March 2019

Perfect 10s? We Test a Trio Of Big-Bore Semi-Automatics

These 10mm Autos from Springfield Armory and Glock offer great accuracy, good triggers, and manageable recoil. If you’re looking for a way to play big, then take a look at them.

In the past few years there has been a renewed interest in the 10mm Auto. That is odd because the birth of the 40 S&W Auto cartridge nearly suffocated the 10mm Auto out of existence. Not only are there more pistols chambered in 10mm, there is ammo loaded to velocities the 10mm Auto was designed for. Ammunition manufacturers like SIG and others provide these big-bore semi-autos with cartridges that live up to the 10mm’s reputation.

Two 10mm Autos introduced in 2018 are from Springfield Armory (SA). SA chambered both the XDM and 1911 platforms in the round and, back in 2015, Glock got the hint from handgun hunters that we wanted a full-fledged 10mm for hunting, and the company obliged with the G40 Gen4 with MOS (Modular Optic System). We liked all three of these pistols because they all offered good accuracy, excellent to good triggers, and they were easy to shoot well. But we preferred one over the others.

10mm pistols

The Springfield Armory XDM (center) has a slender grip and crisp trigger for a striker fire. The Glock G40 Gen4 MOS (left) has the typical Glock trigger and chunky grip, but it also has the ability to add a reflex sight. The Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Elite Operator (right) is an excellent adaptation of the 1911 platform to the 10mm Auto. When we factor in price, we feel the Springfield Armory XDM is a Best Buy, especially if you want to get into a 10mm Auto.

How We Tested

No jams. No failures. All pistols ran well and met our expectations of Springfield and Glock pistols. We averaged 2-inch five-shot groups at 25 yards using open sights across all three pistols. When we attached a red dot (actually a green dot), we found that the Glock pulled ahead of the group in ease of shooting. We like the G40 for its ability to mount an optic. And if you are paying attention, you may have guessed the RO Elite Operator offered the best accuracy with open sights. There is something to be said about the 1911 platform’s single-action trigger. SA tuned this trigger nicely. Some of us were shooting cloverleaf patterns with holes overlapping each other using a rest with the Range Officer Elite Operator.

Ammo used during testing consisted of SIG Sauer V-Crown and FMJ cartridges loaded with a 180-grain JHP and FMJ bullets, respectively. We also had on hand some old Hornady Critical Defense 165-grain FTX ammo. All of these loads cranked out the muzzle doing a respectable 1200 fps on average.

For fast, unsupported shooting, we found these pistols do serve up recoil, but the pistols allowed us to manage it. Could we shoot these 10mms as fast as a 9mm or 45 ACP? Sure we could, but our accuracy decreased.

As a hunting round, the 10mm Auto can be effective on boar and deer if you know your limitations and those of the round. Maximum range with this round is 50 yards. With a muzzle energy of 550 to 600 foot-pounds with our test ammo, you could use these pistols as you would a 357 Magnum revolver. There are boutique ammunition manufacturers, such as Buffalo Bore, Grizzly, and Underwood, that we have experience with and have fired their hotter loads designed for penetration and expansion. Some of the larger ammo makers like Hornady and Federal also make rounds suitable for hunting medium-size game.

Are these three pistols perfect 10s? In our opinion they are close, but one may be more suited to your shooting style. The devil is in the details, and we had a devil of a time wringing out these 10mms.

10mm pistol magazines

A tale of three magazines: From left are the Glock G40’s polymer-body magazine, the XDM’s stainless-body magazine, both of which have polymer baseplates, and right, the Range Officer’s flat-bottomed stainless single-stack magazine. The RO holds eight rounds compared to the double-stack capacities of the Glock and XDM at 15. Fifteen rounds of 10mm Auto is an awful lot of oomph.

10mm Auto Range Data

SIG Sauer V-Crown 180-gr. JHP Springfield Armory XDM Glock G40 Gen4 MOS Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Elite Operator
Average velocity 1251 fps 1201 fps 1190 fps
Muzzle energy 626 ft.-lbs. 577 ft.-lbs. 566 ft.-lbs.
Smallest group 2 in. 2.2 in. 1.3 in.
Average group 2.2 in. 2.4 in. 1.4 in.
SIG Sauer 180-gr. FMJ
Average velocity 1260 fps 1238 fps 1200 fps
Muzzle energy 635 ft.-lbs. 613 ft.-lbs. 576 ft.-lbs.
Smallest group 1.6 in. 1.7 in. 1.3 in.
Average group 1.8 in. 2 in. 1.4 in.
Hornady Critical Defense 165-gr. FXT
Average velocity 1223 fps 1220 fps 1222 fps
Muzzle energy 548 ft.-lbs. 545 ft.-lbs. 547 ft.-lbs.
Smallest group 1.4 in. 1.5 in. 2 in.
Average group 2 in. 2 in. 2.2 in.
To collect accuracy data, we fired five-shot groups from a bench using a rest. Distance: 25 yards with open sights. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm Auto, $706

