SHOT Show 2012: Shooting the Springfield XD-S

During “Media Day” at SHOT Show 2012, I got to shoot some pretty awesome weapons — all of which I hope to eventually write about. To begin my series of short columns from Las Vegas, I want to let you know about a very surprising little gun from Springfield Armory. It’s the Springfield Armory XD-S single-stack in .45 ACP, and it makes me seriously contemplate opening my wallet.

The thing that stuck in my mind as I got briefed before shooting the weapon was that it is light — it’s 29 ounces with an empty magazine. I thought, “OK, a light little gun in .45 is going to be interesting for me” because I tend to not do well with that caliber in light-weight pistols. Man alive, was I wrong. There was very little felt-recoil in the gun, and even when I emptied magazine as fast as possible, I was steady on the targets downrange. The qualities I liked most about that firearm were twofold:

Highly concealable
Minimal recoil

Easy Gun to Shoot
After just three shots, I was immediately comfortable with the gun. I fired a single, and then a quick pair, and in each instance the sights came right back down on target with ease — the somewhat aggressive grip angle probably had something to do with that. But also, I think the slide might be particularly light, reducing the slide-induced recoil I’d previously experienced in small-frame .45 pistols.

I stopped by the Springfield Armory booth today to get some more information and Dave Williams of Springfield Armory explained, “It’s hard to get a gun that small to not recoil. ...the main thing is the way the barrel locks and unlocks.”

Did I mention that this thing is little? It’s very, very slim — at its widest point, it’s not even one inch wide — so I see this as not only nice back-up but also a great off-duty weapon or a good gun for retired cops carrying under HR-218.

I asked Williams if the company had contemplated a strategy for getting the XD-S into the hands of LEOs, and quite frankly, I was surprised by his answer.

“We built this gun not really considering law-enforcement only. We were considering concealed carry, which covers everybody,” said Williams when I visited with him this afternoon. “For a .45 it’s super-thin, super-short, easily concealable, controllable, reliable, and durable, which is a perfect situation for concealed carry.”

Williams didn’t say it, so I will. If you’re HR-218 CCW, the new XD-S from Springfield Armory is, in my humble estimation, a gun worth consideration.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, providing police training content on a wide range of topics and trends affecting the law enforcement community. Doug is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column, and has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips. Doug hosts the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, and is the host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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