This past year has been a real bust for many USPSA and IDPA major matches. Sorry if I overstated the obvious, but they are the best place to test firearms other than a trip to Gunsite or Sig Academy. Hence I have been delinquent writing about Springfield Armory’s latest generation of the XD-M; the XD-M Elite.
The XD-M Elites are a enhanced XD-Ms. What sets the Elite family apart from previous models are the improved cocking serrations, removable magazine wells, ambi-slide stop, match grade barrels, increased capacity(22+1 in 9mm) and the Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly. Of course Springfield kept what made the XD-Ms a success; good sights, reliable functioning, and three interchangeable back strap for a better fit.
What really sets Elite XD-Ms apart from previous versions is the Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly. The META is for all intents and purposes a factory “custom” trigger. The flat face and internal over-travel give you a clean crisp break from day one. It has taken my 40 S&W XD-M 5.25 a couple thousand rounds to be as smooth and crisp at the 9mm XD-M Precision. I know folks will disagree, but I will put the META trigger up against any of the aftermarket match drop-in triggers for other polymer pistols.
A feature that is not considered an enhancement by Springfield Armory but should be is the posi-bump grip safety. I have heard many folks complain about not being able to always depress the original grip safety. This was a complaint about 1911’s too until Ed Brown’s Memory Groove grip safety. Since you must depress the grip safety for the pistol to go through its firing sequence; I think this was a prudent move by SA. It is one they should incorporate in the rest of the XD line.
After the posi-bump grip safety, the new cocking serrations an improvement over the original XD-Ms. The wider spacing gives you a better purchase in wet conditions and when wearing gloves. In my opinion they also look cool. Let’s face it if you can have improved function and looks, why not?
I have been shooting a XD-M 5.25 in USPSA matches the last couple of years because it is chambered in 40 S&W which scores “major”. The new Elite 5.25 Precision is chambered in 9mm, which would be ideal for three gun, USPSA Production or Limited Class or IDPA’s Enhanced Service Pistol. Having the “original” and Elite would also allow me to show the changes.
The most obvious change Springfield Armory made to XD-M with the Elite Series is the removable magazine well and extended magazines. While the mag well allows for smooth fast magazine exchanges, it is not obnoxiously large like some those seen on- competition pistols. The extended capacity magazine holds 22 rounds while the “flush fit” mags hold 20.
Field stripping the XD Precision is fast and easy. First drop the magazine, lock the slide to the rear to ensure the pistol is empty; cleaning “empty” pistols has caused a lot of injuries. Next, lock the slide to the rear and rotate the takedown lever up. Releasing the slide stop will all the slide to come off, no need to press the trigger. To finish disassembly, pull out the recoil spring assembly and barrel; you are finished. The XDM assembles in reverse order.
After field stripping and adding lubricant to the Precision, it was off to the range. I gathered up about 100 rounds of various loose rounds and new 9mm ammunition from Black Hills-115 grain FMJ, Federal-115 grain 9BP, Hornady-124 grain XTP and three loads from Super Vel-115, 147 & 158 grain FMJs (a future article will give more details). This was a good mix of range and self-defense loads with Hornady’s Critical Defense being one of the most technical loads on the market and Federal’s 9BP being a tried and proven load.
Initially I tested the Precision with the mix of factory ammunition. With this mystery mix of bullet weights and various ojives, this would test the pistols reliability and allow me to see how well regulated the sights were. Not surprisingly, at fifteen and twenty five yards the pistol was dead on. The narrow fiber optic was bright in the daylight and easy to find through the notch of the adjustable rear sight.
Next I ran three magazines with a mix of the six factory loads in each one. Again the pistol was dead on. What I did notice was every so often one load had noticeably softer recoil. As I would find out during the bench testing it was the 158 grain load from Super Vel. After nearly two hundred rounds there were no issues with the XDM.
The last step of testing was accuracy. Again I loaded magazines this time with five rounds of each variety of the test ammunition and shot them from the bench at twenty five yards. I fired three groups of each load and averaged the three groups. All six loads averaged sub three inches with several cloverleaves or touching pairs in each shot group.
When I tested for practical accuracy, shooting offhand Weaver stance at twenty five yards, I was able to keep a ten round magazine in the upper A/C of an USPSA target. For a beat up sixty year old, I figured that was plenty good. Further testing was done using it to shoot the State USPSA matches in Wyoming and Colorado showed the XDM Elite 5.25 Precision to be a performer. It was consistently hitting pepper poppers at thirty yards and eight inch plate at fifteen yards.
By the time I was done running the Precision, I had put over one thousand issue free rounds through it; save for one incident. While shooting in Wyoming, I had a failure to extract and the slide locked up on a stage. After several seconds, I was safely able to open and clear the offending case and keep shooting. One of the RO’s picked up the case for me; it had split. Even new factory ammunition can have issues. It should also be noted other than two drops of oil on the slide rails before both matches, this pistol was not cleaned.
To say Springfield Armory’s XDM Elite 5.25 Precision is a hard use pistol is an understatement. I was more than impressed with this pistol. I did little to maintain it and ran it in the dusty high desert without issue. If the panic buying of 2020 lets up in 2021 and you are looking for a true all purpose pistol; get this or any of SA’s XDM Elite series. This one made me look like I could shoot fast, accurately and I definitely had fun; you will too.