I bought a brand new Springfield XDs 45ACP pistol yesterday ($549), and wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences with it.
I have been rotating carry time between a Kahr CM9, MK9, and a Glock 30SF for the last several months. My main defensive pistols are Glocks (21Gen4 and 30SF). While the Kahrs are great to carry, I wanted as much commonality in action and trigger as possible. I considered a Glock 36, but find it just too big to ever carry in a pocket. The fact that the XDs almost mirrored the dimensions of the CM9 was very appealing to me.
This pistol is small. Smallest 45 I have ever laid hands on. Size wise for me, it is just tall enough in height that my pinky finger doesn't fall off the frame. I love that the magazines are flush with the bottom of the pistol as well - this really helps with the ability to conceal it. The very high undercut trigger guard helps in keeping a full grip on such a small pistol.
The overall build quality impression of the XDs is very good. The polymer frame is very nicely done, the grip texture is very grippy/aggressive, which aids in holding onto the gun during recoil. The polymer is perfectly finished - no little "stringers" of polymer coming off the rails like you will find in a Kahr gun sometimes.
The slide had some machining marks inside, both my gun and the display model at the store, so I guess it's normal. It doesn't bother me, but in comparison to a Glock, I have never seen machining marks inside of a Glock slide, so do with that what you will.
I like the melonite finish on the slide, it should hold up well to years and years of holster wear and abuse. The melonite on the barrel may not last forever due to the friction points, but that's okay with me. The barrel ramp itself was nicely cut and polished.
The XDs comes with two interchangeable backstraps, one large (installed on the pistol) and one small. I tried them both and prefer the larger one.
The XDs has a grip safety, which seems to be very responsive.
It also has a loaded chamber indicator, which I hate, because it covers part of the front sight when it's raised to indicate a loaded chamber. I feel Springfield didn't really think this one through.
The magazine release is ambidextrous, which is nice for me since I'm a lefty (I wish the slide release was this way also, but it's not). The mag release is a bit hard to push at first to drop a mag, but I think this will work in with use and maybe some lubrication.
The trigger pull is good. To me it feels more like a Glock trigger than any XD trigger I've ever felt - which in my case is a good thing, since I like Glock triggers and use them a lot.
The factory sights are nice, the rear is serrated and has two white dots, while the front is a red fiber optic. The picture is good and fast to acquire, but for a carry pistol I need to have night sights. I had a set of Meprolight Night Sights installed. The model for a standard XD fit perfectly in the dovetails and sight height(s). They are an improvement, but after shooting with them and the LCI issue, I already ordered a set of Trijicon HD night sights to put on, as I think I will like these even better, and the larger front sight with tritium and yellow ring will be easier to use in spite of the LCI.
After buying the pistol, I went down to my local indoor range and fired off some rounds. I was about an hour from home, so didn't take the time to strip and clean the pistol like I usually do, and I wanted to see how it would work in sub-optimal conditions (right out of the factory box with all the gunk included). I fired 50 rounds of WWB 230gr FMJ, and 20 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 185gr JHP - just what I happened to have in my truck at the time.
This little gun has a lot of it. It is significantly more than any other small 45 I have fired before (G36, 220C, G30, PM45, 3" 1911, etc.). You have to maintain a tight grip on the gun, and lock your arm in place for the best results. With that said, the recoil while substantial, is not objectionable to me. After 70 rounds I could feel it in the palm of my hand and in my forearm, but it's not that bad. It is what it is, and this is no target pistol anyway - and the recoil won't deter me from training with it.
I shot at 10 yards, and will let the target speak for itself. I'm pleased with it.
All rounds fed and ejected with no issues. Ejection was fine, all pretty consistently high and over my shoulder, none to the face, which is good. However, several times throughout the session, I experienced issues where the slide missed going into battery by probably 1/8" or less. A couple of times I caught it and nudged it forward and all was good. A couple of times though I did not notice it and pulled the trigger to a 'click'. I dropped the mag, re-cocked the trigger with manipulation of the slide pushing the round and slide all the way into battery, reinserted the magazine, and it fired and cycled fine.
Some will poo-poo this from my description of the experience here alone.... "I wouldn't trust it, send it back, springfield sucks, etc." As for me, I am not worried about it. The gun is pretty tightly built, was not lubed or cleaned first, and it was the first time I had ever shot it, so I am not surprised by what I experienced, nor do I consider it a failure. I have had several Kahr guns in the past (P380s, PM9) that did this a lot in the first couple hundred rounds and then were fine. Some guns simply need broken in. Also - the XDs probably would run much better with a proper and liberal lubrication and cleaning out of the factory gunk.
Field Strip & Clean:
After getting home, I did a field strip and detailed cleaning of the pistol. I racked the gun 200 times and worked the slide/frame together with no springs 100 times as well. I lightly polished (elbow grease) the contact points where slide/frame interact to aid in full movement into battery, as well as the already polished barrel ramp to help the rounds move up into the chamber. I lubed it very liberally with FP10 on the barrel, and the slide rails and contact points. It works and moves very slick, and I think my next range session will be 100%.
This gun does fit nicely in a pocket carry role using a Desantis Nemesis holster. I tried in cargo shorts, and jeans, and it fits and is comfortable. It should really shine with IWB carry though. I ordered a couple of Garrett Silent Thunder IWB/OWB holsters for it already.
All in all - a gun that is this small and light, this accurate, and packing 6 rounds of 45ACP, in a platform that's trigger and operation practically equals my HD pistols - is purely perfect for me.
Here are some pictures comparing it size-wise to a Kahr CM9 and a Glock 30SF (using 9 round magazine).