First look at the Springfield XD-S

November 3, 2016
2 mins read
Springfield XD-S FDE
Springfield XD-S FDE

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.


  1. I use a ruger LCR in .380 for my small/pocket carry, but on days when I’m not in and out of buildings that require me to disarm I usually carry IWB/tuckable with an XD45 full size. The only pistols I love more are the 1911 series, and Sig’s, but this one was a better fit for my budget at the time and like the other two fit my hand with a natural point far better than the Glocks.
    I’ll certainly consider the XDS or compact XDM after I get an AR, but even if I shave off a few pounds I’m still over 200 and squat well over my weight, the full size XD is no problem.

    • Yeah, the XD-S sits between something like the LCR and a compact/full-size handgun.
      Most of the advantages of a XD(M) but in package just a bit larger than LCR-style.
      So far, I find it to be a good compromise.

      • If I hadn’t been so dead set on getting a full size pistol I probably would have gotten one of the compact variants since the S and the M were both available.
        I was being a bit stupid, but, eh.

    • I’m trying pocket carry with the XD-S. I have some generic holster that wasn’t designed for pocket carry but works ok.
      I’m not sold on it because it prints with some of my pants, which is primarily due to the wrong holster style.
      I’m looking to get a decent IWB holster and trying appendix carry next.

      • Appendix is all the rage.. but it is a very bad idea. The barrel lines up perfectly with your femoral artery.. and will go through your balls to get there. move it to the other side of your body’s center-line.

        • Good point.
          Do you know of any data on people injuring themselves by shooting themselves in the balls or femoral artery?
          Oh, and this is yet another reason why not to carry a Glock.

  2. I have an IWB that goes on the hip and I like it. It definitely works best when I a few lbs down. If I carry a few extra pounds, it can be uncomfortable.

  3. There are a couple other brands of IWB tuckables I’d like to try but I’m happy with the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3 I’ve been using for my XD. My need for tucking in button up shirts and going in and out of government buildings is why I don’t carry my XD more than I do, but otherwise I can tuck a well fitted shirt over it just fine.

    • What are the restrictions on you for entering a government building?
      My last job they had the policy that firearms were grounds for immediate dismissal.

  4. I love my XDM Mark2 subcompact 45ACP. WITH GRIP ZONE!
    It fits my hand and lines up much better than my Taurus 24/7. I love the thing. I might buy another in 9mm, actually.
    I shot steel plates with it last month and will do so again in a week. I cannot wait!

  5. WTF? They STOPPED? Why would they stop?
    Eh… Well I won’t EVER stop mentioning THE GRIP ZONE! In ALLCAPS and lots of !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Though… dang it… just realized I might have to go ammo shopping for shooting this Friday.

  6. Also just wanted to put in my two cents on the BLACKHAWK SERPA CQC holster. I love this thing’s locking mechanism. Easy and quick to use and releasing the lock automatically puts your finger outside the trigger on the draw. I am able to use it OWB with normal belts and it stays put really well. It converts to a paddle but I haven’t used it like that yet.

    • Your the third or fourth person to rave about the Blackhawk. I might just have to get it, if for no other reason I could say “Yeah, it’s okay, I guess.”
      BTW, that’s the same reason I plan on buying a Glock.

      • I am NOT claiming to have done much holster research. My brother showed me his, and I thought “Huh…interesting”. So I put it on and drew with his Glock 19 and I was instantly sold.
        So don’t tell me about any cool-ER holsters because I have other gun-buying priorities right now.

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