First Look: Springfield Armory XDS-9 4.0 More of a Good Thing – New Gun Review – 2014 SHOT Show


By Justin Opinion

Springfield Armory

The Springfield Armory XDS-9 4.0 in bi-tone finish.

The Springfield Armory XDS-9 4.0 in bi-tone finish.

Springfield Armory is announcing a new variant of the XD-S for 2014. It is the logical next step in the evolution of the sensationally popular XD-S sub-compact format. No, it’s not a new caliber offering – it is a new barrel length! Springfield has stretched the 3.3” barrel just ever so much to an even 4 inches. Why is this significant? For starters – recoil. I obtained my copy of the XD-S in 2012 in the initial offering of .45 ACP. If you have ever fired that gun, you know that it has some “personality” to it. Simple physics I’m afraid. Less size and weight of the handgun means more felt recoil for the shooter. The 2013 introduction of the 9mm version was welcomed by many because of the reduced pressures of that round, but it still has some snap. A 4” offering of this same gun adds weight where it is needed most – out at the muzzle. This helps reduce felt recoil. The XDS-9 4.0 also has a longer sight radius; adding ¾” to the length of the slide allows Springfield to push the front sight further forward by that same distance. This translates to a more accurate sight picture and better shots. Small errors in aiming are more noticeable, and therefore easier to correct with a longer sight radius.

XD-S 4.0 is very pleasant to shoot.

XD-S 4.0 is very pleasant to shoot.

Although the accessory rail is the same length, there is more usable space beneath the muzzle. This may accommodate some devices like mounted lights or lasers that would previously have been subjected to muzzle blast.

Balance and reduced muzzle lift. Yes, muzzle lift is a direct result of recoil, and I already talked about recoil – but the balance of the gun along with reduced muzzle lift allow for much faster, more accurate follow-up shots. This is a far more important element than many might consider, keeping in mind that the designed purpose of this handgun is personal protection. Because the extra ¾” and 2 oz. of slide and barrel are added to the front of the pistol, it is like hanging a counter-weight on the front of the XD-S. The simple physics of it mandate that the pistol will remain flatter – and during my shooting that was immediately apparent.

 A bird's eye view of the 3.3 and 4.0 side by side.

A bird’s eye view of the 3.3 and 4.0 side by side.

Like many, I had assumed that the next iteration of the XD-S we saw would be the 3.3” chambered in .40 S&W. After all, it was common knowledge almost immediately that the three intended calibers were .45ACP, 9mm, and .40 S&W, and we’ve seen the first two. After receiving this gun and studying it a bit, I developed my own opinions about why this is the next XD-S, but I also had the opportunity to speak with Rob Leatham at Springfield and get his perspective. Rob indicated that while we may still see the XD-S in .40 S&W, there does not seem to be the market demand for that caliber that exists for 9mm and .45ACP. The apparent void in the marketplace, according to Leatham, was for a carry gun that was easily and comfortably concealed, in a significant caliber, but not punishing to shoot. “Too many new shooters are handed the smallest, lightest handgun available”, says Rob, “but this is a mistake. The assault to their senses and the painful recoil scare them away.” I agree and have seen it happen, and no doubt, you have too. It is sad indeed to lose a potential new shooting enthusiast because of a bad first experience. The goal with the development of the 4-inch XD-S was to create a 9mm pistol that is just as easy and comfortable to conceal as its smaller sister, yet one that you can take to the range and shoot all day. I shot the 3.3” and the 4” side by side, and I say ‘mission accomplished’.

4.0 performed well with a variety of ammo.

4.0 performed well with a variety of ammo.

I put somewhere between 150-200 rounds down range with this pistol. The difference between the 3.3 and the 4.0 was obvious with the first trigger pull. The 4-inch version absorbs more of the energy, resulting in less muzzle lift and less felt recoil. And when I used the extended magazine, which effectively turns the grip into a single-stack XDM, it was downright comfortable and pleasant. I shot a combination of several brands of 115 grain FMJ target hardball and a couple of popular self-defense rounds. The gun fed and fired everything without a hitch – no failures or even hiccups of any kind.   4.0 performed well with a variety of ammo.

