trend in semi-automatic police duty pistols has developed. Longer length
barrels and slides are offered as competition ready models. The trend has
sprung up not out of necessity, but out of practicality. Years ago, the
standard double-action duty revolver usually came with a 4-inch barrel. Heavy
barrels with a thicker circumference added weight for rapid sight reacquisition
when fired, but gun savvy police officers often had a 6-inch barrel revolver
hanging from their duty belt.
Glock Model 34 was covered in the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of Tactical Response with its tactical/practical applications afforded
by its longer slide and barrel. Following up in the Jul/Aug 2013 issue, the
Smith & Wesson M&P Pro model was discussed with its 5-inch barrel and
slide. The XD(M) 5.25 is the third answer to the question frequently asked,
“What pistol can I use for both duty and competition?”
3.8 inches to 5.25 inches
are several advantages of a longer barrel in on a duty gun. SpringfieldArmory’s popular XD(M)® provides a longer sighting radius with their 5.25
model, available in 9mm, 40 S&W or 45 ACP. The match grade, select fit,
Melonite®-coated steel barrel measures 5 1/4 inches in length, giving this XD(M)
5.25 variation its namesake.
fully adjustable rear sight is positioned at the absolute rear of the slide and
melted into its top profile. The sight’s non-glare, serrated rear face takes
advantage of the slide’s long length when lined up on target with the red
fiber-optic front sight. Spare fiber-optic sight inserts are included (in both
red and green colors) with each handgun.
toward a pistol’s muzzle is an advantage that helps tame recoil and balances a
handgun. However, the 5.25 pistol has a lightening cut on the top of the forged
steel slide that reduces the slide’s reciprocating mass. Slide weight is
removed so the recoil spring can work the pistol’s Browning-style action
quickly and reliably with various cartridge loads. The 5.25 model (at 29 ounces
empty in 9mm) weighs just 1.5 ounces more than the standard 3.8-inch-barrel
full-size pistol (at 27.5 ounces). You get the advantage of a longer sight
radius with very little additional weight pulling down your duty belt.
version pistol includes several features beyond the XD model, which is based on
the Croatian HS2000 pistol. Springfield Armory has been importing their XD line
since 2001 and the XD(M) is an extension of their polymer frame/striker fired
lineup. The XD(M) is available in
compact, duty, and extended length versions like this duty/competition ready
included backstraps interchange as long as you have a hammer and punch handy,
but most officers will only change the backstrap once. They’ll decide which of
the small, medium, or large Mold-Tru inserts work best with their grip and then
store the other two away.
release buttons are located on both sides of the frame, just behind the trigger
guard on the XD(M). Left-handed shooters
have the pleasure of using their thumb on the button just like the other 90
percent of the human race. The slide release lever is only on the left side, so
the two-handed slingshot method will be necessary for left-handers to let the slide
go forward after a rear slide lock.
takedown lever rotates upward when the pistol is empty and the slide is locked
to the rear for simple disassembly. The slide then eases forward off the frame
and the barrel and recoil spring/guide lift out for cleaning. There is no need
to pull the trigger prior to field stripping the XD(M).
police officer, it’s a price-conscious touch that each 9mm pistol is equipped
with three 19-round magazines (16-round in 40 S&W, 13-round in 45 ACP)
instead of just two. The heavy-duty, lockable case that the XD(M) comes shipped
in features foam fitted to retain a plastic paddle holster, double-mag belt
pouch, loading tool, the extra magazines, and a padlock. It also retains the
extra backstraps and there is an open cutaway to hold a weapon light (purchased
separately) for mounting to the XD(M)’s Picatinny rail.
Geneseo, Ill. firearms company indicates the XD(M)’s trigger pull will break
between 5.5 and 7.7 pounds. The test model was found to average a trigger pull
weight of 5.8 pounds. There was some take-up as the trigger readied the striker
and moved the internal firing pin safety out of the way. After the trigger
broke, there was a tiny bit of over-travel. For a combat handgun, this is
acceptable. However, for a competition pistol, a spongy trigger and over-travel
are not very desirable.
trigger’s safety is a tab in its center that prevents the trigger from moving
rearward unless the shooter’s finger is pressing it on purpose. Despite the trigger’s
lack of extreme precision, the XD(M) 5.25 was found to be a terrific shooter. Accurate
shots were easy to make at various distances. As a dual-purpose competition and
duty pistol, the 5.25 worked well for both styles right out of the box.
of 9mm ammo were fired through the XD(M) 5.25 without failure. This included Federal
and Remington 115-grain FMJ, Winchester Ranger 124-grain FMJ, Winchester 115-grain
Silvertip, Speer 124-grain +P Gold Dot, and Hornday Critical Duty and Z-Max
ammo. They all fed, cycled and ejected—and hit the target—with excellent
fiber-optic front sight is quick to pick up in daylight shooting. Four-time
World Champion Rob Leatham helped to design the XD(M) 5.25 and he knows that
fiber optic sights are optimal for competition. However, in low-light settings,
it becomes much more difficult to see for police use. A tritium front night
sight can easily be swapped out so that the dot can be seen in darker settings
for duty use.
officer carries the XD(M) 3.8 on duty with night sights and then utilizes the
5.25 version for competition, the manual of arms remains the same. The extra
1.45 inches of barrel and slide length will fit in most duty holsters and the
5.25 can serve as a dual-purpose weapon all by itself. Practice and competition
with the longer barrel pistol will still translate into better shooting with
the shorter-length duty gun.
chamber indicator pops up on the top of the slide just to the rear of the
chamber when a round is ready to go. This indicator is small, but it can be
seen and readily felt for tactile confirmation that you’re ready to shoot. The
cocking indicator at the rear of the slide also protrudes to inform you that
the striker is set to fire when the trigger is pressed.
safety on the XD(M) sets it apart from other similar polymer frame/striker
fired pistols. The grip safety on the XD(M) lends itself as an extra measure of
safety. Even if the trigger is pulled, the XD(M) will not fire unless the grip
safety is also depressed.
safety requires a bit more training and awareness when it comes to clearing a
malfunction. The worse-case scenario “Class 3” jam is when a cartridge case is
in the chamber and a second loaded round is nosed up against it, trying to feed
into the blocked barrel. The slide needs to be locked to the rear to clear this
type of problem.
requires the grip safety to be depressed in order for the slide to be
retracted. A standard strong-hand grip
on the pistol will depress the grip safety to allow this malfunction to be
cleared. But, if the shooter twists the pistol in the hand and does not keep
the grip safety pressed in, the slide will not retract to the rear.
is a dependable and ergonomic weapon that works well for police duty use. The 5.25 version offers a longer sight plane
that is inherently easier to shoot accurately.
The sight system is outstanding for competition use, but if a police
officer is going to use the 5.25 also as a duty pistol, a front tritium night
sight may be in order.