March 04, 2019
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
Photos by Michael Anschuetz
Can you believe it? Springfield’s XDM variant of the polymer-frame striker-fired XD semiautomatic pistol has been around for a full decade. That’s right. The original XD was introduced in 2002, and the first enhanced XDM was released in 2008. Finally, there is an XDM chambered for the 10mm Auto cartridge.
As regular readers of Shooting Times know, the 10mm Auto cartridge has been going through a resurgence in popularity, and ST has been reporting on most if not all of the new ammunition, pistol, revolver, and carbine offerings. I’m an enthusiastic fan of the 10mm, and a fan of the XDM pistol as well, so I am thrilled to present readers with this review.
The 10mm Auto is one of those rounds that has acquired a cult following, and its numbers are growing. The 10mm Auto was originally created with law enforcement use in mind, so it has a lot of appeal for personal protection. It also has become the darling of handgun hunters. Bullet diameter is 0.400 inch, which is 0.010 inch less than the classic .41 Remington Magnum revolver round, but ballistically, the 10mm Auto is very close to the .41 Mag., making it a great choice for hunting hogs, deer, black bears, and mountain lions.
Typical bullet weights in factory-loaded 10mm Auto ammunition are 175, 180, and 200 grains. And typical factory-rated muzzle velocities range from 1,030 fps to 1,290 fps in 5.0-inch barrels depending on bullet weight. Some ammomakers also offer 155-grain loads, and they typically produce a muzzle velocity in the neighborhood of 1,350 fps. Corresponding muzzle energies range from 424 ft-lbs to 650 ft-lbs depending on the specific bullet weight.
The ‘M’ in XDM
As Shooting Times has reported before, the “M” in XDM stands for match-grade barrel, modified-contour frame, “Mould-Tru” backstraps, maximum-reach magazine release, mega-capacity magazine, “Mega-Lock” texture, major-grasp slide serrations, multi-adjust rail system, minimal-reset trigger, multi-use carrying case, melonite finish, and minimal-error disassembly. Let’s take a closer look at all those Ms.
The new 10mm XDM pistols come with match-grade barrels with fully supported ramps—like those found on customized competition-grade pistols. Two lengths are offered: 4.5 inches and 5.25 inches. And the new 10mm XDM pistols’ barrels and slides sport Springfield’s black melonite finish.
Melonite is a salt-bath nitriding process that leaves a thick, corrosion-resistant, matte/satin hard surface that resists wear more effectively than black-oxide finishes. Traditional black-oxide finishes are a few millionths of an inch thick and don’t provide nearly as much corrosion resistance.
The XDM slides feature deep, long, and curved slide serrations. The 5.25-inch-barreled pistol has four slide serrations on each side up front, whereas the 4.5-inch-barreled gun has three. Both versions have six slide serrations on each side at the rear. In addition, both slides are contoured in an angled and streamlined fashion that aids the shooter’s grasp when racking the slide. And the 5.25-inch-barreled pistol’s slide has a large cutout on top that reduces slide weight in an effort to enhance reliability during the cycling operation.
The XDM polymer frames have molded-in integral equipment rails forward of the trigger guards that accept lights, lasers, or other accessories. The rails have three cross-slots that allow flexibility in positioning a wide range of accessories.
The trigger guards are spacious, and their squared fronts are textured. The frames are relieved and dished in the grip area to provide better access to the fully ambidextrous magazine-release buttons, and the magazine-release buttons are slightly longer than typical to allow operation without excessive pressure while preventing accidental release. This allows the shooter to reach the magazine release without twisting or adjusting his or her shooting grip on the pistol.
The XDM’s grip angle is the same as the classic Model 1911, and the grip has modified contours in the upper area of the backstrap and on both sides of the frame behind the trigger as well as in the magazine-release area of the grip. They improve the feel of the gun and the shooter’s ability to manipulate the pistol’s operating features.
The XDM pistols come with three different sizes and configurations of interchangeable polymer backstraps (small, medium, and large). These backstraps are deeply textured and allow each XDM pistol to be personalized to the shooter’s hand size and shape and length of the trigger finger. Each backstrap shifts the “pointability” of the pistol in relation to the alignment of the trigger finger with the axis of the bore. They can be easily swapped by removing a single retaining pin, which also serves as an attachment point for a lanyard.
Springfield calls the lugged texturing on the sides and frontstrap of the XDM’s grip “Mega-Lock.” It matches the pattern on the interchangeable backstraps, and I find it to be secure yet comfortable. The angle and depth of each contour in the grip has been carefully calculated for maximized vertical, horizontal, and torsional control.
One of the most significant performance enhancements of the XDM is the trigger mechanism that has a shorter reach and a shorter reset distance. The trigger utilizes Springfield’s Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) system with an integral pivoting lever that eliminates the danger of discharge unless the trigger finger is engaged. Plus, the USA trigger system has a very short travel and a short reset. The mechanism is designed to help the shooter stay on target better and provide faster, more accurate follow-up shots.
The 10mm XDM’s mega-capacity magazines hold 15 rounds, and the grip circumference of the XDM pistols is a very comfortable 5.63 inches. Compared to the classic single-stack Model 1911’s grip circumference of 5.25 inches, the XDM doesn’t feel a whole lot wider.
Each XDM pistol comes in a fitted polymer case that also includes extra magazines (our 5.25-inch-barreled pistol had a total of three magazines, and the 4.5-inch-barreled pistol had a total of two), a padlock, extra red and yellow fiber-optic elements, a packet of Lucas Extreme Duty gun oil, a cleaning brush, and an operator’s manual. The cases for my sample pistols each measure 11.75 inches long by 10 inches wide by 3.5 inches thick.
As for the minimal-error disassembly, XDM disassembly and reassembly is easy and safe. Simply remove the magazine and lock the slide to the rear, making certain the pistol is unloaded and the chamber is clear. Rotate the takedown lever upward to vertical and pull the slide/barrel assembly forward off the frame. There is no need to squeeze the trigger as is required with other striker-fired pistol designs. And there is no need to push out or remove any takedown pins or levers from the gun. To reassemble, slip the slide onto the frame and latch it back, rotate the takedown lever back to horizontal, and release the slide latch.
Other Fine Features
In addition to all the M features, the new 10mm XDM pistols have dovetailed steel front and rear sights (more about them later), the distinctive XD grip safety that prevents the gun’s trigger from being squeezed and the gun’s slide from being racked to the rear unless the safety is fully depressed, a loaded-chamber indicator that protrudes from the top of the slide when it is engaging a cartridge, and a visible and tactile firing-pin-status indicator that protrudes from the rear center of the slide when the gun’s firing mechanism is set for firing.
Along with the grip safety, the XDM has a separate internal firing-pin block that is deactivated only when the trigger is pressed all the way to the rear. Speaking of the trigger, my sample pistols had good triggers. The 5.25-inch-barreled gun’s trigger pull averaged 6.7 pounds, and the 4.5-inch-barreled pistol’s trigger pull averaged 7.5 pounds, according to my RCBS trigger pull scale.
The front sights on both versions are fiber optic, and the fibers are easy to switch out. Extra red and yellow fiber-optic elements are included. The rear sight on the 4.5-inch-barreled gun is drift-adjustable for windage and has two white dots on the face. The rear sight on the 5.25-inch-barreled XDM is fully adjustable and is slightly recessed into the slide, and its all-black face is finely striated. The Sight radius for the 5.25-inch-barreled XDM is 7.38 inches, 6.88 inches for the 4.5-inch-barreled gun.
Accuracy & Velocity
I fired seven different 10mm Auto factory loads through both versions, and the results are listed in the accompanying chart on page 32. Test bullet weights ranged from 155 to 175 grains and 180 to 200 grains. Styles ranged from hollowpoints through jacketed softpoints to roundnose flatpoints. All bullet types fed, fired, extracted, and ejected perfectly.
Velocities ranged from 1,111 to 1,286 fps in the 5.25-inch barrel and 1,089 to 1,260 fps in the 4.5-inch barrel. All velocities were measured 12 feet from the guns’ muzzles. Interestingly, the velocities were on average just 29 fps greater in the 0.75-inch longer barrel.
Based on the velocities registered, the ammunition fired had muzzle energies ranging from 425 ft-lbs to 661 ft-lbs in the longer-barreled pistol and 408 ft-lbs to 634 ft-lbs in the shorter barrel. Those figures should be enough to take care of an attacker, and they are certainly sufficient to hunt whitetails, black bears, mountain lions, and other similar-size game.
As for accuracy, I fired the pistols on paper targets at 25 yards from a stable sandbag rest and averaged the results of five, five-shot groups with each load. Then I calculated an overall average accuracy for all loads in each pistol. The overall average accuracy for the 5.25-inch-barreled gun was 2.09 inches. The best load averaged a nice tight 1.05 inches, and the “worst” load averaged 3.03 inches. I don’t have to tell you 3.03 inches at 25 yards is quite good, and 1.05 inches is simply outstanding. The overall average accuracy for the 4.5-inch-barreled gun was 3.06 inches. Its best load averaged 1.68 inches, and the “worst” load averaged 3.94 inches. All loads were certainly accurate enough to defend oneself and one’s home. The complete results are listed in the accompanying chart.
My favorite 10mm factory load has always been Winchester’s 175-grain Silvertip loading because it is close in ballistics to my favorite .41 Magnum revolver round, which also is loaded with a Winchester 175-grain Silvertip bullet, but if I were hunting with the 5.25-inch-barreled XDM (something I can easily see myself doing), I would most likely go with the Federal Trophy Bonded JSP load because it produced the highest muzzle energy (661 ft-lbs) of the seven loads I fired. But I also found HSM’s 200-grain RNFP Bear Load to be interesting. It produced an average velocity of 1,194 fps with a muzzle energy of 633 ft-lbs. It’s specifically designed for hunting and features a lead roundnose flatpoint bullet.
For plain old plinking, the Barnes VOR-TX 155-grain XPB was the softest shooting load I tried, and its accuracy was more than acceptable. For defense, I’d most likely go with the Hornady Critical Duty 175-grain FlexLock loading because it was very good in the accuracy department and the bullet style has shown to be effective for that type of application.
The XDM has proven to be an extremely reliable design. I’ve never had a malfunction with any of the XDMs I’ve fired over the years, including the two new 10mm versions I fired for this report. Granted, I haven’t put thousands of rounds through any of them, but Springfield has. In fact, Springfield put the new 10mm XDM through a grueling 10,000-round test, and you can see the entire shootout at XDM10K.com.
I said at the beginning of this report that I like Springfield’s XDM. I’ve liked it since it was first brought to market. I also like the 10mm Auto cartridge. Finally, the two have been paired up and are offered in two configurations.
I prefer the 5.25-inch XDM because I like the adjustable all-black rear sight and the longer sight radius. Plus, I think it balances really well and shoots comfortably. Some shooters prefer a more standard duty-size barrel, and the 4.5-inch XDM fills that bill. Either way, the 10mm XDM is an accurate and dependable pistol that’s just right for personal protection as well as sport shooting and hunting. Now if Springfield would offer a 6.0-inch version that accepts a reflex-type optic specifically for big-game hunting, the XDM would truly take care of every handgunner’s needs.