Sound suppressors are more popular than ever, especially for handguns. Shooting suppressed pistols can be a ton of fun. They’re perfect for range days or outings with the family because they’re easy on the ears and help dampen recoil—a great thing for those new to full-sized pistols. Many companies are capitalizing on this growing popularity by offering handguns ready for suppressors right out of the box. Many of these guns are equipped with taller sights that help the user see over the suppressor, or they come with slides pre-cut for a miniature reflex sight. And many suppressor-makers are now offering multi-purpose suppressors that work across several calibers, even rifles, making them more cost effective for general use. Which brings us to the extremely versatile, well-thought-out Springfield XDM 4.5“ Threaded Barrel pistol.
Springfield Armory’s XD series pistols, including the XDM line, have a very strong following across the entire spectrum of shooters. I have yet to attend a civilian training course or competition where an XD wasn’t present. Individual officers often buy their own when possible.
XDs are soft-shooting pistols with some of the best triggers available for polymer-framed, striker-fired handguns. XDs also offer grip safeties—a requirement for some users—and Springfield also offers thumb safeties on some models. This means that XD pistols meet some of the more restrictive law enforcement agency policies out there as well as state laws requiring certain mechanical safeties. I have tested several XD pistols over the years, and they’ve always worked well. Most have been compact models, however, so the chance to test a full-sized 9mm like the XDM 4.5“ Threaded Barrel was a treat.
The Springfield XDM 4.5“ Threaded Barrel pistols are available in 9mm or .45 ACP in all black or with a black slide and a Flat Dark Earth frame. I got my hands on a two-tone 9mm for testing. Of course, both the 9mm and .45 ACP versions maintain all the features fans of the XDM line have grown to prefer. This includes interchangeable backstraps that help the pistol fit a variety of shooters; Mega-Lock texturing around the grip frame for enhanced control; a squared, undercut triggerguard that makes it easier to obtain a high grip on the pistol while offering plenty of room for users wearing gloves; an ambidextrous magazine release; a dust-cover Picatinny rail for adding accessories like lights and lasers; and Springfield’s crisp Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) trigger, which features a safety toggle that must be fully depressed before the trigger will move.
The steel slide houses a 5.28-inch, hammer- forged, Melonited steel barrel with a 1-in-10-inch twist rate and 1/2×28-tpi threading—the standard for most 9mm sound suppressors. A knurled thread protector is also included, bringing the barrel to 5.34 inches in length. On top of the Melonited slide you’ll find a loaded-chamber indicator at the rear of the ejection port as well as three-dot, suppressor-height sights that are dovetailed into position.
The 9mm Springfield XDM 4.5“ Threaded Barrel ships with three 19-round magazines made of polished stainless steel with black polymer baseplates. The pistol and magazines come in a hard plastic case with a holster, a magazine pouch, an instruction manual and extra backstraps.
Springfield XDM Rounds Downrange
As I said before, Springfield Armory’s XD pistols have always been soft shooters. Given the longer barrel, this pistol seemed a perfect candidate for some +P ammunition to take advantage of the higher velocity. Of course, it can be hard to get tight groups with +P rounds without some sort of mechanical rest. But using my FJ Cruiser as a rest with a WieBad pack, I was able to produce a group just under 1.5 inches at 25 yards with 115-grain DoubleTap +P ammo. Like every other Springfield XDM I’ve tested, the XDM 4.5“ Threaded Barrel was accurate thanks to its trigger and grip angle.
Working with a threaded barrel can be a bit problematic without a custom holster, but I was able to use a Safariland SLS holster designed for a light-equipped G21—I just had to remove the holster’s plastic barrel stop, allowing the barrel to protrude from the bottom. Open-bottom Kydex holsters can also be used. This test also gave me a chance to work with a ZeroBravo Kilo Assaulter’s Belt, which turned out to be one of the most secure and comfortable rigs I’ve ever used. It’s designed with a Velcro inner belt mated to an outer belt that is easy to modify with holsters, pouches, etc. Unlike others, the Kilo belt is easy to wear and stayed put during testing. I also added a Streamlight TLR-1 HL light to the pistol’s rail.
My only pistol suppressor currently is a titanium, multi-caliber Liberty Mystic X. Unlike submachine guns or rifles, pistols generally require a recoil booster to cycle properly with most suppressors. Adding a suppressor reduces the recoil impulse that is required for the pistol to operate, so without a booster, some guns turn into single- shot affairs. But some ammunition won’t cycle through a suppressed gun even with a booster installed. With the Liberty Mystic X installed, this pistol worked reasonably well with the 124-grain loads but was hit and miss with my 115-grain practice ammunition. It worked best with the Speer 124-grain Gold Dot +P ammunition.
Much of my training lately has involved working in and around vehicles—moving to cover behind a car, fighting from the interior or working my way to the rear where a rifle is stored. So, I tested the Springfield XDM in and around my FJ Cruiser. The pistol worked very well against paper and steel targets from 5 to 25 yards. Using several types of ammunition, the Springfield XDM never malfunctioned and was pretty easy to handle, even with the +P loads. It was also pretty easy to bring the pistol to bear from my thigh rig. No, it’s not a compact pistol, but it handled well.
- RELATED STORY: Gun Test – Springfield’s 9mm XD Mod.2 4” Service Model
Staying on a 6-inch steel target at 25 yards was pretty easy once I worked out my hold with the taller sights. I kept most of my shots inside 4 inches on paper targets from 7 to 15 yards. On the move, my groups did not open up much. Shooting across the interior of my truck, I was able to get six hits out of nine shots on a 6-inch steel target at 25 yards using just my strong hand. This just illustrates how easy it is to control the pistol with one hand.
Finishing off with some square range training, the Springfield XDM continued to impress. This is where I practiced smooth transitions from my LWRCI IC-PSD carbine to the XDM pistol. My accuracy on the move using just one hand was more than adequate at entry team distances. Starting at 25 yards and moving in, I could get solid center-mass hits regardless of the transition used. My reloads were smooth, and the slide went into battery using the slide release. The “slingshot” method is great, but it’s good to know the pistol can be charged in other ways if needed.
Testing Springfield Armory’s XD pistols is always a pleasure. Every one I have tested has worked well regardless of size or caliber. XDM pistols have excellent ergonomics, making them very comfortable and light on recoil. Shooting a 9mm with a 5.28-inch barrel was really enjoyable, and the grip safety worked every time, just like a typical 1911’s.
No malfunctions occurred during testing, even with some less-than-pristine shooting positions and grips. And having 19+1 rounds of 9mm on tap is a really nice feature. The Springfield XDM 4.5“ Threaded Barrel was very accurate and ran well suppressed. Even if you never add a suppressor, this pistol has a very nice look, and you’ll get a tad more velocity from your ammunition. In short, if you are looking for a nice full-sized pistol at a reasonable price with a high capacity, very little recoil and great accuracy, make sure you check out the Springfield XDM 4.5“ Threaded Barrel.
Barrel: 5.28 inches
OA Length: 8.25 inches
Weight: 29 ounces (empty)
Sights: Three-dot suppressor
Finish: Matte black, Flat Dark Earth
For more information, visit springfield-armory.com or call 800-680-6866.
This article was originally published in “Tactical Weapons” February/March 2017. To order a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.