Back in October of 2012 I reviewed the then new Springfield XDs 45. I loved the pistol and it ultimately replaced the S&W Shield as my preferred compact pistol for carry. The only issue I had with the XDs 45 besides the grip safety (which I dislike) was the fact it was .45 ACP. Before you get all riled up, don’t think that I dislike the .45 ACP, because I do like the caliber. It’s as American as baseball, hotdogs and apple pie. In a caliber appropriate handgun like the 1911, FNX, HK45, or any other full sized service handgun the .45 is a great cartridge. In a tiny handgun like the XDs, the .45 ACP’s case size severely limits the magazine capacity and for some the recoil might be too much in such a small package.
I am also a fan of the 9mm for self defense in general and will take it over any other caliber including the .45 ACP. The reasons for this are many. Without going into too many details (the topic warrants its own blog post), I will say that the 9mm has everything I look for in a defensive caliber; power, capacity, low recoil, great selection of loads, affordable, and its commonly available.
When Springfield released the XDs 45 I was excited and bummed out all at the same time. I wondered why they didn’t release the 9mm first then release the .45 like most everyone else. I just answered my own question. They didn’t want to be like everyone else so they released the .45 ACP first. The strategy worked apparently because I’m now the proud owner of two XDs handguns, one in 9mm and another one in .45 ACP… at least for now. I’ll probably sell or trade the XDs 45 in the near future.
I got to sample the XDs 9mm at SHOW Show 2013. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I was really excited to get my hands on the little bopper. As expected, I fell in love with it at the show and couldn’t wait to get mine on order. As soon as I returned from the show, I called my local gun shop and had the guys put me on the waiting list.
I’ve now had my XDs for a couple of weeks and I’ve shot about 400 rounds through it. While it’s not the 1000 rounds I typically like to shoot before passing judgement on a new firearm, I’ve had to reduce the number of rounds I fire in testing due to the lack of affordable ammo these days. I have fired many reloads and factory loads through my pistol and have had zero malfunctions. The only issue I’ve had is when I accidentally ride the slide stop with my thumb and prevent the slide from locking open on the last round. I blame that on my maker and not Springfield as I have Yeti hands that sport long spindly fingers and thumbs that get in the way of everything. If you use a light enough reload you can get the occasional failure to lock open too, but those aren’t all that common with my 124gr LRN reloads.
I’ve read the reports online of the XDs 45 having problems with failing to get rounds completely into battery and causing the pistol to fail to fire. My XDs 45 never suffered from that problem unless I was shooting reloads intended for my 1911 which are seated a little long. With factory ammo my XDs 45 never once suffered from such a malfunction. With the XDs 9mm I once again have zero issues including failures to go into battery.
The XDs 9mm is dimensionally identical to its bigger brother, the XDs 45. When placed on my postal scale fully loaded, both pistols weigh 1lbs 9oz, so even their weight is a match. With the exception of the larger bore on the 45, externally the two are indistinguishable, so much so I’m able to use my PJ Holster that I bought for my XDs 45 with my XDs 9. I really do love that PJ Holster so I’m glad I can still use it so I don’t have to wait on another one to be made.
In the past I’ve called the XDs and Shield “pocket guns”, and many of you have challenged this assertion. Please watch the XDs 9mm review video below as I explain my reasoning in using this terminology when describing these pistols.
The trigger on my pistol is a spongy 6.5lbs or so. The break is clean but the take-up is a bit on the slushy side. There’s also the expected over travel once the sear breaks sending the round downrange. None of this bothers me as I know this isn’t a match pistol, it’s a defensive pistol, and when viewed in that context the trigger is good to go. I’m even able to print tiny groups with it when I do my part. The outstanding sights help make shooting the minuscule pistol much easier, especially during rapid fire. The front orange fiber optic sight offers exceptional contrast against most targets while the two white painted dots in the rear assist in getting a proper sight picture.
If you follow my channel you know I like to test polymer pistols for “limp wristing” to see how reliable they are when the shooter doesn’t have the best grip on them while firing. Limp wristing can be a factor should you become wounded in a fight and lose some of the strength in your strong hand/arm. It can also be a factor for novice shooters or shooters that struggle with a proper grip. I’ve tested the XDs 9 fairly extensively for limp wrist failures and I’ve not been able to induce any so far. I would say the pea sized pistol is more tolerant of a poor grip than my G19 is.
Right now the only XDs 9’s I’ve been able to find on the market are the all black pistols. A two tone finish will be released in the future and will cost a little more than the black finished pistol. The XDs slide is made from carbon steel that is Melonite treated for an amazingly tough finish. Melonite is the same surface hardening process used on the popular Glock pistols known as Tenifer. Both Melonite and Tenifer offer the best technology has to offer in terms of protecting the metal components of your firearm.
With a street price of $549-$599 the XDs 9mm isn’t the cheapest solution out there for ultra-concealability. Price isn’t everything when you’re shopping for a defensive tool, and with that in mind, the XDs 9mm is one of the best pistols in its class – if not the best. I personally choose it over all others and have been carrying mine this summer in place of my Glock 19. Don’t worry, I’ve not completely abandon my G19, it will be pressed back into regular duty when the crisp fall air revisits NW Indiana in a couple of months.
For a full review of the pistol, please watch the MAC video review video below: