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Competition shooters shell-out thousands of dollars for tricked-out polymer pistols. Glock has long been the big dog in the field (“Ole Reliable”). Over the last few years, more and more mainstream manufacturers have seen the advantages of (i.e. profit in) modifying their models for customers who are more results than price-driven. Smith & Wesson entered the fray with their M&P Pro SeriesSpringfield Armory (SA) recently introduced their XDm 5.25” Competition Models in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Springfield graciously provided us with one of their 9mm Competition Models so we could see if a fool and his plain Jane pistol could soon be parted . . .

Like every XDm, the 5.25” arrives in a large hinged case (the better to contain all my accoutrements, my dear). Inside: a shiny pistol, three magazines, kydex paddle holster, kydex double mag carrier, mag loader, lock and cleaning brush, various paperwork and manuals.

I’ve never been a big fan of the  Croatian creation’s tall slide (RF compares it to a double-decker bus). The XDm draws attention away from its height with some seriously sexy curves and enough striations to grate cheese. They dominate the pistol’s landscape, from the front of the slide to the cocking serrations. It’s no bad thing; the XDm 5.25” is a cross between Batman sleek and dominatrix mean.

The XDm’s 19-round grip is huge—but it doesn’t feel significantly larger in hand than a Glock G34. The Springfield balances perfectly; the grip settled into my hand as comfortably as a labrador’s head.

Besides the obvious jump in slide size from your standard XDm, the 5.25” boasts two very features distinguishing it as a competition pistol. First: the front fiber optic sights and the adjustable rear target sight. The wide notch and “plainness” of the rear sight makes it easy to pick up the blazing red front sight for rapid target acquisition.

Second: the lightening cut. Looking at the top of the slide you’ll notice that some of the fat has been trimmed. A lot, actually. SA posits that the “cut in the slide reduces reciprocating mass which allows for faster cycling and allows a larger variety of loads to be used.”

These features sound great on paper. To see if the XDm 5.25” could deliver the goods I grabbed some Tula 115 gr, Remington UMC 124 gr and Speer 124 gr +P Gold Dots and headed to the range. Pretending I was in California, I loaded up 10 rounds and steadily fired the whole mag.

As you can see, the bullets all hit consistently left. I broke out a tiny screwdriver and adjusted the sight a few clicks. Then I loaded up some more rounds and tried again.

While still a little left of center, the results were much more pleasing than the previous string. Once I got myself fully acclimated, I ran some basic rapid fire sets at seven yards. I loosed some one-handed strings and consistently hit the steel target with ease.

Once I upped the pace, my groups opened up. Nothing unexpected there, but the resulting groups were much larger than those I’ve shot with my duty gun (M&P 45c) or my Glock G19.

I attribute the diminished accuracy to a lack of familiarity with this particular weapon and the speed of the slide. While there wasn’t a noticeable recoil reduction, the slide went through the motions at a far more brisk pace than any XD I’ve ever shot. So fast that my brain had to play serious catch up with the sight picture.

That aside, the Springfield Armory XDm 5.25″ 9mm is a really accurate pistol – seriously and deadly accurate. I think TTAG buddy and Top Shot champ Iain Harrison said it best about the 5.25, “the thing shoots surprisingly small groups and flatters you into thinking you did it all yourself.”

My one complaint: the XDm’s trigger. There’s nothing terribly wrong with the go-pedal. The pull is right on, the break’s clean and the reset’s noticeable. But there’s nothing extraordinarily right about the trigger, either. Before you get to the clean break, you have to pull through a little mushiness and the length-to-reset seems just a tad too long. For a pistol tailored for the competition crowd, I was expecting more.

Lurking in the internet forums, I discovered the general consensus: SA knows most shooters tune their triggers. So the gunmaker didn’t go out of their way to make a stellar bang switch. True or not, if this was my pistol, I’d be ordering some parts from Springer Precision pronto. 

