Springfield Armory XDm Beginner Gun Review

I usually recommend first-timers some kind of a .22 to learn on.  Then they say “yeah right.  Now seriously, what should I get?”

Then I tell them a Glock or XDm in 9mm.

Springfield XDm
Springfield XDm

I then go over the reason why I recommend those two and, at some point during the explanation, their eyes will glaze over and they’ll start daydreaming about bunnies.  Then they’ll go off and buy a .44 Magnum and then complain that the recoil is horrific and that they can’t shoot it very well.

But I digress…

Whenever I recommend the Glock, it’s because of the legendary reliability of the weapon.  I usually include the phrase “I have a Glock 19 and it’s been great.”  I then recommend the XDm because of the accessories it comes with but I include the phrase “I’ve never actually shot one but I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.”

Well, fellow Noobs, I finally tried one.

The XDm

The local range where I rent most of my test guns had an XDm (with a green laser sight, I might add) and for once it wasn’t rented out.

Now, one thing I love about renting guns is that you get to see what a gun is like after it’s been used and abused beyond all measure.  Seriously, this thing was so dirty that I couldn’t even distinguish the dot on the front sight.  If I saw a stray dog in the condition that this gun was in, I’d take it home, give it a bath and then give it the warm and loving home that it deserved.

Some History

First a bit of history: Once upon a time, there was a place called The Springfield Armory.  Founded in 1777, it was located in Springfield, Massachusetts and it was the primary factory for the workhorse of the military at the time: The M1 Garand.

But that has nothing to do with the birth of the XDm….sort of.

For that, we have to take a trip to Croatia.

There, a company called HS Produkt was manufacturing a gun called the HS2000.  It was primarily used by the Croatian military and the 9mm version was also exported to the US by a company called Intrac.  Springfield saw the weapon and said “Hey, we like this! Can we, like, have it and stuff?  We’ll give you some money.”

HS Produkt sold the rights and Springfield rebranded it the XD (short for X-Treme Duty).

The XD developed a bit of a cult following and started to take some of the limelight away from Glock.

In 2006, HS Produkt decided that their gun wasn’t extreme enough so they updated it a bit.

They added a match grade barrel, interchangeable backstraps and made a couple of aesthetic changes (like extra slide serrations, different handle texture and such).

Springfield rebranded it the XDm, short for the highly poetic and creative “X-Treme Duty More” and its popularity skyrocketed.  The XDm went on to win Handgun of the Year in 2009.  Most recently, they’ve come out with the XDm 5.25 series which are specifically made to be competition ready right out of the box, courtesy of Rob Letham (The Superman of pro shooting).

Springfield Armory XDm

Springfield Armory XDm

You’ll be seeing a few comparisons to the Glock in this review.

That’s because, as it stands, the XDm is Glock’s direct competitor right now.

Like the Glock, the XDm is a polymer, semi-automatic pistol with a striker fired action and double stack magazine and retails for about the same price as a Glock.  The particular model I used in my test was a standard XDm chambered for .45 caliber.

I know I usually prefer 9mm and I still recommend that for beginners but the fact that it was .45 is quite significant as you’ll find out later in….the tests!

Ease to Breakdown

xdm-apart
XDm Broken Down

I actually didn’t have a manual to refer to and, due to a complete lack of foresight, had not looked at one online before I went to test.

This means that I had to figure out how to break this thing down on my own.

The only knowledge I had was that the lever on the front left side was specifically for breaking it down.  I remember my thought process well…first thing, try just twisting the lever.

Won’t budge.

Wonder if it’s like the Glock where I just have to nudge it back a bit?

Nope.

Wait, I see a notch in the slide towards the front.  I bet I can lock it back and twist the lever…success!  Lever twisted, slide moves forward and off.  So to review: lock slide, twist lever, slide forward, pull out barrel and spring assembly.  So easy a Noob could figure it out!

Having to lock the slide back has the added bonus of forcing you to check to see if there’s no bullet in the chamber.  I don’t know if it was their intention but that’s a nice, passive safety feature.  This gun’s ease to break down gives it a solid 5 out of 5!

5 out of 5 Dunce Hats

Maintenance

Looking at the parts, it pretty much breaks down almost exactly like a Glock.  You wind up with 5 parts: the lower, the barrel, the spring, the rod and the slide (whereas on a Glock, the rod and spring are one piece).

I like that the spring and the rod are 2 separate items on the XDm.  It makes it easier to scrub down.  There’s still that striker assembly that’s going to have to be cleaned at some point.  Having that separate spring, however, gives it a slight nudge ahead of the Glock, in my Noobish opinion.

For maintenance, I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

45

Reliability

As I said before, I like range guns because you’re not reviewing some pristine piece of engineering straight off the factory floor.

You’re messing with a gun that’s been around the block.  If it were a girl, you would not be introducing this thing to your parents…and you’d probably want a tetanus shot after touching it.

Even with all this abuse and the cheap and nasty range ammo, this thing performed like a champ.  In my research, I haven’t seen any valid complaints of stovepipes or failures to feed.  Considering the nature of the design, that’s not surprising.  The beauty of modern pistol design is that they are engineered to near perfection.

I would honestly be surprised to find a recently designed/manufactured gun that doesn’t score well in this area.  Like the Glock, it too gets a 5 out of 5.

5 out of 5 Dunce Hats

Safety

Like the Glock, the XDm has a trigger safety and an internal firing pin safety.

There’s also a backstrap safety which means you have to be gripping the gun in order for it to fire.

It also has a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the gun and an indicator on the back that tells you if it’s cocked and ready.  The Glock’s 3 built in safeties were good for a score of 4.5 but with the extra safeties and the indicators, I think the XDm is worthy of the full 5 out of 5 dunce hats.

5 out of 5 Dunce Hats

Poor technique

I seem to remember someone a while back saying that “the biggest problem with the XDm is that it shoots so well that you’ll think it’s because of your skill.”

Even limp wristing, this thing shot like a champ.

I tried holding it so lightly that if I gripped it any lighter it would have flown out of my hand.  It still shot right on and pulled in another round without fail.

My buddy, who was shooting guns for the first time, was able to hit one heck of a group with it.

I’ll say this: I have never shot a better group than I did the day of this review.  Considering it was a .45, which is a round I’m still uncomfortable shooting, that speaks volumes.

This gun gets a 5 out of 5 for making a new shooter feel like a pro!

5 out of 5 Dunce Hats

Starter kit

It’s like being a kid on Christmas morning when you buy one of these!  For starters, it has a very nice, hard shell case.

Not one of those crappy plastic cases that have to be thrown away after opening it a dozen times.  This case can be used for the life of the gun.  Inside the case, you’ll find 3 magazines, a loading assist tool, a cleaning brush, extra backstraps and the obligatory gun lock.

But wait!  There’s more!

You also get a OWB holster for the gun and a magazine holster that holds 2 magazines!

Open the box and you’re good to go.  No further accessories are needed!

I’ve always considered this kit to be the gold standard for new guns.  Because of that, I can’t give this gun anything less than a 5 out of 5.

5 out of 5 Dunce Hats

Accessories/Upgrades

There aren’t that many toys available for the XD and XDm pistols.

This is partly due to the fact that it just hasn’t been out that long.

There’s also the argument that it doesn’t really need any as it already comes with them.  I mean, match grade barrel and holsters right out of the box doesn’t leave much room for other things.

It does have an accessory rail which means you can put all kinds of lasers and lights on it.  You can swap out the sights to whatever style you like.  There are a couple of companies making aftermarket magazines for it as well and you can never have too many mags.

You can also get Talon Grips for them, if you like that sandpaper stuff.  Even though there’s not much now and you don’t need much either, I still see more and more stuff becoming available.  For that, this gun gets a 4 out of 5 hats…for now.

44

The Final Word

xdm-angle1There has been an almost cult like devotion to this gun.  I’ve seen the phrase “The XD will set you free” on too many forum posts and signatures to count.

I’ve admittedly rolled my eyes at the fanboy-ish nature of XD users much the same way PC users like to dismiss Mac fans.

I always thought my Glock was the way to go.

Since I’ve shot the XDm, I’m having a moral crisis.

The fact that this was the first .45 I was ever able to fire that didn’t have me flinching from the get-go tells me that there’s something special about this gun.

When someone asks me to recommend a gun, I’ve always said “Glock is a great way to go but I’ve heard a lot of good things about the XDm”.  Now when someone asks, I will say “I would go with an XDm, hands down.”  I will certainly be added an XDm .45 to my personal collection as soon as I can.  It is truly that good.

Averaging up the scores leave us with our first ever 5 out of 5 hats!

5 out of 5 Dunce Hats

Previous Comments:

Posted @ 2/5/2013 11:55 AM by jsilvius

jsilvius's avatar

We bought our first handgun back in October of 2012 and it was a 9mm XDm.
The only thing I will say is that our “Accessory Kit” only came with two magazines.
I was a bit disappointed with that because I had read that it came with 3 in most articles including yours. So I don’t know if this was a change or if our dealer snagged one.

All I know is that I was trained by the US Army with the M1911A1 and M9A1 and the XDm was so much easier to use and maintain that it make shooting at the range fun again.

Posted @ 9/3/2013 1:41 AM by Darnell

Darnell's avatar

The gun is ugly, bulky, heavy in my opinion and is inferior to a Glock. That is all.

Posted @ 10/3/2013 1:46 PM by rpwinaz

rpwinaz's avatar

I’ve owned 5 Glocks over the years because of dependability and predictability.
I now own 1 XDM 5.25 45acp and no Glocks. Equally dependable, better grip shooting angle/fit.
I have no loyalty to either brand…I just know what works better for me.

Posted @ 12/27/2013 5:02 PM by Pat

Pat's avatar

I have a Glock 19 and an XDm 9mm (and a .45 too) and I wholeheartedly agree with this review. The Glock is a great gun but the XDm nudges it out. It just feels so wonderful when shooting. Let the Glock handle the workload and wear and tear of your EDC and have your fun with the XDm.

Posted @ 2/14/2014 11:26 PM by Dan

Dan's avatar

Just took my wife to the range for the first time today and rented her an XDm 9mm. Was very impressed. I gave her a few quick pointers and let her figure it out. Then, I took a few rounds and was very impressed. What a fine piece of engineering! She almost out shot me. . . Almost.

Posted @ 10/14/2014 11:33 AM by jpohlman

jpohlman's avatar

The fourth full paragraph reads poorly. In 1777, the M1 Garand did not exist. The M1 wasn’t adopted by the military until 1936. The second sentence should be broken up into two separate sentences.

Posted @ 10/9/2015 10:44 AM by Rick

Rick's avatar

Hello, I believed if you buy the XDM compact version it comes with two compact mags and an extended mag (3). If you buy the full size XDM, you only get two mags.

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7 Comments on "Springfield Armory XDm Beginner Gun Review"

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David Muscato
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I have the XD9 and love this gun. Easy to shoot, accurate and reliable. My brother just got a pistol permit so I took him to the range with a number of my guns. Being a novice he had no idea what he wanted in a gun for his house. After shooting the XD9 he was hooked. The balance and weight of the gun lets even a novice shoot accurately.

Jamie
Guest
I was a glock only guy and I had a Sig as my conceal until I shot my first XDM, I traded and sold my hand guns and got the 45 in the 5.25 barrel and the 45 in 3.25 inch. Now they are all I shoot and here in 2017 there are plenty of accessories for the xdm to get that up to a 5/5. My wife hadn’t shot a handgun since she was 12 years old, her very first shot with the 3.25 at the range was a dead on bullseye. Out of the box you will not… Read more »
Roy
Guest

Agree, i carried a glock 21 for a duty weapon and like glocks but i prefer the xd platform. But i have yet to find a better overall out of the box option than the xdm.

rcmia
Guest

I own the xdm40 and also a kimber 1911 45 cdp and I have to say while the kimber is prettier girl, the xdm40 is an incredible shoot.

Dave
Guest

I own a XDm .40 with the 4.5 barrel and it’s fantastic. Accurate, well built, ergonomic grip and a case full of goodies. IMHO you really can’t go wrong with any XDm.

Eric Hung
Admin

Thanks Dave, glad you’re loving your XDm!

jpohlman
Guest

The fourth full paragraph reads poorly. In 1777, the M1 Garand did not exist. The M1 wasn’t adopted by the military until 1936. The second sentence should be broken up into two separate sentences.