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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