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By Michael Stephenson

What do the XD-S, the GLOCK 42, and the SIG P238 all have in common? Their announcement all set the gun community aflutter with one of two cries: either “Finally!” or, “When is it going to come out in 9mm?” Springfield Armory set a very high standard – albeit a heavy recoiling one – with its XD-S. It was reliable, compact, and accurate for a pocket gun. I’m proud to say that the XD-S 3.3″ 9mm lives up to that reputation. Minus the heavy recoil, of course . . .

Before I begin, let me state two things. First, this is a pre-recall gun which I have not sent back for the recall work. I’ve tested it myself, extensively, trying to get it to replicate the issue and have failed to do so with a variety of ammo. I might send it in at some point, but see no need to do so at this time. Secondly, this is my personal firearm. This will be a completely objective review, but I wanted to state that up front in the interest of full disclosure. Also, I’ve replaced the factory sights with a set of Trijicon HD Night Sights.

First Impressions

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Little gun. Big case.

Opening the box to the XD-S is quite a farcical experience. While I appreciate a gun company passing some savings on to the customer by not designing a new box for a small gun, using a box that could hold a 17” laptop to ship a gun that I can put in my pocket seems a little excessive.

The reason for this is that Springfield packs a lot of gear with the little XD-S. The XD Gear holster and mag carrier aren’t the best, but they will suffice and are quite durable. Most readers here would probably opt for something will a little more muzzle coverage. If you plan to carry in the XD Gear holster, be cognizant of that open muzzle. The photos of this specimen show some wear on the muzzle end of the slide caused by a CRKT folder clipped to my pocket while sitting.

Out of the Box

The XD-S feels good in the hand. The grip angle is comfortable and somewhat adjustable with the interchangeable backstraps. The grip itself is what I like to call aggressive, yet subdued. The texture employed is comparable to what you’ll find on the XD(M). All the ridges and valleys molded into the frame increase the surface area your hand has on the firearm, making the gun comfortable to shoot for an extended period of time without eating your paws in the process.

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The control layout on the XD-S is intuitive. The mag release is ambidextrous, but the slide stop is not. Though that isn’t a problem for most shooters, it may be of interest to southpaws. Speaking of the slide release, it’s quite large. In fact, it’s slightly larger than that of an FNS, and noticeably larger than that of a stock GLOCK. While Springfield took the added step of building a lip below it to reduce the chance of accidentally riding it while firing, those with larger hands will occasionally do so with a thumbs forward grip.

Fit and finish on the XD-S 9 are great. There are no visible machining marks on the slide, nor injection marks on the polymer frame. I opted for the bi-tone version with the stainless slide. Experience has taught me that the black finish on the XD(M) line isn’t the most durable on the market. Then again, that was on an XD(M) 3.8 Compact I was carrying while working between 50 and 100 hours a week in a machine shop, so your mileage may vary. After extensive carrying over the course of six months, the only finish wear is on the slide release and disassembly lever.

The sights on the XD-S are easy to acquire in full or reduced light situations. The rear is a low-profile white dot affair, but the front is a highly visible red fiber optic unit. They’re actually kind of nice for more accurate work, and they are versatile enough to be used for carry. If you prefer a different color up front, it’s relatively easy to replace them with green, yellow, or any other color you can find. However, I’m often out and about before or after the sun rises and opted to replace them with Trijicon HDs.

Carrying the XD-S is a breeze. There’s a plethora of holsters out there from a variety of companies. I’ve been carrying mine almost exclusively in a Cook’s Holster IWB Kydex holster. It’s incredibly comfortable. Even if I’m pocket carrying it, I keep it in the same holster. I spend most of the work week in dress or casual slacks, and the XD-S slips in and out of those pockets just fine. The only issue I’ve really found is that it can rotate around in the pocket, but that’s a problem with all pocket guns. I’ve also carried it OWB in the provided XD Gear paddle holster, and it still hides under a polo or t-shirt with no problem.

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On the Range

The biggest problem with most pocket nines is reliability. The recoil springs have to be strong enough to keep the diminutive guns from experience premature frame wear while being soft enough to cycle the action reliably with a variety of loads. Certain manufacturers have gotten around this by specifically stating in their manuals that +P ammo should not be used, that only 124gr or heavier projectiles should be used (Kimber SOLO), or requiring a lengthy break-in period of 200+ rounds (Kahr PM9). Or, as was the case with my SA EMP 9mm, several dates between the feedramp and my Dremel and about 300 rounds before it would feed anything reliably.

The XD-S ran smoothly over 500 rounds fired with all but one kind of ammo, and that was only for the first 200 rounds. The ammo in question is 135gr Hornady Critical Duty, which would cause failures to feed on a fresh magazine close to 50% of the time. It didn’t matter if the slide was racked or the slide stop was released to chamber the first round from the magazine, the polymer tip of the Critical Duty ammo would nosedive into the feedramp.

Once it did feed that first round, it functioned flawlessly when fired. Since this ammo isn’t really designed to perform optimally from such a short barrel, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for anyone. I can’t say whether or not the polymer FTX tip of Critical Defense will cause the same problem, but I can say that it fed Federal HSTs (124 and 147gr), Speer 115gr GDHPs, Barnes 115gr +P TAC-XPD, Winchester 9mm NATO 124gr FMJ, PPU 115gr FMJ, WWB 115gr FMJ, and Federal Champion 115gr FMJ without a hitch.

