rounds out the business end. I am shopping for A H&K 9, some fellows I know who carry every day when overseas indicated it was the only pistol they would carry bar none. SOOO I am saving my cans, box tops, eating brown bag lunches and am in hopes just after the first of the year to be able to purchase a pistol ” above $500.00″ for comparison. And no the 99 is staying, but the H&K will be my carry .

  16. avatarSean Novack says:

    I’ve been a firearms instructor for going on 10 years now, and I’ve carried a 4″ Tactical XD9 all that time. I fell in love with the gun when a friend who owns a shooting range forced me to put it in my hand when I was there to buy a SigP226. I fired off my rounds with the Sig, said “Yep, that’s what I want.”, and then because I’d PROMISED to try the XD40 he’d given me I reached for the pistol to load it.
    I picked it up…
    That was all it took.
    I have had two surgeries to repair a broken right wrist, and firing a .40 makes my wrist ache after awhile, so I went back and asked him for a 9mm. He passed it over with a smile and not a word…I bought both of them that day, and sold the Sig two years later.
    It’s all in what fits your hand, and I’vve never had a weapon fit my hand better than the XD. Period. If you don’t like it, I’d recommend a Glock. If you hate one, you tend to love the other.

  17. I just sent back an m&p shield 40 and full size m&p 40 for repair. Both guns have 500-600 rounds through them and both have the same issues. The ejector on both extract rounds straight back. The tip of both are worn like they were drug across cement. The shields is bent in an arc shape which I noticed because of the black finish worn at the ends and a straight edge confirmed this. The full size ejector is not coated, but looking at it’s face showed uneven gritty wear and it was loose. The rod which goes from the trigger to striker pin moved outward almost scraping wall of receiver. After switching mag release, mags would drop an 1/8 inch before I had to take mag out. Removing mag’s rough plastic edges did nothing.
    I am seriously considering selling both guns when I get them back because I cannot see these guns last king 2,000 rounds.
    If this is what you have to offer military and police,all I can say is you need to get it right. Lives are more important to dollars.
    Now my daily carry is a full size Beretta storm. I got ripped off paying $600 for the shield because of all the hype,now I will be lucky to get half if I sell it.

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