While I wouldn’t hesitate to use a pistol this big as a duty weapon, I’m not so sure about carrying a handgun with a big chunk of the slide gone. The possibility of a bunch of crap getting into the gun via the lightening cut and causing a malfunction may be remote, but I’ve got enough nagging doubts as it is.

Obviously, the 5.25″ is not a gun you can conceal with ease. Anyone who carries a full size XDm knows that big honkin’ grip is harder to hide than Selena Gomez in a bikini. Here in Montana, current negative temps and snow offer the CCW licence holder the chance to stash a howitizer under their parka. Come spring, the XDm 5.25″ is what the Brits call a non-starter.

Now I know my “issues” are somewhat insignificant because, let’s face it, this is a competition gun. SA didn’t make it so OFWGs could carry a 20-round tack driver around with them on a daily basis. They made it so that you could pull it out of the box and start competing.

Mission accomplished. The XDm 5.25 gives you match grade components and – if you do your part – match grade accuracy. All without your brain and check book exploding from having to piece together a competition gun from scratch. While it may not have a Glock trigger, it delivers on the promise of performance; I wouldn’t hesitate to compete with it just the way it rolls out of the factory. So now it’s off to find a competition. Stay tuned.


Springfield XDm 5.25” 9mm Competition Model
Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 19+1
Weight: 29 oz
Barrel Length: 5.25”
Overall Length: 8.3”
MSRP: $795.00

RATINGS (out of five stars)

Style * * * * * 
Like that girl every guy wanted to take to prom, this gun will leave you drooling every time.

Ergonomics * * * *
Thanks to the interchangeable backstraps and comfortable grip angle, it should fit nicely in just about anyone’s hand. I’m not a fan of the ridiculously long grip though.

Reliability * * * * *
Steel, +P and Wally World brass were no match for this gun. Nary a malfunction to be found.

Customizable * * * * *
The XDm line has almost as many options as their Austrian cousins when it comes to customization.

Carry *
About as concealable as Donald Trump at an Occupy campsite.

Overall Rating * * * *
An extremely accurate handgun with everything you need to venture into the world of competition shooting.

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  1. “I have reservations about utilizing a pistol with a big chunk of the slide gone in a combat situation.”

    All I can really add to this, is that I’ve been carrying an XD9 V10 (what springfield calls their factory ported model) on and off for the better part of a year now, and I’ve never had a single issue with function due to fouling of the ports.

    The only issue I’ve run into has been the occasional extraction issue, and from what I can tell it’s almost certainly the fault of the ammo (likely due to improper storage and/or ammo being out of spec to begin with).

  2. I had to send an XD9MM back to the factory for light primer strikes. Excessive oil had gotten into the firing pin channel and gummed up the works.

    I was a little surprised that this was possible. My M&P seems to strike with much more authority than the XD, but I lack the expertise to know for sure. Thoughts?

    • I don’t even know if there is a way to measure that Tim. I can say that my first duty weapon was an XD40 and I never had any malfunctions with it. My M&P is my current duty weapon and it too has had no problems. I could see how that issue would be possible with almost any gun though.

    • “While it may not have a Glock trigger . . .” Lol. Is this a bad joke? Glock trigger is worse than my kid’s cap gun.

      • SRSLY. I own 4 GLocks and everyone of them required a new connector and polishing all the engagement surfaces of the internals to get rid of that mushy, gritty trigger.

  3. A few shooting buddies of mine have these. And another few have M&P Pro’s. And one has a Glock 34. And weirdly, they all brought them out to the range last night. I shot them all. The Smth was the most accurate for ME. The XD was the fastest for me. I could get more shots on target,faster with the XD. I suck with Glocks, so I won’t mention how that went.

    Of course, none of them were as good as my CZ75. Or my stepbrothers CZ75 SP-01 tactical. But that is comparing apples and, well not oranges. Perhaps apples and pears.

