I have been carrying the XDs 3.3 .45 ACP pistol for a while now (see my review @ http://guntoters.com/blog/2014/05/25/baby-boomer/). For me, it is the perfect pistol for my needs; deep concealment and a powerful package to throw big bullets at bad people when they are trying to kill me or mine.
I had purchased my XDs 3.3 just shortly before Springfield introduced the 4.0 version of the pistol. It was bad timing on my part because I had just warmed up to having a compact .45 ACP to replace the Bersa Thunder 45 Pro that has been my companion for quite some time.
It was a struggle deciding whether to move back to a 1911-style pistol or move on to a more modern striker-fired pistol. I did not care for the Glock G36, as it is a stubby little thing. I was actually hoping that Ruger would introduce an SR45 compact, but they have not and maybe will not. There are, of course, many compact striker-fired .45 ACP pistols on the market, and I have shot more than a few of them. Some I have liked. Some I did not like for various and sundry reason.
About the time that I had decided to find the Springfield XDs 4.0 45, a short bout of unemployment hit me and money, obviously, had to be diverted elsewhere than a new firearm. Fortunately, I have come across employment (at least for a while) and a celebratory firearm was in the cards. Since there was a yearning for the Springfield XDs 4.0 45, it would only make sense that I would follow my yearning.
I did my homework on the WWW and Hickock45 had a video on the 4.0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhWRs5sMKWM&list=UUvB3solmhqtgDeLpD-yTtfg). Of course, I had to watch it. I then read reports on it and how it compared to the 3.3 version. Everything looked and read favorably. I even down-loaded a picture and made it my wallpaper. I had the specs and, essentially, I was looking at a longer version of what I already had. Nothing to get excited about, but I was. Not only was the die cast it was hardened.
As I entered a local gun shop, I questioned my sanity about purchasing another firearm, especially one almost identical to one I already have. I once thought about just buying a complete upper for the XDs 3.3, as the 4.0 and the 3.3 use the same frame. I found out quickly that this was not a good option due to availability and price. For a few dollars more, I could have a complete pistol. Why bother? I didn’t. The XDs 4.0 45 was in the cards and I succumbed to the deal.
I looked around the gun shop before I actually went to the counter. A sale on M&P 15s and Bushmaster was ongoing. A Rock River Arms AR10 caught my eye and soon lost it in the glare of the price tag. My evil twin was screaming, “You need this Gun. Buy it!” Even with the din of tinnitus in my ear, I could hear the voice. Actually, it was the nice lady at the counter. “Can I help you?” she asked. “I know that you don’t have one, but I am interested in the Springfield 4.0 45”, I hesitantly said. Her finger pointed to the guns that were lurking below the glass counter top. “We have the 3.3 and the 4.0’, she exclaimed. She then asked, “Would you like to see the 4.0?” It was down hill from there. Once I laid my hands on it, I knew there was no turning back.
As I picked up the Springfield XDs 4.0, the first thing that I felt was that it was barrel-heavy. The 3.3 version is balanced even unloaded, due to the short barrel. Fit and finish of the gun was, as usual, up to Springfield standards. The sales lady introduced me to the Springfield “Gear Up” program, which allows me to sign up and receive 3 magazines free and one magazine pouch – just for buying the gun. I had a similar offer when I bought my XD45 and this just gave me another excuse to buy the 4.0 (not that I really needed one). The magazines I would use. The magazine pouch not so much. She would also cut the sales tax in half if I paid cash. Essentially, I would be saving the credit card transaction fee.
Putting the display model back in the case, she left to retrieve my new baby from the back room. The gun package was inspected, a deal was struck, paperwork was completed, money changed hands, and I walked out with a new Springfield Xds 4.0 45. Life can be sweet, at times. Incidentally, one of the first things that I observed was that the Springfield XDs 4.0 45 comes with a 5-round magazine and a 7-rounds magazine with extension sleeve. The 3.3 version comes with two 5-round magazines. The 4.0 version also comes with an additional sleeve should I desire to add another 7-round magazine.
I left the gun shop and immediately drove to the range. Since I was carrying the 3.3 on me, this would be a good opportunity for me to compare the two side by side in a shootout.
Surprisingly, the range was not busy and I was able to be in a lane rather quickly after buying 2 boxes of 185-grain range loads and two IDPA targets. I unloaded my carry ammunition from the 3.3 and commenced to load the 3.3 and 4.0 from the same box of ammunition.
The worse that I can say is the best that I can say. Both the 4.0 and 3.3 version of the XDs 45 ran flawlessly. The 4.0 version does seem to recoil slightly less and have less flip of the muzzle than the 3.3 version. The 4.0 version, once loaded, looses some of the barrel-heavy feeling but the 3.3 feels better balanced, which is probably due to the more even distribution of weight.
The trigger of the 4.0 version feels the same as the 3.3 version. That says something about Springfield’s quality control, as both guns exhibit the same frame qualities. The trigger safety on the 4.0 version; however, had a barely perceptible click (more tactile than audible) to it when pulled rearward that the 3.3 does not. I actually like the click and might just miss it as the gun wears in.
