Published on August 30th, 2012 | by Destinee
Springfield XD-S – A Pocket .45
Springfield Armory’s new XD-S is a bad ass carry gun in a sleek, small package. The XD-S packs 6 rounds of .45ACP into a 21.5 oz firearm. With dimensions smaller than the Kahr CW45, Glock 36, Kimber Ultra Carry 1911s, and Para Carry Safe 1911s, it is currently the most miniscule .45 on the conceal carry market. While this fine .45 is tiny, the kick pushes straight back, allowing for excellent recoil control with only a 3.3” barrel. Easy to hide, easy to shoot, with a lot of bang for your buck, the XD-S is making a smashing entrance into the CCW market.
While the XD-S is an addition to Springfield’s already well-established XD line of pistols, the XD-S has several features that distinguish it from its polymer predecessors. This lightweight single stack .45 has several features that contribute to grip ergonomics, including: a narrow polymer frame (1” thick), generous checkering integrated into the grip, and interchangeable (checkered) backstraps. The pistol measures 4.4” in height and 6.3” in length. Between the slender grip and modest dimensions, it is smaller than the Austrian single stack .45, the Glock 36, which measures 4.7” tall, and 6.8” long at 1,1” wide. The two petite pistols are similar in heft, with the XD-S weighing in just .4oz heavier than the 21.1oz Glock.
Looks aren’t everything… in fact, they’re nothing when the pistol in question is designed to be concealed. But a little pretty never hurt, and the XD-S has just that. The bi-tone’s stainless slide lends the pistol a classy vibe, while melonite-finished monotone gives the XD-S a more “tactical” appearance. The smooth contours and textured grip make the pistol look efficient and purpose built without feeling boxy or uncomfortable. The slide is smooth overall (all the edges are beveled), but features cocking serrations that continue onto the top surface of the slide. Also on the top surface of the slide is the XD-S’s loaded chamber indicator. The short slide (6.8”) houses an even shorter barrel (3.3”). On both models, the barrel is treated with the melonite finish.
Some of the design elements that contribute to the carry ergonomics of the XD-S are safety features. For example, the grip and inline trigger safeties help to prevent negligent discharges by ensuring that the shooter has a firm grip on the pistol and must depress the trigger in order to fire a round. The grip safety has a component that presses on the sear, so while the safety is engaged (meaning, the grip is not being depressed), the sear cannot drop and release the striker. The trigger has a bar extension that connects with the locking block. When the trigger is pressed, the trigger bar rises, allowing the striker to move as the trigger is pulled the rest of the way. Additionally, neither of these safety mechanisms are obtrusive or in any way detract from the ability to carry the XD-S concealed.
Other features that contribute to the design of the XD-S for use as a CCW pistol are the single-position Picatinny rail, snag-free controls (including slide release, slide stop, disassembly lever, and ambidextrous mag release). The Springfield XD-S also includes low profile fixed sights, with dovetailed two dot rear sight and fiber optic front sight.
This small Springfield is a lightweight at 21.5oz. And with only 3.3” of barrel for the large .45 caliber bullet to traverse before it exits the muzzle, it is not surprising that the XD-S has some fairly stout recoil. What was somewhat unexpected, however, was how little it detracted from being able to keep the rounds on target. The force of recoil back into the shooter is more pronounced than the muzzle flip that pops the front sight momentarily off target. So, while the XD-S has some kick, it is easily managed with a firm grip. In keeping with the grip options of the XD(M) pistols, the XD-S’s interchangeable backstraps allow for the pistol to accommodate a wider range of hand sizes; however, the grip only allows for two fingers. Fortunately, Springfield also sells extended magazines for the XD-S with two sizes of baseplates. These extended mags have the added benefit of increasing the capacity from 5+1 up to 7+1. The grip texture helps the shooter hang on to the XD-S during fire. Springfield has taken the enhanced texture from the XD(M) series pistols, and made it more pronounced for the small XD-S. While the raised square nubs help keep a firm grip, even with moist palms, they have the unfortunate side effect of creating distinct impressions on the shooters palms after a box or two of ammo.
The trigger pull of the XD-S is heavier than the famously light Glock trigger, but lighter than the long heavy pull of the Beretta Nano. It has a relatively short takeup with a distinct break. Due to the striker firing mechanism, it doesn’t compete with the clean crisp snap for which 1911 triggers are known, but neither is it mushy or unpredictable. The short resetting trigger aids in keeping groupings tight. The high visibility sights (bright red-orange fiber optic front sight, and white dots steel dovetail rear sights) are easy to track in most lighting conditions. But, in low light/dark environments, they are more difficult to pick up. At the time of this review, Springfield custom shop offers a few sets of night sights that fit the XD-S including, original Trijicon night sights ($129) and Heine ledge sights (also $129). The Trijicon HD sights for SIG pistols ($150) also fit the XD-S. In addition to sights options, the XD-S’s single position Picatinny rail allows for the attachment of laser or light aim assistance pistol accessories.
