In many ways, this pistol was ahead of its time. Some have even called it a trailblazer.
In today’s article, I take a look at the original Springfield XDS 9mm pistol. I’ve tested a pair of them and have a pretty good handle on what the gun offers. Frankly, I’ve been impressed by the gun since it was introduced at the 2013 SHOT Show.
Let’s dive in.
The Springfield XDS is a single stack 9mm pistol with a polymer frame and a striker-fired action. Introduced in 2013, it was well ahead of many of the best single-stack 9mm pistols on the market today.
Of course, it wasn’t the first of this class. The Walther PPS beat it to market by a few years. And, the 9mm XDS followed in the footsteps of the previously introduced .45 ACP version of the pistol.
I predicted that the compact, single-stack 9mm pistol would grow in popularity when I saw the XDS introduced. I wasn’t wrong – or disappointed.
XDS Magazines and Grip
The gun uses seven-round, flush mount magazines, but will also take extended, nine-round magazines that Springfield produces. With the flush mount, my pinky finger doesn’t quite fit onto the gun, but with the nine-round mags, I am able to get a full grip.
While this is certainly acceptable, it would have been nice to have a slightly longer frame to allow a shooter to get a full grip with a flush mount mag. Bersa accomplished this in the BP9CC pistol, and it would have been great if the XDS would have the same grip size. But with the extended magazines, it does offer flexibility for shooters who like the gun both ways.
The grip is aggressively textured without being abrasive. Some textures will ruin clothing, but this one is clothing – and skin – safe.
Springfield designed the gun with an ambidextrous magazine release. Southpaws rejoice!
The XDS frame is made of polymer; the slide is stainless steel. Magazines are metal with polymer baseplates. The magazines have a witness hole for each round, so you can instantly see exactly how many rounds have been loaded into the magazine.
A key characteristic of this gun is that it is thin, making it a good fit for many people’s concealed carry handgun needs. When I handled this pistol, I had no doubts that this gun would work very easily in an IWB holster.
Red fiber optics are used for the front sight of the XDS 9mm. Rear sights are traditional two white dots. I like the fiber optic front, but I am not a fan of the rear sights. Consequently, I put together a list of replacement sights that fit the XDS here.
The 9mm XDS has the exact same dimensions as the .45 ACP version. The barrel is the same as the .45, but with a smaller bore, so the 9mm version is slightly heavier than the bigger bore version. This means that the new guns should fit all of the existing XDS holsters.
As a change from the full-size XD line, the grip safety of the XDS does not need to be depressed to work the slide. This may be of benefit for weaker-bodied shooters who move the gun to get more power to manipulate the slide.
Here’s a video going over some of the gun’s features:
The original 9mm XDS pistol had the following specifications:
|7 (flush-fitting magazine), 9 (extended magazine)
|red fiber optic front, 2 dot rear
|striker-fired, single action
|MSRP (at launch)
|$599 ($669 with stainless slide)
I first shot this pistol during the Media Day at the Range event at the 2013 SHOT Show. Media Day is the pre-SHOT Show event that puts new guns in the hands of writers. In addition to spending time with the pistol, I was able to talk to Springfield Armory staff and get insight into the development of this pistol.
The overall size of the grip frame fit well into my hand. It was large enough that I did not feel like I was handling a child’s toy, yet it is substantially thinner than many other polymer pistols. I like the feel of this gun.
Further up in the review, I mentioned that the grip texture on the XDS is aggressive enough that the gun is not likely to slip from your hand, yet it is not likely to harm you either. I was interested to see how that would play out when shooting the gun.
As it turns out, I liked the feel of the grip quite a lot. Even with zippy rounds from this small pistol, I didn’t feel like the XDS was ever in any danger of slipping around in my hand. Also, the texture did the job without causing any discomfort. I don’t imagine anyone would have a legitimate gripe complaining the gun was too rough after a day on the range.
The pistol that I shot had no malfunctions. I did not see anyone else on the range having any problems with the XDS either.
I had fun shooting this pistol at Media Day, so I arranged to have a test gun sent to me for a more in-depth review.
As it turns out, it was more than a year before I could get an XDS for review. Once the XDS arrived, I got it out to the range for a lot more shooting. I probably put 2,000 rounds through the pistol over the next two months.
While the bulk of the ammo that I ran through the gun was FMJ from Blazer, Federal and Winchester, I did put a fair amount of self-defense ammo downrange also. Make sure you check out the ammunition performance table below to see all of the loads I measured with the XDS 9mm. [Note: Over time, I’ve added additional loads to the table as I’ve tested the gun with additional ammo.]
Shooting the gun was easy, and should be familiar to anyone who has shot a Springfield XD or Glock pistol before. The trigger pull was consistent and the reset was short and obvious.
When shooting, the sights worked well. I like having a bright, color-contrasting front sight, and the red fiber optic definitely does the trick.
Reliability was 100%. I encountered no problems during many long range sessions.
The grip texture continued to be comfortable to use, and it continued to impress me with its ability to lock the gun into my hand when shooting.
As I stated earlier in the article, the XDS had no malfunctions during any of the testing. Here is the performance I measured on a local range:
|Blazer Brass 115 gr FMJ
|Federal BPLE 115 gr JHP +P+
|Federal HST 147 gr JHP
|Hornady American Gunner 124 gr XTP +P
|Remington UMC 115 gr JHP
|Sellier & Bellot 115 gr JHP
|SIG SAUER V-Crown 115 gr JHP
|SIG SAUER V-Crown 124 gr JHP
|SIG SAUER V-Crown 147 gr JHP
|Speer Gold Dot 124 gr JHP
|Speer Gold Dot 124 gr JHP +P
|Winchester PDX1 124 gr JHP +P
|Winchester PDX1 147 gr JHP
While the first XDS 9mm remains extremely popular, there are several other models that are available. For example, you can read our review of the XDS 45 that this 9mm pistol is based on.
There are newer models as well. In 2014, Springfield introduced a pro model of the XDS that kept the same grip, but it added barrel length to improve ammunition performance and accuracy. If this sounds interesting, please read our XDS 4.0 review here.
Even more recently, Springfield updated the line entirely. Through 2020, you could pick up a XD-S Mod.2 pistol in 9mm. Now the guns are all updated with an optics cut on the slide and are called the XD-S Mod.2 OSP.
Springfield Armory did the shooting industry a great service with the XDS line of pistols. While the company wasn’t the first to the market with a slim, single-stack 9mm pistol, the company seemed to have set the standard for it.
The original XDS 9mm is a viable self-defense firearm that is comfortable enough for serious training and small enough to carry most anywhere. If you find one at a great price, I recommend getting it. Otherwise, take a look at the updated Mod.2 OSP gun.
Last Update: September 1, 2021
GunsHolstersAndGear.com is a for-profit website. I do not charge readers a dime to access the information I provide.
Some of the links on this page and site are affiliate links to companies like Amazon and Palmetto State Armory. These links take you to the products mentioned in the article. Should you decide to purchase something from one of those companies, I make a small commission.
The links do not change your purchase price. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.