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"I carry Hornady Critical Defense in my XD-S. This is the 185 grain FTX bullet in .45ACP. At 10 yards, rested, the left group of my original carry gun is quite good for an out of the box pocket pistol. On the upgraded XD-S, right, three of the six shots went into the same ragged hole exactly to point of aim. This was the same disparity with 230 grain Speer Lawman roundball, though the Hornady groups were of course overall much smaller. Same barrel, same grip, same feel. What makes the gun shoot better? The upgrade!" (pic and text courtesy

Over at, Paul Helinski has received his recalled and repaired Springfield XD-S. Surprise! He likes it! And why not? The XD-S is a great gun except for, well, you know. Or do you? What exactly was wrong with XD-S 1.0 that caused the recall? YouTube’s Yankee Marshall did a fine video explaining the “deadly flaw” bedeviling the firearm [click here to view]—which didn’t reveal the exact cause of the problem. But now that Mr. Helinski has side-by-sided the old gun and XD-S 2.0 we can finally learn the truth about the XD-S recall. Well, not exactly . . .

Visually the “upgrade” to the XD-S amounts to a roll pin in the grip safety. Inside the pistol there are 3 other upgraded parts, the sear, the sear spring, and the disconnector. On field stripping, nothing is different at all. I am personally not a tinkerer, so I will most likely never take apart the insides to see what they actually did that is different in the guts of the gun.

Rats! My Google-Fu is weak on this one nd Springfield is staying stum. (Much like Bushmaster when a mil-spec firing pin caused their rifle to jump into fully-auto mode.) Does anyone know what was wrong with the original XD-S that caused the issues that triggered the recall? Meanwhile, good news! The new gun is even better than the old, even though the trigger pull is heavier than before. Apparently.

Springfield Armory has my confidence that the upgrade will make my XD-S safer, and that the upgrade will bring the same never fail reliability to my XD-S that it has always known. I have shot the upgrade guns, and I shoot them better. For now I have decided not to share my opinion of why I think we are all reporting that we shoot them better. It will be interesting to see whether people come up with the same explanation I have, or if it is more of a feel thing that everyone explains their own way. Suffice it to say that this little bump in the road for the sake of safety is not going to derail the XD-S as the leader of the pack in concealed carry. If you can get beg, borrow or rent one, try an XD-S for yourself. Unless you want something really tiny and that is all that will do, there is no better concealed carry pistol on the market.


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  1. How are the triggers on the XDs? My service XD trigger has a lot of take up, a little bit of over travel, then a longish reset, but after reset there is additional take up before getting to the wall again. This has kept me from seriously considering an XDs as the trigger on my shield is adequate. I know the trigger is different on the XDs, does anyone care to comment on how the XDs compares to the shield or glock triggers?

    • I had 2 XDS-9s for all of a couple of weeks but enough time to get a few hundred rounds through them before the recall. I also have an M&P Shield 9 and have owned several Glocks over the years.

      So much of this is subjective, and frankly I’m a 1911 guy and compare every trigger back to the glassy smooth single action trigger on a quality 1911. None of these guns come close to the target quality trigger break, short reset, zero stack and extremely light weight of a good 1911, then again, they aren’t supposed to and wouldn’t be practical if they did.

      That out of the way between a Glock, Springfield XD and an HK USP I shot the Glock worst. Maybe it’s me, probably it’s me, but with so many other quality choices I’ve never spent the time or ammo to chase down why I can’t seem to hit as well with a Glock, I think it’s ergonomics not matching my hands since I know the pistols are accurate enough for any reasonable work, or perhaps the sights don’t suit me.

      Having made full disclosure; the Shield is longer and creepier than either a Glock or an XPS. It’s not enough worse that I’d bother to replace a shield with either of the others, but if I were suggesting a gun based on trigger feel alone and from among these three I would rate the Shield last, however the margin is very, very narrow and other things like grip ergonomics are far more likely to have an effect on accuracy between these three than trigger.

      The Glock’s I’ve shot are stouter than the XDS but with considerably less take up and a slightly shorter reset. Again though we’re talking about margins so small that there are many other much more important factors between the pistols. I happen to prefer the slight take up of the XDS as it’s an indexing point for me just prior to loosing the shot. I also find the XDS trigger somewhat lighter but it’s probably less than half a pounds difference.

      None of these pistols has a great trigger or a terrible one and each fulfills different goals.

      The Glock (assuming we’re talking a 26 is dead last in concealablity and carry comfort in my book due to it’s width, but in return you get a little more ammo than either of the others.

