Monday Gun Giveaways – This Week: Springfield Armory XD-S 3.3 .45ACP – New Review/Video

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Springfield Armory is running a contest for the rest of the summer. Every Monday they are announcing giveaways of one of their guns, and the rest of the week there are other prizes. There is no purchase required to enter the giveaway. Simply surf over to the Springfield website and submit an entry. Contestants can submit entries once an hour. If you don’t plan on sleeping, that gives you 24 chances a day, every day, until the drawing. We are reviewing the guns and this week we have the Springfield XD-S 3.3″ concealed carry powerhouse. The giveaway gun is the .45ACP, and the gun also comes in 9mm .

XD-S 3.3 9mm/45acp

When the XD-S was released two years ago, everyone expected that the small .45 ACP would be the first in a long line of sub-compact single stack pistols. Yet there is really very little that can compete with the XD-S. The .45 ACP XD-S has built a solid reputation, broken preconceived notions for the caliber, and set new standards for concealed carry that have yet to be matched. Last year we saw the addition of the 9mm, for people who want a little less recoil from the same sized gun, and for SHOT Show this year we got the new 4″ gun in 9mm.

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Don’t let its size fool you. The XD-S is a hard hitting in both 9mm and .45 ACP.

Caliber .45ACP (or 9mm)
Recoil System Dual Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
Trigger 5.5 – 7.7 lbs.
Sights Fiber Optic Front & Dovetail Rear (Steel)
Weight (with Empty Magazine) 21.5 ozs.
Height 4.4″
Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
Barrel 3.3″ Steel, Melonite®, Hammer Forged
Length 6.3″
Grip Width .9″
Frame Black Polymer
Magazines 2 – 5 Round, Stainless Steel

The introduction of the XD-S took the concealed carry market by storm. It allowed the man-stopping .45 ACP round to function reliably in a pocket size gun.

This pocket freight train’s only hindrance is its capacity: 5+1 for the flush fit magazine and 7+1 with the extended magazine. This may not seem like a big deal, but for a fraction of an inch in width you can have XD(M) 3.8 inch Compact in .45 with a flush fitting 9 round magazine. With its extended magazine, the XD(M) holds 13 rounds. Yes it is wider, and for some that is a deal-breaker. So if you want the slimmest and lightest 45ACP on the market the XD-S is not only the best options its your only option.

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Recoil is manageable, though there is a bit of muzzle flip. That is the price you pay for the power.

Yet the concealed carry market is one driven by extremes. The thinnest. The lightest. The most powerful, etc. These are all just bragging rights, though, and guns often sacrifice performance in order to take one or more of these titles. Not the XD-S. The size of this handgun makes it disappear in your waistband. The weight helps ensure that it swings effortlessly from holster to target.

Shooting the XD-S

Shooting the XD-S isn’t half as bad as you’d expect from a gun this size in this caliber. With a gun so small and light, you would expect obnoxious recoil. This simply isn’t the case; every shot fired from the pistol leaves you wanting more and more action.

The blast is huge, the recoil is firm but manageable, the trigger is clean, and the sights allow for a level of accuracy that is unimaginable with most concealed carry weapons.

You will need to train with any gun, but this one rewards training. I’ve shot some concealed carry guns that have demonstrated their full potential after a box or two at the range. The XD-S, though, will meet your abilities and constantly offer more. Because it doesn’t hammer your hand like some guns, you won’t tire as easily. More trigger time means more muscle memory. All in all the XD-S is a pleasure to shoot, just make sure you bring enough ammunition to the range.

The gun comes apart easily for cleaning, and should be cleaned often to insure reliability.

The gun comes apart easily for cleaning, and should be cleaned often to insure reliability.

One thing that I would recommend is working on magazine changes. As the XD-S is narrow, you may need practice feeding in magazines. I’d suggest some snap caps. When you’re home, off the range, load one round in each of the magazines. Drop, insert, drop, insert, rinse, repeat, over and over until the motion becomes second nature. Then hit is hard on the range. Don’t wimp out after the slide locks and set the pistol aside. Hit that button hard, let the mag fall (or strip it out like you mean it), and jam the next one home. If you watch the video, you can see what I mean. It is a challenge, especially if (like me) you are used to training with larger pistols. Your mag insertion has to be spot on with the XD-S.

