Springfield XDS 45 Review: Part 1

Today I got my hands on the Springfield XDS 45, after a long, long wait I finally have the pistol I asked Mike Coker to buy me if he could at SHOT Show. I pre-ordered this pistol right when we first saw it at SHOT. My dealer finally got one! At a good price too after looking at the price-gouging going on with this model. So for $530 I brought home the Springfield Armory XDS 45acp. It is a SWEET little single stack subcompact. I’m the first guy in town to get a Springfield XDS and there’s a long wait for it here.

Let’s talk some initial impressions of the Springfield XDS 45. After recently having had it said I had my mind made up before my review I’ll cover that quickly. In the past I have had some idea of what was going to happen before I tested stuff – who wouldn’t? If you have done any shooting at all and have some experience with different things oftentimes you can guess pretty well what is going to happen. I write these articles with no bias though. Even when I’m prepared to dislike something I state that clearly in the review. Look at the AK-47 and Smith M&P reviews of mine. I told you flat out I didn’t like them but I do factually review products whether the results support my opinions or not. I wanted that AK to jam but it didn’t and I told you so. I’m not paid for this and whatever happens I tell you. I have nothing to gain by misleading anyone. That having been said I am totally prepared to LOVE this gun. People who know me know I swear by the XD line. I think XD’s in general are the handgun to end handguns (for me at least). If the XDS acts up in any way you will hear about it.

Springfield XDS

Springfield XDS

First impressions: It’s a beauty! She just looks really nice. The gun has a nice shape and a good feel to it. I have very large hands and it, like any other single-stack subcompact, tends to roll around in my hand a bit. No different here but I think that most  people won’t have that problem.  The Springfield XDS 45 just has a good feel to it.

The front fiber optic sight (red) shows itself well and was easy to track. White dots in the rear. The grip serrations are nice, similar to the XDM style not the standard XD serrations. The mag release in ambidextrous, the mags drop free. The springs in the mag are good and strong. I suspect they need to be because of the short, fast-cycling slide. The gun is a tad stiff as far as the mag release and slide release goes but I figure they will loosen up a bit after a few rounds and mag changes.

She came with all the usual stuff in a nice hard case with a holster, mag pouch, paperwork, lock, that sort of thing. I like the holster, I’m pretty sure it’s a Fobus as it is made in Israel (but is marked Springfield Armory). It is also marked 45/40/9mm so I’m sure the other two calibers will be along soon enough! The holster is adjustable for tension which I like. You can get that perfect spot where it stays put but draws easily.

The feed ramp is mirror polished. I always polish feed ramps in nearly everything I buy but no need here as it was perfect from the factory. The trigger is better than any XD I have bought so far. Springfield removed the “mush” in it! It is crisp and clean. I am thrilled about that. So far I am loving this pistol.  The Springfield XDS 45 engineers got this right.

Springfield XDS

Springfield XDS

Shoot 1: 6-29-12. 95 degrees and sunny. It is my intention to get 500 rounds in this weekend before I post this review. I just shot the first 170 rounds. 100 rounds of 230 grain Ultramax, 50 rounds of Remington UMC 230 grain ball and 20 rounds of Hornady 200 grain XTP hollowpoints. As I suspected the mag and slide release buttons loosened up quickly. They are smooth as silk now. The pistol fired flawlessly, no malfunctions of any kind. No hint she even thought about it. This girl has some ejection! I tell you I was walking all over picking up brass. Some of them were twenty feet away. Most were roughly twelve feet from me. Kicks the empties out well and feeds smoothly. The recoil is VERY manageable. I expected worse. The groups with the Ultramax were good, same with the Remington. 230 grain ball with both brands were printing 3-4 inches shooting fairly fast at 15-20 yards. Oddly the premium Hornady 200 grain didn’t shoot as tight. I don’t really care, I’ll just try some Critical Defense for a carry load next time out. This pistol is accurate. No doubt about that. I was impressed. It’s also very pointable. I ran several drills where I just drew and shot without using sights. Right where it needed to be. I’ll try some rest shooting later to see how tight I can group them but this first session was great. An awesome carry gun I think. Only cons I have is that six rounds go pretty fast and towards the end of the first hundred rounds I started to lose the top of my thumb and webbing in my hand to the slide, a little blood, no big deal. That’s common for me and small autos. Last it needs the rear sight drifted just a smidge. All rounds were hitting 2.5 inches left depending on range but elevation was perfect.

