Springfield Armory XDm 10mm, by Pat Cascio

The 10mm round is just one of those calibers that refuses to go away, and this latest handgun addition– the Springfield Armory XDm– which is chambered in 10mm, might just be the best handgun to come along in this hot-stepping caliber.

Some History of 10mm Caliber Handguns

Let me give you some of the history on 10mm caliber handguns. Many years ago, a company called Dornus & Dixon announced they were coming out with a handgun in the new 10mm caliber. There were many problems along the way, first of which was financing. The second issue was that, while they did come out with a few handguns chambered in 10mm, many guns didn’t even come with a magazine let alone any spare magazines.

Because of Power Pistols Didn’t Hold Up

Since that time, a number of gun makers have come out with 10mm handguns. Unfortunately, because of the power of this round, the pistols just didn’t hold up. I owned a S&W Model 1006 in 10mm, and the gun was sent back to the factory three times – twice because the rear sight shot loose and once because of accuracy problems. After the third trip back for repairs, I gave up on the gun and traded it off.

FBI Agents Couldn’t Shoot Because of Extreme Recoil

The esteemed FBI went to the S&W Model 1076 in 10mm. It was poorly designed with the decocking lever on the side of the frame, and it also had problems. One problem, which wasn’t the fault of the gun, was with the recoil. Many agents simply couldn’t shoot the gun well because of the extreme recoil. The FBI wanted the 10mm round watered down to a more manageable recoil impulse, and the 180-gr bullet was leaving the barrel of their Model 1076 handguns around 950-FPS.

S&W Developed .40 S&W Caliber and 10mm All But Dead

S&W seized opportunity on this and developed the .40 S&W caliber. It was basically a cut down 10mm case, giving the round an overall loaded length of a 9mm at the same 950-FPS as the 10mm watered down round. Plus, the .40 S&W would fit in 9mm sized guns, whereas the 10mm, because of its longer length, had to be fired in a larger handgun. Because of this, the 10mm was all but dead!

One can research more on the subject of the 10mm origins and the .40 S&W and read how the .40 S&W was greeted with great acclaim by some and disdain by others.

Colt Delta Elite in 10mm

In 1988, when I moved back to Oregon from Colorado, I owned a Colt Delta Elite. This was a stainless steel 1911 full-sized handgun chambered in 10mm. I really loved the gun, especially the power of the 10mm over the .45 ACP. However, in short order, the gun shot itself loose, and accuracy really dropped off. About this time, most ammo makers were only producing the watered down version of the 10mm, and they dropped the full-powered load.

What was the sense in having a 10mm that only had the power of a .40 S&W? The 10mm was pretty much dead for a lot of years.

Watered Down 10mm Ammo

Some smaller gun makers tried their hand at producing 10mm handguns to some success. However, there was still the fact that most 10mm ammo was watered down. Once again, there is no sense in owning a 10mm if all you could fire were watered-down loads. The best way to get around this was hand-loading your own 10mm ammo.

Springfield Armory 10mm Handgun

A little over a year ago, there were rumors floating around that Springfield Armory was going to come out with a 10mm handgun. I checked with my number one source at Springfield and was met with no reply. Hmm. That told me a lot. Even though there was no admission that Springfield Armory was coming out with a 10mm handgun, I placed an order. I didn’t care if it was in a 1911 version or one of the XD versions; I wanted one, period!

First out of the gate was the 1911 version in the 10mm round. However, it wasn’t what I wanted or expected. You can read more about this on the Springfield website.

Shortly after that, Springfield announced the XDm in 10mm available in two different versions. I requested the “Service” model, which has a shorter barrel and slide as opposed to the Competition model that has a longer barrel and slide.

XDm Specs

A quick rundown on the specs of the XDm is in order. Most readers will know that the XD line from Springfield is made in Croatia, and they are outstanding guns, every last one of them. They have quite a few different versions, to be sure. The XDm in 10mm weighs in at 31.2 oz unloaded and has a 4.5-inch Bbl. The slide is forged carbon steel with a Melonite finish, which is tough stuff.

