The new XDs 9mm – Not buying into the hype.

xds16PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A RECALL ON XDs PISTOLS. PLEASE VISIT THE RUGER WEBSITE FOR DETAILS.

One day my local gun store tells me that they finally got a new XDs 9mm in stock. Good price too. I was tempted but did a little thinking before my usual impulsive, “I’ll take it” reply. I actually took my time to consider the wisdom of buying a new gun. I must be maturing in my old age. I already have a small 15 oz. Sig P938 that fits nicely in my pocket and holds 6 +1 of (or 7 +1) 9mm ammo. It shoots good and has excellent Sig night sights. Why would I want the XDs in 9mm? Well, because I own the XDs in .45 and it would be a nice companion gun. A little research though shows that Springfield simply took the .45 XDs and re-chambered it for the 9mm. And get this, the 9mm version weighs an ounce more because there is more metal on the barrel since its hole is smaller than that of a .45. Twenty three ounces for an unloaded “pocket” 9mm. What is wrong with the world when a so called pocket gun this heavy is all of a sudden a must have gun. It is almost as if no one is aware of the excellent and cheaper Kahr CM9, M&P Shield, and my favorite, Sig P938, all weighing much less. The Kahr and Sig are true pocket guns as they easily fit into all my pockets and in fact are kind of too small in some of them so that they move around a little.

Watch Hickok45 compare the 9mm XDs to the M&P Shield

I have pocket carried my .45 XDs (see update at end of this post) and it just about fits in my pocket but at 22 ounces and more when loaded with those fat .45′s, I had to wear my Perry suspenders or cinch my belt so tight that it was uncomfortable. On my belt it is so thin that it just melts into my side and I can wear a flimsy tee shirt and am good to go. Then again my HK P2000SK, that is a little thicker but weighs the same and holds 10 rounds, hides very well too in an MTAC IWB holster. Let’s face it, much is being made about gun thickness these days when the news is saying that most Americans are overweight. The only time a really thin gun makes a big difference is when a really thin person is carrying it. :-) At 6′ and 240 pounds I can even conceal my FTX-9 gun under a tee shirt.

To me a pocket gun is a gun that fits easily into your pocket and does not drag your pants down. The XDs barely fits and is best covered with an un-tucked shirt or else the butt of the gun can be seen as you move around despite buying pants with big pockets since I primarily pocket carry. So I am sitting here thinking that although the XDs 9mm is cool and new and all that stuff that matters these days, what does it give me that I already do not have. The answer is a smaller bank account. Why would I want to carry it over my 15 ounce Sig P938? I am not afraid to carry cocked and locked. Never saw an accidental discharge with a 1911 type pistol but saw plenty with striker fired guns. My Sig fits nicely into my pocket and I put some wraparound Hogue grips on it so that it fills my palm very well. Just a joy to hold and shoot. I have put 100 rounds through it during single range sessions and my hand was none the worst for wear.

I also do not understand the fascination with its width. After a certain point it really doesn’t matter. Does anyone think there is a significant difference between a 1″ wide gun and a 1.1 inch one? You would think so if you read all the marketing hype going around. Thin is great up to a point. My J-frame is not thin. It has a fat cylinder and yet it rides nicely in my pocket. My pockets are wide enough to accommodate it and my other pocket with wallet, keys, handkerchief and spare magazine is much bulkier. No one ever even looks at my pockets. I have had friends ask me where I carry the gun they assume I am carrying because they cannot see any sign of it. When I tell them my pocket, they are amazed. I even have a pocket holster for my HK P2000SK, a gun wider than a Glock. It fits but why pocket carry a 23+ ounce gun in my pocket when there are so many other lighter choices. Who cares if my other choice is a fraction of an inch fatter, higher or longer. It is not going to make one bit of difference to anyone except those who think so.

