By David Crane
defrev at gmail dot com
July 26, 2008
For the last few years, DefenseReview has received some pretty glowing feedback on the Springfield Armory XD45 (eXtreme Duty 45) .45 ACP pistol. One of the primary aspects of the XD45 pistol that the professionals we’ve interviewed appreciate is its fully-supported chamber which allows them to fire high-pressure +P and/or +P+ ammunition through it, which they can’t do through a Glock 21 (G21) / Glock 21SF (G21SF) or Glock 30 (G30) / Glock 30SF (G30SF) .45 ACP pistols, since they do not have fully-supported chambers. One of these rounds is the LeMas Ltd. BMT APLP 85-grain (85gr) .45 CQB round, which has a muzzle velocity of well over 2,000 FPS out of a 5-inch (5") Government Model 1911 pistol, and will penetrate NIJ Level IIIA body armor (bullet-resistant vest) with no problem and devastate the tissue immediately behind it. "BMT APLP" stands for "Blended Metal Technology Armor-Piercing Limited-Penetration".
The reason we bring all this up is that we recently read about the new Springfield Armory XD(M) .40 S&W pistol a.k.a. Springfield Armory eXtreme Duty Mega-Capacity/M-factor .40S&W pistol (a.k.a. Springfield Armory XDM or Springfield XDM pistol, for short), which holds an impressive 16+1 rounds thanks to its "Mega-Capacity Magazine" and sports a "Minimal Reset Trigger" (quick-reset trigger) that, according to the marketing literature,…
"has the shortest travel than any currently available polymer pistol along with a similarly short reset which keeps you on target with greater ease for faster, more accurate follow-up shots." Grammatical errors aside (the sentence should read "has the shortest travel of any currently available…") Springfield Armory would appear to be saying that the XD-M pistol has a shorter-travel, shorter/quicker-reset trigger than the trigger on Glock pistols.
The Springfield XD(M) pistol’s trigger’s short travel and reset, by themselves, are a big
deal if they’re as good as the company’s literature suggests, as they would assist in making a fast initial shot (first shot) and quick/fast follow-up
shots and rapid and accurate multi-shot strings. DefenseReview’s
favorite polymer pistol trigger at present is the Glock trigger, which has a
relatively short initial travel and very short reset. It’s tough to
beat. However, we’re going to give the XDM’s trigger an honest shot at
the title in a side-by-side test, as soon as we can.
But that’s not all the Springfield XDM .40 S&W pistol has going for it. It also features a match-grade barrel that "rivals aerospace manufacturing", "Model Contour" frame with more ergonomic grip with "Mega-Lock" texturing and interchangeable "Mould-Tru Backstraps", a more contoured Melonite-coated slide (for corrosion/rust resistance) with "Major Grasp Slide Serrations", "Main-Focus Sights", ambidextrous "Maximum Reach Magazine Release" buttons, "Minimal Error Disassembly" takedown lever, a loaded chamber indicator, a striker status indicator, an Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) trigger safety, grip safety, and "Multi-Adjust Rail System" Mil-Std-1913 "Picatinny" rail on the dust cover for mounting tactical white lights, targeting lasers, etc. The Springfield XDM pistol comes with 16-shot magazines and a slick polymer carrying case.
Long story short, the Springfield XDM .40 S&W pistol basically appears to be a "new and improved" version of the standard Springfield XD pistol, so it will be interesting to see how long Springfield Armory keeps the standard XD pistol series around. We’re predicting that they will eventually discontinue it if sales of the new Springfield XD-M pistol series significantly outpaces standard XD sales. Since the XD(M) is a newer, cooler, more feature-rich, modernized version of the XD, DefRev doesn’t see why this wouldn’t happen, once 9mm Parabellum (9x19mm NATO) and .45 ACP versions of the XD(M) pistol are introduced.
Defense Review is curious as to when .45 ACP versions (standard, compact, subcompact, etc.) of the Springfield Armory XD-M pistol will be introduced. We’re particularly interested in a compact or sub-compact XDM .45 for concealed carry (CCW) use, and to see how many rounds it/they will carry. Frankly, we’re also interested to see how many rounds the 9mm versions will carry. If the standard/duty-size .40S&W XD(M) carries 16+1, a standard/duty-size 9mm XD(M) pistol should carry at least 18+1 rounds, and a compact 9mm XD(M) should be able to hold 16+1 rounds (we’re guessing).
