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The recent renaissance of the 10mm Auto didn’t happen overnight but as the cartridge has become a more coveted and viable carry option in the backcountry, gunmakers have taken heed. New 10mm pistols have been popping up more frequently, populating a market the Glock 20 and a few 1911’s had mostly dominated. Even so, options for compact 10mm pistols have been limited to basically one—the Glock G29—until now. Springfield Armory recently introduced its newest addition to the XD-M line, the XD-M Elite 3.8-inch Compact OSP 10mm. It is very close in weight and almost every dimension to the G29. The test model I shot included Springfield’s Hex Dragonfly red dot optic, but the gun is also available without the Dragonfly and is compatible with other optics.
Sharp recoil is the most limiting factor when it comes to a compact 10mm, and it’s likely the reason there aren’t many options in that category. Combine that with the wide variety of defense loads and great 9mm handguns available, and the 10mm probably won’t ever be a big player as an everyday concealed-carry firearm. However, for those who want a pistol that can pull double-duty as a concealed-carry gun but also a realistic backcountry defense option, the XD-M Elite 3.8-inch Compact OSP 10mm is a welcome sight. As someone who has carried both 1911 and Glock 10mm pistols in the field for years, I was eager to get my hands on this new XD-M. At first glance, it’s a highly versatile handgun with promise to excel where other 10mm pistols have not.
Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 3.8” Compact OSP w/Hex Dragonfly Specs
- Caliber: 10mm auto
- Magazine capacity: 11+1 (flush), 15+1 (extended)
- Dimensions: 4.58 in. (H) x 6.75 in. (L) x 1.2 in. (W)
- Weight: 30.6 ounces (with included optic and empty 11-round magazine with flared baseplate)
- Frame: Black polymer
- Slide: Forged steel, black melonite finish, optics-compatible
- Barrel: 3.8 in. hammer-forged steel, melonite finish, fully supported chamber
- Sights: Fiber-optic front, white “U-Notch” rear
- Optic: Hex Dragonfly red dot reflex
- Trigger: 4 pounds, 10 ounces (tested)
- Safety: Grip safety and trigger tab
- Price: $837
More For the Money
The G29 is a hell of a pistol, but it has room for improvement. The XD-M Elite Compact OSP 10mm is essentially identical in size and weight to the G29, but with a less-blocky profile. The Hex Dragonfly optic makes the XD-M heavier than the G29, but only by a few ounces. The XD-M and the G29 are also similar in that they are both polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols with a similar price tag of about $650 if you choose the XD-M Compact OSP 10mm without the optic. Beyond that, the XD-M Compact OSP 10mm begins to pull away with features that set it apart from the G29.
On the Surface
Springfield’s XD series has been around for over 20 years, and the XD-M line was introduced in 2008. If you’re familiar with them, you won’t find a tremendous amount of difference in the Compact OSP 10mm model. It features a similar grip style to other XD-M pistols and is very comfortable in the hand.
The frame features a grip safety, removable magwell, and three-slot accessory rail. With the pistol come three interchangeable rear grip panels that allow the shooter to choose the profile they prefer. Although the magwell aids in quicker, smoother loading, I found it to be an impediment to my grip. The pistol ships with two magazines that hold 11 rounds each (compared to the G29’s 10-round capacity). The magazines include a contoured baseplate. With the magwell removed, it makes for a much nicer grip. Removing the magwell also allows the shooter to use 15-round magazines that can be purchased separately. With the sleeve that matches your chosen grip profile, these magazines effectively give the pistol a full-size grip. Above the grip safety is a semi-beavertail incorporated into the frame to aid in comfort and to protect the shooter’s hand from slide bite.
The lack of finger grooves on the handle and the contour of the thin trigger guard helps me get a tight, close grip with my middle two fingers, right up against the trigger guard. Pistols with finger grooves will often cause my fingers to settle in less-than-ideal positions, which compromises my grip. Grip texturing is like that of other pistols in the XD-M series, and I would prefer a more aggressive one, like that on the Springfield Armory Hellcat. A compact 10mm produces significant recoil, so you need to hang onto it, and grip texture makes a big difference.
The Compact OSP 10mm also features an ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release, making it friendly to left-handed shooters. Rather than using a more-traditional notch on the side, the magazine is retained by a forward-pivoting tab that secures the magazine via a cutout on the front of the magazine. Pushing the magazine release from either the left or right side will release it.
