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.


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)

  • Chester Elewski


    Last I checked, Croatia isn’t a state in our union. You people need to wake up and quit being hypocrites. It’s why the country is in economic turmoil. You keep buying and supporting foreign goods. Stop it! Buy Smith and Wesson or firearms that Springfield actually makes in USA. Would George Washington enjoy hearing that Springfield Armories’ newest best product is “Made in Croatia”?


  • kevin


    ive had sig rugers glocks they were all really nice.but when i got my xd 40 tactical it was true love love.its a nail driver.i shot competitivly in the army and still shoot alot today.just one session at the range i went home and moved my glock out.great job.a 9mm is my next purchase.


  • Jerry Brown


    The XDS 45 is an excellent handgun. Perfect for CCW. Period. (The Glock model 36 ain’t too bad either)


  • Nick


    That’s nice, now stop thumbing and get it to the market already. Take notes on how Smith and Wesson released their Shield instead of announcing a gun and making people wait two years.


  • Tom Sutton


    The specs are great but lack the width comparison. Unfortunately, it isn’t made in the USA any longer or the 45 XD-S would have filled the void that Ruger’s LC9 filled.


  • Gerard


    LOL ! A lot of comments remind me of a commercial out there, in which a lady states that she believes that anything being put on the internet is true, and eventually she goes on a date with a “French Model”(because he claims so on the internet).

    First of all, as I already stated in post 12 and 14, the specs on the .45 XD S vs. 9mm XD S are not the same. The 9mm has a 7+1 (9+1 extended magazine) and weighs 23 oz empty.

    @Paul post 27.
    Paul opens up the discussion between .45 and 9 mm and is requesting a response from someone to make him help smarter.
    I am more than pleased to do so…
    Paul assumes the specs of the .45 XD S and the 9mm XD S being the same, and uses that assumption to be true, as an argument in .45 XD S vs. 9mm XD S. My first advise:” Don’t believe everything they say on the Internet”. My second advise would be: “Before you post something, please read previous posts” The latter advise goes for many of you guys who most likely like to hear yourself talking without listening.
    Anyway…Paul, both advises can sometimes make people… more informed…not so sure about the smarter though (look smarter for sure).

    About the argument 9mm vs. .45, A lot can be said about it. Ballistics is truly a science, and the simple statement that .45 is “better” than 9mm depends on a lot of factors to consider. Factually, the 9 mm and the .45 bullets end up having about the same kinetic energy (Newton’s law; E= 1/2 mV2). The 9 having more velocity and the .45 having more mass. Both calibers meet FBI standards of 14-16 inch penetration. However, it is correct to state that if you were to hit the target (under stress situation) with a .45, then it would end up with more material at the target, but it all arrived at lower energy levels. Also the 9mm +P vs. the .45 +P come in at about the same ft/lbs of 460+ energy levels. (For the concentrated readers this means indeed that someone carrying 9mm +P vs. someone using .45 regular has a more powerful round and at a flatter bullet curve).

    My counter question to Paul then would be:” Why trade off a lesser amount off rounds in a .45 vs. a 9mm?” Personally, I prefer more bullets in my gun with the same kinetic energy, especially under stress situations.
    Maybe Paul’s argument might be highly influenced by “Bigger is Better”. Bigger what? Caliber or Energy?
    Paul… I didn’t mean to come across as nasty, but your own post almost suggests that 9 mm’s are inferior. Well… I am in favor -and probably many out there- of the 9mm, simply because of more firepower (as in more rounds). On top of that, one could give the argument that it is more economical to train with 9mm vs. .45 (at least in the pre-Obama-scare era).
    Effective self-defense falls or stands with; 1. The right tool (I think all XD’s are mighty fine) 2. Training 3. Training….4,5,6,7,8,9,10 Training. (Which is again…cheaper with the 9mm)

    Final say about you claiming the military is wizening up….
    If the military were to change over from 9 to .45 … I would smell a rat. (Weapons-lobby)
    Just think of the logistic nightmare that could happen on the battlefield. I think the US military with its NATO partners made a very smart decision a long, long time ago to standardize the calibers being used. Also think about the enormous stockpiles of these calibers, Yeah… lets change the caliber and chuck all that ammo out, Yeah lets do that, especially since the military has so much extra money to spent. This money can be much “smarter” used by our soldiers right now, who are fighting our battles right now!

    Bottom-line 9mm vs. .45… they both work as long as you are able to hit under stress. 9mm just gives you more shots. XD S .45 = 5 + 1, XD S 9mm = 7+1

    Bonus: XD’s in general being a bit heavier than Glocks? Yep correct, but that’s because of the steel guide-rod vs. the polymer used by Glock.

    Bigger is Better? Yeah…let’s go EDC .50BMG !!! …:-D


  • Pete in Alaska


    Sooooo, let me get this straight……. There’s a bunch of you it seems that think that the XD series is suspect because its not made in the
    US of A. I find it very hard to fathom the logic of the hypocrite. Are you seriously going to try and tell us that you don’t buy anything that isn’t MIA??? You don’t shop at COSTCO? Or Walmart? Oh how about Fred Myers? Any Auto Parts stores? Or is it that if it isn’t made here in our country that its a sub par product? Perhaps if the weapon was made in Germany or England, maybe Denmark or Israel it might be better? You might want to do a little research on the Croatian firearms manufacturing company, HS Produkt d.o.o. their facility is state of the art and may be one of the best Firearms company in the world today. Do you think that Springfield Armory would offer substandard products in their line?? The XD from the day it was put on the market in the US was an innovative and new design. It was not then or ever a “Glock” clone. It won “best of year” and Design awards a number of times. There are several US manufactures that would benefit from the the design and manufacture of this weapons system.
    Do yourselves a favor and do a little research, learn something new, expand you mind and get rid of your out of date isolationist attitudes. If you DON’T like the Springfield XD or Glock or Enfield or or how about the manufacture of the Desert Eagle then pick a real reason but don’t be an elitist snob about it. Grow up, its a global world and your part of it! Ya know, if it wasn’t for the German Mauser we wouldn’t have had the 1903A3 30.06 Springfield rifle one of the finest American battle rifles produced. Yeah, it’s pretty much a global community out there, been that way for awhile now.
    The XD series platforms in any of their evolutions is an excellent weapon system. I have carried one since they first were offered by Springfield and it has served me well. It’s the equal or better of many if not most. Give it the just due and consideration it deserves on its merits and on its success.
    This forum isn’t supposed to be a bitch fest, its supposed to be an information source, a sharing of ideas reverent to the base post. I and others don’t need or want to know your political view unless that’s what’s being asked for. I would like to hear the actual pro or cons where the subject is concerned that’s why I read it in the first place! For what its worth . . . . . Pete sends


  • Jim Bullock


    Have carried the .30 sub-compact for two years now, love it with the Galaxico concealed, inside the waist holster. Would love, as mentioned by others, to see the .357 sig, and .40 sold together in the same box. As it only needs the barrel to change between the two calibers. Have carried the XD Springfield .40 in one configuration or the other for the last four years, very dependable, hardy weapons.


  • JCitizen


    Excuse me; I meant to say “sub-compact” that has a single stack magazine! Doh!


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