It warmed the cockles of my gun-owner’s heart to learn that the Silicon Graybeard has joined the club of happy owners of Springfield’s XD-S single-stack compact pistol. He’s just bought one chambered for the venerable .45 ACP cartridge. He comments:
Before pulling the trigger on the XD-s, so to speak, the sales guys set us up with a demo gun and free range time to test it (we just had to buy a box of their ammo). The XD-s gives me no troubles at all. Mrs. Graybeard … likewise had no discomfort with the 45 ACP XD-s at all. I’ll admit that’s a little puzzling, but write it off to better ergonomics. Perhaps the beavertail safety puts our hands into a better position.
There’s more at the link.
I’m not surprised he likes it. Out of all the current crop of small, single-stack, easily concealable pistols like the XD-S (which would include most Kahr pistols, the Glock 43, Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield series, Ruger’s LC9S, and a number of others), I’ve found the XD-S to be consistently the most ergonomic of them all in my hands. Firing .45 ACP rounds in a small, light pistol can be a very painful experience (*cough*Kahr PM45*cough*), and even full-power 9mm. can be ouchy, but somehow the team that designed the XD-S got it right. It’s comfortable to shoot; most people can do so accurately, despite its small size; and it’s proved to be reliable in my hands. I’ve yet to experience a misfeed or failure to fire with it, having bought my first one two years ago.
Ergonomics are supremely important in a sub-compact pistol, much more so than full-size weapons. They must be controllable and accurate in rapid defensive fire, because their very reason for existence is that you’re more likely to have one of them on your person when you really, really need it, whereas you might not bother to carry a larger, heavier, bulkier, harder-to-conceal full-size handgun. I’ve helped many people learn to use firearms. More often than I can count, I’ve seen them struggle to control smaller firearms, such as the little J-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers. I loathe with a passion gun shop employees who try to sell such guns to novice lady shooters in particular (I quote what I’ve heard more than once: “But it’s pink!” Grrrr . . . ) A novice shooter is best served by a gun they can control and shoot accurately, one that won’t hurt them when they fire it, so that they develop an almost incurable flinch and are never comfortable using it for defense of themselves and/or their families.
If you’re already trained and/or familiar with the operation of firearms, and you want a small, concealable, accurate pistol, chambered for an effective round, I highly recommend Springfield’s XD-S series from personal experience. I own more than one of them, and like them very much. They’re my pocket carry weapon of choice (in a suitable pocket holster, of course – I use DeSantis’ Nemesis or Remora’s Tagua), and work very well in a shoulder holster, too.
(No, Springfield’s not paying me for this endorsement, or offering me any form of kickback – nor are any other manufacturers. I’ve bought my guns and accessories with my own money. I just like to recommend to my readers and friends things that I’ve found work as advertised.)
I'll have to take a closer look at one. I generally carry a CZ P01, but use a 9mm Shield for pocket carry. Since I'm always looking to upgrade, I'll have to look at the XD-S.
I very nearly bought a 9mm XD-S about 2.5 years ago, but I ultimately decided to go with Springfield's then brand-new Range Officer Compact in .45 ACP because I decided I wanted a 1911. The RO Compact is a great little gun, don't get me wrong, but looking back I really think I should have gone with the XD-S instead.
Cool. I have 2 now, a 9mm in "flat dark earf" that I've had for almost 2 years, and now a .45 that I got last Oct. The 9 never gave any trouble at all. I had to do some work (hand cycling, careful polishing) to get reliable, but it seems to be so now.
Yes, the .45 is in my pocket right now.
Thanks for the kind words, and especially the holster recommendations. I'm in the holster market now.
The classic caliber trade also includes the number of rounds trade. The XDm 3.8 Compact (in .45) is 0.6 inch longer, but (IMO) that's the easiest dimension to conceal. The thickness is about 1/4" more on the double stack XDm. It's 1.26 wide and the XDs is 0.9" wide (both according to their web site). For that inconvenience, which (IMO, again) matters the most in pocket carry, the XDm buys 9+1 over 5+1. Obviously, you know which way I went.
@SiGraybeard: You can get 6-round and 7-round extended magazines for the .45 XD-S as well. I find the 6-round almost as easy to conceal as the flush-fitting 5-round, but the 7-round sticks out a bit too far. YMMV, of course.
The XDs .45 is sort of a modern equivalent of the old "British Bulldog"
revolvers- 5 or six shots of .45 in a tiny package. Mine has functioned perfectly through a variety of ammunition.
It does have one glitch in that it can be hard to eject a loaded round -the round can get trapped between the ejection port forward edge and the ejector. Anyone else note this? Softening the sharp inside forward edge of the port helped a lot.
I have an early XDS in .45 and it's an excellent little gun. When they first came out there were a lot of issues with the six round magazines, with people sending them back and forth to Springfield to resolve. I think mine was probably one of those. The five round mags function perfectly with anything you can stuff into them. The six rounder is finicky. It seems to dislike all of my reloads, but is happy with factory ball and the few factory HP's I have tried in it. It's in the regular EDC rotation along with the .40 S&W Shield.
I also own two. .45 and 9mm. Never had any issues with either. I did find that Pearce Grips make a mag extension that works well. Carry
everyday in a Crossbreed IWB and have for three years.