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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. 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purchase, from convincing my wife to let it in the house to filling out my first form 4473, to fidgeting through the (no longer in effect in beer ‘n cheese country) waiting period.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
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”
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.

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    • Hey, to each his own. I have a relative who wants a .40 so he can help a border patrol buddy shoot up all his practice ammo.

      I like the XD series. They are much easier for me to shoot accurately than Glocks, and field stripping seems simpler to me.

    • This is the first review of 40 S&W handgun in a while that DIDN’T explain why the 40 S&W was created, and then proceed to bash the cartridge. Most likely because it was written by a reader.

    • Agreed. Both of my .45 XDMs (4.5 & 3.8c) have Powder River mechanicals. The trigger sets are simple to install, and make a world of difference.

    • Agreed. Both of my .45 XDMs (4.5 & 3.8c) have Powder River mechanicals. The trigger sets are simple to install, and are a noticeable improvement.

  1. A couple years ago, a guy at the range invited me to try his XD in .45.
    It was, by far, the most gently-recoiling .45 I have ever fired. Far better than a G36, though I’ve never tried the G21. But it left all 1911-style pistols in the shade. Though I’ve never found 1911 recoil other than comfortable (including the Colt Officers),the XD was worlds gentler.

    • I had a similar experience with my ruger p345. Very gentle recoil impulse compared to a 1970 1911 from Colt. So i bought one.
      If I ever get a chance, I will try out XD and Glock in .45 just so I can see what the differences are.

  2. Definitely a good choice. XDm has a lot of things going for it. Match grade barrel, great ergos, and I like the grip-safety option (for re-holstering really). The trigger on my 3.8″ 9mm (19+1) is nothing short of superb. I can almost shoot my initials on paper with the thing at 10 yards, and pretty rapidly too.

    Oh, and good luck with all of that ‘might remain my only firearm’ thing. That quickly morphs in to ‘might be the last firearm I purchase’, which is then followed by ‘might really be the final firearm I purchase’ … lather, rinse, repeat.

    • Yup. This.
      It won’t be the last. You’ll soon be wanting something easier to pack for summer carry and there’s still the spouse to consider: she’ll come around to wanting her own eventually, tell her to go out to the range with her girlfriends on Ladies Night.
      True story: a few months ago the wifey told me over breakfast we didn’t need to get another gun this year (my heart sank), instead we needed to stock up on lots of ammo, accessories and renew our carry permits (my heart lifted back up). So yes, mine at least does get it, yours will too.

  3. Have both Glocks and Xds .45. Love the Xds and is commonly my everday carry. Yes you will have .40 naysayers but it is an effective round and if you shoot well with as your target shows (don’t know what range?) Then I say great purchase. Have shot one and like it to. Enjoy it.

  4. .

    One thing I do NOT like about my XD(m) pistols is that you cannot rack the slide without depressing the grip safety.

    I just “know” that if I am using one in earnest, and need to clear the chamber, I’m going to shift my grip and hold the gun in a way that doesn’t depress the grip safety, and be unable to rack the slide. 🙁 Condition Black!

    I still keep an XD(m) .40 S&W (with a Lightguard) in the GunVault next to the bed. I like having 17 rounds at hand. 😀 But then again, there is a suppressed AR SBR in 300 BLK with bright lights leaning against the night stand as well! 😉

    – Thomas

  5. I really like my 2 XDMs, 9mm 4.5 and .45 3.8 compact, feel good in the hand, decent triggers and highest capacity available (19 rnds in 9mm and 13 rnds in .45).

    • I really like the Springfield Armory XD series. BUT the FNP/FNX pistols by FN are the capacity Champs in .45 ACP with 14 rounds for the flush plate magazine and 15 rounds for the extended base plate. Good pistols.

  6. My xd. 45 is the service 4″, bought it and saw the xdm in .45 the next day for less money, love my service model, sitting at about 8k rounds down the pipe, and the only issues I’ve had are because of faulty crimps, and a couple squib loads from my reloading, it doesn’t always lock open upon firing the final round in the mag, but I believe it is one of two things, i load a touch lighter than factory, and/or I’ve shot it so much that I’ve worn the catches on both factory mags, luckily with knowing it so well I can rapid fire and stop when empty without a dry fire, it’s definately top dog in my favorites at home, in second place is my Remington 783 in .243 win, both are stupid accurate and a charm to shoot, good choice in the xd line of arms, I’ll take ten more in any caliber long before I consider a glock, not a fan and never have been for personal preference reasons.

