November 2010

New Polymer 45 ACP Pistols From Sig Sauer and Springfield

Springfield Armory’s XDM 45 tames recoil for consistent accuracy. Sig Sauer’s P250 45 impressed our testers as well, but in our estimation, the gun showed teething problems.

As recently as the September 2010 issue of Gun Tests, we referred to our evaluation of two similar 1911 45s as being something of a rarity. That’s because the guns were essentially a different interpretation of the same design. More often, we compare a roster of test guns that, despite being of the same caliber and approximately the same size, end up demanding widely different skill sets to operate.

In this test we once again evaluate two closely related firearms chambered for 45 ACP ammunition. They are the $709 Springfield Armory XDM 45 XDM945BHC and the $712 Sig Sauer P250 45 Full Size 250F-45-BSS. Both pistols are full-sized guns with polymer frames and a barrel length of 4.5 inches. Each gun offers an accessory rail, low-mount sights, double-column magazines, and a measure of ambidextrous features.

On the surface it would seem that this was indeed another "apples to apples" test. But one noteworthy difference between the two pistols puts these guns in different categories, we believe. The trigger on the XDM 45 requires a takeup and press that was much shorter than that of the Sig Sauer P250 45. 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. In a more obvious display of double-action form, the Sig Sauer operator has almost complete control of the ignition cycle. Pressing the P250’s trigger rearward results in nearly a 1:1 ratio in terms of lifting the hammer and dropping it on the firing pin. Some shooters may find this difference too much to overcome, smashing our presentation as a test of similar guns. But as shown by the results of our rapid-fire tests, our staff found that both triggers could be operated quickly and effectively.

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 them:

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