Its frame is black polymer with three interchangeable backstraps. Mine came with the small backstrap, and it fits my hand nicely. The frame also has the unique “checkering” that only the XDm lineup has. There is also a grip safety ala’ the 1911. The mag release is ambidextrous that’s very nice.

There are also Picatinny grooves on the frame’s dust cover for mounting lasers or lights. The slide has grasping grooves fore and aft, for easy charging of rounds from the 15-rd mags. It comes with two mags.

The rear sight has two white dots and is set low in the slide for a no-snag approach, while the front sight has a red fiber optic, and it comes with two replacement fiber optic rods– one red and one green.

There is a full-length guide rod, and the recoil spring is stout. I’m “guesstimating” it is about a 22-lb recoil spring, but measuring the weight is different on this gun than let’s say a 1911.

Thigh Holster

Make no mistake, this is a full-sized duty handgun. However, with the proper holster and clothing, it can be concealed. BTW, Springfield sells several types of holsters for the XDm. I obtained a Blackhawk Products SERPA tactical thigh holster for the XDm, and it is one of the best, if not “the” best thigh holster around in my humble opinion. The XDm fit perfectly in the holster.

Mag Pouches and Belt Slide Holster

I also had some Blackhawk mag pouches to attach to the holster. However, these mag pouches only fit 9mm/.40 double stack magazines. It won’t fit the 10mm or .45 ACP rounds. Yet, I modified the mag pouches by cutting off the lid, and then the 10mm mags fit snuggly. I have no worries about the mags falling out. I’ve been in touch with Blackhawk about making mag pouches that fit the .45 ACP/10mm magazines.

Also, in one of my holster drawers (and I have several), I found a belt slide holster from Springfield Armory that was made for their XD model. The XDm fit nicely. Springfield used to include one of these holsters and a double mag pouch with their XD models but no longer do so. Hope they bring ‘em back.

Loading 15-Round Double Stack Mags

Loading the 15-rd mags was a chore. After about 11-12 rounds were loaded, the remaining rounds were really a thumb buster to get into the mag. Ouch! With some double stack mags, I found that if I loaded the mags to capacity and let them sit for several weeks, the spring took a “set” and the mags were easier to load to full capacity.

Trigger Pull

The trigger pull on this striker-fired pistols is outstanding. It is fairly short to start with and very smooth. Plus, the reset is extremely short, which is another nice feature for fast follow-up shots. The pull on my XDm was right at 5 lbs, which is great for self-defense work as well as hunting, and make no mistake the 10mm round is capable of taking some fairly big game with the right ammo.

Volunteers For Testing– Most Accurate Handgun I’ve Ever Shot

I had two friends helping me with the shooting portion of my testing. There is never a shortage of volunteers when it comes to shooting and free ammo. I had fired several hundred rounds through the XDm 10mm prior to this and had zero problems, none! However, with both of my testers, they were having “misfires” (or so I thought, at first). Make no mistake, with full-powered 10mm loads, the recoil is more than a little stout. Now, with that said, I will say that the XDm is the lightest “kicking” 10mm pistol I’ve ever fired, bar none. After observing my two volunteer shooters, I saw what the problem was. There weren’t any misfires. What they were both doing was not getting a proper grip on the gun. The web of their hand wasn’t getting up high enough to depress the grip safety. They’d pull the trigger and nothing would happen, and they’d eject the live round. Once this was observed and they put their hand high on the grip of the gun, there weren’t any problems. So, this wasn’t a problem with the gun; it was the two shooters who were a little bit “shy” of the 10mm recoil.

During my testing, I will say that this is the most accurate handgun I’ve ever shot. Take that to the bank!

Ammo For Testing

My local FFL dealer had some PRVI Partizan PPU 10mm ammo in stock. It is a 170-gr FMJ load that is running the bullet out the gun at about 1,150-FPS; that’s not bad but not full-power.

I had placed a request for some ammo from Buffalo Bore Ammunition, and Double Tap Ammunition. They are both known for producing hot-stepping, full-powered 10mm loads, as well as some specialty 10mm loads. I was anxious to get their ammo in my greedy little hands for testing, too.