As far as accuracy, the 4.0 did exhibit a slight improvement in accuracy over the 3.3. As I am used to the 3.3, I would expect the 4.0 version’s accuracy to improve the more I shoot it and the more the gun becomes broken in. Most of my shots were vertical from center chest to head with both guns at 15-yards. These guns have been sighted in correctly from the factory and both performed well with the 185-grain range fodder; however, the 4.0 version seems to prefer 230-grain ammunition better than the 3.3 version. The next session will be with my normal defensive carry ammunition. I am interested in seeing how the 4.0 version handles 230-grain ammunition, as we are in “Commander” barrel length spectrum.
From the holster, I can’t detect any slowness of speed getting the 4.0 version on target as compared to the 3.3 version. My holster for both guns is the IWB holster from SHTF Gear (see http://guntoters.com/blog/2014/06/02/xds-45-iwb-holster-by-shtf-gear/ for a review of this holster). The muzzle of the 3.3 version is even with the bottom opening of the Kydex shell; whereas, the muzzle of the 4.0 version protrudes just a bit more. The fiber front sight of the 3.3 version is within the Kydex shell; whereas the front sight of the 4.0 version is not protected by the Kydex shell. No matter, both versions are equally at home in the SHTF Gear IWB holster.
Of course, like its little brother, the 4.0 version is a single-stack that can utilize a 5-round or 7-round magazine. Some may say that is a drawback of such pistols. I carry with the 5-round magazine and I normally carry two, 5-round magazines in IWB magazine carriers for spares. That gives me sixteen rounds, which is actually more than a stoked Glock G21 or a Para-Ordinance 14-45.
The Springfield XDs 4.0 45 is a winner and a keeper for me. As Springfield puts it, “Choosing a handgun for concealed carry doesn’t have to be a series of compromises anymore. You don’t have to settle for a larger gun to gain shooting comfort. Nor do you have to sacrifice features for power. And you certainly don’t have to carry a gun to the store that you’d rather not carry to the range. Put an XD-S® Single Stack in your hand today, and you’ll want to shoot it. Put it in your holster, and you’ll find that it’s Noticeably Unnoticeable™.”
When I purchased the XDs 4.0 45, I was told about Springfield’s “Gear-Up” program by the nice sales associate that sold the gun to me; a free program where I could receive; two 5-rounds magazines, one 7-round magazine with sleeves, a mag carrier, and a case for storage. I expected a turn-a-round time of several weeks; however, I received the “package” a week after I had registered on-line for the program. A great value, to be sure!
Read more about the XDs Series @ http://www.springfield-armory.com/xd-s-series/
Range day and a total of 150 more rounds were put through the XDs 4.0 45; the pistol has now sent 200-rounds downrange and all without any malfunction of any kind. By the last 50 rounds, I noticed that the rounds were impacting slightly left on the target; the rear sight had drifted slightly left during the course of fire. Luckily, there was a staff member at the range that is a gunsmith and he drifted the rear sight just slightly to the right edge of the slide. Problem solved.
At 15 yards, the XDs 4.0 45 definitely prefers 230-grain fodder, as 185-grain bullets were striking low on the target. The XDS 3.3 45, on the other hand, seems to prefer 185-grain ammunition at the same distance. I would not think that a minor difference in barrel lengths would make that much difference but, apparently, it does.
The target results shown, was the last target shot for the session. Tight double-tap groups were hard to manage but are obtainable if I do my part and grip the darn thing like I mean it.
I have to admit two things:
- The grip is extremely narrow, but I don’t want to add a grip sleeve. Even when shooting with padded gloves, the narrowness of the grip is evident. Someone with smaller hands than mine; however, may not have the problem with the grip as I have. I just feel as if I need to grip tighter than I would with, say, a 1911-style pistol.
- The gun (I) could use a set of Trijicon HD™ Night Sights. Although the shooting lane that I was on had adequate lighting, the red fiber front sight was no better than a standard 1-dot front sight. In bright sunlight, the font sight is easier to see but still lacks light-gathering capabilities and is probably due to its small size (or my eyesight).
The XDs 3.3 and 4.0 45, have a snap to them when fired. While there is barrel-flip, as expected with any lightweight pistol, it comes back quick. The major caliber of this pistol lets you know that you have launched some serious projectiles downrange. There is a difference; however, between barely manageable and very manageable. The XDs 45, in both versions, is very manageable.
The XDs 4.0 45 can fit into a cargo pant pocket without adding a lot of bulk; the 3.3 45 version more so. How many major caliber pistols fall into that category?
There is a lot of thought that goes into purchasing a sub-compact pistol (or any pistol, for that matter), and I like to think that when I look back with hindsight, my decision was a wise one. In the case of the Springfield 3.3 and 4.0 45s, it was a wise decision. I can’t always say that about other pistols that I have purchased in the past.
The Springfield XDs 45 is an utterly reliable and dependable handgun. Moreover, the pistol is easily concealed and carried. Capacity aside, I have confidence that this pistol will take care of business.