Pat’s Product Review: Springfield Armory 5.25 XDm

Today I’m reviewing the new Springfield Armory XDm 5.25 9mm Competition handgun. I carried a Springfield Armory XD .40 S&W handgun for close to two years, and I found the gun utterly reliable and very accurate. The only drawback was that it was an early-production XD, and the finish wasn’t very durable and tended to easily rust if you didn’t pay attention and kept the gun clean and with some kind of preservative on the metal parts. The XDs made today have a very durable “Melonite” finish on the metal parts, and it really holds up extremely well.
The Springfield Armory XDm, is their new and improved version of the XD, and it really shines, if you ask me. The gun is more sleek, very stylish, and it has a better trigger pull, which is not only shorter, it also has one of the shortest resets of any polymer handgun on the market. What we have with the XDm 5.25 is a 9mm (it is also available in .40 S&W and .45 ACP as well) is an outstanding handgun with a 5.25″ barrel – only .25 of an inch longer than the barrel on the grand ol’ 1911 Government Model. Additionally, the front top of the slide is cut out, to reduce the overall weight and balance of the 5.25, which, by the way, balances nicely. The barrel is match grade, out of hammer forged steel, too – and fitted perfectly.
The front sight has a red fiber optic in it, which makes it easy to focus on, and when teaching new shooters how to aim their handguns, I always tell them “front sight, front sight, front sight…” they get tired of hearing it, but after a while, they are focusing on that front sight, and the XDm 5.25 makes that easy to do, in bright light, the red fiber optic really jumps out at you, and even in low light, you can see the front sight. The rear is fully adjustable for windage and elevation, too. My 5.25 sample only needed two adjustments of windage to the right, and one adjust of elevation to get it shooting where I wanted the bullet to go. You also get replacement fiber optic sights, should you manage to break the one in the front sight – you get a spare red, and a spare green fiber optic rod. They are easy to replace.
The trigger pull on my XDm sample is between 5-6 pounds, however because if the guns ergonomics it feels a lot lighter than that. Additionally, the trigger pull is smooth. As already mentioned, trigger reset is very short after each shot is fired, so you can get off additional shots extremely fast. The trigger itself has a trigger safety lever in the center – the trigger is “locked” against accidental discharge – you have to place your finger in the trigger to disengage the safety lever in order for the gun to fire. And, we have a grip safety, just like the good ol’ 1911 has. There is also an internal safety, that prevents the gun from accidentally firing should it be dropped. Springfield Armory calls the safety system the USA  the “Ultra Safe Action.”
The XD line-up of handguns — and there are a lot of different models — all have a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide, that you can see or feel, to know if there is a round in the chamber. There is also a slight protrusion on the back of the slide, to let you know if the gun is cocked or not. Again, you can see or feel it. Neat!
You can also have the XDm 5.25 Competition model with a brushed stainless steel slide. I elected the Melonite coated slide for “stealth” purposes – don’t want opponents seeing my gun before they need to see it. There are angled and deeply grooved grasping grooves on the front and rear sides of the slide, so it’s easy to manipulate the slide to chamber a round, or to clear a malfunction. Overall, the gun looks very futuristic to me. Empty weight is 29 ounces not too heavy and not too light.
I elected to get my XDm 5.25 in 9mm because it holds 19 rounds in the magazines – currently, Springfield Armory is providing three mags with this gun, but I’ve heard that’s for a limited time – after that, you’ll get two mags with the gun. Let’s face facts, when you’re dealing with a horde, you want lots of rounds in your gun, and it’s sure hard to beat 19 rounds of 9mm. I find I can also shoot the 9mm faster than I can a .40 S&W or .45ACP. And, recovery time, from shot-to-shot, is very fast – you are right back on target extremely fast. Of course, I recommend using top quality JHP ammo when you carry a 9mm for self-defense.
All Springfield Armory XD handguns come with XD gear in the case with the guns. You not only get an XD or XDm in the polymer carrying case, you also get a holster, double mag pouch and magazine loader, along with your one or two spare magazines. What’s not to like here? Speaking of the magazine loader – when you first load 19 rounds into the 5.25 magazines, you’ll appreciate the loader. I could load up to 16 or 17 rounds using my thumb, however, the last few rounds required the use of the magazine loader to get 19-rounds fully loaded in the mag. Early Glock magazine used to be extremely hard to fully load when new. What I did was, get those magazine fully loaded, and let ’em sit that way for a couple of weeks. After that, the spring has compressed and I could load the magazine to full capacity without the magazine loader. And, it’s the same way with the XDm 19 round 9mm magazines. After I let them sit for a couple weeks, I could then fully load them without the magazine loader. However, the springs are still pretty stout, and some folks will still want to use the magazine loader for the last few rounds. A stout magazine spring is a good thing in a 19 round magazine – it gets those rounds up there so they feed easily.
