CSX Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol
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You know what they say, three men can keep a secret…just as long as two of them are dead. Smith & Wesson’s new CSX pistol has had a remarkably low-key release. The pistol first showed up on Reddit last week in the r/guns forum. Supposedly an employee at an FFL got his hands on one and posted a photo, but nuked the thread after people were trying to figure out which gun store he worked at.

In the modern 9mm market, it’s tough to be different, but for some, the Smith & Wesson CSX might be different enough.

It seems like the official release date was the yesterday, with numerous Youtube videos popping up showing the gun. That included a brief (for him) 37-minute Nutnfancy video detailing a few issues he apparently had with his.

However, Smith & Wesson is seemingly silent on the topic. Their social media hasn’t mentioned it as of this writing, but the guns are popping up in the hands of retailers around the country and seem to be selling for around $599.

What Is The CSX?

I want to believe that CSX stands for Chief’s Special X, but that’s yet to be determined. The CSX enters the micro compact world of 9mm. You know, those not-quite-double-stack guns that SIG pioneered with the P365 and have been some of the most popular guns sold in the last two years.

So far, all of the micro compacts (P365, Hellcat, Max-9, Shield Plus, GX4, Mako) have all been striker-fired guns. The CSX, however, takes the hammer-fired route.

CSX Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol

The CSX is a single action only, hammer-fired micro-compact. The pistol utilizes 10 and 12 round magazines. Oh, and S&W ditched the all polymer frame, too.

The CSX sports a metal frame with polymer inserts. The backstrap is polymer and interchangeable for hand size. The front of the grip has a small textured polymer insert.

The gun comes with a reversible magazine release for lefties, an ambidextrous 1911-style safety, and an ambi slide lock/release. Overall it’s significantly different than the standard micro-compacts it will compete against, and as a hammer-fired guy, I heartily approve.

Here’s how Palmetto State describes the CSX:

The new Smith and Wesson CSX micro compact 9mm pistol features an aluminum alloy frame, glare reducing serrations on top of slide, interchangeable textured backstraps, ambidextrous manual thumb safety and elongated slide stop, and an impressive 10+1 or 12+1 capacity. Optimal 18 degree grip angle for natural point of aim, EZ tab integration for simpler racking, chamfered ejection port, and a crisp single action trigger make this the ideal concealed carry pistol.

Size Wise

Like the P365, Hellcat, and Shield Plus, the CSX has an efficient size-to-capacity ratio. Here’s what the specs look like from retailers.

Barrel Length: 3.1″
Overall Length: 6.1″
Width: 1.12″
Height: 4.6″
Weight: 19.5 oz

CSX Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol

The sights are simple three-dot irons, and the gun isn’t optic’s ready. At least this initial version isn’t. That’s a shame, but given the popularity of pistol red dots these days, it seems like a lock that an optics-ready model is in Smith & Wesson’s future.

The CSX doesn’t have an accessory rail either. I expected the S&W CSX to use Shield Plus magazines, but according to the always-authoritative internet scuttlebutt that’s circulating, it’s a proprietary magazine.

The Smith & Wesson CSX is a fascinating little micro-compact that brings a metal-framed, hammer-fired design to a world of polymer-frame striker-fired guns. Hopefully, we’ll get our hands on one soon and be able to provide a full report.

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90 COMMENTS

    • But is it CA compliant? LOL

      No soup for us here in the former Golden State, now run by Dewy, Cheatum, & Howe in Sacramento.

        • Hmm. Very interesting. I had not heard of his ‘Fix California’ initiative. Thx for the link.

          I’ve voted in every single election since I turned 18 many moons ago, but the Dems over the past few years have literally changed our laws to favor (and allow!) their blatant cheating. I mean “cheating” in the very core sense of the word, and everybody here knows it’s cheating. We all complain about it, but Sacramento is a juggernaut. It’ll take a miraculous stone in a sling to bring down Goliath…

        • Haz has it correct. Along with the stone, we may need a parting of land, sea and air, and Reagan brought back from the dead.

