By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
All photos contained in this article were taken by DefenseReview.com, and are copyrighted. DefenseReview.com owns the copyright on these photos. The photos were shot with a Canon PowerShot S90 10-megapixel digital camera (still camera with video capability).
February 28, 2010
Updated on 4/01/10
There were a few new pistols that DefenseReview viewed and handled at SHOT Show 2010 that are worth mentioning. One of them is the new Springfield Armory XD(M)-9 3.8 “Short Barrel” very-high-capacity 9mm pistol (9mm Parabellum a.k.a. 9x19mm NATO) which holds 20 rounds (19+1), thanks to its full-length grip. Visible features of the new pistol are the XD(M) series’ contoured slide, curved slide serrations, and somewhat agressively textured grip. These features, combined with the Mil-Std-1913 “Picatinny” rail on the dust cover all work to give the pistol a very modern 21st-century aesthetic. That’s all well and good, but having those 20 9mm rounds at your immediate disposal in a reliable, durable and combat-accurate weapons platform are the main selling points for Defense Review, assuming the pistol ends up passing muster when we run it (i.e. T&E it).
So, why purchase a Springfield XD(M) 3.8 pistol instead of a Glock 19 (G19)? Well, for starters, the 3.8 XDM gives you 20 rounds (19 in the mag, plus 1 up the pipe) instead of the G19’s standard magazine’s 15 rounds. That’s a signficant ammo capacity advantage. Even if you carry the G19 with a mag fitted with +2 floorplate or a Glock 17 (G17) mag, you still have only 17 rounds at your immediate disposal. You’d have to carry the G19 with a G17 mag outfitted with a +2 floorplate (giving you 19 rounds total capacity) to approach the XDM-3.8’s 20 rounds, and it’s obviously not going to fit flush with the grip like the 3.8 XDM’s standard 20-shot mag.
Another reason to go with the Springfield XDM-3.8 pistol is if you like a rear-gripframe-mounted grip safety. For the record, Defense Review does not. DR would prefer that Springfield Armory, if it needs to incorporate a grip safety at all on its XD/XD(M) pistols, mount the safety in front of the grip like on the Beretta PM12S2 submachine gun (SMG) or HK P7M13 pistol, if it can. A front-grip-mounted grip safety always provides for a positive disengagement of the safety when shooting. Rear-grip-mounted grip safeties can be problematic for some people depending on hand shape, hand size, and shooting style.
Another potential reason to choose the Springfield XD(M)-3.8 9mm pistol instead of the Glock 19 is the XDM’s grip shape and texturing vs. the Glock’s grip. Some folks just don’t like the Glock’s grip shape and feel.
Finally, the XD(M)-3.8 pistol utilizes a fully-supported chamber, unlike the Glock. In 9mm, that may not be a big deal. However, in the larger calibers, like .40 S&W and .45 ACP, this one feature becomes a very big deal, allowing a Springfield XD/XD(M) to handle loads that a Glock 22/23/27 or Glock 21/30 series pistol simply can’t, like the Le Mas BMT APLP 85-grain (85gr) .45 CQB round, for example. Don’t try to fire that round out of a standard Glock .45ACP barrel. To use the .45ACP LeMas round in a Glock pistol, you have to use a retrofit barrel, like a Bar-Sto or KKM barrel that features a fully supported chamber like the Springfield Army XD/XD(M) barrel. So, the just-released XD(M)-.38 .40 S&W and future XD(M)-3.8 .45ACP which is likely coming down the pike both have a chamber-support advantage over their Glock counterparts.
The problem Springfield Armory XDM-3.8 has going up against the Glock 19 with the Springfield 3.8 XD(M)-9 is that the G19 is just so freaking battle-proven and highly trusted by those that have carried it, including DefenseReview. The Glock 19 is currently Defense Review’s favorite carry gun, and we consider it to be, essentially, the best all-around concealed-carry pistol in the world, and perhaps even the perfect all-around carry pistol, period. So, the best chance the XD(M) probably has in the marketplace is to target those who aren’t already carrying/using a G19 and/or somehow convince G19 users that the XDM-9 3.8 provides them with some kind of significant advantage, which would be no easy task. Converting longtime G19 users/carriers is a tough proposition, particularly since the 3.8 XD(M) is as yet unproven and incorporates a grip safety. Basically, it would take us really liking the XDM-3.8 to switch to it from the Glock 19, but we’re willing to keep an open mind about it, provided it (XDM 3.8) passes muster.
All said (or, in this case, written), Defense Review likes the look and feel of the XD(M)-9 pistol, including the trigger pull on the specimen we tried at the show, which seemed to be right around 5.5 lbs. How the new pistol actually performs, however, is yet to be seen. DefenseReview hopes to be able to review a 3.8 XD(M)-9, soon. If/when we do, we’ll report on it in a follow-up article.
Magazines: 2 – 19 Round, Stainless Steel
Barrel: 3.8″ Steel, Melonite ®, Fully Supported Ramp
Sights: Dovetail Front and Rear (Steel) 3-Dot
Trigger Pull: 5.5-7.7 lbs
Frame : Black Polymer
Slide: Forged Steel
Overall Length: 7″
Weight w/ empty mag: 27.5oz
Available colors: Black, Bi-Tone SS/Black
*High Capacity Magazines may not be available in some states.
*Optional fiber optic sights coming soon…
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