The Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″

Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8
Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8"

“My daddy can beat your daddy!” exclaimed the young boy to his friend. “Oh yeah!” his young friend retorted. “Bet I can beat you! That is when the fight started.

When I heard that the Springfield XD series of pistols betters the Glock series of pistol, it reminds me of the situation above.

We can debate the pros and cons of either pistol all day but one thing is for sure; each pistol stands and falls on their own merits and that is how I approached this evaluation of the Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8”.

The “M” stands for a Model contour frame, Major grasp slide serrations, Match-grade barrel, and Minimal reset trigger and there are a whole lot more features thatSpringfieldtouts in their advertisement. The bottom line is, “What is it going to do for me when it comes to defending me, my house, or other people?

Rest assured that the Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″ is up to the task.

Caliber: 9mm Magazines: 1 – 13 Round Compact & 1 – 19 Round w/X-TensionTM 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″ Height: 4.6″ w/Compact Mag & 5.75 w/X-Tension Weight: 32 oz.

While I do not own a Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″, I do own an XD45 Service Model and had an XD9 4″ Service Model until I traded it in on a Beretta 92FS (was that the sound of sucking wind?). At that time, the XDM series had not reached the showroom floor yet. I do not regret the trade, as the Beretta 92FS is a fine pistol in its own right.

To do an evaluation of the Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″ meant one of two things; buy one or use one free at the range of which I am a member. I chose the latter over the former, as would be the case of someone on unemployment, gifted with somewhat intelligence, and a propensity to pontificate on pistols of personal preference for people of perception. Thus, we arrive at the Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″.

The Frame Assembly:

One thing noticeable about the Springfield XD/XDM line is the Picatinny rail that accommodates lights, lasers, bayonets, front vertical grips(?), and plenty of other aftermarket goodies. I am not a fan of rails on a gun as I feel they do well for guiding trains through the darkness of night and I would prefer guns without them.

The front of the trigger guard contains some nice serrations should you decide to rest a finger on it. The trigger pull measured pretty darn close to six pounds according to the RCBS Trigger Pull Scale. Like the Glock, there is a little take-up, a little resistance, and then you are pretty close to releasing the striker. To me, the trigger felt a little mushy on this particular gun. The trigger on myGEN4 G19 is a lot crisper but that is not saying the trigger on the XDM is bad. It is saying that I like a crisp trigger. The trigger reset is close, and double taps are a breeze as is putting a whole lot of jacketed hollow point ammunition downrange.

The pistol fits very comfortably in my hand with all of the controls well within the reach of my digits. The slide lock lever is substantial and easy to find, and easy to use with the thumb of either hand. The magazine release button is very well located and is ambidextrous; I had no problem dropping the magazine with the thumb or index finger of the shooting hand.

The grip contains a grip safety that some wonder why and to others, like me, is no big deal. The checkering on the grip looks aggressive but feels good in the hand and does not feel overly textured, as I have come to notice on some guns. A good beavertail keeps the slide from your hand. I have read that some people have a problem with the slide lock lever not engaging the slide on the last shot simply because they could not keep their thumb away from it while shooting. I had no problem, as my thumb rests nicely in the provided thumb groove that is just below the slide lock lever when in the shooting position.

The grip fits nicely in my hand. However, I would be putting a nice set of Pachmyr grip sleeves on it as I have done with my XD45. My hands and polymer do not so well together regardless of the gun. The gun; however, does have interchangeable back straps to accommodate different hand sizes. I do not know which back strap was on the test gun but it fit my hand very well.

Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8"
Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″

The test pistol was equipped with the 19-round X-Tension magazine that seems like you could fill it until the cows come home as compared to the 13-round standard magazine. For concealed carry, I would go with the 13-round magazine, as there is less butt length to be concerned about, and keep the 19-round magazine as a spare – or two. Apparently, the extended magazine is not available in all states so getting one may not be an option. Apparently, Pearce makes a magazine extension that allows you to have a place for the pinky using the standard 13-round magazine and one that I would recommend, as I have them on some of my Glock pistols and they are a quality product that makes a difference. I have fired the Glock G26 and G36 without magazine extensions and I just prefer to have them than not.

