XD-M® 5.25″ COMPETITION SERIES 9MM (XDM95259BHCE)

In the war of selecting a good double-stack, long-slide 9mm for carry use, my finalists came down to the Glock G34 and the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm. I am not going to disparage either and both are winners in my book, although there may be some who are totally against both for whatever myriad of reasons they can cook up. The fact is that both are excellent pistols and excel in what they were designed to do, which is to compete. They can also serve other purposes such as personal and home defense.

Some who have followed my reviews for any length of time know that when I select a pistol for a long-term test and evaluation, it means that I bought it lock, stock, and barrel. The Glock G34 GEN5 MOS became part of the stable when it was decidedly the winner in the ‘long barrel battle.’ The Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm is also a winner, although some may denigrate the pistol because of its country of origin (Croatia) or the company of import (Springfield Armory). One thing that can be said; however, is that the XD line of pistols work and they work well.

The XDm 5.25 series of pistols include the .45 ACP, the 10mm, and the 9mm. Springfield, like Ruger with their SR1911 line, seemed to pass right over the .40 Smith & Wesson without even a tip of the hat. Well, that is not quite true. In the write-up that Springfield provides, a .40 Smith & Wesson version is mentioned; however, not one is listed. Since I have the .45 ACP, and more recently the 10mm, it would only be logical to complete the series with the 9mm, and that is what I did. Now, as obvious, the XD line also has other 9mm pistols such as:

  • XD® Mod.2® Series; 3″ Sub-Compact Model and 4″ Service Model.
  • XD-M® Series; 3.8: Model, 4.5″ Model, 4.5″ OSP Threaded Barrel Model, and 5.25″ Competition Series Model.
  • XD-S MOD.2® Single Stack Series; 3.3″ Model. (Click here to read my review of the XDS 4” that is no longer available)
  • XD-E™ Series; 3.3″ Single-Stack Model, 3.8″ Single-Stack Model, and 4.5″ Single Stack Model (Future review on the table).

In the 5.25 Competition Models, as can be seen below, the difference between the three XDm 5.25 pistols is very slight (aside from caliber).

Caliber 9mm
Recoil System One-Piece Full-Length Guide Rod
Sights Fiber Optic Front & Fully Adjustable Target Rear
(Steel)
Weight 29 ounces
Height 5.75″
Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
Barrel 5.25″ Hammer Forged, Steel, Melonite® / 1:10 Twist
Length 8.2″
Grip Width 1.18″
Frame Black Polymer
Magazines 3 – 19 Round, Stainless Steel
MSRP $753.00
Caliber .45 ACP
Recoil System One-Piece Full-Length Guide Rod
Sights Fiber Optic Front & Fully Adjustable Target Rear
(Steel)
Weight 32 ounces
Height 5.75″
Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
Barrel 5.25″ Hammer Forged, Steel, Melonite® / 1:10 Twist
Length 8.3″
Grip Width 1.26″
Frame Black Polymer with interchangeable back straps
Magazines 3 – 13 Round, Stainless Steel
MSRP $779.00
Caliber 10mm
Recoil System One-Piece Full-Length Guide Rod
Sights Fiber Optic Front & Fully Adjustable Target Rear
(Steel)
Weight 32.8 ounces
Height 5.75″
Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
Barrel 5.25″ Hammer Forged, Steel, Melonite® / 1:10 Twist
Length 8.3″
Grip Width 1.2″
Frame Black Polymer with interchangeable back straps
Magazines 3 – 15 Round, Stainless Steel
MSRP $779.00

The XDm 5.25 9mm version shares the same type of frame texturing, the same type sighting system, and the same type lightning cut in the slide as the others. The grip width difference is not enough to mention, but a difference can be felt when gripping the 9mm version as compared to it .45 ACP and 10mm brethren, as the grip width is slightly thinner.

The sight radius is the same on all three pistols. I am not a fan of fiber sights, but they do work fine in sunlight. However, and some of you may know, I look at a pistol for carrying concealed purposes and a set of night-sights would better suite this pistol for my application.

The quality and fit n’ finish of this pistol could not be better. The XDm series of pistols offers a lot of rail for the slide and the rail is all steel.

The trigger is consistent with the .45 ACP and 10mm versions. Some might say that the trigger is mushy up to the point of break, and they would not be lying. I; however, like the trigger and the way it pulls. With practice, the trigger rolls right through the break and has no overtravel. Reset is a tad long but not so long as to be distracting once the shooter becomes accustomed to it.

As a carry piece, some might say that it would not work because of the slide lightning cut, which will cause dirt, debris, and unicorns to fall into it and jam up the works. Balderdash, I say! Others may say that the pistol is too large. Again, balderdash! The size of the pistol is very close to that of a full-size 1911 in the same caliber. The Beretta 92FS (M9) that also an ‘open-barrel’ design has been working mighty good in environments that this pistol would not be seeing (at least I hope not). With 19+1 rounds it is also of the greater capacity of comparable models of different manufacturers. Fully loaded, the weight of the XDm 5.25 in 9mm is less than an all-steel, full-size 1911 pistol and the XDm has twice the capacity. However, it must be said that the XDm 5.25 in 9mm is not all that much lighter than the 1911; the added ammunition load makes up quite a bit of difference.

