Photo: Nick Jacobellis.
When I first heard that Springfield Armory was manufacturing two new XD(m) pistols, I made a special trip to my local police supply store. I wanted to inspect them before I committed to conducting a field test.
One thing I wanted to check was how easy it is to rack the slide on the XD(m) 3.8 Compact. This is a pet peeve of mine because I know that some shooters have a difficult time manually operating the slide on certain pistols while executing a combat reload or when making a pistol safe. When a pistol is equipped with a heavy recoil spring, it can be difficult to retract the slide far enough to the rear to override the slide lock so you can sling-shot or release the slide forward.
Once I was able to operate the slide without any difficulty I decided to review the pistol. Since the new XD(m) is also available with a full-size grip and a 3.8-inch barrel, I decided to test the standard XD(m) 3.8 as well.
As you probably have already noticed, the XD(m) 3.8 and the XD(m) 3.8 Compact get their names from their 3.8 inch-barrel, as opposed to the four-inch barrel standard on the original XD Pistols. The Compact designation is assigned to the 3.8 Pistol, which has the short "Compact/Sub Compact" style grip.
In order to kill two birds with one stone the XD(m) 3.8 Compact is supplied with a high-capacity magazine that has a plastic extension collar fitted to the bottom of the 19-round 9mm magazine or the 16-round .40 S&W caliber magazine to make the Compact 3.8 look and feel like a standard XD(m) 3.8 pistol. You can also carry and use the 3.8 Compact Model with a 13-round 9mm magazine or an 11-round .40 S&W caliber magazine that fits flush with the shorter grip.
From an aesthetic perspective some end-users believe that it looks better when a high-capacity magazine has a plastic extension collar that fits flush with the shorter grip on a compact or sub-compact pistol. I personally prefer to use standard capacity magazines in my compact and sub-compact pistols and will only rarely use a higher-capacity magazine as a spare magazine. I am able to do this because I am now retired and I am no longer carrying a service pistol and a backup gun like I once did on a regular basis during my law enforcement career.
Note: Springfield Armory recommends that you use the high-capacity magazine with the plastic extension collar when you wish to carry the XD(m) 3.8 Compact Pistol with more ammunition and a larger grip to prevent possible damage to the ejector. If you have any questions about this issue, contact a technician at Springfield Armory.
When I test fired the XD(m) 3.8 Compact for the first time, I immediately noticed that this pistol is soft shooting. This was true whether I used 147- and 124-grain FMJ ammunition or law enforcement hollow-point service ammunition.
I suspect one reason why the 9mm XD(m) Compact 3.8 is a soft shooting pistol is because this handgun has a fairly hefty slide assembly and very good overall ergonomics. Even though both models tested were comfortable to shoot, I preferred the 9mm XD(m) 3.8 Compact over the 9mm XD(m) 3.8 with the full-size grip.