Being the compact firearm it is, this is a “two fingers” gun with the flush fit magazine inserted. I’ve installed a Pearce grip extension on one of the magazines, but actually prefer shooting without it. I’ve yet to acquire or shoot the gun with the extended 9-round magazine, so I can’t comment one way or the other on it. I have handled one, though, and I’ve found it to make the gun’s grip similar in length to that of the Kahr P9.

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Recoil is minimal, which surprised me greatly. Ball ammo is actually quite pleasant to shoot, which is more than I can say for other offerings in the category. This is where I feel the 9mm version of the XD-S really shines. As a former owner of many pocket .380s, 9mms, and various .38 and .357 snub-nosed revolvers, I went into this expecting the gun to be a handful. I had shot the .45 version of the XD-S loaded with 185gr+P JHPs before acquiring the 9mm. While the first round I shot with the .45 hit its target, the rest didn’t due to flinching. That’s not an issue with the softer shooting 9mm version.

The trigger on this XD-S broke at 6.4 pounds before I began shooting it extensively. It now breaks at 6.1. There is a little bit of spongy take-up in the trigger, followed by about .1” of heavier travel before the actual break. As Ryan Finn pointed out in his review of the .45 caliber version, the trigger is very GLOCK-like. The Kahr PM9 and Kimber SOLO are the only two other guns I can think of in the category which offer anything better.

Accuracy is very good for the segment. As with any pocket semi-auto like this, the thin width of the grip lends itself to the gun pivoting left and right in rapid fire situations. Or, if you have large hands like me, you’ll have to do some readjustment with every shot. This, along with reduced capacity, are the two trade-offs you face with a gun like the XD-S 9.

The best groups I managed with the XD-S 9mm were with 135gr Hornady Critical Duty ammo. With the exception of one flyer that was completely my fault, I managed a 0.8” seven shot group at 15 feet. Please don’t ask me to repeat that group. HSTs and GDHPs typically got between 1.25 and 1.5 inches with the gun seeming to prefer 147gr HSTs. Barnes TAC-XPD came in last place with an almost 3 inch spread, even though it was the softest shooting SD ammo I fired. That might have been due to the bullet traveling too fast to actually stabilize from such a short barrel or the excessive amounts of unburnt powder in the barrel when I cleaned it shortly thereafter.

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Overall

There’s a lot to like with the XD-S 9mm. Accessories and holsters abound, it’s comfortable to shoot for extended range sessions, and cheaper to feed than the .45 version. Carry guns are all about compromise. Though the trigger on the XD-S isn’t the best in the segment, it’s far from the worst. It’s not the smallest of guns, but it’s not the largest. It’s not the most accurate gun, but it’s not the worst. So what is it? It is, quite possibly, the perfect compromise. The only reservation to that statement is that the 4.0” version might be a little more versatile.

Springfield Armory XD-S 3.3″ 9mm

Specifications:

Caliber: 9x19mm
Barrel: 3.3”
Weight: 23oz. (w/empty magazine)
Length: 6.3”
Height: 4.4”
Width: 0.9” at the grip
Finish: Black frame. Slides available in stainless or black.
Capacity: 7+1 w/flush-fit magazine. 9+1 w/extended magazine.
MSRP: $599 (black slide) / $669 (stainless slide). Street prices are in the $450-$550 range.

 

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *
Considering the short sight radius and the rest of the competition in this category, the XD-S is right up there with the best of them.

Ergonomics: * * * *
Wonderful grip angle and plenty of grip real estate for a pocket gun. The only issue I really see is that some might like a deeper or wider grip.

Ergonomics Firing: * * * *
Without a doubt the most comfortable pocket semi-auto I’ve ever shot. Most pocket nines aren’t what you would consider “range guns” because they are painful to shoot. The slide, like most in the segment, is difficult to rack. That may pose an issue for those with dexterity or strength issues in their hands.

Reliability: * * * * *
600+ rounds of FMJ and JHP ammo. With the exception of some hiccups with Hornady Critical Duty when it was brand new, this gun has run everything I could throw at it. The first 50 rounds through the gun were a variety of JHPs, which it ran with absolutely no problem. Considering how finicky many in this category are with SD ammo, you can’t really slight it for not liking one particular line of ammo.

Customization: * * * *
Any sights, holsters, or lasers for the .45 variant will fit this as well. It sports an accessory rail up front, but I can’t see the utility in mounting anything to it. Magazines are a little pricey and difficult to find locally.

Overall Rating: * * * * *
There really isn’t much to complain about here. It’s the only pocket semi-auto I’ve ever owned that ran this smoothly right out of the box. Period. It holds three more rounds than a .38 or .357 pocket rocket while having significantly less recoil, better ballistics, and shorter reload times. The XD gear makes this a tremendous value when looked at as a total package.

86 Responses to Gun Review: Springfield Armory XD-S 3.3″ 9mm

  1. Great review! I have a post-recall XDS 9mm… Hornady Critical Defense is my carry ammo, and I haven’t had a single failure through about 50 rounds of the stuff. Small sample size I know, but just wanted to throw that out. Carry on!

