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GLOCK 19 Gen4 (L), Springfield XD(M) 9mm (C), Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm (R)

By Joe Diener

Typically, the first thing people find out about me is that I’m a gun guy. I don’t wear a stylishly outdated NRA hat, I don’t open-carry rifles in Babies “R” Us, and I don’t post Facebook memes that would get me convicted of premeditated murder in a DGU. I’ve just spent the last few years in the gun industry testing equipment that ends up in the hands of armed professionals and responsible citizens. That responsibility has been a source of pride for me . . .

After graduating college I commissioned as an officer in the Army National Guard and began working for a large defense contractor where I was part of a team that conducted live weapons fire to test thermal optics for the DOD. Due to injury early in my Army career I was unable to deploy, but when my unit’s main body began sending back their equipment from Afghanistan I walked into my arms room to find a large pile of thermal optics. My soldiers were using the exact thermal sights overseas that I had tested.

Most recently I worked for one of the world’s largest firearms companies in a testing group where we validated the company’s new products, concepts, and product changes up until they went through massive layoffs. During this time I had the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the most talented and dedicated engineers and testers in the industry.

When TTAG proposed the idea of comparison testing three of the most popular 9mm striker handguns, I contacted Robert and told him to let me know if he wanted any input on testing techniques. After spending some time on the phone, he asked if I would be interested in heading up this project by writing the procedures and supervising the testing.

The purpose will be to see what, if any, differences exist in reliability between the GLOCK 19 Gen 4, a full-size Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm, and the Springfield Armory XD(M) 9mm in a scientific, repeatable, and transparent manner. While the testing will have natural shortcomings (that I’ll address in the testing document), I feel confident we will get some very good data. I know many reading this carry these guns and I will do my best to provide the best data possible.

I once had a pistol engineer tell me a handgun should work in the hands of an inexperienced user being coached by an instructor while using quality ammunition. My response was “a pistol NEEDS to work when a soldier who’s hungry, exhausted, injured, and covered in mud and rain needs to use it because his rifle isn’t working and the enemy is standing over him.” Firearms to me always come back to their suitability for my brothers in arms and responsible citizens, not brand loyalty, fanboy-ism, or nostalgia.

As I set aside my preconceived notions I ask that the readers of TTAG do the same.

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    • Curious (since wife is a lefty) – how does the Glock not work for you? With the reversible mag release button and no external safety, what’s not to like for a lefty?

      • that’s why I bought a Gen4 . . . . but since spousal unit, who is not a southpaw, also uses the glock, I learned to use trigger finger to eject mags

        • I often find my right thumb doesn’t quite reach the mag release, so I switch all the mag releases over to the right side and then depress them with the right trigger finger. I think I like it better then using the thumb to release the mag. The only draw back is, you have to be super careful trying to by Glock mags online. If you buy a gen 3 mag by mistake it basically doesn’t work in your gun.

    • unless a gun has a right hand only manual safety there is absolutely no reason most guns wouldn’t work for a lefty, even if the controls(sans manual safety) are only on the left side of the gun.

      • try any of the these out lefthanded. sw shield, glock 42, glocks in general, sw bodyguard 380, most kahr’s, 1911s, beretta nano, beretta pico, ruger lcp, fn five seven , 99.999% of revolvers (or in other words all but 1 that i know of, charter arms southpaw), and most sigs. that is just a 5 minute brain search with google images to double check. try to manipulate all of the controls lefthanded. oh and you have to hold the gun the exact same way that you hold it right handed. if the mag release is switchable you may consider it switched for all of these that have it.
        being left hand friendly isnt just about the mag release. or even the safety lever. its also about the slide release and all of these put together. when you go to smaller guns you lose out on controls that are ambidextrous on the larger versions.
        these dont just apply to left handers. what if something happens to your right hand or arm? will you still be able to use your gun?
        yes i am left handed and left eye dominant. thats why my carry pistols are a STI Gp6 (ambi everything even the takedown lever. its the trigger guard), and an m&p 9c. my 22 isnt fully ambi because i dont know of any body that makes one. its a beretta u22 6″ stainless.

        • I am a lefty as well, never had any issues manipulating any firearms controls while keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction and the finger off the trigger. Sigs I find the most confounding but that is more the placement of the slide release/catch than anything.

          I also carry a right handed or traditional revolver as my edc and reload it just as fast as any righty. There are a couple of techniques for doing this.

          So I guess I’m wondering if you are suggesting that manipulating a firearm left handed is not possible or it is hard? Even a manual safety such as on a 1911 can be over come with the use of the trigger finger instead of the thumb; it may be a little more awkward but it can be easily done. All it takes is practice.

        • I own 2 M&P Shields, as a lefty they are NOT left hand friendly with the right hand safety lock…its not something you can manipulate left handed. I carry it right handed or with the safety lock off left. The safety lock on the Shield is really a nanny function and has no business on a carry gun. I carry the XD45 and M&P’s left without any issues. Better to be able to fire with either hand if your a lefty…LOL

    • My wife & I both shoot lefty. We both prefer the M&P 9mm. All 3 pistols can be made lefty friendly. It comes down to how the guns feel in your hand. If you can’t hold the gun comfortably, accuracy is much harder.

  1. Definitely looking forward to the testing.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of sidearms with external hammers, too. I’m thinking, a modern Colt 1911, a Sig P220, and… a third one that I can’t honestly come up with? Definitely metal frame though, just to keep it consistent.

    • I second the desire for an external hammer competition.
      Full size 9mm handguns so their results could be compared to the above three pistols for additional statistical value.

      My handgun recommendations:
      1911 (STI Trojan or Springfield Range Officer)
      Sig-Sauer P226
      CZ P-09 Duty

      Any other full size 9mm external hammer pistols which should be on this list? Keep in mind that, as per the testing document, they should be mass produced

        • Agreed, because they are all DA/SA actions.