Just wanted to get that off my chest as there are so many videos and reviews out there now about the 9mm XDs and the mania is gripping a lot of gun owners. I can only assume that they are unaware of the other choices out there that may be a small fraction of an inch taller or wider but a lot lighter, and will ride much more comfortably in your pocket. I do not buy pocket guns to wear on my belt. I may carry them that way on occasion to fit the circumstances I am in, but they are primarily pocket guns. If I want a belt gun I want one that I can fit my whole hand on. My “fat” HK is more comfortable to carry on my belt than the thin XDs in my pocket. In fact, I am thinking of trading the XDs in on a different gun because I do not carry it often. If I want power I have my 11 oz. .357 but I am very comfortable with a small and light 9mm too.

What I really need and am lacking is a single stack 9mm that allows me to fit my whole hand on it without a grip extension. My Sig P938 is not bad as it came with an extended magazine that is barely longer than the flush fitting one but gives me one more round and barely a full handed grip. Still fits well in my pocket with the extended mag and that is how I carry it. However, I really would like a gun the size of a Glock 19 in single stack that is under 17 ounces. Glock would have a real winner with such a gun.  The only one I can think of is the Kahr P9 which I once owned and foolishly sold. It is flat and light and gives you a full sized grip that is not so big as to interfere with easy concealed carry. Putting a pinky extension is just not the same thing for me. I guess an EMP would do but they are pricey.

So I am sitting here with about 3 guns I hardly ever shoot that I can easily part with to obtain one or more new guns but cannot find a reason to part with them for the 9mm version of the XDs. Maybe it makes more sense to sell the .45 version and get the 9mm one since I already have three holsters for the XDs and not having to buy three holsters saves me a heck of a lot of money. Then again, I do not own any other .45′s and have a few hundred rounds of ammo. I can shoot the XDs .45 ACP very well but probably not so in the future as it does require a firm hand. I can only shoot about 30 rounds at the range until my hand starts shaking from the strain of holding it so tight. However, for defensive work I can easily handle two magazines worth of .45 so it is not really an issue and the gun was not bought for a range gun anyway.

Thin is in as the Kahr ads proclaim. However now they have a lot of competition which has forced them into producing cheaper versions of their guns simply by doing away with the non essential frills. At defensive distances a rifled barrel shoots just as well as a polygonal one for most of us. So the XDs is now available in gun stores and probably will sell well as there is not much of anything else for sale by a big name gun company. I have not seen a Sig P938, S&W 642 or Kahr PM9/CM9 on a gun shelf in a long time so just the availability of the 9mm XDs is in its favor. Plus it is the current “in” gun to get like the many before it that were hard to find and now sit collecting dust on gun store shelves because the next best thing has come along. For those like me, a 23 ounce gun is not a good choice for a pocket gun and a gun with only enough grip space for two fingers is not an ideal belt gun.  Then again, I am not easily swayed by mass marketing having a marketing background.

This is not a review as I never owned this gun but I do own the .45 version which is the same but lighter. :-)  I am sure that the gun is reliable, has a great trigger and would make an excellent gun for many. I also know that you can put an extended magazine with grip extension on it to give yourself a full fingered grip. However, with the exception of my HK, all such guns with grip extensions do not feel solid past the normal grip. They all tend to move at the bottom or catch my finger in-between the extended grip and regular grip. All I am saying is that I am a regular pocket carrier and this gun is not my cup of tea. I prefer Sig’s approach  to their P238/938 line by starting from a smaller caliber and upsizing just enough rather than Springfield’s start from a bigger gun and keep it the same size approach. However, Sig and others are also guilty of this by designing guns around the .40 caliber cartridge and then chambering it for 9mm. The Sig P229 is a good example. It is shorter than my P226 but is fatter because the P226 was a 9mm design while the P229 was initially made for .40.

In the end a gun can be a super shooter but we have to ask whether that gun fits the role it was designed for. Would you think a 36 oz. 3″ 1911 is a good gun just because it shoots well and is thin as compared to those weighing 28 ounces? That is the question here. Not whether the 9mm XDs is a good gun but rather whether a very small difference in thickness makes up for its greater weight compared to the competition?