With the ammo tested for this review (see chart below), the XD-S fired without error. This reviewer had only one issue with the handgun: after a couple boxes of ammo, the XD-S left a distinct red imprint of the grip checkering on her palm. Shooting with gloves, or simply having rougher hands than this 23-year-old college student, would likely prevent this issue, however. As a short-barreled handgun, this firearm does not have the same accuracy that many of its full-size counterparts boast. However, within self-defense range (between 5-10yds), it is not a difficult task to keep groupings within the 9 or 10 ring.
[Brand (bullet type) – bullet weight, muzzle velocity, #of rounds fired]
PMC Bronze (FMJ) – 240gr, 830fps, 400rds
Federal (FMJ) – 230gr, 830fps, 400rds
What is the best conceal carry pistol? Between balancing ease of concealment (size and weight), capacity, and caliber, there is no one solution that satisfies all individuals looking to carry in all situations. For example, a pistol that offers a high round count sacrifices ease of concealment because it must be larger to accommodate more ammunition. Whereas, smaller pistols, namely single stacks like the Beretta Nano and Kahr CM9 (9mm “pocket” guns) concede more ammo in exchange for less real estate. The Nano, CM9 and XD-S are each only an inch, or less (the Beretta and Kahr are each only .9” thick), with comparably small dimensions. (The XD-S is a bit larger than the mentioned 9mms with a height of 4.4” and length of 6.3”. The Nano measures 4.2” tall by 5.6” long, and the CM9 4.0”x5.4”.) Unfortunately for those who value higher cap over narrower frame, they also feature similar limitations in capacity (XD-S: 5+1 rds of .45ACP, Nano: 6+1 rds of 9mm Luger, CM9: 6+1 rds of 9mm Luger). Another point of contention inherent in Springfield’s compact pistol is the lack of grip surface. The meager frame does not allow for a full size (3 finger) grip, which would allow for increased stability. And while SA sells extended magazines at $40, they must be purchased separately. Should you decide to fork over the extra cash, you’ll also increase the XD-S’s capacity from 5+1 up to 7+1. That boost brings it into the realm of capacity of some full-size 1911s, but still falls short of its full sized XD brethren round count (13+1). The 4” compact XD45 surpasses the XD-S’s cap at 10+1, and the earlier mentioned Glock 36 carries 6+1 standard. On the other hand, none of those other .45 auto handgun options are as easy to conceal as the notably lighter, smaller, XD-S.
Springfield has added another handgun that adds to the XD line’s established solid reputation. The XD-S lies on the end of the CCW spectrum that favors ease of concealment and light weight over increased capacity, and larger bulk. Its streamlined design is well suited for carry, namely the snag-free sights, inline safety components, and small footprint. Despite the diminutive dimensions, the XD-S is still controllable. The effect of recoil, large hi-vis sights, and short resetting trigger contribute to quick target acquisition between shots. The grip only allows for two fingers, but the lack of purchase for the pinky doesn’t directly equate to an inability to aim steadily. For a polymer frame .45 comparable in size to some 9mm pocket pistols, it offers a larger cartridge without sacrificing the ability to easily conceal. In the continually expanding market for sub-compact polymer pistols, Springfield Armory continues to distinguish itself with the XD-S, delivering CCW pistol-seekers a powerful handgun in a discreet size.
Here’s a video review I put together on the XD-S, including some range footage with the pistol:
Caliber: .45 ACP
Weight: 21.5oz (unloaded)
Frame material: Polymer
Slide material: Forged steel
Finish: monotone – Melonite, bi-tone – stainless
Barrel length: 3.3in
Overall length: 6.3in
Overall height: 4.4in
MSRP: $599 – all black, $669 – two-tone
I have a Springfield XD 45acp Compact (3.8" barrel) as my designated "carry" pistol. It is an excellent pistol, I'd like to check this one out - but with the standard frame I LOVE having the option of either 10 rounds or 13 with the x-grip mag!
@gipbmac Shooting the XD-S made me want to put more range time into the XD pistols in general... I hear lots of good things about the XD(M)s, but have only shot them a bit, myself.
