January 15, 2020
According to Springfield Armory spokesmen, the brand-new 9mm XD-M Elite line “represents the pinnacle of performance in factory striker-fired pistols.” The new line includes the XD-M Elite 3.8" (3.8-inch barrel, compact slide, U-Dot rear sight), XD-M Elite 4.5" (4.5-inch barrel, U-Dot rear sight), XD-M Elite Tactical OSP (5.34-inch threaded barrel, optics-ready slide, suppressor-height sights), and XD-M Elite Precision (5.25-inch barrel, extended slide, adjustable rear sight). I got a close-up look at the XD-M Elite 4.5" for this report.
The Springfield 9mm XD-M Elite 4.5" features a standard-length slide and 4.5-inch, hammer-forged barrel. It comes with the “short” magwell system that mates up with Springfield 20-round magazines. That’s right: Magazine capacity is a whopping 20 rounds, and the pistol comes with two magazines.
The U-Dot Tactical Rack rear sight has a U-shaped, white-outline notch, and the front sight has a red fiber-optic insert. The rear sight is drift adjustable for windage, and the front sight is dovetailed into the slide. The slide has large grasping grooves at the rear and at the front (four grooves on each side at the rear and three grooves on each side up front). In addition, the slide is contoured in an angled and streamlined fashion that aids the shooter’s grasp when racking the slide.
Other cool features of the Springfield XD-M Elite 4.5" include 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 wears a matte black melonite finish. Melonite is a salt-bath nitriding process that leaves a thick, corrosion-resistant, matte/satin hard surface that effectively resists wear.
The XD-M Elite pistol’s polymer grip frame features a wide magwell that assists in rapid magazine changes, Springfield’s trademark Mega-Lok texturing that provides a secure gripping surface even with wet hands, and a grip circumference of 5.63 inches. The square trigger guard is spacious, and its front surface is textured.
The Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) trigger on the Springfield XD-M Elite 4.5" deserves a mention, too. The trigger system has an integral pivoting lever that eliminates the danger of discharge unless the trigger finger is engaged. It also has a very short travel and a short reset that helps the shooter stay on target better and provide faster, more accurate follow-up shots.
My pistol’s trigger-pull averaged 5.5 pounds over a series of five measurements with my RCBS trigger-pull scale, and it was one of the best triggers of this type that I’ve experienced.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the distinctive grip safety that prevents the gun’s trigger from being squeezed and the gun’s slide from being racked to the rear unless the safety is fully depressed. It’s a hallmark of the Springfield XD pistol family, and it is reminiscent of the grip safety on the classic Model 1911 design.
All in all, the new Springfield 9mm XD-M Elite 4.5" is a well-thought-out, well-designed, and well-made striker-fired pistol. It balances well in the hand, feels like a natural extension of the shooter’s arm, and comes with a lot of exclusive features that improve pointability and performance. Carrying an MSRP of $559, it’s definitely worth your consideration.
Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm 4.5-inch Specs:
- Type: Striker-fired autoloader
- Caliber/Cartridge: 9mm
- Magazine Capacity: 20 rounds
- Barrel Length: 4.5 inches
- Overall Length: 8.02 inches
- Width: 1.44 inches
- Height: 5.62 inches (to bottom of magwell)
- Weight (empty): 29.3 oz.
- Grips: Integral to polymer frame
- Finish: Matte black melonite slide, black polymer frame
- Sights: U-Dot Tactical Rack U-shaped white-outline drift-adjustable rear, fiber-optic front
- Trigger: 5.5-pound pull (as tested)
- Safety: Grip safety, internal firing pin block
For more information on Springfield XD-M Elite pistols, please visit: springfield-armory.com