You’re under low-light conditions, the pressure is on, and you have to get your sight picture quick. Even with white-dot sights it takes time to get that all-essential alignment before pulling the trigger. For most situations, a slide with the now very common matte black finish works great. Combined with polymer-framed guns like the new Springfield Armory XD-S, black on black is regarded as an ideal pairing, especially with Springfield’s durable Melonite-coated slide surface. But Springfield has also made a practice of offering their XD series guns with a matte stainless steel slide, or Bi-Tone finish. What a stainless slide brings to the table, however, is more than just looks.

Outside of giving the micro-compact .45 ACP an even more distinctive appearance, the Bi-Tone finish offers a durable and wear-resistant surface that is harder to scratch. (While intended for long-term durability and corrosion resistance, matte black can show marks and wear more easily.) From a functional standpoint, stainless offers a quicker visual capture of matte black low-profile sights when compared to finding the edges of a matte black sight against a matte black slide. This is made even easier with the XD-S’s excellent white-dot rear sight and red fiber-optic front sight. The same applies to the loaded-chamber indicator, which is easier to see against the stainless steel slide.

Black on black isn’t always the best solution for a tactical handgun. Of course, the one drawback is that, under certain situations, a stainless steel slide is easier for the enemy to spot. There are always pluses and minuses when it comes to finish, but fortunately the folks at Springfield Armory are now offering the XD-S both ways. For more information, please visit or call 800-680-6866.

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