(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. 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purchase, from convincing my wife to let it in the house to filling out my first form 4473, to fidgeting through the (no longer in effect in beer ‘n cheese country) waiting period.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 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 with.
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 remain 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, then 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).
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 gun notably comes with a grip safety. Combination tactile/visual loaded chamber and cocking indicators round out the list for the safety-conscious.
The shortened slide and full length grip give 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 use 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.
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)
Caliber: .40 S&W
Sights: Fixed 3-dot
Magazines: 2 x 16 round, stainless steel
Weight: 29 oz. (w/empty mag)
Width: 1.18” (grip)
Barrel Length: 3.8”
Overall Length: 6.75”
Price: about $550 street
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 that feels as good or packs in as many features or as many bullets.