Springfield Armory XD-S Review: Should you add this to your collection?

by Daniel Young

February 29, 2024

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The original Springfield Armory XD-S has been supplanted by the Mod. 2 in recent years. In this Springfield XD-S review we find out is it worth picking one up if the right deal comes along?

A single stack 9mm from Springfield Amory designed for CCW

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Springfield XD-S Specs

  • Name Springfield XD-S
  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Magazine 7+1 (Flush) 8+1 (Extended)
  • Action Striker Fired
  • Frame Polymer
  • Barrel Length 3.3 inches

Springfield XD-S Background

Springfield Armory, Inc. has manufactured and imported a broad range of guns since the mid-1970s. Many of those designs had ties to classic military models, like their M-1A and 1911 series. Their pivot to the XD series of pistols was a departure from that trend. The HS-2000, as the XD was originally called by the Croatian manufacturer HS Produkt, has seen some small international contracts but is predominantly a pistol for the civilian market. 

The XD family expanded to include all sorts of derivative models, like the XD-M. The XD-S was one of the first sub variants, and it brought a single stack concealed pistol to the lineup. Compact XD models existed prior to the XD-S, but they were all double stack models. Slimming down to a single stack design was a somewhat original move at the time it was introduced. Only a few competing models from other manufacturers, like the Walther PPS, were directly comparable. Springfield is a major player in the market and they were one of the first to make a single stack 9mm that was truly common.

However, as with any consumer product, the XD lineup continued to change. The XD-S was joined by the XD-S Mod. 2, which refined the ergonomics of the pistol. In an effort to add even more options, Springfield introduced the short-lived XD-E, which was a sort of double action/single action XD-S with a de-cocker. It was not a commercial success. The original XD-S was discontinued as well, though many thousands were sold. It may not be available on the shelf of your local gun store today, but there are many to be had on the secondhand market.

Springfield XD-S Features

Springfield XDS Gun Features
1 Grip Safety

Grip safety is unique in this class of guns

2 Magazine Release

Ambidextrous magazine release with magazine disconnect safety

3 Trigger Safety

The trigger safety is a nice safety feature.

4 High visibility front sight

It is always nice when a factory sight features high visibiltity to draw your eyes.

5 Picatinny rail

You an mount a weapon light using the picatinny rail.

Models and Variations of the Springfield XD-S

This version of the XD-S has been supplanted by the Mod 2. The original XD-S featured a 3.3 inch barrel, but a 4 inch model was also produced. Springfield generally makes many SKUs of each design and the XD-S was not an exception to that rule. Models with varied assortments of holsters, accessories, and magazines were sold. Be sure to verify the specific items included with a potential purchase, because they can range from a single magazine to numerous spares.

Springfield XD-S –  Our Take

SA SD-S Hero

Springfield’s XD-S is a very slim gun. This is a real benefit when concealing the gun, but the associated trade-off with any small, slim gun is a less pleasant shooting experience than a gun with more to hold on to. The skinny grip of the XD-S does not provide much purchase when shooting the gun. Yes, there is some decent texture to the grips, but it is not enough to compensate for the shape of the grip. 9mm pistols do not kick that much but the XD-S was more inclined to twist under recoil than similar guns in its class.

The thin grip results in some other downsides. Most shooters have hands that fit better on wider grips. Rather than filling the hand, holding the XD-S feels like holding a 1×4. The resulting small surface area against the web of the hand can be mildly uncomfortable, especially with full-power defensive ammo or a worn recoil spring.

Another factor that fuels the poor performance under recoil is the weight of the slide. It is very beefy, and as it moves under recoil it creates substantial muzzle flip. Proper aggressive grip does mitigate this tendency but it requires more work to get back on target between shots than competing designs.

Grip Safety and Magazine Disconnect Safety…

SA SD-S Magazine Patch

One of the most divisive features on the XD-S is the grip safety. The beauty of a grip safety is its passive nature; it does not require an additional action to turn the safety off. On the flip side, if the gun is not grasped properly, or if the safety malfunctions, the gun is disabled. The safety of the XD-S is much smaller than those used on a 1911, and is not as positive to disengage. It feels small and indefinite rather than being obvious and sure in its operation.

Another ergonomic shortcoming is the magazine release. It is ambidextrous in operation but it feels weak and sloppy. Its design also lends itself to unintentionally dropping the magazine. That would already be a problem but it is an even greater issue because the XD-S is equipped with a magazine disconnect safety. If the magazine is release the gun cannot fire, even if there is a round in the chamber. That style of safety mechanism tends to be very unpopular because it does not really make the gun safer, and it is another potential point of failure.

SA XD-S Front Sight

Accuracy

Accuracy from the XD-S is adequate but not noteworthy. Recoil issues aside, it is mechanically capable of putting holes in a target at all reasonable distances. The shooter is almost always the weak link when it comes to accuracy, and that is particularly true with small handguns. 

Reliability

Reliability was less than perfect in my testing. I experienced several failures to feed and to eject. This was not an ammunition issue, as the same lot of quality, brass-cased FMJ ammo used for this review functioned flawlessly in all other handguns where it was used. It is possible that the magazine was worn out because this particular gun is many years old and has been fired a lot. However, I have seen many similar handguns of similar age and round counts continue to function without incident.

Trigger

XD-S Patch

The XD-S does have some redeeming features. Its trigger is fairly light and is equipped with a trigger safety. This simple safety mechanism actually does make the gun more safe by reducing the odds of the gun firing if dropped or disturbed while in the holster. Metal 3-dot sights are standard. A loaded chamber port is standard which allows an easy visual inspection of whether or not the gun is loaded without performing a press check.

Closing Thoughts

But those good points do not outweigh the negatives of this design. It handles poorly under recoil. It is not the a design known for reliability. Because it is discontinued, they are not found new on the shelf. The aftermarket support is weak for the XD-S and accessories like holsters are not as common as they once were. Springfield does still sell magazines. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but if you can get one for around 250 bucks, it’s a deal. 

SA SD-S Patch

Springfield XD-S Pros and Cons 

  • Thickness – Very thin design
  • Affordable – You will have to find it on the used market, but it should be at a great price.
  • Trigger – Heavy trigger
  • Recoil – Poor recoil characteristics
  • Availability – Discontinued
  • Grip Safety – You dont see grip safeties much anymore for a reason.

Report Card

Shootability

It works, but is not the best. Like most small 9mms, it can be a bit snappy, but it won’t hurt you.

C
Reliability

Decent long term reliability, but not as good as its peers.

C
Ergonomics

Unpleasant in most ways that matter.

D
Accuracy

The XD-S is more accurate than most shooters but does little to aid accuracy. At close ranges, it’s quite quick and easy to use, but it does fall apart when you back off to extended ranges. The hefty trigger does it no favors.

B
Value

When new it was not a great deal. Now that These guns are hitting the used market in spades and seem to be selling for cheap. At around 250 bucks, they can be a solid option for concealed carry and self-defense.

C-
Springfield XD-S Final Grade

Our Grade

C

Reviewed by Daniel Young

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

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Springfield XD-S Starter Pack

We have found some things that everybody should have for their firearms.

  • Hearing Protection: Even if you have some hearing protection already you can probably get more effective protection. We’ve gathered all of our favorites to help you decide the best hearing protection for you.
  • Eye Protection: Along with high quality hearing protection you need great eye protection to save your eyes from any sort of debris. Check out our recommendations for the best shooting glasses!
  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Finally, after taking care of your eyes and ears you need to take care of your firearm. We’ve got a whole article dedicated to gun cleaning kits you’ll need to keep your pistol in tip top shape.  

Upgrades and Accessories for the Springfield XD-S

You always need more magazines. Here are links to both 7 and 9 round magazines for the XD-S.

We also found some sights that work great in both low light and normal light because they utilize fiber optics for day light and a tritium insert to be visible in low light situations.

Also, if you want an additional aiming method we found a laser aiming device from Crimson Trace that will mount to your XD-S and give you one more aiming option.

Best Accessories For The Springfield XD-S

XD-S 9mm 7-Round Factory Magazine
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Impact-resistant polymer baseplate
  • Polymer follower
  • Numbered witness holes
  • Stainless steel wire spring
Check Price
XD-S 9mm 9-Round Factory Magazine
  • Stainless steel construction
  • High-tensile steel spring
  • Polymer follower
  • Removable polymer grip extension
  • Numbered witness holes
Check Price
Laser Aiming Device

Crimson Trace Laserguard

Crimson Trace Laserguard
  • firmly attaches to trigger guard
  • slim profile matches pistol
  • adjustable for windage and elevation
Check Price
Trijicon HD Night Set Front Outline
  • Front – Green Tritium with orange outline
  • Rear – Green Tritium no outline
Check Price
Truglo TFX 3 Dot Tritium/Fiber Optic Sights
  • Front – Green Tritium/Fiber Optics
  • Rear – Green Fiber Optic
Check Price
Galco Stow-N-Go IWB Holster
  • Premium Center Cut Steerhide
  • Metal-reinforced mouth
  • Neutral cant
  • Modern injection-molded polymer belt clip
  • Fits belts up 1 3/4″
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Springfield XD-S

Next you need some ammo. For the XD-S, you’ll want some low cost ball ammo to train with and some high quality self defense ammunition. Here are some we like below. 

Training Rounds

CCI Blazer 9mm Ammo

CCI Blazer 9mm 115 Grain FMJ

Self Defense Ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense

Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115 Grain FTX

Other Competition Pistols of its Class to Check Out

The Springfield XD-S is not a bad conceal carry handgun. However, we have reviewed many others that we feel are better. Here are a few of our favorites.

#1 Sig P365 XL

Sig P365 XL

The P365 defined what a concealed carry pistol should be, the P365XL offers the same concealability but with higher capacity.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 62 Reviews

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#2 Walther PPS M2

Walther-PPS-M2-Review

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  • Reliability B+
  • Accuracy A
  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 32 Reviews

Your Grade

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#3 Springfield Hellcat – 9MM

Springfield Hellcat – 9MM

The Hellcat 9mm, a micro-compact pistol that provides an incredible number of rounds on board, particularly considering how small of a gun it is.

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  • Shootability B
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 171 Reviews

Your Grade

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Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

How to Care for Your Springfield XD-S

Take a few minutes (less than 7 minutes total) to watch this 4 part series from Brownells on how to disassemble, clean and lube, then reassemble your Springfield XD. They show a full size XD but the process is the same for the XD-S.

The XD-S has been replaced with the XD-S Mod 2 but they share the same users manual and we have that linked below for you.

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About Daniel Young

Daniel is an attorney and lifelong gun nerd. His Instagram account, @fromtheguncounter, grew out of his work at a gun store and shooting range. He can usually be found in the hills with a rifle when he's not working.

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1 COMMENTS

  1. I total disagree with this review, I have the first gen xds in 45acp and have not had any malfunctions, the recoil is not dab at all do to the 2 stage recoil spring and is very accurate, and I would not trade it for anything

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