Shoot 2: 6-30-12. 91 degrees and sunny. Today we will shoot 100 rounds of American Eagle 230 grain ball and another 100 of Ultramax as well as 20 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense. I drifted the rear sight just a tad bit so we’ll see if it was enough. I’m also going to do some weak-hand shooting. Just back in and the rear sight still needs to be drifted a bit more. All ammo pretty much fired the same 3.0 – 3.5 inch groups. I was pleased with everything I fired. The XDS is definitely an accurate and consistent shooter. I’m going to draw the line at 390 rounds though. I lost more skin off the top of my thumb and I’m beginning to flinch. I don’t expect most will have this problem. Regardless, I still love the gun. You won’t need 100 rounds for a self defense situation anyways and it took 100 rounds or so for it to start tearing me up. Today it was flawless in operation as well. I really believe we have a winner here!Springfield XDS

Well let’s wrap this up. It was well worth the wait! AWESOME pistol. Accurate. I settled on the Critical Defense as my carry load. It’s small and thin: For a .45 REALLY thin at one inch. It was 100% reliable and smooth as silk after a few rounds. Best trigger in an XD so far and I have 7 others to compare it too. There’s nothing I don’t like about this little beauty. My regular carry Sig 290 just got a spot cleaned out for it in the safe. The Springfield XDS is a pocket powerhouse! Don’t be afraid to get one you won’t regret it.

As always thanks for reading and train often.

By: Cary Kieffer



8/18/12 Update: This pistol I think is my favorite one ever, 700 plus rounds down range and she is just perfect! So very accurate and user friendly. I see the 7 round magazines with grip extensions are now available so that’s something we’ve been waiting for. They come with two grip extensions, one for either backstrap you choose to you. So that’s pretty cool. They are available on gunbroker for $31 and some change. That’s pretty good considering most places are asking $47.99. Either way it’s a ridiculous price but $14  is $14. Three of them to my door were $109.90 with shipping. So check out Last I set mine up with TruGLo sights and they are awesome. Standard XD style from Botactical for $79.99. Fiber optic AND tritium rolled into one. You’ll love them.



17 Responses to Springfield XDS 45 Review: Part 1

  1. Ed Manning says:

    Wow, great little pistol. Just got one for 450 out the door with 4 extra mags and a holster from SA rebate. I have had two XD’s before one being a SA custom shop 5.25 XDM from Dawson Percision that I should have never got rid of. They rank up with the HK polys in my book.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Hi Ed, thanks for commenting and congrats. I shot a little bit of 45 Super out of mine one day awhile back. The gun is tough and will take the beating but she was SNAPPY and didn’t make much sense to load for carry or HD. It was fun to try out but it’s not like standard 45 acp hollow points won’t do the job and with obviously faster followup shots. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  2. Thomas says:

    I was looking for a compact 45 cal I settled on the XDS Springfield in 45 cal.. I traded my Springfield 1911 (A1) in 45 cal the military parkarized version got 260.00 on a trade in and paid the balance with tax of 265.00 for the XDS I have not fired it yet, but have chambered a few rounds and I agree on the postings about half racking the slide I did this the first time and the round did not chamber.. It loosens up after a while.. I cannot wait to take it to the range.. I will post a follow up after firing it.. I feel it will be a great choice for my carry weapon…

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Hi Thomas, I agree it’s a great choice! I just had a girl at work ask me about picking a carry gun and I went through all my recommendations from 380 acp, 9mm, 40, 38/357 and of course 45acp. The XDS 45 is the top choice on my 45 list. I’m sorry to say I’ve gotten quite lazy…these days 99.8% of the time I’ve got a Glock 42 on me, a nice little gun but not near the potency. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  3. 719bloodhound says:

    I picked up an xds this past Saturday for a new conceal carry got some hornady critical defense for ammo got my mag loaded up and went to chamber a round and no dice, pulled the slide back again and again it does not chamber fully tried it with two different manufactures of ammo same result. looked at the case and the rim was destroyed from the extractor. looked around on the net seeing if anyone else had any issues and it looks like it is a common issue. Sent it back to SA yesterday and so far they are blaming it on operator error. Not to happy

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      I’m sorry you got off on a bad foot with the XDS. I know what your saying though because I have seen other shooters have the same trouble with my 2 guns. I agree with the factory. …it is operator error. People have a tendency to half rack the slide and then blame the gun. It’s a slim slide…new gun…strong spring…you have to work the action with authority till she loosens up a bit. My guns are fine but I see people do the same thing with them….I agree with Springfield on this one. Get your gun back and use a bit more muscle on it. Its probably just fine, once you get a few rounds down range it loosens up. Thanks for stopping by TGR.

