Have you ever picked up a handgun and immediately liked it because it just seemed to fit your hand? If you like single-stack guns, then you might feel that way about the XD-S 9mm from Springfield Armory. There’s no arguing that it’s a small gun, but it still has most of the features of its larger siblings, except for the cocking indicator. And because it is a small, thin gun measuring only about an inch wide and 4.5 inches high, it is much easier to carry discreetly than many larger guns, all while being chambered in a real self-defense caliber.

Made in Croatia and distributed by Springfield Armory, the XD line was first introduced about a decade ago. Shooters liked it because it had a number of interesting and useful features, was comfortable to shoot and was user-friendly. The first guns produced were chambered in 9mm Luger; then .40 S&W and .45 ACP chamberings followed. A few years ago, Springfield Armory improved the XD with the XD(M) line, which made the gun even more appealing to shooters while retaining the features that made the XD so popular. Then last year, Springfield brought out a compact, single-column-magazine version called the XD-S, which was chambered in .45 ACP. It was quickly accepted by a market eager for small, easily carried guns, and now Springfield is offering the XD-S in 9mm, supplying users with more magazine capacity, reduced recoil and a more affordable round to shoot.
Note that in recent years, the 9mm cartridge has become more accepted as a serious self-defense round by people who carry handguns for a living. The days of full-metal-jacket round-nose ball projectiles have given way to highly engineered hollow-point bullets that behave quite differently when striking a target and have a much better record of stopping aggressive criminal behavior. As a result, even some die-hard .45 ACP advocates are switching to 9mm. Those improvements in terminal performance combined with the diminutive size of the Springfield XD-S make it a particularly interesting carry gun.

Perfect Nine
One problem with small guns that can be carried out of sight and have less likelihood of printing through clothing is that they have little handles and are hard to hold onto under recoil. Another problem is that they often have small or nearly nonexistent sights that are hard to see and align with the target…


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