September 23, 2022
By Keith Wood
In a world where nearly every polymer-framed, striker-fired concealed carry handgun one can imagine is available in 9mm Luger, Springfield Armory continues to give us big-bore options. A great example is the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP, a concealable handgun chambered in .45 ACP with a 10+1 capacity. This is a big gun in a small package. Like all handguns in the XD series, it is manufactured by HS Produkt in Croatia to Springfield Armory’s standards and specifications. The XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP’s frame is injection-molded polymer and will provide a full-fingered grip for all but the largest hands. Aggressive texturing provides a secure grip.
The XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP ships with three backstrap options, so users can custom-fit the gun to their own needs. A removable extended magazine well flares outward and can be replaced with a grip extension if desired. With that extension in place, the pistol’s capacity goes up to 13+1 with the appropriate magazines, which are also available from Springfield Armory. There is a dust cover rail for mounting a light or laser. The slide is machined from a steel forging and has wide cocking serrations at the front and rear. A visual and tactile loaded-chamber indicator is located on the top of the slide, and the striker is visible at the rear of the slide when cocked. All steel parts have a black Melonite finish. The barrel is integrally ramped and uses standard land-and-groove rifling.
There is no manual thumb safety, but the gun has a trigger safety and a grip safety. All controls, including the slide stop and magazine release, are fully ambidextrous out of the box. The trigger on my sample broke at five pounds, one ounce after some minor creep. The trigger pull characteristics were better than average when compared to other polymer-frame handguns on the market. There is a single takedown lever on the left side of the frame that can be actuated when the slide is locked to the rear.
The sights on the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP are sturdy and useful. A red fiber-optic front sight is dovetailed into the slide as is a fixed U-notch rear. The Tactical Rack rear sight is designed so that the user can cycle the slide one-handed if necessary. The use of micro optics on self-defense handguns has spread like wildfire in recent years. To accommodate that demand, Springfield Armory’s own Hex Dragonfly red dot sight is available as a standard feature and was on the test pistol I received. The gun also comes in an OSP version without the sight.
The sight is mounted to the slide via two Torx fasteners. This open reflex sight is machined from 6061 aluminum and uses a scratch-resistant lens designed to cut glare. The 3.5-m.o.a. red dot has a battery life of 100,000 hours, and the battery is the commonly available CR2032 type. Considering these sights sell for $250 on their own, this is a nice upgrade. It bears noting that the sights are not usable with the Hex Dragonfly mounted. A steel plate is included with the handgun, and it covers the optic cut when not in use. The Hex Dragonfly optic was a great aid when it came to shooting for accuracy, especially with its relatively small dot size. Given the 3.8-inch barrel length, I conducted accuracy testing at 15 yards, and one-hole groups were common.
At around 35 ounces loaded, this is a relatively heavy handgun, which, along with the captive dual-spring recoil system, helps soften the blow of the .45 ACP. My test gun cycled with 100 percent reliability with the three loads tested. This was an easy gun to shoot well, and I had no trouble repeatedly hitting multiple steel targets with it at full speed. From a size perspective, the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP has roughly the same footprint as a Glock 19, which makes it reasonably concealable. I would characterize this as a compact rather than a subcompact handgun. Still, 11 rounds of .45 ACP in such a small package is a lot of firepower. Part of the magic is the steel magazine, which offers more room internally than polymer magazines of the same footprint, since the walls of a steel magazine can be made much thinner.
The fact is that some people don’t feel comfortable carrying a handgun that isn’t chambered in their favorite .45 ACP cartridge. Those fans are left out in the cold when it comes to many of today’s handguns, but the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP breaks that trend. This handgun combines many of the modern features found on today’s top-tier self-defense firearms with a classic chambering that makes big holes downrange. This is a reliable, accurate and durable handgun capable of handling hard use in the real world.
Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 3.8-inch Compact OSP Specs
- Type: Striker-fired, semiautomatic
- Caliber: 9mm, 10mm Auto, .45 ACP (tested)
- Capacity: 10+1 rds.
- Barrel: 3.8 in. Melonite
- OAL/Height/Width: 6.75/4.58/1.20 in.
- Weight: 26.5 oz.
- Construction: Polyner, forged steel
- Sights: Fiber-optic front, Tactical Rack U- Dot rear, Hex Dragonfly red dot (tested)
- Trigger: 5 lb., 1 oz. pull (measured)
- Safties: trigger, grip
- MSRP: $837
- Manufacturer: Springfield Armory