From Double Tap, I received their 200-gr Hard Cast solid ammo, which runs at about 1,300-FPS out of a full-sized GLOCK. I also received their 180-gr Controlled Expansion JHP load, 135-gr Controlled Expansion JHP, and 230-gr Equalizer load. This contains a 135-gr JHP bullet with a 90-gre lead round bullet behind it for a 200-gr Controlled Expansion load.

From Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I received their 180-gr FMJ FN round, which is great for deep penetration; 155-gr Banres TAC XP all-copper hollow point load, which is outstanding for self defense and is also low-recoil and low flash; 230-gr Hard Cast FN, which is outstanding for big game hunting where you want deep penetration; 180-gr JHP, low recoil, low flash; 155-gr JHP, which is also a great self-defense round that is low recoil, low flash; and the Heavy Outdoorsman 230-gr Hard Cast Load FN for deep, deep penetration.

So, I had quite a great selection of full-powered 10mm load as well as some specialty 10mm ammo to test in the XDm. I had zero problems with any of the ammo during my testing, and I didn’t expect any problems. I’ve owned several XDm handguns in the past and had no problems.

Accuracy Testing

During the accuracy testing, I had the target at 25 yards and fired the XDm over a rolled-up sleeping bag over the hood of my Dodge Ram pickup. I made sure that the firing was done so that the empty brass would eject away from my windshield. I’ve been there, done that, where empty brass would hit the windshield of my rig, causing pitting. That’s not good.

As I already stated, this gun is accurate, super accurate. I shot the Buffalo Bore 230-gr Hard Cast Outdootsmans load against the Double Tap 200-gr HC load. Needless to say, recoil was stout with either of these loads. They are full-power loads meant for deep penetration, and the hard cast bullets are meant to cut through meat and bone of big game. The 10mm has been compared to the .41 mag caliber in power. There was no winner. Both of these loads came in at 1.75 inches, if I did my part. Yes, you read that right– 1.75 inches. Only a micrometer would determine who actually won that shoot off; it was that close. The other loads all came in right around 2.25 inches, if I did my part, and the recoil can sometimes affect your accuracy testing. I believe with more ammo and more time, the other Buffalo Bore and Double Tap loads I tested could give me smaller groups. There was no loser, when it came to accuracy. In all, more than 500 rounds went through the XDm in my testing.

Picking a load for self defense from either maker, that’s a tough one, believe me. The Buffalo Bore 155-gr Barnes TAC XP all-copper hollow point would be a great choice for self defense. I also like the Double Tap 230-gr Equalizer. With two bullets in one shot, it would be a first choice for home defense. The Controlled Expansion from Double Tap– what’s not to like there. It would also be great for medium game, as would the Buffalo Bore 155-gr JHP and 180-gr JHP.

The Best of Both Worlds

This is one of the great things about the 10mm round. You can use FMJ reduced power loads for punching paper or the full-powered load for self defense and hunting purposes. It is the best of both worlds. If you want the best of the best, in 10mm ammo choices, please check out the Buffalo Bore and Double Tap websites. You’ll really be impressed with the selections they have in 10mm.

A Winner of Handguns

Full retail on the Springfield Armory XDm 10mm is $652, and it’s a deal, if you ask me. I don’t see this gun shooting loose, ever. Be sure to check out the 10,000-rd documented torture test that was filmed and is available on the Springfield website. The 10mm is back in a winner of handguns!




23 Comments

    1. Where I live in NC we have a black bear problem. I have had the critters come onto my front porch, backyard, and even walk up to me within 10 yards before I knew they were there. When walking out in the neighborhood I carry my .45ACP and two extra magazines loaded with ball ammo. I feel HP’s would expand too quickly and would not get the penetration on bears like ball ammo would. I do not feel under gunned carrying my .45 around black bears. However, if I was in grizzly bear country I would want a pistol in at least .44 mag.

  1. I’m quite excited about this gun, however, is this a gun you would stock for the long-haul or is it a fun gun? I think there’s some logic in stocking a common caliber, I don’t think you’re going to find much 10 mm laying around after STHF.

