The XDM 3.8 Part 1

The XDM 3.8 Part 1

Springfield Armory hits another one out of the park!

By Dennis Adler

Air Venturi and Springfield Armory raised the bar for authenticity with the XDM 4.5 and now, with the Compact 3.8, the CO2 models set an even higher standard for total authenticity. Of the three pistols shown, two are blowback action CO2 models, one is a 9mm XDM 3.8.

The Top Gun crown keeps changing hands every few weeks as new 2019 models are revealed but this time it looks like it is staying in the same family as the Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 3.8 models arrive in both black and the centerfire XD Series bi-tone finish with a polished alloy slide contrasting the black polymer frame. Better still; the newest XDM CO2 models use the centerfire 3.8 Compact versions’ extended capacity magazine with XD-Gear grip extension. This model is virtually indistinguishable from the compact centerfire XDM model in every way except for what comes out of the muzzle when you pull the trigger. The balance, weight, trigger design and operation, dual safety system, white dot rear and red fiber optic front sights, and finish are perfectly duplicated. Like the XDM 4.5, the 3.8 has exact dimensions to fit all XD Gear and aftermarket holsters. The self-contained CO2 BB magazines fit XD Gear Grip Frame extensions and the pistol comes with all three sizes to match the interchangeable backstrap panels. The CO2 magazines fit XD Gear and aftermarket magazine pouches as well. Glock may claim perfection but the Springfield Armory XDM series is perfect.

Making things a little more interesting, the CO2 pistol and extended capacity CO2 BB magazine with XD Gear grip extension, trade places with the centerfire pistol. The CO2 model and magazine are in the centerfire pistol’s case. Does it get any closer than this?

Packaging

This is like the old days when a pistol came in a cardboard box with nice graphics on the lid and a finely detailed manual of instructions. Springfield Armory has flipped a page back in current air pistol marking trends (i.e. cheap disposable packaging), and delivered its new CO2 models in a well made partitioned box that holds the gun and all accessories providing the same level of storage as you expect with a centerfire pistol that comes packaged in a cardboard box.

A cardboard box replaces the plastic case that comes with centerfire models, but the box holds everything you need including two backstrap panels with matching grip extensions and an excellent full color instruction manual similar to the centerfire pistols.

Fit, Finish, and a level playing field for training

The XDM CO2 pistols, but more directly, the bi-tone models, are so perfectly executed that it becomes a seamless training gun that can be used for live action target practice indoors or out at defensive ranges up to 21 feet. Actually, it will hold POA accuracy out to almost 10 meters for full size B-27 silhouette target shooting which is well within the 7 to 15 yard (21 foot to 45 foot) training distances for short-barreled defensive pistols. With a 3.8 inch barrel length (3.125 inch internal .177 caliber smoothbore barrel length, measured from the breech to the recessed muzzle, which is set back 0.125 inches from the 9x19mm opening) the 3.8 CO2 model is a Compact pistol. Though the XDM 3.8 is slightly on the large end of the Compact scale, especially with the extended capacity magazine (19 rounds in 9mm), it is still a viable CCW design.

Once again the trio of two CO2 models and a 9mm in the mix to show just how accurate the air pistols are to the centerfire guns. As a training gun for CCW use, the CO2 models are the best thus far for matching every detail and function of their centerfire counterparts. Even the XD Gear grip extensions are interchangeable with the centerfire guns.

What I personally find most appealing about the XDM 3.8 (having owned 9mm Springfield XD’s in the past) is the overall quality of fit and finish Springfield Armory delivers with every product, from their legendary 1911s to the most compact semi-autos, and particularly with the XDM Series, which has been around since 2007. All XD models are handcrafted for Springfield Armory in Croatia and there is a small panel on the left grip of every XD that reads MADE IN CROATIA, so Springfield is openly proud of the XD’s heritage.

Looks, feel, balance, and controls on the CO2 model are exact. The two lines of copy stamped into the lower edge of the CO2 model (just over the takedown lever) are the only immediate tells from the centerfire gun. Even the recessed .177 barrel liner’s muzzle is black, so that it is not evident from the front of the barrel.

That very same level of fit, finish, and quality of construction has been duplicated in the CO2 models but truly excels in the bi-tone 3.8 pistol which has only two, almost unnoticeable, tells; one being that the panel in the left grip reads MADE IN TAIWAN, and there are two line stampings on the left side of the slide that bear the Warning and manufacturer’s mark in letters that are small, unobtrusive and look like they belong there. Many centerfire guns have much larger stampings with the same information. The right side of the CO2 model is exactly the same as the 9mm pistol, with the serial number stamped on the slide behind the ejection port, XDM on the front of the slide and SPRINGFIELD ARMORY U.S.A. along the lower edge, and the stamping MATCH along with the caliber on the barrel lug exposed in the ejection port. The barrel also bears the gun’s serial number. The only difference on the CO2 model is that it is stamped .177 CAL. 4.5mm.

The blowback action model has the same feel and a slide that locks back on an empty magazine. The one big difference is the amount of slide resistance from the 9mm pistol’s heavy recoil spring design, compared to the relative ease with which the CO2 model’s slide can be racked to chamber the first round.

The CO2 BB magazines are as close to the polished metal centerfire mags as possible and for the 3.8 the extended capacity magazine has the XD Gear grip extensions.

One thing that should make the CO2 model with Bi-Tone finish very desirable is that Springfield Armory has discontinued the Bi-Tone finish on centerfire XDM models. If you have a current 9mm (or other caliber) Bi-Tone model, it is now more distinctive than the all black versions currently offered.

The left side of a blowback action CO2 pistol is often the big giveaway. Not so with the Springfield Armory XDM CO2 model, it is a total match for the centerfire pistol. Even the barrel markings are the same except for caliber, which is done the same way as the 9mm pistol.

The new 3.8 Compact CO2 model is the new definition of doppelganger. This is one CO2 model where seeing is believing, and in Part 2 we’ll go 1:1 on measurements and compare handling with a 9mm 3.8 XDM.

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.

One thought on “The XDM 3.8 Part 1

  1. Since Sig figured it out maybe other airgun makers can figure out how to stuff a 12 gran co2 cartridge into a compact handgun replica like the Sig 365. That would pave the way for a nonextended mag in the 3.8 and maybe Glock 26 or 43


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