UPDATE:  I have since sold my XDs .45 . I just want not carrying it much. In the end, my 11.4 oz. .357 snub nose became my big caliber gun. Yes it recoils a lot but I certainly can control it for 5 rounds and then a 5 round .38 spl +P reload. Big difference in comfort and I do not have to worry about making sure I have a very firm grip on the XDs in a situation where a very firm grip may not be possible. This in no way has anything to do with the 9mm version of the XDs but rather just an update as to what I said in this article about owning the .45 version.

 

 

21 thoughts on “The new XDs 9mm – Not buying into the hype.

  1. Just purchased the XPS 9 and could not be happier with the performance. Have been shooting pistols, rifles, and shotguns for 40 years and always enjoy something new and improved. Great pistol for the money and will be my main carry weapon.

    • Glad to hear it. For me a small gun is strictly for pocket carry within my retirement community and the XDs was too heavy for that in my case. My largest 9mm pocket gun is a full 6 ounces lighter and shorter. A tenth of an inch or so really does not matter in pocket carry unless you wear very tight clothes. My last encounter with an armed person made me wish that I had a proper fighting gun instead of a smell 9mm in my pocket. That scare was enough for me to carry either a Glock 19 or 1911 on my belt when venturing out from my retirement community. They are no problem to carry or conceal under my Florida tee shirts all year round.

      My main gripe was that Springfield took the easy and cheaper route by using a .45 frame for a 9mm gun that could have been much lighter.

  2. Cool! You fired a 100 rounds w/o feeling discomfort?! I have both the XDS .45 and a P938, so I don’t totally disagree, but 100 rounds w/o discomfort from the P938? Time to give up your macho card… Now, if you said a 100 rounds through the XDS .45, I might agree.

    • 100 rounds is standard for range visits. I do not consider it macho. It is normal but then again I have been shooting over 42 years and for fun shoot .357 magnums out of a 11.4 oz. snub nose, .44 magnum, .45 colt and .454 Casull. Recoil is not an issue for me plys my P938 has the rubber Hogue grips on it and I think it has mild recoil and will normally shoot all the 9mm I bring with me when I shoot it. Has nothing to do with being macho, just good recoil control and grips. :) For macho, try the .454 Casull out of a snub nose. That is being macho. :)

  3. I have to agree with the article. It seems that few are aware of all the other single stack 9mm’s out there that are lighter and that does count for carry comfort no matter how good the belt and holster are. Most gun owners I know just know about their own guns and the brands that are advertised in magazines. When I suggest a Kahr CM9, I get blank stares. When I tell them about the Kahr guns, it is like I have to convince them that Kahr is not a low quality gun manufacturer which is why they never heard of them. :) Mention the Sig P938 and no one I know has heard of it.

    I just think that the XDs 9mm is so popular because of marketing to the great majority of gun owners who have a limited knowledge of guns. Probably the same reason why so many bought that god ugly and impractical S&W Bodyguard .380 and .38 spl with the laser activation button that was hard to reach and press.

    Why such attention to a 23 ounce single stack 9mm when others are significantly lighter, puzzles me.

  4. I’ve resisted the new XD’s, and the S&W Shield.

    I have a Kimber Solo Carry that works well for a pocket carry, and an Ultra Raptor in .45ACP, both being used as EDC. Know a lot of folks bash the Kimber’s, but they work reliably for me. I recently bought another GLOCK (17) for a bed gun, (not that I needed it :), but I had a good supply of 9MM ammo, and two weapon lights, without a weapon to use them on. Also have four holsters that fit it, come to think about it. Problem(s) solved. Be safe.

    P.S. Appreciate the assistance getting logged on the other day. Computers are sometimes my enemy. LOL

    • A Kimber Customer Target Stainless 1911 was my first semi auto gun purchased for competition. I do own 3 Sigs and an HK but I own and carry revolvers much more.

