First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 2

First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 2

A new level of authenticity

By Dennis Adler

No tricks this time, this was my XDM from 2010. You can imagine how incredible it would have been nine years ago to have been able to lay a matching CO2 pistol next to it. Now you can.

We are by nature a people who want what they cannot have. This is not a bad thing; it is what inspires us to reach for higher goals. For Springfield Armory, those goals continue to extend the armsmaker’s reach across the spectrum of innovative semi-auto pistols, and now into the world of blowback action CO2 pistols. Originally (and still) known for its excellent line of Model 1911-A1 pistols, Springfield Armory broke its own mold in 2002 with the introduction of the polymer-framed XD (X-Treme Duty) models. In the subsequent 17 years the company has continued to expand the XD Series and make improvements, including the XDM models introduced in 2008. Yes, it took almost a decade for Springfield to develop its first CO2 powered, blowback action model in 2018, but like everything this company has done, it is done right the first time. Understanding the design of the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP versions, is the key to understanding the CO2 pistols. In purpose, they are one and the same.

Here is a current XDM and the new Springfield Armory XDM CO2 model. And once again, you get to guess which is which. Quick story: I took the CO2 model to the local gun shop that a friend of mine owns. I had him get a new XDM from the showcase and then told him to close his eyes. I unzipped the case I had with me and took out the CO2 model. Put both in his hands and then said, “OK, which one is the air pistol?” You could have heard a pin drop. Here was a gun guy, a guy who collects, shoots competitively, buys and sells guns, and he had to think about it before he said, “Are you kidding me? This has got to be the coolest air pistol I have ever seen.” Then he started making item by item comparisons and he was simply amazed by the authenticity of the pistol.

About the centerfire guns     

Shop Benjamin Rifles

In one of my reviews of the XDM for Combat Handguns I wrote that “…wrapping your hand around an XDM is like grabbing the shifter on a high-performance sports car; there’s a lot of horsepower here. The hi-capacity XDM models have match grade barrels, long, leggy grips and modest carry weights with superbly crafted polymer frames. No lightweight when it comes to taking up recoil, an XDM is nevertheless a full quarter pound less on the hip than a comparable Springfield Model 1911-A1 and that’s a gun with almost half the capacity of the XDM.”

The Springfield CO2 model fits the XD Gear holster perfectly making it ideal for training.

With Springfield Armory’s long history with building 1911 models, there is a touch of 1911 in every XDM; not only because of the gun’s very familiar feeling grip angle, but Springfield’s adaptation of a 1911-style grip safety, which is combined with a pivoting trigger safety (similar to a Glock), creating the XDM’s unique dual safety system that is almost unrivaled in the handgun industry. Both must be depressed in order to discharge the firearm. There is no external safety to click on or off, no de-cocker. As a carry gun, cocked and locked is the XDM’s normal safe condition.

Ounce-for-ounce (with a little more weight for the CO2 model), inch-for-inch and feature-for-feature, the CO2 model literally stacks up against the centerfire pistol.

The XDM design (9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP) has two indicators that show when a round is chambered and if the action has been cycled; both can be easily seen, and in low light conditions, or in the dark, distinguished by touch. The loaded chamber indicator is located behind the ejector port on top of frame. The front edge projects upward just enough to see it, or to surreptitiously feel it if you run a finger over the top of the slide. On the CO2 model it is always in the chambered round position, slightly raised above the top of the slide. The cocking indicator takes a page from guns like the Walther P99 with the back of the striker protruding through the rear face of the slide when the action has been cycled. This, however, does not mean that a round is chambered with the centerfire or CO2 pistols! For the centerfire guns, that is where the loaded chamber indicator becomes essential. Back in the old days one would do a press check to make sure a round was chambered by pushing the slide back just far enough to see the shell case.

