Springfield Armory’s XD-S 9 Wins Handgun of the Year

By Dave Dolbee published on in Firearms, General, Handguns, Industry News, Manufacturers, NRA

We all know the guns, but how many of us also know the story behind the name…

The moniker, “Springfield Armory” has a history all its own going as far back as the Revolutionary War days and is credited with playing a key role in the birth of our country.

It was none other than George Washington—during the years he spent as a General and before his presidency—who ordered the creation of Springfield Armory in 1777 to store revolutionary ammunition and gun carriages.

NRA Golden Bullseye Handgun of the Year XDS-9

Not that we needed proof, but a Golden Bullseye Award for Handgun of the Year continues Springfield Armory’s commitment to innovative designs.

In 1794, the armory began the manufacture of muskets for our young country, and for the next 150 years, Springfield Armory functioned as a supplier for every major American conflict as well as a “think tank” for new firearm concepts. In 1968, citing budgetary concerns, the U.S. Government closed the Springfield Armory. The Armory’s fate seemed destined to merely housing historians paying homage to the past rather than those with an eye to the future. That was until 1974, when a passionate family by the name of Reese would rescue not only the name “Springfield Armory,” but also the philosophy that drove it for centuries.

With reverence for the legacy of The Armory, the Reese family resurrected the most historically significant designs produced by the Armory—M1 Garand, 1911-A1, M14. Fueled by the same obsession for improved manufacturing techniques and cutting-edge design that inspired the likes of John C. Garand and John Browning, it has continued to develop products loyal to Springfield Armory’s heritage while ensuring The Armory’s place in the progression of American firearm history.

For the past few years, Springfield’s XD line has likely gained the most notoriety. While Springfield offers the XD in every popular centerfire cartridge, the offering in .45 ACP is certainly a standout. A common frame can be used for 9mm, .357 Sig, and .40 S&W, which makes offering one about as easy as three. However, the addition of the .45 ACP requires retooling and is a caliber-specific platform—that is you can’t use a .45 frame to build a 10mm.

XD(M)

However, Springfield Armory didn’t just stop at building an XD model in .45 ACP. A concealed-carry gun serves one purpose—to save your life or the life of a loved one. And with that reasoning in mind, some defensive-minded people want to shoot a pea with as much stopping power as possible and the .45 ACP fits that bill nicely in the XD(M) “Compact” with a 3.8-inch barrel and a 9+1 capacity.

Springfield Armory XD-S 45

At only 1” wide, the XD-S 45 fits as perfectly into your concealed-carry strategy as it does in the palm of your hand. And with it, you get the power of a .45 with superior control and comfort without sacrificing important safety features.

The XD(M) has all the features and lines of the other XD pistols, such as a short trigger pull, steel 3-dot sights, and a stainless steel slide and barrel coated with Melonite for corrosion resistance. The XD(M) will also accept 13-round magazines for those times when you are willing to sacrifice a magazine extending past the well for the extra rounds. You can also dress it up a bit and attach an “X-Tension” that slips over the full capacity magazine creating a longer grip for the gun.

XD-S 45

If the XD(M) compares favorably to the Glock 30, then the XD-S .45 must be compared to the Glock 36. A .45 ACP in a micro-sized package (four inches tall and a slide that is less than an inch wide) leaves a bit of doubt with regard to shootability for some. I had the same skepticism when world-class shooter Rob Latham first handed one to me. I had just watched Rob put it through its paces and he made it look easy by rapidly banging off rounds and dropping steel plates in rapid succession. But then, Rob can make that look easy with most any gun—hence the world-class shooter title.

However, not quite as fast as Rob, but with accuracy that was just as deadly, I was able to quickly drop a line of plates with the XD-S—3.3-inch barrel and all. Overall, the XD-S measures about a half-inch less than a Glock 36, but is extremely smooth and easily controlled for follow-up shots and is worthy of strong consideration for you next EDC gun. After all, it’s the smallest polymer-framed .45 ACP automatic I can think of and quite possibly the first .45 ACP truly suitable for carry in a pocket holster. Now that’s something to think about pretty seriously, isn’t it?

XD-S 9

Springfield Armory XD-S 9

The XD-S 9 has all of the features of the XD-S .45 including the same size and feel. The same holster even works for both models.

Looking for a perfect companion for an XD-S 45? How about an XD-S in 9mm with the same general specs and features? I am talking about the same height and width; in fact, the new XD-S 9 will use the same holster as the .45. It will also have the same great features including the Ultra Safe Assurance (USA) action trigger system, loaded chamber indicator, grip safety, Maximum Reach magazine release, short reset trigger, snag free low-profile sights, Picatinny rail system and more.

While the XD-S 9mm is on display at the 2013 NRA Show in Houston, Springfield Armory does not have a ship date yet. However, it is worth putting your hands on one and feeling it out at the show. After all, Springfield will be accepting the NRA’s Golden Bullseye Award on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. American Rifleman honored the XD-S 9mm as Handgun of the Year.

What’s Next?

As noted earlier in the article, the same frame can be used to build the 9mm as the .357 Sig., and .40 S&W. Springfield has not confirmed any plans at this point, but I would be willing to bet these will be new offerings for 2014.

