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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.
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.
Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
Barrel 3.3″ Steel, Melonite®, Hammer Forged
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.