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The new Springfield XDm 3.8 Compact is better than the non-M XD Compact recently reviewed by TTAG. You get all the last gen M-goodness: better looks, more accurate 3.8″ barrel, improved grip texture, easier to reach mag release and all the other stuff that helped make the [TTAG reviewed] full-sized XD-M 3.8″ my carry gun. While the XDm 3.8 Compact gives up a few rounds here and there to the not-so-heavyweight champion of the world (IMHO), you’re doing the two-guns-to-rule-them-all thing. In other words, you get a compact gun for concealed carry and a full-size gun [via the extended mag with grip extension] for home defense duty. So what’s wrong with that then?

The same thing that’s wrong with any compact gun with an extended magazine. First, with the smaller mag in situ, you can’t get pinky purchase. Wrapping his right hand around the new XDm 3.8 Compact, an average dude can almost get his fifth digit on board. But not quite. Got big mitts? Smaller handed female? You lucky bitch. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Whether or not the lack of pinky purchase is a big deal depends on whether or not you’re a well-practiced shooter who performs well under pressure (of course). If you’re not, I would not recommend the Springfield XDm 3.8 Compact— or any small-gripped semi for that matter.

If you ignore my advice (God bless America), then I can definitely report that the Springfield XDm 3.8 Compact is a better choice than the baby Glock. The join between the Glock compact’s magazine extension and the gun positions your smallest finger right in the crease. When you fire the weapon, it pinches your hand. The Springfield’s connection doesn’t expand and contract during recoil (at least not yet). No pinch. Way hey.

But no look at a Compact gun is complete without flagging the dangers of emergency reloading. The lack of a lower lip means that your gun-holding hand can easily get in the way of the incoming fresh magazine. When that happens, at speed, it effing well HURTS. The resulting stimulus response pattern (reloading equals injury) will do nothing for your confidence and speed.

You have been warned. And now you may buy the Springfield XDm 3.8 Compact with my blessings. Stay away from the significantly ergonomically inferior non-M Compact—unless you’re looking for a bad ass gun that’s become an awesome pre-owned bargain. To avoid rack and ruin, a man’s gotta know his economic limitations. And his gun’s.

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  1. We just bought an XDm compact 3.8 in 9mm for my fiancé. Interestingly, while it shipped with two magazines, they were both the short ones. Springfield Armory is running a special where you register the purchase and get four magazines plus an external paddle holster for free. I’m hoping they’ll ship at least two of those as the high-capacity mags.

    Out of the box, the gun shoots great…love the trigger, love the fiber optic sight, and I LOVE the ease of field stripping for cleaning (of course, I come from that as the proud owner of a Kimber 1911 with a bull barrel, so just about any other gun is easier to disassemble).

    With no high-capacity magazines, I can’t comment on the potential for biting the hand that feeds ya, so to speak, with the extended magazine gap, but I suspect it’s all about practicing – and aversion therapy, once you get bit. I can tell you that, having had to clear a number of stovepipes on rental guns for my significant other, getting bit by the slide/ejection port is not fun. The resulting blood-blister at the base of my middle finger, where the finger joins the palm was a…er…um…memorable experience, as were the words coming out of my mouth, immediately afterwards. So there’s that.

    Overall, the ergonomics on the XDm are outstanding. I’ve just never been a fan of the Glock’s more aggressive grip angle. (Your results may vary.) But the differences between the XDm and the older XD are…significant. What I’m curious about is the new XD mod. 2. The dealer told us that the Mod 2s are meant to replace the original XDs in the lineup – not the XDm. Curious. Apparently, the “m” in the XDm is for a match barrel. Not sure if that’s the case, but for our money, the XDm just felt better.


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