Above is the XD(M) OSP. What is it? Well Springfield Armory (SA) has entered the reflex red dot (RD) optic handgun market with this pistol. Definitions: XD(M) means “X-Treme Duty Match” (match-grade barrel and more), according to Wikipedia. OSP means “Optical Sight Pistol.” The XD(M) OSP 4.5-inch barrel pistol comes in two configurations, both fitted with a mounting bracket for optics. One model allows shooters to directly attach their preferred RD pistol optic without any slide milling or custom modification, using one of the included 3 adapter mounting plates. The mounts allow easy attachment of at least 7 popular RD optics, including Vortex Venom, Burris FastFire, Leupold DeltaPoint, JPoint, and Trijicon RMR, etc. Or, you can use the standard cover plate and not use an optic, with either model.
The other model, that SA sent me for testing and evaluation, was the complete XD(M) OSP gun system, which included the XD(M) 9mm pistol and the already attached RD sight, the quality Vortex Venom (VV.) The VV has a three MOA RD which is a good sized dot that helps the shooter balance fast target acquisition with precision shots. It has 10 levels of brightness and a top-loading battery compartment for easy battery replacement without removing the optic which helps maintain its zero. In my previous article about a week ago on this website, I presented my introduction to reflex RD sights, the basic concept, terms and definitions, types of RD sights, co-witnessing, MOAs, pros and cons, uses, currently available RD sights, my many questions, etc. With this hands-on field trial and review, I want to help you with my formal test and my opinions and evaluation of this particular SA RD sight and gun.
Remember for RD sights, the shooter does NOT focus on the front sight nor do the usual sight alignment. Rather, you find and focus on the dot. That elusive dot wiggle was a challenge for me and probably for most others who learned to focus on the front sight, minimize movement, and do the proper sight alignment when appropriate. So, I was anxious to discover firsthand if these new RDs and this complete RD handgun system were for this ancient relic… me. Could this visually-impaired dinosaur from the past quickly adapt to this modern RD technology? Would I have a long and steep learning curve? Would I be able to smoothly transition to target/threat-focused shooting, “finding the dot,” and keeping it steady with minimal movement, rather than primarily using my front sight focus and sight alignment with my iron sights? Would I use this complete RD-pistol system for my concealed carry handgun? Would I recommend it for any purpose? One important concept which I wanted to evaluate was co-witnessing. Co-witnessing means that you can still see and use your iron sights along with or instead of a RD. The iron sight should be placed at the appropriate added height so you can see both RD and iron sights. The back-up iron sight (BUIS) would be helpful support for the RD in case of failure. Think battery drain or failure, for example. BUIS are used on military guns like the AR-15 and offer a secondary sighting system in case of red dot failure. I and self-defense shooters need a life or death backup. You know those batteries go out just when you need them most in stressful encounters and you want to see your iron sights very well and unobstructed.
In this review, I want to give you my honest opinions about the XD(M) OSP 9mm system with the included VV RD sight. I have reviewed several 9mm compact and full-size guns in depth recently, including several on this website. I evaluate my Top 21 CC guns in the recent second printing of my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials.” I definitely favor the 9mm for CC and want to help readers and students compare this new model with a RD to my other recommended 9mms. I already have the XD(M) 5.25 9mm, like it, and use it for competitive shooting. The Springfield Armory XD(M) 4.5 inch 9mm has an existing reputation as a quality and accurate gun out-of-the-box, so how will it fare with the attached RD sight and me at the controls? So what process will I use to test and evaluate the system?
First, I want to give you the XDM OSP Specifications and Features in a summary chart. Then I’ll list my specific criteria, then compare each criterion to the gun’s characteristics and features, and lastly show my range live-fire test results with the RD sight for the XD(M) OPS, to help you analyze and compare your handguns and make the best selection for yourself. You can add or subtract from my criteria to meet your needs and preferences. Maybe you want to compare this compact 9mm with a RD to other current models with a RD attached. Or maybe you want to just do your own research on only milling the slide and attaching your own preferred RD. There are just too many options and too many manufacturers for me to explore in this single review. At the end of my previous article, Handgun Mini Red Dot Sights: Basic Considerations & Opinions, I listed just some of the many RD dot sights/systems available. I have been contacted by other manufacturers about reviewing their RD systems, so there probably will be a follow-up RD gun review. I was very anxious to compare the OPS factor by factor to my other quality 9mm guns and see how it compared to my top CC pistols. Know that I am not on the Springfield Armory payroll, have not been paid by them for this review, and not influenced to say certain things about the gun. I want to be honest and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the RD pistol to sincerely help folks. Specifically, I want to learn how accurate is the pistol with the RD attached out of the box and at short and longer distances? Is the RD stable, does it hold its zero well, stay securely attached, and not cause zeroing problems? Can the RD battery be easily changed without having to re-zero it? What weight is the trigger press? Is the trigger really light and smooth? Is it a reliable gun with the RD attached and with different ammo? Is a holster included within the supplied case and model that fits the gun with the RD attached? Will the shooter have to get a special holster to fit the gun with the RD attached or will an existing XD(M) holster fit the sight and gun? Is the slide stop and/or mag release ambidextrous and does it freely release mags?? Do you have to press the trigger to disassemble it? What are the pros, cons about the OSP gun with the RD? Is this a 9mm gun I would recommend for CC and/or home defense?
