Springfield Armory XD-S – compact, conceable & controllable

From The DalyCaller.com, By John Taffin, GUNS Magazine, 07/31/2013 – We can know our ABCs and watch our Ps and Qs but for Springfield Armory “X”  marks the spot. The Springfield X-guns have been very popular beginning with the  XD, then came the XD Compact, the XD Tactical, the XD(M), the XD(M) 3.8, the  XD(M) 3.8 Compact, the XD(M) 5.25 Competition, and the XD-S .45 ACP. The beat  goes on as the latter, previously only offered in .45 ACP, is now available in  9mm. The “S” stands for single stack. Now why would anyone want a single stack  .45, or 9mm for that matter, in these days of high-cap magazines? I can think of two great reasons, namely a smaller pistol is much easier to  conceal than a larger counterpart and is certainly easier to pack all day.

Perhaps even more important is the fact the grip frame can fit smaller hands,  which have a hard time wrapping around a long, double-stack magazine grip frame.  Concealability is also aided by the relatively short 3.3-inch barrel. OK then,  why would anyone select a 9mm over a .45 ACP? That is even easier to answer. One  word will suffice, namely recoil. I find the XD-S .45 to be a very serious  pistol, but one not pleasant to shoot with many loads for an extended time  period. The 9mm is also a serious pistol with today’s loads and one that can be  shot for long strings of fire with no problems with recoil.

Those who may find the recoil of the .45 XD-S disconcerting and troublesome  will find the 9mm much more pleasant to handle. That should mean you will  practice more with a small 9 than with a small .45. Too many times I have seen  first time shooters going for their concealed weapons permit purchasing a gun  they simply cannot handle. The 9mm is exceptionally easy to handle when compared  to a .45 or even a small, lightweight .380 which often has nasty recoil. We  could also factor in ammunition cost which is significant between the two. The snag-free rear sight has two white dots and is drift adjustable for windage. The square front sight is fitted with highly visible red fiber optic insert. Another very important reason is ammunition availability. As this is written  in late March panic buying and hoarding is still very much in practice, however  while .45s are hard to find, 9mm ammunition shows up pretty regularly at least  enough to keep those in my area shooting. I learned my lesson in the first Gulf  War and try never to be caught low on ammunition or reloading components. Even  before the Gulf War, way back in the 1970s when it was virtually impossible to  find a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum unless you were willing to pay highly  inflated prices, and sometimes not even then, someone asked Jeff Cooper where he  got his guns. The classic answer was one I have never forgotten: “I don’t get my  guns; I’ve got my guns.”

Let’s take a closer look at this latest XD iteration from Springfield Armory.  The entire XD-S 9mm is finished in a matte black with the slide and barrel being  bathed in a salt bath nitriding process known as Melonite. This is a very tough  finish which is highly resistant to corrosion. The matching polymer grip frame  is also finished in the same flat black. For most of my shooting life I have  preferred sixguns or semi-automatics of blued steel and the capability of  accepting custom stocks ofmy own choosing. Modern concealed pistols are for go,  not for show, and I am perfectly comfortable keeping my black polymer-framed  pistol out of sight and ready for serious situations.

The slide of the XD-S is basically a rectangular shape with the sharp edges  on top rounded off. This rounding off is carried out throughout the pistol  making it virtually snag free when drawing. Cocking serrations are found on both  sides of the slide in front of the rear sight making activating the pistol by  loading a cartridge from the magazine easily manageable. Both the front and rear  sights are set in dovetails on top of the slide making for ease of windage  adjustment. The low-profile sights themselves are excellent consisting of a  square-notch rear with two white dots matched up with a square front sight with  a red fiber optic insert; the sights are very easy to pick up in a hurry. The  rear sight is also rounded on the corners so there are no sharp edges to catch  on anything including the lining of a jacket or suitcoat. Retracting the slide  reveals a guide rod as well as a barrel, which has a slight bell at the muzzle  end to aid in lockup. Looking at some of the groups I was able to shoot, it  works.

On the grip frame we find a highly pronounced textured finish on the  frontstrap, the backstrap and almost all the way across both sides. This  checkering is deep, but not sharp enough to punish the shooting hand resulting  in a comfortable but also a very secure grip. The magazine release is located  right behind the triggerguard and is ambidextrous and easy to reach. The  triggerguard itself is relieved where it meets the grip frame allowing the  highest possible gripping of the XD-S 9mm. On the right side of the polymer  frame we find two levers. The back one is a slide lock, while the front one is  the takedown lever. The grip frame itself with the factory supplied 7-round  magazine in place is just slightly over 3 inches in length and only 1 inch in  width both of which also aid in concealability.

The XD-S comes with several safety features. It is equipped with what  Springfield Armory calls an “Alternate Safety USA Action Trigger System.” This  consists of a lever riding in the center of the trigger locking the trigger in  place against negligent discharge by either bumping the trigger or dropping the  pistol. (In more than 65 years of shooting I’ve never dropped a pistol. I hope I  never do! Of course I frequently drop everything else.) The XD-S will not fire  unless direct rearward pressure on the trigger face unlocks it. For those who  may still be concerned about this type of trigger after nearly 3 decades of use,  on the XD-S this safety feature is coupled with a grip safety, which also must  be depressed the same time as the front of the trigger. This grip safety rides  high and below a very slight grip extension and you must be careful to grip the  pistol so the grip safety is naturally pressed. The trigger itself also has a  short reset travel allowing quicker follow-up shots.

