“Beware of the man with only one gun. He probably knows how to use it.”
This old proverb was given new meaning with the creation of the Springfield Armory XD(M) 3.8 pistol. This versatile handgun provides in one package a duty pistol, a back-up or concealed carry pistol and, if you so choose, a fine tool for use in IDPA or other practical shooting competitions.
The internal changes that give the new XD(M) what Springfield Armory calls the M-factor are all well and good, but they are for the most part subtle changes that make the pistol feel and function better.
What is not subtle, what jumps right out and grabs you, is the grip. Well, I guess you grab the grip, but the point is, the design of the grip and the magazine make this pistol a versatile self-defense tool capable of filling a number of roles, while at the same time allowing the shooter to maintain that level of familiarity required for consistently accurate shooting.
The key element here is amazing in it simplicity. It is one of those, “Someone should have thought of this sooner,” elements that comes when designers stop and think about people’s needs. Springfield Armory built a subcompact pistol; one that is perfect for concealed carry, then added a full-sized magazine equipped with a sleeve that matches the profile of the grip frame.
With the shorter magazine in the pistol you get a solid subcompact pistol that virtually disappears under even the lightest cover garment. Carry the longer magazine as your spare and you are ready to stay in the fight until you win it. Yes, statistically speaking, the typical gunfight lasts three seconds, during which you might expend three or four rounds. But we are not worried about what is probable. We are worried about what is possible. Is it possible that you will need more ammo? Has anyone in a gunfight wished he’d had less ammo? I’ve never heard anyone say, “If only I had fewer rounds in that magazine, I could have reloaded more often during the fight.”
With the Springfield Armory XD(M) 3.8 you carry lots of ammo in a small package and lots more in your spare magazine. You can go from 11 rounds of .40 S&W in the compact version to a whopping 16 rounds in a hand-filling, comfortable grip just by changing the magazine. You get 13 rounds in the compact 9mm version and 19 rounds in the full-size standard magazine.
So, if there is one element on the Springfield Armory XD(M) 3.8 that provides you the versatility to be “…the man with one gun” my vote is for the interchangeability of the magazines. You get two different grip sizes just by changing the magazine. Top that off with interchangeable backstraps to insure the pistol will fit virtually any hand and now you are carrying what amounts to a custom gun at a production gun price.
On the range, the pistol functions flawlessly with either magazine, and accuracy at typical combat distances is not negatively affected by switching from one magazine to the other. There is a bit of a difference in your grip when shooting with the smaller magazine inserted, but it is nothing you can’t overcome with a bit of practice.
Get to a local gun shop and fill your hand with the XD(M) 3.8. See if your first impression isn’t the same as mine. This is one pistol that will serve all your needs.
Recommended Handgun Resources
Massad Ayoob’s Greatest Handguns of the World
About the Author: Kevin Michalowski is the former Senior Editor of Gun Digest the Magazine and Tactical Gear Magazine.
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