Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Springfield XDM 5.25 Competition (9mm)


Caliber:       9mm
Barrel:         5.25" Match Grade. Melonite Coating
Capacity:    19+1 (Ships with 3 magazines)
Sights:        Front - Red fiber optic, Rear - Fully adjustable target
Radius:       7.25"
Frame:        Polymer (Black)
Length:       8.3"
Height:       5.75"
Weight:      29oz (empty)

  I did a write up of the 4.5" XDM several months ago, and a lot of this review will be a repeat of that earlier post. Both versions are great guns, and I have a very hard time finding any criticisms of the XDM line. I'd recommend either of these handguns.

  That doesn't make for much of a review, so let's start off with the common XDM features, before I break off into the 5.25" version.

  The XDM's grip has what Springfield Armory calls the 'Mega-Lock Texture.' Some will say that the grip's texture has a "Grenade" pattern (I was going to put a Glock joke here but restrained myself). Call it what you will, but It feels great.
  The texture isn't the only good thing about the grip. It is also adaptable to fit your hand size with the simple change of an insert. The pistol comes from the factory with the medium insert installed.
  Simply punch out a roll pin and swap out the medium insert for the small or large. I use the medium, and most people that I know prefer the same. It is nice having options, and if you have huge Andre the Giant mitts or itty bitty little doll hands you'll appreciate being able to better fit the gun to your hand.
  I can remember picking up a XDM several years ago when they were first released. It was amazing how good the grip felt, and it seemed like it was made for my hand. Most of the manufacturers do a good job in making comfortable grips, but Springfield takes it to another level with the XDM.

  The ergonomics are outstanding with this gun. All of the controls are easily accessed without having to change your grip. I have medium sized hands and can easily manipulate the slide stop and magazine release without shifting my grip as I do with M1911s and some other handguns. 
  I take new shooters to the range now and then. The XDM is one of the handguns that I use for beginners looking for a semi-auto home defense gun. Most of them do very well with this gun. I have yet to find someone that can't shoot it decently or manipulate the controls.
 Most should be able to handle the XDM without any problems.

  The magazine release is ambidextrous, and is perfect. I've never accidentally hit it while shooting, drawing, holstering, etc, but it's still easy enough to reach and depress.
Mags drop free easily.
  The stainless steel magazines are well made and very attractively finished. 19 witness holes run along the back of the mag.
  Every XDM magazine that I've purchased will hold 19 rounds. That should be a given as they're 19 round magazines, but I recently bought some 17 round mags for another brand that could not be fully loaded.
  So...kudos to Springfield for their quality control. I have a lot (unless they ban them in which case I only have what the pistol was sold with) of magazines for the XDM's, and all of them are 100% in every regard. That's good since they're not exactly inexpensive.

  There is an accessory rail for flashlights, lasers, bayonets (unleash your inner mall ninja), etc.

  The sights are very good. You'll notice that Springfield took the rear sight as far to the back of the slide as possible. This gives you a 7.25" sight radius. The adjustable rear sight is serrated to reduce glare.
  It's kind of amusing that the gun shoots to the left in every review that I've read. Mine also shot a bit left out of the box. BTW, the fixed sights on my 4.5" version needed no adjustment.
  The fiber optic front sight comes with an orange insert, and is very easy to pick up compared to the standard sights. I've become a fan of fiber optic sights after purchasing this firearm. Extra pipes are included for the front sight, and you have the option of green or red.      
  After shooting this pistol, I really don't care as much for the 3 dot sights on my standard 4.5" XDM. I have plans to send it off for an upgrade over the next few weeks.

  At this point, mentioning the price is almost an exercise in futility. Who knows where prices are going over the next few months?
  Springfield seems to holding their magazine prices steady, and hopefully that will continue. They are currently limiting the number of mags that you can order.
I purchased this firearm a year ago at a gun show for about $600. The average price for this XDM was $650 - $725 in my area.
I don't expect to see any deals in the near future.

  The frame is black polymer, and you have the option of a matte black Melonite coated slide or a stainless steel slide.
   I almost always prefer a stainless version. However, when looking at the back of the stainless steel slide, it just seemed kind of "Busy" looking.
  There were some black areas around the striker status indicator at the back of the slide. Other parts were stainless. The rear sight is black, and the front sight is obviously orange. It just seemed distracting. Even though I hated giving up the stainless slide, I went with the black/black model.
  No complaints or buyers remorse about that decision.

