IT’S no secret that I’m a big fan of the XD/XDM line of pistols. When I was in law enforcement, I carried an XD on and off duty, and I trust my family’s safety to one. It’s the go-to handgun that rests on my nightstand and travels with me everywhere I go. When I heard that Springfield Armory’s custom shop would be doing an XDM in a target length model, I jumped at the chance to get one.
GOING ALL OUT
To say that Springfield Armory has outdone themselves would be a big understatement. The XDM 5.25 is everything that the XDM is and all that it can be in the hands of a custom smithy.
Springfield Armory’s Custom Shop has done work for me before, so I know what they can do with a stock pistol and some elbow grease. They worked with Rob Leatham on the XDM 5.25 and pushed the stock XDM 5.25 design into a new level of precision for the competition shooter or those who just want the superior edge in a fight—and who doesn’t want that? The result is a handgun with improved accuracy, lessened recoil, faster shot recovery, and greater sight radius.
My XDM 5.25 is in 9mm, though Springfield now also offers it in .45 ACP and .40 S&W.
The XDM 5.25 offers a whole host of well-established XDM features like the striker status indicator, loaded chamber indicator, ultra safety assurance trigger system, grip safety, contour frame, major grasp slide serrations, and the all-terrain mega-lock texture I call “human Velcro.” This texturing allows you to lock the pistol down for fast recovery on target.
Other standard features in the XDM line are here as well, like the minimal reset trigger and minimal error disassembly. This means you don’t have to pull the trigger when disassembling the pistol. This is an obvious plus for those who might not be so adept at their safety procedures when disassembling a pistol.
The XDM 5.25 comes standard with a fiber-optic front sight and adjustable rear sight that is unique to a production gun like this. I have previously worked with production guns that have been retrofitted with adjustable sights, and they always look awkward because the sight sticks up above the gun. The XDM 5.25, however, has a “melted” sight. The base of the sight has its adjustment screw machined down into the slide as if it has been melted into the slide. With windage and elevation dials that offer a very positive detent click when dialed in with a small screwdriver, there is no guessing when you’ve entered a correction.
With the fiber optic insert in place, the front sight is blazing bright and your eyes are naturally drawn to it.
For testing, I used Black Hills 115-grain FMJ and, as expected, had a perfect shooting session without any malfunctions. That was partly due to Black Hills’ attention to detail, but also due to the excellent engineering that has gone into the XDM 5.25. Even fully loaded XDM mags with 19 rounds of 9mm seat easily into the pistol and cycle cleanly every time.
It was evident in shooting fast ammo such as this 9mm at 1,150 fps that the lightening cut in the XDM 5.25 slide was causing the weapon to cycle quickly. I’m sure that with reduced-power competition loads, this pistol will shoot like butter. I’m saying it just recoils very fast, not hard.
I’m not much for doing the chronograph thing or putting up bullseye targets and shooting for groups. I am (well, was) a cop and a pragmatic one at that. I shoot fast and do so with both eyes open. To begin the evaluation, I painted a red dot on my steel PT-Hostage target’s swinger head the way I was trained to do at the Rogers Range, and went at it.
I started from 25 yards and found the pistol shooting a bit low, so I whipped out my handy-dandy Gun Tool from Real Avid and adjusted the rear sight. I won’t turn this into a plug for the Gun Tool, but if you haven’t seen one, you really should have a look at it. It is a multi-tool that is specific to gun people. I love mine and use it all the time.
As mentioned earlier, the XDM 5.25 cycles very fast. It is equally fast to respond to a locked wrist when getting back on target means the loss of a match—or a life. Considering how long the gun is, it really doesn’t feel the way it looks. I expected it to feel front heavy like my XD Tactical .45 does when I have the threaded barrel installed, but instead the XDM 5.25 is really light and balanced.
After getting it adjusted and sighted in, I started swinging the PT-Hostage target back and forth with one consistent shot after another. Mind you, the swinger plate is only about six inches in diameter and I was hitting it from 25 yards with little effort. I was kneeling behind a folding table and just resting my hands over the top of my range bag. When you’re plinking slowly like this, the 19-round mags remind you that you really have a lot of rounds inside this slim package.
After the precision shots, I hauled out my wife’s XD Tactical 9mm for an apples-to-apples comparison of these 9mm long slides. What I found was that the XD and XDM had about the same trigger pull. I did this over and over and couldn’t really differentiate between the two.
Once I had it dialed in, the XDM 5 .25 was putting rounds exactly where I wanted them to go. During a weapons test, I like to paint a steel target completely white. When I say white, I mean thoroughly white, and devoid of any dots whatsoever. I then aim at the center of the chest and slowly squeeze off a round. Wherever that round hits is now my point of aim. The XDM 5.25 put the bullet right where I was looking, and it did this with boring regularity.
