In 2006, I was teaching Texas Concealed Handgun License classes with a couple of buddies. We were running an average of 60 students a week through our classes, and each of those students was required to go through a 50-round shooting proficiency exercise, which we conducted on a range that had 10 lanes. One of us would call the exercise while the other two each supervised five shooters.
From our position behind the shooters, we could see the targets, but we couldn’t necessarily see what type of pistol they were shooting. However, we had the students hold up their magazines when they were loaded and ready for the next string of fire. That way, we’d know when everyone was loaded and ready to go. We noted that stainless steel magazines were usually associated with tightly-grouped targets. This became so common, the three of us would make the connection and knowingly nod at the others.
In one particular class that I recall, the tight groups went with an XD shooter. The stainless-steel magazine meant it was a Springfield XD series pistol. Practically everything else had black magazines.
The significance of this story is that each of the three of us became instant XD fans and figured out a way to buy one for our own collections. Mine was a .45 ACP XD-M with a 4.5-inch barrel. It took me a while to get it, because the cost was a little more than I could spend for a gun without some kind of windfall.
The windfall came in the form of a small inheritance when my father passed. I loved that XD-M. Several years later, when our training business had morphed into a gun store, the Trump Slump hit the gun industry such that our gun store sales dropped significantly. My son and I were forced to put many of our own guns into our gun store inventory in order to pay our help. My XD-M suffered that fate.
Springfield XD-M 10mm
When I was able to replace it a few years later, I opted for a 10mm. This would be my only 10mm, and I couldn’t imagine a better gun to fulfill that role. I learned after buying the gun that Springfield had put the XD-M 4.5-inch barrel 10mm through a 10,000-round torture test in which there were zero failures.
We gun writers get the opportunity to review a number of new pistols to see if they cut the mustard. Many of us have written about the XD-M, and it needs nothing more than another nod to remind folks of how these guns make a significant contribution to the gun world. The XD series was introduced in 2001 and immediately became a favorite with law enforcement and competitive shooters, not to mention those just seeking a great gun for personal protection.
The XD is built for durability through use of a forged slide and hammer-forged barrel. A Melonite finish ensures that the pistol can resist the elements in the most unforgiving environments. This essay is my way of introducing you to an old friend. If you’ve never owned a Springfield XD of any size or caliber, you may want to put one on your wish list after reading about my appreciation for the gun.
It’s a big gun for a carry gun, but I’ve carried mine on many occasions in a leather IWB holster with no complaints whatsoever. The XD-M’s hammer-forged 4.5-inch match grade barrel features a 1:16 right hand twist. The overall length of the gun is 7.7 inches. It’s 5.75 inches tall and weighs 31.2 ounces. That’s almost two pounds. The grip width is 1.2 inches. It’s similar in size and weight with a SIG P226 or a Beretta 92. The slide features cocking serrations front and rear.
The grip has a texture made of small squares on the backstrap and checkered grooves on the front strap. The backstrap has three differently sized inserts. The medium grip insert worked best for me. There’s an undercut trigger guard, which is squared off in front with a little hook to help with your grip, if you put your finger on the forward part of the trigger guard — some do, others say that’s bad form. Personally, I like it.
Texturing on the front of the trigger guard matches the texturing on the front strap. The magazine release button is ambidextrous with lines across the surface to prevent slippage. The slide lock is only on the left side. There’s no manual thumb safety, but the gun has a grip safety similar to a 1911 and a trigger blade safety similar to a Glock.
There’s a three-groove Picatinny rail under the barrel for a light or laser. The sights are dovetail mounted and consist of a two-dot rear sight and a fiber-optic front sight. The fiber-optic pipe is red, but some yellow fiber-optic rods, along with a couple of spare red rods were included in my gun’s case.
Also in the case was a spare magazine, package of Lucas gun oil, owner’s manual, and a gun lock. A mechanical, loaded-chamber indicator sits on top of the slide so it can easily be accessed either visually or by feel, and the striker status indicator is a pin that protrudes out the back of the slide to provide both visual and tactile indication of whether or not the striker is cocked.
XD-M at the Range
I had not fired my gun in a while before undertaking this writing project, so I rounded up one of my grandsons, as much 10mm ammo as I could find in my ammo closet, and we headed to the range. There were six different brands of ammo in the mix. We hung our targets at 10 yards and took turns shooting. We had some other guns with us to take advantage of the time, making it an enjoyable outing.
The 10mm is a bit snappy, but the XD-M’s size and grip help tame the beast. We didn’t have enough ammo to shoot all day, but each of us managed to put about 50 rounds through the XD-M. I spent most of our time at the shooting range with a big grin on my face as the XD-M rewarded my careful aiming and trigger squeezes with a number of tightly grouped targets. It didn’t seem to matter which ammo was in the gun.
I find the studded grip on the XD-M encourages a good handhold and absorbs some of the recoil in the process. The trigger pull runs just over 5 pounds. There’s about .75-inch of take-up, and then a very small movement after you feel resistance before the break. I like the way that works, because it gives you a chance to steady the sights before the break. Even at 10mm it’s a fun gun to shoot. I’m sure a 9mm would be nicer, but I really wanted to have a 10mm in my stable, and this one suits me fine for that purpose.
The EZ2C targets I chose for the outing consisted of six 4-inch circles per sheet with a color choice of green or red. The green ones are supposed to be better for red dot sight shooting, but I like them for any kind of shooting. I picked a target at random to show you for the article, but any of my targets would have worked in the picture. There were no issues putting groups of 5 shots into the 4-inch circle.
One thing all this shooting brings up is ammunition. After our trip to the range, I was wiped out in the 10mm department. Finding 10mm is not quite as easy as finding 9mm, but I did locate some replacement ammo online. I found prices as high as $1.70 per round for defensive ammo, but fortunately kept shopping and found better deals. I winded up paying 70¢ a round for FMJ and 99¢ a round for some good defensive ammo. Prices and availability are both starting to get better. Also, I have the components to handload 40 rounds of 180-grain 10mm Hornady XTP hollow points.
You might wonder… is the match gun with its fully supported, ramped, match grade barrel better, more accurate than a regular XD. Although it is built for exceptional accuracy that is typically found only on target guns, my experience says the regular XD also has the goods. I got the XD-M model primarily because of barrel length.
The idea of having a match grade barrel is nice, but my friends who bought regular XDs, even compacts, appear to get just as good performance from their guns as I do mine. Then there were the observations from our gun classes that the XD line in general consists of very accurate guns, even in the hands of relatively inexperienced shooters.
If a 10mm doesn’t float your boat, I’d take a close look at the Springfield XD-M Elite in 9mm with its 22-round capacity. Although, to be honest, any of the XD pistols should make you a happy camper.