    • Funny you mention the CZ75, Sean. I’m the same way. I’ve shot a Glock 34, M&P Pro and several extremely expensive custom race guns. I can’t shoot any of them as accurately as my CZ75. I don’t know if I got lucky and happened to get an exceptional one off the line years back when I purchased it or if the ergonomics of the pistol just match my hand perfectly or what.. but I’ve never shot any pistol as well as my CZ.

      There’s no other gun I’d rather have for a competition or in a self-defense situation than that big heavy hunk of Czech steel.

      • Thanks for further stoking my desire for a CZ P-01. I’ve never shot a CZ, but I really don’t feel right with all the squared-off plastic pistols, and I don’t like DA only. Glocks just don’t work for me. Haven’t tried the many clones. I like an exposed hammer, and minimal plastic.

      • I have/had a CZ, actually an AR-24 from Armorlite. I could not shoot it as well as either of my 1911s. I say had, because I’ve put it up for sale. I can’t understand why I couldn’t shoot as good with it as a 1911, the AR-24 felt great in my hand. The AR-24 is made in Turkey.
        Opinions and comments welcomed.

        • I would say the same thing to you that I would say to the author of this article:

          Difference in trigger configurations can affect your accuracy based on what you’re used to. In the case of the XDm, I like to squeeze the trigger a little differently than other striker fired pistols (or even hammer fired) because the striker is fully cocked rather than half cocked like in a Glock. Same thing with the difference in the straight pull and shorter break/reset of the single action only triggers in the 1911s you’re used to, versus the pivoting pull and slightly longer engagement of the single action mode of various double/single action triggers.

          Adjust your technique to account for trigger style, and perhaps your grip/recoil management, to account for the lower bore axis in the CZ, and you might see some improvement. But what kind of gun is right for each shooter.

          Hopefully I’m not responding too late and you still have your CZ, or you got acclimated to it already!

    • My CZ is stock except for the fiber optic sights. I have 10-15000 rnds thru it. It is more accurate than almost anything. I paid $279 about 8-10 yrs ago.

      I mention the anything part, as that SPo1 is better. But it is had a lot of custom work.

  4. My guess is that Springfield left the “factory” trigger installed in their “competition gun” so it would qualify for Production Class shooters. The Springer Precision trigger kit is fantastic. I personally didn’t bother wasting my time installing it myself. Instead, I sent it to them and had them install the Dawson F/O sights, a magwell, and some other goodies while they were at it.

    The only thing I would change on this pistol would be (will be?) the rear sight as I much prefer contrasting-colored rear sights on my comp guns.

    • Glock installs a lighter trigger connector in their G34 and it qualifies for Production class in USPSA and SSP in IDPA, so I’m not sure that’s why. My guess is lawyers.

  5. Pretending I was in California, I loaded up 10 rounds and steadily fired the whole mag.

    LOL. The XDm is not on the CA roster. You’d be exempt as law enforcement, but the rest of us would have to find a FFL willing to do a single shot exemption, have LE friend who bought one and suddenly ‘didn’t want it,’ or via an out of state parent. And then there’s the magazine. You’d be exempt from that one as well, but Springfield doesn’t make a 10 round mag for the XDm series. The rest of us would have to modify a magazine down to 10 rounds if for no other reason for the function test during the dros process.

    Fun gun though. Very fast on follow up shots. As a Californian, my Dad who splits his time between CA and AZ, was kind enough to provide my early Christmas present. Intrafamiliar transfer is the easiest way to go.

    Nice review 🙂

  6. I just purchased the XDm as my first hand gun. As a novice shooter i cant be any more pleased. I took it to the range with my friends who both happen to be expert marksmen with a pistol. I am happy to say that i was able to keep right up with them. One friend was shooting a Glock and the other a MP. Both of my friends were amazed with the accuracy of my first time shooting a handgun. Although I am a long time rifle shooter and understand how to use front and rear sights, i should not have performed as well as i did. I can only attribute my success to this weapon, it made me look good!

