The All-Arounder: Springfield Armory XD(M) 10mm

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Springfield Armory XDM 5

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From hunting to defense, the Springfield XD(M) 10mm has you covered.

Does The XD(M) 10mm Score A Perfect 10:

  • Available in two versions — 4.5-inch barreled and 5.25-inch.
  • Rear sight is fully adjustable from large screws, front is fiber optic.
  • Match-grade barrel with 1:16 right-hand twist.
  • Slide features a unique cutout on top.
  • Pistol fits perfectly into larger hands, but it's not so great to put those with average hands at a disadvantage.
  • Manageable shooter that's fast and accurate.

Springfield Armory has joined the ranks of striker-fired pistol manufacturers offering a 10mm Auto. The brand’s XD(M) pistols will now be available in two 10mm versions — one with a 4.5-inch barrel, the other with a 5.25-inch barrel. Once exclusive Glock territory (which helped bolster the 10mm’s popularity by offering it in its affordable, polymer-framed G20, G29 and G40), the striker-fired 10mm market is opening up. And if ever there was a striker-fired pistol that was well-suited to be chambered in 10mm it’s the Springfield XD(M).

Rise of the 10mm

Not too long ago while I was visiting my local gun shop, a patron stopped me to tell me that I was mistaken in a recent article. He went on to challenge my assertion that the 10mm Auto caliber was growing in popularity. The 10mm, he told me, had been replaced by the .40 Smith & Wesson and, as a commercial cartridge, it’s life would be short. Soon it would largely be forgotten by the firearms world at large.

Springfield Armory XDM 6
The 10mm is growing in popularity, and the new Springfield is already a standout in the field. It’s accurate, very reliable and offers the durability of a Melonite finish.

If he had made those predictions 25 years ago, he might have been right. After the 10mm was dumped by the FBI in favor of the then-new .40 S&W due to fears about excessive recoil, one could reasonably make the argument that the cartridge was on the way out. Then, after the first Bren Ten pistols — the first commercial 10mm — turned out to be a failure due to issues with magazines, you could almost surely have said that the 10mm was teetering on the brink of obscurity.

The cartridge, however, was too good to go away. Conventional wisdom in the 1990s told us that the 10mm was never going to amount to much. But shooters and hunters began to catch on to the cartridge’s potential and it continued to gain fans. In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing handgun cartridges in terms of ammunition sold and new firearms offered. The .40 Smith & Wesson, said to be the 10mm’s final coffin nail, has withered in terms of popularity lately.

Springfield XD(M) 10mm

I’m an unabashed 10mm loyalist, but I’m also a Springfield fan. Springfield’s Croatian-made XD pistols are extremely durable and have all the features that I’ve come to expect in the best polymer striker-fired guns, including a crisp, but safe, trigger, a multitude of passive safeties (including a grip safety), adjustable sights, solid finishes and a carrying case that includes lots of extra equipment you’d have to pay extra for from other manufacturers. Plus, these pistols shoot very well and have proven to be reliable. Springfield’s XD line remains quite popular with some of the nation’s best competition shooters.

Springfield Armory XDM 4
The XD(M) comes with a 5.25-inch match-grade barrel. Like the slide, the barrel is treated with Melonite.

The XD(M) that I tested was the 5.25-inch version, which comes with a square-notch rear sight — screw adjustable for both windage and elevation — and a post front sight with red fiber-optic insert that is dovetailed into the slide. The rear sight’s adjustment screws are large enough to be easily altered, and there are indicators on the slide that show direction of travel for up and left adjustments. There are also index lines cut into the slide to help you keep track of left/right adjustments as you fine-tune the pistol to your shooting. Both the front and rear sight are secure and solidly constructed — an important consideration on a cartridge that generates the level of recoil of the 10mm Auto.


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XD pistols operate on a locked-breech, tilt-barrel design and the XD(M) 10mm comes with a match-grade barrel with a 1:16 right-hand twist. The model I tested features an open cutout in the top of the slide over the barrel that adds a touch of unique styling and cuts down on weight a bit. The slide and barrel are both treated with Melonite, a ferritic nitrocarburizing treatment that makes the metal corrosion-resistant. The slide itself is made from forged steel and comes with deep, angular slide cuts fore and aft for better control when operating the pistol. At the rear of the gun a small, silver cocking indicator tab extends through the rear of the slide to offer both a visual and tactile indicator of the XD(M)’s condition.

