Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies. Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who won’t or can’t turn back.
The XDM from Springfield Armory in .40 S&W has become my new favorite tactical carry piece for three reasons. Magazine capacity, versatility, shootability, and dependability. OK, that’s four but you get the point.
Regular readers know that I was raised in a 1911 environment and the truth is that I am still a fan. However, I have been working with some close protection types lately and doing a lot of tactical training to get back up to speed. In my last class of a dozen shooters there were two 1911s, two Springfield XDs and the rest were Glocks. I was one of the XD shooters.
First, I know all about the 1911 and what an ingenious piece it is. I agree. I am also aware that a large number of high speed, low drag teams are still using them or have gone back to them. Again, you will get no argument from me on that because there are some very fine 1911s out there and in the hands of an expert they are very hard to beat. However, it is just painful to watch the single stack guys on a tactical course of fire against the higher capacity polymer guns. Even with the good Wilson high cap mags they are still doing tactical or emergency reloads when the rest of us are still shooting and moving.
Now, I am not claiming to be a tactical pistol guru at all but I have studied the subject a great deal, both on the range and in my head, and I have to side with the double or stagger stack crowd on this one. Cases in point the H&K USP, Glock and Springfield pistols.
If the truth be known, I actually like the Heckler & Koch USP Compacts the best. They fit my hand, seem to be incapable of malfunction with factory loads and shoot well. However, in my opinion, H&K fails in two areas. Magazine capacity and accessory rail configuration. H&K just can’t seem to get with the rest of the world and use a universal rail. They insist on supporting their own weapon light product which uses a different rail. Just plain stupid and stubborn if you ask me. It wouldn’t be so bad if their light were the best out there but it isn’t. That’s why I don’t rely on an H&K product anymore.
Glocks. How can you argue with success? Well you can’t really. The Glock line of pistols is very, very good. There is just no denying that. One of my partners uses the “Glock package”, a 19 on his hip or in a shoulder rig and a 26 stuck somewhere else as a back up. They will both accept the high capacity Glock mags, are dependable and shoot like a house a fire. It is a nice set up. And they are safe, a point to which I can personally attest.
Quick story. In addition to being the Airborne SAR Tech EMT for the Sheriff”s Office Aviation Division, I was also the Rescue Training Coordinator. We were doing some training with one of the local SAR Teams out at Cave Buttes and while I was prepping the ship, one of their senior guys was helping me. He was doing something on the opposite side of the passenger compartment of our Bell 407 and somehow dropped the loaded hot Glock he had in a shoulder holster. The pistol hit the pavement, skipped over the starboard tube and cart wheeled towards me. Not good. Fortunately there was no AD.
So why don’t I use one. Glocks just don’t fit me. Simple as that.
So, for a long time I was using something that I didn’t really love just because there wasn’t anything else available. That is until Springfield Armory introduced the XD line which did everything the Glocks would do but in a form that fit me. I bought an XD-45. Put five hundred rounds through it and liked it. A lot. 13 in the mag, 1 in the pipe, universal accessory rail, round-in-the-chamber indicator, decent sights and it fit my hand. Problem solved. Or so I thought.
I spent some time on the practical pistol range with the boys and soon learned that my beloved .45 ACP is not the ideal round for executive protection details. Oh, it is a great round if you are a professional door kicker, but it lags behind the 9 milly and .40 cal in terms of shootability and mag capacity. Effectively shooting one handed with the opposite hand while moving and managing a protectee was much easier for me with the lighter calibers. Strike one on the .45. In addition to a slimmer design and a match grade barrel, the new XDM from Springfield Armory currently comes in 9mm and .40 S&W flavors with 19+1 and 16+1 capacity respectively. That means I can carry one spare mag instead of two and still be able to put more than 30 rounds down range in the highly unlikely case that I ever needed to. That’s strike two against the .45 and enough to change my mind and my program.
Why not the 9mm? I don’t have a good technical reason for that. It is mostly personal preference really. I know professional operators that say the target will never know the difference when they put the bullet straight through the heart and I have no doubt that they are correct about that. The .40 S&W just seems to be the best for me. It is the biggest round I can shoot effectively with one hand and still allows me a high capacity mag.
Now I am shooting a .40 S&W, again, and I like it. The XDM in a Blackhawk Standard CQC holster (I don’t care for the button on the SERPA models) with the matching double mag holder configured for one mag and my Surefire X200 (yes, I know there is now an X300 but I have not tested it yet) weapon light seems to be a very usable set up. For now anyway. I will let you know how it.
UPDATE – I love the XDM/Surefire combo. It is an outstanding set up.
Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who won’t or can’t turn back.