  7. I was shocked when mine jammed on the very first shot. Was shocked once again when it jammed again before I had two hundred rounds through it.

    • My XDm jammed three times in the first 200 rounds I put through it, but after I cleaned it I have able to put more than a thousand rounds through with no further jams.

      • Did you clean it before first shooting it? Typically they come from the factory with a thick almost packing greace on them. It is to prevent rust in long term storage. It will collect dirt and grime pretty easily.
        It will tear up the AP brush you use on it, I’d reccomand an old one or throw away tooth brush.

        Just my friendly 2, maybe even 3 cents.
        -Zach USMC

        • I did wipe off the factory coating of grease, but I’m guessing that the thorough cleaning with hoppes is what got rid of anything I missed. I’ve put a couple thousand rounds through since then with zero further malfunctions.

  8. I have one in the .40 flavor. Very pleased with it. I do like the tactile cocked and chamber in battery indicators too. I will get another one with a shorter barrel and night sites for another defensive weapon.

    I cleaned it before (and after) shooting and it has yet to have a jam in several hundred rounds.

    I am shooting Hornady 175 gr FMJ FP with 4.5 gr HP38. Brass is ejected out about 18 inches. Perfect.


  10. my waiting is over i got my9mmxd(m) from gandermnt yesterday now i can-not wait to to the shooting range some time this week end after i shoot it i will leave a message on the goods @ if there are bads you will here from me.

  11. today is fri oct 9 2012 iam very disapointed to change my grips i have to go out and buy a punch 3/32 to get the pin out to change my grips iam not happy so this is a warning to any one thinging about getting this xdm.

  12. This is the day nov.11 2012 am very happy with gun i would recommend this gun to ever one who likes a very good group did very very well thanka to springfield xd(m) meets my standers @ i have great standers when it comes to a firearm keep up the great work springfield….



  15. I have an XDm 9 …4.5″ barrel and had a few fte in the first few mags, but once it was broken in and cleaned, no problems since…I second the accuracy; it is much more accurate than I.

  16. I’ve had my XD/m 5.25″ Competitor 9mm for about 5 months now and no issues whatsoever. I’ve added a Crimson Trace laser as my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be. For holsters, I’ve used the N82 Tactical Pro (works w/o the laser), N82 Tactical original (works with the laser), as well as a fanny-pack style by 511 Tactical. All work great and are extremely comfortable for IWB carry (the N82’s that is). I’ve also used a CTC outside the waistband which accommodates the laser. I’ve had other holsters (ugh) but these work the best for me.

  17. Just bought the 5.25 in 40 cal. Love it! I have used the 3.8 in 40 cal as my everyday carry for four years, Love it also! The site in on the 5.25 was a breeze. Great shooting pistol. 17 rounds in a five inch circle at 15 yards. 17 rounds in a ten inch circle at 25 yards.

  18. Bought new Springfield XDM 9MM couple of weeks ago, just got to the range yesterday. Only shot it at 25yds. range constraints. The results were not what I was expecting. Shot about 100 rounds first 50 were factory 125gr. JRN than 2 different hand loads. Both hand loads shoot very well in my Sig 226 which is my home defense gun. The XDM is the competition model which I thought I might use to try some kind of action shooting competition. My past experience lies with bullseye so I am capable of shooting a group with almost any handgun. This test evolved to shooting off the bench in an effort to get a group didn’t happen, all loads shot about 10 to 12 inch groups.
    Any thoughts??????

    • I also had problems when I first got my 9mm XDM. I would recommend a more thorough take down and cleaning of components. There are videos on you tube that show how to strip it down more than the factory instructions show.

      • Thanks very much for the response. I am a hobby gun smith and for what it’s worth I did the recommended field strip and a thorough cleaning before my testing. I will take your advice and get the info about the complete tear down. While in the action will probably do some polishing on the striker system which I am sure you know is a lot rougher than I was expecting.
        Thanks again Ed Hoey

  19. I have the black and silver and I am a competitions shooter. I spent $3000 on a compensated colt 45 semi and my 5.25 shoot just as well if not better and carries many more rounds. #1 in my book and I am buying more.