DefenseReview isn’t a big fan of grip safeties in general, and we’re not making an exception for the XD(M). Frankly, we see the 1911-style rear-mounted grip safety as an antiquated solution to a non-existent problem (even on 1911 pistols), and something that is, in general, better for lawyers than shooters. Our Glocks (Glock 19, Glock 30, etc.) don’t have them, so why does the XD need it? As long as you have an internal safety that prevents the pistol from firing if it’s dropped and you keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you decide to fire, that should be enough, even on a weapon with no external safety. Don’t forget, the XD(M) has a trigger safety, just like the Glock. If you absolutely have to have a grip safety, we’d prefer either a Beretta PM12S2 (also written as PM12 S2 and PM 12 S2) 9mm open-bolt submachine gun-style front-grip-mounted safety or Heckler & Koch (HK) P7 (P7M8 and P7M13) 9mm pistol-style squeeze-cocker safety that comprises the whole front strap. A front-grip-mounted grip safety lever is not as dependent on the shooters grip, and therefore easier to actuate/disengage each time, every time the shooter grips and fires the weapon. That said (or written), we have always found the XD’s grip to be very comfortable and ergonomic.
Another option, and one we’d like to see, is a 1911 pistol-style frame-mounted, sweep-down manual thumb safety. If Springfield Armory offers .45ACP, .40 S&W, and/or 9mm XD(M) pistols with said thumb safety, they should at least remove the grip safety on these versions if they’re not willing to remove it on all versions of the XD(M) and XD pistols. In our opinion, if a pistol has a manual thumb safety and/or any internal safety that precludes the gun from firing unless the trigger is pulled, a grip safety is redundant and unnecessary. Smith & Wesson is currently offering a frame-mounted, sweep-down manual thumb safety on the S&W M&P45 pistol as an option.
DefRev also doesn’t see the necessity of an ambidextrous mag-release button, since a right-handed shooter can easily actuate a left-side-mounted mag release button with the index finger of his/her left hand when shooting left-handed. Same goes for lefties. That written, we don’t mind the ambidextrous mag release button, provided it’s well-designed. We’ll see.
Except for the rear grip safety, the Springfield XD(M) pistol looks good in the all-black version (we don’t like bright/shiny slides), and we’d very much like to get our hands on an all-black (Melonite slide) .45 ACP version for testing, soon, preferably a compact model that’s the same size as the Springfield XD45 Compact .45 ACP pistol. When we do, we’ll run it with SLiP2000 Extreme Weapons Lubricant (EWL), which we recently received from Greg Conner, President of SPS Marketing, Inc. We had the pleasure of meeting Greg at his booth in the exhibition hall at NDIA International Infantry & Joint Services Small Arms Systems Symposium 2008. Nice guy.
A quick note on the .40 S&W cartridge: The .40 S&W is a good defensive pistol cartridge, but DefRev falls into the "nine is fine" crowd. With quality hollowpoint ammo, 9mm will get the job done just fine (with proper shot placement). 9mm is even more effective against live tissue with specialty ammo like LeMas ammo. Even with round nose (non-hollowpoint) ammo, 9mm can put the target down quickly as long as you hit said target in a vital area (head, chest, or groin), particularly if you hit the target with fast multiple shots. And, you have more immediate firepower at your disposal with which to
do it. Typically, you get two more 9mm rounds than .40 S&W rounds
in the magazine in a given pistol/magazine size. 9mm is also easier to train with on several levels: It’s easier on your wrist(s), easier to hit with during rapid-fire strings/fast-shooting drills, and easier on your wallet. A cartridge that’s more comfortable to shoot and cheaper to purchase will allow you to do more shooting, and more practice means greater proficiency, so you can place those shots well when it counts.
The 9mm Parabellum cartridge is also arguably inherently more reliable than .40 S&W and .45 ACP, due to the combination of its smaller-diameter bullet and proportionately longer, tapered case, which aids in feeding the round into the chamber and extracting it from the chamber. Now, if we’re going to move up in caliber from 9mm to a larger-diameter bullet, we’d prefer to go right to .45 ACP. However, there are those who will argue that .40 S&W is the ideal defensive pistol cartridge, giving you larger surface area and more power than the 9mm, and higher capacity and better penetration against hard/intermediate targets vs. the .45 ACP.
Author’s Note: LeMas Ltd., also written as "Le Mas Ltd.", is owned and operated by John Hamilton and Stan Bulmer.
Update 9/26/08: Springfield Armory recently introduced a 9mm version of the XDM pistol with a capacity of 19+1.
Photo Credit(s): Springfield Armory
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Related Articles, Documents, Links, and Videos:
Springfield Armory XD-M (Video)
XD-M Classifier (Video)
Springfield XD-M Function (Video)
Springfield XD-M 360 Degrees (Video)
CQB – Close Quarters Battle