After handling the .40 S&W in the Springfield XDm 40 4.5, a full-size service pistol, it only seemed logical (to me) to try the cartridge in a compact pistol for better concealment during the hot summer days that are upon us.
I was concerned about the length of the grip, which looks too small for the pistol – and possibly too small for my hand. The total height of the XDm 40 3.8 compact is only 4.75-inches with the Compact, eleven-round magazine, but blooms to a full size grip with the provided 16-round magazine with X-Tension. However, considering that I have the XDm 45 3.8 Compact, and the grip is approximately the same length of the XDm 40 3.8 Compact, and the pistol is the same height as the XDm 45 3.8 Compact with the Compact magazine, and that I can shoot the XDm 45 3.8 Compact fairly accurately (I don’t shoot it often enough to reach the proficiency level that I desire), I do not feel intimidated by the XDm 40 3.8 Compact. How’s that for a compact statement?
Even though the XDm 40 3.8 Compact comes with a ‘standard’ sixteen-round magazine, in addition to the flush-fit eleven-round magazine, the sixteen round magazine is relegated to the XDm 4.0 4.5 and three eleven-round magazines was ordered for the XDm 40 3.8 Compact. Are you confused yet? This goes against convention of sorts, because most people like scads of ammo, but I am just that kind of guy who believes that more is not necessarily better (at least that’s what my wifey says). While you can fit eleven cartridges in the short magazine, you just might need that UpLula Loader in one hand to do so. Also, when attempting to shove that magazine into the magazine well and lock it in place, you may find yourself forcing the issue, and when the magazine is locked into place, do not try to use the magazine release. There is just too much tension on the magazine release for you to use it. Once several rounds are fired; however, the magazine release works fine. I have noticed on virtually all of my Springfield pistols (with the exception of the 1911-based pistols) that the magazine is locked up tight as a drum in the pistols when fully stoked. It is best to have the slide retracted before inserting a full magazine. Until the magazines are fully broken in, you may not to able to achieve a “tactical” reload unless with somewhat great effort.
In addition, since the grip of the XDm 40 3.8 Compact is short, you may want to be aware of where the bottom of your shooting hand is when inserting the eleven-round or the sixteen-round magazine (with X-Tension). I can see where some pinching of the shooting hand could occur, although it has never happened to me (yet).
One of my shooting companions, who carries either the Glock G19 or G17, said that he would actually like to have the grip of the XDm 40 3.8 Compact a little wider. Also, in his meaty little hands, he could actually get all three fingers of the shooting hand completely on the grip.
With the exception of a shorter 3.8-inch barrel, and a shorter grip, essentially both pistols are the same; match-grade barrel, match-grade trigger that is as smooth operating as any you will find (There isn’t a hint of stacking and the trigger reset is more than acceptable for a defensive pistol), the same grip width, ambidextrous magazine release, fully supported feed ramp, full-length guide rod, cocked indicator chamber-loaded indicator, excellent sights, grip safety, and the same type of texturing on the slide and frame. Aside from shorter site radius, the XDm 40 3.8 Compact has a dual-spring, full-length steel guide rod recoil captivated system unlike the XDm 40 4.5, which is a single recoil spring. The XDm 40 3.8 Compact is to the XDM 40 4.5 as the Glock G23 is to the Glock G22 (or similar comparisons).
Although the XDm 40 3.8 Compact shares the same width as its big brother, the pistol almost melts away inside my waistband because of the short grip. There is no concern of the pistol printing when bending over (depending on how you carry of course). The XDm 40 3.8 Compact is as fully protected as its big brother, because they can reside in the same holster. It just doesn’t get much better than this.
In my hand, the grip length of the XDm 40 3.8 Compact allows me to wrap the picky finger around the bottom of the grip or beneath the magazine and the support hand locks everything into place. I will say that a finger extension from Pierce found its way onto the eleven-round magazine(s); it does provide a ‘hook’ for the little finger to grasp when pulling the pistol from the holster and helps to achieve a good grip on the pistol when doing so.
When firing a compact pistol, make the pistol part of your hand rather than an extension of it, which is the secret (or so I am told). The felt recoil of this pistol is, of course, snappier than with its bigger brother, but I can say it is no worse than firing a 230-grain cartridge out of the XDm 45 3.8 Compact. It is just, well, different. It does take some effort to make the pistol and your hand one unit, but once mastered you will find your effort worth it as you see an increase in accuracy.
The XDm 40 3.8 Compact, like any of the Springfield Armory pistols that I have, functioned flawlessly. I ran Seller and Belloit 180-grain FMJ, Federal 180-Grain FMJ, Federal 180-grain Hydra-Shok, and Sig Sauer V-Crown 180-grain JHP through it without a hitch. I have always felt confident that a Springfield pistol could be carried home in a box, cleaned, properly lubricated, and then carried on the person without any fear of malfunction. This may be the reason why Springfield Armory and Ruger firearms make up the bulk of my firearms; I have been able to rely on them from the get go.
