Going Elite on the Cheap?

By Dan Abraham
Posted in #Guns
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Going Elite on the Cheap?

October 15th, 2020

6:12 runtime

I was first introduced to the XD-M Elite models at Shot Show 2020. Immediately I questioned, how could a handgun with so many upgrades and features have a starting MSRP of $559? Handguns like that typically sell for over $700.

The new XD-M Elite offers a ton of features at a surprisingly low price.

Having been a fan of the XD-M models for years, I knew Springfield Armory was on to something good with the 9mm “Elite” models. Considering competition, home defense, carry or just range time, the XD-M Elite series were the “do everything” handguns that shooters desired. 

Too Good To Be True?

Every now and again, you find a handgun that fits your shooting style perfectly. It’s the fit, feel and impact on the targets that really hits home. When I picked up the Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5″, I knew this was the pistol for me.

Even fully loaded with 20+1 rounds of 9mm, the XD-M Elite 4.5″ has a manageable, packable weight.

The ergonomic grip fit my hand like a glove. It has a flared magwell for quick and easy 20-round magazine insertions. The sight picture aligned perfectly, and the flat face trigger felt amazing. Couple that with its 4.5” Match Grade barrel, and had I found the pistol for which I was searching.

How Elite

The Springfield XD-M Elite 4.5″ is loaded with features. The forward and rear slide serrations are deeply cut and wider than on the standard XD-M models. The grip is well textured throughout and comes with three backstraps to custom fit the shooter’s hand size.

In addition to the new removable flared and extended magwell, the pistol also has an interchangeable backstrap system.

The metal U-Dot rear sight is the same as the Springfield Armory Hellcat and the front sight is fiber optic. The grip safety is a bit larger with a “bump” to ensure full engagement, and the undercut trigger guard aids in the shooter’s high grip on the gun. It has a 4.5” hammer-forged Match Grade barrel along with a Melonite-finished steel slide. To top it off, the XD-M Elite 4.5″ ships with two 20-round 9mm magazines.

A dual, nested recoil spring system and full-length guide rod ensure reliable operation.

Springfield Armory’s quality and craftsmanship are excellent. The machining, both internally and with the visible parts, was exceptional. It’s definitely a sharp-looking pistol. Recoil is minimal with the dual nested recoil spring and one-piece, full-length steel guide rod.

Consistent with all XD-M models, a striker indicator (silver “button”) is located on the rear of the slide. It appears when the slide has been charged. Another safety feature is the loaded chamber indicator on top of the slide. A chamber bar is slightly raised for the shooter to visually see and feel when a round is chambered.

Dan really liked the pistol and did extremely well with it on the range.

Range Time

It was the range time that truly sold me on this model. Right out of the case, the XD-M Elite was as accurate as a finely tuned 1911. Much like the Springfield Armory Hellcat, the XD-M Elite 4.5″ was a smooth and accurate shooter. My shooting confidence grew immediately with the first couple magazines. The 5-lb. trigger felt great when firing and the short trigger reset was amazing. The fiber optic front sight brightly stood out in the center of the U-Dot rear sight for quick target acquisition (to learn more about the U-Dot, click here).


The Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5″ is an impressive handgun. Everything from my shooting impressions to the 20-round magazine capacity was all positive. It’s fit, feel and function are first class.

With its 20+1 capacity and excellent handling characteristics, the XD-M Elite 4.5″ is a great option that won’t break the bank.

For those looking for a “do it all” pistol with an attractive starting MSRP of $559, give the XD-M Elite 4.5″ a serious look. I believe you’ll be as impressed as I am. How can an “Elite” gun be so cheap, and did Springfield cut any corners to get to that price? Simply put? No. With this gun, you get more for less.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Dan Abraham

Dan Abraham

Dan "TheFireArmGuy" Abraham is a gun enthusiast, collector and 2A advocate. Sending a strong 2A message and showcasing firearms is a passion for him. He enjoys featuring firearms that suit the "working man." Dan believes firearm ownership is an essential American value. Understanding that firearms are not a "one size fits all," Dan offers gun reviews that help the reader choose the best fit for them. Within his reviews, the reader will observe the gun's features, specifications, shooting impressions and best applications. He attempts to be informative, concise with "no fluff" and on point.

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