          Grenell should name his campaign Lazarus to put a “ring” to it and remind people of how good this state was in the past. I’ve been a lifer, but not sure how much longer I want that to be.

    • It checks a few boxes for me, too, but I would love to find a pistol like this that is already optics ready and more importantly is a single/double. Nobody seems to make one with all the features I want.

    • Looks to be a bit smaller and without a grip safety but had to look more closely to not see exactly that. Looks neat would try it but liking the 365 family so far.

  1. It seems like a nice gun, I just don’t understand the purpose of a 9mm heavy gun with a thumb safety and a bad trigger. It’s not a .40, or a .45, which I might have understood as an alternative to the sub-9’s on the market, but I’ll keep my P365 for carry and my M&P .40 for home defense. This CSX doesn’t fit either of those jobs. Maybe an expensive truck gun?

      • “It looks like a 1911 style (i.e. without a top hinged) trigger.”

        Didn’t see the hinge pin for the trigger. Wondered if the unit used a trigger shoe similar to 1911, why that wasn’t highlighted by S&W?

      • Been tested by several reviewers, over 7 lb, where a decent 1911 is less than 5lb. Remember this is a single action only gun, trigger should be better than a double action or striker gun, but it’s not. S & W pistols (not revolvers) tend to have sucky triggers. Gen1 M & P and Bodyguard as examples.

    • Naw, you don’t want a .45ACP for a subcompact in this size range. One of my good friends has a Kimber subbie in .45 about the same size as a Shield, and it’s a real pain to shoot due to its heavy muzzle snap. No extended mag option, so it hurts your wrist due to the forces expelled upon firing the darned thing.

      I’ll stick with 9mm for the subbie, but I’m with you…I like .40 S&W for my full size.

  2. The line forms right behind me… Santa left me Anthracite ( again ) this year, but at least S&W read my wishlist.

  3. I’d be interested in it if it were a full sized with more barrel and capacity, DA/SA with a de-cocker.

        • Of course, but ‘Watch your doors and corners’ specified that he wanted a “full sized with more barrel and capacity, DA/SA with a de-cocker” which does describe the P226.

        • Right, but Vic was responding to “Watch . . .” who said he’d be interested if it were full-sized (along with a combination of other features already shared by numerous other pistols on the market).

      • Nope. I mean that I have a growing sense of nostalgia for my S&W model 59. That was my primary belt gun for twenty years. Saved my ass a couple of times, not counting the odd rattle snake now and then.

        Switched to the Ruger SR9 some time ago. Better fit in my hand, greater capacity. Added a 3.5lb Ghost trigger, drop-in model. Can’t say there’s a thing wrong about it but darn it, I have come to regret having to sell that old Smitty to be able to pay for the new thing, even if the new thing does do better for me by the numbers.

        • I get it, I lost my 6906 that I got new in 1990 or so in a move in 1998 and am still hoping I find it some day. In the rare cases I have a gun in a dream it is always the 6906 and usually lose it by the end of the dream. So I have suffered that lose over an over. I shot better with the P7 that replaced it but I guess the 6909 was a first love sort of thing…

    • DA/SA action, yes. Full metal frame yes. Then 9mm and not any larger. Available mag extensions would be nice along with a GREAT trigger. That’s what i would like to buy

  4. Outstanding! A micro-compact that looks like a real pistol- not some Hasbro Nerf toy. I dig it. Might be pricing myself a ticket for getting on board this CSX train…

  5. So a Springfield XD-E (that Springfield lists as ‘discontinued’) that’s single-action only with a double-stack magazine ?

  6. The other day TTAG released a list of the top five firearms reviews of the past year. Four of the five were small, plastic pistols. The other was, well, an uninspiring revolver. When questioned by a reader as to why there were no long guns on the list. (I was astounded that the AR variants weren’t #1.) TTAG replied that this illustrated where the interest is. Well, maybe. We have another review of a small, plastic pistol. Maybe, they’re the most read reviews because they’re the ones most published.

