The smallest semiautomatic .45 Auto ever developed; the XD-S 45 became the blueprint for the 9mm model that followed, and for the latest .45 ACP and 9mm models introduced this year Springfield has made several internal upgrades. While looking almost identical on the outside, there is a difference in the internal operation of the grip safety which has been redesigned along with the sear, grip safety spring and sear spring on these latest versions. Another minor internal upgrade has also improved trigger operation by smoothing out trigger pull. The only external difference, however, is a small roll pin added to the grip safety in order to distinguish the new models.
All XD-S semi-autos have two external safety mechanisms, the Ultra Safety Assurance or USA toggle trigger (which is what most semi-autos with blade-type trigger safety systems rely upon solely) combined with a secondary 1911-type grip safety. Both must be properly engaged in order for the XD-S to fire. Another advantage is that XD-S models will discharge a chambered round with the magazine removed.
While maintaining a reasonable 5+1 standard capacity in .45 ACP, as well as excellent weight and balance in the hand, reducing recoil was another objective, and the ultra compact XD-S 45 sets another standard here. Internally, the gun’s specialized recoil spring and plunger design help mitigate a significant degree of recoil one might expect from such a comparatively lightweight, polymer-framed handgun, making the XD-S more manageable and quicker to get back on target than expected, quicker in fact than many larger .45 Auto subcompacts.
The XD-S utilizes a striker fired system, which Springfield Armory has fine tuned to reduce trigger take-up and provide a short reset. Including engaging the blade trigger safety there is about 0.5 inches of travel and the trigger pull remains crisp and consistent with every shot requiring a nominal 6 lbs. 14 oz. average. This is slightly heavier than first generation XD-S 45 models and is a result of internal changes to the action. Nevertheless, for a striker-fired semi-auto it remains a comparatively light trigger with negligible stacking and over travel.
Watch the full video to see the details of the XD-S Series and a cold weather range test. Check out the full review in the May 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS!