Springfield Armory XD-M 9mm Handgun Review

Springfield Armory expanded its XDM series of handguns to now include 9mm with 20 round!

The “M” stands for more, or that is what the advertisement said when Springfield Armory introduced the new XDM pistol in mid-2008. Usually, new models are introduced at the SHOT Show in January of each year, but Springfield surprised the entire market by introducing the new series of pistols in mid-year. Most surprising of all, there was not even a rumor of the new pistol until about a week before the release.

springfield2.jpgIt was such a tightly held secret that when I asked if something new was in the works, I was told to wait and see. They would not even give me a hint as to what was new. It seemed that the news broke when some demonstrations were held for the distributors and within a week, the M’s were on the shelves of the dealers. Springfield pulled one over on all of us.

Once the news broke I called to get the story on the new pistol. The first thing that Springfield wanted to make clear was the new XDM series is designed to complement and not replace the existing XD series of pistols. The original XDs continue to be popular and sales continue to challenge production. This is especially true with the .45ACP pistols.

However, Springfield saw the market potential for a new and improved XD that would be even more competitive against other manufacturers. So, they took the XD and did more. The first production run of Ms was in .40 and I decided to pass and wait for the 9mm version. Several months passed, but when the 9mm version finally arrived, I found a real winner that I think has found a permanent home.

While the M shares a few internal parts with the original XD, it is a completely new pistol from the ground up. The M retains the best of the XD features while improving the ergonomics and mechanical operations. As with the original models, the new guns feature an ambidextrous magazine release, grip safety, and loaded chamber and cocked striker indicators. 

Unique Trigger
The indicators are visual as well as tactile, allowing the operator to assess the condition of the pistol in low/no light environments. I remembered having to press check my pistol by feel during a SureFire Low-Light school and realized how convenient this feature is. The XDM also retains the Ultra Safety Assurance Trigger System that guards against accidental discharge by locking the trigger in a forward position until direct rearward pressure is applied. 

The frame is a completely new design that incorporates several features that make the XDM more user friendly than its predecessor. The contour of the grip has been modified and the side of the grip has been scalloped. This shortens the trigger reach, improves access to the magazine release, and allows for a higher and firmer purchase on the pistol. 

The Mega-Lock Texture on the front strap extends around to the side of the frame and reminds me of an off-road mud tire. The grooves provide for enhanced control both vertically and horizontally. It is almost like the pistol is gripping you, not the other way around. As with other recent polymer pistols, the M has an interchangeable backstrap that allows the user to customize the grip to their hand. Each pistol comes with a small, medium, and large backstrap.  

Accessory Rail
The dust cover has the obligatory accessory rail for optional lights and lasers. One of the common complaints of the XD series is the amount of slack and reset distance with the trigger. The M has a redesigned fire control system that reduces both the trigger take-up and reset distance. The trigger pull on my sample measured right at 7 pounds with just short of 0.75 of an inch reset.  

The slide has been re-contoured from the original square block to a tapered pyramid shape. This reduces weight, width and assists in re-holstering. The cocking serrations on the slide have been enlarged and deepened for a better grasp. This is especially welcome when operating the XDM in foul weather or while wearing gloves. I have had my hand slip several times while running my .45ACP XD. Springfield has replaced the flat blade rear sight with a large, low profile swept rear sight. 

My sample was equipped with three non-Tritium dots, but fiber optic light tubes are available as well as tritium. One improvement is that all XD and XDM slides are now finished with Melonite to provide a hard, corrosion-resistant finish. The user will notice that the hammer-forged 4.5-inch barrel on the 9mm M is marked as being “Match” grade. It is no secret that Springfield has some of the best factory barrels in the industry and the M takes advantage of this. Finally, and most impressive, the 9mm XDM has an all steel magazine with a capacity of 19 rounds. Now that is more!

As with other XDs, the XDM is shipped in a hard case that is form fitted for the pistol; two backstraps, two magazines, polymer holster and double magazine pouch, magazine loading tool and the obligatory lock. The case is far nicer than the standard plastic box that so many pistols come in these days. While not quite as tough, it comes close to a Pelican or Hardigg case. It will last the life of the pistol and provides security for both home and travel.

One concern that both civilians and law enforcement personnel have shared for many years is the need to pull the trigger to field strip the pistol. This is a design feature that is shared by several polymer pistols, to include the original XD. The M has eliminated this requirement. To field strip the M, the slide is locked to the rear and the disassembly lever is rotated clockwise to a 12 o’clock position. 

The slide is then pulled rearward to release the slide stop and then slowly moved forward until it clears the frame. The disassembly lever on the M is nicely radiused and lacks the sharp edge found on the standard XD models. To reassemble, the slide is guided onto the frame and locked in place with the slide lock. The disassembly lever is rotated counter-clockwise and the slide is released. 

Special Holsters
With the 9mm version of the XDM being brand new, I was interested to see if it would fit any of my existing holsters. I found that the XDM would fit and work in a BlackHawk SERPA for a Glock 17. The fit was not perfect and there were some minor movements but the SERPA locked and released properly. 

If time allowed, I would have contacted Rick Palmer at Center Of Mass. I tested two of Palmer’s holsters for the Custom Shop XD .45 Compact article that was in Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement’s October 2008 issue. His designs are well thought out and the execution very clean. It is obvious that Palmer carries a pistol on a regular basis because his holsters work.  

Range Time
A trip to the range was both fun and uneventful. The XDM ran with a variety of loads and we experienced no malfunctions related to the pistol or ammunition. On two occasions, the slide failed to lock to the rear after the last round. The slide stop on the XD is just above the thumb knuckle, which is further to the rear than on a 1911. I found that my thumb-high hold on the M was impeding the slide stop. A change in my grip cured the problem.  

I must admit that I gave in and found myself using the magazine loader that comes with all XD series pistols. It takes a while to load 19 rounds into a magazine and the magazine spring is compressed into about 0.75-of-an-inch space when the magazine is fully loaded. So call me a sissy if you want; at least I could still feel my thumbs at the end of the day.

We were able to run several hundred rounds of standard velocity 124-grain FMJ, Federal’s hot 124-grain +P+ Hydra Shok, Speer Gold Dot, and Remington Golden Saber through the M. It not only ate everything we fed it, but it was polite in doing so. I have to say that you almost get tired of pulling the trigger before you come to the end of 20 rounds. The ergonomics of the grip, combined with the slide and barrel design, made the M a joy to shoot.  

Muzzle flip was very minor even when using the hot +P+ loads. Much like other polymer pistols, the hotter the ammo, the better the M ran. After trying all three backstraps, I settled on the medium size insert as being the best fit for my hand. Our test version was the bi-tone model with a black frame and stainless slide. This makes an exceptionally handsome pistol that attracted attention from several other shooters.

The top of the XDM slide bears the Springfield Armory crest with the country of manufacture, Croatia, at the bottom of the crest. I must give credit to the folks at Springfield Armory for seeing the potential of the XD platform and bringing this excellent pistol to the US market. 

By every measure, the XD series of pistols has been a success. Springfield has taken the original 9mm service pistol and expanded the line into four calibers, 9mm, .40, .357SIG and .45ACP; three different sizes, compact, service, and tactical and more combinations of size and caliber than I can count.  

Final Notes
The XD, and now the XDM are giving the rest of the polymer gang a run for their money. Many shooters have found the .45ACP XDs have a smaller grip and significantly better ergonomics than many of the “other guys.” With the new M platform, this can only get better. Both models are excellent candidates for personal defense, IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) competition, as well as duty pistols for security and law enforcement functions.

The M does stand for more. Not just more bullets but more features, more models, and more calibers! I hope that the compact version of the 9mm and the big bore .45 are on the drawing board soon. I was going to call and ask but I knew that the answer would only be “wait and see!”

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  • I own one of these. This is my first ever handgun that I own. I was in the Navy for 7 yrs and we are issued 9mm Beretta’s. the one thing I noticed about this gun right off is how light it is. The grip can be interchanged with some additional grips depending on hand size among other things. The only two gripes I have about this are not with the weapon, but with the set. The holster and magazine holder feel and look like they should have been included in a toy gun set. They’re very flimsy and plastic and you have to kind of fight with the pistol the first couple of times you pull it out of the holster, then you learn to just yank as hard as you can. I would like to see something of a little better quality when pairing with a handgun of this craftsmanship.

  • PFC WELLS

    im am a soldier serving in operation iraqi freedom, And also work at briar rabbit sporting clays in zanesville ohio when i am home,This being sead I think we can establish that I have handled a fue weapons. After hearing about the XD-M I just had to try it for myself. After a client had brought one onto the range I couldent help myself but to ask what his opinion was on the weapon, After getting nothing but praise I decided to buy my own. So when I bought my bi-tone XD-M 9mm I hade to try it out, my opinion on this pistol is that I have never fired a better pistol in my life, And I will no longer carry my glock 19, It is in fact for sale at this time. In the short time I had to fire this weapon I put as many different types of rounds thrue it that I could get my hands on, I never once had any problem with a single round jamming or failing to feed, Also, I pride myself on accuracy, this weapon in all it’s glory is one of the most accurate I have fired in this caliber, And is also easier then you may think to field strip. In closing, I could not be happier with this weapon and do suggest you try it for you’r self.

  • Bobby

    My first sidearm purchase in 9mm and absolutely love it. Chews up anything you shoot through it. I test fired it against Glock 17, 19 and 23. The 9mms could not compare. I liked the G23 I think mostly because of the .40S&W. The .40S&W will be my next purchase. I know my wife will lay claim to the 9mm once she gets a chance to fire it.

  • Wayne H.

    The holster and mag holders are Kydex. They both are made to allow retention by setting the screw and break retention by developing the correct technique and amount of force.

    Many good, modern holsters use this material because of its excellent , low friction draw and durability without requiring lots of care. They are durable and you may grow to like them in spite of their plastic appearance.

  • andrew mellon

    i bought mine a few weeks ago at the Hampton gun show in VA and i absolutely love it!! its light weight and high capacity magazine make it a perfect self defense weapon. and i disagree with the first post from Robert, like the last gentleman said, there is an allen wrench that comes with the kit to loosen and tighten the holster and mag holder. i think this weapon is excellent in many ways, the only thing i wasn’t thrilled about was the interchangeable grips, there sizes 1 2 and 3, and honestly i cant tell a difference between 1 and 3 at the range, and extra removable parts means more things to break and or clean. the only thing its lacking is glow in the dark sights. other than that i would recommend this firearm to any man or woman in the market for a light weight dependable hand gun.

  • young186

    Read your xdm manual, there are adjustments that can be made on the mag holder and the holster. Thats why the allen wrench was included in the package. FYI

  • Seen photo of the xd-m 9mm the other day loved the looks I just bought A 40/357sig HK model P2000SK I wouldnt trade this for anything.However my question is does this XD-M come in A 45 caliber as I certainly dont need 2 40,S THANKS
    ABHANSON48

  • Ronnie S.

    This is my first pistol also. I bought mine two days ago (black/OD), and can’t wait to get to the range. My brother is on the job in Chicago and uses the regular XD-40 for his duty weapon. He swears by it.

    So when I heard Springfield had produced the M-factor line, I figured I would give it a try. I decided on the 9mm because I will be doing mostly recreational shooting. And besides, for self defense the 19 + 1 capacity makes up for any “lack of power” from the smaller bullet. The only downside I can see so far, 9mm ammo is hard to find right now.

    I like the case, but I think they should have the option of substituting the accessories for extra mags.

  • Robert

    I own one of these. This is my first ever handgun that I own. I was in the Navy for 7 yrs and we are issued 9mm Beretta’s. the one thing I noticed about this gun right off is how light it is. The grip can be interchanged with some additional grips depending on hand size among other things. The only two gripes I have about this are not with the weapon, but with the set. The holster and magazine holder feel and look like they should have been included in a toy gun set. They’re very flimsy and plastic and you have to kind of fight with the pistol the first couple of times you pull it out of the holster, then you learn to just yank as hard as you can. I would like to see something of a little better quality when pairing with a handgun of this craftsmanship.