First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 1

First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 1

A line in the sand

By Dennis Adler

The new Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 blowback action CO2 model is shown with an early .40 S&W XDM with the complete case and accessories. The CO2 model will not have such a lavish presentation but it will fit the XD Gear holster and the CO2 BB magazines will fit the XD Gear dual magazine pouch. Care to venture a guess which one is the air pistol?

I can remember how impressed I was with the Umarex S&W M&P40, which became the first truly purposeful CO2 training gun, one so accurate in details that a few law enforcement departments that carried 9mm and .40 S&W M&P pistols used the CO2 models for indoor training exercises. The guns proved useful both for recruits and remedial training exercises where live fire (in this case with .177 caliber steel BBs at distances of three to seven yards) could yield a realistic training scenario against targets, while using all other duty gear and accessories in conjunction with the Umarex in place of the centerfire gun. This success as both training gun and as a popular brand name blowback action CO2 pistol for recreational shooting had few equals. In fact, for absolute equality, there was nothing as perfectly matched in all aspects of handling and operation until the Umarex HK USP late in 2018. There are other CO2 models that approach the level of the M&P40 and USP, but none that can equal it. And even the M&P40 has a very obvious air pistol tell with its white lettering on the left side of the slide and right side plastered with white letter warning and manufacturer’s marks. The HK USP followed suit, though far less noticeably. The Glock 17 finally cleared that hurdle with an almost perfect fit and finish and absence of any white lettering or warnings to detract from its authentic Glock appearance. But in building the G17, Umarex designed a gun that could not be field stripped, eliminating one of the essential components of a true CO2 training gun. Even the superb Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE 1911, a virtual 1:1 match with its .45 ACP counterpart, had to succumb to white letter warnings on the right side of the slide. Perfection was close for all of these CO2 models, a perfection that would cross the line that visually blurs the CO2 pistol, with some modicum of time for scrutiny, from being anything but a CO2 pistol to the trained eye. Today, I submit for your consideration a blowback action air pistol that has drawn a line in the sand, the Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 semi-auto pistol.

A little closer look and it is still hard to tell the CO2 model from the centerfire pistol. Springfield Armory was directly involved in the design and approval of the Air Venturi models to ensure that the blowback action, .177 caliber pistols meet the standards of the brand. All of the XDM design details are accurately reproduced.

Perfection and its responsibilities

No CO2 pistol, thus far, has been so thoroughly matched to its centerfire counterpart as the Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 for design detail, fit and finish. As S&W, Glock, and Heckler & Koch worked very closely with Umarex, and Sig Sauer with its own airgun division, Air Venturi and Springfield Armory worked perhaps even closer to get this first CO2 model right in every essential detail. There are no obvious tells, no subtle hints, no .177 caliber markings, except on the barrel lug exposed in the ejection port, where every Springfield Armory model has it caliber stamped. The gun looks as close as physically possible. Even the one concession to air pistol manufacturing mandated when the centerfire gun uses a blade trigger safety, the addition of a secondary manual safety, has been built into the actual serial number plate under the dustcover. Even the centerfire model’s cocked action indicator at the back of the slide is duplicated and works on the CO2 pistol.

The CO2 model, which is the gun at the top in this photo, is an exact match on left and right sides. The warning information is actually molded in to the left bottom edge of the slide and the .177 caliber is placed on the barrel lug just as the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP stampings are on centerfire guns. There are very few things to take away from the authentic look and feel of the air pistol version.

The latest centerfire models have a red fiber optic front sight. The older .40 S&W model pictured at right has the original front white dot. The CO2 models have the current red fiber optic sight. The self-contained CO2 BB magazines are the most accurate-looking CO2 magazines yet. They are just a bit longer and extend a little further in the XD Gear magazine pouch. One other key feature to note is the cocked action indicator at the rear of the slide. When the gun is ready to fire it protrudes, otherwise it is flush. Both the centerfire gun and the CO2 model are cocked.

No blowback action CO2 model made thus far demands a greater sense of responsibility to treating it like an actual centerfire handgun than the XDM. It is almost entirely indistinguishable. The warnings I used to place at the end of Airgun Experience articles about brandishing an air pistol is public have never been more imperative. Unless you are looking down the barrel and can see the smaller, recessed muzzle, there is no simple way to tell that this is not an XDM 4.5 and that is exactly what blowback action air pistol enthusiasts have been asking for since the first Umarex Walther PPK/S. Now you have it, and I can tell you that it has been worth the near 20-year wait.

As the comparison charts below show the CO2 model is almost a total match (a little lighter) centerfire XDM models. What the exterior match up doesn’t show is the hidden manual safety required for air pistols based on centerfire guns that do not have them. As such, the air pistol’s manual safety is the sliding serial number plate on the underside of the frame. Even so the blade trigger safety and grip safety still work and feel the same; once the grip safety is engaged, the trigger safety functions like the centerfire models.

SPECIFICATIONS

Springfield XDM 4.5
Caliber:                       9mm
Capacity:                   19+1
Frame/Slide:              Polymer/Stainless steel w/black Melonite finish
Action:                        Recoil operated, striker fired
Barrel length:            4.5 in. (Match grade)
Sights:                        Low profile white dot, white dot or red fiber optic front
Trigger Pull:              6 pounds, 8 ounces (as tested)
OAL:                            7.75 in. to 7.6 in. (depending upon backstrap)
Width:                         1.18 in.
Height:                        5.68 in. (base of magazine to top of rear sight)
Weight:                       29.0 oz. (empty)
Sug. Retail:                $623

Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5
Caliber:                       .177
Capacity:                    20 (equivalent to 19+1)
Frame/Slide:              Polymer/cast alloy w/black Melonite finish
Action:                        Blowback, short-recoil, locked-breed, internal hammer fired
Barrel length:            4.0 in. smoothbore recessed from muzzle
Sights:                        White dot rear, red fiber optic front
Trigger Pull:              4 pounds, 8 ounces (as tested)
OAL:                            7.75 in. (with medium backstrap)
Width:                         1.18 in.
Height:                        5.68 in. (base of magazine to top of rear sight)
Weight:                       31.0 oz. (empty)
Sug. Retail:               $129.99

In Part 2 the Air Venturi Springfield XDM gets checked out against the centerfire version.

A word about safety

Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

Special thanks to Allegeny Trade for supplying the .40 S&W XDM.

One thought on “First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 1

  1. Looks like Springfield entered the market done right. Are the sights drift adjustable? That would complete the pistol. If it shoots straight they have a winner and took the lead. Now if that M1 Carbine would jus t come out


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