May 19, 2023
By Jeremy Stafford
The 10mm has been gaining popularity over the years. But why? Sure, the 10mm hits hard, but is there a performance gain on two-legged predators? If you take emotion and bias out of the equation, not really.
There’s a minimum threshold to be successful on a human target. Going over it doesn’t give you bonus points. Add in the increased recoil and wear on the pistol, and it’s not a logical upgrade. Now, against something with a higher threshold — say a four-legged predator with thick skin, heavy musculature, and sharp teeth — then yes, it does make sense. But let’s be honest: most 10mm pistols will never see the backcountry. And that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with buying a gun out of want rather than need.
Springfield Armory’s XD-M Elite OSP 10mm packs a lot of want into its polymer grip frame. The OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) slide houses a 4.5-inch hammer-forged, Melonited barrel with a very nice crown. The pistol comes with a voucher for one optic plate of the shooter’s choice, and while I’m not a fan of the voucher system for optics plates, I understand why manufacturers use them. It helps keep costs down.
The slide features front and rear serrations of the typical XD style, big and deep. Wet hands, gloved hands, it doesn’t matter; they won’t be slipping off this slide. Topping the slide is a nice set of sights featuring a steel, all-black rear with a wide notch and a front fiber optic. Both are dovetailed in, providing plenty of windage adjustment. They are not suppressor height, and the optic does not sit particularly low, so they might need to be replaced if you plan on upgrading to an optic, which you definitely should. This isn’t a red-dot article, but trust me — get a red dot.
For the test, I was a bit under the gun so to speak, so I tested it as-is, and the sights performed just fine. The 25-yard results would probably have been a bit better with a dot, but the XD-M 10 acquitted itself nicely as equipped. On a good day with the right light, I can still get it done at 25 yards and with most groups sitting bellow 3 inches. The big XD made it easy.
The frame of the XD-M feels great. The silly “Grip Zone” lettering has been done away with, and the embossed texture on the grip is aggressive without being sadistic. The trigger is generously undercut, and in conjunction with the shape of the rear of the grip, it really allows the shooter to get their hand up high on the gun to control the pistol. It also allows the shooter to make sure that the web of their hand disengages the grip safety.
Let’s talk about the grip safety. I’m not a fan. Look, if I’m designing a pistol for horse-mounted cavalry in 1911, we can discuss a grip safety. If I’m designing a pistol for someone in 2022 to defend their life with, I’d just as soon not discuss it. Early in the lifetime of the XD line, there were issues with the grip safeties locking the gun up. That problem has been done away with, and I’m happy to report that over the course of the 350 rounds I put through the pistol, there were no malfunctions. Those rounds are less than half what I generally test pistols with, but the ammo crunch has hit us all, especially with calibers like 10mm.
Shooting is supposed to be fun, but sometimes putting lots of rounds through high-recoil guns can be tedious — not here. Testing the XD-M was fun. I shot over 200 rounds of full-power 10mm the first day. I say “full power” knowing that someone will read this and write a letter saying that modern 10mm isn’t “full power” because the initial Norma loading was a 200-grain bullet at 1,260 fps.
Well, by the time the ammo got to our shores, it was a nominal 1,200 fps with a 200-grain bullet, and you can get that very same performance with the Federal Fusion 200-grain round. In addition, the Federal HST will go 1,160 fps with a damn fine 200-grain bullet. Hornady’s 10mm offerings include the 180-grain XTP at 1,280 fps, with a much better bullet than what was offered in 1983. There is no shortage of full power 10mm if you aren’t afraid of spending money. Target ammo isn’t self-defense ammo, even in 10mm.
Running the gun on steel and at speed, a few things jumped out. The ergonomics of the pistol are great. My medium-sized hands were able to grasp the gun effectively, and recoil control was much easier to achieve in this pistol than others. Likewise, the ambidextrous controls are easy to use with both hands. The “short” magazine well is generous but not obtrusive, and I found it to be helpful when reloading quickly with the beefy 16-round magazines.
What made me take notice though was the trigger. I can be a trigger snob, and while the META (Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly) trigger isn’t a tuned 1911 trigger, it is a really good striker trigger. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best out-of-the-box striker-fired triggers around. The META trigger is fairly flat-faced and breaks at 90 degrees, which is nice. It resets at less than a quarter-inch and has an integral overtravel stop, making it an efficient unit. Best of all, my sample broke at 5 pounds, 4 ounces but was so clean that I thought it was a legitimate 4.5-pound trigger. Bravo, Springfield. The META is great.
I finished the review on day two with bag-rested accuracy work. I generally like to shoot four to five loads through a gun, but things being what they are, I was grateful for three. In my experience, accuracy has never been an issue with the XD line, and this pistol held to that with most groups hovering between 2 to 3 inches. The XD really had an affinity for the Federal Fusion load. It had an average of 2.3 inches, with one of the five groups going 1.9 inches.
If you’re looking for a refined 10mm to add to your stable for outdoor use, self-defense, or just because of “want,” the Springfield Armory XD-M is worth a long, hard look.
XD-M Elite Specifications
- Type: Striker-fired semiautomatic
- Cartridge: 10mm
- Capacity: 16+1 rds.
- Barrel: 4.5 in.
- Overall Length: 7.6 in.
- Width: 1.2 in.
- Height: 5.75 in.
- Weight: 31 oz.
- Finish: Melonite
- Sights: Fixed U-notch rear, fiber-optic front
- Trigger: 5 lbs., 4 oz.
- MSRP: $653
- Manufacturer: Springfield Armory; springfield-armory.com