Looking down on the two guns, the only thing giving away the CO2 model is the plunger protruding from the front of the slide. One other hint, the loaded chamber indicator is still up on the CO2 pistol. Otherwise, hard to tell even with a long look.

The built-in features of the XDM series cover more ground than some custom built semi-autos. The guns have tapered ambidextrous magazine releases, drift adjustable dovetailed front and rear white dot sights, ambidextrous indexing thumb rests, deeply angled front and rear slide serrations, and come with two interchangeable backstrap panels. The standard white dot sights can easily be replaced with Springfield’s optional red fiber optic front sight or low light tritium sights. The CO2 model comes with the red fiber optic which is also now standard on the centerfire pistols. Both front and rear sights on the CO2 model are dovetailed in but locked in place with set screws from underneath. Though not adjustable they are removable.

Even from the back the guns are almost totally indistinguishable from one another. The CO2 model has slightly larger white dot rear sights, and of course, the white dot front on the .40 S&W model gives it away, but the latest XDM models all have the same red fiber optic front sight.

Then there is the ease with which the XDM fieldstrips. Remove the magazine, clear the chamber, lock the slide back and rotate the takedown lever upward (it’s the large lever a third of the way back on the left side of the frame), pull the slide to the rear until it disengages from the slide lock and then simply pull the slide forward off the frame. The recoil spring and guide rod lift up for removal, lift the barrel slightly and remove it. Reassembly is just as quick.

Field stripping? You bet. It’s the same exact design and operation as the centerfire model. And look at the fine details in the all-metal polished steel CO2 BB magazine.

All XDM models have ramped, match grade barrels that provide accuracy more common to competition pistols than traditional self defense handguns. As with a majority of modern semi-autos the XD series utilizes a striker fired system which Springfield Armory has fine tuned to reduce trigger take-up and reset. Including engaging the trigger safety there’s about 0.5 inches of travel and the trigger remains crisp and consistent with every shot requiring a nominal 6.65 lbs. average.

Another fine detail and a plus for CO2 purchasers, the gun comes with all three interchangeable (S, M, L) backstrap panels.

A striker fired system is unique in that “technically speaking” it is neither a single action nor a double action design since there is no internal or external hammer involved in discharging the gun. The same argument can be made for the Glock, Walther P99 and any number of handguns with striker fired systems, but more often than not you’ll see them described as DA/SA. The CO2 model uses a small internal hammer as a striker, with a separately activated striker pin to protrude from the back of the slide when the slide has been cycled and the action ready to fire. This is as close to the actual XDM as physically possible for an air pistol.

Features of the gun are superbly outlined in the XDM instruction book which is one of the best ever included with a CO2 pistol. In the circle is the magazine loading follower assist, which makes loading BBs easier than almost any other CO2 BB magazine in the industry.

Velocity Tests

Loading CO2 into the XDM style polished steel magazine is a two-step process. With the magazine inverted and loading channel facing you, pull the small tab at the bottom of the channel down, this is locked into a small slot in the base pad. Slide the base pad forward and remove it. This exposes the seating screw. Unscrew it, insert the CO2 cartridge (with a small drop of Pellgun Oil on the tip), replace the seating screw and tighten it down. Then replace the base pad and make certain the tab is engaged in the slot.

The instruction book also shows how to use the follower assist tool.

Loading the 20 BBs in to the magazine is also a little different and better than other designs. The pistol comes with a magazine follower loading assist tool which allows you to pull the follower down and hold it while inserting BBs into the large loading channel. The BBs stagger just like cartridges in the centerfire magazines.

The XDM clocked an average of 300 fps (not bad considering how much felt recoil this gun delivers for authentic feel, and we are talking actual muzzle rise). The very first time I shot the gun was for chronographing velocity and after finding out that it shot a little low, I corrected POA and from 21 feet, shooting though the chronograph, this is my first 10-shot group.

