At the Range with Springfield’s XD-S 45 ACP

By Woody published on in Firearms, General

Springfield’s slim, compact 45 ACP XD-S was introduced earlier this year as the latest in Springfield’s popular line of XD handguns. The new XD-S 45 ACP seeks to take away market share of other small pistols that ride the tiger — that is, small, lightweight semiautos that fire the big-bore 45 Auto cartridge in something akin to a 380-size handgun. For its part, the new XD-S compares favorably on size, with a 3.3-inch barrel, 5+1 capacity, and a 6.3-inch overall length, to a gun like Glock’s G36 (2-GL3650201, $545).

Springfield’s slim, compact 45 ACP XD-S was introduced earlier this year to compete against pistols like the Glock G36, Kahr Arms’s PM4543, the SIG Sauer 250SC, and others.

The Glock 36 is an established slim-line subcompact 45 that has a 3.78-inch barrel, 6+1 capacity, a 1.13-inch-wide thickness, and an OAL of 6.77 inches. Kahr Arms’s PM4543 (2-KAPM4543, $671.68) is another candidate for a big-round pocket gun, coming in with a 3.14-inch barrel, 5+1 capacity, and a 5.67-inch overall length. And there are many others in the ballpark: The SIG Sauer 250SC-45-B (2-SG250SC-45-B, $446.88, 6.7 inch OAL), the Taurus Millennium Pro PT-145 (2-TI1145039PDT, $348.31, 6.125 inch OAL), the Taurus 24/7 G2 ( 7-G1247459G2C12, $397.99, 7.28-inch OAL), and the Para-Ordnance RHX1045E (32949, $825, 6.5-inch OAL), to name a few.

Springfield XD-S 45 ACP Top View

Springfield is promoting this pistol’s slimness, with a slide that is 0.9 inch wide.

As well as the dimensions noted above, the XD-S blowback semi-auto stood 4.4 inches tall and weighed 22.4 oz. unloaded and 26.4 oz. loaded with a full complement of 6 rounds (5+1) of 185-gr. hollowpoints aboard. Those rounds fire from a 3.3-inch barrel with 1:16 twist. The slide is melonite-finished steel sitting atop a black-polymer frame. A single-position Picatinny rail accepts lights, lasers or other pistol accessories.

Our test gun came in a well-padded airline-quality hard-plastic case. Inside were two 5-round magazines, a hard-plastic paddle holster, dual magazine pouch, Allen wrench to adjust tension on the holster and pouch, interchangeable backstrap, a cable lock, wire bore brush, and extra front-sight fiber optics in both red and yellow.

Springfield XD-S 45 ACP Chamber Indicator

The loaded-chamber indicator allows the shooter to verify by touch or sight that a round is in the chamber.

The polymer frontstrap and backstrap were aggressively textured, with the frontstrap measuring about 0.9 inch tall and the backstrap 0.8 inch tall. The grip was 1.0 in thick and measured 4.5 inches in circumference. The ability to customize the grip with two Mould-Tru Backstraps allows a variety of shooters to find the right fit, regardless of hand size.

For sighting, the rear sight base sat in a dovetail that allowed for drift adjustment. A grooved blade presented two white dots. The front sight base was also dovetailed in, and both red and green fiber-optic tubes were supplied. We shot with the red tube. Sight radius was 5.8 inches. The rear sight on the XD-S is low-profile and holster friendly, and the red fiber-optic front sight was easy to find and align, we found.

The grip safety allows firing only when the shooter has a firm grip on the pistol. There’s also a trigger-blade safety.