Trigger pull was smooth with a crisp break

Trigger pull was smooth with a crisp break

Because the gun was brand new, it did break in a bit while I tested it. My initial groups were still quite respectable at 10 yards, easily keeping inside five inches (even with the few flyers). After 50 or so rounds though, the groups shrunk by almost half to tight three-inch groups. This was freehand shooting, mind you – no bench or bag rest. So, a better shooter will almost certainly have better results. I think this gun is capable of making a single ragged hole out to at least 15 yards – in the right hands.

The 4.0 measured slightly lower at an average of 6 lbs. 11 oz. versus 6 lbs. 15.5 oz. for the 3.3 – but the difference was indistinguishable when shooting. Personally, I find the post-upgrade trigger in the XD-S to be a bit smoother with a crisper break than it had originally, and the 4.0 comes out of the box with the upgrade. The captured dual spring and guide rod assembly is also identical for the 4”. Because the frames of these pistols are identical in every way, expect the same feel and ergonomics. The triggers felt the same to me.

Like most Springfields, it comes with all the goodies

Like most Springfields, it comes with all the goodies

The 4.0 comes in traditional Springfield Armory fashion, packaged with a paddle holster and double mag pouch, along with one flush-fit and one extended magazine. Capacities are the same, 7+1 and 9+1 respectively.

The 4.0 will also fit every holster you own for the 3.3, provided it is the open-toe style to allow the added length. I have several holsters for my XD-S 3.3 .45ACP that the 4.0 slipped into perfectly. The pistol is comfortable to carry all day IWB. I didn’t notice the additional ¾” of length at all. The XD-S 4.0 really does strike the magic balance between everyday carry (EDC), home defense and training gun. If I didn’t already have an XD-S, this is the one I’d want. Actually, I want one

 Slide and barrel length are the only differences

Slide and barrel length are the only differences

of these too!

Springfield indicated that the 4.0 should be in stores as early as February 2014, and the MSRP is identical to the 3.3” at $599 for black and $669 for the bi-tone.

{ 67 comments… add one }
  • Michael November 2, 2014, 7:22 pm

    One quick correction – it’s thicker than the Kel-tec PF-9.

    I do agree however – the thickness is crucial for conceal-ability!

  • Joe Blow May 12, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Any word on the release date for the XD-S .45 4″? I heard June-ish at the NRA convention. Didn’t know if you had any inside info, since they seem to have missed their Feb 2014 delivery estimate.


  • Joe Woodberry April 1, 2014, 4:54 pm

    I have an early XDS 9mm, I understand there is a recall. The store where I bought the gun(Palmetto State Armory) nor Springfield has contacted me about the recall. How should I proceed.
    Thank You, Joseph Woodberry

  • john H March 5, 2014, 2:00 am

    I would like to See a xds 40. 3.3 or 4.0.

  • Henry March 1, 2014, 10:20 am

    I would like to buy one, but I’m looking for an all-around gun with magazine capacity. I would love to see an XDS-9 5.0″ with the reduced upper width/weight and a compact grip with double stack magazine capacity. Having this configuration I would buy one in a heartbeat.

    I am loving the XD Tactical 5.0″ versions. The multiple safety’s is good because anything to keep from discharging a firearm accidently is a good thing in my opinion.

    Feel free to criticize my suggestions.

    • Len April 25, 2014, 2:33 am

      The XDS is a single-stack (thus the “S” in XD_S_). So, you won’t find it in a double stack. If you want a REALLY NICE pistol in a double stack, I absolutely LOVE my XDM 9mm 5.25″ Competition model. With changeable grips it can fit nicely in anyone’s hand. And with magazines that hold 19 rounds, it should satisfy your magazine capacity needs. I’ve had a black one for almost a year now, and I just bought a bi-tone yesterday. Can’t wait to pick it up and put a few (hundred) rounds downrange!

  • Randy February 20, 2014, 8:58 pm

    Is there an update on the release? I have been calling around with no luck.