    • I have a post-recall version, and the first time I closed the slide with an HCD round, it stopped dead in the middle of the feed ramp. So that little rubber tip ‘can’ be an issue. I haven’t had it happen since, but I also haven’t put more than a box of HCD through it either. YMMV (edit: HCD = Hornady Critical Defense)

      • Yep, same experience with HCD. The corbon JHPs fed great, but corbon DPX gave me a worry at first. DPXs tend to be a little longer and gets caught in the feed ramp. That said, I was easing the slide forward, if you do not ride the slide it functions great.

    • I have and post-recall XDS 45. It ran like a dream before the recall, and now it stovepipes, light-strikes, and has failures to reset the trigger. YAY!!! recall!

    • I would like to refer you to ShootingTheBull410’s Ammo Quest testing of Critical Duty from a pistol with a 3″ barrel. Critical Duty was specifically designed for a pistol with a DUTY length barrel (i.e. 4.5″-5″). ALL of his test rounds overpenetrated because they failed to expand to a decent diameter (most expanded to about 0.41″ and penetrated well over 20″). Bullets are designed with a velocity range in mind. Within this range the bullet reliably expands and penetrates from 12″-18″. When you fire these rounds out of a shorter barrel, they don’t reach this velocity range and you don’t get the desired results. For a short barrel 9mm, you’d be much better off with Critical Defense (if you must use Hornandy) or Federal HST (which works w VERY well in every barrel length I’ve ever seen a test for).

      • Even though I dont have a XDs 9 (have a shield) I did switch all my carry ammo over to HST 124 gr due to ShootingTheBull410…

    • I’ve had the XDs for about a year and both before and after the recall have seen the FTF issue. I finally made a video about what I think is going on and why some ammo hangs up and others doesn’t. Interested if anyone else has come to the same discovery.
      http://youtu.be/zJNlacNd57c

      Thanks,
      Barry

      • Barry,

        I had the same problem with my XDS 9mm. The Hornady Critical Defense rounds seem to jam when feeding that first round. I have fired HST, Spear gold dots, and Remington ultimate defense rounds thru the gun with no issues. I think I am just going to avoid the hornady defense rounds. However, the hornady bullets cycled fine when being fired, it was only with feeding the first round when it hung up. I was told by a gunsmith they could polish the feed rail to help resolve the issue, but I am not sure that would completely fix the problem. Did you ever fire +P rounds thru the XDS?

        Mike

    • It’s a good gun, but not my cup of tea. The Shield feels slightly wider in my hands, and I’m personally weary of a manual safety that small on a carry gun.

    • I got my M&P shield 9mm right before the XD-S 9mm came out, and have no regrets, its been completely reliable, surprisingly accurate and fun to shoot despite its small size. The only problem I’ve had with it (which I hear is quit common) has been that the white dots on the rear sight fell out after 150 rounds fired. Not a big deal though, I don’t really need them and I’m planning on getting XS big dots sights eventually any how. I haven’t fired the XD-s but the finish on it seems more refined, not exactly better, but it has a higher quality feel at least to me when compared to the shield. Of course the shield is a around a $400 gun,the XD-s is more like $550ish. From everything I’ve heard you can’t go wrong with either.

  2. XD s .45 is a big deal. This is just another 9mm and rather large & expensive at that. I don’t get it. And how can it get 5stars if one type of ammo failed to feed 50% of the time? I’ve had a Keltec PF 9( hated it ) & this gun is bigger & much heavier in comparison.

    • That was failing to chamber on the first round of the magazine, only with that ammo (which has a slightly longer OAL of the other ammo tested) and only for the first 200 rounds. That wasn’t FTF while firing the round.

    • I fail to see your point. The XDs is “just another 9mm” because it’s bigger and heavier than the Keltec you hated?

    • There is no semi-auto that fires every combination of cartridges for it’s caliber. That is why it’s important to test different ammo types in a carry gun to weed out the sticklers. My Ruger fails to feed the second round on some PPU and handloads, but has never failed running Hornady. My buddies XDS45 hates golden sabers, but loves XTPs and HSTs.

      • I have not had a single malfunction of any kind with my XDS9. Probably ~500 rounds, the majority of it 115gr freedom munitions RN reloads, with some Blazer in there after I shot all my FM 124gr HP ammo. I can actually get 3 fingers on the grip without an extension so it really works well for me. I had a Kahr CM9 that I thought I had liked that I sold after just 1 range trip with my newly purchased XDS.

  3. The second I bookmark this gun on my local dealer’s site I see this article. Keep up the impeccable timing!

  4. Last Friday, my wife and I were helping my cousin select her new carry gun and got to demo this gun, the 4-inch version, Shield, Nano, and P938. I liked the features of this gun, but it was noticeably heavier than the Shield. The 4-inch version was easier to shoot tight groups with (owing to the longer sight radius) and had less muzzle flip, but the extra length just exacerbates the weight issue. Ultimately, both my cousin and my wife liked the Shield the best. My personal favorite was the P938, but since I’m not sure I like the idea of carrying cocked and locked, I might pick the XDs 3.3″ just because I like the way it’s configured (I like that is has a rail and grip safety).

    • Correct me if I’m wrong but the striker in the XD is always cocked. This might have changed in the XDS with the new trigger group though.

        • The striker is 100% cocked, the trigger just releases it. So for all intents and purposes all XDS’s are cocked and locked, with 1 more safety (grip+trigger paddle vs. thumb) than a P938. If you chamber a round, the striker is fully cocked with no way to decock without pulling the trigger.