In the box

Springfield Armory delivers a high value package; in the box you receive everything except ammo that you need to effectively carry your new weapon: two 5 round magazines, a double magazine carrier, and a belt holster. These are adequate for your entry in to concealed carry with this handgun, though there are endless aftermarket options available.

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The slide drop is stiff, and small, but it works. Practice with it, a lot.

The XD-S has a few safety features that inspire confidence. Accidental discharges are almost unimaginable. Combining a trigger safety, grip safety, and a drop safety, the XD-S makes you feel almost too safe. Complacency is dangerous, but confidence in a gun you will want to carry every day is a refreshing feeling.

Other Features that put the XD-S above its competition are its fiber optic sight. The front sight really shines. This makes the XD-S shine in low-light, true, but it helps in full sun, too. The glow from the front sight is so bright that it is picked up very easily. When you are moving fast, you won’t really rely on sight alignment. Instead, you’ll be pointing habitually, and working off of a reference point. And the XD-S excels at point shooting.

The accessory rail below the muzzle is small, but at least it’s there. If you are inclined to put on a light or laser, the rail works well. There are fewer holster options for the XD-S with a light from the big makers, but most all of the custom Kydex makers can build a specific holster for your gun/light/laser combination with little difficulty.

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It points well, and the sights are more versatile than most pocket pistols.

Unlike some of the other XD pistols, the XD-S doesn’t have a striker status indicator at the rear of the slide. Instead, you have to rely on the loaded chamber indicator. This isn’t the end of the world, but it won’t tell you if the gun is cocked or not. Though it is safe to assume that it is cocked if the indicator is showing. If it isn’t cocked, there’s likely a spent casing in the chamber still.

For you lefties out there, the XD-S has an ambidextrous magazine release. This is also good for anyone intent on training with their off hand.

As the XD-S is small, the interchangeable back straps can come in handy. They won’t make the gun fit as well as many full-sized pistols, but that’s not the point. Any extra grip can make the difference in a gun that is this pancake thin.

At a street price of $500, and considering the added value of the included accessories, choosing the XD-S is a great move. It is an extremely reliable option for anyone looking to carry concealed, and an even better option for those who want to carry a .45 ACP.

The XDs is big enough to be carried OWB and small enough to ride inside the waistband.

The XD-S is big enough to be carried OWB and small enough to ride inside the waistband.

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The gun isn’t a target pistol, but will hammer a torso sized target as fast as you can pull the trigger.

Training with the XDs isn't as hard on your hands as you'd imagine, which makes it even more valuable for self defense.

Training with the XD-S isn’t as hard on your hands as you’d imagine, which makes it even more valuable for self defense.

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The gun is streamlined in the right places to allow for a snag-free draw.

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With the extended magazine, the round count increases by two.

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The XD-S is easy to maintain as the parts are all well contained.

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The slide snapping back is responsible for most of the muzzle flip.

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The deep slide serrations make clearing a jam really easy.

The XDs has an external extractor. There's not enough room inside the slide for an internal one.

The XD-S has an external extractor. There’s not enough room inside the slide for an internal one.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • walter embry March 19, 2017, 1:10 pm

    i like the site cause i like weapons but i just don’t think i could ever win one from here but it does draw more people to the site i like weapons being a ex military man and springfield armory has great weapons and i like them the best