@FateofDestinee I hear ya! I have yet to try the XDm 45 compact (or any xdm) and would really like to - but I gotta tell ya, the other day I had the opportunity of shooting a Glock 30. My friend installed the optional tungsten steel spring/guide rod assembly and I gotta say about the only other 45acp I have shot that is as smooth is my HK USP Tactical! I was blown away with the low amount recoil of this pistol! I would need some time to get accustomed to the grip but (I definitely like like the Springfield's grip feel better) but wow was I impressed with the little Glock 30! It's a 3.78" barrel and 9+1 or 13+1 rounds (any of the hi-cap glock 45acp mags fit it) of 45acp. Definitely worth looking at. One thing about Glocks, there are lots of upgrades/accessories and customization options out there for them...Not to take anything away from the XD or XDm's but I really liked this Glock....
Great review, i own the XD-M and i've been very happy with it. Springfield has put out a good line of polymer weapons, i prefer it over Glock. I have friends who are GLOCK people and once they are in love with it they will never budge, but for the rest who are interested in a light polymer handgun that is easy to use and accurate i would def recommend!
@StoneHunter So far, I've had positive experiences with XD pistols. I'd like to put a few more through the XD(M)... who knows, that may show up in my review lineup at some point. :D
Great write up. Did you clean it during those 800+ rounds? Just wondering because if you didn't then the pistol does a good job of getting rid of the excess carbon. You did a thorough review, and I'll probably be going to check this pistol out soon because of it.
@PONI After about 600, I cleaned it with some Hoppe's No. 9 and gave it a couple drops of RemOil before taking it back out. It wasn't giving me issues, but I wanted a clean gun when I went to take photos for the review haha You'll have to let me know what you think of it if you give it a shot (no pun intended. Okay, maybe pun intended lol)
What an in depth write up, Destinee. Thank you for your observations. I'm still hung up on the Glock like triggger. Just cn't get my self to ignore it. The size is reminiscent of the old Colt Officer's model but much lighter in weight. i think you need to test either a Colt officer's model or a Detonics to see how they compare.
@Old PH2 Glad you liked the review. It's not the nicest trigger I've fired... but it's not terrible enough to detract from my ability to aim well. If I can get my hands on a Colt Officer's model - or any Colt, really - it would be my honor to review it for The Loadoutroom. ;]
I know that on the XDs, trigger work can be achieved to lighten and clean up the pull. I'm sure the XD-S will be no different. I'm planning on picking one up myself (you beat me to the review! :D) and I'll let you know what i find from a 'smithing point of view. -- Bravo Two
@Old PH2 Lol old fart can't get used to them new fangled triggers, huh? I'm the same way man. Whatever I CC has to be the last gun I shot or I can't hit shit with it the first shot or so. Muscle memory I guess.
Destinee: Great video. I saw your video on this. So are you going to carry this XD now instead of your Kimber ;)?
Have you heard of any issues with slide? Some people are saying that the slide won't return to right position after you rack the slide.
@GoNavy I had mine sent back to factory , I was told strong recoil spring made
it hard to return. I should charge pistol from slide lock using the slide stop.
Fast Service, Got message from Dennis Reese. Owner Springfield Amory!!!
Great gun,for concealed in front pants pocket.
Thank you for the info. I do have an XD9 4" Service model. It's been great thousands of rounds and not a single issue. That used to be my EDC until I got G19. The G19 feels better in my hand and also lighter too. However, Springfield Armory left a bad taste with me because of their G.I. 1911. I had issues from day one (Stove pipe/FTF). Sent into Springfield 2 times and they can't fix it. Ended up selling it back to the store with a $250 loss. Ending up getting a Kimber Stainless II. No issues on that 1911.
@Punky I have owned three Poly pistols,all but one gave me problems
but I need a small light pistol in third largest crime city in U.S.A.
My steel Chiefs special S-W 45 was great but to heavy. I needed
lighter gun. So XD/single stack for close in work, good group
for 3 inch barrel.
@GoNavy Thanks much :] I am planning to carry the XD-S, yes. It's a bit of a drop in capacity, but I'm willing to sacrifice that for the comparatively huge drop in size/ weight. I've yet to have any issues with the slide.
@FateofDestinee Excellent job on the FOD Combat video (M9 Beretta vs XDm). Great job on shooting your M9! I can tell you that you can definitely out shoot me. Your videos are really good quality and very informative. You should have your on channel on cable TV. I would gladly give up one of my cable channels to put yours on instead :) I don't know how you find the time to do all these videos and reviews & still be a student. Thanks again for the informative review. I am looking at the XDs as a carry option (but I would have to get the extended magazine) My current EDC is G19 Gen 3.
@GoNavy Thankya! I had *way* too much fun putting that together. I'm curious to see what you think of the XD-S, should you get your hands on one. I like Glocks all right, but the grip doesn't fit my hand well, and so I shoot them more poorly than most other polymer-frame pistols. The XD line seems to do better for me in that area. I'm honored you enjoy my content so much. I am always crazy busy, but I'm never bored!