The XDM 5.25 is able to repeat hit after hit due to its Match-Grade Select Fit Barrel. Each barrel is hand selected to fit each individual pistol. It’s such an exact fit that when you cycle the gun by hand, you hear a soft metallic hissing as the melonite-coated components slide past each other with a smooth precision that speaks of patience and attention to detail. Springfield Armory states that this sort of precision work on the barrels will extend their life span and retain their accuracy far longer than is expected from an “out of the box” pistol. Only time will tell.
As you work with this pistol, you get a sense of everything working in concert. My friend and fellow writer/photographer Sean Utley says it feels as smooth as a sewing machine. That is an excellent analogy for the XDM 5.25.
The gun feels the same whether you are violently racking rounds into it during a competition or quietly riding the slide forward in the middle of the night when something sounds wrong downstairs. This gun always locks into battery with an exactness that is foreign to production pistols.
Seldom do I get a chance to take a new gun to class with me, but the planets aligned this time around. My wife, Sharon, and I recently attended Tactical Rifle 1 at Tactical Defense Institute in West Union, Ohio, and I took the XDM 5.25 with me.
As much as I wanted to shoot this pistol at the class, I felt it would serve this article better for me to put it into the hands of my wife, who is a relatively novice shooter. She’s quite handy with a rifle but still has to work on her pistolcraft. She already has an XD Tactical 5″ in 9mm, so I felt she would at least be able to have a decent basis of experience for comparison with the XDM 5.25.
Because this was a rifle class, I knew there would be various transition drills where she would be totally absorbed by the rifle and only give the pistol a moment’s consideration as it cleared her holster on the way to the target. One thing about XD/ XDMs is that they shoot where you point them. One such drill proved this with amazing accuracy.
The drill began from about 120 yards out, where Sharon was required to hit two steel plates on either side of a “no shoot” target. Next she had to make her way downrange to the seven-yard line while engaging multiple targets from various shooting emplacements and using different body positions to do so. Suffice it to say that by the end of this drill, you have been up and down many times and are pretty much spent.
It was hot, and Sharon was clearly winded when she got up to the sevenyard line where she had to send a single bullet from her XDM 5.25 between four hostages into the kill zone of the hostage taker. I was watching her intently, wondering how she’d do with this new gun. She ran right up to the line, yanked her XDM 5.25 from the holster and, with a motion I can almost refer to as “flippant,”sent a hypersonic 9mm right through the hostage taker’s face withouteven grazing a hostage target.
With an overall length of 8.3 inches and a scant weight of 29 ounces, the pistol should feel unbalanced, yet it’s a pleasure to hold. The XDM 5.25 comes with the standard XDM gear: holster, mag pouch, loader, cleaning brush, and trigger lock, all in the very sturdy and attractiveXDM case.
Unlike its predecessors, however, the XDM 5.25 comes with three mags, not two. The mags are specific to the XDM line of pistols and can be differentiated from XD 9mm mags on sight alone, due to their distinct fluting. This is a big plus for guys like me who tend to chuck all their shooting gear into a bag when the day is done. It makes sorting out the gear later an easy task.
All in all, it’s been a great week with the XDM 5.25. It pains me to see it go back to Springfield Armory. On second thought, I’m keeping this baby!
With an accessory rail capable of securing a number of lights, there’s no reason not to make this superb pistol a selfdefense gun. When I decided to keep the XDM 5.25, I installed what is quite possibly the most impressive pistol light devised to date. The SureFire X400 combines a brilliant white light with a bright red laser designator. A high-efficiency LED generates 170 lumens of brilliant white light focused by a Total Internal Reflection lens to produce a tight beam with good reach and significant surround light for peripheral vision.
The LED has no filament to burn out or break and generates tacticallevel light for 2.4 hours per set of batteries. The 5-milliwatt, 635-nanometer laser sight, located below the primary light, is nearly twice as bright and much more visible than the nearest competitor. I have used this light at rifle classes where I was tasked with placing precision shots on target at 100 yards. The X400 delivered the light in spades.
Even though the XDM 5.25 is a customized race gun, it has the ruggedness of the XDM line and there’s no reason not to make it a daily carry piece. With the addition of the SureFire X400, this weapon is ready to roll and fits neatly into the BladeTech holster that was made for my XD Tactical .45 caliber.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting a custom-built gun, check out the new XDM 5.25. I’m certain it will turn you from a shopper into a buyer. At a suggested price of $795 for the Black model and $865 for the Bi-Tone, it’s a bargain for such a customized piece.