Springfield XD(M) .45 Compact Specifications

  • Magazine: Stainless steel; 9+1 or 13+1
  • Barrel: 3.8 inches, Melonite coated; Fully Supported Ramp
  • Trigger: 5.5 to 7.7 pounds
  • Weight: 27 ounces (empty with 9-round magazine)
  • Overall Length: 7 inches
  • Height: 4.55 inches (with flush magazine)

Springfield XD-S .45 Specifications

  • Magazine: Stainless steel; 5+1
  • Barrel: 3.3 inches, Melonite coated; Fully Supported Ramp
  • Trigger: 5.5 to 7.7 pounds
  • Weight: 21.5 ounces
  • Overall length: 6.3 inches
  • Height: 4.4 inches

Springfield XD-S 9mm Specifications

  • Magazine: Stainless steel; 7+1 (corrected – My thanks to those who noticed the error and left comments!)
  • Barrel: 3.3 inches, Melonite coated; Fully Supported Ramp
  • Trigger: 5.5 to 7.7 pounds
  • Weight: 21.5 ounces
  • Overall length: 6.3 inches
  • Height: 4.4 inches
  • Grip Width: .9-inch
  • Slide: Forged Steel
  • Frame: Polymer
  • Sights: Fiber optic front dovetail rear (steel)

What are your thoughts between the .45 ACP and 9mm for concealed carry? Let us know in the comment section.

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Comments (59)

  • JCitizen

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    History shows that world markets promote peaceful resolution to differences, and helps the economy of any country participating in it. I buy American when I can, but if there is no quality competitor to a foreign design, I am going to buy foreign. As long as that country is not advocating the destruction of my rights, or country. I must admit, that I hate Walmart and avoid cheap Chinese junk as much as possible – but I’m a realist too, and know that to make a budget, I’m going to have to buy some crap made in the PRC occasionally. Anyone who buys anything electronic is not going to avoid this no matter what, because such a high percentage of the chips and circuit boards are now made in the PRC, and not Taiwan.

    Ever wonder why that nut in North Korea never dropped the bomb? It is bad for business, and the PRC is leaning on him HARD!

    I plan to be completely off foreign oil by the end of this year, as I feel that is the single most stupid thing we give our enemies is money for oil. Fortunately we have reached oil independence already – so what are we waiting for? We need to tell OPEC to shove it!!

    Reply

  • Pete in Alaska

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    Hi #50, you need to read your history a bit so you don’t look like one of the “hypocrites” or just one of the general uneducated, ignorant and uninformed that you seem to be.
    Before you put you mouth in gear before your brain you might want to find out where the majority of the weapons that George Washington used in the American Revolution came from. ……. Here’s a hint: it wasn’t the British Colonies of the Americas that were fighting for there freedom.
    It seems that your under the misconception that the USA is the ONLY economy that’s got real bad problems. If that’s the case, you would make the poster child for 2013 for the Hypocrites Movement. Really? Are you a special kind of stupid? I suppose that’s a bit unfair but just how do you think the world works these days?
    When Smith and Wesson can produce a weapon that is as well built, reliable, cost effective(not cost an arm an a leg), as the XD series and can support that product in post production and sales as well as this weapons platform (XD) is then we may all consider them as an option. And I’m not talking about the fine products that S&W DO produce and that I have several of ……… I’m talking apples to apples.
    In your world do weapons that are made in the USA hit their target better? Perhaps in your world their more macho? In your world do US firearms products “get the bad guys better”. It must be in your world that we are the USA we do it better than every body else because we’re so much better? So….. I’m guessing you don’t shop at Kmart, Target, Walmart, Costco, Safeway, Piggly Wiggly, Sears, Pennies (to name a few), or use gas in your ….. Moped? …… Get your head out of you butt or sand or wherever its stuck and stop being part of the problem. The world has changed since the 1950′s.
    Oh yeah, please stop using big words like “hypocrites” that you don’t understand and which in turn make you look like one yourself. It reflects badly on the majority of us that can and do actually live in the real world.

    Reply

  • Rick

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    Anyways… I agree with #44. I think the XD-s 9 will be the perfect carry weapon from what I’ve read. I hope it comes out soon and there won’t be a 2 year wait to get one. I have an XDm .40 and Its great. Its just a bit too big to carry.

    Reply

  • Dave

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    Got a XDs-9 last Tuesday, 6/4 and 5 extended mags from the Springfield store today 6/8. Excellent turn-around from the store! So we headed off to the range.

    This gun shoots like nothing else in my collection. Muzzle flip is almost non-existant – recoil is straight back. Regaining the target for 2nd and subsequent shots is like shooting my M&P 22 – seriously!

    Ran 200 rounds of Aguila 124 grain, and 25 rounds of Hornady Critial Defense, not a single hiccup. I’m impressed, and it is a fun little package to shoot.

    Dave

    Reply

  • GASII

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    Just ran 100 rounds thru my XDs -9 last night. What a comfortable feel. No jabs whatsoever. Being a novice owner, I really appreciate the simplistic “dummy proof” break down and cleaning procedures. Got it for just under $600 at a dealer in Ohio. I also ordered two extended mags from SA. Anyone have suggestions on dealers for conceal carry holsters for the XDs?

    Reply

  • Larry

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    Could you please create also a XDS 3.3 .40 caliber S&W handgun in the future. I already
    purchased the XDS 9m S&W 3.3 Handgun. Thanks

    Reply

  • Peter

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    I just held one of these and got really excited. (Don’t worryq ladies. Not that excited. ) I have an issued hk uspc which I love. Completely different from the civilian versions which I don’t like. I’m looking to buy one of the xds’s and laugh at the people who are worried it is made in Croatia. Wow. Only about 30-40 miles away from Austria. The workers are probably cousins of the workers making Glocks. These people have probably experienced more combat than most Americans. I’ll give the xds a try with no bias.

    Reply

  • JCitizen

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    Austria? Heck! I’m prolly related to some of them too! :)

    Reply

  • Alex

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    Recently got an XD-S 9mm and boy is it nice. Fires straight and true without a hiccup after approx. 150 rounds. haven’t cleaned it yet neither.
    Cant recommend the XD series enough to anyone looking for a polymer handgun.

    Reply

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