Photo: Paul Scarlata
Editor's Note: To view more detailed pictures of the pistol, check out our gallery, "Springfield's XD(m)-9 5.25."
Back at the beginning of the last decade, Springfield Armory was best known for its line of 1911A1 pistols and M1A1 rifles. That meant that Springfield was not a major player in the lucrative police duty gun market.
The company's leaders decided to do something about that. They looked around for a partner that could make a polymer frame pistol to compete with Glock's line of duty pistols. And they found I.M. Metal Corporation of Croatia and its HS2000 pistol. I.M. and Springfield formed a joint venture to market I.M.'s pistols in the United States. After some minor modifications of the HS2000 design, in 2002 the Springfield XD (X-treme duty) pistol line was born.
Springfield's XD features a polymer frame to provide superior resistance to abuse, wear, oils, solvents, and environmental extremes. Many of the internal components are also produced from polymer. The frame contains a steel locking block that also houses the lower portion of the feed ramp. The slide reciprocates on two pairs of slide rail steel inserts while the dust cover area features rails, allowing the mounting of lights or laser sights.
Key metallic parts on the XD include the slide, which is machined from solid steel and is protected by a Melonite finish. Locking is provided by the barrel hood moving up into and bearing on the front edge of the ejection port. When the pistol is fired, the barrel and slide move together a short distance before the barrel drops down on the locking block, allowing the slide to continue to the rear, extracting and ejecting the spent case. A dual recoil spring located under the barrel then pulls the slide forward, stripping the next round out of the magazine and chambering it. As the slide goes into battery, the barrel is pulled up and its hood enters the ejection port, locking the two units together.
New and Improved
Springfield released an improved XD, the XD(m), in 2008. The XD(m) had all of the features of the XD but with a reshaped grip with aggressive texturing and interchangeable backstraps, and the slide had deeper and longer grasping grooves. These combined to provide superior ergonomics and recoil control, even with wet hands or when wearing gloves.
XD(m) pistols also have multiple safety devices. In addition, at the rear of the ejection port is a loaded chamber indicator and, when cocked, the tail of the striker extends out of the end of the slide. These devices provide both visible and tactical indication of the pistol's condition.
The XD(m)'s Ultra Safe Assurance (USA) trigger system functions like a double-action trigger, but it's technically a single-action trigger. As the slide runs forward, the wide striker tail engages a fixed sear in the frame where it's held to the rear. Pulling the trigger through a full stroke depresses the trigger block safety and there is a bit of spring-loaded take-up before the firing pin safety is depressed and the sear is tripped.
Springfield offers the XD(m) in Sub-Compact, Compact, Service, and Tactical models fitted with, respectively, three-, four-, and five-inch plain or ported barrels. The XD(M) is available in 9mm Parabellum, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
Both the XD and XD(m) have proven popular with American law enforcement, and a growing number of agencies have adopted or approved them as duty weapons for use by officers.
Springfield recently introduced yet another version of the XD(m) designed for action pistol competition shooting, and I believe it is equally adaptable to law enforcement purposes. The XD(m)-9 5.25 was designed with the input of champion shooter Rob Leatham and is intended to give competitor shooters everything they need to compete right out of the box.
This new competition XD(m) features a match grade 5.25-inch barrel and longer slide. The longer barrel provides higher velocities for the 9mm cartridge, allowing it to achieve the fullest ballistic potential for enhanced on-target performance.
While the .40 S&W is currently the cartridge of choice with American law enforcement agencies, thanks to advances in bullet design and modern propellants, the 9mm no longer has to take a back seat to its larger caliber brethren. In addition, the 9mm has lighter recoil, allowing fast, accurate follow-up shots, and higher magazine capacity. In fact, the XD(m)-9 5.25 comes with Springfield's all steel "Megazine," which holds an impressive 19 rounds.