Springfield Armory XD(M) 10mm

Portable Power Perfected
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Springfield Armory

If we ignore the constraints of the physical universe, what might be the particular attributes of the ideal defensive handgun? I’d suggest this hypothetical hogleg should project more power than a .357 Magnum while packing 16 rounds onboard. It should have all the bells and whistles and occupy about the same space as your favorite striker-fired 9mm. It should also be unflinchingly reliable without kicking your butt on the range.

On the surface, this imaginary wondergun might seem the sole purview of Hollywood — or perhaps the product of some gunwriter’s hallucinations. However, I invite you to consider the new Springfield Armory XD(M) 10mm.


Springfield Armroy

War Story

Rare was the day we didn’t get at least one gunshot wound in the inner city ER I once haunted. My record for a single shift was seven. Most were horrible. A few were frankly comical (a person once shot himself in the big toe just to see if his .22 pistol was loaded — even he laughed about it) but all were darkly fascinating.

Our hero this particular evening was a tremendous brute of a dude who had fallen victim to an illicit pharmaceutical deal gone sour. My new friend produced his firearm, while his erstwhile opponent did likewise. I’m not sure what happened to the other guy, but my pal took a 9mm ball round to the pelvis for his trouble. Thugs always seemed to use the cheapest ammo they can steal.

The guy had been shot maybe 20 minutes before he walked into the exam room with a blood-soaked bandana pressed against his crotch. I invited him to stretch out on the exam table, and he inexplicably declined.

His demeanor was surprisingly untroubled, and he remained a calm and pleasant conversationalist throughout. The bullet had indeed fomented some remarkable mischief among his entrails — he ended up with a colostomy bag and a laborious recovery — but I’ll never forget the guy’s nonchalant attitude.

The life lesson embodied within this tale — should you ever go to the trouble of actually shooting somebody — is you should always bring enough gun.


Springfield Armroy

Powered-Up Metric

From the perspective of pure Newtonian physics, the 10mm Auto cartridge is the ballistic equivalent of about one and one half 9mm Parabellum rounds. It’s roughly on par with the .357 Magnum. Devised by Jeff Cooper back in the 1980s to pack magnum revolver power into an autoloading pistol, the 10mm Auto throws a 180-gr. .40-caliber bullet at around 1,300 feet per second. The end result will reliably drop a feral hog or whitetail deer. It will also put the holy smackdown on two-legged predators of all shapes, sizes and flavors.

The 10mm Auto case is 25.2mm long. The proven .40 S&W round launches the same bullet, yet its case length is only 21.6mm. Despite the prodigious horsepower of the 10mm Auto, the grip circumference of this new XD(M) measures out to a single millimeter larger than the 9mm GLOCK.

In the field of social ballistics, big bullets have in the past always reliably equaled big ornery guns. Springfield Armory, however, has somehow warped the natural laws governing the universe to contrive a high-capacity handgun throwing a massive game-dropping round yet occupies no more space than does your typical 9mm service pistol.

In my left hand I currently hold my favorite tricked-out 9mm GLOCK 17. In my right I grasp a new Springfield Armory XD(M) 10mm. The XD(M) is maybe a quarter inch longer, but they’re otherwise about the same size.


Springfield Armory

Springfield Armory Stripped

Pertinent Particulars

The standard 10mm XD(M) comes with three interchangeable back straps and a pleasantly contoured grip. The slide has charging slots both front and rear, and the front sight sports a red fiber optic rod. The “no-snag” rear sight is steel, while the dust cover is railed for accessories. Though the bore axis is fairly high the frame remains undercut.

The magazine release is a genuine bilateral pushbutton. The slide catch is the perfect size and left side only. There is a loaded chamber indicator up top, and the tip of the striker pokes out the back to help you keep track of its status.

The magnificent Springfield Armory grip safety requires no ancillary thought. Don’t touch the weapon, and it is always safe. Grab the gun, and it goes hot. Appendix carriers who pack a pistol pointed at their femoral artery all day might appreciate this extra painless layer of safety.
You need not squeeze the trigger to disassemble the gun. Many people don’t care about such things but I do. Maintenance requires nothing more than a cloth, a little gun oil and a standard-issue set of human fingers.

The Springfield Armory XD(M) magazines are the best in the business. Those for the XD(M) 10mm are formed from heavy stainless steel and sport the expected double column, single feed architecture. Amazingly, the 10mm Auto magazine indeed carries 15 rounds onboard.