          Its not like other strikers that are only partially cocked (M&P and Glock), with the trigger completing cocking and release.

        • @B

          my question was “how is it always cocked?” Your response didn’t answer any of that. It doesn’t explain how it is ALWAYS cocked, and the trigger only releases the striker after it has been cocked: by racking the slide – as I stated.

          If you insert a fresh mag and pull the trigger without racking the slide: No click. So it’s not ALWAYS cocked.

        • If there is a live round in the chamber the striker will always be in the far most rear position. So unless you carry Israeli style the xd line of pistols will always be “cocked and locked” That is what i was getting at.

        • B that is simply not true. Previous Springfields are 100% cocked. The XDs is the same as the Glock design which is only partially cocked. This firearm is not fully cocked until the trigger is squeezed.

  5. Had one in class last weekend. First one I’d seen “in the wild”.

    It looked nice. Felt a little boxy, but okay.

    The girl that was using it was struggling more than a little with it over the course of 200+ rounds fired mostly on the second training day (we had a tornado a mile away on day one, along with very heavy rain and significant hail which moved us inside for lectures). It’s not the easiest gun to shoot well and she had to concentrate for almost every shot.

    I rode the trigger with her and the trigger wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t Glock with the light trigger assembly installed either.

    I like Springfields and own one of the XDs myself, but I think the S&W Shield is a better gun by more than a nose.

    John

    • I think Springfield could have made the grip texturing a little less aggressive. I had (past tense) the .45 XDs and I could not shoot more than 100 rnds at a time without some slide rub and blister forming on trigger finger (My previous carry gun was a G30 in .45).

  6. Why would you review a recalled gun? None of the pistols that slam fired or went full auto had ever failed before. Yours is no different. Springfield Armory doesn’t recall pistols for the fun of it. It had a design flaw. What you’ve done is irresponsible. If you rack a round in the chamber without fully depressing the grip safety the trigger will not reset and you have a free floating striker. The upgrade resets the sear and trigger no matter how it’s racked. I had 1900 rounds thru mine when the recall was announced. I now have just shy of 8,000 and I trust it with the upgrade. Mine will go to my son someday and would never pass on a recalled firearm without getting it fixed. Yours will outlive you as well. Will the next owner know about the design flaws?

    • This is very different. Those guns failed when used exactly as designed. With the XDs, the user has to do something fairly stupid to get it to fail. Honestly, how many competent gun owners do you know who would chamber a round without a solid grip on the gun?

  7. Awesome review! I love Springfield and all of their semi-autos (pistols and rifles alike) and I own a very nice XDM 3.8 in 9mm that I use as a Multi-purpose tool, but I’ll check out the XDS 9mm as a CCW. I was checking out an LC9, but this seem actually enjoyable to shoot 🙂 I am glad the XDS now has the TTAG seal of approval!

  8. My point is for a tiny 9 it’s NOT tiny. Buy it if you want to. I would rather have a tiny .45 for pocket carry…or pay 100-200 less for a Keltec, Taurus, S& W, Kahr, Bersa, Ruger or even a Diamondback. BTW I very much like XD compacts. And aren’t all these small pistols for concealed carry anyway?

  9. Totally different take on the trigger here than in other articles and reviews. Most if not all state that the XDs 9 trigger is completely different than the .45 version so even bringing it up in the same article other than to say they are not the same is (or could be) misleading.

    Everyone else seems to agree that the trigger is one of the best in its class. Very crisp. Very minimal take up and short, short, short reset.

    With a left handed spouse who shoots my guns on occasion I have lean towards the XDs for it’s ambi mag release and grip safety. I may just pick one of these up for summer carry when my full size wont hide well wearing shorts and thin shirts.

    • Maybe I got a dud, but I had one and I just did not like it. It had an awful trigger pull (which really shocked me, cause Walther) and it was horribly inaccurate. I carry a P99c now, which is worlds better. I am considering getting the new no safety shield when they become available.

    • That’s what I carry. A very fine weapon. Shoots any and all ammo I’ve tried. My only complaint (small) is the magazine release on the trigger guard. For which I’ve been waiting for the Shield w/o the safety to try out.

    • Indeed.

      I never understood why the XD-s and M&P Shield generated so much hype in 2012-13 when the PPS is exactly the same size & weight, and I had mine in my hands in 2008. The PPS is the mythical single stack 9mm Glock everyone keeps asking for, but Glock can’t or won’t make.

      Maybe the magazine paddle release turns people off, but I think that is a plus for IWB carry. Not to mention people love H&Ks, that use the same mechanism.

      • “Maybe the magazine paddle release turns people off”
        You hit the nail on the head.
        The PPS is, indeed, a great carry piece, but many are turned off by Walther’s somewhat counterintuitive controls.
        You’re right, though. Great gun but not as popular.

  10. I would like to see this compared side by side with a Kahr PM9, which is the same size package but significantly lighter (<16 oz. unloaded), but with a DAO trigger.
    If anyone has issues with the texturing, I would recommend a Hogue Jr. grip sleeve. I bought one for my Kahr CW9 (three fingered grip, 7+1), because the texturing was too sharp for my (office soft) hands, and it has been brilliant.

    • More than happy to. I actually owned a PM9 a while ago. It was a great gun, and they truly are underrated.

