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)

  • JCitizen

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    @chris on comment #34

    This is the XD-S – “S” stands for single stack, not the double stack model you refer to.

    Reply

  • JCitizen

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    It is always a trade off choosing compactness with a larger grip or other feature. I choose compactness – otherwise there is no point going CCW. My XD-S .45 with 7+1 magazine gives me the same grip, and actually better than my fathers WWII Colt 1911 GI issue .45 pistol. I keep the 5+1 in the well, and if I have to reload, or if I anticipate trouble, I can always go to the big magazine in my rig. It only takes a second to change it out. Training is everything if you are serious about CCW.

    Reply

  • R Dollar

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    9mm all the way all the time. For me its just a simple point and shoot with close grouping no matter what the brand. I even shoot a 9 better than a 22 go figure!

    Reply

  • Jay

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    I had the XDs .45 for several months now. It was a cold day the first time I took it to the range (outdoor) and I have to admit, after a couple of magazines I had a good impression of the grip pattern in my hand and didn’t want much more shooting. I have gone out twice since and both experiences were much better. On the return trips one day was warm and one was fairly cold. I did swapped out the floor plate for one with a pinky extension and possibly I have adjusted to the gun as well. The last time I was out it was enjoyable to shoot and my accuracy has improved to very good levels as well.

    Other observations:

    * Concealed carry is very nice, I have mostly been doing a 4 o-clock IWB.
    * The front fiber optic sight disappears in low light unless the existing light source is from above. I will probably have night sights installed in the future.
    * I purchased an extended magazine and it has problems chambering the first round of a full mag. The first HP will never chamber, the first round point is a 50/50 proposition. I have not had any problems with the standard size mags. Will be contacting Springfield about this soon.
    * Completely reliable so far with the standard mags and I would recommend the gun. If you own or plan to buy the extended mags, just make sure they work before you need to depend on them.
    * I also recommend swapping the floor plate for one with the pinky extension on the 5 round mags if you have medium to large hands and can’t get all you fingers on the grip. I would say that in most cases concealment is not reduced by this addition. I got mine from Pearce Grip.

    Reply

  • Mike

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    The XD-S. it’s not the weapon you have but a smaller compact version, Chris

    Reply

  • Mark Tercsak

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    To be frank Iam not a big fan of the polymer handguns, I think they are to light in the grip to begin with and you have to adjust your grip as you shoot, also I find that non of these pistols really have a perfect grip and its almost impossible to adjust most of the grips. Smith & Wesson’s M&P has the adjustable hump, I have one in 45 acp, and I have owned other polymer 45 acp’s none of them can beat the grip of the 1911. they need to add steel inserts into the polymer Frame and give it that straight
    1911-A1 Angle.

    Calibers, this is what they need to do develop a semi-rim version of the 357 magnum
    and chamber that cartridge.

    Reply

  • chris

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    I have a XD 9mm 4” barrel and it holds 16 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. A total of 17 rounds. I don’t know why everyone is saying 7 + 1

    Reply

  • Dave Hammond

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    What Sprinfield really needs to do, is to convince another manufacturer to produce an AR platform in 9, .40 & .45 that accepts XD magazines. I’m sticking with my Glocks because of the offerings from Just Right Carbines.

    Reply

  • Mike

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    My local dealer had a couple of the Springfield XD-S .45’s at a very reasonable price. I really like the little pistol and came very close to buying one. He had a demo model I ran two mags through. It seems very well built, smooth action and fits well in my small hand. I really like the sights as well. The complete package which includes a nice hard case, holster, double mag holder,and two mags. My hold up on the purchase was it’s made in Croatia, which may not be a bad thing. I just don’t know but being unfamiliar with Springfield, I expected a US made product. I’ve been carrying a Glock 23 on duty and a 27 off duty for many years and wanted something slimmer than the 27 but I also prefer the .40 cal round. The 27 is just too thick for good concealed carry. All said, I would purchase one if they would make a .40 version and add another round or two to the magazine capacity. If I don’t purchase a S&W Shield first or if Glock doesn’t come out with a similar size single stack .40. I know the .45 is a good round but economics come into play and I have O .45 ammo and a lot of .40 on hand. From what I’ve seen, it’s a great CC weapon…Springfield, produce a .40 cal version please.

    Reply

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