          Some of the other folks suggested comparisons with three different action types, and that would just devolve into a battle over which type of action is best. That is really a personal choice, a value judgment that can not be quantified.

    • I’d like to see a Ruger SR9 in the mix… because I own one.

      The SR series is the Rodney Dangerfield of striker fired pistols.

      • That’s mainly because it has more safety features than your standard fare mini-van.

        • And when you chamber a round some little pink thing sticks up like my dog when he gets excited.

      • I own an SR9 and I will say that it is dang reliable and the safety becomes easier to flick off as it wears in. The SR9 is a good gun for a bad situation. Of course, my real first choice for a defensive gun is a Remington Wing Master.

      • Totally agree on the SR9. Fantastic ergonomics and a crisper trigger break than the Glock. Better looking, too — compared to Glocks and Springfields, it’s a 1911.

      • I have no clue why the SR9 is so easily dismissed, but I find myself guilty of it as well. When someone shows up running one at a club match we all elbow each other and make jokes about how excited the gun looks to be shooting competition.

        I had an LC380 I bought for my wife that had double feed issues which lead to me trading it in and getting an LCP for myself, but I flat HATE shooting the LCP.

      • They get zero respect because they are on the low end of striker fired pistols on the market. Ive seen and heard countless stories of FTF, jams, magazine issues, ect with the SR series. The Ruger SR line is simply not on par with the pistols here. Thats why they are considerably less expensive. Well that and they really get cheap on how they manufacture them. Cheaper parts gets you an average gun. you have your low end striker fired pistols such as Ruger SR, Smith SD9Ve line, then your middle of the pack Glock, XDM, M&P’s and finally your top of the line strikers such as the PPQ, HK VP9, Sig 320 and FNS. Not trying to knock Ruger at all. I own several Ruger products (American 30-06, GP 100, SP101) and I love them. The Ruger American is a big winner for them! I just dont think semi auto pistols is their strength at all. The SR line are average pistols at best, certainly behind the pack. But then again, you can get a Ruger SR for 375-400, which is well over $100 cheaper than any of these and in some cases a couple hundred less, so they are filling that niche

    • I’d like to see a Walther PPQ in there. I think it’s overlooked by many but deserves to be on the short list of most-popular striker fired pistols along with the three that are in this test already (as they should be).

      …and if there’s a hammer-fired test in the future, definitely a CZ P-07 or P-09…

      • I second the Walther PPQ 9mm. I have the M2 model. My local range has a M1 model with over 20k rounds through it without a mechanical failure. It’s comfortable, reliable, and has a far superior trigger compared to the rest. I just sold my Springfield XD. It’s a good weapon, but it’s no PPQ.

        • I’ll third that. I tested the three listed above as well as the PPQ M2. Liked something about them all, (though I thought the M&P’s trigger was a crime against humanity) but the PPQ won me over.

      • I’ve just started carrying the PPQ (with paddle/lever style mag release) in lieu of the Glock 19. More comfortable and WAY better trigger. It should definitely be in the test.

      • The PPQ is on another level than these guns. I think he was just testing the standard fare, middle of the pack striker fired guns. Honestly it wouldnt be fair to compare the Walther to these because it would obliterate them in almost every aspect, except low bore axis perhaps. I think its safe to say that the PPQ might be the best striker fired pistol ever made. It gets critical acclaim across the board from every publication and gun expert around including TTAG. Once you have experienced it you are blown away and almost speechless how the gun looks, feel and shoots. Jesus what a trigger!!! I have owned every one listed above (still have the XDM 3.8 and M&P, ditched the glock because neither me or my wife liked the way it feels in hand) and i can atest the Walther is simply a more quality made pistol. Great guns in the test all have their goods and bads. But i think TTAG left out the Walther because they wanted a fair fight….haha

        • The PPQ is a fine range gun, but is not well suited for defensive use due to its very short reset and excessively light trigger upon reset.

          Do an Internet search and you’ll find many a shooter who has had an inadvertent double-tap on the range.

          I’ve been shooting for two decades, all types of handguns, and I’ve never had an inadvertent discharge while at the range.

          With the PPQ, I’ve had multiple inadvertent discharges as the gun settles back from recoil.

          Aside from that one design flaw, it would be my absolute favorite pistol.

        • yea ive double tapped it on more than one occasion for sure. Trigger takes some serious disciplining and getting used to.

    • Me, too. Like the other three pistols, the Sig P320 comes from a major manufacturer, and will likely be used by several LEO organizations around the country. If you don’t include it now, you will probably wish you had in about a year from now. It will cost a little more to include the Sig P320 in the existing test now, but it will cost a lot more to run a new comparison test with it in the future.

  2. Well, we know an AK will withstand the drop test….. and sand, and mud test – but how will an XD hold up to those conditions (without being cleaned)?

    • Back about two years ago, the show Handguns on either the Sportsman’s or Outdoor channel did a torture test of the XD(M). With about every scenario you could put a firearm through along with over 2000 rounds through it, and it came through with flying colors, looked like crap but kept firing.

  3. I think m&p and glock will tie heck they might all tie they are all insanely reliable

      • I have seen several reports that the supposedly tight tolerances of the XDMs cause them to sometimes fail to go into battery when cycling after sustained fire (caused supposedly by needing to be re-lubed).

        • I can’t say about the XD(m), but I can say that I’ve never experienced the XD failing to go into battery. Reliable.

  4. I am a test engineer/metrologist by trade.

    The initial test doc looks legit as a general framework.

    • Thanks. This is my first attempt at writing something this in depth and I wanted it to be comprehensive while being readable and without being too long.

  5. I look forward to the results. Our department is facing the same decision. The full size M&P should be compared against the Glock 22 (4.4 vs 4.5 inch barrel) in my opinion. I’m not sure which, if any, XDM barrel lenght was specified.

    If I could choose any duty handgun, it would currently be a Glock 35 gen 4 or a Sig 226 variant loaded with Federal HST.

    • What’s your take on the reliability concerns some people have over using a gun with lightening cuts in the slide as a duty gun? As in, crap getting in there and mucking things up.

      • I’ve worn out the recoil spring on my Gen 2 Glock 35, so it won’t always feed the last round from a mag. My gen 4 Glock 35 is 100% do far. Dyspeptic could probably answer that question better than me, but I’d trust my Gen 4 Glock 35 with my life. A Sig 226 – 9 mil with a 20 round mag would also be sweet – although I’m not sure if the Tac Ops mags can match the standard ones for reliability.

      • Seems like a G17 should be on the list in place of the 19, but I suppose in my mind the 19 is the gold standard in striker fired guns as in the LGS’s I frequent of the tier of “duty weapons” this is the number one seller.

  6. I picked the XD because the Croatian military and police use it (it’s made in Croatia). I figured their schooling and maintenance procedures weren’t the best so it had to be reliable.

    I’ve heard many say its a Glock knockoff.

    So, do the Croatians use it because it’s made in Croatia or because it’s good?

    Kind of reminds me of the M16 and NIH.

    I am very interested in the results.

    • >>So, do the Croatians use it because it’s made in Croatia or because it’s good?


      • It’s kinda like asking, “Do bears shit in the woods because they are bears? or because they are in the woods?”
        Answer: > Long pause < Yes.

    • Bob Dunlap, Gunsmithing instructor of AGI, liked the XD so much he said he was going to buy one, and he liked the XDm even more, saying he’d have to buy one of them, too! At least that’s what he said in the video.

      • I shot a fourth generation Glock 17 and an XDM 3.8, and was very surprised that I found the compact XD more comfortable and more accurate than the full sized Glock. The difference was so great that after shooting the Glock I was leaning toward getting a revolver. I’m 6′ 4″ tall and have reasonably large hands, so I can’t explain why the Springfield worked better for me. I guess the lesson is try before you buy.

  7. And quite predictably after the author asks everyone to set aside their predispositions the comments section is flooded with… “why didnt you include _____ pistol its mah favurit”

    SHaking my head, apparently no one read the part “TTAG proposed the idea of comparison testing three of the most popular 9mm striker handguns”… or alternatively some readers are too dim to realize that just because its their favorite, or newest to the market (yeah that was for you P320 guy) doesn’t mean it is the most popular or most widely used. Doesnt matter if its guns, cars, knives, whatever… X magazine says they are testing 3 models and gives a reason why, readers ignore reason and begin the impassioned dissertations of why other models (the ones they own or their favorites) should have been included.

    This will be a good read when it comes out… I cant wait.

    • I felt the same way. Its not reasonable to test more than 3 or 4 guns at a time and TTAG did a really good job picking probably the three most widely used pistols right now. Less commonly owned designs can be tested in the future if the response to this first test is good. Be reasonable folks.

    • There are plenty I’d love to see tested, but the 3 they’re going to do represents a good market segment so I can’t complain.

      You are correct though, they can’t test everything. It’s easy to make suggestions but unless someone is going to pony up the dough, guns, and/or ammunition for additional testing it’s just not feasible to include everyone’s favorite gun.

    • I agree. Those are THE most common models out there; they are the ones that should be tested.

      Most of what I’ve seen so far in this thread has been suggestions on what to do not now but rather next time [EDIT: Uh… well I kept reading.. never mind]. I do like the idea someone had of doing a hammer-fired pistol test at some time in the future, with the same methodology. That could allow effective comparisons between the two groups. But until resources are available it can and should wait. The striker fired pistols are *much* more common at the present time.

    • Just to add to the chorus, I think that this sampling is the starting point for any comparo given how much these 3 firearms show up in EDC circles as well as competition circles.

      I will say the 17 would be a more appropriate choice than the 19 given the barrel lengths of the other guns, but even the densest among us can understand that when the 4″ barrel comes out with velocities 20-30 FPS lower than the 4.25 and 4.5″ barrel.

  8. This is a great idea. I’m looking forward to the test results. It would be nice to add a few more pistols to the mix though. Maybe the new Sig P320 and the Ruger SR…

  9. Taurus PT1911, SARK2/45, CZ P01!! Three hammered handguns!! K2/45 is SA/DA, all steel, slide rails inside frame.
    Interesting test!!!

    • And the SAR is ridiculously obscure. You had to explain what it was, so you know that to be true.

      Maybe next time they can do hammered guns.

      • Actually a lot of SAR K2’s in this area and the 9mm counterpart. An exceptional handgun built by Sarsilmaz for the Turkish Army.
        Solid, all steel, well built!! JMHO!!

  10. Maybe i missed it when first reading it on my phone but who is financing that amount of ammo for this test?

      • I feel like it wouldnt be too tough for you guys could crowd fund a few cases of 9mm… its getting really cheap these days.

      • Dan, I think the ammo is an important part of this, or any other, firearm testing. In the last two years, I have seen more ammo-related problems than I did in the previous two decades. Not only with QC issues like case length and damaged bullets/cases, but underpowered practice/training ammo is becoming a real problem. In 9mm, many loads with 115 grain bullets routinely chronograph under 1100 FPS nowadays, where years ago similar loads by the same manufacturer would regularly break 1150 FPS or more, and 1175-1200 FPS was not unheard of. Low speed ammo gives pistol mechanisms less energy to work with, and thus can cause or contribute to reliability problems. I’m seeing more and more quality pistols that fail to function with common FMJ target/training loads, especially when new, dirty, or clean but dry (not properly lubricated).

        Seems like folks at the ammo companies figured out that if you are loading several million rounds of 9mm ammo each year, cutting a few granules of gunpowder out of every round can really add to the bottom line.

