The Story Behind the SA XDM 10mm, 10,000 Round Test

When I first heard that Springfield Armory was finally going to release an XDM in 10mm, I was elated. As a recent convert to the XDM 45, I could not think of a better platform in terms of ergonomics. But there is a specter that haunts any new gun in this caliber, one that us Cult of The Centimeter types know well. The first question we have to ask, is will the gun take it? Is your gun tough enough to handle the mighty 10, the old magnum of auto rounds?

The question isn’t without reason. When 10mm was developed, part of its downfall was the guns of the day. Even old slab sides, the tough as nails 1911, would crack the frame in short order. Over the years since, we have seen very few new 10mm platforms, and even less survive past a few years of production.

You’re doing it right when your ammo comes on a pallet

So when the new XDM came up, I asked Springfield Armory if they were ready to dance. Not only did they say yes, but they knew a good ammo guy. My proposal was 10,000 rounds, every round shot on camera. That is a huge risk for a new gun, and I had no way of knowing if it would survive. In 10mm terms, that is more than most of us will shoot in a lifetime.

Ammo by the 5 gallon bucket, like we did it in the Army

I have always heard that XDM’s are built like tanks, but never tested it myself. It was just never my flavor, and for a durability test, you are generally talking years of use for a round count like that. For Springfield Armory’s part, this was definitely a “ put your money where your mouth is” proposition. If the gun rattled apart at 2000 or 5000 or 9000 rounds, it would justifiably put into question the long-term durability of the entire XDM family. But if it didn’t? If the XDM 10mm took a full 10k of the manliest caliber every to ride in a slide? Well, it seems reasonable that would absolutely settle the score on XDM toughness. Ten thousand of 10mm is comparable to one hundred thousand of 9mm in terms of polymer and steel abuse. It’s like pouring nitrous oxide into your commuter car. The added horsepower is insanely different from a wear perspective.

Getting ready to go hot on day 1

The ammunition was also a factor. Running 10,000 consecutive rounds of anyone’s ammo could expose problems they don’t want seeing the light of day. Who here has had a primer fail to detonate? Me too. Lots of them actually, over the years. In a test like this, a light strike could be the fault of the ammo, or the gun, and both would be taking a risk. Fortunately, Federal had the stones to step up. Not only did they send us 10,000 rounds, they sent us Hydra-Shok from the Federal Premium self-defense catalog.

With my new bestie, from Action Targets

That actually upped the ante. Any of us would accept a bad round or two from plinking ammo, it comes with the territory. But Personal Protection rounds? Those have to go bang every time. Not only was Federal now on the hook for $17, 475 in ammo, but they were also willing to gamble the reputation of they legendary Hydra-Shok in the process.

One of many paint jobs

Now it hurt my heart a little, as an ammo connoisseur, to shoot 10,000 rounds of Hydra-Shok in a manner that would result in no hogs or terrorist dying. But I didn’t want the sacrifice to be totally in vain, like shooting them at the berm for no reason. So while the test needed to be speedy, we could at least test a target as well.

Enough lead on target to actually dig a trench

Action Targets entered the fray, volunteering an E-50 steel silhouette. Believe me, I would be thankful for that size of a target by the time this was over. Still, that is a lot of fire to pour onto one target, in a short period of time. To keep everything on camera, we also had to shoot the target at a highly un-recommended 8 meters. That is well inside the advised range, and also adds that much more stress to the steel.

Deeper by the minute

G Code provided 2 Scorpion Soft Shell belt kits, and I have a new found respect for this universal magazine system. Not only did they take a huge amount of use, but they also continued to provide perfect retention on the 10mm magazines. Hats off to this new belt kit, and a full review is coming soon.

G Code Scorpion Belt kit

Last but not least, this was an opportunity to test Lucas Extreme Duty gun oil. I have always assumed that anyone capable of making automotive lubricants would excel at something like firearms lube, but you never know. It is what Springfield Armory recommends, so we grab a bottle and off to the races.