  20. The most important thing I left out was as 40 yards I was placing all of my rounds in a pie plate with one hand shooting. This is one awesome hand gun.

  21. Love my xdm 9mm anyone have trouble getting 19 in the magazines 14 by hand n the loader I don’t comprehend. Never had this problem b4

  22. My retirement gift to me was a XD Tactical .45 and after seven years and about 1,000 rounds of cheap ammo I have yet to have a failure to feed or extract. Then four years ago I bought a XDm in .40 and had failures in every box and make of ammo I used. I sent the XDm back and it was returned with the feed ramp highly polished and reliability was restored. I may have had two or three failures with the XDm since using cheap Tula but none with Federal and Winchester economy ammo. At $1.50 or more a shot I do not shoot the best duty ammo for practice.

  23. I have an XDm-9 4.5. I consider myself a fairly proficient marksman, and this thing definitely makes one shoot like a pro. I shot in my first action pistol competition recently; using USPSA guidelines, I shot in a B class, came in 3rd in B class, 8th overall, and 4 places behind the guy who “shoots in a lot of competitions” with his 5.25 9. Needless to say, this is one FINE piece of hardware. I sold my G22 and my RIA 1911 to cover the cost of this firearm, and I have absolutely zero regrets. I wanted to get the 5.25 model but it was just out of budget, but after shooting at the competition, I’m very pleased that I did almost as well as the 5.25 model.

    • I should also add that I prefer the trigger on this model to the old Glock I parted with. It feels much less mushy when I breaking thru the wall, but there does seem to be a lot of over travel afterward. Also, being a bigger guy at 6’8″ 260#, I have no issue concealing the 4.5 model in a Galco KingTuk, and there is something very comforting in the fact that I have 19+1 rds of JHPs at my disposal if, God forbid, I should ever need them. That’s a whole darn box of them things!!

  24. I have a sig 220 45, shoots nice after barrel up grade but still a little heavy… It is a manly mans gun if you know the expression and still a good shooter. I have two Xd’s one a 45 tactical good shooter as well and a lot cheaper. The other is a Xdm 9 with laser a cut on slide and a stainless ported barrel … it is a dream to shoot making me look like a better shot than I am, all three have same barrel ported but the Xdm is just dead dog good. I like everything about it except it is not made in the good old USA. My next hand gun will be 9mm xd sub compact. The gun is just made for this old retired “Grunt” a long with a good rifle and shot gun I am ready to go any where.

  25. I’ve shot all sorts of handguns. I’ve shot glocks, colts, sigs, Smith and wesson, ruger. For ME I’ve never shot better than with a Springfield XD. My dad has the XD 40 subcompact and 4.5, my brother has the 40 subcompact, I bought my wife the 40 sub compact, I’ve shot my friends 40 XDM (older model) and then I got a 45 XDs. Every single XD I’ve shot I’ve never shot anything better. Heck, here’s a video of me shooting the XDs at 40 yards with one hand and getting a headshot.

    All that to say, I’m selling off some stuff and buying the new 40 XDM 5.25″. These guns are quality. Only problem I’ve had with the XDS is if I have a live round in the chamber and want to extract it to clear the chamber, it is difficult cause the space with the ejection is so small that it barely clears the distance of a case with the bullet still in it. Sometimes it’ll catch. Other than that, these guns are legit.

  26. After reading your review in 2014 I began to keep an eye open at the local shops for an XDm. I found a slightly used .45 and made a reasonable deal to purchase it. I enjoyed my first trip to the range so much I have since purchased the 9mm and .40 S&W. After two years of range shooting with each of these I still am amazed at how well they make me look.

    My entry into the XDm was based on your excellent and detailed review. Thank You, and please keep the reviews coming.

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