If you have large hands and constantly struggle to find a semi-auto pistol to accommodate your mitts, the XD(M) will suit you perfectly. The large polymer grip is spacious and offers plenty of purchase thanks to texturing — Springfield calls it Mega-Lock — on the front, rear and sides. Length of pull on this 10mm pistol is long enough to make shooters with large hands comfortable, but not so great that the average shooter will strain to reach the trigger. My wife has relatively small hands, but she was able to firmly grip the gun and access the trigger, and we were both equally comfortable firing the XD(M). It’s rare that a pistol suits us both, but the Springfield does.

Springfield Armory XDM 3
The XD(M)’s bladed trigger offers moderate travel, breaks at around 6 pounds and has a short, positive reset. Also shown is the ambidextrous magazine-release button.

The polymer frame comes with a molded front rail that’s large enough to accommodate lights and lasers, and there are molded depressions behind the trigger that provide a comfortable and stable hand position when holding the gun.

Like all XD(M) pistols, the 10mm utilizes double-stack magazines that hold 15 rounds of 10mm Auto ammunition. Springfield provides three magazines with each gun, which is a welcome addition. All-metal construction makes the mags very durable, and the spring weight is stout enough to properly feed cartridges without being so heavy that you’ll have to grunt and strain to top it off.

Like many polymer-framed, striker-fired guns, the Springfield XD(M) 10mm’s controls are minimalistic. There’s a serrated slide stop that’s triangular in cross-section, and an ambidextrous magazine release and rotating takedown lever on the left side. The trigger has a moderate amount of travel for a striker gun and the test pistol’s trigger broke at 6 pounds as measured with a RCBS gauge. Reset is positive and short, so once you’re familiar with the XD(M) you can fire very fast, controlled follow-ups.

Springfield Armory XDM 1
Springfield calls its wraparound polymer texturing pattern Grip-Lock. It’s not too aggressive, but offers a firm grip on the gun. There’s ample space on the grip for even the largest hands.

Field stripping the handgun for routine maintenance is simple: with the magazine removed and an unloaded chamber, simply pull the slide back until the semicircular cutout on the slide aligns with the rotating takedown lever. The lever is then turned 90 degrees in a clockwise direction (up) and the slide is pushed forward along the rails and removed. The one-piece guide rod, spring, barrel and internal portion of the slide can then be easily accessed for cleaning. Reassembly is a matter of reversing the process, and there’s no need to pull the trigger when breaking down the gun for routine maintenance.

The XD(M) 10mm is a large gun, but that’s not all bad when firing full-power 10mm loads. Unloaded weight is 32.8 ounces, and overall length is 8.3 inches. Height is 5.75 inches, and the Springfield’s grip measures 1.2-inches wide. Big for concealed carry? Yes, this gun wouldn’t be my first choice, and it would be quite difficult to hide under light clothing, but I suspect it could be possible since, after all, there are many shooters who carry full-sized 1911s concealed and the Springfield’s dimensions aren’t that much greater. But this will primarily be an open carry option.

At the Range

Much has been made of the 10mm’s recoil, and if you read enough about the cartridge, you’d assume that it’s nearly unbearable to tame this beast of a round. Not so. The Springfield’s recoil is stiff, but not abusive, and the gun’s weight, long slide and 5.25-inch barrel help reduce muzzle flip. With high-power hunting and defense loads — those approaching light .41 Magnum ballistics — the gun is a handful and generates more setback than most novice shooters would care to contend with. But with milder loads in the 1,000 fps range, such as Speer’s Gold Dot ammo, the pistol is manageable and can be fired quickly and accurately. And while I couldn’t manage the type of splits you would achieve with the same handgun in 9mm, I was able to deliver fast double-taps and three-shot strings in rapid succession and still hit the target.