The Slide Assembly:

Moving upward to the slide assembly, the sighting system is 3-dots and, as usual, I am having a hard time seeing them at the range. I understand that a fiber-optic front sight may soon be available. Perhaps, the lighting may have an effect on the sight but I attribute it more with old eyes that could use a change in corrective lenses. The sights on the range gun were not in the whitest of shape. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

The slide has nicely cut grooves that aid in moving the slide to the rear for loading or load check, which seems redundant, as there is a loaded chamber indicator as well as a “striker status” indicator at the rear of the slide (the gun is cocked when the pin is visible). Both the front and the rear sight is drift adjustable for windage but you are out of luck if you need less or more elevation, as there are no adjustment provisions and not that any is needed, as I will attest to in the range session.

The slide sits well above the hand, giving it a top-heavy look but once loaded, feels pretty well balanced. Overall, and to me, the gun has a “busy” look to it as compared to sleeker designs of other pistols.

Removing the slide is easy and you do not have to pull the trigger to do it.

  2. Remove the magazine and unload the firearm.
  3. Push the slide to the rear stop position and, pushing up the slide stop lever, lock it open.
  4. Visually inspect the chamber to confirm the firearm is unloaded.
  5. Rotate the disassembly lever clockwise to a vertical12o’clock position.
  6. Firmly grip the slide and pull to the rear to release the slide stop lever.
  7. Maintain a firm grip on the slide and allow the slide to move slowly forward until the spring tension releases (Caution: Remember that the slide is under spring tension, maintain control of the slide when removing from the frame).
  8. Move the complete slide assembly forward and off the frame

The barrel fully supports the chambered round; a point that is important to some people like hand loaders or those who like to play in the +P+ world.

The proof is in the pudding. Let me get to the range.

Range Time:

My usual distance for testing functioning and accuracy is 21-feet (7 yards), as this is an accepted combat distance. I first fire three rounds for sighting and then switch to a new target for testing. The target used for this test was the ST4 100-yard Precision Rifle Target by National Target Company as a backer and Shoot-N-C Reactive Targets by Birchwood Casey.

The firing was slow fire, two-handed, unsupported for the test. I was confident in the XDM shooting where I pointed.

I had two choices in ammunition; Winchester White Box 115-grain FMJ and Georgia Arms 124-grain JHP. I felt either one should give me a good indication of what the XDM would do but, more importantly, show you what the results were.

Initial Zero:

Three shots for sighting in revealed a “covered” sight picture; the front dot should be on top of the POA. I like a “covered” sight picture. Simply cover the target and work elevation up or down with the rear sight, as needed.

Winchester White Box 115-grain FMJ:

Nineteen rounds went downrange and Winchester White Box 115-grain FMJ ammunition proved to function well through the gun, as it should. There were no FTFs or FTEs. The POA was that the dot of the front sight was just below the inside top of the triangle. Aside from one low flier (my fault) and one pulled high and right (again, my fault), the group was tight.

Georgia Arms 124-grain JHP:

The 124-grain JHP from Georgia Arms rendered a nice group and showed me that this gun favored 124-grain ammunition.

Aside from the one flier, I almost had an outline of a gun going on (tilt your head to the right and look at the string of holes like a barrel. You will see the trigger and the grip. You do see that, don’t you?)


Now that the accuracy of the gun is established (more accurate than I am), it was time for some fun. Sit the gun down on the table. Pick the gun up; get a flash sight picture, and fire two rounds. Sit the gun back down on the table and repeat. In all, I fired 38 double-tapped rounds. The first couple of rounds were low, as I was rushing the shots (I am also bringing the gun up rather than out from a ready position). As I was outdriving my headlights, I slowed down a bit and I was more than pleased with the double-tap exercise results.

Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8" Results
Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″ Results


The Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″ is just a plain joy to shoot with or without the extended magazine. Recoil and muzzle flip is minimal and bringing the gun back on target quickly presented no problem.

The natural point of aim for the Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″ is different from what is normal for me with my GlockGEN4 G19. I do not know why it just is. Gripping the gun is also different for me from the Glock, as I was gripping the XDM a little lower on the grip than I do with the Glock. Perhaps it was because of Springfield’s grip safety, but I cannot really say why.

Right now, Springfield running a promo special as they did when I bought my XD45. Buy a Springfield XD or XDMbetween September 1, 2011, and November 30, 2011, and get two spare magazines and a carrier free. Springfield says to allow 8 to 12 weeks for processing. I had mine in less than a month.

The Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″ is not for everyone. Then again, a Glock or 1911 may not be for everyone. What I can tell you is that I liked the Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″ over the standard XD9 and that I was pleased with the performance of the Springfield XDM 9mm Compact 3.8″.