Springfield Armory has a new gun on the market: the XD-S 45.
This new concealed carry pistol offers a lot of bang in a small package. Introduced at Media Day during the 2021 SHOT Show, it instantly grabbed the attention of dealers and shooters alike.
In this Springfield XD-S 45 review, I take one for a test drive to see if it lives up to the hype.
This review is on the original XD-S pistol in .45 ACP. Since the review was originally written, Springfield Armory introduced a number of other versions and discontinued this model. The current guns are designated as Mod.2 pistols.
I hope this review proves useful for anyone considering purchasing the gun used or for current owners interested in the history of these pistols.
Let’s dive into the article and take a look at what the gun is and how it performed on the firing line.
Overall Look at the XD-S 45
Media Day 2012 brought a lot of familiar faces along with several newcomers. One of the regulars was Springfield Armory, a firearms company with a long history of fine craftsmanship and innovative designs.
The company’s big announcement was the new Springfield XD-S 45, a compact single-stack pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge.
At first glance, the pistol presents as a compact and sleek handgun, capable of delivering a powerful man-stopping punch. Further, it seems to have all the same features as its bigger brothers in the XD series.
One might call the XD-S 45 a mini-XD pistol. I think that is a fair, if over-simplified, view. A significant difference with the XD-S 45 is the gun feeds from a single stack magazine that allows this handgun to truly fit into tight spaces.
Rob Leatham describes the new Springfield XD-S.
Slide and Barrel
Like all XD versions the Springfield XD-S 45 has a forged stainless steel slide. The is coated with a Melonite finish, Melonite is. proprietary finish that involves being bathed in a salt bath nitriding process.
The barrel has a fully supported ramp and also has a Melonite finish. This process does way more than provide good looks, as it leaves a deep, penetrating finish that protects against corrosion.
Slide length is a mere 6.3″ in length with the barrel being only 3.3″ long. The overall width of the XD-S is only 1″ (which includes the slide lock lever), with the grip being only 0.9″ wide. Overall height from sights to the end of the magazine is 4.4″.
Like other XD models, the XD-S has a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide. When there is a cartridge in the chamber the indicator (about a 1″ long and 1/8″ wide metal strip) extends slightly upward making it easy for the shooter to confirm the firearm’s loaded status through look or touch.
At the rear of the slide, the Springfield XD-S 45 has several slightly rounded serrations that allow for a sure grip while reducing the chance for the serrations to snag on gear or clothing.
The XD-S 45 has polymer frame that has the same look and feel as the bigger guns in the XD series. There is a single position Picatinny rail system under the barrel at the front of the frame, allowing shooters to accessorize with lights or lasers.
The XD-S has a similarly modified contour of the XD(M) series which should allow most shooters the ability to reach the magazine release without making gross adjustments of the gun. The grip has an aggressive “all-terrain” texture to provide the shooter with confidence when shooting, however it may be a bit rough for some.
The XD-S also comes with Mould-Tru interchangeable backstraps, allowing shooters to form fit the grip to their liking. This could definitely come in handy for a handgun firing .45 ACP.
The Springfield XD-S weighs a scant 29 oz. unloaded.
Does the XD-S 45 Have a Safety?
Springfield XD series handguns have two safeties – the Ultra Assurance (USA) Trigger System, a Grip Safety. The XD-S 45 has these same features but also includes a Fail-Safe Disassembly safety.
With this new safety, the disassembly lever cannot be manipulated with a magazine still inserted into the pistol. Also, a magazine cannot be inserted into the pistol when the disassembly lever is in the up position.
The USA Trigger System locks the trigger in place and prevents accidental discharge from dropping or bumping the firearm. This trigger safety is similar to the Glock trigger safety, in that it appears to be a second trigger extending out in front of the actual trigger. To disengage the safety the shooter must depress the safety, which then unlocks the trigger for firing.
