Suppressor Ready Without Breaking the Bank: The Springfield XD-M .45

Why is finding a suppressor-ready .45 ACP so complicated? While there are a select-few single actions on store shelves, finding a range-ready polymer-framed .45 is much less common. The Springfield XD-M is a top contender. It’s built for use with a suppressor and it comes in this configuration from the factory.

The Springfield XD-M is the ideal host for a suppressor.
The Springfield XD-M is the ideal host for a suppressor.

Why .45 ACP?

1911 fans don’t need any convincing. Adding a threaded barrel to a 1911, though, can pose problems. You’ll likely need the assistance of a gunsmith as the 1911 platform, though modular, can still require that parts are hand-fitted to each gun.

.45 ACP ball, unless it is marked +P, is almost always subsonic.
.45 ACP ball, unless it is marked +P, is almost always subsonic.

The .45 ACP may not be the fastest round, but it hits hard. The terminal ballistics of the fat ball rounds have proven themselves in combat, tactical applications, and self-defense for more than a century. And the popularity means there are countless varieties of loads and bullet designs to choose from.

But for the XD-M built with a threaded barrel, the .45 ACP has another big benefit. Almost all these loads are subsonic. The threshold for a good loud crack is right around 900 feet per second, and most of the heavier rounds stay below that mark.

Springfield XD-M stainless 13-round magazine
The stainless magazines hold 13 rounds of .45 ACP.

The 5.28” barrel on the XD-M is going to provide enough length for the powder to burn up, which increases muzzle velocity, but most of the .45 ACP ball ammo is going to hold right in below the 900 fps mark. And you still have the benefit of running +P ammo, or lighter (and faster) defensive loads, too.

Springfield XD-M loaded chamber indicator
The Springfield Armory XD-M has a loaded chamber indicator, which is a great addition to the platform. If this lever is flat, the chamber is empty.

With these speeds, an XD-M .45 with a silencer should be hearing safe.

Springfield XD-M in .45 ACP, with a suppressor
Part of what makes the XD-M so stable is the full-length guide rod.

The XD-M .45

Specs

  • Caliber .45 ACP
  • Color Black
  • Barrel 5.28″ Hammer Forged Steel, Threaded (.578 x 28), Melonite® Finish, 1:16
  • Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
  • Frame Black Polymer
  • Sights Dovetail, Suppressor Height
  • Recoil System One Piece w/ Full Length Guide Rod
  • Grip Width 1.2″
  • Magazines (3) 13-Round
  • Weight 31 oz
  • Length 8.6″
  • Height 6″
  • MSRP $673

The XD-M has always been a gun that produces solid accuracy. I’ve run them in numerous calibers over almost a decade and I’ve come to expect good things.

Springfield XD-M cocked
When the XD-M is cocked, the stainless pin protrudes out the back of the slide. It is subtle but adds one more way to tell if the gun is ready to fire.

Grip texture on this XD-M hasn’t caught up to some of the other Springfields—like the Hellcat or the XD-S Mod 2—both of which have the more sandpaper-like feel to the grips. But the aggressive tire-tread on the XD-M is still tactile enough that my hand doesn’t shift.

Springfield XD-M .45 ACP rear sight
The rear sight is tall, but still has the fast-access three-dot pattern common on defensive handguns. These are excellent sights for use with suppressors.

The suppressor height sights are an added bonus. Why anyone would thread a barrel on a factory gun and not include them seems ridiculous, yet it still happens. These on the XD-M are tall enough to be seen over the side of the Banish 45.

tall front sight for suppressor
A tall front sight is a must for those running a silencer, but it means you may need to find a special holster to accommodate the height.

The XD-M in .45 ACP comes with three 13-round magazines. This is a respectable capacity for a .45. The 9mm versions hold more, yes—but finding subsonic 9mm isn’t always easy—and when you strip the 9mm of its velocity, the lighter bullets don’t perform as well.

And that, for me, is the appeal here. In terms of foot-pounds of force, a subsonic .45 ACP crushes it. Take two of Remington’s subsonic loads. A 147 grain 9mm round, with a muzzle velocity of 945 FPS (which is right at that threshold for a sonic crack), produces 291 foot-pounds of energy. A 230 grain .45 ACP round leaves the barrel at 830 FPS and has 351 foot-pounds of energy.

Banish 45 suppressor
The B45 works for 9mm as well, with the right piston.

There’s nothing wrong with a suppressed 9mm. But everything about the .45 ACP seems like it was meant to be suppressed.

Shooting the XD-M

The XD-M has a highly manageable recoil impulse. I find there to be less rise than I experience with a 1911—something I attribute to the ergonomics of the grip. The XD-M in .45 ACP fits in my hand better than a 1911, and the shape of the grip is more rounded and less wide and flat—and that’s before any fine-tuning that can be done with the interchangeable backstraps.

target group with Springfield XD-M
A full magazine through the XD-M without a suppressor. This one-ragged-hole type of grouping is what I’ve come to expect from the XD line.

I’ve been carrying an XD-M Elite in 9mm for months, and I’m faster with that gun than I am with the XD-M in .45 ACP. The 9mm Elite shoots flat and fast. My split times on the .45 are marginally slower, but they’re still proficient. Speed isn’t always everything.

