I really wasn’t going to do a review on the Springfield XDs 4.0 9mm pistol. I had written a review on the XDs 3.3 and 4.0 45 (see, REFERENCES) and the XDs 4.0 9mm pistol is so closely related to the 45 version that I felt no compulsion to write a review of this pistol. Times and minds; however, change. There are a few notes regarding the Springfield XDs 4.0 9mm pistol worth mentioning.
Overall, the outside dimensions of both the XDs 4.0 9mm and XDs 4.0 45 are the same as are all the controls. I had this in mind when I took the XDs 4.0 9mm to the range for the first time. Performance is quite different in both pistols, aside from the obvious caliber differences..
Performance differences may be due to the thicker, heavy barrel or slightly heavier weight of the XDs 4.0 9mm over the XDs 4.0 45. Regardless, the XDs series of pistols are regarded as the heavier of many sub-compact pistols available. While heavy may not be desirable in a compact carry pistol, it is highly regarded when firing one.
The felt recoil of the XDs 4.0 9mm is vary light and manageable. The little finger of my shooting hand wasn’t all tingly as it is when shooting the XDs 4.0 45. Surprisingly, I did not miss the Pierce magazine Extender on the XDs 4.0 9mm; something that I use for the XDs 4.0 45.
Apparently, earlier deliveries of the XDs 4.0 9mm came with two magazines; a 7-round flush fitting magazine and a 9-round extended magazine. My particular pistol came with a 7-round flush fitting magazine and an 8-round magazine that Springfield calls their “Mid-Mag.” Why the change-up on magazines? I simply do not know. I do know that I favor the “Mid Mag” because when inserted in the magwell, the bottom of the magazine is at the bottom of my hand. To me, the entire pistol feels more like a “Combat Commander” 1911A1-style pistol with the “Mid Mag” installed. That fact pleases me because I always have had a fondness for the “Combat Commander”, having carried one off duty for several years as a LEO.
The “X-Tended Mag”, as Springfield calls it, adds two rounds to the initial load out of the pistol and in doing so extends the base of the magazine well beyond the bottom of the hand. While workable as a backup magazine, it would not be workable as a primary magazine for concealment purposes.
Since I bought the XDs 4.0 9mm when I did, I was able to take part in the “Single-Stack Summer” event that Springfield offered; three magazines (1 FLUSH MAG, 1 MID-MAG, 1 X-TENDED MAG) and a magazine carrier. While the double-pouch magazine carrier is a nice gesture, I won’t use it.
Even though the XDs 4.0 9mm is a sub-compact pistol, it is an accurate gun sans the usual challenges of a sub-compact pistol. Any small changes in grip will result in a round not going where you want it to. Like the XDs 4.0 45 version, you still have to bear down to get the pistol to act like you want.
The trigger is about the same on the XDs 4.0 9mm and XDs 4.0 45, although there does seem to be a slight difference in trigger heaviness with the nod going to the XDs 4.0 9mm. There is a slight take-up, a little heaviness, and then the trigger releases crisply with almost no over-travel. Trigger reset is very quick as are most Springfield striker-fired pistols. Personally, I like Springfield triggers. Some folks don’t like them and it’s all about personal preference. I also like Ruger SR triggers and Glock triggers. In fact, if a trigger helps the gun send out a projectile from the muzzle, they are especially enjoyable.
Aside from the sights, I really enjoyed the range outing the first time with the XDs 4.0 9mm. The pistol simply functions well and sends anything you want to feed it downrange without hesitation or problems – and we do like problem free pistols don’t we? The Springfield XDs is one pistol that I can purchase, take it home, properly clean and lube it, and put it in my favorite IWB holster with my favorite defensive ammunition and have total confident in it to perform should it be called upon to do so.