The forged slide follows the typical XD-M beveled contour and has both forward and rear cocking serrations. The regular Compact OSP 10mm is compatible for optics by using interchangeable mounting plates. The Hex Dragonfly model comes with the red dot installed.
Under the Hood
Along with others in its lineage, the XD-M Elite Compact OSP 10mm is a relatively simple build. It features a rotating takedown lever and is easily field stripped for cleaning. There aren’t any special features that will stand out to most shooters, but there are three key things that appeal to me as a 10mm shooter.
The 10mm Auto is a high-pressure, sharp-recoiling round, and it can be rough on guns if they aren’t built to handle it. The barrel on the Compact OSP 10mm has a well-supported chamber. The stories of Glock 10mm pistols blowing up with high-pressure loads mostly blame unsupported chambers. Especially on older Glock pistols, a portion of the case head was left exposed—and unsupported—during firing. Some semi-auto pistol chambers don’t fully surround the case head, usually to make more room for the cartridge to feed. I’ve never seen an unsupported chamber fail, but I have seen 10mm brass with bulged case heads where it wasn’t supported. It’s common for Glock shooters to buy aftermarket barrels with better-supported chambers for added piece of mind. The chamber on this XD-M Elite provides even more complete case head support than my Lone Wolf aftermarket G20 barrel.
The slide rails were noticeably thicker, and the front slide rails were longer than on my Glocks and Glock variants. The slide rails on the Compact OSP 10mm were just over 1/10-inch thick. The rear slide rails on this pistol are part of the polymer frame and not lined with any metal, but the front slide rails—where most of the stress is—are all steel. The front rails are 1.26 inches long, and part of a single steel insert in the frame, just above the trigger guard. The slide rails on Glocks are thinner and much shorter.
Finally, the contact surface where the slide hits the frame at its rearmost position during recoil is steel, and part of the larger slide rail insert in the Compact OSP 10mm. In the Glocks and Glock variants I’ve shot, this contact surface is simply part of the polymer frame. This is usually a non-issue. However, I have had the polymer begin to crack and deform just in front of the slide rails due to stress from recoil after putting thousands of rounds through one of my frames. Frame or slide rail damage isn’t something to worry about with this gun.
The variant of this XD-M Compact OSP 10mm I tested included the Hex Dragonfly, a reflex red dot sight. Hex optics is owned by Springfield Armory, and their smaller Wasp red dot is included on this variant of the Springfield Hellcat RDP.
The Dragonfly is a standard-sized pistol red dot with an anodized aluminum housing and anti-glare lens. It features easy windage and elevation adjustments and unlike the Wasp, which stays powered on and automatically adjusts brightness according to light levels, the Dragonfly features an on/off button that is used to select the desired brightness setting.
The sight itself is robust and user-friendly. Sidewalls around the lens are thick, and the top of the housing extends out beyond the glass, adding extra protection and allowing for easy use of the optic to cock the gun on various surfaces without damaging the glass. The dot is quick to pick up and get back on target, and if you’re used to using red dots on handguns, it’s a piece of cake.
The downside of this configuration is that you can’t co-witness the sights with the Dragonfly. I temporarily removed the optic, and the gun has a good set of iron sights—much better than the factory sights on any of the Glock 10mms—but you can’t use them with the optic. With the optic, suppressor-height sights would be better
The XD-M Elite 3.8-inch Compact OSP 10mm On the Range
In my experience, the Springfield XD and XD-M pistols have always been reliable, and the Compact OSP 10mm didn’t give me a reason to change my opinion. When releasing their initial XD-M 10mm variant, Springfield touted a 10,000-round marathon with zero malfunctions. I don’t have that kind of time (or ammo), but I’ve put 300 rounds through this gun without a single hiccup. This included a wide variety of ammunition, from 180-grain FMJ and 200-grain poly-coated lead handloads in a random mix of picked-up range brass, Winchester Defender 180-grain Bonded JHP, Federal Premium 200-grain HST, Buffalo Bore 200-grain hard-cast, and a hot handloaded Lehigh Defense Extreme Defense copper bullets.