    • Umm, nope. This one’s an alloy frame with minimal polymer grip inserts, and hammer fired without the geegaws that sprout out of the rest of the ” micro” pistols currently littering the market.

      • With the exception of the M&P9 Shield Plus, the bow that tied that top five together was a very low price. The M&P9 Shield Plus review also set itself apart with a tres classy “BUY NOW” button under every single image.

      • Pb, thanks for the correction, but I think most readers got my point. Besides, I only skimmed the article. It’s the type of pistol I was addressing as opposed to the construction materials. Concerning construction materials; I probably have a 1/2 dozen plastic pistols. No prejudice there.

  7. The Smith looks like an interesting pistol but is inferior to he HK P30sk which has a decocker and is both double and single action. Round counts are similar with the HK P30Sk carrying 10 or 13 or 15 rounds and will operate with a P30 mag that holds 15 rounds but negates the small size once the longer magazine is inserted. The P30 series of pistols can be loaded or unloaded with the safety in the on position a great safety feature.

    HK has never had a recall either on any gun that I am aware of.

  8. This is a clone of the Sig 938 about a half dozen others. They are all good guns. Why would I buy this over the others? Looks? Nope.

  9. Hooray for capitalism! Options are good. It’s not terribly interesting to me, but I hope they sell truckloads of them.

  10. Dear TTAG,

    What the heck happened to the Dan Wesson DWX? I’m guessing it has something to do with Covid, and they probably went back to the drawing board so they could offer it as optics ready. Could you guys confirm? That would make a nice article.

    • I love the idea of a pistol that incorporates a 1911 trigger with modern features, and have been anxiously following the DWX since it was introduced. For the longest time, it was “Coming Soon” on Midway, but with no date.

      A little over a month ago, I was thrilled when I saw that it was updated to show an expected arrival date of “12/07”, thinking what a great Christmas surprise it would be . . .

      Until I read on to see “2022” ☹️

  11. “given the popularity of pistol red dots these days, it seems like a lock that an optics-ready model is in Smith & Wesson’s future.”

    Given that Smith & Wesson owns Crimson Trace, which produces a full line of pistol optics including red dots, I think your assumption is valid.

  12. If this was DA/SA with a decocker, I’d be lining up to buy one immediately. This is only my personal preference, but I don’t think I’ll ever carry a defensive pistol with an external safety. It’s yet another thing to be messed up/mishandled under an adrenaline dump. A quality holster and double action is perfectly fine from a safety perspective.

    Actually, even if it was DA/SA, I’d still be waiting six months for the inevitable optics ready variant to be released.

    • What do you mean? That’s the one thing that differentiates it from every other micro-compact on the market today.

      • Virtually every other micro is a striker and polymer. I hate strikers and I don’t like Polymers. I carry a P229 Elite. That might give you clue as to what I expect so NO, that’s not just what differentiates it.

        • If you’re talking about the “aluminum alloy frame” as another differentiator, the CSX is lighter than a P365XL, and an ounce heavier (i.e. a weighted guide rod or 2rds of ammo) than a P365.

      • No what I’m talking about is virtually ever small 9mm pistol out there is polymer striker fired. I’m not talking weight or capacity. I was crystal clear in the beginning. SA killed it for me. The weapon isn’t polymer and is hammer fired. Now if it was DA/SA, I’d seriously consider it as an alternative carry.
        We can talk the virtues of the CSX until we’re blue in the face but it’s SA. SA = deal killer.

  13. THAT is a single-action Glock with a hammer. And an on/off switch. AMAZING that somehow, Glock left the creation of their very first 1911 to S&W!