XD[M] Accuracy Test

I’d also venture to say that, despite its prodigious stopping power, the Springfield 10mm (which weighs in the neighborhood of 40 ounces fully loaded) is more pleasant and manageable to shoot than really short-barreled, ultra-light 9mm carry pistols with hot defensive ammunition. Short-barreled carry pistols often produce so much muzzle flip that aimed follow-ups can be tough. The 10mm generates more energy, but its greater size and added weight make it possible to shoot it accurately and quickly with more sedate defensive loads.

When you step up to hotter ammunition — 1,200 feet per second and up — the Springfield becomes more of a handful. Again, not abusive, and more manageable than the short-barreled .44 Magnums that many carry for backup in bear country. Additionally, that added barrel length allows the Springfield to wring more velocity out of those high-power 10mm loads. With such a wide range of 10mm ammo now being offered, you can load the XD(M) as needed — lower-powered loads for competition, practice and defense against two-legged predators and hotter loads for hunting big game or as defense in bear country.

Accuracy from the bench was quite good, the smallest group coming in at 1.4 inches with Hornady’s Critical Defense ammunition and average group sizes ranging from 2.05 to 2.63 inches at 25 yards. Bench shooting was aided by a predictable and manageable trigger pull and the Springfield’s excellent sights and almost 8-inch sight radius. Recoil was more noticeable from the bench but still wasn’t painful, and the target rear and fiber-optic front sights were easy to see and align. There weren’t any reliability issues to report, the Springfield ran well — feeding, firing, extracting and ejecting every round from five separate manufacturers. That’s especially telling since, as previously stated, 10mm Auto ammo ranges widely in terms of velocity and energy. Springfield claims to have fired the gun to 10,000 rounds without failure, stopping every 2,000 rounds to oil the gun and change recoil springs. I’ve no reason to doubt those claims after what I experienced.

Springfield Armory XDM 13
Breaking down the XD(M) is quite simple, and it doesn’t require pulling the trigger. With an empty chamber and the magazine removed, simply pull the slide back until the notch aligns with the takedown lever, turn the lever clockwise 90 degrees and remove the slide.

If you’re in the market for a backup pistol in bear country, the Springfield’s reliability and accuracy make it a top contender. Many guides in the Great North have traded in their big-bore revolvers in favor of 10mm Auto pistols, and the XD(M) is perfectly suited for the task. It offers a capacity of 15+1 rounds and the bright fiber-optic front sight is ideal for making fast, accurate shots in the most stressful situations. I personally like the grip safety, which acts as one more level of security when carrying a pistol with a round in the chamber (a must in bear country).

The Melonite finish is durable: I’ve carried the XD(M)’s little brother, The XD(S), quite frequently for extended periods and the Melonite finish on that gun handles the rigors of daily carry with aplomb, and the polymer frame is capable of taking a serious beating. I also like that the Springfield’s controls are easy to operate when wearing gloves, and the large magazine well makes reloads fast and easy. For those who hunt hogs or deer at close range with a 10mm the XD(M) is a valid option.

MSRP on this Springfield is $779, less than you’ll pay for most 1911 10mm pistols, and it comes with a hard case with lots of extras, including the trio of magazines and three backstrap inserts that allow you to customize the gun to your hand. As a fan of 10mms in general and Springfield guns in particular, I had high hopes when this gun was announced, and it did not disappoint.

Springfield Armory XDM 2
The XD(M) 10mm comes with double-stack magazines that hold 15 rounds of ammunition. Each purchase includes three magazines, adding to the XD(M)’s value.

The 10mm is not faltering. As long as there are guns like the Springfield XD(M) chambered for it, I suspect its popularity will continue to grow — and deservingly so.

Springfield XD(M) Specs:

Model: Springfield XD(M) 10mm 5.25 in.
Action: Striker-fired semi-auto
Caliber: 10mm Auto
Capacity: 15
Barrel: 5.25 in.
Overall Length: 8.3 in.
Weight: 32.8 oz. (empty magazine)
Grips: Polymer
Finish: Matte black
Trigger Pull: 6.1 lbs.
Sights: Adjustable target rear, fiber-optic front
MSRP: $779

Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from Gun Digest 2019, now available at GunDigestStore.com.


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