  The XDM has a melonite coated match barrel. You'll notice that the barrel, slide, and frame have matching serial numbers. The barrel stays with the slide throughout the manufacturing process (according to the all powerful internet).

  The trigger is just OK. It's a little heavier than I would expect on a competition pistol. I can't feel any difference between this model and the 4.5" version.
  It's not at all bad, but when you buy a competition model it's not uncommon to expect a little more.
  Sooo.... it's a decent trigger for a carry, home defense, plinking or duty gun.
It's just OK for a competition pistol.
  The trigger has about 1/4" of take up before breaking pretty cleanly. It's not at all M1911 like, but it's OK for a factory trigger in a striker fired pistol. I consider it better than a lot of Springfield's competitors.
  The trigger guard is slightly undercut to allow for a higher grip on the gun. It's details like this that help me justify paying over $600 for a handgun.
  Trigger reset is very short.

  This gun comes with a melonite coated slide and barrel. A matte stainless steel slide is available, but I prefer the black version. I haven't seen any wear on the slide yet, but then again the gun has only been used in a few matches. It has however had a lot of draws from the Kydex holster.
  There are well designed serrations at both ends of the slide. While I don't use the ones at the muzzle end, I'm sure that some will appreciate them.
  No one really considers the slide serrations until they try racking the slide with oily or wet hands. I owned a Browning Hi Power (.40cal) for years and while the gun was great, the slide serrations were awful. My racking the slide wasn't an issue, but my wife couldn't load the pistol. This made a $1,000 gun (today's price) unsuitable as a shared home defense weapon.
  A Loaded chamber indicator is present on the top of the slide, and a Striker Status indicator is at the rear.

  The XDM has a trigger safety that reminds me very much of the one on another popular polymer framed pistol that was released in the 1980's. I'm sure that the name will come to me sooner or later.
The Springfield's trigger will not move unless the trigger safety is depressed. Actually that's not entirely true. The trigger will move slightly. It has approximately the same amount of movement as the take up that's present when you're shooting. The trigger will not however fire the weapon if the trigger safety is not depressed.
  A Striker Block Safety is also included on this weapon. An internal striker block prevents the pistol from firing unless the grip safety is depressed and the trigger is pulled.
  You'll notice that there is a grip safety. The slide cannot be pulled rearward, or the trigger pulled if the grip safety is not depressed.
Anything made by man can fail, so always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction, and keep your finger off of the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  I have no problems with grip safeties. We all love our M1911's, and they've used these devices for well over a century. For some reason there are those that believe that it's heresy to put a grip safety on a polymer framed pistol. As long as the safety works,  I have no issues with it being there.
  There's never been any problems using the grip safeties on either of my XDMs. I've yet to see anyone not naturally depress the safety when shooting, loading or handling this pistol. This includes strong and weak hand shooting.  

  When looking at this pistol for the first time, one of the most obvious differences that you'll see is the lightening cut on the top of the slide. At first glance, some might think that it's for a ported barrel. That's not the case. The lightening cut serves 3 purposes.
It cuts down on the weight of the gun, and the 5.25" version actually weighs less than the 4.5" model.
  Cycling is faster due to the reduced mass.
  A larger range (light target loads) of ammo can be used reliably in this gun thanks to the lighter slide.

  I think that this version is more accurate than my original XDM, but I don't know if it's due to the better sights or if it's just a more accurate gun. Both versions have match barrels, and the same frame. The triggers are about the same. I would guess that the improved sights and longer sighting radius are the biggest factors.
  Anything that makes it easier on these middle aged eyes is worth the money.
My goal is to get out to the range this week. I'll try both XDM's at 15 yds, and edit in the pictures  (how many times have you heard that before?).

  This package includes the handgun, 3 magazines (hopefully that will continue),  paddle holster, double mag pouch,  magazine loading tool, small and large replacement grip inserts, a cable lock, and a hex wrench for adjusting tension on the holster and mag pouch. The usual literature and extra pipes for the fiber optic front sight are also present.

  Write one check and you are set for starting out in competition shooting. All that's lacking is ammunition.

