Over the years, several smaller pistols have passed through my hands with varying degrees of success. For the most part, compact and subcompact pistols just don’t seem to suit me. Most have worked just fine—many were superb—but it really boils down to a personal preference. My somewhat larger hands make many of the smaller pistols uncomfortable to shoot. Shorter 1911 pistols can be sketchy at times and many of the modern polymer pistols are still wide, making inside-the-waistband carry less than optimal for me. Pistols in .40 caliber can be rather snappy, and my personal preference is for something with a little more power, like the .45 ACP.

A recent test of the new .45 ACP XDM turned out to be a really pleasant surprise, and it’s definitely a surefire alternative. Having tested a couple XDM pistols (“XD” stands for “eXtreme Duty”), I can say that they have always been reliable and accurate, but they were mostly 9mm and .40-caliber pistols. Providing the same experience with a .45 in a short barrel is a different story. Springfield Armory’s new XDM 3.8 Compact .45 is a great idea, and it turned out to be one of the most accurate, reliable and comfortable short .45 pistols I have used.

XDM 3.8 Compact .45

The XDM Compact arrived in a really nice hard case containing the pistol, a spare full-sized magazine, handloader, and two spacers for use with more full-sized magazines. It also contained a holster and magazine pouch. As with all XDM pistols, different grip straps are provided to fit various hand sizes. This is pretty much all you need for concealed carry.

The checkering on the pistol is aggressive and allows for a solid hold without regard to the weather or glove use. A truly ambidextrous magazine release is provided that is accessible but never seemed to get activated other than when planned. There is an easily accessible slide stop, and the takedown lever is out of the way until needed. The oversized triggerguard contains a smooth and predictable trigger with a short reset. Familiar XDM serrations are on the slide for manipulation in all weather conditions. White dot sights were installed, but tritium and other sight options are available. Like all XDM pistols, the 3.8 Compact .45 has a grip safety, making it impossible to run the slide or fire the weapon unless it is depressed. The match-grade barrel utilizes a captured dual return spring to tame recoil and ensure reliable operation.

When it came time to test the XDM Compact at the range, I found its accuracy at 15 yards to be excellent, and it may be the softest-shooting short .45 ACP around. Unlike most short pistols, there would be no issue spending a long day on the range with this compact. After a few rounds, you forget it is a compact—it shoots like a full-sized pistol. Even with my little finger unable to grasp the grip, control was not a problem. Inserting the full-sized magazine really locked this pistol in place. With groups under an inch and no malfunctions, it really does not get any better.

The holster and magazine pouch worked fine and are well suited to range use or concealed carry. A predictable trigger with a short reset made for solid split times and excellent accuracy. It turned out to be a blast to shoot and really hard to put away.

Springfield Armory has really provided a winner here. There are already a ton of truly satisfied XDM shooters out there and more will likely join them after using this pistol. It is a nice mix of short barrel and concealable grip without giving up reasonable capacity in a proven self-defense cartridge. It is a nice addition to the compact and subcompact lines they already offer.

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