When it was introduced at the 2014 SHOT Show, the new Springfield XD-S 4.0″ 9mm pistol caught me off-guard. With the XD-S recall underway, I wasn’t sure that the company would expand the line. But, I thought, if the line was to be expanded it would be to include a pistol in .40 S&W.
Instead, Springfield Armory announced the XD-S 4.0″. Chambered for the 9×19 cartridge, the new concealed carry pistol retained the same dimensions for height and width as the original XDS 9mm guns, but increased the barrel length to a full 4″.
Since this review was written, Springfield Armory discontinued the XD-S 4.0 model. The XD-S line lives on as the XD-S Mod.2. However, only 3.3″ barrel models are offered.
This XD-S 4.0 review should still be useful to anyone looking to purchase a used gun. Additionally, current owners may find the historical data of interest.
There are a variety of reasons for increasing barrel length on a sub-compact pistol, and history is filled with examples of these kinds of guns. Even with the longer barrel, the small gun conceals easily.
Fortunately, the crew in Geneseo, IL was happy to send one to me for review. Let’s jump into what the gun is and what my testing revealed.
First introduced in 2012, the Springfield XDS pistol line has been very popular. It is easy for me to understand why.
Springfield first offered the XD-S in .45 ACP. In 2013, the company expanded the line to include the ubiquitous 9mm cartridge.
The guns are thin and easy to conceal – thanks, in part, to the single stack magazines that help reduce frame bulk. For a cop carrying a backup gun or a citizen exercising his or her right to self-defense, the guns are a great balance of size and firepower.
Both calibers of the original pistols share the same external dimensions, meaning holster makers only had to make one size to fit both guns. Other accessories, such as a light or laser, likewise only need one version.
The new 9mm 4.0 pistols break the original size mold by increasing the barrel and slide length. Otherwise, the guns are very similar.
Why increase the barrel length? Several reasons spring to mind.
First, the additional 0.7″ gives the shooter a longer sight radius. In general, the longer the sight radius, the easier it is to align the sights quickly and precisely.
For anyone who has shot a snub nose revolver, you recognize the short sight radius is pretty unforgiving. Upsize the gun to a 4″ revolver and the shooter can put rounds on target a lot easier.
Another reason for increasing barrel length is to increase bullet velocity. Handgun rounds bleed speed and energy as the barrel gets shorter. Hollowpoint bullets often rely on velocity to expand and perform well in a violent attacker. The shorter the barrel, the less likely a conventional hollowpoint bullet will expand.
Depending on the load, the 0.7″ could result in a velocity loss of 50-100 fps. That may not sound like much, but it is pretty close the same velocity increases many people see when moving from standard pressure to +P rounds in 9mm…and people have definite opinions about the use of +P ammo.
Ease of Concealed Carry
What may be counter-intuitive to some is that the gun is no harder to conceal than the shorter barrel XD-S pistol.
I often carry in an IWB (inside-the-waistband) style holster. The barrel length does not affect the ability to conceal the pistol when carried in this manner. Any length barrel – be it 3.3″ or the original XDS or the 4.0″ of this model – conceal equally inside the pants.
The thickness of the gun, on the other hand, plays a huge role in concealability and comfort. Also, the length of the grip can really affect how well the gun stays out of sight.
With a flush-fitting magazine in the Springfield XDS 4.0, I got the benefits of a thin gun with a short grip for concealment, but the improved velocity and accuracy of a duty-sized barrel.
As it ships, the pistol comes in a hard plastic case and comes with a variety of extras. Included in the case is the gun, a 7 round magazine, a 9 round magazine with an X-Tension grip sleeve, a polymer holster, a plastic double mag pouch, gunlock and paperwork.
Trigger weight measured 8 lb, 5 oz using a digital Lyman trigger pull gauge. This is a little heavier than many other striker-fired pistols, and it did feel heavier. However, it did not feel so heavy that I was turned off by it.
Of course, getting it on the range would prove whether I really liked it or not. I suspected it would be infinitely better than the so-called New York trigger used on some Glock pistols.
Springfield Armory XD-S 4.0 9mm Specifications
Here are the factory specs on the the Springfield XD-S 4.0:
|7 (9 in the extended magazine)
|Nominal Trigger Pull Weight
|Trigger Pull Weight (as measured)
|red fiber optic front, 2-dot rear
|black or matte stainless slide, black polymer
|MSRP at Launch
|$599 (black), $669 (two-tone)
Springfield Armory designed the gun with an accessory rail under the barrel. This allows you to add a white light or laser if you are so inclined.
Another company ran into an issue with its third iteration of pistols that – as the story goes – had reliability problems when certain kinds of ammo were used with a light mounted to its accessory rail. That’s not an issue with the XD-S 4.0″ pistol.
I attached several lights to this pistol during my review process. All mounted without a problem.
Further, I spend a lot of time shooting the gun with a Streamlight TLR-4 attached to the pistol. All of the ammo worked without an issue.
On the Range
The Springfield XDS 4.0 9mm performed exceptionally well on the range. I found it to be both accurate and reliable.
This pistol arrived to me new. Since then, I’ve shot it on multiple range trips. Additionally, I’ve allowed four other people to shoot it. Between us, we’ve put more than 2,000 rounds downrange without a single problem.
I’ve shot more than 10 different kinds of ammo through the gun – a lot of 115 grain ball from Federal, Remington and Winchester, but also +P and +P+ hollowpoint loads. I experienced no malfunctions with any of the ammo.