  Springfield does a good job putting these sets together. All of the gear is pretty good, but I think that the holster and double magazine pouch are a little over priced.
As this is intended as a competition gun, I'd prefer a holster that carries the gun more vertically than the paddle holster that we're given. It's still a reasonably fast holster.
The magazine loading tool will be appreciated by many. It's slow to use but that's the nature of the beast. After about 15 rounds or so, it can get a bit difficult in loading these mags. Some won't be able to top them off without the magazine loader.
The double mag pouch is ok. The tension is adjustable. The accessary rails that run down both sides of the pouch are a nice feature. You can carry the mag loader , and/or a weapon light.
The case could double as laptop case if you remove one layer of foam. Of course it has the logo of a gun manufacturer on the outside so this could cause nightmares, pants wetting and hissy fits in some environments.

  Reliability has been outstanding. The XDM has recently passed the 1,000 round mark, and has had no malfunctions. Cleaning has been very sporadic on my part.
While there's not a massive round count on this pistol, I do have a decent amount of range time with it.
  Most of the ammunition was WWB. After that, a little bit of everything from Blazer to Tulammo has been used. No issues. I was pleasantly surprised that the steel cased ammo ran so well in this gun.
  It should probably be pointed out that no hollowpoints have been used at this time. This gun currently is just a range toy, and I have others that are in use for home defense. Hollowpoints are on the calendar though. I'll edit in the results after a few boxes have been tried.

  Disassembly is simple. I won't go too deeply into it. The manual is available at this site.
  Springfield seems very proud of the fact that you don't have to squeeze the trigger when taking this weapon apart. That's not a huge selling point with me. I do, however, understand that some have had negligent discharges when disassembling other handguns that require a trigger squeeze in the take down process.

Time to wrap this up.

  I like this gun a lot. Obviously entry level competition shooting is well covered, and this pistol can be easily pressed into service as a home defense gun.
Other than the sights, the weapon is smoother than you would expect. The edges are nicely rounded and you could carry this concealed if you didn't mind the length.
  I wouldn't want to use this version of the XDM as a CCW weapon, but there are some that don't mind full sized pistols.
  The lightening cut in the slide might be a deal breaker for concealed carry. The worst thing that most of us might see get into the slide is lint. But still... that huge hole in the top of the gun really offends my sense of order.

   I'd love to see a long slide version of this pistol. The lightening cut is a good idea, but the vast majority of us don't shoot the light loads that make it necessary. Most also won't notice the swing weight, or even use this gun in a match. At my skill level, and the level of most shooters, the lightening cut is not needed and a long slide model would be an improvement IMO.
  The SHTF crowd would no doubt prefer a long slide version over the competition model. Springfield has been releasing new models on a regular basis. Perhaps we'll see a version without the lightening cut in the future?

  I'd also like a better trigger from the factory.

  Flat Dark Earth frames would be awesome too. The OD green would probably be well received as well.
 There's no doubt that some (TheDaywalker for one) might even like a pink version. I cringe at the thought of doing that to such a fine handgun.

  I don't have any real complaints about this handgun. Actually it would be more accurate to say that I have nothing but praise for it. The 5.25" XDM can do anything that I currently need a handgun for.

  Over the past year or so, I've changed the way that I look at handguns.
Lately, I've begun to judge a lot of firearms by how well they'll fill multiple roles. When considering the times in which we live, that might be a good idea.
No one knows what's coming out of DC this year.
  Prices have been increasing, and firearm availability isn't keeping up.
It's a good idea to buy a gun that the whole family can use. One that will work for home defense as well as sporting purposes seems like a high value purchase.
This gun should do it all well except for CCW carry, and any activity in which dirt might get into the slide. For most of us that's not an issue.

  BTW, while the aftermarket for the XDM is still relatively small you can find trigger kits, holsters, etc.
  What cannot be found are aftermarket magazines. You will also have a very difficult time finding a rear sight to replace the one that comes on this weapon. If that's a concern then you might want to consider another model.

  Edit: Here are the targets that I promised. The orange bullseyes are 3".  The two white plates were shot slow fire, and the black target was shot at a little under 1 round per second.


Edit:    It's been a few months since this post was first published. I finally got around to running a few boxes of hollowpoints through this weapon. As expected, there were no problems with the 124gr +P Speer Gold Dots that I use for self defense.

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