There’s no doubt that polymer guns have their place. They’re lightweight, absorb recoil, and budget-friendly. However, there’s something about an all-metal pistol that feels right. From the SIG P226 to the 1911, I’ve always had a special place in my heart — and gun safe — for steel and alloy-framed pistols. So, when Smith and Wesson introduced the CSX, I was excited to say the least.
S&W CSX Features
The new Chief’s Special X isn’t another plastic fantastic, it’s a unique pistol that holds its own in the concealed carry market. Those who don’t want to carry a plain old striker-fired 9 would be wise to consider the CSX. The alloy frame and single-action trigger are its main claims to fame. The frame features polymer grip inserts to help fit the gun to your hand. The ambidextrous thumb safety is positive and easily manipulated by both right and left-handed shooters. Cocked-and-locked carry is the name of the game.
Now I’m not going to lie to you, the trigger safety is a useless feature. This is often used on striker-fired pistols to prevent a negligent discharge. The CSX being a single-action pistol with a manual thumb safety makes it redundant. It also adds some unnecessary sponginess to the trigger press. This is not a crisp 1911 trigger. That being said, it did not get in the way or hinder my firing in any way. It’s on par with a standard striker-fired carry trigger.
The CSX incorporates serrations on the top of the slide to cut down on glare. Now, I’ve never really seen this to be super effective, but I love how it looks and it’s a more refined detail S&W could have easily skimped out on. Like other popular carry pistols, the CSX can accept magazines of different lengths and capacities depending on your carry and shooting preferences. A 10-round mag is the most discreet, while a 12-round mag gives you a full grip on the pistol.
How does it carry?
Since the primary purpose of the CSX is concealed carry, it only makes sense to review it in this capacity. This new staggered-stack micro nine size is a good balance between concealability and shootability. The CSX sits between the size of a pocket .380 and a traditional subcompact such as the Glock 26. It’s just a bit thicker than the single-stack Glock 43, but offers higher ammo capacity. The CSX is right in line with other popular options such as the SIG P365, Springfield Hellcat, and Ruger MAX-9. This slim package works well inside the waistband without printing with as little as a t-shirt for a covering garment. Depending on your pocket size, you may even be able to fit it in a pair of jeans.
At the Range
One issue with tiny guns is that they tend to be hard to shoot. This is not the case with the S&W CSX. Don’t get me wrong, physics still comes into play, and the pistol is snappier than a full-size handgun, but for a concealed carry piece, it’s totally manageable. Shooting it side by side with other options, it was somewhere in between the SIG P365 and the Glock 26 — the latter being the easiest to shoot. This is going to be a bit subjective, as hand size and grip preferences will come into play, but the bottom line is that it’s within the realm of what you should expect from a pistol this size.
Size also comes into play with sight radius and manipulating the controls. If you have giant paws, small pistols like this may be awkward and hard to run. However, I believe most people will have no issue shooting the CSX. I found the pistol to be accurate at self-defense ranges, and with more practice, I have no doubt you could stretch that out farther.
I experienced no malfunctions and the grip texture worked well and offered good control during rapid-fire with sweaty hands. The basic 3-dot sights worked as intended, but were nothing to write home about. If there was one thing I’d change about this pistol, aside from the trigger safety, it would be to add factory night sights.
Conclusion: S&W CSX
The S&W CSX is not a do-it-all gun, it’s a purpose-designed concealed carry piece, and in that role, it excels. In an age where Tupperware reigns supreme, it’s refreshing to see something different. If you’re like me and prefer all-metal pistols, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option for concealed carry.
Do you prefer all-metal pistols to polymer-framed guns? What do you think of the S&W CSX? Share your answers in the comment section.