I would also like to take this opportunity and thank an unsung hero of the project. UpLULA didn’t sponsor the test, and if you have followed me for any length of time, you know this is one of my favorite products to mock. Well, I am eating some crow on this one. Without some loaner UpLULA’s, this test would not have been possible. Just the thumb repetitions required to load 10,000 rounds into magazines is staggering. I won’t contend that an UpLULA is faster than thumb loading, but it sure is easier. And after all those reps, I have a new found respect. You can bet dollars to donuts I put in an order for TWO as soon as we were done.

UpLULA, the hero of the day

And that loading curve was steep for another reason. By the time all the parts were assembled in my garage, we didn’t have much time to beat the release date of the XDM 10. So with my two incredibly lovely assistants, we shot the entire 10,000 rounds in two days. Yes, 48 hours. Which added heat and stress to every component listed above, including me. So did the XDM 10mm survive? Absolutely it did. Check out the pictures of the slide below, it’s still nearly new. Come find out more over at Springfield Armory.


Less than ideal conditions for testing, but you got what you got.

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • AJ October 18, 2018, 9:00 am

    Dude I just watched he video over at SA… Holy balls. I do not envy that shoot one bit. But it is good to know that the guys over at SA can back up their claims when it comes to quality and reliability.

  • James October 16, 2018, 8:49 pm

    Ignore these utube whiners,this was a awesome test! What did you do with all that beautiful once shot brass?

  • Tim Thomason October 16, 2018, 8:27 am

    I have a xdm in 460 Rowland .
    Still running strong.

  • Walrus October 15, 2018, 3:30 pm

    So how was your wrist feeling?

  • Johnny Raygun October 15, 2018, 3:11 pm

    Some posts below are critical of both the test and ammo choice. I am not concerned about the velocity of the ammo, or how the test was run. The velocity issue is bunk, 10,000 rounds are a compilation of stress on the frame, mags, extractors, ejectors, trigger and rails. If anyone believes Springfield did not thoroughly test this pistol, they know little about the manufacturer. As far as the test procedure, it was never stated this was scientific, nor was it meant to be. Concerning the Glock fans,,,,, love your pistols, but there are many, who just do not like, or trust the transition from a different point of aim… . Under stress and impending danger one must know their natural point of aim, without over thinking it. Glock is the most popular pistol in the world, for good reason.. Glock also makes a pistol for every scenario and nothing wrong with owning one for every scenario and need.
    For me all pistols are fun to shoot and take this test for what it is, just fun, useful and challenging..

    Your a lucky guy Mr Martin and great article.

    • AJ October 17, 2018, 5:11 pm

      I can not help but laugh at them. They can’t seem to grasp the concept of “10,000 rounds in 48 hours” in a lightweight, poly frame piece.

  • Millard Hixson October 15, 2018, 1:05 pm

    The original magnum for autoloaders is the 45 Winchester Magnum. The main thing I remember about the 10mm is the Bren Ten atrocity, which appropiately went down in flames.

  • Chris Dickerson October 15, 2018, 12:41 pm

    Will the barrel handle lead bullets ???

  • David October 15, 2018, 11:19 am

    Damn it why wasn’t I invited? So when did you do this test? I live in the same place you do. Your running around in a t-short. It’s 33 right now. What the hell.

  • Jeff October 15, 2018, 10:34 am

    I own and shoot a Dan Wesson 6″ Bruin in 10 mm and a Tanfoglio 6″ Hunter. Both are extremely accurate and easy to shoot even the heaviest fastest stuff out there. Those are real 10 mils….

  • Eli October 15, 2018, 8:00 am

    It’s Hydra Shock. Normally, who cares?, but I’m pretty sure Federal would have appreciated a little more diligence after handing over that much ammo.