    • Administrator February 20, 2014, 10:04 pm

      In stores tomorrow from what we were told.

  • Ascribbledq February 13, 2014, 1:28 am

    Why did they not release this in .45 first?

  • RCW February 11, 2014, 2:12 am

    Where can I find a dealer for the Springfield Armory 1911 9mm? I live in so. Illinois near Paducah,Ky

    • Administrator February 11, 2014, 8:51 am

      Well they make them in Geneseo so you might want to just get a surf board and hop on the corn field ocean to surf on over! Any local dealer should be able to order you one.

  • Jim January 31, 2014, 9:24 pm

    When they make it in a .40 cal sign me up

  • Melvin January 29, 2014, 8:27 am

    4″ ! I can’t imagine SA screwing this great firearm up any worst after a recall that should have never happened! In 3.3″ 45 it is perfect to me for CC. It never failed, no problems with recoil or failure to lock up in battery,..etc. I hope they continue to produce the 3.3 because when you carry all the time the weight and concealment are most important. I guess I’ll get the 9 now and stop waiting for the 40. My plan had been get the 40 and a 9 barrel. People,” get a life”, this weapon was made for serious CC and not a fun day at the range! If your hand hurts get another gun or use a glove or grip cover. I also have the Shield because I wanted a flat 40. It became obvious SA was not planning a 40 anytime in the near future.

  • David M January 27, 2014, 3:22 am

    Any idea as to what the release date will be on the 4.0 model in a 45 acp caliber? I was just going to buy an xds for a concealed carry firearm when I noticed the new model. If I knew a date of release I could make the decision of whether or not I should wait for the new model or go ahead and purchase the 3.3 inch model. thanks for any feedback in advance.

  • JCitizen January 15, 2014, 5:18 pm

    I love my .45 cal XDS 3.3. I got it back from repair last year thanks to the early alert you guys provided with Springfield’s advertisement. I bought it not only because it is the smallest 45 auto I know of, but because it handles even better than my Dad’s 1911 from WWII!! Who would have thought such a small package to be so easy to handle in recoil forces!!??!! If I had wanted a larger, longer pistol, I’d have purchased a double stack. I’m still thinking of a Glock 9mm because of the plethora of accouterments, and magazines that can be had.

  • Tug January 15, 2014, 2:04 pm

    The TALLNESS of the gun goes out the window because of the extended magazine… they need to make a gun you can put ALL 4 fingers on and have the SAME HEIGHT as they do now… Now that would be an award winning design.

  • John Potter January 15, 2014, 9:28 am

    A concealed carry weapon is in fact a weapons system. Gun, holster, light/laser, and even the cover garment you choose. I primarily carry the double stack XD45, 4″. A 4 is no trouble to conceal with either the supplied holster or my preferred supertuck from crossbreed. You need to stop thinking size in clothing and buy what works. The same with gun’s and gear. People who make other choices than me are not idiots, they just have different needs or preferences than I do. What’s best is what works best for you. Carry on.

  • Joe Simeone January 14, 2014, 7:15 pm

    Fuck Yea!! I need one. I’m just torn between .45 or 9 mm. I’m thinking one for each hand & snatch up one of each cal. Ruger, S&W when you gonna get the idea, the .45acp pocket pistol is the new .380… pocket may be pushing it but it makes a great summer time (T-Shirt) belt holster gun. The LCP remains king of the pocket gun.

  • KMacK January 14, 2014, 12:26 pm

    Nice looking pistol, but a little confusing. I HAVE an XD “Service” length pistol with…wait for it…a 4 inch barrel!
    Maybe this is the “new and improved” version, I dunno. My old XD/45 is great to shoot and very very accurate. The recoil with even heavy-weight +P rounds is easily controllable.
    I’ll give it a look, but I already have a four-inch XD and I really don’t see that this is much of an improvement. My only gripe with the one I have is about the grips, and I fixed that with skateboard tape.
    The XD is a great pistol, no two ways about it.

    • Administrator January 14, 2014, 1:50 pm

      Yours is probably a doublestack. This is a singlestack.

