The world of concealed carry pistols is filling up with single stack 9mm options. In what’s becoming a crowded field of choices, many shooters are embracing Springfield’s XDS 9mm pistol. What does the XDS bring to the table that others don’t? Let’s put the polymer Croatian-built subcompact through a few range sessions as part of this Springfield XDS 9mm review.
This article will serve as an overview of the XDS and hopefully assist you in deciding whether or not this is the right pistol for you. Choosing a CCW pistol can be confusing – especially if you’re new to carrying a concealed firearm. With extensive options available, I hope this will help you make an informed choice.
Overview: Springfield XDS 9mm
Springfield Armory released this Croatian built, striker fired, and single stack option in 2012. Attempting to offer another slim and compact option for buyers, Springfield was able to compete in the market with relatively inexpensive pricing and unique features.
I was able to feed this pistol several hundred rounds of different ammunition types recently at the range. I included popular self defense ammunition such as Speer Gold Dot 147 GR hollow points. My intention was to truly get a feel for this pistol and be able to compare it to similar options on the market from a “shootability” standpoint. My experience with the XDS was comparable to my experience with similar options on the market such as the S&W Shield.
A massive part in finding a CCW pistol is discovering what fits your hands and what you are comfortable shooting. Of course, your budget will also play a role in determining which options you can consider. It’s not hard to find the XDS priced at approximately $350 – which is within reach for most of us.
The most noticeable XDS unique features are as follows:
- Grip Safety. The grip safety is a unique feature that is known to be either appreciated or disliked. The grip safety prevents the shooter from firing unless the safety is continually pressed into the frame
- “Grip Zone” textured grip. Again, this is one of those features that people seem to love or hate. The grip pattern and feel is more aggressive and pronounced than a typical pistol grip.
- Ambidextrous magazine release. I’ll touch on this later on in the article but it is worth noting for those who are left handed shooters.
|Specification||Springfield XDS 9mm|
|Weight With Empty Magazine||23 ounces|
Frame Size And Capacity Considerations
A Springfield XDS 9mm is a moderately sized handgun for being in the subcompact class. The standard capacity on the model I fired for the review is 8+1 with an optional 7+1 short magazine.
A capacity of 8+1 isn’t bad at all for a CCW pistol in my opinion. This pistol weighs in at 23 ounces with an empty magazine which some would consider a little “hefty.”
The frame does provide a fairly stable shooting experience due to the proportionate grip to length ratio. Gripping and maintaining control is relatively straightforward but not necessarily comfortable in my experience. The “Grip Zone” texture and design just isn’t my preference in regards to grips.
Concealing this pistol is very possible with the right holster, depending on your body size of course. A width of only .9″ is directly linked to the concealment potential. If the total weight doesn’t bother you, this should work just fine for IWB (Inside the Waistband) carry.
Trigger And Sights
The overall trigger experience and sight picture are important aspects of a CCW pistol to consider before purchasing. The trigger and sights on the Springfield XDS that I tested for this article are stock from the factory and I’ll touch on the performance of both.
I’ll start with the trigger. The trigger on the XDS was relatively heavy compared to similar sized handguns that I have tested.
Trigger pull weight comparison based on average of 10 pull tests-
- Springfield XDS: 6 lbs. 12oz
- S&W Shield: 5 lbs. 12oz
- Sig P365: 4 lbs. 10oz
- Glock 43X: 5 lbs. 15oz
I performed 10 pull tests with a trigger scale and my average pull weight was 6 pounds and 12 ounces. I didn’t find the pull as smooth as other comparable options on the market either. The break was somewhat unpredictable but it did offer a clean and crisp reset. Out of all the compact carry firearms I’ve fired, I felt the least accurate with this one. In the 15-20 yard range where I was able to effectively put solid hits on target with other compact firearms, I struggled with this one. I firmly believe it was partly due to the unpredictable and heavier trigger.
The sights from the factory on the model that I used for this review consisted of a fiber optic front and two-dot rear sight. This may be one of the main positive features of this particular handgun in my opinion. Target acquisition was a breeze with the bright red fiber optic up front that contrasted well in a variety of lighting situations. I believe most shooters will find these sights to be sufficient unless they are used to night sights.
Functionality And Shooter Experience
I have to start this section of the review off by highlighting what I consider to be the biggest flaw in this pistol – the magazine release. I have never experienced a more awkward and stubborn magazine release. Considering the importance of its operation, this is a cause for concern to me.
Accessing the magazine release with my thumb is uncomfortable and even when I do get my thumb to it, the magazine release must be pressed in just the spot to actually depress. The design and placement of the magazine release is definitely interesting from my perspective. If pressured to guess, I believe it is due to Springfield fixating on making it ambidextrous.
The slide lock seems to operate well with a convenient and accessible design.
As I mentioned earlier, the XDS is designed with a built-in grip safety. The design is such that if you are gripping the firearm correctly, the firearm will be able to fire and not fire if nothing is depressing the safety. This is a user preference area. It may be seen as a possible “fail” point, but I could see how some would be drawn to it.
In my testing of this pistol, I used a Labradar Doppler Radar to assess muzzle velocity with a common self defense round. The average of 5 shots using 124 GR Federal Premium HST ammunition showed an average of 1,094 FPS.
The Federal Premium advertised velocity out of a 4″ barrel is 1,150 FPS. Considering the XDS barrel is 3.3″ long, the results were expected.
Based on my personal preferences and experience with other compact carry options, I came into this review with the bar set pretty high. The market of 9mm CCW options is hot. There are plenty of really great options available with impressive performance and features. When reviewing this pistol, I’m truly putting it side by side with other comparable options.
Reading reviews (like this one) is great, but it is always a good idea to physically test different options before making a decision to purchase.
- The XDS is priced competitively and for that reason will be in budget range for most people looking for a CCW pistol.
- Self defense ammunition cycled well and no reliability issues were noted during firing.
- Based on the overall weight and frame size, recoil management is fairly simple.
- Built-in grip safety will bring some peace of mind to new shooters.
- The heavy trigger and unconventional grip pattern seemed to decrease accuracy and quick follow up shots.
- If overall weight is a concern to you, this pistol most likely won’t fit the bill.
- The capacity is decent but not great considering the frame size.
- Changing the magazine was frustrating due to the design of the magazine release.
While not my favorite compact pistol, the XDS is a relatively inexpensive and durable option. Each shooters preference and experience will differ and I realize that will be the case here with the XDS. In a family of sub-compact pistols, this option is the durable but slightly overweight option. Ultimately, the XDS is a well constructed pistol designed to go places that full size options can’t. If you are fine with the unique features of the Springfield XDS, this may be a good carry option for you.