  2. Sorry you had a crappy 1006. I LOVED mine – carried it daily for 12 years, in fact. I only wish I had it back.

    Ate those hot Norma 170gr. JHP’s without a hiccup in the early days – back when that was the ONLY defensive ammo you could get for them. The only thing I ever change on mine was… empty mags.

  3. The 10mm “hot ” loads are similar to a .357 Mag ballistically , but do not achieve the ballistics of even a reduced load .41 mag. If you were going to hunt with a handgun, or carry for bear protection, then simply carry a .44 mag revolver…Never a mis-feed, stovepipe, dropped magazine, etc…and you won’t get more than 6 shots at a charging bear anyway.

  4. As an aside, I have the Springfield XDm 4.5″ pistol (chambered in .45 ACP) and am VERY happy with it. I’ve let a few friends shoot it at the range and they’ve all been impressed with the accuracy and how easy it is to handle and shoot.

  5. Anyone else remember the “Sonny Crockett” Bren Ten?

    10mm is about the limit in a conventional semi auto pistol. Beyond that, you are gonna need to beef up the frame like a Wildey’s or a Desert Eagle.

    What I would really like is a carbine in 10mm that takes 10mm pistol mags. Something like my Keltec Sub 2000 does in 40 S&W with Glock mags. In 10mm, the carbine would be able to wring out enough extra oomph from the round to meet or beat a 41 mag revolver. That would be a darned good black bear combo.

    There is no pistol caliber cartridge sufficient for consistently defending against charging griz. No, not even the 460 or 500 mags. If you think there is, you haven’t really lived in griz territory and dealt with them.

    1. About the carbine, I’ve lately been wondering why someone doesn’t make a semi-auto clone of the 10mm MP5 that H&K made for the feds years ago. Loaded properly, 10mm might make a decent PDW cartridge. I’d trust it over 5.7, anyway. And with the MP5, you’d get a 30-round mag, instead of the ten or so the Hi-Point carbine has.

    2. Right, Benjamin. In my Alaska days, the general idea most folks had was to save the last .44 mag bullet for yourself if you couldn’t stop a grizzly or brown bear with the other 5.. So my preferred choice was a Marlin 45.70 lever action or secondarily a 12 ga shotgun alternating 00 buck and slugs. However, I have seen bear spray used even more effectively than bullets and no life lost.

      From a human self defense perspective, a 10mm is not necessary. My understanding is that with the new loads developed for the 9mm that the FBI has gone back to that caliber.

    3. The purpose of PCCs is to shoot the same ammo as your sidearm (ideally same mags), more accurately than you can shoot your sidearm — or for subsonic reasons (IMO pistol self-defense projectiles are more reliable and more proven than say .300 blk projectiles at subsonic velocities).

      Otherwise, you’re always ahead to go w/ a rifle.

      10mm in a pistol caliber carbine is nothing more than a novelty.

    4. Benjamin

      Hi point makes the 995 in 10 mm now. This is their carbine. I had one in 9mm. Looked cheap but function was very good. The worse thing: cheap and bad trigger. Lots of creep and never knew when it would break.

  6. Pat

    Good article. Was wondering how that XDM 10mm was. I have a Sig 220 Elite in 10mm. Have to say it also rocks the 10. Very heavy so it mitigates the recoil of my hot 10mm handloads very well. If this pistol was around a year ago I might have gotten it instead. But even though it was ridiculously expensive ( 1169.00 ) I am ok with the purchase. Indulgence is sometimes good.

  7. Have had Glock 20’s and 29’s for a long time now. 10mm has it’s advantages, especially if dealing with a “mixed threat”situation such as an automobile shielded adversary. For bear, take a look at Underwood ammo using a Lehigh projectile, an Alaska hiker took down a coastal Brown Bear with a Glock 20 using Underwood 180 grain machined copper projos..Better to have a 450 Alaskan lever action, or better yet an anti -tank rifle for a Grizzley, but according to Anchorage FFLs the Underwood ammo is a game-changer for Bear and the 10mm. I will be following this one.

