Aug 22 2012
The Springfield Armory XD-S is a long-awaited derivative of the popular and proven XD series of pistols, and was designed for everyday carry and deep concealment. As an owner of several XD series pistols (and sometimes referred to as the crazy XD lady), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of these to give it a try!
The XD-S is a single-stack compact pistol chambered in .45ACP. The overall length is 6.3” with a slim width of only 1”. Empty weight is a light 21.5 ounces, partially due to its light polymer frame construction. Standard capacity is 5+1 rounds. A new and welcome addition to the XD-S pistol is the red fiber optic front sight.
One of the most exciting features of the XD-S is the fact that it was designed around the .45ACP cartridge, which is arguably one of the best self-defense rounds available.
The XD-S is equipped with the Ultra Safety Assurance Trigger System which is designed to prevent accidental discharges due to dropping or bumping the gun. The trigger will not operate unless direct rearward pressure is applied to the face of the trigger.
All XD series pistols include a grip safety which only allows firing when the grip safety is depressed.
Just like the XD and the XD(M), the XD-S has a loaded chamber indicator: which is a notch that pops up on the slide when a round is seated in the chamber. What I like about a loaded chamber indicator is that it gives the operator immediate visual and tangible feedback as to whether or not that firearm is ready to shoot.
A new feature on the XD-S is referred to as Fail-Safe Disassembly. This feature will prevent manipulation of the takedown lever with a magazine in the pistol. It also prevents the insertion of a magazine unless the lever is in the shooting position. This new addition should prevent an accidental discharge when disassembling the XD-S for cleaning.
Springfield detailed the XDs grip by adding a new “secure grip texture” to the “all terrain” style grip that is found on the XD(M). And just like the XD(M), the XD-S comes with different sized, interchangeable back straps.
The XD-S comes standard with a fiber optic front sight. This is a very welcome and useful addition, especially considering the shorter than usual sight radius that is inherent with sub compact pistols. This bright front sight grabs the shooters attention and pulls the focus right to the front site where it needs to be.
What’s In the Box?
Springfield Armory has always done an outstanding job of equipping the XD series pistols with most of the accessories needed to get started. The XD-S is no exception to this rule. The XD-S comes complete in a high quality storage case suitable for air travel. Contained within you will find a paddle holster, a double magazine pouch, a cable lock, two extra fiber optics (one red, one green), an interchangeable back strap, and two 5 round magazines.
Shooting the XDs:
In order to give you the most accurate review I can, I had a handful of people shoot the XD-S before I wrote it up. One was a SWAT sniper, one was a competition shooter, I shot it, and I had my husband shoot it as well. We all pretty much came up with the same conclusions, and overall, we were all impressed.
The muzzle flip on the XD-S is pretty severe. It’s what can be expected from such a small .45 caliber handgun due to the short barrel length and smaller grip size of this model. This is especially apparent when using the included 5 round magazine due to the shorter grip length. Even with the short magazines, however, the muzzle flip is very predictable and can easily be compensated for with a little practice.
At first, the muzzle flip made it a bit harder to do a double tap. After a few shots, I got the hang of the rhythm, and the double taps with decent grouping were quite doable at fifteen yards.
Considering the size, weight, and caliber of the XD-S, one might expect this pistol to be uncomfortable to shoot due to expected recoil. This was not the case at all; in fact, everybody who shot the XD-S for the review reported the opposite. The XD-S is a very comfortable pistol to shoot and I can easily shoot 250 rounds in a single session with this pistol and have little to no more shooter fatigue then when shooting my 4.8” XDm-9.
As with any lightweight, polymer framed handgun: it’s imperative that the shooter not “limp wrist” the firearm as they shoot. As an instructor, this is the only issue I have seen my students have with this firearm. Otherwise, it has run smoothly and accurately.
Those who already have familiarity with any XD series pistols should have no problems transitioning to the single stack XDs. All of the controls are located in the same place as the other members of the XD family which makes the operation of the XDs very intuitive.
The XDs is built a little differently than the XD and XDm, though. It seems to combine the best of both worlds, sporting more of an XD upper, with more of an XD(M) frame.
However, because the XD-S is a smaller pistol, the controls are going to be grouped closer together. As with any smaller sized handgun, it’s important to be aware of where your thumbs are riding. I shoot “high thumbs” and had no problem with the slide-stop actuating unintentionally. With a little forethought, Springfield designed the slide-stop with a little protective ridge underneath it. This helps keep the shooter from unintentionally pushing up on the slide-stop as they are shooting.
I am super excited that Springfield decided to go with the standard XD and compact XD(M) guide rod as opposed to the full-sized XD(M) guide rod. I think the XD guide rod is a much better design for combat/defensive shooting then the full-sized XDm guide rod. But then again, the XD was designed as a combat grade gun, where as the XDm was designed for matches. I could talk for hours on the subject of guide rods, but it would bore most of you to death, so I will leave it at that.
Unlike both the XD and the XD(M), the XD-S does not have a cocked striker indicator. This is something I am going to miss, as I am fond of the instantaneous tactical feedback regarding the condition of my firearm.
I feel that I should also mention that the XD-S has an external extractor. We didn’t have any failures to extract, so it wasn’t an issue.
The single stack design makes for a much thinner grip. This is great for people with small hands, and terrible for people with large hands. With less real estate to grip on to, it obviously feels a lot different to shoot then the double stack XD and XD(M). The main reasoning behind the single stack style, is to keep a slim profile for concealed carry. You can see the difference in width below.
The fiber optic front sights is absolutely amazing. I usually have fiber optic sights put on my pistols after market, so I was pretty glad to see Springfield install them standard on each XD-S.
The only concern I have about the fiber optic front sight is that I’ll shoot it out. I’ve shot the front sight out of every set of fiber optics I own. That being said, Springfield thought ahead and included some extra fiber optics in the XD-S package.
Extra points to Springfield for giving the buyer a few color options. Minus points for Springfield not cutting them down to size for us.
Carrying the XDs is a pleasure. Of course, I am used to my full-sized, 4.5 inch XDm and my 4 inch XD, so the downsize is a huge change for me. On the same note, I didn’t find it all that much easier to conceal and carry than my XDm .40 compact that I like to carry as a backup.
Overall, I would have no concerns carrying this pistol every day for self-defense. The size and weight make the XD-S very comfortable for concealed carry work, while the .45ACP round offers superior stopping power. I would, however, consider the 7 round extended magazines to be must-have additions because of the additional comfort while shooting because of the larger grip-surface.
This gun is a blast to shoot, and it seems as though I’ve found a welcome new addition to my Springfield Armory XD family!