I contacted Tim Sundles, who owns and operates Buffalo Bore Ammunition  and requested 500 rounds of his outstanding 9mm +P and +P+ ammo for a bit of a mini torture test of the 5.25 9mm. I believe this gun can take a steady diet of hot 9mm, it’s very well made and brutally strong. I requested three more mags for my sample gun, so I started out with six fully loaded, 19-rd magazines for my mini torture test. When I first got the XDm 5.25 I took it out for a function test, as well as an accuracy test, and I found the gun functioned 100% with various ammo, including Black Hills Ammunition’s ( various 9mm loads, and some Winchester 9mm ammo. Shooting over the hood of my SUV, at 25-yards, I found the gun to be a 1.5 – 2.5 inch shooter if I did my part. However, the gun is capable of better ’cause I had a couple groups slightly over one inch – I couldn’t do it all the time, but I did it a few times.
I breezed through the first three magazines loaded with the Buffalo Bore ammo without any problems. After that, it got to be work, firing as fast as I could pull the trigger – my trigger finger got tired after a while. However, what really slowed me down was reloading the magazines after they were empty. That really slowed me down in the mini torture test. I guess it was a good thing, as it allowed my trigger finger to rest, but my thumb got sore from loading all those magazines.
I had zero malfunctions with the XDm 5.25 nor did I expect any. The gun easily digested all the hot Buffalo Bore +P and +P+ 9mm I fed it. I could feel the recoil impulse differ when firing the +P ammo, as opposed to the +P+ 9mm ammo. Not a big difference, but I could still feel it. The empty brass was flying out of the slide as fast as I could pull the trigger, and the brass was going about 12-15 feet to my right and behind me a bit.
When it comes to shooting hotter ammo, it doesn’t always prove to be the most accurate ammo, at least in most guns. The Springfield Armory XDm 5.25 really loved the Buffalo Bore 124-gr JHP +P ammo the best. When I was done with the torture test, I used some of the other Buffalo Bore ammo I had stashed away to see which would give the best accuracy. And, it turned out that the 124-gr JHP +P load was shooting the tightest groups. The “worst” groups were with the Buffalo Bore 124-gr  +P+ FMJ flat nose “Penetrator” rounds – but they were still giving me 2.5″ groups. BTW, Tim Sundles recommends this load if you are going out in the boonies, where you might run into some big critters in the wild – it’ll really penetrate when needed. Sundles also said that when he carries some kind of 9mm handgun, he has the top several rounds in his mags loaded with JHP ammo, and the remaining rounds are the “Penetrator” rounds. Tim’s way of thinking is that, if the bad guy hasn’t gone down after the first several rounds are fired, then the bad guy will probably be behind some type of cover, and you’ll need to really penetrate that cover to hit the bad guy. I don’t think I totally disagree with Tim’s rationale on this, as he might be onto something.
The XDm 5.25 might be billed as a “Competition” handgun, and it can easily be used for this task. However, I believe this would make one dandy carry piece. If you can carry and conceal a full-sized 1911 Government Model, you can carry and conceal the XDm 5.25 just as easily, if not easier than a 1911. The manager at my local gun shop is the one who actually turned me on to the 5.25 when he insisted I take his 5.25 out and test fire it for him – he hadn’t even fired it. I was more than willing to shoot someone else’s gun and use their ammo. I was absolutely shocked at the accuracy from his 5.25. And, one of the sales guys at the gun shop also owns a 5.25 in 9mm and he says his gun is super accurate as well. So, that’s three XDm 5.25 samples that are outstanding shooters – what’s not to like here? Springfield is doing the XD line right. The guns are actually made in Croatia and imported into the US by Springfield Armory. However, each gun is checked over by Springfield Armory before they are sold to the public.
I haven’t been able to find a full retail price on the XDm 5.25 Competition model, but I checked around, and it looks like they are going from around $799 to as high as $850. While the XDm 5.25 is more expensive than the XD and the standard XDm models, you get a lot of gun for the money, and one that is a natural pointer and very accurate..
Any more, after writing about firearms for 20 years or so, I don’t get easily excited by new guns. However, after shooting the sample XDm 5.25 that the gun shop’s manager insisted I test for him, I was absolutely sold on it. As a matter of fact, an e-mail went out to Springfield Armory that very afternoon, begging for a sample of my own. The wait was worth it, too.
When the SHTF, and I have to bug out, the Springfield Armory XDm 5.25 Competition 9mm will be on my hip, along with plenty of spare, fully loaded 19 round magazines. A person could do a whole lot worse if you ask me. A super accurate gun, that holds plenty of ammo, that is easy to handle, fast shooting and totally reliable? I’ve got mine, now go out and get your own. I plan on getting another XDm 5.25 later on – after I pay for this sample – but the next one will be in .45 ACP – just because I love the .45 ACP round.
So, if you’re in the market for what might just be the ultimate high capacity 9mm handgun, you might want to seriously look at the Springfield Armory XDm 5.25 for your next purchase. If I sound like I’m really liking this gun, I am. It’s always a joy to shoot an accurate handgun, and one that is totally reliable, and one that also holds a lot of rounds.