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10mm Firepower: Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact Pistol Review

Springfield Amory continues to expand its XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact line with the addition of an optics-ready 10mm version. It's one of the few compact 10mm standard-catalog personal-protection pistols in the industry.

10mm Firepower: Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact Pistol Review

Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact 10mm (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The new Springfield Armory 10mm XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP features a 3.8-inch barrel and compact slide. The barrel is hammer forged and given a satiny black melonite finish, whereas the forged steel slide is given a matte black melonite finish. (Melonite is a salt-bath nitriding process that leaves a thick, corrosion-resistant, matte/satin hard surface that effectively resists wear.) The slide has grasping grooves up front and at the rear. They are chevron shaped, and each is 0.32 inch wide. There are three on each side of the slide up front, and there are four on each side of the slide at the rear. The slide is contoured and streamlined to make it easier and more comfortable to grasp when racking it.

The pistol has a polymer frame, and it comes with a “short,” flared magwell system that is removable. The included magazines hold 11 rounds of 10mm Auto ammo, and the pistol comes with two of them. They feature removable baseplates, and two extra flat baseplates were included with our sample that reduce the magazine capacity to 10 rounds. Springfield also offers a 15-round magazine with an extended grip sleeve that can be utilized with the magwell removed. With the short magwell in place, I can get all of my fingers firmly on the grip frame between the magwell and the trigger guard, and I have medium-size hands and relatively thin fingers.

Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact in 10mm
The new XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP is chambered for the powerful 10mm Auto cartridge, and the pistol is offered with a HEX Dragonfly red-dot reflex sight installed at the factory. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

By my measurements, the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP is 5.13 inches tall from the base of the magazine to the top of the rear sight with the 11-round magazine baseplate installed and the magazine inserted into the grip frame. From the base of the magazine to the top of the HEX Dragonfly reflex sight, the height is 5.75 inches.

In addition to the magwell being removable, the backstraps can be switched. Three backstraps, each with an increasing amount of arch, come with the pistol.

The pistol’s grip has Springfield’s unique texturing and a squared-off trigger guard that is also textured. The frame has an integral accessory rail with three cross-slots.

Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact in 10mm
The standard magazines hold 11 rounds of 10mm ammo, and an optional 15-round magazine is also available. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

This new pistol has Springfield’s META trigger (META stands for Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly), and it incorporates a trigger lever safety, a flat face, and an integral trigger stop. My sample’s trigger pull broke at between 5 pounds even and 5 pounds, 12 ounces over 10 measurements. The average was 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Letoff was nice and crisp, and reset was short. In addition to the short reset, it also has a very short travel.

I especially like the XD-M Elite’s sights. The rear is called the U-Dot Tactical Rack sight, and it has a U-shaped, white-outline notch. The rear sight is drift adjustable for windage, and it is shaped so that it can be used to rack the slide by pressing it on a sturdy surface or even one’s belt so as to work the slide with one hand should the need arise in a combat situation. The front sight has a red fiber-optic insert, and the sight is dovetailed into the slide.

Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact in 10mm
The XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact comes with a short, flared magwell that can be removed when using the extended-capacity magazine complete with grip sleeve. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

In addition to the U-Dot Tactical Rack rear sight, our sample came with a HEX Dragonfly reflex sight installed. The pistol is offered without the reflex sight, too, but all versions are optics ready. That means the slides are milled for a removable mounting plate.

The 1X, parallax-free HEX Dragonfly sight fits Springfield’s standard footprint, and it is built to exacting specifications from premium materials. Every HEX optic is thoroughly tested and backed by a lifetime warranty. If the optic is rendered damaged or defective, Springfield will repair or replace it at no cost to the customer. HEX sights are designed to provide intuitive target acquisition, faster follow-up shots, and everyday dependability.

Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact in 10mm
The XD-M Elite’s META trigger features a trigger safety blade, a flat face, and an integral trigger stop. Our sample’s trigger pull averaged 5.25 pounds. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The Dragonfly is machined from 6061 T6 hardcoat-anodized aluminum and comes with a scratch-resistant, antiglare glass lens. According to my measurements, it is 1.9 inches long, 1.25 inches wide, and 1.08 inches tall. It weighs 1.2 ounces. The sight has a 3.5-MOA red dot and eight manually adjusted brightness settings. There are 160 MOA of elevation and windage adjustment. Power is supplied by a CR2032 battery, and battery life is rated at more than 100,000 hours on its lowest setting (average real-world-use battery life should be somewhere around three years). The unit has a manual shutoff as well as a 16-hour auto-shutoff, and it has IPX7 waterproofing.

Other nice touches on the 10mm XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP include an ambidextrous slide release, an ambidextrous magazine release, a visual and tactile loaded chamber indicator on top of the slide, and a cocking indicator on the rear of the slide. Grip circumference across from and just below the trigger guard is 5.75 inches. Overall length is 6.75 inches. Width is 1.56 inches at the bottom of the magwell, the widest part. According to my digital scale, including the HEX Dragonfly, the pistol weighs 30 ounces with an empty magazine inserted.

Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact in 10mm
The drift-adjustable rear sight has an effective white-outlined U-shaped notch. Also visible here is the grip safety with memory bump. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

Of course, the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP utilizes Springfield’s distinctive XD grip safety that prevents the pistol’s trigger from being squeezed and the slide from being racked to the rear unless the safety is fully depressed. It’s a hallmark of the XD family of pistols, and it is reminiscent of the grip safety on the classic Model 1911 design. The one on the new 10mm version has a memory bump.


The 10mm XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP comes with a zippered case, two extra backstraps, two extra magazine baseplates that reduce magazine capacity to 10 rounds each, a filler plate for the milled slide just in case we wanted to remove the HEX Dragonfly, an operator’s manual, and a cable-style padlock. MSRP is $818.

Springfield XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact in 10mm
All Springfield XD-M Elite pistols, including the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact 10mm reviewed here, feature ambidextrous slide releases and magazine releases. (Michael Anschuetz photo)

The 10mm XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact at the Range

Shooting from a sandbag benchrest, the 10mm XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP averaged 2.55 inches for three, five-shot groups, each with five different factory loads. Bullet styles included FMJs and JHPs, and weights ranged from 155 grains to 180 grains. The range was 25 yards. The results are shown in the accompanying chart.

Springfield 10mm XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact Performance

The established accuracy standard for defensive pistols has long been 4.25 inches at 25 yards, so coming in at less than 3.00 inches is obviously quite good. The best load averaged a very nice 1.87 inches, and the “worst” load averaged 3.35 inches. I don’t have to tell you 3.35 inches at 25 yards is very good, and 1.87 inches is simply outstanding.

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 for defensive purposes, I’d most likely go with the Hornady Critical Duty 175-grain FlexLock loading because I achieved better accuracy with it, and the bullet style has proven to be effective for that type of application. 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.

Taking a cue from other Shooting Times writers, I also fired the new compact 10mm pistol during some makeshift action drills. For this report, I set up steel plates, steel silhouettes, and paper targets at various distances, and I borrowed some made-up “stages” from one of those writers. One stage had me lying down on the ground, simulating lying in bed, with the pistol a few inches away. When I was ready, I rolled over, located the pistol, grabbed it, got to a kneeling position, racked the slide, picked out the first target, and fired. The pistol handled really well, coming on target quickly and functioning perfectly.

In another stage, I fired the pistol from my truck. I pulled my pickup up to the shooting line (I was shooting at a private shooting range) and sat in the driver’s seat. First, I fired the gun through the open driver’s window at the targets spaced out at seven yards, 15 yards, and 30 yards. Then I turned the truck around and while still sitting in the driver’s seat, I fired out through the open passenger window. Again, the pistol was fast to get on target, and it functioned flawlessly.

After the “bedroom” scenario and the “carjack” scenario, I did some shooting from standing positions, including backing away from a target. I also fired the pistol right side up, left side up, and upside down. In those drills, it was accurate and easy to shoot. The trigger pull was smooth and easy. And I didn’t experience any malfunctions whatsoever.

You might be wondering how the 10mm’s velocities from the 3.8-inch barrel compared to velocities out of longer barrels. Well, I have fired a lot of 10mm pistols, including Springfield XD-Ms with 4.5-inch and 5.25-inch barrels, with the same factory loads as used for this report, and I’ve kept those records. Reviewing them showed me that from the 3.8-inch barrel, velocity loss ranged from 34 fps to 112 fps compared to the 4.5-inch barrel. Compared to the 5.25-inch barrel, velocity loss ranged from 65 fps to 136 fps. All velocities were measured 12 feet from the guns’ muzzles.

Using the obtained velocities allows a comparison of muzzle energies as well. Interestingly, the energy drops for the 3.8-inch-barreled gun ranged between 30 ft-lbs and 107 ft-lbs compared to the 4.5-inch barrel and between 56 ft-lbs and 132 ft-lbs compared to the 5.25-inch barrel.

Springfield says the XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP in 10mm “combines potent power with cutting edge performance and provides concealed carry users with an outstanding defensive pistol option.” I couldn’t say it any better than that.

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 3.8 Compact OSP Specs

  • TYPE: Striker-fired autoloader
  • CALIBER: 10mm Auto
  • MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 11 rounds
  • BARREL: 3.8 in.
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 6.75 in.
  • WIDTH: 1.56 in.
  • HEIGHT: 5.13 in. (to top of rear sight); 5.75 in. (to top of HEX Dragonfly)
  • WEIGHT, EMPTY: 30 oz.
  • GRIPS: Integral to polymer frame
  • FINISH: Matte black melonite slide, black polymer frame
  • SIGHTS: U-Dot Tactical Rack U-shaped white-outline drift-adjustable rear, HEX Dragonfly red-dot reflex sight, fiber-optic front
  • TRIGGER: 5.25-lb. pull (as tested)
  • SAFETY: Grip safety, internal firing pin block
  • MSRP: $818

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