By Vic Laboy
In the world of concealed carry, most are searching for a firearm that not only feels good in the hand but is easy to conceal. If you are a first-time buyer, the choices are seemingly endless, making it difficult to decide on an ideal carry model. For those looking to avoid the bulkiness of a Glock 19, yet you are not keen on the smaller size of a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 or Sig Sauer P238, many companies offer slim-line, single-stack pistols that are sure to fit your needs. Today, we will be looking at one that offers the same features and similar design to others in the industry – the Springfield XDS.
The head of Springfield’s custom shop, Dave Williams, worked closely with the HS Produkt engineers to the development the XDS. Before the XDS, even the smallest framed pistols offered by Springfield Armory were fed by staggered magazines, which could be a disadvantage due to their larger, bulkier size. His idea was to create the thinnest pistol attainable to be considered a “small carry gun.” Williams was aware this pistol needed to be a single-stack to maintain the slimmest profile possible. A few concepts were initially developed; however, this didn’t sit right with Williams as he knew he wanted to create something special on the market. Soon, the full embodiment of the idea was put into action, thus creating the XDS .45. This was a subcompact, single-stack, semi-automatic pistol that delivered a hard-hitting rounds, and thus, the Springfield XDS was born.
Reviewing the Lower half
Although this pistol may appear incapable of delivering adequate firepower to diffuse a situation, or engage a threat, looks can be deceiving. Available in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45ACP, this pistol will appease any shooter, whether this is your first purchase, or you are looking for something to add to your extensive collection. One key feature that sets this pistol apart from other single-stacks is its safety features. In addition to the internal drop-safety feature offered in most striker-fired configurations, Springfield has also opted to keep their renowned grip safety. This is ideal for those switching over from a 1911 style platform as it will provide a familiar grip. It is also appeasing for those seeking a firearm with added safety features. Along with the grip safety, you will also notice the trigger safety that, if not fully depressed, will not engage, preventing the pistol from firing. For both larger and smaller hands, you can configure the grip to fit comfortably as two magazines are included from the factory: one with an extended pinky adapter for added stability, and another that rests flush against the bottom of your magwell for easier concealability.
A Look at the Upper Half
The factory sights are a feature that separate this from the competition as the front sight is a bright red, fiber optic sight that is guided by rear, white dot sights. If you prefer orange or green fiber optics, Springfield includes replacement rods in the hard case. Moving along the slide, it is offered in varying lengths including 3.3-inch, 3.8-inch, and 4 inch barrels. You will find aggressive front and rear slide serrations for quick and easy slide manipulation when chambering a round or conducting a press check. If you are not one to press check your firearm, or are unsure how to properly conduct this check, there is a loaded chamber indicator that rests upward when a round is chambered. This provides quick assurance that you are ready to engage any threat.
Are There Disadvantages?
Sadly, no pistol has earned the title of “the perfect fit” and this model may pose some disadvantages you may not be fond of. To engineer a single-stack firearm that is easy to carry and conceal, it is imperative that it is done on a smaller configuration. Those with larger hands may find the smaller platform difficult to get their hands around comfortably. In addition to this model being smaller in stature, the single-stack magazine does mean you sacrifice the capacity of a standard compact model, moving from 15 round capacity down to roughly a 7-round magazine. While some may advise you that “three is all you need,” one rule with firearms, either the weapon itself or your ammunition, is it’s best to have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it. Those who prefer their carry weapon to hold more rounds may decide top opt for another model over the XDS because of the low magazine capacity. Another complaint against the XDS is the odd rail system available. This model does not offer a standard M1913 tactical rail on the underside, and therefore you will be unable to mount any aftermarket lights/lasers that are not specifically designed for the platform.
If you are in the market for something that is easy to handle, feels good, and has a plethora of safety features that does not require added manipulation, the Springfield XDS may be the right fit for you. Like any firearm purchase, it is best to do your homework and decide if this is “the one.”