The Grip Safety is similar to the Model 1911 safety system. With this safety, the XD series pistols will not fire unless the shooter has a firm grip on the pistol. These safeties actually work with and for the shooter during the firing process to ensure that the handgun is safe until shooting is desired. It’s nice to see Springfield keep these features on their compact pistol, when trimming size sometimes means limiting features.
The Springfield XD-S 45 is a striker-fired pistol with a very smooth trigger pull. I was unable to get the exact pound measurement for the trigger pull, but I would guess it to be between 5-6 lbs. I can say that the XD-S trigger is smooth and consistent, and includes a short reset for follow-up shots.
The reset is audible and tactile, so the shooter knows when the trigger is reset and ready to fire again. Shooters who train themselves in proper trigger reset shooting (maintaining the finger on the trigger at all times) will be able to easily make accurate follow-up shots with the XD-S.
At Media Day I made a rapid double tap (trigger reset) shot on steel from about 15 yards with no problems.
The XD-S 45 has a 3-dot sight system but is unique in several ways. First, the front sight is a red fiber optic sight housed in a steel frame.
The rear sight is a Dovetail design with two white dots. Both sights are low-profile to reduce the potential for the sights to snag on gear or clothing.
XD-S 45 Specifications
Here are the specs on the original XD-S 45:
|Weight (unloaded)||21.5 oz|
|Sights||red fiber optic front, 2-dot rear|
|Slide||forged stainless steel with Melonite finish|
|MSRP at Launch||$669|
I found that these sights worked very well during the daytime. However, in low light conditions, they become less visible. I recommend looking at these XD-S night sights should you want to upgrade.
Shooting the XD-S
I’ll admit that when I saw the size of the XD-S 45 I braced myself for a punishing test fire session. I own a full-size .45 ACP handgun and have shot several .45 handguns. They are all impressive with the power of their shot, and the resulting recoil.
Being confined to such a small frame, the XD-S appeared to have the makings of a wrist breaker! But, for the purposes of this Springfield XD-s 45 review, I pulled on my big boy pants and grabbed the pistol.
In reality, the XD-S was incredibly comfortable to shoot. I never felt like the small compact frame was in danger of dislodging from my grip. In fact, I felt so comfortable with the recoil and trigger reset that I successfully shot multiple strings of rapid-fire, double-tap on steel at 15 yards. The XD-S was very fun to shoot and accurate to boot.
in the compact pistol arena. With pocket pistol that can deliver 5+1 rounds of .45 ACP, it looks like shooters can have their cake and eat it too!
Needless to say I was very impressed with the Springfield XD-S 45 and hope to add one to my collections soon. I hope this review has been helpful. Please leave any questions or comments in the section below.
Additional XD-S Models
Since the original XD-S launched, Springfield Armory introduced a range of guns in the line.
The first addition to the lineup was the 9mm XD-S. This gun was identical in every way to the .45 ACP version – except for the cartridge it was designed to fire. See our full XDS 9mm review here.
Springfield’s next addition to the line was the 4″ model. This gun took the 9mm handgun and added a little length. The result was a gun with a 4″ barrel and an easy to conceal grip. The gun made a lot of sense in several ways and you can read my review of the Springfield XD-S 4.0 here.
Currently, Springfield Armory offers only the second generation of XD-S called the Mod.2. These guns are a fantastic evolution of the design and can be had with slide cuts for an optic.
Since this gun entered the scene, I’ve seen a revolution in the concealed carry firearms market. It seems everyone offers a subcompact, striker-fired pistol for self-defense.
Springfield Armory helped to spur the innovation we see today with the XD-S 45.
Pushing the envelope seems to be in the company’s DNA as it did not rest with this successful pistol. Instead, the gun continues to evolve the XD-S line and introduced a completely new micro-pistol with the Hellcat.
While the original XD-S 45 is not available brand new, it can still be had on the secondary market. If you find a used one with relatively low miles, I recommend jumping on it. They are great guns.
Last update: September 2, 2021
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