I was at an event Montana earlier last Fall where several gun and ammo manufacturers were showing off their new products and allowing writers to test them.
I found myself hanging out at the Vista Outdoor booth long enough that I was surprised the guys there didn’t tell me to leave. Vista Outdoor may not be a name you are familiar with, but if you are a shooter/outdoorsman, you probably have used some of their products. At this event, Vista was highlighting their Federal Syntech (total synthetic jacket) 9mm and their 9mm & 10mm Speer Gold Dot.
I have shot more than my fair share of 9mm, but that didn’t stop me from plowing through 1,000+ rounds of Syntech. After all, I didn’t want to see the Vista guys haul all that ammo back with them and hurt themselves. I really enjoyed shooting the 9mm Syntech; however, I kept gravitating back to shooting the Speer Gold Dot 10mm in 200gr. The only 10mm handgun they had at the booth was a Ruger 1911 (single-stack).
Although it was a nice gun (shot 200+ rounds flawlessly), I really wanted to try it out in a double-stack format. As I was leaving the event in Montana the Vista guys asked me if I’d like to take some 10mm home to continue testing it. I’m not one to turn down free ammo (even if I don’t have a gun to shoot it in).
Upon arriving back in Ohio I started looking into double-stack 10mm handguns I could purchase/review, but there aren’t many companies making guns in the 10mm. I was gravitating towards the Glock 20 (10mm) when I received a pre-release email from Springfield Armory announcing their new XD(M) line in 10mm. Perfect timing. Knowing some of the Springfield Armory team, I reached out to them to get one sent over to review.
A quick history of the 10mm:
The 10mm really is a misunderstood, underappreciated, round. Designed by the revered firearm’s instructor, Jeff Cooper, in the early 1980s, the 10mm could achieve ballistics similar to a 357 Magnum (and a little less than a 41 Magnum) in a semi-auto format. The FBI’s adoption of the 10mm in the late 80s/early 90s caused a peak in its popularity (until now). Due to most agents being unable to qualify with the 10mm due to the “excessive” recoil, it was mothballed not long after its adoption. Today the FBI uses the 10mm in limited capacity in some of their specialty units. The 1990s-2000s saw limited adoption by gun manufacturers to expand their offerings in 10mm. Most that did were in the single-stack, 1911, style. Glock was the only notable manufacturer to offer the 10mm in a double-stack for many years, really keeping the round alive. Now thanks to manufacturers like Springfield Armory (and even CMMG with their 10mm in the AR platform) the 10mm is alive and growing.
Shooting the XD(M) & the Speer Gold Dot:
There is a reason why I fell in love with this round after shooting it in Montana. Vista Outdoor is known for quality and the Gold Dot rounds didn’t disappoint. Having a pile of pumpkins left over from Halloween/Thanksgiving, the Gold Dots had their perfect targets. These rounds were a lot of fun to shoot in the XD(M) and they hit with some serious force. The entry hole was small (since the round is moving very fast), but the exit hole at the back of the pumpkins were absolutely obliterated. Despite the raw power from the Gold Dot, shooting it in the XD(M) didn’t feel like I was shooting a semi-auto 357. It felt very similar to a 45 ACP+P or a 40S&W. It did take me some time to get used to the 10mm after shooting so much 9mm, but it was very comfortable to shoot. The XD(M) platform also allows one to get back on target quickly. The 15 round magazine capacity provides you just the right amount of ammo.
What would I change?:
Honestly if I had one thing I wish they’d change/delete, it would be the grip-safety (back strap-safety, beaver-tail safety, whatever you desire to call it). I understand the need for added safety on weapons today, but you can’t even rack the slide w/o depressing this safety. In a critical shooting, reloading, or clearing situation, one might not be able to manipulate the controls on the XD(M). I’d prefer nothing in its place, but would compromise with a flip-up thumb safety (that I’d never use). This is honestly the only complaint I have. Other than that, it’s an absolutely amazing handgun.
I really do like the XD(M) 9mm, but I love the XD(M) in 10mm. The fit, feel, reliability, and accessories you get with a XD(M) are industry best. I wouldn’t see this as your everyday CCW, but maybe they’ll make this in their XD(s) series one day soon. I could see this as a great option for a home defense gun (with a light added to the rail below), or for backup protection while hunting and carting away the animal you just bagged. Springfield Armory continues to impress me, as does Vista Outdoor with their stellar line of ammunition.
Written by: Mr. Ags @blackswampradio