  • Jim G. August 11, 2014, 5:01 pm

    Would love to have that in a 9mm

  • bob August 11, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Why no mention of the recall ? warning others who may buy a used one that hasn’t been fixed and is still dangerous to carry!
    Me and Springfield armory owned my xds for 7 months. I say “we” owned it because it was only in my hands 30 days longer than it was in their hands at the factory. I had it for the first 4 months and they had it for the last 3. ( Sold it as soon as it was returned)
    On the XDS, they merely bought the rights from a cheap gun maker in croatia to sell the xds in the USA, despite it’s design flaws and lack of attention to tolerances. they merely paid to have their name put on, doubled the price, and then import them to you as a “springfield armory” weapon. I say buy AMERICAN !
    As much as I don’t care for Glocks, ( for personal reasons, still a great gun ) at least they have the reputation and reliability behind them. I would buy a glock over an XDS any day. and now after dealing with a certain supervisor at springfield armory, I will never buy another springfield armory weapon again. Normally I can overlook the actions of one employee, but this one was so bad, I will never go back. As Soon as my xds was returned from the factory, I sold it and bought a Officer size compact 1911 ( Made in North Carolina! ) Now I know why 1911 owners, like the 1911 so much. as I have never shot a finer weapon. the XDS can’t compare to a 1911, So I will tell you this….. the High Point .45 I had before the xds was 10 times more reliable, & shoots way better. I only traded it for the xds after getting my CCW permit. And made the rookie ccw mistake of choosing conceal size over reliability and quality in a weapon. I had to change the way I conceal carry with the new 1911, but it’s just as concealable and comfortable as the xds was, And far more reliable. and I didn’t feel “unsafe” before, but somehow, I now feel much safer with the 1911. I don’t know if it’s the confidence I have in this weapons reliability or the extra safety of the manual safety or just the way it shoots ?
    I do know that my recoil & muzzle rise are less than the xds, resulting in easier shooting & quicker target sighting on follow up shots.
    Just do your homework and check the serial numbers if buying a used xds, it might still need to be sent back to factory for 3 months ! nothing worse than buying a new gun and then finding out you have a dangerous weapon tucked in your pants, then realizing you have to send it back and won’t see your “new” gun for 3 months.

  • Mike Kelly August 11, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Looks like a great “carry” pistol!

  • Cris W August 11, 2014, 11:40 am

    I own the XD-S in .45. It is the most amazing compact firearm I’ve owned, carried, and fired in more than 30 years that I have been a “pistolero.” It’s large enough to get your hand on it when in any holster and small enough to disappear in most of my casual wear pants pockets. I’ve tried nearly every type of premium bullet and ammo and many reloads without even one problem. It shoots like a dream and is more accurate than some full size pistols I’ve fired. The lock open slide, extended magazines (I carry them as reloads) and other features make this my daily carry gun in almost all occasions. If it had night sights it may be my go to gun for all normal CCW occasions. I absolutely love this gun. It will never be sold like so many firearms before it.

    • dink winkerson August 12, 2014, 12:31 pm

      Just installed trijicon HD sights on mine. Changes POA but that’s easy enough to adapt to. Love the gun, love the sights. Sucked waiting 10 weeks for them though.

  • Jeff Keil August 11, 2014, 10:53 am

    I waited for the .45 to come out as I wanted a harder “punch” in my conceal carry – and I’m glad I did. This gun shoots like a larger one and I dropped all 5 steel pop-up targets on the range with the first five shots downrange! So recoil was a pleasant surprise – easily managed. The KelTec 9 I was carrying bucks more and is less accurate, though it does have more magazine capacity. With the knockdown power and conceal ability of the XD-S .45, only having 5+1 rounds doesn’t feel like a liability at all. Way to go Springfield Armory ! !

  • bruce serrault August 11, 2014, 10:15 am

    nice gun

  • Cliff August 11, 2014, 10:13 am

    Have had my .45 XDS for about a year and I have to admit, the article is entirely true. I did not expect such a manageable .45. The size is excellent for concealment and the caliber will do the job. The value added extras make it a very good buy.

  • Sam Hernandez August 11, 2014, 10:13 am

    “Unlike some of the other XD pistols, the XD-S doesn’t have a striker status indicator at the rear of the slide. Instead, you have to rely on the loaded chamber indicator” – I believe they chose to do away with the striker status indicator because you can tell if the striker is cocked based upon the location of the trigger – if the trigger is back and hasn’t reset, the striker hasn’t been cocked. but if the trigger has reset, being in the forward position, the striker has been cocked.

  • Ronald chenault August 11, 2014, 9:55 am

    Great gun shot renal at local range this weekend, recoil no mor than any other 9mm. would love to have as my daily carry. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Dennis C August 11, 2014, 9:46 am

    Love the concept but i hav a couple of friends that have an XDS in 45 and they say it will not feed hollow points unless u do something special to them

    • Dan August 11, 2014, 1:08 pm

      I’ve 4 different HPs without any issues. This gun takes anything I give it and actually eats Russian rounds like there’s no tomorrow.

    • Bugged August 13, 2014, 1:41 pm

      I too have run several different HP’s through my XDS 45 with zero feed issues. This is my current EDC weapon.

  • Richard Bristor August 11, 2014, 9:31 am

    Looks safe to handle . You can get a good grip on slide. Well thought out safeties.

  • keith suever August 10, 2014, 11:08 pm

    I like the gribs front an back .

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