"I was told there would be no math." That's often how I feel when buying ammo for my semi-automatic firearms. You see, ammunition tends to come in boxes of 20 to 50 rounds. Magazines tend to hold seven to 30 rounds, give or take, depending on the gun in question. Now, figuring out how to avoid partial-box remnants is not exactly equivalent to proving Fermat's Last Theorem, but there is a reason I'm an editor, not an engineer. Thankfully, Springfield Armory has unveiled a handgun that allows those of us who spent more time in college killing brain cells than paying attention to buy a box of ammo without worrying about leftover rounds.
The XD(M)-9 has a 19-round magazine, so if you carry a full mag with one cartridge in the chamber, this handgun holds a complete box of ammunition. This unprecedented capacity in a flush-fitting magazine has implications that go beyond just simplifying shopping for mathematically impaired shooters. Those extra rounds may come in handy in a life-threatening situation.
A recent study of NYPD officer-involved shootings showed a rather low hit-rate for New York's Finest. That's no knock on the cops; they do everything in their power to avoid shooting, and we are all better off for those efforts. What this and other studies demonstrate is that accuracy goes out the window in a stressful situation—like when someone is firing a gun at you—even for trained professionals.
Those of us who carry concealed also do not want to shoot someone—ever. But, the world is an imperfect and potentially dangerous place, and sadly, we may find ourselves confronting an armed bad guy. In such a situation, most of us will shoot more like the NYPD than Delta Force commandos. Having a few extra rounds is an advantage when facing a drug-addled criminal intent on causing you harm.
Extra capacity is also useful in competition, gun testing and just plain-old fun range time. Fewer reloads equals better times on score sheets and more time spent shooting during practice. It also means healthier fingertips, as you don't have to keep jamming rounds into empty magazines with your thumb.
The XD(M) includes several other design changes to the original XD platform. It has interchangeable backstraps, allowing for improved fit to a shooter's hand, and deeper grip checkering for added purchase. It also has a match-grade barrel and low-profile sights. These new features are largely welcome, but not problem-free.
The grip provided more purchase during testing, as promised. But, the deep serrations left an imprint in my hand and caused some discomfort. While I prefer the old XD grips, there is virtually no way to lose your grip on the XD(M). The interchangeable backstraps are a wonderful feature, especially for those of us with smaller hands, but for some reason, Springfield decided to attach the inserts via a roll pin. Roll pins are horrid features on any gun, as you must remove and reinsert them with a punch. Whenever I have had to punch out a roll pin, it has taken far too long and required too much effort. Once you have changed the grip insert to your preferred size, however, you are unlikely to ever need to swap it out again, so this is hardly a huge problem.
Everything else about the XD(M)-9 is fantastic. It shoots straight and fast when needed, carries well and disassembles with ease. Another added bonus on the new pistol is that it comes apart without having to pull the trigger. While no sane person would ever take down a loaded gun, negligence happens. Even if you foolishly leave a round in the chamber, you can safely take the gun apart and correct your mistake without hurting yourself or anyone hanging around.
The XD(M)-9 comes with a plethora of gear, including a polymer paddle holster, double-magazine carrier and loading tool to help get all 19 rounds into each of the two included magazines. All of these accessories and the pistol ship in a nice hard case that is ideal for transport to and from the range.
Springfield developed a wonderful polymer pistol with the original XD. The XD(M) refines that design into an even better package, including the largest-capacity standard magazine for a handgun available on the market. That innovation alone makes it an ideal gun for self-defense and a pleasure for those of us who cringe at the thought of arithmetic.