Gun Review: Springfield Armory XDm 3.8

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    The Springfield Armory XD started out life in Croatia in the early 1990’s as the HS 2000. HS Produkt created the design, which is used by the Croatian police and Army. In 2002 Springfield Armory began negotiations with HS Produkt for licensing rights in the USA.

    There were a few modifications to the design for western use but the basic design remained the same. Springfield changed the name to the XD9 or “Extreme Duty 9”. In 2006 the XD was named Handgun of the Year followed in 2009 by the XDm.

    As with all XDm models they are striker fired with several safety features. It has a drop safety, trigger safety and the safety I like the most the grip safety that is very much like a 1911 grip safety. For a 1911 guy like myself this is especially welcome.

    I have an XDm in a 4.5 barrel so when this 3.8 came in I was familiar with it. The 3.8 did come with night sights while mine has three dot sights. Some news for those considering one of these pistols is the fact that Springfield is running another special offering extra magazines and accessories.

    When it comes to polymer pistols I’ve never been a big fan. The XDm is the exception to that opinion. The shape and angle of the grip have a lot to do with it. More than anything else is the grip safety. I’ve read way too many instances of AD’s with Glocks.

    In fact I was present for one. There were forty five officers standing in the PD’s hallway waiting to go in for roll call when one of the officers was adjusting his leather gear. When he placed the Glock back in the holster a strap on the holster caught the trigger and bang! Outside of powder burns to his pants, a divot in the floor and a bunch of rattled officers nobody was injured. This is not an isolated incident. Even though I’m retired from police work I still receive email newsletters that document AD’s with injuries. Now I know many of you like Glocks, which is fine, and I’m by no means criticizing anyones choice. Just train with it often and choose your holster with care.

    Other nice features of the XDm is the red pin which protrudes from the rear of the slide indicating the striker is cocked. The top of the slide has a small steel ramp that raises up indicating a chambered round. These can both be seen or in low light felt easily. I especially like the ambidextrous magazine release. Being able to eject the magazine with your index finger or thumb of your right hand is a good idea I wish all pistols had. Using your middle finger or index finger keeps me from modifying my grip when changing magazines. At least for me it seems faster as well.

    The measured trigger pull on this example came in at 4.7 pounds. The trigger is also a departure from most striker fired pistols with a short reset and a crisp break.

    Caliber: 9MM
    Magazines: 2 – 19 Round, Stainless Steel 1 – 13 Round Compact,SS
    1 – 19 Round w/X-TensionTM (USPAT.7191556) ,SS
    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: 5.6″
    Weight w/ empty mag: 27.5oz

    Available colors: Black, Bi-Tone SS/Black

    Sights for the XDm come in the standard three dot or as I mentioned night sights. A new addition are fiber optic sights which have certainly become popular on just about any pistol you can name. In addition the XDm 3.8 comes in a compact version which holds 13+1 rounds with the standard magazine while this model I tested holds 19+1 rounds. That is one heck of a lot of bullets! There’s just one problem trying to load those 19 rounds. It’s hard to load the magazine to capacity without using the loader. I also never load more than 18 rounds because with 19 rounds in the magazine I can’t get the magazine to eject. It’s just too tightly fit for the magazine release to work no matter how hard you push.

    After handling this model I have to say if I were to buy one I would get the compact. Holding 16+1 rounds will get the job done and will be much easier to conceal with the shorter grip. You always have the option of using the extended magazine in the compact increasing the number of rounds available.

    The slide cuts are better than the older XD. The chevron shape on the XDm is easier to manipulate than the vertical cuts of the original. I prefer the slide shape to the standard XD as well. If for no other reason it looks a lot better!

    For those who have handled the XDm’s your familiar with the light/laser mount and aggressive grip shape which provides a more secure grip if your hands are damp. There is also a dimple in the upper frame to index your thumb on. One gripe I’ve always had with the Glock is the extreme grip angle. The XD has a grip angle much closer to the 1911 making it a natural pointer. The XDm also comes with two extra backstrap inserts to customize the size of the grip to fit the shooter.

    Range Time

    I took Remington 115 grain ball, Winchester 115 grain ball and one twenty round box of Magtech 115 grain +P hollowpoints. Total rounds fired were two hundred twenty. There were no malfunctions of any kind with any of the ammunition used.

    With the +P ammunition I did notice a little more muzzle flip than with the XDm 4.5 I own, nothing to be concerned about with a little practice. I found this model to be a natural pointer getting me on target quickly without the need to adjust my point of aim to any great degree.

    I fired groups from five, ten and fifteen yards with good results. The target below was fired from ten yards. A total of nineteen rounds were fired into this target. These pistols are very accurate which the match barrel contributes to I’m sure.


    Overall I was pleased with this XDm model. After wearing my XDm 4.5 and this XDm 3.8 and comparing ease of carry I have to say one was pistol was no easier to conceal than the other. I would suggest if a person wants a concealed carry XD they opt for the XDm 3.8 Compact. The shorter grip will be considerably easier to conceal than the full size grip.

    As you probably noticed in the specs this pistol is also available in all black or two tone black frame/ stainless matte slide.
    With all of the extras being offered now it’s a really good buy worthy of consideration for a CCW pistol.

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.