      The big differences are length, weight, trigger, and recoil. The slide is longer on the XDs, thus some of the extra weight. Some of the additional weight on the XDs is internal as the rails the slide glides on are a good bit beefier in the XDs. This probably isn’t a safety issue, but worth noting when you take them apart. The trigger, as you said, is DAO, but a dream and easy to get used to. The recoil is, due to the decreased weight, a little more pronounced in the PM9.

      Outside of that, the only real issue is the break-in period for the Kahr. Mine took 300 rounds to run most ammo reliably, but still didn’t like certain lines of SD ammo.

      You won’t go wrong with either. It’s just that the Kahrs seem to be a little more expensive and a little more finicky.

      • P series yes, C series not so much. My CW9 was $385. I went through the 200 round break in with a single nose diving FMJ and no other bobbles. And the Hogue HandAll Jr. not only smoothed out the serrations, the rubber surface is plenty grippy, added slight grip swells, and a finger swell on the front strap. My daughter complained that it was snappy (compared to a 4″ XD9) but I find it very pleasant to shoot.

  11. For all but the most knowledgeable gun owner (XD Armorer or XD Engineer, for instance) who can legitimately know their gun is unaffected, skipping a recall is a terrible idea, especially if the basis is “I haven’t had the issue.” I certainly wouldn’t want to give the impression to a gun noob that not following recalls is a reasonable course of action.

    Anyway, regarding Shield vs. XDS, I’ve shot both long enough to know that I significantly prefer the Shield. The XDS is good enough that I recommend people try it out if they’re looking for a single-stack 9, but for my wife and I *personally*, we liked the Shield. Regarding the safety, there’s now a no-safety version, but to me, if I am carrying it and don’t want it on, I’ll just turn it off. It’s quite unobtrusive and seems designed to be more difficult to click ON than click OFF. Other safeties, I see the potential issue of accidentally engaging them, but it seems incredibly unlikely with the Shield.

    • I love Smith & Wesson. I’m a “wheel gun” guy at heart, and in my opinion S&W makes some of the best revolvers available. (My favorite is my precious 327 TRR8, but I digress.)
      For CCW, though, I prefer a compact .9 over a snub-nosed .38.
      I opted for the XDs over the Shield sans thumb safety because of the grip safety on the XDs.
      I carry my firearm hoping to never need to, but ready if I have to use it. A striker-fired pistol w/o a thumb safety is a great option. Personally though, I prefer the added security of the grip safety just for that extra bit of reassurance that it won’t accidentally discharge if I’m carrying it in my pocket with a round chambered.
      The M&P Shield most probably won’t, but I just like having the grip safety.
      Both are great carry pistols and you won’t go wrong choosing either one (or both

      • While we’re on the topic of XDs vs. Shield, here’s another thing to consider. The M&P is made in the U.S. while the Springfield is made in Croatia. Now, all else being equal, I’d almost always opt for Made in the U.S.A. But in this case, the current political climate in Washington and the future uncertainty regarding our Second Amendment rights presents a unique twist.
        Although not ratified by The Senate, the [for now, toothless] U.N. Small Arms Treaty was signed by Secretary of State Kerry and by President Obama. For now, you can still legally import/purchase firearms manufactured in eastern Europe. But who knows?
        So if you’re on the fence, you can always purchase the XDs and if you don’t like it, later sell or trade it in and get the U.S.-made Shield. However, if you get the M&P Shield and somewhere down the road decide you prefer the Springfield XDs, who knows if you’ll still legally be able to acquire a Croatian-made firearm?
        Just look at what happened in N.Y. I wish I had the foresight prior to 2013 to purchase all those “terrible” things that you’re still allowed to own in N.Y. (albeit, if you had registered them), but are now absolutely illegal to purchase or transfer.
        My policy now is that if it’s still legal but I think they might ban it soon, I buy it NOW!

        • AND STOCK UP ON AMMO!
          In New York State, all ammunition purchases must now be face-to-face from registered firearms or ammunition dealers, and only to persons with proof that they legally own a firearm(s) for which the ammunition can be used.
          Furthermore, dealers must send to the state a log documenting 1) purchaser’s name, address, and profession, 2) what was purchased, 3) quantity, 4) serial number if applicable AND any identifiable markings!

  12. @jamesii… That’s my thoughts exactly. Walther PPS all the way! 🙂

    I did shoot an XDs .45, however, and I found the experience to be completely acceptable. I much preferred it to a Kahr of the same size.

  13. First, this is a pre-recall gun which I have not sent back for the recall work. I’ve tested it myself, extensively, trying to get it to replicate the issue and have failed to do so with a variety of ammo. I might send it in at some point, but see no need to do so at this time.
    NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

    Don’t send it back. It’s a trap!
    I sent mine in and they made the trigger go from good to suck.
    If you really want an one with the recall update, I’ll trade you mine. I’ll even throw in the free magazine they sent me.

  14. My first couple of guns were XD(m)s and they were nice guns. That said, when I was out shopping for a non-DAO, non SAO compact, there were not that many choices, but I ended up going with a Glock 42 (despite the fact the I swore I would never buy a Glock). Granted, there is a big ballistic difference between the .380 and the 9mm. I get that. However, I found the Glock to be a bit more “refined” for lack of a better word. I absolutely hated the grip on the XDs – too boxy and smooth for my taste. The G42 just felt more refined. The G42 is also lighter and smaller. Maybe not by much, but every bit helps.

