Springfield Armory XDm Elite 9mm, by Pat Cascio

META: Another new acronym. It drives me crazy with acronyms for so many things. Acronyms help save time when communicating with someone. That is, if they are schooled in the terminology with certain things. The military and police find that important. However, META is a new one to me. It doesn’t refer to the new name for the Facebook company or The Metaverse. Rather, it stands for Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly, and it refers to the trigger on the Springfield Armory XDm Elite 9mm pistol. The acronym from Springfield pretty much explains it all. They claim that this trigger is the best trigger pull on any production polymer handgun. And after all my testing, I’m not about to refute this claim!

I believe that I’ve owned and/or tested just about every polymer-framed handgun that Springfield Armory has produced over the years. And, many readers will likely agree with me, when I talk about the “mushy” feel to the triggers on many polymer-framed handguns. Some polymer-framed handguns have a short and very distinct pull, however, I’ve found that some of those triggers tend to make you “jerk” the gun off target – not a good thing.

I’m not privy to how Springfield Armory pulled this off on the XDm Elite model, but they sure did their homework. Without going into great detail, there is just a little bit of “slack” as you pull the trigger reward to fire the pistol, and then a little bit of resistance is felt as you pull the trigger more to the rear, and then “bang” the gun goes off – all the while your sights are on the target. Sweet! And the trigger reset distance is extremely short.

As background, I should mention that I tested the new XDm Elite 3.8-inch OSM model not too long ago, and that one has the spectacular red dot sight on it, and the same META trigger installed in it. The photo shows both pistols, with the short-gripped OSM, below. That is one outstanding CCW handgun, that holds 14+1 rounds. However, you can use the 20 and 22 round magazines in the compact model as well. Of course, they stick out of the bottom of the frame quite a bit. However, those are great for a reload, if you need it. You can also get the XDm Elite model I tested for this article with an OSM sight on it, as well.

Enough on the META – you simply have to experience it to fully appreciate what I’m talking about. Hopefully, your local gun shop will have one of these models in stock, and allow you to dry-fire it.  Oh, I should mention that many gun shops won’t allow a customer to dry-fire a firearm. So ask first, and of course double-check for an empty chamber and magazine.

XDm Elite 9mm Specifications

We have a 4.5-inch barrel on this pistol, and it is a match-grade, hammer-forged barrel, for a long life, and gives you outstanding accuracy. The barrel is Melonite coated black, just like the slide is. Speaking of the slide, it has deeper “V” shaped serrations on the front and rear sides, for a more sure purchase when chambering a round in any weather conditions – just one of those little touches that you know something is different, but you don’t quite know what it is. Outstanding!

The sights are nice – the front is a red fiberoptic, and the rear is “U” shaped white outlined version, and it goes together very well, with the front sight. They give you a great sight picture. On top of the slide, behind the ejection port, there is a loaded chamber indicator – a protruding pin small enough to not obscure your line of sight, but big enough you can see it (or feel it) to determine if there is a round in the chamber – loaded or not.

The ambidextrous slide stop/release is a nice touch, especially if you are a southpaw – you can lock the slide open or drop the slide to chamber a round – easy to do, too!

The black polymer frame has a slightly extended “tang” on the rear, to help prevent the slide from coming in contact with your hand as the slide moves back and forth on a gloved hand. Believe me, many polymer-framed handguns will allow the slide to come in contact with your glove, and this will either retard the slide’s movement or rip the glove apart in short order.

The grip safety is nicely done and very easy to depress when you grip the gun in the firing hand – you don’t even realize you are depressing the grip safety at all. And, to be sure, it must be fully depressed in order to fire the gun.

The dust cover has a three-slot Picatinny rail on it, for mounting lights and/or lasers. The front of the trigger guard is squared and checkered if you use that sort of a hold – with the index finger of the off-hand wrapped around it – I don’t know many people who still use this type of a hold on a handgun.

Moving down the frame, we have an ambidextrous magazine release – no taking time to move it from one side of the gun to the other. Another great touch!