      The shield is likely easiest to conceal due to it’s very narrow width but I find it the most difficult to control in rapid fire (though in deliberate fire I shoot it better than even a Glock 19).

      I choose the XDS because for me it has the best mix of capacity, ergonomics, trigger, concealablity and control under rapid fire.

      You’d really have to shoot and carry them all to really appreciate the differences.

    • I was beginning to love mine right up until we were separated by the recall. I’m hoping to rekindle the affair soon!

      And that’s coming from a G-26, Shield owner and a born 1911 guy.

  2. I will read anything on this site. Twice. But this article was a lot like talking to my ex-wife. In the end, I came away thinking, huh! what? Wait. What?

    • I’m like you. I know what Springfield is doing. I would like to know much more detail on the “Why” part. Some “What if” would help, too. What if I decide not to invest 3 months into getting my piece back? What is the safety concern, precisely? How often has this safety issue been documented?

  3. After a summer of carrying a commander sized 1911, I was looking for something smaller and lighter for warmer weather carry which would also assuage my concerns regarding sweat and a pretty blued steel gun. Being a .45 fan, it came down to XD-S vs G36 and a distant 3rd in the Kahr Cw45. The ergos of the XD-s stuck out to me so I ordered one right before the recall. I was luckily out of town on business for a stint, so by the time I could go pick it up I found out about the recall and decided to hold off.

    I’m glad to hear some positive initial results, and I will have to check out one of the 2.0 models once production kicks back up after handling the bulk of the recall.

  4. The article makes mention of the Updated gun “shooting better” I see this all the time when shooting a gun that I have not fired before.. The first few magazine full or cylinders full of ammo will be the best that will come out of the gun until several boxes worth have totally familiarized me and my muscle memory becomes established for the firearm and groups shrink to equal and better those first get acquainted rounds from the gun.
    I have seen it in others as well, it is very strongly seen in the shotgun sports of trap, skeet and sporting clays.

    Why it happens is a question for me… Is it because I am concentrating on the systems of shooting the new gun and hence overcoming bad habits as I make sure the safety is off and the slide is in battery? I don’t know and perhaps those with more experience of teaching shooting would like to comment.

    I do know that as a flight instructor in the 1960s we learned about learning curves and that it was normal for them to dip below previously attained levels of skill before they started to climb again up to the next level of experteese. And I suppose something of the sort would be expected of shooting which is another activity where intellectual progress must be combined with motor skills improvements.

    • I think you’re onto the answer. It’s that with a totally new pistol you’re working the fundamentals harder, shooting slower and are less self conscious about your shooting since it’s a ‘new gun’. Once it’s no longer new you lose focus on the fundamentals as shooting it becomes less novel and your attention wans, you shoot faster and you’re less comfortable for a while as you expect to see improvements.

      In time you become unconsciously competent and begin to reap the benefits of experience without thinking through the fundamentals. Where at first you were ‘testing’ the guns abilities and next you were testing yours, finally you’re seeing what the two of you are capable of together.

    • Larry;

      You and Ardent seem to be a cut above the typical posters here. Knowledgeable, well articulated and thoughtful. Thanks for that, gentlemen. What branch were you a flight instructor? I’m an old Fort Rucker soldier of 12 years.

  5. A Croatian pocket gun heavier than the competition pretending to be an American, yeah sign me up.

    • This 100 percent. The fact that this is still a story is astonishing. A bubba gun performs like a bubba gun. Shocking.

      • You know just once I’d like to see posts from you people that start with “I prefer [my choice of gun] because…” and it doesn’t end with “because your choice of gun is shit.” We like… OK, I like actual arguments here, not just shitting on other people. Take that shit to Facespace, or YouTube.

        • Matt; The anonymity of the web brings out the worst in lots of people. They don’t have to look you in the eye like a man and talk trash. I try to always make a valid point, or keep my keyboard (mouth) shut. You make a super point. Articulate what you prefer to carry, shoot, collect, or what have you. Then tell us why you have made that decision. I have a.45 XDs that I carry IWB. I like it because of it’s small size (comfort) and it is easy to conceal. I carried a 1911 in Vietnam when I was a door gunner in an Air Cav unit and I know first hand what a .45 can do at the business end.

          I also have many other pistols and revolvers for a variety of reasons.

      • So, it’s it all Springfield’s are crap or just XDs or. . . ? The S&W Shield is under a recall, are all Shields crap or all S&W’s or?

        I’m curious to know what the expert carries and what he recommends?

        • I wouldn’t say the XDs is crap. I carry one and at this point do not see the need to send it in for 3+ months for a modification. I have yet to converse with anyone that has fired the piece and had a double tap or other malfunction. I suspect this is done for some cockamamie liability reason.

          Has anyone ever had a serious dilemma with an XDs, first hand?

    • It’s not a pocket gun. It’s a subcompact. The extra mass makes it a more stable shooter especially in 45 ACP. I am not a big fan of either class of guns for primary carry. As far as I am concerned you carry these for backup or special circumstances, I hear a lot of “it’s too hot in the summer to carry a compact or a full size.” Well how about this, carrying a gun is an adult activity. Dress like one. God made Hawaiian shirts for warm climate carry.

    • First, how does it “pretend to be made in USA”? it says on the gun “Made in Croatia” you think the America makes the only good stuff in the world? i am from Arkansas and I still say you need to hide that red neck a little better. you don’t want one? don’t get it, Smith is made here in the USA and is ALSO a GREAT gun. You prefer the Dutch? Glock is right up your ally. don’t want any of the 3? go with something else. Grow up and stop accusing people and companies of doing things that they arn’t. Just my opinion

    • Nah, I get that. I didn’t take it as a flame on someone else. And frankly, I have no problem with someone just saying, “I prefer my XDm. (period)” as I’ve said exactly those words and no more. But I have zero time or patience for people that just say “XXX sucks” but don’t give reasons or offer an alternative (and why it’s a better alternative).

      We don’t delete comments around here, but if we did, those would be at the top of my personal list, because they contribute absolutely nothing to the conversation. They’re just verbal masturbation, and I will fight to prevent the lowering of the level of discourse around here whenever I can, and make no apologies for it.

      • To answer your question, those wanting a conceal carry weapon that you very may might rely on should do some due diligence. What does that entail, first, don’t buy on price. In fact, price should not be a concern. Guns are not toys, despite what some of the lower tier manufacturers market them as. Second, research which guns have gone through extensive testing and competitive trials. Which guns are used by both domestic and international agencies. Third, don’t purchase from manufacturers that have a history of shoddy workmanship or sketchy QC. Fourth, do not purchase products recently released. Give an appropriate amount of time for any issues to be flushed out. Fifth, read forums that have a high percentage of educated and respected individuals that have a large amount of experience in the field. Stay away from forums populated by bubbas.

        Follow these simple steps and you’ll avoid problem products and manufacturers.

        • I agree with every point you made there. Especially #4. I have a long-standing personal rule of “Never buy the first version of anything.” The habit of manufacturers of virtually everything from cars to computer software to modern electronics to use the cash-paying public as unpaid beta testers is just ridiculous.

        • Much of this can also be applied to high powered rifles as much as it applies to handguns. I was astonished to read in TTAGs recent primer on ARs, the amount of poor advice and recommendations by some posters. Many seemed to have no problem recommending purchasing defensive rifles from manufacturers that have a long history of producing poor quality products and those that do not even meet even the minimum military specifications.

        • If you know anything about the procurement process both here and abroad you would treat #3 with a little skepticism. There are many reasons government bodies by guns or any other product. They range from support the local manufacturer — you can bet that the Croatian and Slovenian Police agencies all use the Croatian version of the XD. — to operations and support costs and not least bribery.

    • The slide could cycle w/o grip safety being depressed. Slam the next round w/o internal safeties active! Could possibly discharge next round at end of cycle

  6. Yes, I was suckered into buying an XDs 45, and it was love at first caress, She spoke with authority and accuracy and never let me down whenever I needed her… I bought her the most fashionable leather and kydex that money could buy, as well as any accessory that she may want, but just when the relationship was getting serious, she left me… Now that empty space in my holster has been filled with another, and her name is Kahr CM9. Brand loyalty is meaningless to me as each of my safe-queens is an individual endowed by individual preferences. My XDs wasn’t my first, as she replaced a laser bearing LC9, nor will she be the last, as I’m looking at my Kahr’s bigger sister in 45. Call me fickle if you wish, but just as any serious gun owner, I’ve got a safe full of past pleasures and a box full of old dried out holsters as proof.

  7. I know one of the problems was the firing pin ‘sticking’. It would stick either extended, causing the gun to fire when the slide closed, or in my case stick back, preventing the pin from striking the primer with enough force to fire.

    Out of 800 rounds fired, I have a full box of 50 rounds that I set aside after the pin left a minor, off-centered ding in the casing. If I re-loaded and fired the rounds they would usually work fine, resulting in a deep hit a little higher up from the light scuff from the first attempt.