Shooting the Springfield XD-M suppressed

The recoil impulse on the XD-M suppressed with a Banish 45 is hard to describe. Because there’s more mass out on the end of the barrel, there’s not so much muzzle flip. But the muzzle-flip that is there is somewhat whip-like. The muzzle-end of the can goes up more slowly, but motion carries through in like a wave.

The feeling is far easier to control than that description would imply. For me, recoil management on an unsuppressed pistol requires that I keep the muzzle from climbing too high and control the movement back to the target for a follow-up shot.

Five rounds through the Banish 45. Shot placement is just slightly higher at 25 yards.
Five rounds through the Banish 45 on the XD-M .45 ACP. Shot placement is just slightly higher at 25 yards.

I find that a suppressed .45 ACP tends to rise less and dip more so that I’m moving through shots in a more fluid motion. I’m not as fast on movement drills, but I can get by.

And hearing the .45 ACP slap a steel target without the bark of an unmuffled gun is something that never gets old.

Springfield XD-M threaded barrel
The XD-M’s 1:16 barrel is 5.28″ and hammer forged. The thread pitch is .578 x 28, and the whole thing has a Melonite finish.

The Banish .45 can be set up in two lengths. The short version is 6.7”. The longer version is 8.6”. The weight comes in just over nine ounces, or right at 11. Titanium doesn’t weigh much. Neither, though, does the XD-M, which has a polymer frame. With the suppressor, the gun comes in under three pounds (but that’s before you add a full mag).

trigger guard
The trigger guard on the XD-M carries over the tire-tread pattern and has a concave shape for those who really want to get an extra bit of grip with the support hand.

Subsonic ammo is still painfully loud without hearing protection. The Banish .45 in its long configuration pulls 36 DB from the report, making it hearing safe. It isn’t Hollywood quiet. It isn’t as whisper-quiet as some suppressed bolt guns, but it is hearing safe.

Springfield XD-M trigger shoe with safety lever
Another of the XD-M’s safeties: the trigger shoe with a safety lever. Springfield Armory gets the need for safety and understands that most of us won’t carry a defensive handgun with slide-mounted thumb safeties. Like this, there are no obstacles to overcome in an emergency, yet the design remains safe.

Blowback with the Banish 45 is minimal. As you would with any firearms, you should still wear eye protection. The addition of hearing protection is up to you.

Springfield XD-M grip pattern
The XD-M’s grip pattern is the only aspect of the design that I’d change. This gun performs incredibly well as is, but could use the Mod 2 treatment.

Why would you want to shoot suppressed?

I’ve always been opposed to these kinds of questions. It’s fun. That’s enough?

But there are other benefits. We all like to hear things. Shooting with a can helps preserve that sense—and even opens up other sounds that you’d never hear when wearing hearing protection.

Springfield XD-M mag release
The mag release on the Springfield XD-M is big enough to find and out of the way enough to prevent accidental drops. It is also ambidextrous.

And shooting suppressed allows you to talk to others more easily. As a teaching tool, a good silencer makes range time much safer.

Silencers are really ideal for hunting. The XD-M isn’t as effective on hogs in the .45 ACP version as it is in the 10mm version, but the .45 ACP is still hell on a pig. This is a harder argument to make, as carrying an unholstered handgun isn’t ideal but it can be done safely and effectively.

Springfield Armory has given the XD-M .45 slide serrations front and rear. The cuts are deep without having aggressively sharp edges.
Springfield Armory has given the XD-M .45 slide serrations front and rear. The cuts are deep without having aggressively sharp edges.

Home defense is another story altogether. Think about the scenarios we all should train for. The first is the incredibly nuanced skill set needed to clear a house. In an enclosed space, in the dark, you’ll want a light. The Springfield XD-M can do that, too. But if you do fire a shot, or multiple shots, without hearing protection on…. What will that do to your equilibrium? To your ability to communicate? How blinding will the muzzle flash be?

Banish 45 Suppressor
If only someone would build an effective holster for a handgun with a suppressor. Dare to dream.

Let’s go back to the real answer. Why shoot suppressed? Why not shoot suppressed?

My gut tells me that the biggest reason why people don’t is the cost. The threaded barrel and suppressor sights will add a bit to the price tag on the XD-M, but with an MSRP of $673, that cost is hardly prohibitive. And the availability of reliable ammo that is organically subsonic means you won’t have to pay extra for the privilege.

Springfield XD-M .45 ACP slide
Normally, I’d wax poetic about the flat-top slide. The Melonite finish catches a subdued glare. This can help with basic time to target—almost as a pre-aiming step as you present to the target. But I don’t notice it as readily when shooting suppressed.
Springfield XD-M .45 ACP with Banish 45 suppressor
The Springfield XD-M handles the recoil of the .45 ACP exceptionally well. There’s virtually no blowback from the Banish 45 and the piston attachment keeps the recoil impulse fluid.

The biggest expense will likely be the suppressor and the fun-fee you’ll have to pay to your Uncle Samuel for the stamp.

David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife's tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.

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