  • Ringo Lapua January 14, 2014, 10:48 am

    Original purpose of the XDS was to compress the power of a .45 into a smaller comfortable carry gun. The 9mm version of the XDS was to expand capacity and lower the weight. Both are great guns and I personally own and love the .45. However, I draw the line after the two XDS models since the 4″ version, though a nice gun, competes head on with a Gen 4 Glock 19, which I totally prefer. WHY? Glock has been around a lot longer and has every part and magazine imaginable. You can turn a Glock 19 into a short barreled carbine (ATF tax reqd) or a longer barreled carbine. You can add inexpensive 33 rd mags or even a 50 rd drum in you want ultimate capacity. If you want to go quiet you can purchase a threaded barrel and add a suppressor (ATF tax reqd). You can add more barrels and mags and shoot 40 S&W and .357sig out of the same gun. Now I ask you? Try this with a new XDS 4″….NOT.

    • Walt January 14, 2014, 11:26 pm

      The XDS-9 is in fact heavier than the XDS-45.

    • Walt January 14, 2014, 11:28 pm

      The XDS-9 is in fact heavier than the XDS-45.

    • Daniel January 27, 2014, 4:44 pm

      Ringo Lapua, you said glock has been around much longer than xds but in all honesty glock has only been around since they were introduced in Austria in the 80s. Springfield armory had been around since the late 1800s an early 1900s springfields ben around 100 years longer than glock an they know what their doing. You cant be in business for a 100 yrs an not know what your doin. youd go outta business in no time if you didn’t make a quality product that works flawlessly an is in demand…

      • mcpartsguy May 26, 2014, 2:34 pm

        In 1974, the Springfield Armory name was licensed to Robert Reese, to form Springfield Armory, Inc., a company that manufactures semi-automatic versions of the M14 rifle and M1911 pistol. The company is not located in or near Springfield, Massachusetts and has no direct association with the original Springfield Armory. The current Springfield Armory, Inc., based out of Geneseo, Illinois, manufactures several of its weapons on the exact blueprints and to identical specifications as the original government owned Springfield Armory. Springfield Armory, Inc. has expanded its line of firearms to include modern day sporting rifles and polymer pistols as well as Historical American icons, namely the M14 and M1911.

  • paul January 13, 2014, 9:29 pm

    started with glocks, went to xd-9 and xd-45 cause the trigger felt so much more positive than the glock, didn’t have that twangy feeling. then tried the smith and wesson m and p 9c and 9, and the accuracy, trigger feel and grip feel was so much better than the xd’s. bought an m and p shield, for three hundred fifty dollars, after using it for a while, can’t see why anyone would pay 599 for this xds.

  • John Jewett January 13, 2014, 9:07 pm

    If the users of the XDs would use it as a 10 yard max/ occasionally shot, defensive weapon…instead of treating it like an IPSC, two hundred fifty rounds a week gun, they will have zero complaints. Ask a prosecutor… virtually any shooting beyond 20 to 25 feet will garner you a luxurious room in a cell block for at least several years. LEO’s are generally limited to fifteen (or maybe 20) feet for a “good shooting” unless the miscreant is armed and starting to point his gun at the cop.
    I’ve been a CC permit holder for almost 20 years, and most classes (including those by the famous Massad Ayoob) all agree with the above scenario.
    I love my .45 XDs, and if I were going to shoot it like a competition gun, would add 2 oz. of lead to the underlug…and forget making it bigger! Counterproductive to what I bought it for. Next step is a DoubleTap in an ankle holster for a backup to the XDs.
    Who has a comfortable holster to replace the GawdAwful’ piece of plastic that came with the gun?