The XDM has a medium-loud report and felt recoil that comes very close to a .22 LR cartridge. The downside of this fine feedback is slighter lower velocity and fewer shots per CO2, but for training it is a fair tradeoff. Average velocity clocked 300 fps and the gun shot slightly low, but well centered for windage. My initial 10-round target, shot while I was chronographing the gun at 21 feet, measured 1.3 inches center-to-center with the best 5-shot group at 0.875 inches. Eight of 10 were solidly in the red with two cutting into the black at 6 o’clock. The gun shot 2 inches below POA so my correction was 12 o’clock at the top of the 9 ring. From 21 feet using a two-handed hold and Weaver stance, the XDM delivered fairly tight groups. For the very first shooting test and very first target with the gun, I have high expectations.

With almost exact weight, exact measurements and features, the Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 is the perfect training gun.

Saturday more velocity and accuracy tests with Hornady Black Diamond black anodized steel BBs and Air Venturi Dust Devils.

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.

6 thoughts on “First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 2”

  1. So far the XDM is looking like best in show. The next breakthrough in blowback pistols will be enhancing recoil without as much loss in velocity. This would require utilizing an enhanced blowback system as was done in the Colt 22 ACE , utilizing a floating chamber to enhance the rearward motion of the slide and felt recoil.

  2. Hi Denis
    The caption for photo #5 ‘the only thing giving away the CO2 model is the plunger protruding from the front of the slide’ – not sure what this is referencing except maybe the different wear marks on the co2 gun. I do have other co2 guns that wear in similar to the upper gun in the photo with the shockwave style wear marks.

    • Red:

      What I call the plunger or “air nozzle” is the part that projects out from under the front of the slide, which normally can be seen when looking down into a blowback action air pistol. This delivers the CO2 charge to the BB just as a firing pin would strike the back of a cartridge primer in a centerfire pistol. Looking into a centerfire (or rimfire) pistol you would not see anything like this. That is a very quick tell. Sometimes, however, this air nozzle retracts back into the CO2 firing mechanism and is not seen. With the XDM it projects forward and does not retract, so this is what I am referring to as giving away the air pistol design when looking into the gun with the slide retracted. The wear marks on the top of the barrel lug that fits into the slide ejection port vary from one gun to another, some show no wear marks while others wear finish after a few hundred rounds. The Springfield XD Series centerfire guns also show this wear, as evidenced by the .40 S&W model in the photos. The CO2 models wears finish quickly but not much beyond what you see on this sample gun which has been shot quite a bit. This is really normal wear.


  3. Red:

    Here is a close-up view of the air nozzle to which I am referring (arrow). This is part of an air pistol firing mechanism and you will not see anything like this looking at the centerfire gun pictured above. Of course, as an internal component it does not detract from the authentic look of the XDM CO2 model from the outside.

  4. Striker fired pistols like the XD series are the new normal. Conventional all metal pistols are dwindling. With only 1911 style pistols continuing to grab a market share . For those still liking a da/sa mechanism, the Springfield XDE is a viable choice. Would be nice to see a replica airgun version

  5. Hi Denis
    The new photos explain what you are trying to say perfectly. I have about 10 of the 1911 style pistols and none have the style of plunger shown on the XDM. All are located, (as I see them), at the rear of the ejection port with the slide locked back or the front of the internal blowback cylinder. When you describe “protruding from the front of the slide” I automatically start looking at the area under the front sight. I also think that what threw me off as well was the metal pin coming out of the front of the plunger. The larger photo in the above reply shows it is not a ipin but just a part of the internal rail in the background.
    I have never seen or handled one of these guns so sometimes these old eyes of mine interpret things a little differently (insert Quartermasters Song here) than what they actually are especially if the photos are lower resolution.
    Now having read your review I’m looking forward to any new reviews you might put out on this gun when it’s released.
    As I said I have a number of the 1911 guns and think that this one is close enough to the 1911 style that it may be my next action pistol purchase. Too bad the mags aren’t the same!

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