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Springfield Armory XD-S Review

by Paul Scarlata   |  September 10th, 2012 47


The newest entry into the booming market for mini .45s is the Springfield Armory XD-S, an XD variant which was designed from the ground up to provide licensed civilians, undercover and off-duty police officers with a large-bore pistol that can be carried concealed easily for extended periods of time.

The basis of the XD-S is a one-piece, polymer frame that has aggressive texturing on the sides, and front- and backstraps that provide a secure purchase, even with wet hands or when wearing gloves. Standard features include ambidextrous magazine releases, interchangeable backstraps so the shooter can fit the pistol to their hands and—unique among pistols of this class—a Picatinny rail that allows you to mount lights or lasers.

The slide release and takedown levers are serrated for positive manipulation and mounted close to the frame so as not to snag on clothing or gear when the pistol is drawn from concealment.

All this isn’t so different from other XD variants, but the XD-S offers some significant changes. One, the S in the model name stands for single stack, a change to the magazine design that permits a slimmer grip. For instance, the XD-S has a grip width of 0.945 inch, compared to an XD(m) grip width of 1.185 inches. The Melonite-finished slide is also 0.1 inch slimmer than an XD(m).

Frame width or overall width of the gun is a mere 1.0 inch, compared to the 1.17-inch width of the XD(m). And if you compare the height of the XD-S to its closest cousin, the XD(m) 3.8 in .45 ACP, you’ll find it’s 0.15 inch shorter.

These dimensional differences make the XD-S a much more concealable package than previous XD variants, but Springfield didn’t stop there. The XD-S also features a fiber-optic front sight for fast sight alignment, target acquisition and transitioning. This is a first for a production pistol in its class.

The XD-S has five safety devices: a grip safety at the rear of the frame; a trigger-block safety on the face of the trigger; a plunger type firing pin safety; a disconnecter that prevents the pistol from being fired unless to the slide is completely in battery; and a loaded-chamber indicator at the rear of the ejection port that provides visible and tactical indications of the pistol’s condition.

The XD-S also features a redesigned Ultra Safety Assurance trigger with a shorter take-up, crisper let-off, reduced overtravel and a short reset that can be felt and heard by the shooter.

My test sample arrived in a padded carrying case with two spare magazines, interchangeable backstraps, holster, magazine pouch, replacement fiber-optic inserts, lock and owner’s manual.

The company also sent along one of the optional seven-round magazines. These have a sleeve that approximates the outside diameter of the grip frame and provide additional firepower while enhancing recoil control.

The XD-S was tested for accuracy from a rest at 15 yards, and I was pleased to see that it printed to point of aim for all four types of ammo. After chronographing was completed, I belted on the holster that came with the pistol and ran it through my standard series of offhand drills at five and seven yards, firing the pistol with two- and one-hand grips.

I am a big fan of fiber-optic sights, and as can be seen in the photos I had no trouble at all putting all but one of the rounds I sent down range in the X and nine rings of a pair of combat targets.

The recoil from launching heavy projectiles from a 21.5-ounce pistol was obvious, which brings up the only negative comment I can voice about the Springfield XD-S. With the five-round magazine I could not get a full three-finger grip on the pistol, which naturally had a detrimental effect on recoil control. With the extended magazine the XD-S handled recoil like a full-size pistol, and I would suggest that anyone using one of these mini Springfields for concealed carry consider purchasing one of the seven-round magazines and carry it for a reload.

Over the next few weeks my shooting buddies and I ran in excess of 600 rounds through the XD-S, and I am happy to relate that I am still waiting for the first malfunction. I can only call such performance from an out-of-the-box pistol extraordinary.

Other than that one caveat regarding recoil control with the five-round mag, I believe that Springfield Armory has yet another winner with the XD-S. If you want a small, light, concealable pistol for everyday carry—and want it chambered for the most highly respected combat pistol cartridges of all time—the XD-S might just be the ticket for you.


The pistol shot to point of aim with all four types of ammo at 15 yards. The author did find, however, that the gun was hard to control during drills with the five-round magazine.

  • big T

    I have an xd(m) 3.8 in .40 cal. I also found it hard to get a full grip on the provided 10 round magazine until I discovered a Pearce grip extender that replaces the b.ottom of the magazine and adds extra length for my fingers. It doesn't interfere with the drawing of the gun at all and was very simple to install

  • Hest

    I love my XDS! Very accurate and easy to carry. Amazing gun I would recommend it to anyone.

    • Rey

      What caliber is your XDs?

      • Hest


      • Kevin L. Baldwin

        The one in the photo is a 45

  • Jeff

    Does anyone know if this XDS is approved for purchase in California?

    • Rey

      Probably not, I know my XDm .45 says right on the box that it is illegal in Calif. I don't know why, I don't know what your laws are out there.

      • Gino

        i believe it's the extended clip thats not leagal in california!

    • Glenn

      It is not. I believe you need a mechanical safety in CA.

