The 10mm: From Plinking to Predators

By Steve Horsman
Posted in #Guns
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The 10mm: From Plinking to Predators

February 15th, 2020

4 minute read

With Springfield Armory’s introduction of 10mm pistols, I’ve been reminiscing about the history of the 10mm cartridge.

During the 80s, 90s and into the early 2000s, the 10mm cartridge seemed to develop a cult-like following — unfortunately, there were only a few manufacturers that actually mass-produced (and I use that term loosely) the pistols. I always been a huge fan of the round, but finding guns to shoot it used to be a challenge. Not so anymore with guns like the Range Officer Elite Operator, TRP and the XD-M pistol family.

The 10mm is a great round for self-defense, hunting or just plain fun on the range.

Taking on 10, Again

Although I have always been a huge fan of the 10mm cartridge, I do recognize that for some people, the recoil and percussion of the round are more than they may want or can handle.

Some of the ammunition manufacturers, though, have actually lowered the power threshold from the original 10mm load specifications. So if you have never been fond of 10mm, but haven’t shot one with the newer ammo, I suggest you definitely give it a try again.

In fact, I recently had a chance to try out the XD-M in 10mm myself. Being a big fan of the round and this gun, I could not pass up the opportunity. I know for a fact that there is a lot of interest in these guns. Since 2008 (when Springfield Armory began production of the XD-M line of pistols), I’ve had tons of requests from customers at trade shows, events and demos for a 10mm XD-M.

Springfield also offers a 10mm version of its Range Officer Elite Operator.


The XD-M 10mm pistol that I received for testing was the 5.25 model, which incidentally is my favorite of all the XD-M pistols. My thought process when requesting the 5.25″ was that I would actually use this pistol a lot more, in uses from competition to home defense to hunting.

I received my test pistol the day before leaving for several work trips, so I had to squeeze in my evaluation of this gun between all of the travel.

Steve likes both the 10mm round and the XD-M 5.25 gun, so this was a marriage made in heaven for him.

The gun was perfectly zeroed right out of the box at 15 yards, so I shot a couple 12-to-15-yard drills to test how the gun handled with the 10mm cartridge. It was controllable and comfortable to shoot. I really enjoyed just plinking away at my favorite steel targets. Honestly, is there any better sound than the ring of a steel target in your own backyard?  

I was definitely surprised at how little the 10mm cartridge actually recoiled. The felt recoil, movement and handling of the new XD-M 5.25 was exactly like my .45 ACP-chambered XD-M. It makes sense that the recoil impulse was very similar, as the overall size of the pistol is almost identical to the .45 ACP XD-M, with these few, very minor changes:

  • The 10mm is 32.8 oz. in weight vs. 32 oz. for the .45
  • 10mm grip width is 1.2″ vs. 1.26″
  • 10mm comes with 3 15-round magazines vs. 3 13-round magazines

The only visual change I noticed was in regard to the magazines — they have the indentations to accommodate the smaller diameter of the 10mm round (versus the .45 ACP round).

There’s a lot of really good 10mm ammo options out there, such as this Federal Premium HST defensive loading.

Group God

Call me weird, but I also enjoy testing ammo and shooting groups. It’s a great relaxing project for a lazy Sunday afternoon. So I was also really looking forward to getting the 10mm XD-M 5.25 because of its adjustable rear sight. I knew I would get to dial in all of my different 10mm loads, and that made me happy. 

Many have argued that an adjustable-sighted pistol may be too fragile for every-day carry and hard range use. I will have to politely disagree because in all of my years shooting the gun, the robust rear sight on the XD-M 5.25 has never failed me. Ever. And I am not necessarily easy on my pistols — this shooter shoots!  

A 10 for Wile E.

One of the things that I have always wanted to do is to shoot a coyote with a 10mm pistol, and now I have the perfect opportunity. Living off the grid and far from all of my neighbors, I went out yesterday with just this in mind. I took out my new 10mm XD-M 5.25, and spent a few hours calling for coyotes. Unfortunately, not a one appeared, but I will continue my endeavor in pursuit of “Wile E.” with my XD-M in 10!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Steve Horsman

Steve Horsman

Steve Horsman has extensive experience serving in military and law enforcement. He spent four years in the U.S.M.C. and followed with 27 years of experience as a police officer. While in law enforcement, he served as an undercover officer, a member of S.W.A.T. and as a police sniper. Adding to his already impressive resume are 30 years of competition shooting.

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