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)

  • Alan Butterworth

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    I’ve had my XDS for a Month now and I Love it. I ordered 2 – 7 round mags from Springfield before it arrived and that made it even better because my large hands find better purchase with the X-tenders in place and the improved grip allows Me to
    re-acquire the target faster and the recoil is also tamed. I’ve still got My 4th Gen Glock 27 but it’s been replaced as My carry weapon with the much lighter XDS .45. I bought My first XDM last year, a 3.8″ .40 and quickly got the competition 5.25″ model also in .40 but after shooting a Friend’s .45, I sold them both and bought the .45 caliber versions of both and sold the 3.8″ model when I ordered the XDS. I’m Very Happy with both of these .45’s The XDS goes everywhere with Me and the Competition model is always close by as well. These Pistols are the most comfortable Shooters I’ve ever owned and I’m comparing them to some Very Nice & Popular Handguns including My Kimbers and another favorite, Ed Brown. Don’t get Me wrong, I’m not saying they’re better weapons, just more ergonomic than a 1911 and quicker to bring on target, naturally aimed. I can shoot the initial 8 rounds, mag change for 7 more and get 15, each on target, way faster than I can with any 1911 even though I have many more years of practice with 1911s and the muscle memory that comes with it. So Thank You, Rob Latham, for helping to design a Very Useful and Natural handling Firearm, that will Help Anybody, shoot Better!

    Reply

  • Gary

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    I own XD’s…..40, 9mm, and the XD-s .45 cal. They are as good as it gets.
    I was intrigued about the new XD-s 9mm model until I saw it has a 5 rnd magazine. I would not want it in place of my .45. I understand the 9mm would be easier to shoot for some, especially some women, but, for most guys, I think, having the .45 as a “stopper” would be best. Just doesn’t makes sense to have it in a 9mm, for me, to “add to” my XD collection. Maybe in .40 cal. I would be interested in that platform for defensive carry pistol.

    Reply

  • Matt

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    Guys…. The capacity is 7+1 or for extended – 9+1….. The stated capacity of 5+1 is an error.

    Reply

  • Paul

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    Finally, the military is gaining traction on the 9mm and .223 ineffectiveness, with thankfully, slow paradigm returns (at least at the SOF end) to 45 ACP, 7.52/54 etc etc…

    The proof has always been in the pudding. 45ACP with all its warts is a far, far better round than 9mm, and just as easy to shoot, not impossible to buy. I ONLY see any 9mm as worth getting, if it can take advantage of being more compact and light… CC stuff… So… why for the life of me (literally), would I waste money buying a 9mm pistol that is touted as being exactly the same frame as a .45ACP, an infinitely better and more useful round, esp. in SD and CC, and in this pistol, you have plenty of rounds. And we all know after a half dozen off, it’s no longer really CC/SD. So what motivates people? I was in the military 3 decades, 9mm was quite weak, and no more accurate. Can someone help make me smarter on this alleged mystique that motivates money thrown at a 45-clone 9mm? Many thanks!

    Reply

  • JCitizen

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    I love my XD-S in 45 caliber – folks this is a sweet shooting belly gun! I just can’t say enough about the quality and function of this major CCW candidate! I don’t care where it is made – this is a US of America design project that happens to be made in Croatia – I am proud that SpringField Armory gave our allies the business!

    Reply

  • James

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    I would like to add that, while I would prefer to buy American, there are several fine guns manufactured “offshore”. Glock and Taurus are a couple of examples that come to mind. The workmanship in my XDS is flawless and I have yet to experience a FTF with any kind of ammunition. Glock is an excellent gun and, I suspect, is the number one seller in this country. I have no trouble owning a fine firearm that is manufactured in Croatia.

    Reply

  • James

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    I finally was able to purchase my XDS 45 a couple of months ago and have carried it since. It feels great in my hand, shoots controllably and disappears in the MuliHolster IWB holster I carry with. A perfect combination and I sometimes forget it’s there. The gun is a perfect carry pistol.

    Reply

  • Tom K

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    Holding an NRA Show in Liberal biased Houston doesn’t make sense to Me.. I’m surprised they were permitted in their town..

    Reply

  • JNfoo

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    Confirming what another poster wrote, the round count for the 9mm mag is incorrect. It’s 7+1 standard with an optional extended mag that gives an inch more of grip along with 9+1 capacity.

    I don’t own the XD-S but I have two other Springfield 9mms and they are a joy to own and operate, so to say I’m biased would be an understatement!

    Reply

  • stupid

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    Is this trying to save a buck by Springfield? I think they are shooting self in foot. The 9mm should be smaller than the XDS. I find, for example, that the XDS is much preferable as a defense weapon to the tiny Diamondback 9mm. But the Diamondback is small & much easier to carry in a pocket, not giving a tell-tail sway to the pocket as you walk, & much more comfy in the pocket.

    Since the 9mm can use a smaller frame, I would be interested only in this Springfield gun if it had a smaller frame.

    Reply

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