In its factory configuration, I found the Compact OSP 10mm to be manageable to shoot. Shooting any 10mm well requires you to control recoil, and I found this one significantly easier to handle than a Glock G29. Any compact 10mm is going to bark when you touch it off, but a better grip makes this XD-M Elite 10mm more manageable than the G29. I was able to maintain A-zone hits on a USPSA-style target from point-blank range to 50 feet at a rapid pace. With two hands, unsupported, I was able to keep 10-shot, 10-second-timed groups about the size of a 3×5 index card.
I shot the XD-M Elite Compact OSP 10mm head-to-head with my custom Lone Wolf G20 variant, equipped with a Leupold Delta Point Pro, and I didn’t notice a big difference in my speed or accuracy between the two. The grip on my Lone Wolf is more comfortable for me than the standard Glock grip, and the recoil is directed more in a backward direction into my hand. I did notice a bit more muzzle flip with the XD-M Elite Compact OSP 10mm, but at the cost of slightly more time to get back on-target, it was actually a little more pleasant to shoot than the large-frame Lone Wolf.
I found the trigger on the Compact OSP 10mm to be good for a factory polymer pistol. It’s light and reasonably crisp. The trigger on my factory G20 pulls at 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and this Springfield consistently broke at 4 pounds, 10 ounces. It’s got a little bit of travel as you really start to apply pressure before it breaks but that just comes with a factory trigger of this genre, and it’s not bad. The reset is a little soft, and when manually cycling the slide, there is sometimes an audible click before hitting the reset. I like crisp, definitive resets, but I can learn to live with this one. After catching the reset, the trigger break is acceptable.
Configuration and Carry
I spent some time configuring the Compact OSP 10mm in a way that would best suit my needs and make it the most comfortable for me. I removed the magwell, which allowed my grip to sit much more naturally on the frame and contoured baseplate of the 11-round magazine. Removing the magwell also allowed me to use the 15-round full-size magazine. I also added a Streamlight TLR-3 weapon light, and ordered an IWB (inside waistband) holster from Northwest Retention Systems to see how the Compact OSP 10mm would fit as a concealed carry gun.
This XD-M carried comfortably for me, especially with winter clothing. It’s less obtrusive with the 11-round magazine, but it’s not unrealistic to carry a spare magazine—even a 15-round magazine—in a separate carrier depending on your preference. For backcountry defense, there’s no disadvantage in selecting this pistol over a full-size G20 or something similar. Losing an inch of barrel length and having a more-compact frame make for an easier, more-convenient pistol to carry. In the backcountry, the pistol you have is better than the one you don’t, and I’ll take ease and versatility every time in a handgun.
Although the XD-M Elite 3.8-inch Compact OSP 10mm can stand on its own, I did make an aftermarket addition—the GoGun Gas Pedal. Without getting deep in the weeds, it’s essentially a knurled pad for your support-hand thumb that—in the case of the XD-M—replaces the factory takedown lever. It’s only available for some pistol models and by using a slightly unconventional style grip, it allows you to direct pressure in a way that drastically improves recoil management. I was astonished by how much it cut down on muzzle flip—almost eliminating it completely. I’ve never shot a 10mm that I could control this well.
What the Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 3.8-inch Compact OSP 10mm Does Well
This XD-M shoots accurately, and is packed with simple, smart features. It has a good optic and iron sights and ambidextrous controls make it lefty-friendly. The removable magwell and ability to use 11- or 15-round magazines make it a great option for concealed carry, backcountry defense, or someone who needs both out of a single gun.
Where the Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 3.8-inch Compact OSP 10mm Failed
This XD-M has good iron sights, but with an optic, they’re useless, even as quick backups. It could use a set of suppressor-height sights that can be co-witnessed through the optic. I’d like to see a more-crisp reset on the trigger, and more aggressive texturing on the handle, like what the Hellcat has.
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The XD-M series has been in production for over a decade, but the Compact OSP 10mm is the one I’m most-excited about. I think as a factory gun, it pushes well beyond what it’s only direct competition—the G29—gives the shooter. The robust build and added versatility of a compact 10mm that is also manageable makes it usable in both concealed-carry and backcountry defense applications. Add to that the option of some aftermarket modifications, like the Gas Pedal, and this gun is a true burner. All of that makes it a significantly more-appealing option to me than most full-size 10mm pistols.