How To Disassemble and Clean Your XD-M

By Steve Horsman
Posted in #Guns
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How To Disassemble and Clean Your XD-M

February 3rd, 2021

10:26 runtime

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and final entry in a five-part series of pieces covering the care and maintenance of some of Springfield Armory’s most popular firearms. Other entries in this series include:

There is no doubt that some of the most popular handguns in America are polymer-framed, striker-fired 9mm pistols. And when it comes to this type of firearm, it’s hard to beat the XD-M family of pistols from Springfield Armory. With many of these pistols likely being sold to first-time gun owners over the past several months, we thought it would be a good idea to cover how to clean a Springfield XD-M here.

I’ve been a big fan of the XD-M (as well as the original XD and XD-M Elite) line of pistols from Springfield Armory and have found them to be excellent performers. I personally own over a dozen of them in different variants and calibers. It has easily become my favorite polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol.

Starting Point

Whenever I get a gun that I may not be completely familiar with, the first thing I do is read the owner’s manual. The one that comes with the XD-M is very well done and has a lot of information about the pistol. If you would like to view a digital version of it, click here.

XD-M disassembly
Field stripping and cleaning the Springfield XD-M is an easy process. It is important to follow all of the safety rules to prevent injuries.

Reviewing this will familiarize you with the gun and its nomenclature. In addition to reviewing the owner’s manual, I also will do a basic cleaning prior to shooting a new gun. It must be mentioned that anytime you handle a firearm, it is imperative that you abide by the four safety rules. They are as follows:

  1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
  2. Don’t point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you have made the decision to shoot.
  4. Be sure you have identified your target as well as what surrounds it and is behind it.

Always work with an empty and unloaded pistol during the care and maintenance process. When field stripping your XD-M, point the gun in a safe direction and remove the magazine.

Next, grasp the slide with your support hand and pull it back to the rearmost position on the frame. Then, push up on the slide lock until it engages the slide stop catch on the slide. This will lock the slide open. Next, physically and visually check to ensure that there is no ammunition or magazine in the gun.

Takedown & Cleaning the XD-M

Once you are sure there is no ammo in the gun, use your support hand (I use my thumb) to rotate the XD-M disassembly lever from the 9 o’clock position to the 12 o’clock position. Grasp the slide with your support hand and pull back the slide slightly, until the slide stop moves out of the slide lock slot on the slide. You can now allow the slide to move forward off of the frame. There is no need to pull the trigger to remove the slide. This is unique to the XD-M family, as many striker-fired guns require you to pull the trigger to remove the slide.

Field stripping the Springfield XD-M to clean it
After removing the slide from the frame, you can easily access the recoil spring assembly and barrel.

With the slide removed, you can lift the recoil spring assembly up and out, which allows you to lift the barrel up and out of the slide as well. You now have your XD-M field stripped.

Barrel removal of XD-M during cleaning
After removing the recoil spring assembly, you should be able to lift the barrel out of the slide as shown.

When it comes to cleaning, it is a very simple and straightforward process. I usually clean the barrel first. I will use an appropriately sized cleaning rod and jag (or patch holder) and run a few solvent-soaked patches through the barrel from chamber to the muzzle. I will follow with a correctly sized bronze brush, usually doing about 10 to 20 passes through the barrel to loosen the fouling. After the brush, I run a few more solvent soaked patches and finish up with several dry patches until they come out clean. Depending on how many rounds you fired since the last cleaning, you may have to repeat the process.

M16 cleaning brush on XD-M pistol
The M16 brush is a handy cleaning tool for removing fouling from the breech face, under the extractor and other areas of the pistol.

After the barrel is clean, I wipe off the feed ramp and the outside of the barrel. From here, I move on to the slide and with a M16 brush (a toothbrush-style tool with a small bristle end and a large bristle end). I brush the breech face and under the extractor. Using patches, rags and Q-tips, I clean the interior of the slide. Once satisfied, I move on to the frame. The procedure is the same — I use patches, rags and Q-tips to clean off any fouling and old lubricant.

Where to Lubricate the XD-M

I will generally just wipe off the recoil spring guide rod and spring and apply a tiny bit of oil.

Where to lubricate the Springfield XD-M
When lubricating the XD-M, use a quality, synthetic oil. A bead on the slide rails and frame rails will help to reduce wear and ensure reliability.

To lubricate the rest of the XD-M, I use any synthetic lube I have on hand — in my opinion, any quality brand is fine. With striker-fired guns being a bit looser than match-grade 1911 pistols, I like to use a bit of a thicker lube. I will apply a bead on the slide rails, the frame rails and the outside of the barrel.

Reassembly of the pistol is in reverse order of disassembly — install the barrel, the recoil spring and guide rod, and then put the slide assembly back onto the frame.

Pull the slide all the way back to where you can engage the slide stop again. This locks the slide to the rear, which allows you to rotate the disassembly lever from the 12 o’clock position back down to the 9 o’clock position. Pull back slightly on the slide, which allows it to move forward and back into battery.


You have now successfully field stripped and cleaned your XD-M. I like to rack (move it back and forth) the slide a few times to get the lubrication settled in.

The designers of the XD-M made the pistol as user friendly as any handgun I have ever seen. And now you know how to properly care for it. Get out and practice with your pistol, have fun, and most importantly, be safe.

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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.

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Steve Horsman

Steve Horsman

Steve Horsman has extensive experience serving in military and law enforcement. He spent four years in the U.S.M.C. and followed with 27 years of experience as a police officer. While in law enforcement, he served as an undercover officer, a member of S.W.A.T. and as a police sniper. Adding to his already impressive resume are 30 years of competition shooting.

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