First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 4

First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 4

Point of Aim

By Dennis Adler

Green means go and with the LaserMax Spartan green laser you can go for the tight groups at POA with the Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 CO2 model.

There is little more that I can say about the new Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 that will help better define it as the new benchmark in blowback action CO2 air pistols. Yes, there are blowback action CO2 models that have higher average velocity, but another 25 to 50 fps isn’t going to make a significant difference when the cost of that higher velocity is a loss in hands-on performance. While there are certainly other CO2 models that are as realistic in their overall design as the Springfield, they can only make that claim from the left side of the gun, the right side of the slide and frame have white lettering and manufacturing marks that instantly defines them as air pistols, even the very best of them (except the Umarex Glock 17). Only the Springfield has achieved near 100 percent authenticity in every category of comparison to its centerfire counterpart. Why not 100 percent? Because no matter how brilliantly disguised the manual safety is, the fact that it has a manual safety in the first place, is a departure from the centerfire pistol design. It is a strange point of contention but the requirements of CO2 semi-auto air pistol manufacturing require a manual safety be added if the design of the centerfire gun it is based upon does not incorporate one. The XDM CO2 model has managed to comply without any other compromises and close enough in my book compared to every other blowback action model currently offered today.

Why I pick the LaserMax Spartan over any other compact laser for the XDM is for its small size, almost negligible weight, and reasonable price. It is a very good fit for the XDM whether it is the 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP or 4.5mm CO2 model. The LaserMax is also sold by Pyramyd Air, so it is one-stop shopping.

The only issue I have found has been sighting accuracy. The test gun shoots low and there is no way to adjust the fixed white dot rear or red fiber optic front sight. This is easily corrected by adjusting POA when you know where aimed shots hit; no different than learning to correct with any other pistol that does not allow for windage and elevation adjustments, be it a 19th century Colt Single Action or 20th century 1911 with early military-style sights. They were never meant to be target pistols, nor are the XDM 4.5 models, unless equipped with target sights or slide-mounted optics, which Springfield offers for its centerfire guns. For the air pistol, the only way to dial in accuracy to POA without correcting aim is with an accessory rail mounted laser, and that is the reason for this fourth and final installment on the XDM 4.5 CO2 model.

Build a Custom Airgun

Choosing a practical laser

With an authentic MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail, the CO2 model can accept any laser or light/laser combination that would fit the centerfire pistol. If you don’t have a laser, you will quickly find that most made for the centerfire pistol cost more than the XDM CO2 model. There are, however, less expensive lasers for air pistols and a couple that are made for centerfire handguns that are priced affordably enough to pull double duty. My personal choice is either the LaserMax Spartan red or green laser, which sell for $89 and $105, respectively, from Pyramyd Air. They are a value for the price and are ruggedly designed for use with centerfire pistols.

The green laser is easier to see in daylight than a red laser, and with the Spartan’s flashing laser beam it paints a brilliant flickering dot on the target that is even easier to pick up.

Mounting the Spartan on the XDM is the same as with the centerfire pistol and it takes a dozen or so rounds to get the windage and elevation adjusted to the significantly lower velocity of BBs vs. centerfire cartridges, and the pistol’s optimum range of 21 feet. Once done, the XDM 4.5 is dialed in and the POA no longer an issue. So how accurate is the 4-inch smoothbore barrel with a laser?

Range test

I have a preference for the green laser vs. the red since it is better suited to shooting outdoors in daylight (though a red laser at 21 feet is still quite visible in daylight). Testing red and green lasers on centerfire guns, I have managed to pick up a green laser on targets out to 25 yards, whereas a red laser at that range in daylight is almost imperceptible to the human eye. Indoors, in dim light or darkness, it is a moot point, but for the difference in cost between the red or green Spartan, might just as well go green.

This example has been used on about a dozen different guns over the last few years, so the screws are showing a little wear but still hold the laser tight to the rail. The key operating feature is the ambidextrous ON/OFF paddles that extend into the triggerguard allowing the unit to be activated and shut off quickly with the trigger finger.

For the final test of the XDM 4.5 I started with Umarex Precision steel BBs. At 21 feet I fired at 1-second intervals with a full magazine (20 rounds) and ended up with every shot in the red except one, for a spread of 1.81 inches with the one flyer outside of the bullseye, and two in the red a little high at 12 o’clock, leaving a best single group of 10 hits measuring 1.0 inches in the center and a best 5-round group overlapping at 0.44 inches.

With the laser, the XDM has no POA issues and it is possible to shoot tight groups at point of aim. Here I shot 20 rounds with one flyer in the black and a tight pair that I shot a little high. The main group is 1.0 inches with a best 5-rounds overlapping at 0.44 inches.

I wanted to give the Dust Devils one last go in the XDM and with 20 rounds loaded, I again fired at 1-second intervals and there were no failures with the Dust Devils and XDM. The 20-shot spread measured 1.875 inches with two tight groups, one shot left of the bullseye and another centered in the red. The best 5-round group, all overlapping in the red, measured 0.55 inches.

I wanted to see how well Dust Devils performed with the laser since they can be less precise downrange than steel BBs. The XDM put 20 of the frangible BBs into two tight groups measuring 1.875 inches with a best 5-round group, all overlapping in the red at 0.55 inches.

Bottom line with the XDM 4.5, the pistol is capable of tight groups with or without a laser, but for POA shooting, adding a laser does make the XDM a bit more accurate without aiming corrections. Once I have my hands on a production gun we’ll find out if the POA issue with the fixed sights is the nature of the beast or just preflight jitters. Either way, the Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 is the new blowback action CO2 pistol to beat!

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.

4 thoughts on “First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 4”

  1. Hi Denis
    I have for many years now used the KWC Tanfoglio Limited Custom as a Standard of Comparison for my semi-auto action BB pistols. With adjustable rear sight, great accuracy (the fixed hopup – they call it SpinUp on the box, makes for unheard of long range plinking, a great shot count of 55 to 60 useable power shots per co2 and a perfect balance in my hand.
    I read your reoprt on the Limited Custom and just wondering how the XDM stands up in comparison to the Limited Custom?
    I know it’s like comparing apples and oranges -they’re both fruit sorta. I’m just interested hearing what you think about comparing big metal to mostly plastic and if the XDM can keep up with the Tanfoglio Limited Custom.
    And as a side note the 2 Limited Customs I got from PA back then had no printed Toy Warnings anywhere on the guns!

    • Ah Red, you are a man after my own heart. The Limited Custom is one of my very favorite CO2 models. Alas, they are scarce these days, no longer listed by Pyramyd Air. But you have a point, the Limited Custom is one of the most accurate of all CO2 pistols, bettered only by the optics equipped Tanfoglio Gold Custom, which is still available and about as good as shooting a CO2 Blowback Action pistol can get. I’ll see if I can make a fruit salad one of these days and test the Limited Custom against the Springfield.


      • Hi Denis
        Looking forward to that comparison!
        I had one of the Tanfoglio Limited Gold Custom models and to be honest it did not appeal to me. No matter how I set it up it just held uncomfortably, mostly unbalanced to my way of shooting. There are several action BB pistols out there like that. Another is the Sig Sauer Open style of gun. The bulge on the lower backstrap does not fit my hand at all and the Open model similar to the Gold Limited with the optics bridge and compensator made it through 1 co2 cartridge before I sold it off! The Beretta FS92 style of pistol was another with a grip that was too uncomfortable for me. Just too large and bulky.
        I have large hands and one of the most comfortable guns for me is the Colt 1911 style with the straight back strap – probably the reason I have so many of them!

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