    • Dusty January 14, 2014, 1:42 am

      Must have missed that info you quote re: shooting distances and prosecutors- I’ve been a CPL permit holder for 40 years now I believe, and sworn law enforcement for 28. In my experience, the “test” for a “good” shooting is the nature of the threat and the reasonableness of the response. FYI- If the miscreant is not armed why are you thinking lethal force is a defensible ‘solution’ absent some pretty significant factors, like (your)injury/disability, known opponent ability (MMA artist for example) etc.
      You cite “most” classes…? I have the utmost regard for Massad Ayoob, and haven’t read anything by him supporting your assertion(s). Perhaps check into the facts being presented by these other so-called instructors? FYI- A few lethal force instances as presented in gun magazines probably doesn’t much influence statutes, case law nor prosecutors’ filing standards.
      Q. As a CPL holder, will carrying a back-up gun in addition to a ‘primary’ concealed weapon influence a prosecutor to examine the carrier’s “intent” if involved in a shooting? It might interest a prosecutor to carefully examine a carrier they note the carrier had two firearms, 4 spare mags, a couple flashlights, and two or three ‘tactical’ knives. I do know the term “mall ninja” starts to get tossed around buy responding law enforcement et al. The term may not make it into a police report, but it will be discussed…

  • Lt Dan January 13, 2014, 8:24 pm

    Glad I kept procrastinating on an XDS. The longer barrel makes more sense as concealbility is not changed but balance and velocity are improved. Its never made sense to me to whack off barrel length but leave a big honking grip to announce “I’m carrying”!!! This may be THE replacement for my beloved Caracal-C I gave up due to the C model recall.

  • Jay January 13, 2014, 8:17 pm

    Just wanted to say, I have not had any issues with my 3.3 XDs 300 rounds down. This little gun is a handful of tack driving fun. LOVE IT!
    I hope I still like it after they upgrade the trigger.

  • Jay January 13, 2014, 8:14 pm

    I havent sent my XDs in yet either. I figured I would wait till the production got down a bit.
    I would like to be able to purchase a 4″ slide and barrel, that would be a great option for hunting situations.

  • Kent January 13, 2014, 6:03 pm

    Had they started with the four inch, they would not have needed to produce the 3.3. This preference for a longer barrel and a smoother firearm seems to have been predictable at the factory before production. I don’t like having to send guns back in no matter how friendly the company is about servicing the weapon. I haven’t sent my 3.3 back yet. I wonder if they can make mine into a four?? probably not due to some regulation.

    • Justin Opinion January 13, 2014, 8:05 pm

      Kent – regulations certainly. And more relevant to your question, all the changes made by the upgrade/recall are made to the lower receiver (frame) – so it’s a moot point. I had my own criticisms about the recall, but my advice is to send it back. Let them fix it.

  • william kuen January 13, 2014, 3:41 pm

    Looks good. I was ready to order the shorter barrel but this makes sense. When are they available as I would like to order one.

    • Administrator January 13, 2014, 7:16 pm

      They should be shipping right now. Ask your local dealer to source one through distribution.

  • william kuen January 13, 2014, 3:39 pm

    Looks good. When are they available for sale. I would like one

    • Michael Qualls January 25, 2014, 2:07 pm

      Springfield indicated that the 4.0 should be in stores as early as February 2014, and the MSRP is identical to the 3.3” at $599 for black and $669 for the bi-tone.

  • james davenport January 13, 2014, 3:23 pm

    It looks good hopefully they are a little more careful on the manufacture on this XDS model than the ones that got recalled.. I am in the market for one more handgun but have to think about it long and hard too many great firearms in this price range.. Thanks for posting ..

  • Andy January 13, 2014, 3:00 pm

    Interesting, as others, I will not part with my XDM 9 compact!

  • Ryan Ricci January 13, 2014, 2:49 pm

    From reports out of SA the weight would be the same they were going to take more out of the internal part of the slide. Now that said the weight balance might help recoil…

  • John January 13, 2014, 2:18 pm

    In CA, all new guns of this variety must have microstamping technology incorporated into them to be on the DOJ’s roster of guns legal for sale in our state. I guess that means those of us in CA won’t be seeing this model anytime soon.

    • KMacK January 14, 2014, 12:38 pm

      Being in the same leaky boat, I simply buy used. While this perversion is probably illegal to begin with, it has done wonders for the used pistol market.
      Old guns are just as useful as new in most cases, and used to cost less. Now, here in Liberal Land, used pistols cost much more than they used to and even when the law is overturned I doubt that the economics wiill change. Older pistols are just as good as new ones, I’ve found.