  • Adam

    I believe that as long as the magazine holds 10 rounds or less that it's legal in Ca., but since most XD's have a capacity of more than that they are illegal in Ca.

    • Jim

      The original XD is California compliant. The XDm and XDs are not.

  • Chris

    The XDS can be fired without a magazine. No magazine disconnect. That's why it's illegal in CA.

    • Luis

      Who wants to live in CA anyway?

    • Gary

      Chris is correct. The magazine disconnect is the problem in CA. This is also why the XD's, but not the XDm's are illegal in CA. There was a change in CA law regarding magazine disconnects between the time the XD's and the XDm's came out. The magazines aren't the issue. You just have to purchased the product version that has magazines that hold no more than 10 rounds.

    • Derek

      It's also the fact that you cannot get 10 round or less mags for the XDm.

  • J.R.

    Just got mine and it does what it was made to do, toss a .45acp chunk of lead at your target. It's my new concealed carry weapon of choice. Sorry, LCP…

  • John Gault

    I haven't seen an XDS yet, but I have an XD 9 mm Sub and I totally love it.

    • Frank Martinez

      My daughter and I both have had XD-9 subcompacts for a number of years and we love them. These things are built like tanks and are as accurate as they are reliable.

      • RLMont

        I have to agree with you also. I have own a XD 9 subcompact since Christmas and have shot over 600 rounds so far. The more I shoot it the better it gets. I can get a 12″ pattern at 21 yards! Unreal! I love this gun. Its a little heavy to carry but with the right leather holster I think it will be just fine.

  • vaughan

    I put a couple of mags through an XDs on the range. Recoil and muzzle flip is significant. I have a Sig P220 combat elite which is very pleasant shoot by comparison.

    • Lauren Neher

      I think the recoil is not bad. Recoil is, at best, subjective. Recoil is much less than my previous carry gun, an AMT .45 Backup. I didn't mind the recoil on the AMT, but my hand sure did if I shot it very much. I have no such issues with the XDs. If you're sensitive to recoil I sure wouldn't recommend any 45.

  • Brian Logan

    I own both the XDs .45 ACP, and the M&P Shield .40 S&W. Both are excellent guns. Both are very easy to conceal and very accurate. I disagree with Vaughan's comment about 'significant' muzzle flip and recoil. I shoot 230gr Blazer FMJ, 185gr Critical Defense, and 230gr Gold Dots in mine. No problem putting all shots in the 9 ring at 10 yards firing semi-rapidly. Recoil is a very subjective thing, differing greatly from shooter to shooter.

  • Jake

    what is the starting price of the XDm compact in 45 ACP?


    This is a fabulous and remarkable revolver !!!

  • TRS10

    Has anyone reviewed the magazine and slide malfuntions regarding the XDS on youtube? There were some videos showing this gun not shooting every 3 to 4 times. I need some insight on these issues. Thanks!

  • RLP

    What does this gun usually go for new?

    • butch

      retail at bass pro 579.00, but will match academy sports at 330.00

      • matt

        Bass Pro will match a price of $330???

      • Joe

        They are $529.00 at Academy Sports according ton their website,

        • butch

          TRUE-i went back to buy one at academy and the same man that told me they were 330 apologized and gave me the real price of over 500.00. he WAS very busy that first day.

  • Bob

    Anyone know rumor of when 9mm version will be released?

  • ShawnB

    Recently Purchased XD-40 compact 3.8 mainly for its safety features.
    Pros. no safety 'switch', comfortable, reliable, easy to use, compact, safe, holds 11-16 40cal, has two mags.
    Cons. Magazine can be stubborn to load into gun, difficult to control during consecutive rounds.

  • DW Pepper

    Just got the XDS for Christmas ( Today).. Recoil is not as bad as I thought it was going to be,,, Conceals well enough.. Field strip is EASY.. BUT the Pistol grip is too short.. ( My pinky gets nothing but Air ) and effects My Natural Aim point and makes me shoot low 15 out of the 20 rounds I shot so far. I would not use this Gun as a Primary if My Life was at stake…

    • z0phi3l

      Just get an extender and you'll be fine

    • SLG

      The short grip presents another problem. There is little grip strength in the index finger. Keep in mind that the main function of the finger next to your thumb is that of an opposing digit that works with the thumb to manipulate things while you are handling them. Just ask anybody who studies JuJitsu or Kuk Sool Won. They often extend the first finger and grip with the remaining three when that are doing body throws. This means that most of your grip strength while using this pistol is in the remaining three fingers on your hand. And, of those, only the ring finger is of any use on the short grip of this pistol because the rest of them naturally fall off the end of the pistol grip. With only one true gripping finger, it is possible that your gun is rocking around the ring finger when you take two or more shots in rapid succession. But, it is also possible that this pistol's grip simply does not fit the your natural gripping and pointing methods, causing your natural pointing balance to be off. To me, the extended grip is a must if you are going to shoot this pistol in a life threatening situation. But, if you use the extended grip, you lose the advantages of short height for concealment, and low weight for extended periods of carry. Unfortunately, that is why one would purchase this pistol.

