Preview – Run And Gun With The Springfield Armory XD(M) 5.25
While 2011 was the 100-year anniversary for the 1911, don’t think for a moment that polymer pistol manufacturers took the year off to celebrate. Some very notable polymer-framed handguns were released. Glock’s updating more pistols to their Gen 4 line, the Beretta Nano and Springfield Armory’s XD(M) 5.25 Competition Series are some of the standouts.
Springfield doesn’t beat around the bush when naming its guns. The XD(M) 5.25 Competition Series is a 5.25-inch-barrel version of the company’s venerable XD(M) line of pistols targeted for—you guessed it—competitive shooters. Since many of us in the RECOIL office are big on pistol competitions, we decided to take a look at the XD(M) 5.25 chambered in 9mm (also available in .40 S&W and .45ACP) to see how it stacked up versus some of the other long-slide competition-oriented polymer pistols commonly used today.
The XD(M) 5.25 was developed by Springfield Armory’s Custom Shop, with guidance from five-time IPSC World Champion and 24-time USPSA National Champion Rob Leatham. It’s safe to say the XD(M) 5.25 Competition Series was designed for competitive shooters by a competitive shooter. The most striking and obvious feature of this XD(M) model is its 5.25-inch match-grade barrel. Longer-length barrels provide greater bullet velocity, which means that competitive shooters can use softer-shooting ammunition for faster follow-up shots and still make the minimum velocity requirements of the competition.
With a longer barrel comes a longer slide, equaling more mass and slower cycling, but Springfield addressed that by placing a lightening cut on top of the slide. Another byproduct of longer length is an increased sight radius (the distance between the front and rear sights). A greater sight radius provides a more precise sight picture, so it’s more apparent if your sights are misaligned with the target. The XD(M) 5.25 comes equipped with competition-oriented sights. The front is fiber optic, with a red filament installed. Springfield includes an optional green filament for the front sight as well, if red isn’t your color. The rear sight is black, serrated, adjustable and built into the slide, which adds robustness and a low profile, two things typical adjustable rear sights lack. But there is also a downside: There is no dovetail, so you can’t change the rear sight if it’s not to your liking.
One very nice touch from Springfield is that the company uses a non-captured recoil spring and guide rod. Many competitive shooters like to change out their recoil springs so that they can tune the gun to reliably cycle lighter loads for less recoil and muzzle flip. The non-captured guide rod allows them to do so without having to spend money on an entirely new guide rod.
We decided to bring in competitive shooter Andrew Daun as our hired gun to put the XD(M) 5.25 through its paces. We set up a course of fire just like what would be shot in competition. The stage started with a series of International Defensive Pistol Association targets at close range—some partially obscured by no-shoots—with movement between arrays. The run ended with a magazine change and two 8-inch steel plates at 20 and 25 yards. The stage was a good mix of run-and-gun and precision shooting.
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