    The bottom line is that I would recommend not buying a XDs sight unseen. You might have to with a rare or new gun, but there are enough of these in the channel now that you should be able to find one you can handle. If you like the feel of the XDs, by all means, go for it. Great gun. You may however, want to explore something else.

    It will be interesting to see what Glock does next year with respect to a 9mm version of the G42. If they can keep it close in size and weight, they may have a real category killer on their hands.

  15. Post recall XDs9 here. No problems with Critical Defense. That and Guard Dog have been fired through it to the tune of 80 rounds each. Works for me. Love the gun. Son has the .45, I like that too.

  16. Yup decent gun. The only issue with this gun is that it is really not a “pocket gun” – to tall, to many sharp edges, too heavy to be a pocket gun. Great example is the nice rear sight, clear, easy to see, but serrated on the back and catches on any pocket you would draw the gun from. In this sense for a lot of people it’s the same issue the G26 has – to big to be a pocket gun, needlessly small as a belt gun

  17. I have a XDs 9 that has the update + a PRP kit. I really like this pistol for its reliability, well over 2,000 rds without a hiccup, lack of a striker retainer pin, and nothing is faster out of the holster and on target at close range.

  18. I wanted to take a moment to clarify a few things that people have presented as issues with my review regarding my not sending this gun in for recall work

    Much like the auto industry, the gun industry recalls items for largely one of three reasons: faulty parts that affect the function of the product, serious risk of harm to the operator, or to avoid being sued by some idiot that could/has use/used their product improperly/inappropriately.

    The first two are serious. For one, people pay for a product that is advertised/expected to work a certain way and do so safely. A good example of this is a recall my Toyota had. The rollover sensor that deploys the airbags in a certain range of years and models was found to be defective. It contained a primary sensor and a backup to deploy in the event of one failing. This is fine, except the primaries were shorting out, and could thus trip the backup and cause it to deploy all the airbags with no warning. Imagine taking you, your spouse, your two and a half kids, and their respective luggage on a road trip. You’re gliding down the interstate with your cruise control set at 75mph, sipping on your Big Gulp Diet Coke, kids watching a DVD in the back, and all of your airbags deploy at the same time for no reason. Can you say lawsuit?

    The third is the reason why every hair dryer sold in the US comes with a tag on the cord warning to keep it away from water, most factory pistol cases contain something saying not to store a loaded firearm in them, and the tube of topical anti-histamine cream in my medicine cabinet has “WARNING: For External Use Only!” emblazoned across the side. I guess someone, somewhere decided they had an itchy throat and figured “Why not?” and cost some pharmaceutical company big bucks for their stupidity.

    And this is the magical reason why the XDs was recalled. Not because of a faulty part, but because they didn’t state in the manual something to the effect of “you must rack the slide while properly gripping the pistol, and depressing the grip safety, in order to engage the firing pin block and avoid a possible negligent discharge.” That’s it. Stupidity. Even Springfield admitted that no one had reported an instance of this issue to them and it would have to be done in a controlled environment.

    How controlled? I don’t know, but I’m guessing holding the gun in a vise or something like a Ransom Rest is involved. In my own testing trying to replicate it, the momentum of the slide moving forward was enough to make the in-no-way depressed grip safety move forward and engage, thus resetting the trigger and firing pin block before the slide returned to battery on an empty chamber. The same was true when chambering a round. In all of the testing I did of this problem with different types of ammo, none of the rounds used for testing had ANY indications of contact with a firing pin. None. No light strikes, scratches, possible dimples, nor trace of the slightest imperfection under bright light and magnification could be detected. Not on range ammo, military loads, or self defense. Zip. Zero. Nothing. Nada.

    If after going to that length to test my gun, and finding no need to send it off to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, makes me irresponsible, then so be it. If, and ONLY if, the problem presents itself in the future, I will address it accordingly. Otherwise, I see no need to be sans my EDC for any length of time and having to break in a new trigger.

    • In his October, 2013 review of the XD-S 9mm for American Rifleman Magazine, Mark A. Keefe, IV writes, “The front of the rear sight base is proud, allowing it to be used to retract the slide against a hard surface in an emergency.”
      So, while unlikely, it is theoretically possible to rack the slide without activating the grip safety. It probably won’t happen to you, and feel free not to send yours in for the recall repair, but I echo the sentiment that it is irresponsible to advise others to not do so.
      Otherwise, a great review, and thank you!

  19. I have an XDs-9 that went through the recall. Trigger pull was a touch heavier and grittier when it was returned but that seems to have smoothed out over about 1000 rounds. This is my Mon-Fri main EDC piece and I’ve spent a lot of time with it. In my hands it doesn’t shift in rapid fire and in fact puts out high speed groups nearly as good as my full size 1911. However, this is a 2.5 finger gun for my hands with standard magazines, and I have 2 of the 9 shot extended mags. With those it’s just a pistol rather than a very compact pistol.

    I’ve also had mine hang loading the first round with Critical Defense, which is my preferred carry ammo. Like yours, this sorted it’s self out many rounds ago and hasn’t recurred since.

    Overall, the compromises that the XDs-9 represents work for me. I tried a lot of guns in this category before going with the XDs and now almost a year in, having shot it a few thousand times and carrying it 16 hours a day 5 days a week I still like the pistol a lot. It’s the little gun that could in my opinion.