GUN TESTS GRADE: A

The longer sight radius and ability to mount a red-dot optic made the G40 a very close contender for top dog in the test.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

ACTION Locked breech, striker fire, semi-auto
OVERALL LENGTH 9.02 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT 5.47 in.
MAX WIDTH 1.34 in.
WEIGHT UNLOADED 35.45 oz.
WEIGHT LOADED 44.62 oz.
BARREL 6.02 in.
CAPACITY 15+1 (double stack)
SLIDE Black steel
SLIDE RETRACTION EFFORT 20 lbs.
FRAME Black polymer
FRAME FRONT STRAP HEIGHT 2.6 in.
FRAME BACK STRAP HEIGHT 3.6 in.
GRIP Textured polymer, finger grooves
GRIP THICKNESS (max) 1.34 in.
GRIP CIRCUMFERENCE (max) 5.75, 6.12, 6.25 in. depending on insert
FRONT SIGHT Fixed dot
REAR SIGHT Outline, optic mount
TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT (SA) 6 lbs.
TRIGGER SPAN (SA) 2.9 in.
MAGAZINES 3; polymer
MANUAL SAFETY None
WARRANTY Limited 1-year
MADE IN Austria
WEBSITE US.Glock.com 

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

The Glock’s sights were adequate, but we preferred the fiber-optics on the two Springfield pistols. The Glock had a white front dot with a rear outline.

We’ve tested the G21 Gen4 and rated it an A-. We expected more with the G40 and Glock delivered. The G40 is softest shooter of the guns tested, plus it was accurate and allowed the user to mount an optic.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

The MOS feature on the G40 consists of a plate covering a milled-out section on the slide just forward of the rear sight. Remove the cover plate then add one of the four MOS mounting plates that fits with your reflex sight.

The MOS feature on the G40 consists of a plate covering a milled-out section on the slide just forward of the rear sight. Remove the cover plate then add one of the four MOS mounting plates that fits with your reflex sight. We mounted a UTG Reflex Micro Dot ($80) with a green 4-minute-of-angle single dot. The Glock MOS plate 01 or 05 is compatible with the sight. We used the 05 plate. The UTG reflex sight also comes with a Picatinny rail mount. The sight is made of 6061-T6 aluminum and wears a matte-black finish. The dot has six brightness settings. The single button on the left side of the sight powers on the dot. You then press the button to get to the desired brightness. To turn off the sight, just press and hold the button. The next time you turn on the sight, it will go the last brightness setting the sight was set to. We liked this sight, and it took the abuse the 10mm deals out.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

Anyone who’s familiar with a Glock knows how simple the controls are. Top left is the takedown lever; top right is the slide-release button; and bottom, the magazine release is textured.

The UTG had a small footprint on the G40, and we felt this was a good sight to use for hunting and more precise shooting. It also allowed us to get on target faster compared to iron sights — or plastic sights in Glock’s case. There are other reflex sights that power off when not in use and offer easier battery replacement, but we felt the UTG was good for the cost, and if we wanted to, we could mount it to an AR or other rifle equipped with a Picatinny rail.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

Like all Gen4 Glock pistols, the G40 comes with four modular backstraps to fit a variety of hand sizes and give users a total for five different grips. We like the ability to swap backstraps. Yet, some testers with smaller hands felt the G40 had a chunky grip compared to the other pistols. That chunky grip can be a liability in some cases, but what it does with the 10mm cartridge is help mitigate recoil. The increased surface area of the G40 grip transfers recoil to more of your palm, so there is not concentrated kick in one spot.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

The G40 is the longest of the pistols tested and was lighter than the SA 1911 but heavier than the SA XDM. The longer slide of the G40 gives the user a longer sight radius and slightly more front-end heft. The dual recoil springs also help mitigate recoil. In our opinion the Glock had least felt recoil of all three pistols.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

Here are three views of the Glock’s grips. The texture wasn’t raspy like the Springfields.

There are no cut outs in the slide like there is for Glock’s G34 and G35, but instead is a solid chunk of steel.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

Side by side, it’s easy to see the differences in textures between the G40 and XDM, right.

