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As the others have said, especially DWB, there isn't alot of difference between the two.

The XD(m) has the advantage of 16rnds vs 12 in 40S&W (+1 for both). Mags for the XD(m) are only about $5 more per mag. The trigger difference is almost not noticable between my worn-in XD and an (m). The match barrel on something already more accurate than most shooters doesn't really weigh in. The last major difference is that when you engage takedown lever, the XD(m) actually decocks the gun instead of having to pull the trigger. Nice touch.

I love my XD-40 and won't be getting rid of it anytime soon. That said, I'm presently using a XD(m) Three Eight in 9mm for competition and have finally hit High Master with it. Some (m)'s seem to have sharper grip textures, but some seem smoother. I don't know if a (m) would be worth the extra $150+ premium. Being girlie handed myself, I'm not sure your wife would enjoy the snappy recoil of the 40 in a Three Eight sized gun. The (m)'s grip is also a bit LONGER with makes on-body CCW a bit more problematical.

I'd recommend the 3" or 4" XD in 9mm for the wife, or maybe the new XD(m) compact in 9mm again. Unless she plans to practice monthly or so and get quality trianing, the 40 might end up being too much.
 
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