  20. I purchased a Springfield xds 3.3 9mm earlier this year, and found the trigger to be gritty after the take up, and then a trigger pull weight that was off the charts. I tried to live with it, but my other 2 xds had the combat package done at Springfield Armory, and I have become spoiled. So I sent the pistol back to SA without any grumbling at all from a very nice lady. 10 days later, Springfield returned the xds. Wow!! a small travel, no more sponginess, a crisp break, and maybe 6 pounds of pull ( I just ordered a trigger pull weight device to check, and will follow up). Great service, and now, a great trigger from SA. Thank you Springfield!

  21. How is the slide pull?
    My wife has arthritis in her hands that makes it difficult for her to rack the slide our FNS-9.
    Looking for a good pistol for her that isn’t as heavy as a revolver. Though she loves the easy loading of the revolver she tried at the range.

    • I know this is not the answer you’re looking for, but I would definitely recommend a light but comfortable revolver.
      You don’t want her stuck in an emergency situation where she has any difficulty racking the slide. Same goes for any instance in which she might have to clear a jam.
      Semiautomatics are great, but they do have limitations. Revolvers still do have their place. They may not be as light or as concealable, but they’re notoriously reliable.

      • My wife chose the new HKVP9.
        Easy to rack and the thumb paddle mag release is also very easy. She was all smiles add she put 150 rounds through it. All the sub compact 9’s had very stiff springs.

        • That’s a very nice piece. It would certainly make a fine range gun, but for me it’s a bit too large for a carry pistol. Good luck!

  22. My wife purchased the XD-S 3.3″ 9mm a few months ago. So far the gun has worked flawlessly with a minor exception. Like others have said, it really does not like Hornady Critical Duty or Critical Defense rounds. It seems that the plastic tips get caught on the feed ramp (as others have also stated). We switched from Hornady to Federal Hydra Shok and that seemed to work better.

    Though not a major complaint, I was disappointed that the Springfield didn’t like the Hornady ammunition, as that’s what we use in our Sigs and Glocks. Since we’re trying to limit our ammunition purchases to HP rounds that we can shoot through all of our 9mm pistols, it looks like we’ll be switching out to the Federal or another similar (non plastic tip) HP ammunition.

    Other than that, I personally plan to purchase a Springfield XD-s of my own.

  23. I’m new and I have no clue as to the extent of my ignorance. Therefore I ask questions and avoid using guns that I am unfamiliar with. Perhaps this is a question about the Shield which I just purchased or about a whole line of guns. From memory, once I field stripped and cleaned my new gun once it was reassembled the magazine could not be racked unless the slide was locked back by the notch. If the slide was released first the magazine would lock out about an inch before it racks. So now you lock the slide, pop in the magazine and…and now you have a chambered gun. Just release the mag, add a cartridge , rack the magazine and you have 8 + 1.

  24. I’m new and I have no clue as to the extent of my ignorance. Therefore, I ask questions and avoid using guns that I am unfamiliar with. Perhaps this is a question about the Shield which I just purchased or about a whole line of guns.

    From memory, once I field stripped and cleaned my new Shield once I reassembled it, the magazine could not be racked unless the slide was locked back by the notch. If the slide was released first, the magazine would be lock out about an inch before it fully racks. So to carry the gun wiith the magazine imserted, you have to lock the slide, pop in the magazine and…and now you have a chambered gun. Just release the mag, add a cartridge, rack the magazine and you have 8 + 1. As I intentionally rejected the safety, I would be carrying a loaded gun unlocked. Not cockwd and locked; an optional carry method for the P938. Therefore, the trigger and your carry method is the sole safety for your cocked and chambered gun? (I assume this is “loaded, cocked and unlocked?”).

    What am I missing? I seem to recall racking a magazine in a P938 without the need to retract the slide first. Thus, you could carry that gun with the magazine inserted but without a cocked and chambered round. If the safety was off you would load a round by use of the slide, or carry it cocked and locked. While I believe I’m missing something, the manual and the videos seem to confirm my “misimpression.” I realize that the buzz words may not be accurate, however, I think you should still be able to follow my train of thought to assist me.

    Thanks.

    • I loved everything else about the M&P Shield, but this is precisely the reason I passed on it and opten for a carry gun with a grip safety.

  25. Just purchased an XDS 9. I have glocks and smiths. Don’t care for pistols with a manual saftey. Shot 100 rounds of 10 ring ammo. I love this pistol it’s absolutely perfect. Shoots excellent , perfect concealment, very quality firearm. Good job Springfield.

  26. Thank you so much for this review. I bought a Ruger LCP .380 a while back and it is a piece of garbage. It is totally inaccurate (even at close range), I hate the pull on the trigger, and it jams constantly. The size is great, but at the range I never got through a full 6-round magazine without the thing jamming on me. Thank God I never actually had to pull it out of my pocket in an emergency. I am currently in the market for a small CCW and was considering this one. I love my Springfield XD(m) 9mm and I think I’m ready to get the XD-S.

  27. I have also tried to replicate the “failure to feed” by spending a significant amount of time on the range. I put approximately 1,000-2,000 rounds through my XDs 3.3 9mm before I sent mine in. My XDs did not fail to feed or jam or malfunction in anyway. This gun has been flawless straight out of the box.

    My advice. Send it in. Get the recall work done. It will be better for resale. And if anything, Springfield Armory gives you x1 extended 9rd magazine (7rd for .45 ACP) as a gift for your patients. As I always say, “free is for me”.

