SPRINGFIELD XDS

The XDS offers it all to the concealed carry enthusiast—slim…

The XDS offers it all to the concealed carry enthusiast—slim and petite dimensions combined with the big-bore stopping power of the .45 ACP cartridge.

Full disclosure here—I am a longtime fan of Springfield Armory handguns for concealed carry. In fact, one of my first carry guns was a Springfield Armory TRP .45 ACP 1911 (yes, all 42 ounces of it), with me later switching over to a full-size XD45 (the variant with the 1911-style manual safety). These were carried on my belt (in both cases with variants of the Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 inside-the-waistband holster), as both are very large guns. However, the one situation where I did not carry a Springfield was when I needed to employ pocket carry. Frankly, there was nothing in the company’s line in .45 ACP that I felt was suitable for this very specialized role.

As a result, I bounced around between all the usual suspects for pocket carry—small-framed revolvers chambered in .38 Special, ultra-compact pistols chambered in 9mm, etc. The truth was, I always carried the full-size guns whenever I could because I like .45 ACP as a defensive round. I simply had to make my peace with the fact that this round is hard to stuff into a pocket-sized pistols.

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The rear sight features dual white dots. Unlike its bigger siblings, the XDS does not feature a striker status indicator at the rear of the slide.

Imagine my surprise when I walked up to the Springfield Armory booth at a 2012 industry trade show and saw a new addition to the XD line, one that is at once reassuringly familiar but also radically different from the rest of the series? That pistol is the new XDS, a “single-stack” variant of the enhanced XDM series of pistols. Chambered in .45 ACP and only 1-inch thick, the polymer-framed 5+1 pistol seemed to answer my interest in a truly powerful pocket pistol in a platform with which I am very familiar.

The key to the unique nature of the XDS is entirely summed up in the words “single-stack.” Prior to the development of this pistol, the entire XD line (the original XD and the new XDM variants) all were double-column pistols. This was true from the largest competition models such as the XDM 5.25 to the smallest compacts like the XD Sub-Compact. This characteristic is how the XDS achieves its slim 1-inch thickness.

In discussing the pistol with Springfield Armory, they explained that they initially set out to develop a single-column 9mm XD “pocket pistol” with a width no greater than an inch, but quickly realized that they could make a .45 just as easily the same size. “As we worked on making a 9mm pistol this size, we soon realized that the high chamber pressures of the 9mm required a certain amount of wall thickness to the barrel. By stepping up to the .45 ACP with its much lower chamber pressure, we concluded that we could make the pistol in .45 ACP within the same size envelope.”

In one of those classic “Aha!” moments, the engineers at Springfield realized that they had the key to offering a pocket pistol variant of the XD that not only would get them into that segment of the market, but would also distinguish them from practically everything else available. “By offering a pistol in this size and chambered for the classic .45 ACP, we knew we had a winner,” they said.

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