    You know, just the other day I was thinking, “What the world needs is a Glock, but one with an exposed hammer, and some sort of on/off switch. But, wait! This Glock should be single-action only, and we’ll make the on/off switch a thumb safety! Oooh. . . and an aluminum frame. Gots to have an aluminum frame! But no grip safety. That’s carrying things too far. We’ll replace THAT with a little Glock dingus-trigger in the REAL trigger! Yep, a single-action cocked-and-locked Glock with an aluminum frame and exposed hammer! In 9mm! That’s the ticket!”

    They can’t be serious. And I won’t call them Shirley.

    • Interesting negative spin. I see the exact converse.

      John Browning (with mostly-helpful feedback from the Army) developed a pistol with superb ergonomics, including the fact that it c0cks itself for each shot – its main advantage, since its capacity was only slightly greater than revolvers’.

      He also did a pretty good job (by 1911 standards) with the rest of the pistol, but the industry has moved on in 110 years. Few / no new designs in decades have used locking nubbies, barrel bushings, links, rod extractors, 7-8rd full length mags, etc. etc. Yet the market has remained stuck in a false dichotomy where one could buy a pistol with either JMB’s ergonomics and trigger (but only as a copy with most every quaint turn of the century obsolescence), or updated engineering (but only with a sponge trigger). If S&W has finally incorporated the best of both in one pistol, I for one am grateful.

      While manual safeties aren’t everyone’s favorite, the military requires their use – even on the Beretta, with its heavy DA trigger and much less ergonomic lever – and just about everyone uses them without issues on rifles and shotguns.

      • And when Browning’s design was new, the Wright brothers, with input from the Army, built a flying machine that had two propellers and an engine that could carry two, count ’em, TWO people. Ford was building motorcars with crank start and magneto ignition, and a canvas roof if you paid a little extra. Telephones had cranks instead of dials or buttons.
        We don’t use very many things designed before WWI much any more, nor do we keep trying to resurrect them in the hope that this time they’ll be better despite their obvious failings.
        Rifles and shotguns, by the way, are virtually ALL single-action guns that are often carried ‘cocked and locked’ if loaded, and having a safety of some sort is rather a good idea; I’m hard-pressed to think of a rifle or shotgun that has a self-cocking or DA mechanism that isn’t a hybrid handgun of some sort, and those don’t count.
        So, ‘splain to me again why we desperately need a single-action Glock with a thumb safety.

        • John in AK,
          I respect your opinions on guns (and a lot of issues), but you seem to be arguing against statements I never made, so I’ll try to explain myself better.

          I’m not an unthinking JMB / 1911 fanboy, and never wrote (or even implied) that we should keep century-old technology. On the contrary, I made a longish list of obsolete 1911 tech I would love to see deleted from new-production pistols.

          What I wrote was that, once somebody gets ergonomics right, subsequent manufacturers are wise to recognize it. To use your own examples, airplanes’ stick / throttle / pedals layout, and numerous automotive controls, were finalized in roughly the same era. No one today rejects a steering wheel centered in front of the driver as antiquated. Software designers often pull that BS, but hardware builders know better.

          My main point was simply this: Leaving aside our personal preferences, it’s an undeniable fact that lots of people like and buy Glocks and derivatives; and that lots of people (fewer, but still literally millions) like and buy 1911s. I am a big believer in synthesis of desirable features, and I’m baffled that nothing of the sort exist[ed] for pistols.

          Since you mentioned cars, imagine you could EITHER buy one with an automatic transmission and power steering, OR electric start and seat belts, but NEVER one with all the features many people enjoy today. It was understandable at the time of those features’ introduction (and even then, designers got around it e.g. designing a CVT if someone else held the fluid torque-converter patent). In 2022, decades after they passed out of patent protection, even a diehard stickshift guy who never wears his seat belt would recognize that false dichotomy as ridiculous and idiotic.

          In like manner, even if you don’t share my love of crisp light triggers, can’t you at least recognize it’s bizarre that they should be almost inextricably bound to silly barrel links, an extra pound of steel, and the whole gamut of Edwardian tech? It took a while for manufacturers to synthesize AR and AK features, but now there are many such choices.

