Gun Review: Springfield XD(m) 3.8″ Full Size Pistol

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(This is a reader-submitted review as part of our gun review contest. See details here.)

By Art Jones

This Springfield XD(m) is the first gun I ever owned personally. It’s the first gun I ever jumped through all the hoops to purchase, from convincing my wife to let it in the house to filling out my first form 4473, to fidgeting through the (no longer in effect in beer ‘n cheese country) waiting period. Admittedly, it lives in a gilded, nostalgic place of honor in my mind alongside my the Marlin 70 my dad first taught taught me to shoot and the bolt action .22 of my grandfather’s I qualified for my Rifle Shooting merit badge on.

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I am an obsessive shopper. I convince myself I have to make the “right” choice, that the purchase has to be perfect. In the case of selecting my first firearm, I was concerned that it might stay my only firearm. My wife had only just granted me her blessing. She wasn’t about to OK and arsenal or even an “arsenal.” I talk myself up and down the spectrum of price points, nice-to-have features become essential, become superfluous. Push pins and string are needed. Buying the perfect gun turned out to be impossible, because A) I couldn’t afford it, and B) it doesn’t exist. What I found was the XD(m).

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If nothing else, Springfield’s (m) is feature rich and unpretentious.Right out of the heavy duty box, I’m impressed by the extras.

Sure, there’s the obligatory lock, empty chamber flag, and manual. But wait, there’s more! Interchangeable backstraps, a magazine carrier, mag loader, paddle holster, and spent casing explain why the case is so darn big. There’s also a gun in there.

Whoever designed the XD(x) wanted to check all the boxes but knew when to stop. Most notable to a sinister like myself is the ambidextrous magazine release. Springfield’s polymer pistol notably comes with a grip safety. Combination tactile/visual loaded chamber and cocking indicators round out the list for the safety-conscious.

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The shortened slide and full length grip gives the gun a brutal, futuristic mien. Branding and manufacturing markings are understated. Springfield didn’t feel the need to make the aforementioned indicators ostentatious. If you’re not thinking about them, they’re not in your face.

The grip feels like it was made for my hand (I wear men’s size L gloves, and the medium backstrap). The slide serrations provide firm purchase without excessive effort. I never have to think about the grip safety while shooting. It does complicate opening the breach, however. If you ever need to feel better about your life, watch a lefty trying to lock back the slide on a pistol with a grip safety with his derp side hand.

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The stock trigger has a smooth, predictable take-up to a firm wall with a clean break. The gun is more accurate than I am most days of the week. Follow-up shots require a moment’s work to tame the .40 S&W’s signature muzzle flip and realign the serrated 3-dot sights (.40 S&W does like to jump). If I have a flyer, it’s because I was in a hurry to flinch.

The XD(m) isn’t perfect, but it’s my Goldilocks gun for home defense.

Specifications: Springfield XD(m) 3.8″ Full Size

Caliber: .40 S&W
Operation: Striker-fired
Sights: Fixed 3-dot
Magazines: 2 x 16-round, stainless steel
Weight: 29 oz. (w/ empty mag)
Height: 5.75”
Width: 1.18” (grip)
Barrel Length: 3.8”
Overall Length: 6.75”
MSRP: $669

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability: * * *
I had one failure to return to battery in my first fifty rounds. After that it’s eaten several hundred rounds of FMJ/JHP of various provenances, including factory reloaded brass, without complaint.

Style: * * * *
It’s great looking for a polymer gun. Admittedly, GLOCK sets that bar awfully low, but the short slide makes this gun look like it was imported from a future where humans still need to defend themselves.

Customizability: * * *
There’s an accessory rail, the sights are replaceable, and that’s about it. The extra backstraps let the XD(m) hold onto that third star.

Capacity: * * * * *
16+1 rounds of .40 S&W is hands down best in class.

Ergonomics: * * * *
More than all the goodies stuffed into the gun and the case it comes in, the comfortable grip is the XD(m)’s coup de grace (YMMV). Again, GLOCK has left this bar low for so long; it’s no surprise there are so many contenders to be GLOCK 2.0.

Overall: * * * *
At this price point, you’re not going to find another polymer pistol feels as good or packs in as many features or as many bullets.

comments

  1. avatar JN says:

    This review, or one a LOT like it, was posted on August 27th.

    1. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

      I thought I was getting some awfully strong deja vu…

      1. avatar Vanbulance says:

        I like TTAG because I’m visual. And I certainly remembered many of the specific phrases from the first time this was posted. (I also had the deja vu)

        Strange.

        1. avatar YZAS says:

          Man, I thought maybe those Grateful Dead shows were coming back to haunt me there. Phew.

  2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    One failure to return to battery before it’s broken in, and no subsequent failures in several hundred rounds, deserves more than three stars for reliability.

    With any semi-auto, the parts need time to get to know each other and for the lubrication to get to all the right places.

  3. avatar Joe R. says:

    Good review!

    Yes. XD, or XDm is a keeper in either 9mm or .40 S&W, I haven’t used the .45 ACP model but have heard it’s no different. It is (regardless of the GLOCKenization of the U.S. Military procurement) the only polymer framed weapon that I would choose to take to war (over a alloy/steel framed weapon). It is also, the only striker-fired weapon that I would choose to take to war.

    1. avatar Matt in TX says:

      I have an original XD-45 compact, I have fired an identical pistol in 40. I couldn’t tell the difference between them.

  4. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

    I don’t get the 3.8″ in full size. The compact takes an extended magazine to give you the same capacity and it is more concealable. If you want a full sized pistol, buy the 4.5″ full sized pistol.

    (See, I don’t always praise Springfield products.)

    1. avatar dph says:

      This. I have a 9mm 4.5 full size and a .45 3.8 compact for the reasons stated, one for the night stand and one for cc..

    2. avatar Anonymous Coward says:

      Anybody who appreciates appendix carry for personal defense can appreciate firearms in this configuration.

    3. avatar Daniel Henderson says:

      It fills the same niche that a Commander 1911 does. You still get a full size guns’ firepower in a smaller package. I’ve found I’ve started liking these kind of guns more than the full size or target versions of the same platform.

  5. avatar PeterK says:

    I’m also a one gun kinda guy currently. For the same reason.

    #solidarity

  6. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

    I feel like you guys are missing that this review was posted already… and I think you might have left the same comments on that one.

  7. avatar Klaus says:

    “I am an obsessive shopper. I convince myself I have to make the “right””

    You did just fine in my book. This is my EDC gun and it has never failed in thousands of rounds at the range. Not even a hiccup. I love this gun. Maybe it’s just my hands but it points just right for me. For me, it’s just instinctively on target when I draw it.

    Great review too.

  8. avatar 0351 says:

    Good review. An XDM in 45 was my first ever gun purchase 6 years ago, with the longer barrel. I’d had a great deal of experience on firearms, but hadn’t had a reason to buy until then. I have exceedingly small hands for a guy, smaller than many women. It’s interesting to me that the poster has large hands and likes the fit, and I find it to be a perfect fit as well. I too had a couple missfeeds in the first hundred or so rounds, but not a single weapons malfunction ever since. I have put thousands of rounds through it, and now it’s my duty pistol. I find the safety features reliable, and I have definitely put it through some hell. It’s held up through everything. There is absolutely*nothing* negative about it, and I have since handled many other pistols in depth. I am a rifle lover mainly, but this pistol has served me well; it’s my other main squeeze. It has also proven capable of 150 yards man sized targets. The only addition I have put on it from the factory are tritium sights. I don’t use the rails, but whatever. Great gun.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Good review.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    Good review.

    See what I did there?

    1. avatar =BCE56= says:

      ^^ Subtle.

  11. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    The shorter barrel and longer grip makes more sense than the shorter grip and longer barrel.

    I’m not a ballistics snob,100fps more or less isn’t going to rock my world. I would rather have more gun to hold on to and rounds in the gun, than longer barrel to launch bullets.

    That said, is 3.8 really a big selling point difference than 4.0? Not really, says I.

    1. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      the 40 S&W is a modern cartridge, and doesn’t suffer the velocity loss that 45 or 9 mm do in a 5″-4″-3″ barrel. Even if you hate the 40, you gotta give it some credit there.

      1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        I suppose. Once again, not a ballistics guy.

        Smoking hot rounds, or like those super light for caliber +p’s, they don’t really impress me.

  12. avatar DaveWI says:

    Decent review, but I would fire your proofreader.

  13. avatar LarryinTX says:

    I’m not certain why this gun is even produced. If you’re going to buy the 3.8″ barrel, it looks to me like the only sensible version is the XD(m) 3.8(c), which offers a shorter grip with lower capacity, or a magazine the same size with sleeves instead of backstraps, so that with the full sized mag you have the same gun, but you also have the capability to have a more compact version should the need arise. And I know of no actual drawback.

    Mine is 9mm, shorter iteration is 13 rd, with 19 in the longer mag. Or the non compact version, both 19. If I were buying the 19 only, it would be the 4.5″ barrel, unless they have a longer one. And I may just do that, haven’t bought a new gun in months.

  14. avatar ACP_arms says:

    Is this not a re-post?

  15. avatar Mike says:

    Love the Springfield! I have a XDm in 9mm, 19 round, 4.5″ barrel – it’s by the bed. My EDC is the XD mod 2, in 9mm also. 13 round to carry, 16 as a backup. The ergonomics on both are great – the mod 2 is superb!

  16. avatar Ozzallos says:

    I love my XDm compact in .45acp. It’s laser accurate when I do my part and with the compact, I can run 9 round mags or 13 round mags. Or just buy the +3 round extenders for 16+1 carry.

    But I have to agree with some of the others. With the compact model and the ability to carry both low and hicap mags, the continued existence of the full sized line of pistols escapes me. Then again, the existence of the 40s&w escapes me as well since I can just run 185gr out my gun and achieve the same performance :p

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