  8. A shooter owns everything his bullet lands on. Put another way, a lawyer is attached to every round you fire in a public setting, and he’s not your lawyer. With the 10mm, the risk of shoot-throughs is much higher. Think of having to use your defensive pistol in a store, on a bus, in an amusement park (where gang bangers are thick).
    Pistol carbines…..are pistols, as noted by some commenters already. They’re more accurate, but still pistols where the rubber meets the road.
    While a guide successfully killed a 450 lb Grizzly with a 9mm S&W using Buffalo Bore ammo, it’s not the way I’m going to bet. We don’t get do-overs with bears, who think you are crunchy and taste good. Some bears shrug off multiple hits from .30-06s. You don’t get to know which bear you get to tangle with.
    I can shoot a Nine, Forty, or .45 ACP without ear protection on occasion, even in a building….if I have to. The report of a full-house 10mm, outside, without protection is like having ice picks stuck into your ears. It might be preferable to be deafened to being eaten by a bear, but I don’t encounter bears often….so the .40 S&W serves me well. I can throw a 9mm conversion barrel in the Glock for versatility when needed. My 1911s have gathered dust since Glock came into my world. Lighter, more durable, easier to maintain, double the ammunition reserve, more tolerant to filth (I get dirty at work) and sawdust, and reliable.
    A friend with an XD came to me with his slide locked to the rear….HARD. We couldn’t get it to move into battery. A call to SA revealed the solution: a very hard blow from a plastic mallet to the slide. That solved the problem, but having the thought of this stoppage occurring at a bad time is a consideration. I don’t use that kind of force on a gun without first consulting the manufacturer. We see XDs in class sometimes and for the most part, they run OK.
    Nice write-up on the Ten. If I lived where some of the readers do, I might have one!

    1. Bears are not like other North American game. The heavy muscles and large bones are much more like African big game. Ballistic tests that I have seen indicate that when hunting bears, especially large bears like a grizzly or polar bear calls for African big game strategies. High speed rounds like the .308, .30-06, and .300 Winchester Magnum tend to fragment on impact because bears are built so tough. Same problem hunting Rhinos, Elephants, and even Water Buffalo. The ballistics tests I referred to above were specifically about bears. The three calibers above did not penetrate more than 1″ into bear muscle before coming apart. A .45-70 round on the other hand plowed right through more than 4″ of bear muscle.

      When my father hunted the large and dangerous game in Africa he used his .416 Weatherby Magnum. It is also what he used for his Polar Bear. His typical load was a 400gr monolithic solid bullet that launches at 2,700fps. The monolithic solid is a very hard, very strong projectile. His .416 is ported but it still has quite the recoil (6,400 foot pounds of muzzle energy). His bull elephant, Rhino, American Bison, European Bison, Water Buffalo, lion, and polar bear were all one shot kills with the .416. The right tool for the job makes all the difference. If I go bear hunting I will borrow his .45-70 for black bears and the mighty .416 for the big bears.

      There is an entertaining bear story in the Lewis and Clark journals. When they were preparing to head west from St. Louis they stopped at a large Indian encampment west of St Louis to ask about what was “out there”. The Indians told them about the vast herds of game they would see and the natural wonders. Then the Indians cautioned them about a particular kind of bear (turned out to be the Grizzly). The Indians told them “If you see one of these bears, just keep away from it”. The group responded “We have guns, it will be no problem”. The Indians said “With this bear it does not matter if you have guns”.

      Undeterred the expedition headed west. When they encountered their first Grizzly it took hits from 13 long guns before it finally collapsed and died. The last man to shoot it was able to reach his rifle out and touch it to the dead bear. He was that close to being killed by it. That bear encounter changed their view of the mighty grizzly.

  9. Love 10mm have a glock 20 gen 4 myself. It’s a blast to shoot and it’s my edc. I open carry at church and never take it off unless I am sleeping.

    I think it’s a excellent modem caliber to take over the 45 acp. Which it out performs in everyway.

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