Springfield Armory’s XD-S

A Superb .45 ACP Coat Pocket Cannon.

Hah! Here’s proof His Illuminated Editorial Immenseness Roy-Boy actually reads my stuff! In the July/August 2012 issue I mentioned I don’t like those teensy-tiny, mini-micro .380 pocket pistols, period. I compared `em to crazed goldfish tryin’ to squirt outta my hands, and I’ll add this: They’re like crosses between piranha and lamprey eels, because they bite AND they suck. My next call from El Roi went like this:

“I’m sending you a pistol (snicker-snicker chuckle). Shoot it, group it, write it up and send it back pronto — in one piece (suppressed guffaws). You’re gonna love it. It’s very, very little (hyena-like laughter). No, it’s tiny, and feather-light, and the best part? Oh, it’s powerful! ENJOY!” Maybe he had more to say, but he then descended into breathless chokin’ cackles and hung up.

Truthfully, I wasn’t looking forward to this. I’ve shot several compact and sub-compact .45s and haven’t liked shooting any of them, for many of the same reasons I don’t like the 9.5-ounce .380s. They serve their purpose, but dang, they point poorly, bite, squiggle and tend to choke. I’ve carried a bulkier .45 of roughly equal weight to the XD-S as a backup for eight years. But I only shoot it twice annually, to clear its throat and assure it runs right, because it’s manifestly UNpleasant to shoot! I figured the XD-S could be, at best, another pocket-rocket that’s an effective “niche-filler” but nothin’ to love.

Bustin’ The Rules

I don’t think “professional gun writers” are supposed to spill the beans this early in an article, but make you wait for it. I’m not a PGW, so I can. The joke is on The Joker: True, the XD-S is little, slim, short, light and powerful, but she shoots like a spotted puppy. Stable and comfortable in the hand, she points true, shoots straight, functions smoothly and consistently, carries safely and easily, and every feature works as it ought. Felt recoil is a push, not a blow, and she’s commendably controllable. The XD-S is the best-behaved production .45 pistol under Commander size and less than 33 ounces I’ve ever shot, period. How’s that? It’s okay; you can keep reading if you want.

One caveat/qualifier: My Uncle John taught me when somebody says a gun “functioned flawlessly” you should squint one eye and suck on a block of salt. “Functioned flawlessly after what?” he would ask. My experience generally with light, small pistols has been at the least, they need and benefit from a thorough break-in. This T&E gun was one of the original handful in existence offered for shootin’ during “Media Day at the Range” the day before SHOT Show 2012. It’s unknown how many shooters put how many rounds through it.

I ran 110 to 120 rounds through her for chrono, groups and function testing, then 270-280 more for fun! This included four flavors of premium ammo, two cheap foreign makes and some grungy old US military ball. I shot her at all angles, including upside-down, soft-grip, limp-wrist, and as fast as I could pull the trigger. She never coughed or choked; never even failed to go fully into battery or completely chamber a round from a full magazine when the slide was (improperly, in my opinion) closed using the slide stop. That, my friends, is “flawless, with a qualifier.” Now let’s look at her from the top down.
By John Connor
Photos By Chuck Pitman

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