I have not chronographed every load through the 4.0, but I have measured the performance of several rounds that are representative of my testing. They are:
|American Eagle 124 gr FMJ
|Federal BPLE 115 gr JHP +P+
|Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr FTX
|Remington Golden Saber 124 gr JHP +P
|Speer Gold Dot 124 gr JHP
|Winchester USA (white box) 115 gr FMJ
Recoil was mild. The extra barrel length and slide mass likely helped absorb some of the recoil, but even with the short grip, I thought the recoil was pretty easy – even with +P+ loads.
The aggressive texture on the grip frame helped me hold onto the gun with sweaty hands (welcome to Florida,) but was not uncomfortable after shooting hundreds of rounds.
The short grip may seem too short for some people. But, with the flush-fitting magazine inserted in the gun, I found the length was just enough to wrap all of my fingers around the frame. Combined with the texture, I found it was more than adequate for a solid firing grip.
As I mentioned above, Springfield does include an extended magazine with the 4.0. With the X-Tension sleeve that fits over the exposed magazine body, the pistol feels like it has a full grip. However, I encountered problems with the X-Tension – more on that below.
I measured the trigger pull weight at about 8.3 pounds which was noticeably heavier than the triggers found on other guns like the Glock and Smith & Wesson M&P guns. However, I found the trigger served me very well on the range.
No striker-fired pistol is like “a smooth double-action revolver” as I’ve sometimes seen stated elsewhere. However, the trigger was relatively smooth that built resistance as it was pulled. There was no perceptible overtravel. Reset was short and positive.
If you are a big fan of the Glock trigger, the XD-S 4.0″ trigger might take a little getting used to. However, I found it easy to shoot accurately even though I’ve been shooting Glock pistols professionally for decades.
Accuracy is an interesting thing to measure. I could clamp the gun down in a vice and give you a measurement of the mechanical accuracy with a particular load of ammo. But, that isn’t likely to be terribly useful. None of us are as accurate as a good gun is capable of being.
For me, I generally have two questions. The first is can I rapidly place multiple rounds on target quickly at close ranges, and the answer was yes. At seven yards, I could easily put any number of rounds into the center mass area of a target as quickly as I could pull the trigger.
My second question is can I put well-aimed rounds on target at longer distances? Again, I could do so with the XD-S 4.0. I think the longer barrel and sight radius really shine here. At 25 yards, I was able to keep rounds in the high center mass area of a target without a problem.
Speaking of sights, the red fiber optic front sight on the XD-S 4.0 really jumps out at you. When you extend the pistol to a shooting position, the sight is very easy to see and quickly focus on.
The significant downside to the fiber optic front (and the 2-dot rear) is that it doesn’t provide as good an aiming reference in low light as it does in bright. For improved low-light shooting, I recommend going with one of the aftermarket night sights for the XD-S line I talk about here.
Problems with Extended Mag & Grip Sleeve
As I previously stated, the pistol comes with two magazines: one flush fitting and the second is an extended magazine with an X-Tension grip sleeve.
The X-Tension sleeve slips over the body of the extended mag to create an extended grip surface when the magazine is inserted into the pistol. With the extended magazine and 4″ barrel, the XDS 4.0 looks and performs much like a duty-sized handgun.
There is a huge problem with the grip sleeve, however. Through testing, I discovered that it can prevent easy reloads.
Here’s what happens…
When I attempt to eject the magazine, I have to shift the gun in my hand to allow my shooting hand thumb to reach the magazine release button. This isn’t a problem in the vast majority of guns I’ve shot in my life.
However, when I do this with the Springfield XD-S 4.0, the front edge of the X-Tension magazine sleeve hands on my pinky finger. Additionally, the rear of the magazine sleeve grips the meaty part of my palm. These contact points prevent the magazine from dropping free and I am forced to strip the empty magazine from the pistol with my reaction hand.
I spoke with Paul Carlson at Safety Solutions Academy about the X-Tension grip sleeve. Carlson advised he had seen the same problem with grip sleeves installed on S&W Shield extended magazines.
Carlson stated that removing the sleeve solves the problem with drop-free reloads, but can cause an issue where the magazine is slamming too hard into the ejector since the sleeve does not act as a “stop” for the mag. He said he had seen one ejector break on a Shield for that exact reason.
If your hand is large enough to depress the magazine release without shifting the pistol in your hand, then you might be able to drop the mag with the sleeve without a problem. However, I would think that your larger hands are going to be gripping the sleeve anyway, so you wind up with the same problem I experienced.
Before carrying an extended magazine for self-defense, practice your reloads and see if you have any problems. If not, go for it.
Update: Since I wrote this review, Carlson designed and is now selling a product called MagFIX. The MagFIX currently fixes this problem on the Smith & Wesson Shield extended magazines. I hope to see a fix for the XD-S line of handguns coming from Safety Solutions Academy in the near future.
I really liked the Springfield Armory XD-S 4.0 handgun. It was utterly reliable with a multitude of different ammunition loads including popular hollowpoint defensive ammo. Recoil was mild, and with it, I was more than acceptably accurate to 25 yards.
I was pleased to recommend this pistol for self-defense and concealed carry. Sadly, the gun is no longer offered by Springfield Armory. The original style of XD-S pistols have been upgraded to the Mod.2 and the 4.0″ variants failed to make the migration.
You can still find them for sale in the used market. Should you see one in your dealer’s case, I recommend taking a look at it. It might be the next gun you fall in love with.
Last update: September 2, 2021
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