Karen Hunter: Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Pistol Review

Springfield hit it out of the park with the release of the Hellcat. Now, on the heels of their success comes a new family of four guns, the XD-M Elite series. This new line of guns is being described by Springfield Armory as “the pinnacle of performance in factory striker fired pistols”. Whether you agree with that statement or not, the fact is the XD line has been thoroughly tweaked with major upgrades and enhancements. The Elite platform is designed to fit multiple roles for a large and varying group of people. From a smaller EDC style gun to a full-size competition model, there’s something for everyone.

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This Elite line of guns boasts upgrades such as an ambi slide stop, improved slide serrations, extended magazine holding 22+1, removeable magwell, match grade barrel, loaded chamber indicator and the META (Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly) Trigger. Though these four firearms share some of the same improvements, the gun I want to specifically talk about is the XD-M Elite with the 4.5” barrel. This is the only gun out of the line I have been hands on with and tested so that is exactly where I want to focus.

The Springfield 9mm XD-M Elite 4.5″ features a standard-length slide coupled with a 4.5-inch, hammer-forged barrel. It comes with the removable, or “short” magwell system that pairs with Springfield magazines with a round capacity of 20+1. This gun has the Tactical Rack white U-Dot rear sight, very similar to that of the Hellcat, with a red fiber-optic insert for the front sight. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and the front sight is dovetailed into the slide allowing you to change it if you opted to. A polymer grip frame features a wide magwell that aids in rapid magazine changes. Springfield’s trademark Mega-Lok texturing provides a secure gripping surface, even with wet hands and offers a generous grip circumference of 5.63”.

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Additionally, the Springfield XD-M Elite 4.5″ includes an ambidextrous slide release, an ambidextrous magazine release, a loaded chamber indicator on top of the slide, a cocking indicator on the rear of the slide, and a three-slot frame rail. The polymer frame is black, and the slide has a matte black melonite finish.

Two features that have become a personal favorite for me would have to be the trigger and the white U-Dot sight. This XD-M Elite has the META (Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly) trigger which is a flat-faced trigger that incorporates an integral overtravel stop. This is genuinely a great trigger out of the box. I’m very picky about my trigger as I prefer a trigger with a very nice short reset and this one fits the bill. The META trigger really does live up to its description by offering a smooth pull, crisp break and precision right out of the box.

The white U-Dot rear sight is nothing short of unique. This type of sight is vastly different from any I’ve seen before. As I stated earlier, this is the same sight incorporated on Springfield’s most recent gun, the Hellcat. Running the Hellcat is when I first became familiar with this new sight. At first it seems almost off-putting as it was so different than any sights I’d utilized before. After firing just a couple rounds, I was sold. With the XD-M Elite, the META trigger combined with the white U-Dot sight enabled very quick sight acquisition, accuracy and gave the ability for fast follow-up shots.

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Out of the box I must admit, I was skeptical. This gun almost felt top heavy to me as the grip seemed so light. It threw me off just a bit as I was expecting the same feel of other duty guns that have a little more heft to them. Of course, it wasn’t loaded, but still I noticed a difference. Range time instantly wiped out any skepticism. I experienced very little muzzle rise and almost zero recoil. I maintained pleasingly consistent 1” groups and found this gun to be very easy to handle. No malfunctions, no issues whatsoever.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t put on my firearms instructor hat and pass on a bit of knowledge. No matter how good the firearm is, you will only ever be as good as your training allows. I’ve seen people blame the firearm for poor shooting that’s clearly due to their own lack of training and/or proper practice. No firearm is going to magically produce great on target groups. As shooters we need to make certain that we are seeking out proper training that is applicable to our daily lives and correlates with the reasons we have a firearm in the first place. Once we have the proper training, we need to be diligent with incorporating that with consistent, patient practice. Before we ever blame a firearm, we must first evaluate our own form and shooting fundamentals. Proper technique partnered with a great firearm can really take your shooting to the next level.

The Springfield Armory XD-M Elite is a well-made, great shooting duty gun that comes with an attainable MSRP of $559.00. I can’t wait to try out the other three in the Elite line-up.

XD-M® ELITE 4.5″ 9MM Specifications

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Barrel 4.5″ Hammer Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish, 1:16
  • Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
  • Frame Black Polymer
  • Sights Fiber Optic Front, Tactical Rack U-Dot™ Rear
  • Recoil System One Piece w/ Full Length Guide Rod
  • Magazines (2) 20-Round
  • Grip Width 1.2″
  • Height 5.75″
  • Length 7.6
  • Weight 29 oz
  • MSRP $559

Karen Hunter, GetZone.com Contributor

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