        Make sure any ammo you use is decent stuff, vs bottom-of-the-barrel import/reload/bargain crap.

        • In testing there’s a place for both high quality and bottom barrel ammunition. It’s in the best interest of a company testing their guns that a wide range of testing ammunition be used. The above mentioned company does do it that way to an extent.

          Please read the document to see what I’ve specified in relation to ammunition selection. With all that said, budget and availability will be the driving forces behind ammo selection.

        • Thanks for the pointer to the testing document; I had missed it in the first read.

          Concur with using high-quality M882-equivalent ball for the reliability testing. However, even if it is tested and listed separately in the test results, I would still encourage excluding items such as steel-cased cartridges from the test. The older designs may have been developed before this type of ammo was in common use (by western military forces OR civilians), and I think it is unreasonable to expect a pistol to function reliably with ammo that wasn’t commonly available during its design and initial factory testing.

          The bottom of the barrel is now much deeper than it used to be, and I don’t think encouraging more “downward progress” in this area by using crap ammo as if it is somehow just a lower-cost but equivalent-quality alternative to decent stuff is productive to the shooting sports as a whole.

          Just my opinion, YMMV. Thanks for listening.

      • Ouch, a hit below the holster! LOL. But for the record I wear size 15 shoes, and my gloves are 3XL (honestly!) you do the math. No, I’m not a clown.

  11. Really enjoyed the testing document and the detail it went into regarding the methodology. Should be easy to add new pistols later and still be able to compare results from earlier tests. Looking forward to the updates as they come!

      • The Steyr would beat them all, handily. The M9 is equivalent to a 19. L9 is equivalent to a Glock 17.

        For the accuracy test, please use a Ransom Rest or equivalent so you eliminate the human element from the results.

        Also, can you add +P+ Ammo to the mix. Stronger ammo would beat up the guns quicker and which may lead to more interesting results that might not be seen if whimpy ammo is used. Plus the average shooter will use stout ammo occasionally to test the self defense ammo.

        I wish you had the money to add the Steyr to the test. Its clearly built to higher and more durable standards, ie the full steel frame.

        • I was asked to put together a list of ammunition and there will be certain budgetary constraints to what we’ll be able to do with it. I have a list consisting of ammunition for compatibility as well as a standardized ammunition for the reliability/endurance portions.

          As for the Steyr, well…

        • Steyers are amazing. I once saw one at an LSG. And that’s my problem with them. Once I saw ONE. That’s it. I haven’t seen any since. Yes, it fit my hand better then almost anything. Yes the trigger was amazing. Yes it was +$700. And Yes it was a .40 cal (something I don’t want to get into). There is an inverse relationship between how awesome something is and how impossible it is to obtain. Being unobtainium reduces the gun’s awesomeness. Significantly.

  12. I think you should have selected a 9mm EAA witness polymer as well. Just because they are so dirt cheap to buy. Would be interesting to compare them against the most popular heavy hitters.

    • It’s called “TTAG’s Striker-Fired Pistol Face-Off”. I’ll give you three guesses as to why the Witness doesn’t fit that criteria.

      • Well… it could be named TTAG’s glass impregnated polymer injected pistol face-off, and then it would qualify.

        or we could call it:

        “TTAG’s super cheap plastic guns utilizing super cheap manufacturing methods and charging the same price as a quality gun face-off”

        • Actually, I’d be on board with an “inexpensive-but-good-quality gun” comparo. I might even kick in a few bucks for a kickstarter or something for that. I’d love to see real, actual data about how the sub-$300 EAA, SAR, Canik55, etc guns perform. They all seem to get positive comments on blogs, but I’d love to see some really rigorous testing. There’s a pretty big selection of cheap-but-decent guns out there, and they get almost no coverage.

  13. I feel the only real comparison test is actually handling and shooting each weapon at the range. Before I purchased my EDC weapon I went to a local range and rented both the XD(M) and M&P in 9mm (Glocks just don’t fit my hand well) and put over 50 rounds through each. I fired one handed strong and weak, two handed, short and long distance and slow and fast. And I decided on the M&P.

    To me, range time with each particular firearm is the only true comparison, and seeing the responses here about why wasn’t this one or that one tested proves it’s up to each individual.

    • I completely agree. However, ergonomics and design are two separate issues and there are plenty of ways (and companies) to make all these ergonomic to (nearly) everyone.

      If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read the attached testing protocol. We’ll be doing user evaluations by both the testing staff and inexperienced shooters.

    • I was looking for the FNS too. Add it, the PPQ, the Steyr, and the SR9 and the test would cover a pretty broad price spectrum.

      • Glock, S&W, and Springfield are the most advertised pistols and I can’t help thinking that is why they are top 3. No gun is advertised more than the Croatian made XDM and XD line of over priced pistols ( Springfield does not make any of their own pistols) including their 1911’s are over priced. I think the shooter has more to do with a pistols reliability than the gun it self, including what ammo is selected, to keeping it running properly.

  14. You’re missing too many guns for this test to be worth anything. PPQ, VP9, FNS, P230, M9A1, SR9, etc. Almost makes me wonder what the point is. “What’s the best striker handgun from these very limited options!” On a related note there are more soda options out there than just Coke, Pepsi & Dr. Pepper. I prefer A&W Root Beer by the way.

    • They are expending time and money to bring you data points you did not have otherwise. And are asking nothing from you to do so.

      Has it occurred to you that while you, personally, may or may not be an asshole (I don’t know you, I’m not judging), your response makes you indeed sound like a colossal asshole?

      Just letting you know if it hadn’t crossed your mind.

      • They made the claim that they would be letting us know what the best striker fired handgun is, not me. Perhaps you are not aware that there are more striker fired handguns out there than just the 3 models they are reviewing. It may also surprise you that not everyone considers their choices the top 3 striker fired guns available. It may even surprise you to find out that blogs make money and often times do so by doing gun reviews and the like. No one is sacrificing themselves to make your dreams come true. Wow, so many good data points for you. However when it comes to “assholes” I will always defer to you, as I am sure your first hand knowledge and experience far exceed mine.

        • they are making no claim to what pistol is the best. Read the article. They are trying to determine any traits and differences in reliability.

          in addition, they are testing the the polymer framed, striker fired, 9mm semi autos that are the most popular. I don’t think that anyone can make any argument that SW, Glock, and Springfield aren’t the three top producers by volume of these types of pistols. In addition, they are the most popular models from each of those manufacturers that are within the parameters established from the test.

          people love their weapons and invest in them. but the three pistols they chose are the top three polymer, striker fired, 9mm pistols, by volume. they should be the three tested.

          disclosure: i really think you should go with the G17. The round count between the 19 and the other test options isn’t as fair as it could be.

    • Get your cash out and order a _______ and ammo and perhaps they will add your favorite__________ to the testing schedule.

  15. From the above linked testing protocol:
    “A. Each handgun is a sample of one. For this reason it is important that the test accurately
    reflect a well built in spec example of the respective design. ”

    This is the reason that the test will be useless except for comparing the individual specimens of the chosen designs. It will not be useful for comparing designs. There could be more variability in reliability between different specimens of the same pistol than there is between the 3 specimens chosen from the different designs.
    What you really need is aggregate data from enough specimens to make meaningful comparisons. Sounds expensive doesn’t it? Anything else is really pointless.

    • After reading the test methodology, this is exactly what stood out to me.

      A sample of one renders the test more or less useless, as a single sample cannot accurately represent a make/model.

      This is why militaries use several of each contestant during competitions. Unfortunately, this costs big $$.

      To answer HJ’s question, do a search for “Determining sample size”, and you’ll find that with statistics, it depends; but if you want meaningful results representative of the population (number of glocks, XDs, and M&Ps manufacture), the answer is likely in the hundreds. Anything less is not statistically significant.

      For a small test like this, a min of three per make would enable the elimination of an outlier, at least.

      • that all sounds great from a stastical point of view. but how many of that one gun are you planning on buying? the military tests so many because they buy in the thousands. if youre only buying one it doesnt make sense to test a million. you go to your lgs and buy one. thats what theyre planning on doing to get these test guns. itd be as if you took your own gun and tested it.

  16. Why just these 3? The Steyer M9-A1 will whip all three of these, is the easiest to aim and aquire target and is cheaper than all 3 in the current market!!! It’s also the easiest to strip for cleaning. Now if they would just offer a selection of holsters…

    • Yes, because a given gun points the same way for every person and all people find a given motor task equally difficult or easy.

      Not everyone is you.

    • The Steyr would also handily win the “Butt Ugly” category of the test, though the XD would put up a fight.

      • Since my second son was born and around the same time I sold my XD9 to pick up a G34, I hadn’t gone and kicked tires at the LGS recently until this past weekend. I had completely forgotten how the XD series looks. I felt better about my Glocks, which I disdain each morning as I put them thinking “Why couldn’t you be prettier?”, then I looked at the M&P’s again and was right back to square one on disdain for the Austrian aesthetics. Especially the FDE framed M&P’s with the black palm swells.

  17. This will be interesting. I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s not surprising to me that the second comment here was a snarky one from a Glock jock. I’m a Springfield Armory guy because the gun just points more naturally and shoots more accurately for me. An unbiased test will be interesting.

    • An unbiased test WOULD be interesting, but because the tests are being done by humans, that option is probably right out the door.

      I’ll settle for minimally biased tests…

      • If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to read the accompanying test protocol linked above. I’m doing everything possible to reduce bias in the test.

        It was very important to everyone involved that the testing methodology be open to the readers for transparency. It will also include subjective and objective measures by the testing staff and general population.

        No, bias can’t be entirely removed, but it can be negated if done openly and properly.

  18. Well, I own both the G19 Gen4 and a S&W M&P 9mm, and have been shooting both consistently for over 18 months now, so I could probably predict the outcome between those two – pretty much the same. Both have been flawlessly reliable through over 5000 rounds in the M&P and 3000 rounds through the G19 Gen4. Accuracy is comparable. They are peers in every sense. I EDC the G19 only because my M&P is a fullsize Pro. Otherwise I would probably just pick one based on the wind that day. People have preferences about triggers, etc. but I have found it easy to adapt and shoot decently with either rather quickly.

    In terms of maintenance, the Glock wins hands down. It’s only about 35 parts in total and can be detail stripped and reassembled fast with only one small tool. The M&P is well put together but uses a few rollpins, and therefore needs a hammer and set of punches.

    Can’t speak to the XD at all. I’ve fired a few on and off that friends have owned. I would guess it’s about the same. I’m not a fan of grip safeties though. Just one more thing that can go south when you don’t need it to, but that’s really more of a personal preference.

  19. It is refreshing to see that you are buying one example of each from an LGS. I get so sick of seeing people review firearms sent to them by manufacturers. Those reviews have zero credibility. If manufacturers send out junk to the public, they should be exposed and called on it.

    • Small Arms Review will not do reviews on firearms received from the manufacturers.

  20. Awesome. Love consuming data, so really looking forward to your report.

    And of course we would all love to throw in our own personal favorite… just human nature. But those are pretty much the top 3 right now, so the selection makes sense.

    Thanks in advance

  21. Having extensive experience (and ownership) with some form of all 3 (and pretty much everything else for that matter), I’d have a real hard time saying any one of them is markedly ‘better’ than the others. They all have their own particular traits that would potentially make one more attractive than the others to a particular owner… Hell, I bounce back and forth my damn self all the time. They’re all pretty awesome, just as with many of the others (Sig, Ruger, FN, etc, etc). Right now I can’t get over the (tritium/FDE) P09 though. What a piece of awesomeness that thing is. If I had to holster one for duty, I guess that’s what I’d be running…. for now that is 😉 Ahh well, better than being a stamp collector I guess.

  22. Unmodified I prefer the Glock 17 or the FNS 9. With some mods I like the M&P. Never been a XD or XDm fan.

  23. comfort:
    1. xd
    2. m&p
    3. Glock

    three way tie

    1. xd
    2. m&p

    3. Glock box

    availability of parts:
    1. Glock
    2. two way tie with m&p and xd

    • As far as the 10k reliability test (which oh by the way, looking for help with a few k of those by chance?)….. I’d personally have a hard time saying which one is going to come out on top. I don’t think there’s going to be a major flaw or issue exposed with any particular one, but never know when you might end up with a Friday gun I suppose, so lots of possible outcomes. I guess I want to say Glock, just by reputation (and experience)… but heck, XDM has never so much as hiccuped on me either and they have polished feed ramps. M&P has been flawless too. Man I know that test is going to take a while but I’m real curious now to see what happens after 10 k now. I think we should start a line at Vegas 🙂

    • +1 on your #3! Glocks are my preferred carry and HD guns despite their fuglyness — I love the simplicity, and the grip angle best matches my shooting style. There was a good linked article a few months ago about the physiological reasons people do better with one grip angle or another.

  24. Love it. Love everything about it.
    Oh wait just one thing. Following the links shows me:

    XDM 9: 4.5 inch barrel, 19 round mag, 7.6 inch overall length, 5.75 inch overall hight.
    S&W M&P 9: 4.25 inch barrel, 17 round mag, 7.63 inch overall length, 5.5 inch overall hight.
    Glock 19 (Gen 4): 4 inch barrel, 15 round mag, 7.36 inch overall length, 4.99 inch overall hight.

    So why put 2 full size, “service” pistols up against one “compact”?
    Glock even refers to the 19 on their website as “compact” that’s not my opinion. Especially when the far more comparable Gen 4 Glock 17 comes in at: 4.48 inch barrel (almost exactly as long as XDM), 17 round mag (same as S&W M&P), 7.95 inch overall length (longer then both), 5.43 inch overall hight (shorter then both). I understand that it shouldn’t make a difference because all Glocks should be held to the same standard, but the choice seems odd to me.
    The purpose of scientific testing is to eliminate variables, choosing one pistol in the next size class down introduces a new variable. If the G19 stops functioning in comparison to the others does that mean its an unreliable gun? Or does that mean that under a given harsh environment the extra half and inch of slide length would have given the slide the momentum the gun needed to successfully cycle? Which it doesn’t have because you chose the G19, but that the S&W and XDM both do have the advantage of. If a failure to feed occurs on the G19 but not the others, does that make them better guns? Or would the G17 have continued to function because of the little longer magazine spring, which the S&W and the XDM will both also have the advantage of?
    I do not oppose the test. I don’t oppose the G19, I think it’s a great gun. I don’t think that just because a gun is small that it’s short comings should be excused. I don’t think the G19 shouldn’t be a go to war handgun. I wonder, if one were going to war, would they ever choose a G19 over a G17? I only question why try to scientifically test 2 “full size” guns against one gun outside their size class? It introduces an unaccounted variable that colors the results. Reducing the size of a gun reduces the mass of cycling parts and the length of springs which could conceivably make it less reliable then its “full size” brother under the harshest conditions. It’s a sacrifice civilians can choose to make in exchange for a smaller bulge in their pants. Maybe these striker designs are less susceptible to it, but I have read many reports of 1911s’ reliability being reduced as slide length is reduced.
    You say, “As I set aside my preconceived notions I ask that the readers of TTAG do the same.” And I wonder, was it your preconceived notions that led to the selection of a “compact” Glock to go up against a “full size” S&W and a “full size” XDM?
    When I began this post I was concerned about preserving the integrity of the scientific process, now I just wanna see if the “little” Glock can stand up to its “bigger” competitors. Wouldn’t it be funny if it still did better in testing then its “service” pistol rivals?

    • The G19/23 are both widely carried as service pistols even though it’s listed as a compact and my buddy carries a G23 on duty in one of the larger PDs in my state. The G19 is also a categorically odd size that fits between its competition’s fullsize and compact offerings.

      In the end, the TTAG crew specified the test subjects and I don’t disagree with their choices.

      (Opinion to follow) I don’t foresee a difference in reliability of the G19 and G17. I also don’t foresee slide length making anywhere a difference as significant as the 1911 and it’s variants historically have.

      • While the G19 may fit “between the competition’s fullsize and compact offerings,” it is a compact pistol. The others are not. Glock, S&W and SA each make subcompact, compact, full-size, and long-slide models. I respectfully suggest that whomever in the TTAG crew set your test criteria reconsider them. Otherwise, as a result of the “stacked” comparison, the Glock will be at a slight disadvantage in terms of velocity and accuracy (mechanical and practical), and larger-handed shooters may find it harder to get a full two-handed shooting grip, leading to “dings” in the subjective assessments as well.

        Although a larger sample size would be preferable, I’m genuinely interested in seeing how comparable models from these three manufacturers compare in a higher round count test.

        • I agree that the Glock 17 would be more appropriate in this test group. The TTAGgers probably picked the G19 because that is what they had on hand.

        • I think they picked the 19 because it’s more common. Maybe not among the LEO market, but definitely among the civilian market. The Georgia statewide firearms forum has a plethora of 19/23 for sale/trade but few 22 and even fewer 17s. Ironically, the 21 is pretty common with the 30 slightly less so. M&P FS are pretty rare and there’s a lot of folks with XD’s trying to trade into something Austrian or American. That’s not a dig against the XD, but I think more a perception against the brand.

      • I have been debating with myself for hours on how best to respond to your response. I grant you are probably right there is probably negligible difference between the G19 and the G17. And I don’t necessarily disagree with the choices of guns to test here. What I have come to decide is my disagreement is with the use of the term “scientific” when referring to the test.
        You simply cannot say, (You intend to measure muzzle velocity because:) “Barrel designs and construction can affect muzzle velocity and it should be noted if there is any measurable difference between the test subjects.” and then proceed to experiment using 3 guns with 3 different barrel lengths (up to a half an inch apart), 2 different types of rifling, and 2 different “size classes”. Of course there are going to be differences! The fact that there is so little comonality makes them not worth noting. The G17 is 40 grams more massive then the G19. Does that effect the test results? We don’t know it’s a variable you left unaccounted.
        The size differences between the S&W and the XDM are more “negligible” then the size difference between the G17 and G19. The G19 might be more popular and thus more people demand to see it tested. But don’t knowingly avoid testing the most similar guns against each other and call it “scientific”. You can keep repeatable and even transparent. But scientific testing is about controlling and eliminating variables. I understand that muzzle velocity is not the sole factor to be tested. But there will be other possibilities for experimental error, or results that will have no value.
        What shooters will prefer the full size guns over the compact Glock for no other reason then its compact grip? What shooters will prefer the compact grip over the full size grips for the same reason? Will all shooters’ hands be measured in an attempt to find a correlation? If you have shooters that prefer or dislike the Glock because they only experienced the compact grip, have you proven that it is an inferior or superior handgun? If the XDM is measured to be more accurate then the other 2 how will you know it is for any other reason then the longer barrel? If it’s not the most accurate, having the longest barrel does that tell you anything? You would expect it to be the most accurate, if it is does that show it’s a good gun or just the longest barrel, if it’s not does that show its a poorly built gun by comparison? If the Glock were to be measured with the highest muzzle velocity does that mean that the polygonal rifling really is superior? Or does it mean that the other pistols’ barrels are poorly made?
        I like the idea of this experiment. But there are some notable holes. I hope, at least, you can see the value of my point.

        • I get what you’re saying, but the accuracy is going to be more of a function of sight radii than barrel length, since the XDm and the M&P have similar overall lengths, the sight radius is going to be similar. The G19 will definitely suffer in that department as it’s far easier for most to aim a 17 or even a 34.

          I just had a thought, would it be prudent to standardize the sights on all of the pistols? Something widely available and cheap, like a high viz fiber set or TruGlo brite sites, something available for all 3 platforms and would standardize the sight picture on all 3. Out of the box, the Glock far and away has the worst sights, I don’t think we need a test to inform us of that.

        • @ Renegade Dave,
          While I agree that every attempt should be made to reduce variables between pistols, I think modifying them from stock condition goes to far. It drives the experimental results the way of, proving you can make the guns the same. For example. The G19 barrel is to short, and thus brings any muzzle velocity results into question, do you then replace the G19 barrel with a 4.5 inch extended, standard rifled aftermarket barrel (Like stormlake)? No. Because if you make 2 different guns have essentially the same barrel you will get the (almost) the same muzzle velocities. I think the same applies to the sights. You can’t force all the test subjects to be the same it slants the results.
          Further in this instance I think it would be dishonest. A gun is not the kind of thing people should have to buy with caveats. When you tell someone that a gun is the best gun ever *as long as once you buy it you also go and buy this and that parts and change them out* you are really saying, “This gun sucks but I am so emotionally invested in it I was willing to spend limitless amounts of money (even more then it would cost to by a competitive gun) in order to make it kind of what I want. And now you should reinforce, for me, that what I did was right by doing the same thing.” Buying parts and upgrades should be a choice not a requirement. When you test and then recommend a gun with upgrades (espiesally alone “I wouldn’t buy a Glock unmodified”) you are covering up the gun’s short comings.
          There is nothing functionally wrong with Glock sights. And if you change them for the test, your results are saying, “You should have just bought something with better sights in the first place.” There is nothing wrong with tuning up a gun. It’s wrong to recommend generally to people, “Our test showed this gun is the best gun ever once we dropped twice its price in upgrades into it.” If thats what it takes to make a gun your favorite gun, you should have bought something else. Right now on the shelves there is so much competition and selection vying for customers money you really should be able to find some gun off the shelf that has about everything you want without having to upgrade the crap out of it.

        • if you changed one variable on one gun youd have to change that exact variable on all test guns. even those that could be later tested using the same methodology. and that variable might not be available at all for other guns later. companies only make accessories for certain guns because they will sell. if the gun isnt popular enough or if consumers dont think that gun needs that accessory because the factory one is so well, why fix what isnt broken or what youve never heard of?

  25. I think that may be an opinion of locality. Near me Steyer M9-A1s are expensive and rare. And mags? HA!

  26. Damn I didn’t catch that. + 1
    G17 definitely compares better to the other 2 than the G19!

    • Neither of those are striker fired, and even if they were it wouldn’t be a valid comparison given that the other three test guns are sold at a lower price point and chambered in 9mm. The guns you mentioned are about as relevant to this test as an AR-15.

    • H&K is the brand.
      USP is the series that comes in 9/40/45 full-size and compact.
      Mark 23 is a different series.
      The experiment requires striker fired 9mm. None of the above apply.

  27. I don’t understand why people insist on comparing the glock 19 to full size pistols. I own an m&p9 and glock 19 because they fill different size categories. This has been my biggest TTAG pet peeve lately.

  28. If only being striker fired is the requirement then why all full sized? Most folks reading this will be interested in a CCW. Put the Kahr P or even K40 in the mix and blow all the others away.

    • “Put the Kahr P or even K40 in the mix and blow all the others away.”

      What part of 9 Millimeter do you not understand?