  • Lou Bethel October 15, 2018, 7:04 am

    If you are buying a 10mm, this looks like a great pistol.
    Lots of great CCW pistols are built like tanks and last 10,000 rounds, including Sig, Glock, S&W, Honor Defense, HK, Walther and others.

    Doing it in 2 days is a torture test because of heat and quick cleaning.
    10mm may be all the rage, but the ammo is too pricey.
    Hydr-Shok 20 round MSRP is $34.95 and there are plenty of potent 9mm hollowpoint available foe half that price.

  • DaveP. October 15, 2018, 6:27 am

    One of the big gun magazines- don’t remember which one- did this to a Smith and Wesson 1006, back when they first came out. It chugged all 10k with only two breakages (tip of the ejector and the safety lever both broke off), neither one of which stopped the gun from functioning.

    • Daniel E. Watters October 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

      That was published in American Handgunner’s 1991 Annual edition. The late gunwriter Frank James and his friends spent 6.5 hours firing 10,000 rounds of the far more powerful Winchester Silvertip.

  • REM1875 October 15, 2018, 5:17 am

    Some guys have all the fun …….

  • Bubba Leroy October 12, 2018, 9:24 pm

    I have to say I agree with some of the dissappointment that has been voiced on various forums regarding this test.

    Running 10k rounds of ammo that runs a whopping 30fps faster than the 40 sw version is not a good 10mm durability test. Something much closer to original norma specs of 200gr @ 1200fps would have been a much better reliability test. We already know that the XDM platform can survive a lifetime of 40 Sw, so did this test really tell us anything we didnt already know?

    Not that I would have turned down the option to burn 10k rounds of ammo. Id do it for the brass alone so I could reload it to proper 10mm specs.

  • Bubba Leroy October 12, 2018, 9:19 pm

    I have to agree with some of the disappointment I have read on forums regarding this test.

    Using ammunition that is a whopping 30fps over the same weight 40S&W ammo is not a real 10mm durability test. Something much closer to Norma specs of 200gr at 1200 fps would have been a much better test of durability. We already know XDMs can survive 40sw, so did this test really tell us anything we didn’t already know?

    Not saying I wouldn’t have loved to do this test though, Id do it just to get the brass to load to reload to proper 10mm specs.

    • Miles Huggins October 13, 2018, 2:27 am

      Its actually a 40fps increase over the 40 hydroshock.

      • Rane October 15, 2018, 12:54 pm

        If you hand load the .40 can push a 180 to 1160 fps. So the federal hydra shock 10mm is nothing special. Run some corbon or buffalo bore through it. That will really test its endurance. I do plan on getting this gun in the near future. I would make it my hunting/hiking gun. For those who comment about the price of ammo keep in mind what you’re getting. The 10mm completely trumps 9mm and 45 acp in terms of power. Only hand loaded 40’s come close to its power level and they only really compete in their light bullet segment because the longer heavier bullets take up too much case volume. My usp 40 can push a 135 gr pill to 1475 fps so that’s within 50 fps of a hot 10mm load. But the heavier bullets 155-200 gr shot from a 10mm are much faster than the 40. I already hand load for 10mm and know much power it’s capable of. If you’re serious about shooting and want this caliber I highly recommend reloading.

      • Wilson Lanue October 15, 2018, 1:17 pm

        Based on the data printed on the boxes, Hydra-Shok 10mm (P10HS1) is 84% the energy of Critical Defense 40S&W (91340), 85% the energy of Silvertip 40S&W (X40SWSTHP), and 97% the energy of Elite V-Crown 40S&W.

        Those are all good loads, but they are solidly .40 S&W power, as is Hydra-Shok 10mm.

        • Rane October 15, 2018, 1:57 pm

          I don’t consider the federal hydra shock to be a true 10mm loading. It’s not even a worthy 40 load at that velocity. For a true 10mm cartridge you will need to consult with corbon or buffalo bore. The Lehigh bullets are amazing.

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