The G40 came in a hard case with three magazines, four grip inserts, extra grip module pin, punch tool for grip modules, speed loader, cleaning rod and brush, and a lock. We appreciate the extra pin, which could easily become lost, and the punch tool. With the XDM, we had to locate a punch tool to change the grip modules. The sights on the Glock were adequate but were the least liked by testers. The plastic front uses a dot with the plastic rear sight being outlined. We preferred the fiber-optic front sights on the two SA pistols. The trigger was about 5.5 pounds. Typical Glock, meaning mushy at first then a consistent break.

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

The Gen4 Glock G40 comes with four modular backstraps to fit a variety of hand sizes. We like the ability to swap backstraps to tune what testers said was a “chunky grip.”

Glock G40 Gen4 MOS 10mm AUTO

The Glock MOS plate 01 or 05 is compatible with the UTG green-dot reflex sight. The sight is made of 6061-T6 aluminum and wears a matte-black finish. The dot has six brightness settings.

Even though the G40’s barrel was longer than either of the Springfield pistols, it still produced muzzle velocity comparable to the shorter-barrel pistols. The G40 does not have as a nice trigger pull as the XDM or Range Officer Elite Operator, but accuracy was very close to the other pistols.

Our Team Said: The Glock offered more versatility due to the MOS set up. It was also the softest shooter and was more customizable by the owner. With the UTG reflex sight, we would hunt deer or pigs with the G40 in a heartbeat.

Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Elite Operator 10mm Auto, $1028

GUN TESTS GRADE: A

This 1911 platform has been adapted well for the 10mm cartridge. We like the sights and love the trigger, which translates to more hits in the black. The G10 grip texture is a bit raspy in recoil.

Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Elite Operator 10mm AUTO

ACTION Locked breech, semi-auto single action
OVERALL LENGTH 8.6 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT 5.5 in.
MAX WIDTH 1.4 in.
WEIGHT UNLOADED 41 oz.
WEIGHT LOADED 45.8 oz.
BARREL 5 in.
CAPACITY 8+1
SLIDE Black-T, steel
SLIDE RETRACTION EFFORT 20 lbs.
FRAME Black-T, steel
FRAME FRONT STRAP HEIGHT 2.6 in.
FRAME BACK STRAP HEIGHT 3.2 in.
GRIP Textured Thin-Line G10
GRIP THICKNESS (max) 1.1 in.
GRIP CIRCUMFERENCE (max) 5.2 in.
FRONT SIGHT Fiber optic
REAR SIGHT Tactical rack
TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT (SA) 4.9 lbs.
TRIGGER SPAN (SA) 2.8 in.
MAGAZINES 2; stainless steel
MANUAL SAFETY Ambidextrous thumb, beavertail grip
WARRANTY Lifetime
MADE IN Brazil/USA
WEBSITE Springfield-Armory.com

We have tested SA’s Range Officer series of 1911 pistols number of times in these pages and have found them generally to be good choices for those wanting a 1911 with adjustable sights. The features on these pistols elevate the RO series in 45 ACP above similar 1911 pistols and our sample in 10mm did the same. We liked the heft of the RO from the get go. The Elite Operator variant of the RO series incorporates an accessory rail that allows the addition of a light or laser and gives the pistol more weight to help mitigate recoil. The RO was the heaviest of all the pistols tested. This pistol also uses an 18.5-pound recoil spring that also helps lessen felt recoil.

Our sample came in a soft nylon case with two 8-round stainless-steel magazines. Starting with the slide, the RO features serration forward and aft that provide plenty of grip when racking the slide. The red fiber-optic front sight was appreciated by all testers. We could see it distinctly on a black target. The rear sight incorporates two white dots. Drop the red front dot in-between the two white dots for easy sight alignment.

The barrel is stainless and match grade with no wiggle. It also employs a GI-style recoil spring set up. The beavertail provides plenty of protection, and it takes little effort to depress the grip safety. It comes with ambidextrous extended thumb safeties, and they were nicely blended with no sharp edges. You might not notice this in a 1911 platform chambered in 45 ACP or 9mm, but the snappy recoil of the 10mm can rub against the user’s thumb and web of the hand. We found SA did a good job ensuring the RO performed in 10mm.

The front grip strap is smooth and the rear is finely checkered. If anything, we would have liked serrations or a less aggressive texture on the front grip strap for added grip adhesion. The grip panels are thin-line G10 with plenty of texture. Some testers did note that the grip panel was raspy in recoil.

Where the RO shined was its trigger. Crisp and consistent. We were shooting holes in the target that touched and over lapped. In fact with 180-grain bullets, smallest group measured 1.4 inches, which was substantially less than the G40 and XDM. We also like the sights. The rear face of the sight was serrated to reduce glare.

