Springfield Armory XDM 45 XDM945BHC 45 ACP, $709
In this test we evaluate the $709 Springfield Armory XDM 45 XDM945BHC. It is a full-sized gun with polymer frame and a barrel length of 4.5 inches. It offers an accessory rail, low-mount sights, double-column magazines, and a measure of ambidextrous features.
The trigger on the XDM 45 requires a takeup and press that was much shorter than that of other tested guns. That was because the striker inside the XDM 45 is primed to a point just short of ignition by movement of the slide. However, the XDM 45 is categorized as a double-action pistol. This is based on the actions of pressing the trigger renders final compression and release of the striker.
Our tests for accuracy were performed from a bench at the Top Gun of Texas indoor shooting range, www.topgunrange.com. We took full advantage of Top Gun's 20-yard bays and the slick mechanical target retrieval system recently installed by Action Target. Away from the heat and marauding showers in the Texas outdoors, we liked the privacy and safety afforded by the sizable ballistic barriers that separated us from other shooters. Accuracy testing was a slow-fire exercise, but we used an electronic timer to record our first shot and total elapsed times during our two action tests. Our first action test was performed from the 7-yard line with the shooter holding the gun in both hands and the front sight held at the lower edge of the shooter's peripheral vision. Our target was the IPSC-P (paper) targets from www.LeTargets.com.
The action consisted of firing two shots to the body (a 5- by 9-inch rectangle A-zone), and one to the head. The head area measured 6.9 by 6.3 inches overall with a 4-inch-wide by 2-inch-tall A-zone, which on a human target terms would mask the eyes. We recorded ten separate runs.
In our second action test we wanted to know more about keeping the gun mounted in the hand throughout rapid fire. So, for this test the start position was with the gun directly on target held only in the shooter's strong hand. This meant our right-handed test shooter fired holding the gun with only the right hand. The IPSC-P target was placed 5 yards downrange and we concentrated on head shots only. Five runs of two shots each were recorded.
Test ammunition included 185-grain and 200-grain Hornady Custom XTP jacketed hollowpoint rounds. We also tested with the least expensive rounds we could find. They were Federal 230-grain FMJ rounds purchased for less than $17/50 from Walmart. Our action tests were performed using the 200-grain Hornady ammunition. Here's how we rated it:
The XDM series of pistols represent a refinement of an existing product. Changes from the XD pistols include a cosmetic change to the slide, a more squared profile of the grip and disassembly without the necessity of pressing the trigger. The XDM arrived in a distinctive attaché case filled with holster and magazine pouch, magazine loader, two additional 13-round magazines, and two alternate backstraps of different sizes and shapes. Similar accessory packs are available with the XD pistols, but most XDM pistols operate from higher-capacity magazines. Our XDM was all black, but a two-tone model is available for $771. In either case, the XDM pistols cost more, prompting us to point out the following. In a recent attempt to establish an economy line, Smith & Wesson introduced the SD series as a less expensive alternative to the M&P polymer pistol. In a somewhat opposite move, Springfield Armory's XDM now places the XD series in the position of being their economy pistol. The XD and the XDM pistols arrive completely assembled from Croatia. But they are function-fired at the Geneseo, Illinois, facility before being shipped.
Both the XD and XDM pistols feature ambidextrous magazine-release buttons located just above the undercut to the trigger guard. But the XDM slide release and the takedown levers have been given a makeover to blend in with the sleek profile of the weapon. The XD and XDM pistols are the only pistols to our knowledge that include a grip safety, other than the 1911 design. The extra cost of the XDM also goes for an upgrade to the sights, including the rear unit that extended sight radius to the rear plane of the slide.
The XD pistols have been a success based on simplicity and ergonomic appeal. With the introduction of the XDM 45, now both series of pistols are offered in the most popular calibers (9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP). In our July 2008 issue we recommended the XD45 to anyone with medium to large hands. But the interchangeable backstraps of the XDM 45 were more effective in placing the trigger finger in correct relation to the face of the trigger, and this should help accommodate a wider range of hand sizes. In addition, our staff said that it was the contour of the M-style side panels that did more to control the recoil of 45 ACP rounds, including muzzle flip and torque.
From the 20-yard bench we were pleased by the consistent accuracy of the XDM 45. Average Group Radius was recorded as 0.87 inch, 0.64 inch, and 0.92 inch for the 185-grain, 200-grain, and 230-grain rounds, respectively. (The on-paper difference was slight, although cost varied from as little as 34 cents per round to as much as 91 cents per shot.) The largest-diameter 10-shot group fired using the Federal budget rounds measured 2.47 inches across.
The short press of the XDM trigger and the improved grip made firing our actions tests fun and simple. From the 7-yard line, only our first few careful runs placed two shots to the body and one to the head in an elapsed time of more than 2 seconds. Like on the original XD, we think the XDM-series pistols are very easy to learn. On average, runs 1-5 took .89 seconds for the first shot and 2.09 seconds to complete. Runs 6-10 produced average elapsed times of 0.81 seconds for the first shot and 1.82 seconds of total time. As hard as we were pushing, the target showed 20/20 hits neatly inside the lower A-zone. The head area also contained 10/10 expected hits.
Firing strong hand only from 5 yards, our two-shot runs were completed in an average elapsed time of 1.82 seconds. First shots were fired at the 0.97-second mark. That the same advantage in speed we saw firing the XDM freestyle did not specifically translate to a faster time when firing the gun held with only our strong hand was a surprise. One hit was pushed to the left, and two more shots landed low of the head area on our target.
Our Team Said: So many pistols, polymer or otherwise, have been adapted from 9mm to more powerful ammunition. Some of these pistols have been able to maintain their original level of performance, but at the price of making the shooter work much harder. That is where the Springfield Armory XDM 45 fully succeeds because this pistol was actually more fun to shoot than the smaller caliber models we've tested. We think the XDM's changes to the original design makes this gun more 45-worthy than many other pistols we've tried.