Trigger-pull weight on our test gun was 8.0 lbs., and the XD-S offered both a trigger-safety tab and a grip safety. The Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Trigger System guards against accidental discharge by locking the trigger until direct rearward pressure is applied. The new XD-S trigger also has a short reset, as we found during shooting drills. The grip safety allows firing only when the shooter has a firm grip on the pistol. Another safety features is the loaded-chamber indicator, which allows the shooter to verify, visually or by touch, that there is a round in the chamber.
Springfield is promoting this pistol’s slimness, with a slide that is 0.9 inch wide and the widest part of the pistol measuring only an inch. We carried the XD-S in a Crossbreed IWB Appendix Carry Holster for the better part of a month and really appreciated the small profile it offered on the belt. There are also CrossBreed holsters for the Springfield XD-S in the SuperTuck, MiniTuck, QuikClip, SnapSlide, SuperSlide and Ohai model holsters.
At the range, we found the XD-S was front and top heavy — to be expected with the polymer frame and steel slide. The advantage of the XD-S having the 45’s stopping power is offset by having to deal with the recoil of a 45 ACP in a small pistol. We loved the XD-S at the start, but by the end of a long day of shooting, the strong recoil had us hurting. But to be fair, this isn’t a competition gun, and you wouldn’t normally shoot it all day anyway. Its purpose is self-defense, not  to take on a casual day of shooting.

Even so, we performed well with it in a timed defense test, firing four rounds into a turning target in 3 seconds with one X, one 9, and two 8s. We liked the three-dot sights, in particular the fiber-optic front sight, which made it easy to acquire the target quickly.

From the bench, the XD-S shot Winchester USA45JHP 230-gr. Jacketed HPs at an average velocity of 815 fps and average five-shot groups of 2.3 inches at 7 yards. The Hornady Critical Defense 90900 185-gr. FTX load generated average velocity of 935 fps and 360 ft.-lbs. of energy, recording groups of 2.1 inches on average.

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Comments (15)

  • tom shriner


    My wife bought me a XDs as a surprise gift since she knew I had been looking to purchase one. My usual carry is either a sig 380 or ruger LCR for summer and a Glock 22 for winter. I wanted to have more Beef with less size and the XDs fits my needs perfectly. Break in period was 150 rounds for me. The pistol does have a strong pull to the left but very controllable. The recoil requires a firm grip but too is very managing. I did purchase two extended mags which give me a better grip but does extend by an inch or so. I put the 380’s back in the safe and now the XDs is my year around carry. I am impressed on the fit and finish and would expect nothing less from Springfield Armory even though it is made overseas.


  • Jeff B.


    I loved the feel of this gun and the way it shot but traded it after a week because it had high off center bullet strikes that cause it to miss fire. About 1 out of every 8 rounds miss fired. After cleaning and shooting 150 round with no improvement, I looked on the web and found many others having this problem so I traded it for something I could trust my life on. I loved the size and the trigger and will try it again if they come out with a 9mm. Plus I would feel better having a few more rounds.


  • Dakota


    I eagerly awaited the release of the XDS and waited several weeks to get my hands on one. The local range finally got one in stock to rent. I rented it and 1 box of 50 rds. I loved the size and feel. The mags were a little clumsy to load but ok. As expected recoil is a bit stiff but manageable, just be sure to hang on to it! The pistol I rented had a terrific trigger slap, by far the worst I have EVER seen/felt and I am no stranger to the notorious slap from the AK. I only fired about 1/2 of the box of 50 after which my hands HURT and I started flinching from the trigger slap. Honestly it was terrible. I was very disapointed because I LOVE the XD line. The fiber optic sight is cheesy, it makes it look like an airsoft pistol. I am so glad I rented it first before buying because I would have hated wasting $500+

    IF you want a pistol that will only have 1 box put through it in a year get it otherwise STAY FAR AWAY from it. The size, weight, feel all were excellent and I wouldn’t hesitate to carry it but I honestly think you will develop a severe flinch problem if you put multiple boxes through it in a day. If you buy it, you will for sure need to replace the front sight before carrying it.


  • jay smith


    I think I bought one of the 1ST XDS pistols sold in San Antonio…I have fired about 500 rounds of 230 gr. of various manufacture.Zero defects…At 7 and 10 yards it is no less accurate than my other varietys of .45 acp pistols…I have carried it almost exclusively for 5 months almost everywhere I have been..I respect this weapon as I have NEVER respected any other…It is sort of like having 6 friends, very able friends,ready to spring to your defense…Jaybird the range bum…


  • Perry


    Bought mine in August but shot for the first time yesterday, very happy with it shot accurately and was not too much to handle. I also have an XD 40 and love them both. I put 60 rounds through it and had absolutely no problems love this gun.


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