Springfield Armory sight

Springfield Armroy grip

Running and Gunning

Fully loaded the gun is undeniably portly. However, those 15 rounds are crammed into the same volume others might require for 9mm Parabellum. However, the unbreakable law — Conservation of Mass — dictates a bunch of small heavy things mashed together will inevitably end up being heavy. The gun carries about like a full-sized .45 ACP.

The striker-fired trigger on the XD(M) is superlative. There is the expected smooth take-up and discreet break without a hint of creep. Reset is plenty tight for those of us who like to run our combat pistols like SMGs!

Recoil is substantial but not painful. The high bore axis produces some muzzle flip but the gun’s mass serves as a counterpoint to the 10mm Auto’s innate horsepower. The gun is definitely spunkier than a 9mm, but still runs like a champ.

Empty magazines leap out of the gun smoothly and the well-reasoned controls make reloads brisk. If you’ve ever run a striker-fired pistol before, you already know the manual of arms. Snatch the slide to the rear in lieu of using the slide release as most of us do these days, and the gun is comparably friendly regardless of your “handedness.”

The grip-to-frame angle mimics John Browning’s revered 1911, so it just feels right. For a guy like me who cut his teeth on the timeless classic, the sights on the XD(M) seem to align of their own accord. I found this gun shot straight and ran perfectly. The Springfield Armory folks pushed 10,000 rounds through one copy without a single hiccup. There were no failures during our protracted range time together.


At 15 meters from a simple rest, both Standard (left) and Competition (right) models grouped well.
Photo: Will Dabbs, MD

Variations on a Theme

The Springfield Armory XD lineup runs the gamut from small-statured pocket pistols all the way up to full-figured combat tools like these. In the case of the XD(M) 10mm there are two broad flavors. Each is optimized for a particular mission.

The standard service pistol sports a 4.5″ barrel and a drift-adjustable no-snag rear sight. The Competition variant has a 5.25″ tube and a rear sight adjustable for both windage and elevation via a small screwdriver. The smaller gun weighs a smidge over 31 oz. The longer gun includes a skeletonized slide and is an ounce and a half heavier. The 4.5″ gun comes with two magazines, while the Competition version has three.

Either version would render yeoman’s service secured within your bedside table or tucked into the glove box of your car. A young lady of petite proportions becomes the physical equal of any potential assailant with the Springfield Armory XD(M) and 15+1 of 10mm Auto tucked into the center console of her minivan.

While the Competition is technically optimized for target shooting, either piece would be a superb choice for a defensive handgun. The extra ¾” of the long slide really doesn’t adversely affect the gun’s carrying characteristics, and the adjustable sights don’t slow down your holster work.

Both guns were a joy on the range, but I preferred the Competition by a nose. When stuffed into a quality holster either pistol will carry about as well as any other full-sized service handgun. You wouldn’t want to sit on the thing throughout a long car trip, but I can — and have — gone days on end packing such serious handguns as these underneath my surgical scrubs at work.


This petite lady ran the Springfield Armory XD(M) 10mm well — and fast — despite its horsepower.
Photo: Will Dabbs, MD

Full Circle

And so we come full circle to my gladiator pal shot in the pelvis with a 9mm Parabellum. The FBI tells us the 9mm stoked with proper state-of-the-art defensive ammo is the ballistic equivalent of larger, nastier loads. I have my own reservations about it but have nonetheless personally drunk the Kool-Aid. I not infrequently find myself packing a 9mm pistol.

But truthfully, in the past, the choice was frequently as much a function of magazine capacity as anything else. I do not typically carry a spare magazine, and having 15 rounds on tap is invariably reassuring. Nowadays, however, Springfield Armory really does let us have our cake and eat it too.

With the new XD(M) 10mm you no longer have to compromise between caliber and capacity. The cartridges are as big as the end of your finger, and there are plenty of them on hand. The gun shoots comfortably, straight, and well while occupying no more space than a lesser pistol. Additionally, the built-in grip safety offers yet another layer of security requiring literally no conscious thought to manipulate.

This full-figured XD(M) is bulky and therefore a chore to conceal. However, it could be viewed as the ideal single all-around utility handgun. The weapon is manageable enough to facilitate recreational use, but the high-capacity magazine and serious chambering take all the ambiguity out of a social exchange of gunfire. Additionally, unlike its 9mm counterparts, you could even conceivably use this gun to hunt deer or similar game.

Recreational range toy, home protecting howitzer, truck gun, or serious hunting implement, the Springfield Armory XD(M) 10mm could potentially be all things to all shooters.


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