With regards to the sights, they are excellent with a two-dot rear sight and a fiber optic from sight. If you are colorblind, Springfield includes two pieces of fiber optic material; red and green, which can be used to replace the existing red front sight. Although I am not colorblind, I do prefer the green over the red as, to me, green is a little easier to pick up. I had night sights installed on the XDs 4.0 45 and I really like them in low-light conditions. They do; however, wash out for me on the range, but I have old eyes anyway. With that said, I may try the 24/7 Big Dot Tritium Express Set SI-0002S-5 on this pistol. I like the simple “Dot-The-I” sight and find them extremely fast to acquire over the 3-dot arrangement. Anything to help out old eyes in their time of need is preferable.
The XDs is +P+ rated but I prefer not to punish my pistols. If I really feel the need to push +P or higher pressure ammunition, I’ll opt for the next higher caliber in a pistol designed to handle a more powerful round.
The XDs 4.0 9mm does afford me; however, a less costly means of practice over the .45 acp version. Since the ergonomics of the XDs 4.0 9mm is the same as the .45 acp version, and 9mm ammunition is less expensive than .45 acp, I can practice more with the XDs 4.0 9mm than with the .45 acp version with less costs. Both versions of the XDs feel that same in the hand; albeit, a difference in recoil is evident.
The major challenge for me, with both versions of the XDs, is obtaining a proper grip on the pistols due to the thinness of the grips. What seems to work best for me is to lock the thumb of the shooting hand over the base of the thumb of the support hand. I found that with other gripping techniques (thumbs high, thumbs forward) I was flexing my hand as I was pulling the trigger. This of course, was throwing my shots off. By using the “locked thumb” method with the XDs, my entire shooting hand is locked with the exception of the trigger finger. Being that the XDs is a small pistol; I am at the first joint of my trigger finger when pulling the trigger. A person with small hands or short fingers; however, may find the XDs grip suitable for them.
The Springfield XDs line of pistols all have a grip safety that must be pressed in order to fire the pistol. Personally, I prefer an external safety (or two) on any pistol that I decide to carry for defensive purposes. A grip safety helps to ensure that you have a proper grip on the pistol when firing and also help to mitigate the possibility of a ND when holstering the pistol. My practice when holstering is to ensure that the trigger finger is clear of the trigger, and when the muzzle of the pistol is inserted into the holster to simply use my thumb to push down on the rear of the slide to complete the holstering stroke. Even if something impedes the progress of holstering the pistol (clothing getting caught up in the trigger guards, for example), the pistol will not fire as long as the grip safety is not pressed.
The XDs series of pistols provide a slim but powerful package. For the XDs 4.0 9mm, I’ll use the flush magazine for summer carry because it is easier to conceal the butt of the gun. In colder months, I can switch out to a longer magazine since I’ll be wearing heavier outer wear.
Will I switch from a .45 acp to a 9mm? I don’t see that in the cards. I enjoy shooting all calibers of handguns within my comfort zone (the .44 magnum is the upper limit of my comfort zone these days). The .45 acp is still my “go to” caliber in pistols and the .357 magnum is my “go to” caliber for revolvers.
The XDs is a fine firearm and I would not have any qualms about using is as my CCC (Constant Carry Companion) in 9mm or .45 acp flavors.
- The Springfield XDs 4.0 – Caliber Choice and Other Considerations: http://guntoters.com/blog/2015/06/21/the-springfield-xds-4-0-caliber-choice-and-other-considerations/
- Little Big Brother and the Baby Boomer: http://guntoters.com/blog/2014/09/28/little-big-brother-and-the-baby-boomer/
- Springfield XDS Series: http://www.springfield-armory.com/xd-s-series/
- XDs 4.0 9mm (Video Review by Hickock45): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yCrosm_voo
- XDS 4.0 9mm (Part 2 by Hickock45): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuferH4bro4
- XDs 4.0 9mm vs. M&P Shield (Video by Hickock45): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPEWaKevY8o
- Springfield Armory XD-S 4.0 Pistol – Concealed Carry Evaluation: http://www.ammoland.com/2016/09/springfield-armory-xd-s-4-0-pistol/#ixzz4JlWORAV4
- Springfield Armory XD-S 4.0 Pistol – Concealed Carry Evaluation: http://www.ammoland.com/2016/09/springfield-armory-xd-s-4-0-pistol/#ixzz4QGarKY4G