  • Rob January 13, 2014, 2:02 pm

    One point you forgot to mention, is improved ballistics, as the 4″ barrel will result in increased muzzle velocity.

    • Justin Opinion January 13, 2014, 3:59 pm

      Rob – I did neglect to mention it, but because I didn’t really get a chance to measure the velocities, I didn’t want to speculate as to the increase. But you’re right – there should be a measurable increase with the 4″.

  • Clyde January 13, 2014, 1:49 pm

    Great article, my first question was, if the slide and rail are the only differences and the frame is the same as the 3.3, can they then be interchangeable?? Possibility of Springfield offering conversion kits, consisting of new barrel and slide??? Thanks for all you do.

    • Justin Opinion January 13, 2014, 4:01 pm

      Clyde – not sure if you had the chance to watch the video. I go into greater detail in the video, and that is one point I talk about. Short answer – they are interchangeable. 🙂

  • Wil Ferch January 13, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Any chance of a 4″ barrel version in .45 ACP ???

    • Roland January 13, 2014, 2:35 pm

      My thought exactly!
      A 4.0″barrel .45ACP XDS would be of STRONG interest!

    • KMacK January 14, 2014, 12:32 pm

      I have such a pistol, although it is a bit old. It’s an XD/45 Service-length that I bought some years ago. Sometimes if you want new, you need to look at old.

      • Ken January 26, 2014, 2:53 am

        They are wanting the .45 in the thin XDS model, not the thicker XD model that has been out for years & is a great gun.

  • Don N January 13, 2014, 1:02 pm

    While a 4″ xds is surely a better handling pistol, have they fixed any of the other design deficiencies, for example the press check stickyness that keeps it out of battery with a slight press on the nose, or the non-return to battery that while many attributed to limp wristing is also a symptom of the stickyness of the case moving up and down in a small slot with the initial pull back of the slide. After the recall debacle that seemed to take forever and the return of cleaned guns in dirty condition (mine was gritty to touch). Of course I recleaned it before any use to find the problems still evident. I have lost faith in this company and their offerings. Figure they figure prominently in your compensation or you may mention some of the shortcomings of trying anything new form SA

    • Dave Grenier January 13, 2014, 2:05 pm

      There is no need to “press check” an XDs. It has a loaded chamber indicator (that can be felt in the dark, so you don’t need light either), so a press check is unnecessary.

      • JEM January 14, 2014, 10:31 am

        A press check is always necessary. Mechanical things break.

      • Joe January 14, 2014, 7:18 pm

        “Press check” you mean the trigger?

        • don n January 16, 2014, 12:29 pm

          as you probably know a press check involves pushing the slide back slightly to verify the case of a bullet is chambered. Do this either intentionally or inadvertently as in bump the nose on a door frame or catch a coat when presenting the draw and it will not return to battery. I have tried 5 different guns 5 did not return to battery and would not fire, this is nothing to trust your life on. LCI is great I guess but years of not having them has made press check a habit.

  • Otis Goodlett January 13, 2014, 12:54 pm

    Nice addition to the fleet, but just as above, I won’t be selling what I have.

    Can you purchase a 4.0 slide and barrell separately? And will it fit and function on the 3.3 XDs with no problems?

  • Mark Brown January 13, 2014, 12:40 pm

    This may be neat, but you might want to correct your statement regarding 9mm having lower pressures than .45acp. 9mm runs considerably higher pressures than .45acp.

    • Justin Opinion January 13, 2014, 1:18 pm

      Mark – You are correct, and I did mis-state the perceived recoil energy as pressure. I might have still had .40 on my mind, but no excuse. Good catch, and thanks or commenting!

    • Roy Baker January 13, 2014, 2:42 pm

      Good eye. You beat me to it so I didn’t have to post SAAMI specs.

  • Joseph King January 13, 2014, 11:40 am

    That looks great, and is a good idea, though I won’t be selling my XDs.

    Any chance they’ll be coming out with a short extended mag? the current version is just way too long for a sub-compact pistol. A six rounder (.45) would be perfect.

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