The dustcover is railed for accessories, and the slide front and rear serrations provide an excellent means to rack the slide. The firing pin protrudes ever so slightly out of the back of the slide when the striker is cocked, and there’s a loaded chamber indicator on top of the slide that is both visible and tactile.

The Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm feels good in the hand. While it comes with grip adapters, I have found that they do not need to be changed for my hand. The grip adapters simply add or subtract the hump that fits against the palm of the hand and do nothing for the trigger reach.

With a full-load in any of the three supplied stainless-steel magazines, the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm has a balanced feel to it. The barrel, being 5.25 inches, is shorter than the comparable Glock G34 (5.3-inches), and longer than the Smith & Wesson Pro 2.0 (5.0-inches), but the difference is so slight as to be noticeable in the performance of the pistol.

Range Duty

The first outing of the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm at the range proved that the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm is utterly reliable. I try to run the same ammunition through any pistol that I am evaluating, as I am becoming familiar with how the ammunition performs from one pistol to the next and can tell if one pistol is better or worse than another using the same ammunition. The Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm is very accurate with Sellier & Beloit 115-grain FMJ, reasonably accurate with Sig Sauer V-Crown 124-grain JHP, and a bit better in accuracy with Sig Sauer V-Crown 147-grain JHP, the latter of which is my preferred defense load, as I like heavy projectiles.

The ambidextrous magazine release allows quick magazine changes at the press of a thumb or finger. When new, the magazine release was a bit stiff, but a bit of Ballistol and use loosened it. Magazines fall free without prompting and insert the same way. However, loading a full magazine with the slide in battery may prove to be a bit tough, as will trying to get nineteen cartridges in the magazine when new. For the first several hundred rounds, I normally only load fifteen in these magazines until they are fully broken in. In fact, for the first several range outings, only five rounds are loaded in each magazine, as I pursue the perfect 5-round group.

The Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm, of course, has a grip safety. At the risk of sounding like a critical parent, I have never had an issue with a grip safety. In fact, I prefer the extra measure of safety that it provides when holstering the pistol, as I do not touch the grip safety (if equipped) when I holster a pistol; a habit that I picked up over years of carrying a 1911.

The sights were spot on for a 6 o’clock hold at seven yards. I moved the rear sight up a bit so that what I covered with the front sight is what I wanted to hit. Adjusting the rear sight is easy and the adjustment clicks are very tactile. The more that I think about adjustable sights on a firearm meant for self-defense, the more sense it makes. Plus, adjustable sights are much better than the early days and there are low-profile, combat adjustable sights to be had. It is far better to adjust your sights to a load than use “Kentucky” sighting for each load you might shoot. When an accurate load is discovered, you don’t have to touch the sights afterward, unless you just want a different sight picture; for example, a six o’clock hold to a ‘covered’ hold. The rear sight on the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm is as low a profile as can be expected on a pistol of this nature.

Concealment

Concealing a pistol like the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm, as with any large firearm, takes planning the right holster, the belt, the correct clothing combination, and the method of carry. I have been successfully concealing a full-size 1911 for many years and other pistols as I evaluate them for carry. I have found the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm no less of a challenge to conceal. The Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm resides in the Black Arch holster that I use for the .45 ACP and 10mm versions of this pistol (see below). With a loose outer shirt over a T-shirt, the holster and pistol virtually disappear. If I top things off with my ‘man purse’ of a vest, the concealment is yet deeper. A set of Perry suspenders helps to support the loadout.

Note: The Black Arch holster shown above is no longer manufactured, but has been replaced by a much better holster.

Below is the XDM-9 5.25 in the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB Holster (Inside the Waistband).

As a side note, I have ordered an all-leather IWB holster from Savoy Leather for the XDM 5.25 pistol, in the pattern shown below but in a black IWB version that will be a topic for a later article. This holster takes two to three months to receive, as each holster is custom made.

Summary

The Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm (Product: XDM95259BHCE) is an excellent example of the XD line of pistols that are made in Croatia and imported by Springfield Armory. Ron Leatham knows something about these pistols and if he likes them, I can’t think of a reason that I shouldn’t. There may be some personal preferences that I would like to see incorporated, changed, or removed in the pistol’s design, but I can’t find fault with the function and operation, they just work very well.

Whether it be for competition, personal defense or home defense, I can’t say that you would be wrong in selecting the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm, or any other caliber in the 5.25-barrel length. I leave it up to you to work out the pros and cons of a very full-size pistol. With that said, the fuller size the pistol, the more the realization by a ne’er-do-well or carnivorous Vermicious Knid that you are carrying a full-size pistol capable of delivering a significant lifestyle changing experience.

Resources

As with others, I try to do my research when deciding on a firearm. What follows is just some of the resources available for the Springfield XDm 5.25 in 9mm. Feel free to do your own research.

About Taurian

Taurian is an Oath Keeper, veteran, former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Until retirement, Taurian had over forty-seven years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

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