The XDm 40 3.8 Compact shot point-of-aim at “combat’ distance and I was surprised that the muzzle flip was not greater than it actually was. However, you need to maintain a very tight grip on the pistol when firing. Once I figured out what the pistol needed for me to do, it was basically point it and shoot from there on. If I did my part, the pistol was there for me.
The XDm 40 3.8 feels somewhat barrel heavy when not loaded, even in this short of a pistol. That feeling; however, goes away when the pistol is stoked with twelve rounds of ammunition. The pistol feels (to me) very well-balanced when loaded.
The XDm 40 3.8 is a hefty pistol, with the obvious weight being with the assembled slide. The weight of the XDm 40 3.8 Compact is 28 ounces dry, which puts it a breath over 6 ounces heavier than the Glock G27 at 21.89 ounces dry. Add 11+1 rounds of 180-grain ammunition, which adds 7.188 ounces to the weight of the pistol, and you have a carry weight of 35.188 ounces. However, the increased weight is to your advantage when it comes to recoil management. The XDm 40 3.8 Compact is only two ounces lighter than the full-size XDm 40 4.5 (30 ounces dry). How Springfield managed that I don’t know. What I do know is that when you pick this pistol up or out of a holster, you are feeling the weight of a most-excellently-designed pistol with great ergonomics and that is capable of sending a high-powered projectile out the tube to the target.
Another comparison would be against my (usual EDC) Ruger SR1911CMD-A in .45ACP. The SR1911CMD-A weighs 29.3 ounces dry. Add eight rounds of 230-grain ammunition and that ups the weight to roughly 35.196 ounces. So, the fully-loaded XDm 40 3.8 weighs almost exactly that of the Ruger SR1911CMD-A with three rounds more than the Ruger can carry. Switch to the 16-round magazine of the XDm and the total weight (38.183 ounces) is actually more than the SR1911CMD-A. Now, consider my other 1911 carry, the Rock Island 1911 FS Tactical. This pistol weighs out at 45.92 ounces loaded. In short, there is very little transition (weight-wise) moving from the Ruger SR1911CMD-A to the Springfield XDm 40. 3.8 Compact than one would imagine, as compared to transitioning from the Ruger SR1911CMD-A to the RIA 1911 FS Tactical.
The muzzle velocity of the Federal 180-grain Hydra-Shok JHP is roughly calculated at 1022fps out of a 4-inch barrel (http://ballisticsbytheinch.com/40sw.html), and 3.8 inches is close enough to 4 inches for government work. The Federal 180-grain Hydra-Shok JHP is the stoutest load that I have fired out of the XDm 40 3.8 Compact, but the recoil is manageable. In fact, I would rather be shooting this pistol with this ammunition over a Ruger SP101 with 158-grain +P ammunition, or even a standard 158-grain load.
As was mentioned earlier, the XDm 40 3.8 compact fits just right in a (modified ) Black Arch holster; the sweat shield has been removed and the holster adjusted to a cant of my liking.
Also, the compact 11-round magazines fit quite nicely in a (modified) Remora double-pouch ammunition carrier; a belt clip from a CBST holster was added for convenience.
Yes sir! The Springfield XDm 40 3.8 Compact would be an excellent choice for a hot weather companion with the XDM 40 4.5 carried when the weather begins cooling off. Aside from my 1911-based pistols, I believe that I have found one that actually suits me in many areas; an excellent caliber in an excellent pistol. The rest is up to me.
Some may find the XDm 40 3.8 Compact too heavy, while others may find it too bulky, while other may find it too heavy and bulky, which others may not like the grip safety, while others may find…
For any body that has followed me, I know what you are thinking. “This guy has spouted so much about liking is .45 ACP and his 1911 pistols and now he telling us that he has given up on the .45ACP and his 1911 pistols!” Funny, but I don’t remember even writing that! While the .45ACP cartridge has done well in both 1911-based pistols and polymer pistols, the same cannot be said about the .40 S&W. Although there are some 1911-based pistol on the market that will run the .40 S&W, they are few and the majority of them too expensive for my taste and for me to carry. The new Springfield EMP 4.0 in .40 S&W may; however, be an exception (albeit expensive), or even the Rock Island ‘Ultra” 1911 FS in .40 S&W may surprise us. For now my money is on the Springfield XDm 40 in 3.8 and 4.5 versions. But, in my usual fashion, the 1911-based pistol in .45ACP is always in the foreground. An old dog like me can learn new tricks, but he also doesn’t forget the old ones.
Springfield Armory XD, 40 3.8 (XDM9384CBHCE): https://www.springfield-armory.com/products/xdm-compact-40-cal/
Read my Articles on the Remora mag pouch and modifications of: