Springfield XD-S 9mm… T&E results.

The Springfield Armory XD-S in 9mm was definitely my most anticipated gun of 2013… which is why I am so disappointed that it isn’t perfect. It’s good… maybe great for some… but, not perfect.

XDS_testI finally got to start spending time on the range with my copy in July… but, I was already hearing about hiccups from several other instructors whom I trust. When I test fired a couple of magazines through the gun at SHOT Show Media Day back in January,  I learned that I rode the slide lock on the gun and that it probably wasn’t going to be a primary choice for me in regard to defensive carry… but, I still had high hopes that the gun would be a good choice for others, especially those with smaller hands. The slim 9mm is a great concept for many people who don’t want to have to dress around their gun and the XD Series of firearms is known to be efficient and reliable. In this model, they also corrected the issue of the slide not moving when the grip safety isn’t depressed, which is  a huge move forward for them. The grip safety has always created an asterisk on the recommendation of XD’s for those whose hands they happen to fit very well.

As soon as I started shooting the XD-S, I ran into the same problem with slide lock. Of course, this isn’t an inherent design problem with the gun, it just meant that it wasn’t perfect for me. FWIW, however, I have heard XDS_newmay others report the same issue. Perhaps a smaller profile slide stop will be in the gun’s future?

As for shooting, the gun ran flawlessly under its own power… and that is the real test of a potential defensive firearm as far as I am concerned.  I even included a mention of my testing the gun in 2013 PDN Tour Update #12. After running about 400-500 rounds through it (some of which were fired by other people during training), I decided to formally run my preferred Defensive Firearm Torture Test for reliability:

200 Rounds of FMJ Immediately followed by 50 rounds of hollow point defensive ammo. Because the timing worked out, I taped this test for a future Personal Defense Network video as well. The gun ran through 200 rounds of Winchester white box without a glitch. I loaded up 3 magazines (2 standard, 1 extended) with Winchester PDX1 (my personal preference for defensive HPs), inserted one and racked the slide as I was talking to the camera about the continuation of the test and why it was so important to test a defensive gun with actual carry ammo. In fact, last year when I got my new Glock 26L, I wrote a short article that included a reference to my 100% Reliability requirement with HPs. As I was finishing my sentence and I released the slide, I felt the hiccup… the gun did not go into battery. I looked down and saw that the slide had moved forward about 1/4-1/3rd of an inch and that the front of the bullet was resting on the feed ramp. The XD-S 9mm had failed to feed the first round of the HP test. I was seriously disappointed. Being human, I immediately hypothesized that I XDS_failure1might have failed to rack the slide properly… maybe I didn’t pull back fully? Maybe it was the odd angle I was at while talking to the camera, but keeping the gun pointed downrange? Maybe I left my hand in contact with the slide as it started moving forward?  Maybe, maybe, maybe… but, there I was with a gun that didn’t feed the hollow point.

I commented to the video camera about the failure (eventually, you will see the vid at PDN…) and I  had someone take a couple of still pictures and then I got cleared the gun and started over. All 50 rounds round perfectly. I even stacked the rest of the test as much “against” the XD-S as I could… maxing the smaller magazines  (which should have the most pressure required to chamber the first round) and increasing the number of reloads with them by downloading the extended mag. Under its own power and during all of the other reloads the gun ran fine. So, the big question: Does the 50 round HP Test with 100% reliability start after the gun is first fully loaded with the ammo or as gun is being loaded with the first rounds? I never had to think about that before. Also, it is important to note that another shape HP may not have had that hiccup. But, that hiccup was there. XD’s just can’t get away from having an asterisk on my recommended defensive gun lists!

Based on reports from other instructors and the one failure to feed, I can’t put the Springfield XD-S 9mm on the same level as a full size Glock, M&P or even the full size XD series guns. It shot very well, it feels good in my hand, others have performed well with it and it almost went through the 250 rnd torture test perfectly… but, almost doesn’t count in defensive handguns. Personally, I will not be considering the XD-S a carry option. I’m going to keep an eye it, bring it to the range for students to shoot and I might even shave the slide stop down a bit and keep shooting it myself at the range.

I like the idea of the single stack compact 9mm for high concealability and carry comfort with a reasonable amount of capability when the gun is actually needed, but I’ve yet to be incredibly impressed with any of the offerings in the category.

Oh Glock Model 9, Glock Model 9, wherefore art thou Glock Model 9?

 

-RJP

16 thoughts on “Springfield XD-S 9mm… T&E results.”

  1. Pingback: Rob Pincus reviews the Springfield XD-S 9mm... | The Gun Feed

  2. All guns except for Beretta M9s and 1911s fail to lock open for me if I shoot with a high thumbs grip. I don’t view it as a failure of the gun so much as a failure of the grip. I know most people don’t agree these days, but thumbs down equals fewer problems. And for me personally I have always found I can keep the muzzle down on target better, especially in a light gun with heavy ammo. With a 9mm, of course, it’s not so much of an issue.

  3. Bill Harrington

    I recently purchased the XDs .45 and I’m having problems with misfires. I’ve only put about 300 rounds through so far, and I’m hoping that once it gets worn in a bit more it may cure itself, but I’m not real happy about it. I love the feel of the gun and it shoots well, but 4 failures in 100 rounds because of light primer strikes doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I think my grip may be part of the issue as well, but I’ll keep at it and hopefully figure it out.

  4. Thanks for putting this together Rob… I’ve also been anxiously awaiting the XDS 9, so it’s good to see your opinion before I bought one. I agree with your thoughts on the single stack 9mm options. Any experience with the Kahr PM9? I’ve heard good things about it, but never shot one. I really want to like the shield, but I don’t like the manual safety since I’ve trained (and practiced) for so long with carry guns that don’t have manual safeties.

  5. Jonathan Rodriguez

    I noticed many of the same problems when I was firing this gun. I do have bigger hands and the slide lock didn’t stay open when out of ammunition. I was able to adjust my grip and got the slide lock ever time after that. But adjusting my grip on this gun was difficult, but it was possible. Now I can go through over 200+ rounds with almost zero errors.

  6. I’ve got the 9mm XDS and have “medium” hands I’ve had the Nano and the P938 and a few years back I had the Rorhbaugh in 9mm and must say the XDS in 9mm is my favorite of all the above – Oh did I mention I’ve got a P239 in 9mm that I love but the XDS is easier to carry and conceal.
    PS I’ve put approx 500 rounds through my XDS and it has not had any problems
    Al

  7. The S&W Shield is a great gun. It does have a safety but it is small and very stiff. I just leave it off. I would like to see Glock make a single stack 9mm.

  8. Pingback: Rob Pincus on the Springfield XD-S 9mm | Monderno

  9. Pingback: XDs 9mm Failure to Feed - Triangle Tactical

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  11. So I owned my .45 XDS for about 3 months before I heard about the recall. I sent them my gun on September 19th and still do not have it back. I just got off the phone with them and they said they’re hoping to have it to me by December 31st. To me, that’s ridiculous. I understand they have a lot of guns to fix and a government shutdown took place within that time as well but still. They shouldn’t have requested the guns be sent to them without having an idea of the problem and how to fix it. I mean they practically “owned” it longer than me already.

    I asked if I didn’t have it back before next year if I could just receive a new gun and they said that’s not an option. I loved my XDS while I had it and miss having it to carry big time but to me, about 3 month to fix a recall is a joke. I hope not too many other people are having such a pain with this as well.

    1. I have heard a lot of mixed stories about the times that returns have taken… BUT, everyone who has gotten theirs back that I know of has had very positive comments about the gun after being returned.

  12. Thanks for the data point. I’ve been torn between the XDS9 and the Shield for running (joggin) in my Pistol Wear PT-2 holster. Whatever I get will also serve as a backup to my new G19 (which Glock is currently repairing as I write this). My problem with the Shield is that I’m a right-handed lefty shooter, and I’d much rather have an ambidextrous gun if at all possible. I’ve heard people say that they’ve had to put hundreds of rounds through their XDS9’s before they smooth out. I’m wondering if increased reliability will result as well. I know that won’t help the slide stop issue, but I have average-sized hands (though I wear a large-sized glove), and keep my thumbs down. I just want a reliable single stack 9mm that’s quasi-ambi with 7+1 round capability. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think we’ll even see that with a Glock because it’s mag release will be switchable at best.

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  14. I’m surprised to hear this. I purchased my XDS in 9mm several months ago and have shot the heck out of it using a variety of HP’s without a single flaw including my reloads. Without hesitation I’d CCW my XDS 9mm.

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