Recoil was more noticeable with the RO since it has a thin grip and concentrates the recoil in your hand in a smaller area.

Our Team Said: Recoil was most noticeable with the RO, but the trade off was a crisp trigger and great accuracy. This is a solid 1911 in 10mm, and if you want a 1911 in 10mm, the RO Elite Operator would be an excellent choice.

Springfield Armory XDM 10mm Auto, $779

GUN TESTS GRADE: A (Best Buy)

Great ergonomics, nice grip angle, modular grip strap, crisp trigger, nice sights, and a reasonable cost. There is a lot to like about the XDM, and we think it’s a great value.

Springfield Armory XDM 10mm

ACTION Locked breech, striker fire, semi-auto
OVERALL LENGTH 8.3 in.
OVERALL HEIGHT 5.75 in.
MAX WIDTH 1.2 in.
WEIGHT UNLOADED 32.8 oz.
WEIGHT LOADED 41.97 oz.
BARREL 5.25 in.
CAPACITY 15+1 (double stack)
SLIDE Black Melonite, steel
SLIDE RETRACTION EFFORT 18 lbs.
FRAME Black polymer
FRAME FRONT STRAP HEIGHT 2.6 in.
FRAME BACK STRAP HEIGHT 3.6 in.
GRIP Textured polymer
GRIP THICKNESS (max) 1.2 in.
GRIP CIRCUMFERENCE (max) 5.45, 5.6, 5.7 in.
FRONT SIGHT Fiber optic
REAR SIGHT Adjustable target
TRIGGER PULL WEIGHT (SA) 4.75 lbs.
TRIGGER SPAN (SA) 2.6 in.
MAGAZINES 3; stainless steel
MANUAL SAFETY Grip, trigger
WARRANTY Lifetime
MADE IN Croatia/USA
WEBSITE Springfield-Armory.com 

The XDM is an excellent platform for the 10mm cartridge. We didn’t fire 10,000 through our test sample like SA touts they did in testing but we did run the XDM hard. In past reviews we have tested the XDM platform and the 5.25 Competition model in 9mm with A- ratings. Accordingly, we expected a lot from the XDM 5.25 Competition in 10mm, and it did not disappoint. The pistol came in a hard case with a foam insert cut to hold the pistol, three stainless-steel-body magazines, three grip modules, red and green fiber-optic tube replacements, sample of gun oil, and safety lock.

The XDM series features a modular backstrap, allowing the user to choose between three different rear gripstrap styles from nearly straight to two arched module inserts. We preferred the straight option. The front grip strap and side panels wear a coarse texture that provide grip adhesion without rasping skin.

The slide stop is a usable size and is easier to manipulate than the G40’s slide stop. The magazine release is ambidextrous. The XDM has a grip safety similar to a 1911 that gives the pistol an added level of safety. There is also a cocking indicator pin that protrudes from the rear of the slide. In our opinion these features help make the XDM safer to operate.

There is a noticeable difference in the grip angle on the XDM compared to the G40. The XDM grip angle is similar to a 1911 at about 110 degrees, while the G40 grip angle is 112 degrees. This means that with the XDM, your wrist is straight, while with the Glock it is slightly bent. This is a personal preference, so try both to decide which one better fits your shooting style. The frame is built to accommodate a laser or light with a Picatinny rail.

The slide sports a fully adjustable rear sight that is flush with the rear of the slide to provide maximum sight radius. The shooter-facing surface of the rear sight is matte black and serrated to reduce glare. We prefer the sights on the Range Officer and XDM, but the G40’s sights are a close third.

The slide is more sculpted than the G40’s and has slide serrations at the muzzle and rear. The slide sculpting made the XDM the lightest of all pistols tested. There is also a cut out in the top of the slide to reduce slide mass.

Accuracy with all ammo tested averaged 2.0 inches for a 5-shot group. With the Hornady Critical Defense and SIG FMJ ammo, we shot our best five-shot groups, which averaged 1.5 inches. The recoil was manageable with the XDM. We did notice that fully loading the magazines took thumb effort. Racking the slide only took 18 pounds of effort compared to the G40, which took 20 pounds. We felt the XDM had better serrations to aid racking the slide.

Our Team Said: The XDM offers a comfortable 10mm shooting experience at a reasonable cost. This is our Best Buy choice for those wanting a full-size 10mm.

Written and photographed by Robert Sadowski, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.

Special thanks to Eastern Outfitters of Hampstead, NC, for their assistance.

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