    The reason to send it in for a recall, imagine the situation where you load the clip in your house preparing to carry it for the day, pull the slide, release it to battery and BANG. you lose. Its a .00001% chance or something but still. If that is not enough reason, didn’t clean the gun after some 50 practice rounds and have to pull it for self defense? CLICK … pin didn’t reach critical striking energy. you lose

    • Also the slide could cycle w/o grip safety being depressed, thus causing the next round to be chambered w/o internal safeties being active.

  8. btw, NEVER use Hornady gr XTP…
    I bought them as my first hollow point and fired them at water and sand traps to collect the hollow points to see how they expand… they DON’T

    out of lining up 3 buckets of sand, 8, 1-gallon jugs or more in a row nothing stopped them. I put board spacers in between to slow them down (yes, I went through nearly 40, 1-gallon jugs). Finally switching to cement backer boards used for tiles I caught 1 in the water, and 2 in the sand. The points collapse in, becoming spearheads and penetrate like nothing else, minimizing the damage.

    • Of course they didnt expand in water or sand. they shouldnt. the pressure inside the hollow point is equal to that outside it so it is fully supported and wont expand. when in a body a temporary cavity forms around the projectile, creating a low pressure area outside the cavity and a high pressure area inside it causing expansion. Water and sand do not compress and allow for pressure differentials, which is why they are used for recovery of bullets for ballistic analysis, (only super fine silica sand is used to prevent damage to the bullet)

      • Federal hollow points deployed quite well. I fired another 3 rounds of Hornady into a pack of cement and they deployed remarkably well. Very even, super wide, but if it aint hard they don’t bother.

  9. I just received my XDS back from Springfield a few hours ago. They were nice enough to include a extra 7 rd magazine along with the pistol. Guess what?! The magazine does not lock into the magazine well like all other magazines in any other pistol I’ve ever owned. You can’t even feel the mag retention spring offer any resistance. It just pushes in and locks with a forcible clunk. Then I noticed that the grip safety, the very thing that I spent months waiting for Springfield to supposedly improve, does not engage. You can literally depress the trigger without holding the grip safety. I am pissed and have lost confidence in this pistol. I will call Springfield tomorrow for a return authorization, again. I am happy however, that I purchased a S & W Shield while waiting for the XDS to be “improved”. The Shield has been a joy to shoot, with no malfunctions whatsoever. I also own a Springfield XDm 45 which I am very happy with, so I am not biased against Springfield. I do feel however, that they rushed a product into production without fully testing it. I will be selling the XDS as soon as it is returned again from Springfield.

    • 10,000 rounds plus through my XD 40 sub compact, various rounds including handloads. not a SINGLE failure of any kind. When I hear of failures to fire, when I check into them, 90% of the time it is handloads bad surplus that do not work in other handguns or Blazers which are notorious for having primers seated too deep

  10. Here is a simple question. Answer with a simple “Yea” or “Nay.”

    If you own an XDs do you regret making that purchase? or, if you don’t own one but are seriously considering getting an XDs (one that does not require a refit) will you purchase one?

    Simple answer, please. You can get long-winded on another post.

    • The one I bought I regret purchasing. Like I said above, so many fail to fires it was not reliable to use for self sefense and had to be put away. (50 fails out of 800 rds). I am waiting to see what the modification does before I comment on the entire line.

    • I purchased mine today and I checked it over it seems to not have any of the issues describe hopefully because it’s the newest model but even if I did have to send it back I still wouldn’t buy anything other than the XDS it’s the best all around CCW I can find and it fits all my needs perfectly

  11. Just a little levity. . . .

    A reporter did a human-interest piece on the Texas Rangers. The reporter recognized the Colt Model 1911 the Ranger was carrying and asked him “Why do you carry a 45?” The Ranger responded, “Because they don’t make a 46.”

  12. Let’s face it! The XDS45 is a piece of s&%$. The first thing I noticed was how easily a round gets jammed when chambering. It takes tremendous effort to pull the slide. I’m an x-wrestler with more than a few championships to my credit so might not have the arm strength of Arnold but i have at least enough to pull a slide. I talked to Springfield and they told me there was a 500 round break-in. While shooting those 500 rounds, I noticed that if you pull the trigger very slowly and precisely, the XDS would intermittently not fire! Which if you’re being attacked wouldn’t be an issue. But if your target shooting it sure is. After the 500 rounds($250) the gun still jams when chambering a round. After I got the XDS back from the Springfield factory for the recall, the only thing that was fixed was something I didn’t even know was wrong. So what started out as an awesome idea of making a 45 into damn near a pocket gun turned into something pretty unusable for self defence. I’m turned off to Springfield after this. I’d sell the gun but I can’t do that to someone.