  • RyanL

    I have had an XDS for a few months now and noticed that adding talon grips greatly increased my comfort level when shooting the gun. The checkered grip and recoil wasn't much fun to shoot with for extended periods of time. The accuracy is great, I am a very novice shooter and this is my first .45ACP so I wasn't expecting much out of a 3.3 in barrel but have been pleasantly surprised.

  • Mykle

    I love my XDs. I carry it every day in a Crossbreed Minituck and I would not trade it for any other every day carry.

  • TiffanyS

    What's the best ammo for the least amont of recoil & best accuracy? I'm purchasing an XD-S to take my concealed carry test & have to put 50 round through it & would like it to be as accurate as possible with the least amount of kick.

  • DW Pepper

    I Have put 300 rounds thru the Gun Since Xmas.. I was not impressed at first with the Gun ,, It shot low and left due to the Small grip with the 5 round Magizine… I added the 7 rounds extended factory Magazine and It greatly helped ( Now My pinky finger has something to grip beside air.).. I also added the Laserlyte subcompact V-3 . laser. After figuring out How to secure the Laser to the Gun ( Had to add a " shim" between the gun and Laser to keep it from moving evertime it went in the Holster…(Design flaw). I also had to get a new holster due to the Laser. The final result is a Pistol that can hit oranges at 30 yards with ease that Fits in your waist ban or in a n Ankle holster … !!!

  • Caligula

    Most of the posts I've read include comments about switching to the 7 round magazine because the 5 round Is uncomfortable and hard to control. It seems like the 7 round magazine defeats the purpose of deep concealment. I also don't understand the infatuation with the 45 cartridge, especially out of such a short barrel. The 45 is low velocity out of a 5 inch barrel let alone a 3 inch. Why not carry a pocket 9mm with more ammo? Modern 9 mm defense ammo like Speer Gold Dot is Bad ass. Shot placement is paramount, not caliber.

    • Bret

      Indeed shot placement is more important than caliber but as far as velocity is concerned the 45acp suffers little velocity loss from shorter barrels and still maintains enough momentum to get the job done. Both calibers are fine choices but as far as the 9mm is concerned there are smaller and lighter pistols available to shoot it out of. Point being the 45 in a pistol the size of the xds is impressive whereas in 9mm it would be run of the mill at best as far as concealability is concerned.

  • Charlie Thurston

    I traded mine. Too many misfires. Lost my confidence in it. And I’m not a “limp wrister” or using bad ammo. Been shooting since I was a kid. Sticking with my XDM compact .45.

  • Bret

    I also received a xds for Christmas and have put between 400-500 rounds through it with no malfunction of any kind after the first box of ammo . I gained interest in this firearm as I was looking for a pocket gun in a lower velocity caliber so I can use cast bullets to practice without fouling the barrel. I love the trigger and sights on this little pistol and the accuracy was a very pleasant surprise as was the lack of recoil. As for the grip size it’s not a problem for me at all as I have relatively small hands. I purchased the extended magazine anyway for fun and because there is a place for it in the case but traded it to my ham handed friend for one of his 5 round mags after I realised that it didn’t really fit in my pocket anymore and defeated the purpose of why I wanted it in the first place. As for the 5+1 capacity it is definitely a compromise but those 5-6 rds are in a caliber that is still a man stopper even at the diminished velocity of a sub compact pistol. Another aspect of the xds I really like is within the first day of ownership I was able to disassemble and reassemble the gun with my eyes closed quickly and easily which isn’t necessarily important but it makes it a lot easier to want to clean it and keep it clean when it’s easy to do. Long story short after owning and shooting this gun I’m completely satisfied with my xds as it serves it’s intended purpose of big bore firepower in a slim pocket sized pistol my only gripe is it says Springfield armory USA on the side of the slide and made in Croatia on the top but I guess nothing is perfect.

  • RLMont

    I like the looks of the XD-S but I have concern about the short grips and the recoil if shooting a 40.

  • savethepelicans

    Have a XD-9. Weapon has consistently jammed (As weapon attempts to eject a spent round, the next round from the mag attempts to chamber and they both jam with slide locked partially back) . This has happened each time I’ve fired the weapon during qualification. The weapon is clean, the rounds are new, the mags are all new Springfield Armory 16 rounders, loaded with Winchester 147gr. HP.
    What the hell is wrong. I’ll have the weapon at my armorer’s bench on Monday morning. I’m not limp wrist. I’ve been firing weapons since age four, and a Law Enforcement Officer for 36years, owning and shooting all types of handguns, rifles and heavy automatic weapons. I count my self lucky that I discovered this deadly situation before It placed me between a rock and a hard place. I’m leaning towards the ammo as the culprit, unless the weapon has a serious flaw.

  • Bob

    Is a side mount laser available for the Springfield XDS 45acp ?

    • doug

      I have a crimson trace laser mounted in the rail under the barrel. neat

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