  4. Peter Sharman says:

    Great review! I got the XDS .45acp, comes with all the goodies just like my 3 XDM’s. Shot it 2 days ago. 50 rounds of 230gr lead round nose reloads with 6.0 gr SR 7625 powder, then 6 rounds of 230 gr hollow points of Corbon and Critical Defense. Great shooter! Zero problems! My new main carry gun! Also got the Pearce 5 round mag extensions for extra finger grips. I LOVE THIS GUN!!!!

  5. Gary says:

    This XD-s is a game changer in the .45 compact world. Yes, the capacity is low, but, if you know that most “shootings” or self defense situations occur within 7 yards, and you know how to handle your weapon, 6 or 8 rounds of proper .45 cal. will do the job.
    Pearce has the 5 round mag. extension for this model. I have them on my 5 rounders and they are perfect. Get all 3 fingers on and that is a big difference when shooting this pistol. And the 7 rounders aren’t so bad either.
    I also have a 3″ XD 9mm with the Pearce mag. extneders. Perfect again for a nice “fit” for a larger hand.
    XD’s are about as good as it gets for ergonomics, accuracy, reliability….worth the price…always!!

  6. springer says:

    Walked in a downtown gunshop in Macon Sat. afternoon about 2:10. Looking for something like the Colt New Agent 45 acp or the CZ Rami 2075 40 cal. Didn’t want a 9 mm. Wasn’t expecting to buy another 45 acp. Just bought the Desert Eagle C 45 acp. Awesome weapon. Wanted something a little smaller with a punch. Was about to leave when the gun dealer showed me the Springfield XDS 45 acp. Had looked at this pistol on the internet the night before. Wow, Wow, what a beautiful gun. Only had one. He doesn’t have it anymore. Can’t wait to shoot it. Wow. Oh yeah, there is a back order of 3 months or more. Paid $509. Wow.

  7. Fileobrother says:

    Great review! I have been looking for a subcompact or at least something more concealable than my duty weapon(xd.40). I was looking at the glock27, the s&w bodyguard, and the ruger lcp. I’ve never owned a .45, but I feel like this would make a nice addition to my armory. On the issues with your “slide tattoos”, I find pointing both thumbs downrange, rather than crossing them, keeps my thumb out of the way. As for the webbing of your hand, was it just quick drawing that put it in the way?

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Thank you, I appreciate that. It’s a great pistol. I do LOVE it! I very highly recommend it. As far as the tattoo’s, I do shoot with thumbs forward I just have very large “meathooks” for hands 🙂 This one isn’t bad at all for biting me right off the bat. It took awhile for it to start getting me. Possibly I was getting fatiqued or sloppy..It was a long day out there. In all I don’t worry about it. Be sure to read part 2 of the XDS article. I loved it so much I did a follow up. Use the search bar if you don’t see it. Take care. C.

  8. Jim says:

    I have an XDS and love it too. Do you have part numbers for the Tru-Glo sights?

  9. Huck Thieken says:

    Where can I purchase an XDS .45 for $530.00?

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      My dealer is pretty nice to me. After 200ish gun purchases and untold amounts of other stuff…ya know the whole customer loyalty thing..I can see what they will do on one with a transfer to your ffl if you want. Otherwise I would watch early on monday mornings for one ending then.

  10. CinSC says:

    Great review.

    Your weak hand target is very interesting. It looks like you’re clustering very evenly around point of aim while your strong hand targets are pretty consistently left and low (exactly how I shoot). I’ll have to try that!

    • cary kieffer says:

      CinSC, I “kentucky windaged” that weak hand shooting pictured. Thats why it ended up more centered. I was still left shooting POA weak handed.

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