        • I wrote a response that was completely respectful and factual with no controversial words, and it’s STILL “awaiting moderation” ☹️

        • “And when Browning’s design was new, the Wright brothers, with input from the Army, built a flying machine that had two propellers and an engine that could carry two, count ’em, TWO people.”

          Any information on status of the country when striker-fired guns were introduced?

        • Well, when I and Johann Dreyse were in school, Texas was a republic, and steam power was all the rage. ‘Plastic’ was called ‘gutta percha,’ and Joe Biden was just entering Congress.

          What’s that got to do with anything?

  14. They turn out a single action gun with an 8 lb trigger? You’ve been making guns a hundred years and the best you can do is an 8 lb trigger? You charge $600 bucks for an 8 lb trigger? In a year they’ll come out with an ‘optics ready’ model and a 4 1/2 pound trigger and everybody will go “Ooooo”.

  15. “They turn out a single action gun with an 8 lb trigger?”

    Lotsa folks here want the pistol to have a DA/SA trigger. Would a DA trigger pull be much less than 8lb?

    • Considering that a DA trigger pull has to cock that there hammer AND make it fall, 8lbs is pretty darned insignificant. Now, on the other hand, if that there SA trigger pull only has to make the trigger fall when it’s already cocked, and not cock it, 8lbs is an awful lot. So, yeah, 8lbs is ‘WAY too much–unless there is no thumb safety, in which case it’s not nearly enough.

      • “Now, on the other hand, if that there SA trigger pull only has to make the trigger fall when it’s already cocked, and not cock it, 8lbs is an awful lot.”

        Thinking 8lbs is 8lbs. Despite its looks, is it fair to demand a true 1911 trigger pull vs a DAO trigger pull? The CSX trigger pull should not be dependent on the shape of the pistol. Wouldn’t those who are accustomed to DAO only be happy to have this pistol as a potential purchase?

        • Nope. 8lbs of SA pull to release a sear holding a pre-cocked hammer is too heavy. 8lbs of DA pull is not enough for reliable ignition.

          Or this: An 8lb brick picked up and carried across the room is insignificantly light; The same brick picked up and dropped on your bare foot is remarkably heavy.

          And, yes, if you’re going to make an SA-only pistol with a thumb safety AND a dingus trigger, you can dag blag make it with a 3.5lb or less trigger break weight–unless you fear that the gun would be unsafe with that light of a trigger pull, which means that the thumb safety isn’t reliable in some manner, or the dingus trigger isn’t enough, thus demanding a heavier trigger weight.

  16. I wish more Mfgrs would come out with hammer fired pistols. I prefer them to striker fired. Now if it was just DA/SA with a decocker.

  17. I’m a Smith guy and have been for more years than I care to admit… but this begs the question… what solution is that in search for?

    • Many people like / buy modern pistols. Many people (not as many, but still millions) like / buy 1911s. Fans of each argue, but there are also many of us who own both. Some of us like the idea of an SAO pistol that doesn’t rote-copy every outdated feature from 100+ years ago, and carries a reasonable load of 9mm in a 9mm-size / weight frame.

    • Been a Smith guy for decades, but the Smith I currently have that is loaded and ready for business resides securely in a quick-access handgun safe- because it’s sriker-fired w/o a safety. I prefer not to carry stiker-fired handguns w/o safties due to their design- I consider them to be single actions with no manual safety.

      I regularly carry true single action pistols without hesitation, and I carry them Condition 2. From way back I trained to carry Condition 2 because that’s what I was most comfortable with. My draw training replaced swiping the safety off with cocking the hammer- it’s totally natural and second nature to me. I am 100% confident with a Condition 2 pistol… but would not carry a “cocked and unlocked” stiker-fired handgun. To each their own.

      The CSX is the soluton to my specific question asking Smith & Wesson to offer a micro-compact, 10-plus capacity, 1911-style pistol that is NOT polymer, NOT blocky/bulky, and NOT striker-fired. Ask and you shall receive.

      Kudos to S&W.

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