      “I. Introduction
      A. Test concept: Utilizing three mass produced polymer framed striker-fired 9mm handguns conduct a 10,000 round (rd) reliability test in an attempt to determine what, if any, reliability differences exist.”

  29. Nice idea. Two problems with the planned execution.

    First, it should be an apples-to-apples comparison. Grip size has much to do with subjective “shootability” (one of your criteria), and barrel length is the largest factor in velocity (another of your criteria). However, you compare the G19 (compact grip, 4.01″ bbl, 15+1 capacity) to two full-size pistols — the M&P (full-size grip, 4.25″ bbl, 17+1 capacity), and XD(M) [not specifying in your document but showing what appears to be an image of the full-size model] (full-size grip, 4.5″ bbl, 19+1 capacity). If you’re comparing full-size pistols, ALL of them should be full-size. The correct GLOCK for the comparison is the G17 (full-size grip, 4.48″ bbl, 17+1 capacity).

    Second, and more significant, your sample size (of one) limits the usefulness of the data obtained.

    ED: Sorry for my first point being redundant. While I was typing, others already pointed that out.

  30. Yes, that’s my ‘real’ name, unlike so many others leaving comments.

    I like striker fired pistols, and they are the only ones I own for personal protection. The Walther P99 being one of the first types of these reliable weapons is my preference. Many try to replicate, but none can duplicate the superiority of the P99. Another high priced but well worth owning pocket pistol is the Kahr PM9.

  31. Sig P320 needs to be in the mix here. These are all old news.. the P320 is the new hot thing and highly available.. have it .. love it, out of the box without mods it shoots better than some of these with trigger jobs (own 2 out of 3 of them, shot them all with and without trigger upgrades).

  32. Let me be another one to ask…where is the PPQ in this evaluation? Out of the three test subjects is beats those so far as accuracy and trigger. The only thing that comes close is the VP9 and even then its a case of where the VP9 does some things better and the PPQ does other things better.

      • Thanks, guess I should have looked. Glad to see TTAG start actually testing for this and I hope they start doing it in all of the actual gun reviews.

        I just hope they’re careful. To get rid of any variables an variances and increase safety, a device made just for simulating a limp rest test might be a good idea.

  33. I think you meant to write “I was commissioned.” I’m looking forward to the results of this test.

  34. I can fairly confidently predict the results, even in spite of the rigorous test protocol, because humans have a remarkable capacity for subjectiveness. And that result…..well, they’re all damned good guns. What else did you think I was gonna say?

    Now, about that subjective personal preference. Naturally I have my own tastes, and I happen to like the Glock and Springfield’s looks better than the Smith. But more to the point, it’s well known that the Glock has a minimum of pointy edges and is just about as close to an ideal size for CCW for everyman, and when everyman is different, that’s saying something. And its been a de facto CCW standard since at least the mid 90’s, which is quite a bit longer than the others.

    Now to my way of thinking, the perfect CCW pistol would be the G19 with the Springfield’s trigger and a Sig’s contrast sights (also favored by Kahr). The Springfield feels better in my hand than the Glock, always has but it has a few more pointy edges than the Glock, so it evens out. Truth is, for my fat rear end, the holster would make all the difference, not just the gun. And it so happens that’s what I’m going to try to find out since I want to comfortably carry a G19 (or G23) in a strong side belt holster of some kind, in typical summer attire (Carhartt jeans, cotton Academy T-shirt untucked. But I really need to work on those love handles – they’re gonna get in the way.


  35. You know, for shits and giggles (and to see it put throught a more scientific battery of testing) I’d love to see a Hi-point C9 test in this experiment.

  36. I had 2 XDM 9mm’s. Very solid guns. However there were a handful of issues.

    Slide sat high compared to the Glock and M&P so the recoil was felt a little more.

    The roll pin that held the striker in place broke on both from two many dry fires. After market part fixed that.

    Using a thumbs forward grip I would ride the slide release and the slide would not open on the last round. Non-issue for both M&P and Glock. There are some expensive after market fixes that move the slide lock up a bit.

    Took a combat pistol class, had to take shots on my side/back for the class. A few times my grip was just not perfect in those positions and because of the grip safety I could not shoot the gun until I re-gripped. FAIL!!!

    Everything for a XD is expensive, out of stock or just not made. I am talking sights, holsters etc.

  37. The Glock, M&P, and XD series pistols already have been thoroughly tested by multiple independent organizations. I’ll still be interested in seeing the results, but a more valuable test would be of guns that are newer or less popular. For striker fired pistols, the Walther PPQ, FN FNS, SIG P320, and HK VP9 would all be worthwhile.

    A different test of “value-priced” guns — S&W SD, Ruger SR, Taurus 24/7 — would be helpful as well.

  38. Three guns from three of the biggest advertisers in the gun press seems to be the selection criterion. Glock and S&W should be there but I don’t think many LE organizations use the Springfield. They do use SIG, so the new P320 would be helpful to them. And Walther’s PPQ, especially the M2, is at least the equal of all those chosen. The absence of SIG and Walther lessens the effectiveness of the testing.

  39. Maybe add in the H&K VP9 for the fanboys? It’s clearly designed and priced to fight in the same market as the other three.

  40. Comparing a full-size gun to a medium sized gun? The first thing to do is match the guns’ frames, as well as cals. And for reliability testing, numerous subjects is mandatory. Guns rarely fail with solid-gripping experienced shooters. Their vulnerability comes out with weaker, least-experienced shooters.

  41. MUST add the H&K VP, SIG P320, and Walther PPQ M2. Any of there three would make you wish you’d waited for a far superior striker-fire to the three models compared. The H&K is about as ambi-friendly as it gets. I love my PPQ – and I was definitely not a fan of striker-fire pistols. The PPQ M2 changed my mind. over 5,000 rounds through it without a mechanical malfunction.

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