My first conscious choice of carry guns after returning to the United States in 2011 were Springfield Armory’s XDs and XDm in .45 ACP. I was drawn to their relatively high capacities at the time. I was also a fan of how the ambidextrous magazine release permitted using my middle finger to drop an empty magazine instead of shifting my grip for the thumb to reach.
As I grew more comfortable with handguns, I felt the need to challenge myself and got into local competitions. There, the XDm served me well, but with a 3.8-inch barrel and even 13 rounds of .45 ACP on tap I was certainly at a disadvantage, even for the time and at local matches. The 5.25-inch barrel models came out, however, at the time I couldn’t afford one. Through thousands of rounds in competition, training, and on casual rain days the XDm served me well.
Fast-forward to the present and the all-new Springfield XDm Elite in 9mm is the next evolution. The series is spectacular, especially when you see the 22+1 capacity or 20+1 capacity, pending the model.
Springfield XDm Elite Details
The grip safety remains, but Springfield extended it to ensure disengagement even with softer grips or spongy gloves. Grip texture remains familiar, but controls have evolved. Springfield also reduced the slide stop/release in size to keep out of the way; it’s now ambidextrous and on both sides of the frame.
The new META (match enhanced trigger assembly) trigger pull is similar, but feel has been changed with a flat shoe face. Overtravel is nearly eliminated by a stop on the back of the trigger. The flat-faced trigger provides a lighter feel thanks to enhanced leverage. Most of the actual pull happens from the bottom edge of the trigger instead of the center like on a curved trigger. While this may in concept lengthen the arc of pull, the reduced weight makes the pull feel lighter and more finely controllable when making precise shots.
Choose Your Weapon
There are four versions of the XDm Elite, in total. The XDm Elite Precision and XDm Elite Tactical OSP both have 22+1 capacities. Meanwhile, the XDm Elite 4.5″ and XDm Elite 3.8″ both have 20+1 capacities. The two latter models have a smaller “short” magwell, while the first two models have the “standard” magwells with the 22+1 capacity mags.
I tested both 22+1 models at the 2019 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous, so that’s what I’ll focus on here. They feature a Melonite finish, accessory rail, interchangeable back straps, and one-piece full-length guide rods. Which you choose could be based on aesthetics, but these guns are purpose built.
The XDm Elite Tactical OSP features a 5.34-inch threaded-barrel. It also includes suppressor-height sights including the rear sight, which remains in place when using the optics mount to provide an ever-present backup should your optic fail. Springfield includes two 22-round magazines.
The XDm Elite Precision features a 5.25-inch barrel. Springfield cut the extra-long slide to reduce reciprocating mass. It features a blacked-out, adjustable rear sight and fiber-optic front sight. With a 5.25-inch barrel, the sight radius measures more than 7 inches; in other words, it’s longer than the entire length of many standard carry gun. Such a radius makes aiming a lot easier. This model also includes two magazines for a total capacity of 44+1, which requires nearly one box of ammo to fill.
The big difference with the new Springfield XDm Elite series is, of course, the capacity. Either 22+1 or 20+1 rounds of 9mm is a serious boost. If you’ve ever shot in a competition, you know the difference three extra rounds can make in time savings over reloading. If a reload is required, you’ll be hard pressed to miss between the tapered magazine and massive flared magazine well. In fact, even with the massive magazine well, I bet most shooters could land the three extra shots on a target at competition distances quicker than they can perform a surprise emergency reload. Of course, individual skill and aptitudes vary, but for me the extra three rounds just might be the match saver.
While competitive shooting may be the best home for the XDm Elite Precision, I’d argue either model could be equally applicable at home as a nightstand gun. I got time with both at the aforementioned Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous and they perform. The long sight radius again comes in handy should a precise shot be made, but the longer barrel is where the real advantage comes in. More time in the barrel means more time to gain velocity so rounds develop more kinetic energy and hit harder. The frame also has three Picatinny slots to choose from for mounting lights or lasers, and that full grip feels a lot more reassuring under stress than a tiny carry gun.
A Little Shorter
If there’s an even greater idea at play here, it’s with the XDm Elite 4.5″ and XDm Elite 3.8″ models that I haven’t gotten time with yet. Those are two “compact” packages with 20+1 capacities. Think about that. If you’re considering these as carry guns, the option certainly presents itself. Springfield already worked its magic with the Springfield Hellcat earlier this year. These XDm Elite models seem to be a continuation of that ingenuity.
Last part that I’m sure you’re all wondering about is MSRP. The 4.5″ and 3.8″ models both have an MSRP of $559. Meanwhile, the XDm Elite Precision retails for $653 and the XDm Elite Tactical OSP retails for $709.
Keep your eyes peeled for more on the XDm Elite series in a number of Athlon Outdoors future magazines. For more information, please visit Springfield-Armory.com.
Springfield XDm Elite Precision Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Magazines: Three 22-Round
- Barrel: 5.25-inches; hammer-forged
- Sights: Fiber Optic Front; Fully-adjustable rear
- Frame: Black polymer with changeable backstraps, extended mag well
- Slide: Forged steel, Melonite finish
- Length: 8.71 inches
- Height: 5.875 inches
- Grip Width: 1.185 inches
- Weight (empty): 30 ounces
Springfield XDm Elite Tactical OSP Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Magazines: Two 22-Round
- Barrel: 5.34 inches; hammer-forged, threaded barrel with thread protector
- Sights: Co-witness, suppressor height
- Frame: Desert FDE polymer with changeable backstraps, extended mag well
- Slide: Forged steel, Melonite finish, FDE Cerakote
- Length: 8.82 inches
- Height: 5.875 inches
- Grip Width: 1.185 inches
- Weight (empty): 30.4 ounces
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