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Side By Side Comparison

Side By Side Comparison

A couple of months ago, I posted about a new gun that I bought. It’s a very nice Springfield Armory XDE in 9mm.

Anyone who reads my column on a regular basis knows of my fondness for Smith&Wesson Third Generation semi automatic pistols. I have a small collection and a pre rail 3913TSW is my go to carry gun most days.

The XDE is for times when I’m out of state traveling and don’t want to bring the hard to replace 3913TSW with me. If something happened to it, it would be almost impossible to find a replacement as they weren’t made in large quantities.

I decided to do a side by side comparison of the XDE and the 3913TSW. I brought three boxes of ammunition, the guns, and some targets to the gun club.

The targets were B29 reduced size silhouette.

The ammunition was as follows,

UMC 115gr FMJ, Blazer Brass 124gr FMJ, and American Eagle 147gr FMJ. I put 25 rounds of each through both guns and compared accuracy.

First up was the XDE filled with the UMC 115gr. On my prior trip to the range, I used up a random box of 115gr UMC in the XDE. I was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of what I consider a very light round. In contrast, my 3913TSW never performed all that well with this ammunition. Impact was always well below point of aim.

Recently I learned that I was using the wrong point of aim for the type of sights installed on my gun. The correct one is counter-intuitive, but it is in fact the correct one.

I should note that I do have a tendency to pull to the right side of the target. When I slow down and concentrate on the fundamentals, it improves greatly. It is evident here in some of the targets.

To my surprise the ammunition did not perform as well as my previous test. Not horrible, but more spread than I’d previously seen.

Not bad, but the pull is obvious. I’d call this acceptable for self defense shooting at close range. The grouping is okay, at least I think so.

The 3913TSW was up next. To my surprise aiming with the top of the site a bit higher up corrected the low hit situation I’d seen before. There was a bit more spread of the shots, but more of them hit the center ring. Not that I expect to go back to 115 gr for this gun, but I don’t have to be scared of it either.

On to the XDE with 124gr ammunition.

A couple of down and out fliers in the first magazine, for reasons unknown. Again, once I bore down a bit and spent time on the fundamentals accuracy improved.

Still a bit of pull to the right, but not bad. The grouping is pretty reasonable. Certainly, this is an acceptable bullet weight for personal defense carry. A 124gr JHP will be a fine choice.

Next, back to the 3913TSW with 124gr ammunition. I was a bit disappointed with the results when compared to previous outings with 124gr ammunition.

Interestingly, at least to me, the 3913TSW didn’t do quite as well as the XDE. At least in terms of consistency. A few more X ring hits than with the XDE, but more spread of hits. Again, acceptable, but I can do better with more practice and attention on fundamentals. (That seems to be a theme)

Now for the XDE with 147gr ammunition.

Some spread, but more hits on center than with the other ammunition. Overall, pretty good, or at least pretty average. Certainly acceptable, but not as good as the 124gr ammunition. I think that the XDE will, at least for now, be carried with 124gr ammunition. Maybe that will change after more experience with it.

Last up, the 3913TSW with 147gr ammunition.

I think this is the best grouping of all of the tests. I take no credit for this, I just think that the gun was designed around this weight of bullet. It certainly seems to be most accurate with 147gr ammunition. Which was the standard law enforcement 9mm round back when the Third Generation guns were being designed.

Reasonably good accuracy overall. A very good choice for personal defense carry.

A couple of final thoughts.

The XDE is a very nice handgun, but it’s not a Third Gen. One of my excuses for some of the shot placement is that it’s considerably lighter than the 3913TSW. Not that that gun is heavy, but the alloy frame does add some weight and at least for me that improves balance.

I’m sure that when I get the XDE to the range more often, I’ll get used to the balance. Recoil is very manageable, so the lighter weight doesn’t hurt in that regard.

Of course, I’ve shot the 3913TSW and other Third Generation guns a lot more than the XDE.

More range time is needed in general, but particularly with the XDE.

The controls on both guns are similar. The XDE has a thinner profile, which some people don’t like. I like it because it aids with concealability. I’ve had some thinning done on the TSW, and it’s much better than as it came out of the factory.

I prefer the TSW, but won’t be embarrassed to carry the XDE when I’m on the road.


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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.