The trigger, located inside the trigger guard is flat-faced – not curved and in the center of the trigger is the trigger lever safety. It must also be fully depressed in order for the XDm Elite to fire. It’s instinctive, when you have a proper firing grip on the gun…it depresses with your knowing it. Many polymer handguns have this design, and it works as intended. This means that there are no worries about the gun firing if you drop it.

The black polymer frame has great checkering on it – from the front strap to the sides, and on the back strap. A great and very secure grip is easily applied when you are ready to fire the gun. There is also a depression on both sides of the frame, where the thumb on your firing hand will rest – another one of those “things” that is there, and you’ll use it without realizing it.

The back straps: The gun comes with three of them, that you can very easily swap out, for the one that feels best to your hand. The back strap is easily removed with a punch of the proper size and a plastic hammer. The gun comes with the medium back strap, and it works perfectly for my slightly large hands.

At the bottom on the grip frame is a slightly extended magazine well, and this makes for very fast reloads with the 20-round magazines. However, you can also purchase the optional 22-round magazines and they fit perfectly in this magazine well. Be advised, the grip frame is long with the 20-round magazines. The gun comes with two of the 20-rounders – but the 22-round magazines stick out even more. So, I would reserve the 22-round magazines for a reload, and use the 20-round magazines for daily carry. You can also remove the slightly extended magazine floorplates and install the standard length floorplates, if you want to carry the gun without the extended magazine well.

This particular XDm Elite model only weighs in at 29-ounces empty and that is a lot lighter in weight than many other polymer-framed pistols. And of course that is much lighter in weight than an all-steel pistol of a similar size. One thing that I did want to mention is that the grip circumference is less than many other double-stack 9mm pistols have – Springfield did a great job on this aspect of the design.

The entire line of XD handguns are made in Croatia – and Springfield has someone over in Croatia all the time, overseeing the manufacture and adding improvements to new models all the time – I like that.

My Shooting Tests

No matter how well designed any firearm is, shooting it is the real test. As we all know, we are in a terrible ammo drought now, and I don’t shoot nearly as much ammo in my tests as I’d like, From Black Hills Ammunition I had the following on-hand. 115-gr JHP +P, 123-gr JHP +P, 115-gr FMJ, 124-gr JHP and the 115-gr Barnes Tac-XP load in +P. While digging through my ammo cans, and rearranging some ammo, I found several boxes of Buffalo Bore 147-gr Hard Cast +P to test.

In all my shooting I fired more than 150-rounds of ammo. This gun is a lot of fun to shoot – period! My accuracy testing was done at 25-yards, resting the pistol over a soft rifle bag, on top of a big boulder. There were zero malfunctions of any type in my testing, and I did fire a lot of rounds at some targets of opportunity – rocks mostly out to 50-60 yards – and never missed.

There were no inaccurate rounds of ammo. Hands down, this is the most accurate 9mm polymer handgun I’ve ever fired – bar none. Almost all the rounds were hovering just slightly above the 2.25-inch groups. Two types of rounds really stood out, first is the Buffalo Bore 147-gr Outdoorsman +P load, and the Black Hills 124-gr JHP +P load. Both of these loads were right at 2-inches – depending on my consistency. However, in the end, the Buffalo Bore load was consistently giving me flat out 2-inch groups – and that is match-grade accuracy. I believe with more practice, I can get groups below that 2-inch mark.

As it was, I fired more ammo than I planned on doing. While I had a good supply of different types of ammo, I didn’t have a lot of that ammo to use. My ammo locker is getting extremely low these days. One thing that I wanted to mention is that, the magazines that come with this gun are extremely easy to load. However, I still used a mag loader. I’ve found that it is faster and easier to load all those rounds.

I did carry this XDm Elite for about a week – it is a big gun to carry concealed, but with the proper covering garment – it worked. I used a hip holster from Craft Holsters – and they produce some of the best holsters on the market – expertly crafted and at more than fair prices, too.

In the end, I wouldn’t hesitate to strap on this XDm Elite if I were still in law enforcement. It would make a great duty weapon. And, I understand a lot of SWAT personnel use this gun – some with a red dot sight, and some without. A great choice, if you ask me.

Full-retail on this pistol is only $590 without a red dot sight, and this is a bargain. The trouble is  finding one – handguns are in still in short supply every place. But shop around until you find one.