  13. I recently obtained a new production post recall Springfield Armory XDs in .45acp for my wife. She already owned a Springfield Armory XD sub compact in 9mm and wanted a smaller semi auto carry pistol. Initially we added the Pearce Grip finger extensions to the pistol’s 5 round magazines, as we both preferred a bit more to hold on to. We both found the serrations on the front strap to be a bit too aggressive on our hands after shooting the pistol for the first time. This issue was cured with some minor dremel tool work. The pistol when fired, digested mixed batches of factory +p hollowpoints and factory and reloaded fmj ammunition flawlessly. The pistol will exhibit a failure to feed if the slide is not racked fully to the rear. This issue presented itself only when loading from a full magazine. So it is basically an issue of magazine tension having to be physically overcome when chambering a round from a full magazine. When the slide is locked to the rear, the pistol did not exhibit any feeding issues when a round was chambered. We are both pleased with the quality and performance of this pistol, and would gladly recommend it to others. I am glad we waited for the bugs to get worked out during the recall. It was well worth the wait.

  14. Just got done running about 250 rounds through my purchased today XDs .45. Pistol ran flawlessly. My primary EDC is a Kimber Ultra Carry 2, but I wanted something smaller/lighter for summer carry. My intention was to grab another PF9, but a friend showed me his recently acquired XDs.

    The shorter grip, and the ounce or two less weight, makes this absolutely perfect for me when in shorts, or less bulky clothing.

    Oh ya, mine was new from the factory with the recall work done.

  15. This response is for Steve, you say you hate your xds45 and would sell it but didn’t want to do that to someone, so here is my proposition.. I love my xds45 and would love to have another one, so you can give it to me and that way you won’t have any feelings of screwing me over and if it in deed is junk then I won’t have any regrets for buying it.. Lol… Hope everyone finds my humor in this.. But I would take it for me at [email protected] and we can talk about sending it to me.. Thanks for your time

  16. back! I have had the gun for a few months now and have run at least 400 rounds through it retraining. Only 1 jam, 1 fail-to-fire (slide didn’t get fully closed). This was definitely the result of not cleaning it. I have noticed Winchester runs quite dirty in the past, 6 rounds coats the muzzle, 70 rounds of it finally gummed the slide up (first brand I started with) Once cleaned up and I have not had another problem with it. Now at 330 rounds (cci, hertz, American Eagle) without a hitch and have not had to clean it a second time.

    So I can say all problems I have had with the gun have been resolved! Now I’m mod’ing it to help my aim. After a difficult stretch, a Hogue Handall-jr (trim the top down under the safety) and I have all my shots in a 5″ spread at 12 yards. I’m incredibly happy with it!

  17. I’m back with more ammo updates on what works and what doesn’t on the XDs 45

    Federal x300 rounds: No problem!

    Winchester. So I got another 100 box of that junk and it it started stove piping right away. (It was the 2nd box I shot that day) Every time I use this in the XDs I regret it. It stove piped once a clip, and also failed to eject on 4 rounds. They only slid halfway out and the ejector came off from them.

    Remington full metal jacket x100rds, no problems there.

    Remington Ultimate Defense 230Gr x6 rds: Oh My **%$#@#$%^&*(*&^%$!!!!
    The taper down to the extractor groove is not smooth, it is graduated with burrs at each step. The extractor rim also had burs. This stopped the slide cold both ways. The slide stripper would actually ratchet over these groves/burrs coming back and would stop. IF the slide made it all the way back and tried to cycle back to close, the extractor rim burr would (as the ammo tips nose up to load) catch on the rim or taper groove/burrs on the round below it and jam solid. I had to drop the clip every time. I only got 1 shot off with this round! It hit the paper/gelatin backing and deployed extremely well… but that’s meaningless when I cant get a round to load.

    I left the remaining rounds at the counter with a “free” sign and a note “don’t bother with compacts”

    So, besides a few ammo problems, the XDs has continued to run quite well for me.

  18. I’m a 70 year old ‘Bubba” but have been around the block more than a few times I wanted a XDs.45 as my EDC and strapped for cash was shopping used. I found a party on “Arms list” willing to trade for my G30sf { just did not fit my small hand and I did not shoot it well}. After not hearing back from the gentleman I found a gun in a local pawn shop and bought it. XS504xxx was a recall gun but had been repaired. 2 days later the The first party contacted me and we made the trade. The 2nd gun was a post recall S3100xxx .
    Long story short I now have 2 I have put a couple 100 rnds. through each with no problems and no determinable difference between the two, Makes me a happy Bubba.

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