    • I have an XDM 4.5 9mm which I’ve had for years. It is, hands down, the most reliable handgun I’ve ever had. It’s been forgiving enough to not blow up when I shot reloads powerful enough to eject the primers out the back. It’s also reliably cycled rounds that were too weak to cycle a Glock, Walther, or an HK.

  7. Having been a dedicated Glock guy in 9 and 10mm (G19, 20, 26, 29) I gave the Springfield a chance when I wanted to move to 45ACP. I’ve carried the XDM 3.8 compact and the XDS 4.0 ever since. Wonderfully accurate and reliable, markedly better triggers, great grip ergos, and extremely soft-shooting.

    And I’ll probably get these same Springfields in 9 as well.

    Not a big 40 fan, although I’ll run it through the Glock 10s for practice given the cost savings. Bottom line as we always say is carry what you shoot well. Glad you’re in the Springfield club now, and good luck on your next “But honey, now that I have this pistol, I really need to get……..”

    • Could I get rundown of what you like/think about the XD-S 4″?
      Its a gun I’ve been thinking about as a carry gun, the only deference being I’m looking at 9mm not .45.

  8. I like my XDm but the stock trigger was horrible, powder river fixed that but that cost another $150. Making it rather expensive compared to its competition. The the high bore axis took some getting used to but not that big of a deal. Also do not try and install your own sights on any XD pistol, send it to the XD MAN and get it done right. You can also just leave the garbage accessories in the box or wait for the essential package, a much better bargain.

    • So what’s the skinny on the Powder River trigger? I preferred my XDM trigger to my Glocks, then I bought a Steyr with a perfect trigger. P320 trigger is pretty good too. I’m a sucker for a nice, crisp trigger with no sponginess.

  9. Is it wrong to write off all XDs due to the huge bore axis distance above the grip??
    I just can’t get past it.
    I shot an XD .40. I was ok.

    • Everybody always makes a big deal out of bore axis but I never really have any issues. Beretta 92s have ridiculously high mounted barrel, comparably and guys have been using those to win pistol comps for years.

      In my experience, blaming one 9mm pistol over another out of two different pistols with millimeters difference in bore axis is a scapegoat for a poor shooter with limp wrists.

      • Bore height is a physics thing, so it affects everyone, but many people simply don’t shoot well/fast enough to be able to identify or quantify the effect it has on their shooting.

        Just like some people can measure their split times with a wind-up egg timer.

        Or a calendar.

  10. Art, the gun was designed by Marko Vukovic, the John Moses Browning of Croatia.

  11. Recently got a 9mm XDm(c). I was surprised you didn’t mention the gargantuan spring in the mags! I have never before needed an aid to load a mag, but had to have one before I got to 10 rounds in a 19-rd mag! MAN that sucker is stiff. Other than that, I would have liked to see an explanation of why I might want a 3.8 which is *not* a compact, as I see yours is not. I have not fired one , but I can’t imagine it is any different than the compact with the 19-rd mag, you just don’t have the option of the 13-rd compact version. For a few bucks, I think the amount of added versatility is pretty amazing.

  12. Bought my XD40 in 1996, up to date has 10,000 rounds through it. No issues EVER. Never had a failure to feed, never failed to eject, etc….

    The Mag springs are still as tough as ever, even crappy Tula steel case ammo that would not cycle a CZ75 or a Glock, ran through my XD and she loved it.

    I am one of those who recoil doesn’t seem to bother me. I was teaching my bro-in-law to Point Shoot, and fire 4 shots rapid left shoulder, right shoulder, neck, head, on a silhouette target. the XD puts them in rapid covered by a 50 cent piece at 10 yards. But then again have been Point Shooting since I started. That goes back to the old service revolvers and 1911 with minimal sights and broken ones.

    • The XD40 didnt exist in 1996. Maybe you mean 2006? The IM Metal HS2000 in 9mm wasnt created until 1999. The XDs came out a couple years later with Springfield markings. Just saying.

  13. I’ve got the XD(m) compact with the shorter grip. It comes with a mag with grip extension. I LOVE the gun, but I actually prefer to leave a pinky hanging. I have pretty large paws and the grip is just a hair too bulky to be comfortable.

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