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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.

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  1. 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.

    • 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.

    • I have a military and law enforcement background and i own a xd and i was interested in a m&P i wanted to buy off my boss so i took both guns to the range and as far as solidarity goes I have to give it to the xd. it is a very solid built gun i have about 1200 rounds through it now. As far as accuracy goes both weapons do great I have a much tighter grouping on my xd than I did the M&P. Keep in mind though I have shot my xd more I’m sure if I owned a M&P I would get the same results. I did notice on the M&P the slide release on that particular fire arm was very difficult to use. I had to help my boss grind it down so it would function properly. Xd also has a better built spring than the M&P. The M&P does feel more balanced as far as weight were the XD is a little top heavy. The triggers are nice on both guns good pull only thing is on the M&P the trigger bends in the middle I personally dont like but Im sure others might that is just a personal dislike not a objective dislike. Overall both still have great triggers. I also like the grips on both guns. the M&P is a little fatter than the XD both are good grip its all a matter of personal preferance. I wont fault either gun for the grip just keep it in mind if your deciding on buying one. Would I ever own a M&P. Sure of course I would my boss was wanting a trade and I do like the M&P but not enough to trade my xd for one. I would just rather have both. Keep in mind the M&P I test fired was a used gun who know what previous owners have do to it. If I ever get my hands on a brand new one i would be happy to do a actual comparison.

    • Not true. Tucson area both Walther P99 and Springfield XD have made substantial inroads in Glock service pistols. Take the XD as example. Higher quality sight, crisp trigger, natural grip, very tough magazine, grip safety consistent accuracy / standard rifling. Walther: very crisp trigger, natural pointing, standard rifling, excellent magazine. I received my 1st Glock from LEO neighbor after a thumb tag resulting in a ND resulted in a possible serious problem (answer was custom designed holster). Accuracy was never exceptional. Polygonal rifling resulted in slightly higher chamber pressure; even factory ammo (see Oregon State Police law-suite, Glock 21).
      I have owned my share of Glocks. What made be shy was that they insisted labeling their re-calls (upgrades and not being straight w/ the public. Their share of the LEO marketplace is astounding (at that time their marking was in the hands of an older WALTHER employee). I honestly have no “axe-to-grind w/ Glock. Yet their inherint accuracy is not that of a quality 1911. Cost of production is one tenth of their MSRP. However that means little compared to simple issues such as a manual (out-board) safety, higher pressure within the bbl. And the old “feed-ramp within the chamber with edges so sharp that they inherently guy in the webbing. These can should (and may be) addressed. I can’t comment on the M&P but sales speak for themselves. I have shot a (German mfg) made sometime back and had one of the bast striker fired triggers I have ever shot, increasing accuracy substantially. After-market goods for both Glocks and M&P abound. That issue alone bespeaks a variety of unique discussions. While the Springfield have quite few. Striker-fired handguns are considered “holster-only weapons”. That is NOT to say they are unsafe; yet it demands a certain manual of arms that has not been found in Browning designs. That should denote a circumspect level of decision making. That issue should not be ignored. A striker-fired weapon (IMO) should best NOT be an individuals 1st introduction to defensive firearms without serious emphasis on their properties. Many ND have been the result of the above And that I believe should be a serious consideration. Independent research should continue. Advantages as a military sidearm are good; LEO (and civilian) safety demands should also (on a truly 3rd party agenda.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

      • My experience as well. Brass, alloy, polymer have all be billed as “self lubing”. The concept being simple one surface being softer creates a micro particulate particle in which the harder surface :glides up One question arises is “do they need 3rd party lube”? If indeed the material is graphite, powdered graphite, aluminum, etc (being dry) it appears no hard is done as any excess is brushed aside or shaken off. However if it is liquid, there is a possibility of buildup which (through recoil, etc) may find itself in the striker / firing pin assembly. This is a critical area of such a design and can result in both “light-strike” or worse: slam-fire. The idiosyncrasies of a striker fired weapon goes beyond that with one would find on a bolt action as most bolt rifles have a spring captured firing pin. While many DO have a captured firing pin, occasionally that spring is [on]occasion not strong enough to break free sludge, metal filings, etc. The SKS rifle taught us that (w/ free floating FP). Factory details of multi-firing had been equally divided between longer than appropriate pins and weaker than necessary captured firing-pin springs. That housing should be as clean as possible Due to the “dunk-tank Tenifer surface hardness” both pin and housing are very hard and need nothing that could attract debris.

  4. 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. 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. 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

    • Well said Ben,
      I did have the experience of putting a XD .45acp and Glock 21 in a Ransom rest some months back. I lasered the distance used same brand, weight, & cleaned firearms quite well. Without question (45acp 185gr) XD preformed @ minimum, one inch tighter and more consistently than [same projectile weight] Glock. We (unfortunately) didn’t have a new M&P to really see if rifling had made a significant difference.
      Switched to 9mm. In use was nearly new Glock 34 (long slide?) and service XD
      (moderately shorter BBL, I believe). Results were similar – approx one inch tighter on the XD with consistency, heat & speed of DC were also monitored, distance 21 yds. What was fascinating was the comparison of a new Glock 26! Three inch BBL (I believe) out preformed (in a rest, mind you) a comparatively new Glock 17!
      We checked this over and over as long BBL would indicate a higher pressure in the 17 (due to BBL length), sight radius ( the Ransom-rest negating that to a degree) But yet, I saw it repeated. Both H&K USP and Glock use this rifling design – perhaps the chamber slop may have been a contributing factor in Glock (?).
      A 1911 employs a bushing which when fitted properly (all sides of BBL showing consistent wear) and being designed as a military sidearm other areas have a lose fit. Perhaps…..this does not occur; on a Glock 26 as it would on a 17. yet still to unique not to comment upon.