Another safety feature is the loaded chamber indicator which is a very narrow  bar just over 1-inch long riding on the slide directly behind the chamber. When  there is a round in the chamber the front of this bar is raised slightly  allowing you to know the chamber is loaded either by sight or feel. Finally  there is the Fail Safe Disassembly feature which, as with other XD pistols, does  not allow the takedown lever to be operated if there is a magazine in the  pistol, nor can a magazine be inserted if the disassembly lever is down. To  takedown the XD-S safely, the magazine should first be removed and then the  slide operated to be sure there is not a loaded round present.

The XD-S comes packed in a sturdy polymer case complete with two 7-round  magazines, a polymer holster adjustable for tension, and a double magazine pouch  also adjustable for tension. Two interchangeable backstraps, which are easily  swapped out, are also standard equipment. An extra option is a 9-shot magazine,  which comes with two grip extensions again allowing the grip to be tailored to  fit the individual hand. When using the standard 7-round magazine my little  finger rides under the butt, however the 9-round magazine allows room for all  three fingers. If I want maximum concealability I will carry this XD-S with the  factory supplied 7-round magazine in place, however if I am wearing clothing  that allows it, I will go with the 9-round optional magazine in place backed up  by two 7-round magazines in the magazine pouch. I did all of my shooting for  groups with the 7-round magazines and they worked just fine. In fact all my  shooting was done at 20 yards and a couple of my 5-shot groups got right down to  just over 1 inch. That is excellent performance for such a small, short-barreled  pistol, especially when it is in my hands.


Ten different 9mm factory loads from four manufacturers were used in testing  the XD-S. These included JHPs, JSPs, and FMJs. At no time in the entire testing  period were there any failures to feed, fire, or eject. All testing with the  factory sights was accomplished at 20 yards and as mentioned groups were very  satisfactory for this little pistol.

The most readily available 9mm ammunition locally is Federal’s American  Eagle. This load clocks at 1,172 fps and places five shots in 1-1/8 inch at 20  yards. Black Hills 115-grain TAC-XP +P shoots with the same accuracy and a  muzzle velocity of 1,157 fps. Right behind these two loads were two more from  Black Hills with 1-3/8-inch groups. These were the 115-grain JHP-EXP at 1,260  fps and the 124-grain JHP at 1,062 fps. I would not have any problem choosing  any of these loads for everyday carry (or any of the others I tried for that  matter). This little pistol performed well above satisfactory with  everything.

In writing up the original XD-S in .45 ACP, I related how for many years I  carried where it was not legal to carry. I would have preferred to have a .45  ACP 1911 or a .44 or .45 double-action Smith & Wesson, however I could not  take the chance of carrying either of them in a belt holster less someone should  brush up against me and discover what I should not have had. So with the  circumstances it was necessary to carry something much smaller.

In those days, mainly in the 1980s, we did not have near as many choices as  we have today when it came to carrying a small but dependable firearm. I went  with a J-frame, a Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special .38 with a bobbed hammer  and tuned action. Even with its small size compared to the 1911 or N-frame  Smith, I also did not feel like I should carry it in my pocket for the same  reasons stated above. So it went in the top of my boot. It certainly was harder  to access but virtually impossible to detect in those pre-metal detector days.  For me, with all the restrictions, the .38 Special Smith & Wesson was not  just the best choice, it was the only choice. Actually there was another choice,  which came into play infrequently as the cylinder of that Chief’s Special would  eventually raise a sore spot on the side of my leg.

When this happened I would trade it off for a while with an AMT .380 Back-Up  and hope it was not needed while my leg healed up. Interestingly enough although  I was not “legal,” the only other person knowing I was packing was the police  officer on duty who was more than happy to know he had an immediate and  qualified backup should the unthinkable happen.

More than 30 years ago I was forced by circumstances to go with the small  .38. Today, thanks to Springfield Armory, I have two additional excellent  choices with the XD-S in either .45 or 9mm. This certainly points up to the  excellent engineering going into these pistols when you see how small they  actually are and we have the choice of either of the two chamberings. They are  exactly the same size and either one fits easily into the top of my boot. The  main difference other than chambering is the extra two rounds, which fit into  the 9mm magazine compared to the .45 ACP magazine.

I do not like ankle holsters for two reasons, the obvious being they don’t  fit over boots, and secondly when I’m wearing moccasins the lack of flexibility  in my old body makes the pistol hard to get to; top-of-boot access is much  easier. Years ago a Texas sheriff told me he almost got killed trying to access  the pistol in his ankle holster. I’ve never forgotten that. An extra added bonus  is because the factory removed sharp edges virtually everywhere on the XD-S  precludes any soreness with the pistol riding between my leg and the inside of  my boot top.

When carrying the .38 Chief Special years ago I had five rounds at my  disposal. With the flush-mounted standard magazine in the XD-S I have eight  rounds of modern 9mm ammunition plus backup magazines. I’d call that real  progress.

Photos By Robbie Barrkman

>> Click Here << To See Full  XD-S Single Stack info, performance charts and more photos in GUNS Magazine in their free digital magazine.

Read more:  http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/31/springfield-armory-xd-s-compact-conceable-controllable/#ixzz2akLUrYpE

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