Springfield XD-M Elite 10mm: Ready for Duty

July 20, 2023
Springfield has released new 10mm variations, but the XD-M Elite 4.5" OSP 10mm is by far the manufacturer's best new release and the best of all the XD series.

I tested Springfield’s XD-M Elite 10mm, a duty sized 10mm handgun with outstanding ergonomics. At the end of the test, it is my recommendation that it is sworn in for duty.

For those who follow firearms trends, it is absolutely true. The popularity of the 10mm is growing. The evidence is the fact that most of the big names in handguns have released a new 10mm duty gun in 2023. Springfield has released new 10mm variations, but the XD-M Elite 4.5" OSP 10mm is by far their best new release, and the best of all the XD series.

Law Enforcement firearms experts have gone to several extremes when it comes to cartridge selection. Some have gone strictly to 9mm and lighter bullets to accommodate Officers who may be recoil sensitive. The pendulum has started swinging the other way toward heavier bullets and cartridges. Some agencies have started looking at the 10mm…again. I’m really not surprised. No one has ever said the 10mm is marginal.

Springfield’s XD-M Elite 10mm has some refinements that brought out the best of this platform. It proved to be accurate, easy to shoot, and expandable. For a gun that could potentially be an Agency adoption, it checks all of the boxes.

When the original XD guns came into the market, consumers found that they were well built, and reliable. I liked them, but the XD models never fit me well. The improved ergonomics of the XD-M Series added interchangeable backstraps and better feel in the palm. The XD-M Elite models added the META (Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly) Trigger.  For a duty gun, this is a superior trigger.

The XD-M Elite 10mm META trigger has a flat face and an overtravel stop. I dry fired it a little, and the smoothness was amazing. The sear reset is more similar to that of a competition pistol, given its short travel and crispness. The flat face allows the shooter to take full mechanical advantage of the distance to the fulcrum and short reset.

Running rounds downrange, I was mildly surprised how the great ergonomics and design translated into shootability. XD-M models have hammer forged steel Melonite barrels, and the 4.5” length is the sweet spot for duty cartridges and maneuverability.

Using 220 grain cartridges-yes, 220 grain-I was able to rapid fire accurate groups with the same speed that I normally can do with 9mm.  A 124 grain 9mm bullet at 1200 fps is just shy of 400 FPE. A 220 grain 10mm bullet at 1100 fps is just shy of 600 FPE.  Although most 10mm duty cartridges use 180-200 grain bullets, they also drive them much faster.  The 10mm trumps the 9mm, and most other cartridges, soundly.

The XD-M Elite demonstrated better than average accuracy, even with less than average shooters like me.

Resisting recoil and providing a follow up shot depends mostly on technique, cartridge design, and other factors. However, the weight of the firearm is a factor. The XD-M Elite 10mm is 31 ounces, which is only average for a duty gun. This does not explain why it is easy to shoot. It is mostly because of design.  The XD-M Elite 10mm has a captive dual recoil spring, which allows for a progressive recoil response, which aids in taming recoil.

The polymer frame of the XD-M Elite 10mm has a flat profile in the front strap, with relief cuts for the trigger finger and thumb. This gives the shooter some flexibility on trigger relief and allows the hand to mold into the grip radius a little. The backstraps are replaceable, allowing the user to choose the amount of curve under the grip safety.  The gun comes with two other choices, besides the one already installed.

The overall feel of the gun is the subjective part, so I try to get as much feedback as possible from other shooters. Without even changing the inserts, most shooters found the gun comfortable, regardless of hand size. It has a lot to do with the relief cuts and length of pull where the pointer finger and thumb reside. This is the "waist" of the grip, where the hand steers the gun. The actual strength of the gun grip is in the stabilizing force of the smallest finger. Instead of tiny stippling, the XD-M Elite has large textured patterns, which were more effective for gloved hands, and definitely more efficient in challenging weather.

Some manufacturers add huge mag wells in their “tactical guns”, which sound good, because they act like funnels for shoving in magazines. This design is impractical for real world use, as a magazine jammed in place (highly unlikely in any Springfield product) could not be stripped by grabbing the magazine. The XD-M Elite uses a short magwell, which is the best of both worlds.

The XD-M Elite’s optics ready slide has a Melonite finish, and front serrations. This design proved to be glove friendly. The top of the slide is thinner than the bottom, which is a feature of the XD models. This takes away from the “clunky” feel of striker fired guns, and makes it easier to pinch the slide on reloads.  

Under the hood, they have continued the hammer-like extractor design, which is low maintenance. Most striker fired guns use a plunger system to tension the extractor claw. Springfield uses simpler mechanics, reminiscent of the 1911 design. It is easier to clean, and adds to the reliability. The striker status indicator and loaded chamber indicator can tell the user the status tactilely and visually. I do press check anyway, but the additional tactile check can never hurt.

The mag well has a slight lip on the front strap, and allows for smoother magazine transitions. It is removable, giving the user an opportunity options for different duty assignments.

I generally carry a Hellcat, Springfield Armory’s micro sized 9mm, and the rear U-Notch sight is quite familiar. The XD-M Elite 10mm  came with a fiber optic front sight, which is very bright and easy to center in this setup.  For me, the learning curve between this gun and my EDC is non-existent.  Just like my EDC, I could engage targets near and far with these sights instinctively.  

This is one of the best aspects of the XD-M Series of guns, and many other models. They field strip exactly the same, regardless of which XD-M gun. They have the same manual of arms, and are similar enough to have almost no learning curve.

The XD-M Elite 10mm does have an optic cut,  and it does come with adapter plates, which gives it a variety of optic choices.   There is also a purchase option for one mounted with a HEX Dragonfly. I have used this optic, and it is on my top 3 of optics I like for handguns. I had an optic to mount on the XD-M Elite 10mm, but I started to shoot it with iron sights, and I liked them.

Anyone who shoots with me knows I praise Springfield Armory magazines. They are the best feeding in the industry. They are rigid, almost indestructible, and fly free from the magwell, whether empty or full. They are easy to insert, and I have yet to have one catastrophic failure in all the models I have tested over the years. Some manufacturers use contractors to make their magazines. Others make them in house. In the case of Springfield Armory, I don’t really know who makes them.  I know I have yet to see any of them fail, or fall below a standard of excellence. Since magazines should be the first place a shooter should look when a gun is not working properly, it is a matter of common sense to find the best magazines possible for a duty gun. This alone should be a good reason to use Springfield Armory.

The XD-M Elite 10mm magazines have a 16 round capacity.

The MSRP on a standard model is $653.  At any price, this 10mm precision instrument is a bargain.

About the Author

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. He enjoys competing in shooting sports, running and cycling events. 

About the Author

Officer Lindsey Bertomen (ret.), Contributing Editor

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California, where serves as a POST administrator and firearms instructor. He also teaches civilian firearms classes, enjoys fly fishing, martial arts, and mountain biking. His articles have appeared in print and online for over two decades. 

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