    3%

  28. just shot my new xds 9 , its a nice pistol. shot 200 rounds through it and no problem…..im going to put new sights on it. otherwise very happy with it…also just ordered a remora holster for it..

  29. My husband bought me the XD 9mm for Valentine’s Day. I am extremely disappointed in this pistol and would not recommend it to anyone. The very first shot jammed and continued to jam or if it did fire it failed to eject the shell. We tried a variety of cartridges all with the same result. Out of 4 boxes of shells (each a different brands) 14 JAMMED and I lost count at how many failed to eject. Almost the first round of every clip jammed and occasionally on the 4th or 5th round. The dealer is going to send the gun back to Springfield to be “repaired”. Unfortunately, I have no faith that this gun will actually fire when I need it! All I’ve heard is how great this gun is and in actuality it is a POS.

    • sounds like you are “limp wristing” it to me….If you do not have a firm enough grip on the gun the slide will not cycle appropriately and you will have problems with ejection and feeding.

      • So you’re saying that both me and my husband are “limping wristing” it. Interesting that you believe we would both shoot exactly the same. Just got the Springfield back and it does cycle now but after about 50 rounds began misfiring on the 4th or 5th round. The guy at Sportsman said that you need to run at least 300 rounds through it before it is reliable.

  30. ok first I’m going to try to do this in a manner that people will really understand. Now I carry a gun for a living and a badge and a whole lot of other crap. So you get the drift my standard issue gun is the Glock 17 it is like an extension to my right hand.as I practice every week at the range my tactical drill.I shoot over 5000 round a year. Anyway I wanted a backup secondary weapon.needed something that would be dead reliable. Wish to carry in the inner pocket of my ballistic armor vest carrier.I thought I had found it in the Glock 42 I purchased one about 6 months ago.much to my surprise as excellent as the Glock 17 is the 42 is a total piece of crap reliability 0 Ammo sensitivity very high send it back to glock twice could not solve the problems.so with that it got traded in and I bought a Springfield XDS 45.right out of the box it shot very well anything that it was Fed no problems. Now since this is my own firearm I am allowed to play with it.so after a new sear and trigger spring kit as well as TRUGLO TFX sites.I am happy to say that the Springfield is one of the few guns that the bullet goes where it is pointed with no sight compensations. reliability is 100% no shortcomings there concealability is excellent stopping power will hell it’s a 45.so should I ever find myself in a situation where my primary firearm is not available I have full confidence in my Springfield.Springfield really got this one correct so it will be with me every day that I work and every day when I am off of work It is going to be a pleasure to know that should I ever have to use my backup I have 100% reliability and accuracy and incredible stopping power. because after all it’s my six it’s on the lineI hope whoever reads this post understands what I am talking about

  31. What does the S stand for on my XD S 9mm sub compact gun?? Springfield?? Not sure how to buy accessories for it. It says XD-9 sub compact. So what do I get accessories for the XD-9 or the XD-S!

  32. Mine feeds 115 grain Hornady Critical Defense just fine as long as I use the slide release instead of racking it.

  33. Bought one today (9/16/15). Put 50 cheap rounds though it. Wow. Very impressed. I hate the short magazine. Without a pinky rest the gun was not cooperative. With the 8 round mag that has the pinky rest I was thrilled. Nice balance. Low recoil. Shot what I what I thought I was pointing at. Can’t say enough. Simple, solid, dependable and reasonably priced. I’m not an expert. I’m not a collector. I do know I like it….lots.

  34. Great article.(& comments trail). I’m one of the many women newly interested in shooting & looking for first gun(s). I’m a 5’2″ grandma & have very small hands. Impression at gun shops were iffy (they wanted to show me either tiny pistols, Glocks or revolvers). I don’t like revolvers and on advice from husband and son wanted to keep it to 9 mm semi. Initially found the grips too big (the Glocks they showed me) and racking very difficult. Then found a great article “Racking the Slide of Your Gun” re: technique vs strength. http://thewellarmedwoman.com/racking-the-slide-of-your-gun It works!

    Have since researched ~50 guns & have had hands on ~20. I have shot my husband’s full size Springfield XD9, S&W Shield 9 mm, his friend’s 38 revolver, 22 target pistol & Sig .380 and my son’s cc Springfield XD 3″ mod2. Then range rented the Walther PPQ mod2, H&K VP9, Ruger LC9s, & Glock 43. The XDs wasn’t available and based on this type of review is the remaining gun I want to try.
    I love the way the bigger pistols shoot! So my first gun is narrowed down to VP9, PPQ m2, or XDm2. My second cc gun will likely be Glock 43 or XDs depending how it feels shooting..
    I think I’m lucky to be starting now as noob. There are quality options out there- even for people small hands & less strength! The range guy said, “How many other moms get to spend an evening of quality time with their grown son”! (Who just happens to be a former USMC armorer & shooting instructor:).

  35. I have gotten a 1 inch ragged hole with mine and reloads at 7 yards, stock out of the box. recoil isn’t anything, pocket carry is very do-able. if it was a smidge smaller, I’d sell my s&w 380 bodyguard.

  36. Dan, great review.
    For a gun newbie wanting a gun for home defense only–I’m 5’4″ 135 lbs.–would you recommend the Springfield XDS 3.3″ or 4″ version?

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