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

By Dave Dolbee published on in Firearms, General, News

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 (66)

  • Rick

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    Bought the XDs-45ACP two months ago and it has become my CCW of choice over my Kahr MK9. The XDs has a much shorter pull, the action is just as smooth as the Kahr, the overall size is only slightly larger than the MK9 and shockingly, the recoil is about the same. I’ve put about 600-800 rounds through the Springfield with zero problems. I have found no ammo that even makes it hiccup. So, even though my Kahr is a great handgun, I now carry the XDs .45. I’ll probably buy the XDs 9mm when it releases, but given that it’s the same size and weight as it’s .45 counterpart, I’ll still carry the .45 for self defense. The 9mm will be for the range or backup. Yes, the XDS is made in Croatia, so I’m not buying American, but until my boss decides to double my pay so I can afford to pay double the price (or more) for the same quality, I’m forced to be frugal. The XDs .45 rocks. Bring on the 9mm!

    Reply

  • LarryM

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    I have the XDs .45. Nice size, but 5 rounds is not enough. They should be building this in the USA though. My gunshop held one for me because I was in there twice a week asking. They got one in and asked me if I wanted it. Said YES without my wife’s permission, HAHA. I could not take the chance of losing it. My son has one and I just could not let him own one and me NOT own one. Will finally get to the range and fire it this weekend. Easy to carry on the blackhawk in the belt soft holster size 5. It is very thin, soft and take little space on your hip. Remember with a fine pistol you need a good carry holster. Sometimes they are tough to find and fit. Only $8.97 at Walmart. The .45 XDs however was much more expensive. I have a few of the Nylon holsters, size 2 for my Ruger SR22 Pistol, size 7 for my Glock 19, and size 4 for my Ruger LCP .380(had to take the side laser off).

    Reply

  • Dan

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    Talk about burying the lede…

    The only way this gun makes sense to me is if you are recoil-sensitive and can’t handle .45 ACP in such a small package. Otherwise, why choose a handgun that’s the exact same size and has the same ammunition capacity in 9mm?? Would you rather have 5+1 in .45 ACP or 5+1 in 9mm?

    Reply

  • Remington

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    I purchased the xds in .45 ACP back in January, and it has rarely left my side since. The first time I took it to the range I was very impressed with every thing that its has to offer. The way in which it handles, smooth cycling of rounds. Ease of staying on target for second and third shots. And what I thought was great accuracy. The accuracy was the real surprise as it turned out to be a lot more accurate than I would have ever imagined. I am not a professional shooter or anything like that. I’m just an average guy who likes this gun cause I can carry .45 ACP in something a lot more carry friendly than a full size 1911. The fact that its in .45 ACP (like all my 1911s) keeps me from having to have several different calibers of handgun ammo, which is getting harder to find and more expensive all the time. Only downfall I have seen is it comes with 2, 5 round mags. You can buy a 7 round from Springfield, so why not include one in the case at time of purchase? Even with the extended mag it’s still very easy to carry concealed. Who wouldn’t like 8 rounds of .45ACP for concealed carry? Great job Springfield Armory!

    Reply

  • phil

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    Usually when they make a 9mm and a 45 version of a compact gun, the 9mm will hold an extra round or two. This is not the case with the xd-s. Both guns have the same specs in size but they also have the same spec in rounds it holds. It seems to me there is no point in getting the 9mm version.

    Reply

  • Al Hayes

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    Just a quick from a very satisfied customer. I own the three 9~357 Sig and the .40 and have since they 1st came out.I always get a thumbs up when I tell them, NO it’s not a glock it is a Springfield XD!!
    Keep up the GREAT WORK :)

    Reply

  • Eric Loos

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    At what distance was he able to “rapidly banging off rounds and dropping steel plates in rapid succession?” I could do that at 10 feet. What was the distance?

    Reply

  • mike

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    this doesn’t make sense, it’s not even an American built firearm, just my view

    Reply

  • Pete in Alaska

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    Oh yes!!!’ please make a 10mm! That would indeed round out the XD/XDm lineup!
    I have been carrying the XD and XDm variants since the first year that they were offered by Springfield. I have managed to collect one of each model and caliber but for carry and everyday use its the XDm Tactical .45 and the earlier XD .40 compact. In the process of going to the XD series I have retiter my 1911’s to mostly display and range use. There fine with that as they gave me many years of service and deserve the rest. The only remaining non XD platform I carry is my Vietnam issue Browning Hi-Power in 9mm. It became and is an extension of either hand and has served me very well since I got it in 1971. If Springfield new XDm single stack 9mm is as good as all the other offerings I may have to finally retire the Browning too. Very much looking forward to getting mine in the near future.

    Reply

  • mdc

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    Please make a 10mm Springfield.If Glock can do so can Springfield.Theres a calling for it by us 10mm gurus.

    Reply

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