The XD-S 3.3 9mm is a single-stack polymer frame sub-compact handgun from Springfield Armory offered as a daily carry piece.
It’s light, 23 ounces without a mag, short at 6.3 inches in length and 4.4 inches high with the compact mag, and a mere .9 inches for the grip width. The barrel is 3.3 inches.
The checkered grip isn’t fooling around, giving enough purchase to hold the gun sensibly and securely, but not too much for delicate hands spent too long at a keyboard. The XD series has a grip safety and the XD-S is no exception. Although I’m not a huge fan of the grip safety this one isn’t so bad. I attempted to hold the gun lightly yet correctly and it still fired without a problem. The grip safety does encourage holding the handgun with your hand properly seated against the back. Something to consider for a beginning shooter trying to improve his skills. If you hold the handgun correctly you won’t notice the grip safety.
The Springfield also sports a loaded chamber indicator that sits above the chamber. A small metal rod pops up behind the ejection port when there’s a round in. It’s easy to verify by sight or by touch.
The sites are solid, a fiber optic front sight with white-dot rear sight posts. If you don’t like the color of the fiber, you can replace it with whatever you like. It also has a small front rail.
The XD-S uses an Ultra Safety Assurance Action Trigger System, which is Springfield marketing speak for “trigger safety”, giving it two safeties. Which makes it twice as safe. Or something. I guess they were trying not to repeat Glock’s time-honored tradition of accidental discharges when drawing or holstering the firearm. In practice, the trigger needs some work. It’s heavy with more slack than you’d expect for a sub-compact carry piece.
Springfield sells it in a decently rugged box that works at the range as well as for storage. They also give you two mags, a 7 round and a 8 round with an extender for your pinky, and a different backstrap you can swap out with the shipped one.
So how does it work new, out-of-the-box without anything but the lubricants they treated it at the factory?
Uneventful. This is a good thing. A very good thing. 100+ rounds and not a single issue that wasn’t user error. It’s sighted in, the mechanics worked flawlessly, it didn’t have any feeding or ejection problems. You could swing by your local casern or armorer, pick one up, and fight your way back home through the zombie hordes, confident that the XD-S will not only function as expected but also packs easily.
Despite the small, polymer frame it handles really well. The standard, off-the-shelf 9mm ammo isn’t too much for it. I need to get some +P and run it through to see if the hotter round makes much of a difference.
Field stripping is easy. Eject the mag, clear the chamber, pull the slide back and lock in place. There’s a take-down lever you need to rotate clockwise. Release the slide and pull the trigger. I know. Practice gun safety and the odds of something tragic and stupid from happening go way down but it still bugs me. After that, the top slides right off. Simple.
If you are looking for a sub-compact carry piece in 9mm, the Springfield XD-S is well worth a look.