  7. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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. 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.

  18. I Went to one of my local gunstores today and looked at both the Smith an Wesson M an p shield in 40 caliber full size and the Sprigfield Armory XDm 4.5 inch barrel fullsize 40 caliber and held them both and tested there sights and felt there weights and like another reviewer here said up above, the Smith an Wesson feels more ergonomic and Not so top heavy as the Springfield, But when I asked the salesman which gun he thought was better? He told me He shot Much better with the Springfield and That surprised Me, being that it seems to have a higher bore axis than the Smith an Wesson !!! He told me he thinks its because the Springfield comes with a match grade barrel and the Smith an Wesson doesnt.

  19. I had my Smith and Wesson M and P 9mm shield crack the frame within the Crack the Frame with in the 1st 30 rounds. Smith and Wesson refuses to fix it. I would never buy a Smith and Wesson again. The trick is i was firing the same rounds from 2 guns.

  20. The frame on my S&W Shield .40 cracked today (or at least, I found the crack today). Less than 200 rounds through it, I think. First few times, I began to think it was the magazine, and I didn’t find the crack until this evening. I probably wouldn’t have found it, except that my problems seemed nearly identical to one described by a poster on another site. He later said he found a crack, and I looked, and found one in the same location; between the trigger and the magazine release button. Calling S&W tomorrow.

  21. The primary reason I entered this topic is I wanted to read what some “real world” comments on the SW-M/P versus other semis. I’ve been in the “gun business” for over 50 years (retail sales, gunsmith, instructor, LEO, etc) and own or have owned a WIDE/DIVERSE selection of firearms by almost every major manufacturer and several lesser ones. One of the primary things I wanted to see what others thought about the SW M/P models. I have read several comments regarding the trigger. The most common one was that most would “upgrade” the trigger with the APEX kit. I do have a couple of observations on this.

    1) Why would one buy a new pistol and then turn around and spend about an extra $100 or so on target kit plus having it installed?
    2) Do those that go out and have that Apex kit installed realize that they have, AFIK, VOIDED the OEM warranty? Most MFGs have caveat against third party parts in their guns.
    3) If some one is NOT that good with a pistol, modifying the trigger is NOT going to make them a BETTER shot!!! That is the everyday golf duffer going out and buying the same clubs that any PGA pro uses and expect to actually be e better golfer! It just AIN’T going to happen!
    4) Having that after market kit installed and then ending up in an actual shooting will certainly “raise some eyebrows” during the investigation! There is ALREADY enough that one will have to explain without having to add to the pile. And DO NOT think for minute that no one will notice. Your firearm WILL be taken into evidence and that evidence WILL be examined.
    5) The primary difference between the SW-M/P and the SPR XD/XDm is that the XD/XDm is considered by the BATFE to be a “single action only” semi auto basically, a 1911 without a thumb safety. This is because of the mechanical design differences. The XD/XDm striker is “fully set” and pulling the trigger simply moves the sear, releasing the striker. Those SW M/P, SD, SV, Glock’s, and other striker platforms are considered by the BATFE to be “double action only” since pulling the trigger actually continues to move the striker further to the real where the sear is cammed out of the way, releasing the striker.

    There is more I could add, but one gets the point. There are those that no matter how bad the gun, they can shoot and there are those that no matter how good the gun, they can’t shoot! Just this old farts 2 cents worth.

  22. I am a gunsmith and have worked on many variants of both S&W and Springfield — without question they are of equal quality and reliability. S&W seems to be doing a better job, however, with the Military and LE communities and their production numbers, based on SEC filings, are growing at a much faster pace than Springfield’s.

  23. To give you a sense of the production figures — recent production data shows S&W producing over 872,106 pistols annually to Springfield’s 50,087. S&W puts far more research & development in its pistols than Springfield and that is showing up in distinct qualitative advantages (e.g ergonomics).

  24. How it fits in your hand is completely subjective. I have a Sig P226 and it out shoots all the polymer pistols hands down, but the DA trigger pull is terrible out of the box. I have run over a thousand rounds through 3 Sig Sauers each and they are the definition of a great pistol. The Glocks are inexpensive and great guns, but they don’t fit my hand and that takes nothing away from them that is personal preference. Springfield first has a great name built on using GI parts to build custom overpriced 1911’s and they entered the “striker fired” market with eastern European garbage and put their name on in order to compete with Glock. Smith is Smith the M&P Pro Series 9mm is a great pistol, which I recently purchased after years of rejecting plastic guns. I run 500 rounds through it the day I bought it with no issues at all, and I have found it to be excellent. The jury is still out, but grip architecture is no judge of a weapon. Reliability, replacement parts, ease of modification, and access to accessories are the real factors in gun purchasing. Sights, grips, and trigger are all personal preference.


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