In 2002 Springfield Armory announced a new line of pistols dubbed the XD series. The XD series looks very familiar to the Glock pistol. In a relatively short time frame XD has made a name for itself and has become a serious competitor to Glock possibly because of its ergonomics. Unfortunately for Springfield this new series was of no appeal to me. The Springfield Armory 1911 lineage at the time was still the best value on the market IMHO. In March of 2012 since announcing a newcomer to the XD-S series I have been searching high and low for the right opportunity to review Springfield Armory’s compact power house, The Springfield XD-S 45ACP.
This single stack striker fired pistol has been of high demand and flying off shelves according to my local shops I often visit. I have shot, held and reviewed the Glock 30 and there is no comparison between the two in its slimness. The XD-S should be compared to the single stack Glock 36 even then it sports a slimmer frame.
This slim compact grip also makes concealed carry much easier than the Glock; the shorter frame is less likely to print under your shirt or jacket. However IMHO the XD-S is not a pocket pistol. I found it difficult to quickly draw it from my pocket on many sets of trousers I tried it in. The compact size of the grip does, however, cut down on capacity. The magazine holds five rounds, the chamber one more. In the capacity category the XDs could essentially be compared to that of a bigbore revolver. I preferred to carry the XD-S inside the waistband in a leather holster. Though Springfield provides you with a nice action pack inside of a very nice carrying case.
I like the sights on the XDs, the front sight is a red fiber optic one, and it really stands out even under low-light. The rear sight is a combat-style, with two white dots –
The front and rear sights are very fast to acquire the target as you raise the gun to eye level. The slide is forged stainless steel with serrations deeply cut in the rear of the slide, which wraps over the top edge slide providing a firm grip easing the racking of the slide. The Finish is Melonite-coated an extremely tough treatment being used throughout the industry by just about every firearms manufacturer. Slotted into the top of the slide is the loaded chamber indicator, which lifts up at an angle, which provides great tactical and visual cues.
The loaded chamber indicator is a very nice feature. I like the loaded indicator feature for low light tactical situations. This feature is NOT a reason to forget your safe gun handling rules. Always treat the firearm as if it were loaded with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
The barrel is also Melonite coated sporting a fully supported ramp, to assist in the feeding of rounds from the magazine. The Springfield XD-S comes with two, 5 round mags, but there is an optional 7 round mag you can purchase. The 7 round magazine comes with the extra grip panel, which matches the back strap you have installed on the XD-S. I can’t brag enough about the carrying case, not only is it very rugged but also Springfield left an additional space for the 7 round magazine inside the case.
As you can see the 7 rounder is a perfect fit. For carry, my preference would be the 5 round mag, and use the 7 round magazine as a spare. The 5 round magazine produces less print under summer type clothing while in the winter under heavy clothing the 7 rounder would be my preferred.
The frame of the XD-S is polymer with aggressive style like
chequering, which Springfield Armory refers to as grenade-style. It reminds me of knobby tires on big trucks used for mudding. However your visualization the texture provides a “grippy” feel without the worry of shredding your fabric while
carrying or hands while shooting. There is
one thing that’s for sure you will need a firm grip when firing this pocket rocket. Don’t let that scare you the grip and low bore axis aides in minimizing recoil in such a small package. The only negative I found with this package is really due to the fact that I have really large meaty hands. The grip safety the XD line is known for requires a very high grip. After my range testing I noticed 2 black railroad like grooves on the back of my hand. For those with extremely large meat hooks like mine the XD-S would benefit from a little more of an extended beavertail thus preventing the slide from coming in contact with your hand. The front of the frame sports a rail which for testing I mounted a Streamlight TLR-2. It was easy on and off with a tight fit as expected.
During this range visit I fired 100 rounds through this loaner.
The ammunition used was left to right: Speer Lawman Clean Fire, Speer LE Gold Dot, Federal LE Tactical HST, Reloaded 230gr ball 5grains of W231, Reloaded Hornady 185gr XTP HP 6.5grains of W231. All ammunition proved to be reliable, no malfunctions were exhibited during this range visit.
Fond of the loaded chamber indicator while at the range I took another picture of this feature which shows how easy it would be to determine if the weapon was loaded or not in a low light tactical situation just by feel. This picture also shows how deep the grooved serrations are.
The XD-S for such a small platform with a short barrel proved to be plenty accurate. The accuracy actually surprised me with point of aim and impact being right on.
The target on the left was shot at 10 yards, first was 10 shots to the head utilizing both 5 shot magazines. The second and middle grouping was 7 shots out of the new 7 round magazine. The third and lowest grouping was achieved at 15 yards with a 5 round magazine. All of these groups were achieved standing with a two hand grip. The bullseye target on the right was shot at 20 yards with the 7 round magazine with reloaded Hornady 185gr load. A major contributor to the accuracy achieved I believe is due to the 5 pound trigger pull. Though this seems heavy I believe it is perfect compromise for safe carry, defensive use and range fun. I ended the range session firing 12 rounds at a silouhette target positioned at the 25 yard line. I started out with the XD-S holstered loaded with a 5 round magazine, drew racked the slide acquired the target fired 5 rounds, reloaded with the 7 round magazine and emptied it on target as fast as I could.
After my range session I proceeded home to disassemble the XD-S which was very similar to the Sig Sauer line of pistols but on the XD-S the take down lever flips up.
The XD-S is pure power (45acp) in a very compact shootable package. My impressions of the XD-S were so positive it has totally changed my mind and perception on this pistol series. With its Glock like similarities until today I had never held or desired to hold or shoot the XD line. But I must say the XD-S is a comfortable design. The XD-S feels so natural; it’s like an extension of your own body. The unique combination of an ultra-slim profile paired with enhanced performance point-and-shoot features allows you to shoot accurately without having to adjust your wrist giving you greater control. At only 1” wide, the XD-S fits as perfectly into your concealed-carry strategy as it does in the palm of your hand. And with it, you get the power of a .45 with superior control and comfort without sacrificing important safety features. Don’t follow in my footsteps in having a preconceived thought about the XD-S without first giving it a try.