For the Springfield-Armory XD(M) OSP model-gun package, below are two charts that list the Specifications and some Features for the pistol and RD. Note that over time and production run the specifications can change by the manufacturer and that the retail price often varies some. Sometimes you can buy the gun about $50.-$100. or so less than posted retail. Next, I give you my 10 criteria that I use to evaluate all guns. Finally, I present my analysis and how I specifically evaluated this gun against each of my criteria to recommend or not recommend it. As always, set your own criteria and priorities, do your own research and check my data, information, etc. with yours, for your very personal selection process. Here are the XD(M) OSP 9mm pistol specifications and features.
Criteria and Considerations
Here are just 10 of my Criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the XD(M) OSP. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like smooth rounded corners, ambi mag release, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that ALL gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want ALL of my criteria to be met. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine.
In deciding, you make your own tradeoffs according to your personal goals, priorities, preferences, needs, and use, but take a total system perspective and recognize that there are several overall features, characteristics, and pros and cons to include and then consider them.
Springfield Armory XD(M) OSP 9mm Pistol Range Test
Thanks to Sig Sauer and Federal Premium for providing various ammo loads for my testing and evaluation of the OSP to determine how well the gun cycled, handled, and performed, with the RD. I shot high-quality:
- Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown 124 grain JHP (rated MV=1165 fps & ME=374 ftlbs);
- Sig Sauer Elite Ball 115 grain FMJ (rated MV=1185 fps & ME=359 ftlbs); and
- Federal Premium HST 150 grain JHP 9mm (rated MV=900 fps & ME=270 ftlbs.)
This was a very good varied selection of JHP and FMJ with different weights and ratings to test the gun and the stabilty of the RD sight. I found the HST ammo, which is excellent defensive ammo, and which is designed primarily for subcompact guns with shorter barrels to not be as accurate as I wanted for this 4.5″ barreled XD(M). But, I only fired about 250 rounds total to evaluate this gun (usually I shoot 500 rounds over a couple of days) to decide if I want to carry the gun and/or use it for personal protection or not. The ammo worked very well and I had the short-term information I needed after shooting the OSP. Below are my evaluations for each of my 10 criteria for my concealed carry and home defense purposes. I wanted to put the gun through its paces and check it thoroughly for malfunctions, stoppages, and performance with quality JHP personal defense ammo and FMJ rounds. I appreciate and want to thank Sig Sauer and Federal Premium for providing the various FMJ and JHP ammo for me to test and evaluate the XD(M) OSP.
The XD(M) OSP has really nice ergonomics and felt very good in my hands. The 3 exchangeable backstraps were helpful and customized my grip. The gun did not slip in my hands. The smooth and light trigger press was very nice. The weight of the VV RD sight was less than 2 ounces and I did not even notice the small additional weight. The 3 MOA RD size was acceptable, but for my aging eyes a 4 MOA would be better. I appreciate the ambidextrous magazine release.
The slide was very easy for me to rack and the felt recoil and muzzle rise were very manageable. Below I will get into the evaluation factors and my ideas for each of my criteria after my range testing by myself and another pistol instructor.
I had no malfunctions or stoppages at all with the VV OSP and the various Sig Sauer and Federal Premium types and weights of ammo fired. After my range live fire, the XD(M) with RD sight really impressed me as an accurate and reliable (with the limited 250 rounds fired by me) self defense and personal protection gun. After initially cleaning the gun and then shooting it at the range for the first time, my first 19 rounds fired rapid fire with the Sig V-Crown 124 grain JHP at 5-7 yards all hit in a nice 2.50″ or so group. The Federal 150 grain HST did not perform as well as I expected in this particular pistol for long distances, but it is excellent defensive ammo. At 20 yards, I had to clean my glasses to view the bullseye because I am not usually that good a shot at that distance… because of my diminishing eyesight. But, I’ll take a 2.75″ or so group with the new to me RD. It had to be the gun, RD, the ammo, and my many repeated trials. By the way, I tried the RD at nighttime without shooting the gun and the RD was very bright. I could see the dot fine. BUT, use a RD and shoot the gun for yourself to make your own decisions, based on your abilities, goals, proficiency, environments, and purpose. Below beneath the Accuracy criterion are my surprise hits for my first 19 rounds at 7 yards fired rapid fire during daylight with the OSP.
Range Test Results for the XD(M) OSP 9mm for each of my 10 Criteria:
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10
The Accuracy of the XD(M) with its 4.50″ barrel and longer sight radius and VV RD sight was very good for self-defense purposes at distances of 3, 7, 10, and 20 yards, given my aging eyesight and many repeated trials. The 3 MOA dot size made me squint some at the longer distances, but it was useable. My groups at each of the up-close encounter distances were very acceptable and within 2.0-3.0 inches for the first time I ever fired the gun, after first cleaning it. Groups were acceptable for self defense at 10 and 20 yards, after zeroing the RD sight (it was about 4 inches low out of the box.) Then the VV RD helped me for the longer distance shots. For up-close shots and even some longer distance shots, I found I had to take more time than I expected to “find the dot.” As I shot more, I finally was starting to get the hang of discovering the dot. But, definitely I can do my usual sight alignment and sight picture with iron sights much quicker than finding the dot NOW at my introductory level with the RD sight. I know this will improve with more time down range with the reflex sight. I fired only about 250 total rounds for this test and want to fire a total of 500 rounds to break-in ANY carry gun I’m betting my life on. The 6.0# trigger press I experienced was crisp, short and smooth. It definitely met my personal preference press range and criterion. The slide and barrel are stainless steel and the barrel is match grade with their Melonite treatment for a hardened, durable corrosion-resistant finish. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and successfully shot high-quality 9mm Federal Premium HST Personal Defense 150 grain JHPs and the premium, high quality Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown 124 grain JHP and Elite Ball 115 grain FMJ rounds. NO malfunctions at all with any of the ammo, gun, & RD sight.
2. Trigger Press – Score: 9
The Trigger Press averaged about 6.00 pounds with 10 readings from my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. This was certainly acceptable and within my criterion limit for my press range for my personal protection guns, but I am use to shooting single action guns with a lighter press than that. Given the limited 250 rounds I fired with it, this press was fine. It will probably improve over time after more break-in and getting 500 rounds or more through it. I prefer that my personal protection guns have a max. of 6.5 pounds press or so, so this is within my limits. This is very much personal preference. You can compare it to my top 21 CC guns & their presses, etc. in my recent Book. I like the smooth trigger press and short reset.
3. Trigger – Score: 10
The Trigger had a very identifiable click and reset point that was easy to feel. I liked the short takeup and positive reset trigger of this trigger. I experienced no stacking in the press weight and the trigger was not gritty. My shots were consistent each time and I could easily recognize both the tactile and audible reset point.
4. Barrel Length – Score: 10
The 4.50-inch length Barrel helped control muzzle flip and felt recoil. The match-grade barrel was high quality and with the melonite finish it should be very durable and corrosion resistant. The barrel length (and with the RD sight) was definitely concealable, but not optimum for my body build (i.e. horizontally challenged.) This length barrel contributes to good balance, handled & pointed well, was acceptable even for carry, and I had no feeding problems whatsoever.
5. Sights – Score: 8
The fiber optic front Sight is nice and the rear sights were two white dots.They were distinguishable and worked well without the red dot sight attached or off. I was disappointed in the red dot sight, primarily because it was difficult to pick up the dot and I could not do it quickly. The 2 factory-added lines on the back of the VV did help some with dot acquisition. Probably with more practice I could find the dot quicker and deploy them better on target. I was faster on target with my iron sights. At this point in time with my level of practice, I can not justify the RD sight for my concealed carry purpose. The MOA dot size was a 3 and I believe for me, my eyesight, and the combined defense distances it was too small. But, my wife shot it and said it was just right for her. I needed a bigger MOA, probably a 4 or 5 would work for my eyes and mostly close combat distances. I wanted larger sight dots for both the fiber optic front sight and the RD MOA sighting systems. A big problem with some red dot systems and with this one is that the shooter cannot co-witness with the iron sights and this could have major implications in a stressful encounter. The front iron sight for the XD(M) OSP needed to be higher for co-witnessing, like Suppressor height. I prefer the Lower One-Third Co-Witness style as opposed to the Absolute Co-Witness, because you have a less cluttered sight picture and is quicker for me. I could not adequately co-witness to the irons through the RD with the low front sight.
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 8
The 29 ounce unloaded weight of the XD(M) plus the RD weight of about 1.1oz with 1.9″ length was just a little heavy and bulky for carry for me when ammo weight was added. The weight did help me control muzzle flip, lessened felt recoil, contributed to accuracy, but with ammo loaded it was too heavy a total package for all-day concealed carry for ME. Of course, there are pros and cons for gun weight and there are personal preferences and tradeoffs. The type of optic and its weight and dimensions have an effect. There are 3 mounting plates for this gun and it is easy to change optics. A very personal decision. For me, I cannot carry this all day as my everyday carry gun and weight is just one factor.
7. Caliber – Score: 9
I really liked shooting the XD(M) with and without the RD. It was comfortable in my hand and I easily handled the recoil. I really like and prefer the 9mm caliber for my main CC and personal protection gun. I enjoy practicing with the 9mm, since it is not snappy and the recoil doesn’t bother me so much. The XD(M) OSP digested the JHPs and FMJs easily without a single malfunction or stoppage.
8. Capacity – Score: 8
There were two mags included, both 19-rounders. I liked their high capacity of 19 and they were made of metal. It would be nice to have a third mag included. I believe for almost ALL uses a shooter should have at least 3 mags minimum on hand and included, to save up front expense for buying another. I understand the added cost of the RD with the goal of keeping costs down are factors. I had no feeding problems with any of the ammo and the mags ejected freely and worked very well.
9. Ergonomics – Score: 10
The Ergonomics of the XD(M) were excellent. It felt great in my hands and the grip texturing was just right. I could grip the gun securely and comfortably with my medium-sized hands. I was able to easily reach all the controls without changing my grip. The contoured edges and grip angle helped me with a solid tactile grip. It fit my hand very well and I liked that the model had no manual thumb safety and no mag safety disconnect.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9
As I do with all my guns initially, I disassembled, lubed, cleaned, and re-assembled the XD(M) easily and quickly before I shot it. I did NOT have to press the trigger to disassemble it and it was quick to takedown. There is a Loaded Chamber Indicator on top and a cocked striker status indicator on the gun’s rear. This gun has a lot of safety features like a trigger safety, an internal firing pin safety, and a beavertail grip safety. The gun does not come with a holster as a lot of Springfield’s guns do, but I tried my holster for my XD(M) 5.25 and it fit perfectly and did NOT touch or hinder the RD sight at all. The Mega-Lock textured frame is nice, as is the ambi mag release and the rubber cover for the RD to prevent bumps and possible re-zeroing. The VV RD has anti-reflective coating on the lens for brighter views and is o-ring sealed for waterproof performance. There are 2 brightness modes (auto & manual) and 10 brightness levels for the VV. The Auto Mode increases and decreases brightness depending on the ambient lighting conditions. The VV has an auto battery shutoff after 14 hours and the battery (CR 1632) life is about 30,000 hours for brightness levels 1, 2, and 3. The XD(M) OSP does include accessories in the lockable hard case, like the RD tools, a brush, 3 mounting plates, 3 backstrap panels, extra green fiber optic rod, a lock, and owner’s manual. The XD(M) OSP has a Limited Lifetime Warranty and VV’s VIP Warranty says it has an unconditional guarantee.
Conclusions for XD(M) OSP Package and for Carry Purpose
Total Points = 91 out of 100 Possible.
I RECOMMEND this XD(M) handgun and RD sight package for consideration as your range and/or home defense handgun, but not as a concealed carry gun. I really do like the XD(M)’s accuracy, reliability, manageable felt recoil, and its short and smooth trigger and tactile and audible reset. I also like the quality and many nice features of the VV RD sight. The gun’s ergonomics are excellent and it is a fine striker-fired compact gun, but this review is about the total gun package with the RD sight attached. There are a lot of considerations in deciding to go with a RD sight system. Of course, cost is one factor and this total package is priced right. Making the decision is a very personal one and there is no single best answer, because we have different needs, preferences, uses, medical and eye conditions, wallet depths, etc. Adding and using a RD sight to your CC gun, involves many variables, options, factors, and prices. A RD sighting system is a great technological tool and a positive future handgun system and direction for us. In my opinion, a red dot sighting system does not substitute or replace the necessity for your handgun fundamentals and being able to effectively use your iron sights and do sight alignment and sight picture. There is a beneficial symbiotic relationship. I have given you my opinions and just a few factors to think about. So, I hope this has helped you and saved you some time my friends. For me, I believe RD sights are a great technological advancement and help, but now is not the time for ME for my CC purposes, given my eye problems and personal reasons. Maybe they are for you? I probably will buy this RD handgun system and/or another for my home defense and competitive shooting purposes. I do like this package for certain uses. Maybe after much practice with it I can transition to using the RD sight for CC.
I do want to shoot the XD(M) with the RD sight more to get in my 500 rounds minimum for break-in to finalize my long-term reliability opinion, before I buy it, use it for home defense or competition. Hope you can handle and try this system, or another RD sight system, and shoot it to decide for yourself. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what features are important to you and which ones you are willing to pay for ahead of your trial. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my Book), with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds.
Remember, Safety First Always and Success with your personal decision.
Geneseo, IL 61254
Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown JHP-FMJ Ammo
Newington, NH 03801
Federal Premium HST Ammo
Anoka, MN 55303
Photos by Author and Manufacturer.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2017 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. or copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.