  5. I was leaning toward the Glock 26 as my next pocket gun, but then remembered that they don’t like cast bullets, which is what I practice with. Thought I might like the small XD, but after reading your post, I’m not so sure. Being old, retired, and not rich, I’ll probably just stay with my J-frame Smith. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • I tried GLocks and Springfields and all the new and popular guns out there and I ended up going back to my J-Frames. Down here we have old codgers chasing away multiple armed robbers with an LCP so I am comfortable with a J-Frame. :-) No more magazines to buy and fail. No more spending hundreds trying to find ammo that does not jam in my gun. My J-Frames shoot anything I feed them and I do not have to worry about lubrication evaporating and testing them every other month to make sure they work. BTW, my last two new Glocks were bad out of the box and I got full store credit. The ones I had that were not bad out of the box were very reliable though.

    • Its all about preference. I think old timers are use to certain things and thats it. Lot’s of people are stuck in there ways. Don’t take peoples word on stuff go to the range rent the XDS when they have them again and if you like it buy if not don’t.

  6. I’m coming to this post a little bit late but I’m in the exact same situation. I own and carry and XDS45 but I’m selling it to a trooper friend of mine for a backup. I planned on buying an XDS in 9mm but I’m having second thoughts about it.

    I don’t plan on buying it for pocket carry. I’ve kind of give up on carry a small auto in my pocket. I’ve found a couple that fit, even the XDS will some of the time, but they just don’t draw we’ll out of the pocket. The top of the slide hangs up to easily. A J -frame is the only thing I’ve found that will draw reliably without going to a 380. I’m not comfortable with a 380. I haven’t had the opportunity to try a 938 but I can’t imagine it working better than any of the other small autos and man is it pricey. I’ll admit I’ve really been looking hard at it though. .

    So if the XDS isn’t a viable pocket pistol what is it? It weighs almost as much as a Glock 26 when both are loaded with flush magazines. It gives up 3 rounds of capacity to a G26. The XDS is very thin but if its going to be carried on the belt thinness may not be the best reason to buy one.

    I would really like to get to two pistols for carry. A reasonably sized compact or sub compact for “normal” carry and a pocket carry, probably a revolver, for when it’s really hot or I need to tuck in my shirt. Then I can focus my training on those two pistols.

    So I guess that’s a long way of saying I’m not sure if the XDS9 fits that role of every day IWB or not.

    One more thing about the weight. The XDS9 and 45 weigh almost the exact same when they’re loaded. Not sure if that means anything but thought I would point that out.

  7. I bought a Walther 9mm PPQ a couple of months ago, got around to shooting it Sat. finally. l think l made the right decision, any thoughts on this Cowboy.

    • Yes and I want one. I have been waiting for one to show up at my local gun store. It supposed to have a great trigger. I think the trigger is on the light side (just my preference) for a ccw but great for competition or the range, even for home defense. Did you get the M2 version or the original with the paddle magazine release? I have an HK with a paddle mag release and life it a lot. Easier for me to use once you get used to it but Americans want their mag releases where they expect them to be for consistency’s sake. Great gun and let us know how it shoots.

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  9. I have a Taurus 709 Slim that fits the 9mm need; it doesn’t have the greatest trigger, and could do without the safety, but the size/weight/grip/shootability areas are adequately covered. That said, if and when the S&W Shield becomes more available I’ll likely pick one up.

    • I had the Shield and liked it. Sold it to a friend whose gun broke and had little money for another. They are showing up pretty regularly now. There were two in my local gun store and I see them on the internet. If you search daily and wide, you can find them. That is how I found my last 3 guns. I ended up buying them online from places I never heard of before. Nice prices too and easy to buy online.

  10. You raise many good points about why the XDs 9mm is just ho-hum, especially when considering the competition. I just purchased an XDs in 9mm, so I feel a need to justify my purchase :)

    I am tall, thin, left handed, new to concealed carry, own one other pistol in 9mm (an XD), and reload 9mm.

    I’ve decided that I really like the XD series, including the grip safety. The nice thing about the grip safety is that it can be disengaged while reholstering by placing your thumb on the rear of the slide. This helps prevent accidents while reholstering that result in the dreaded glock leg. The only manual control required to operate the gun is the magazine release, and this is ambidextrous (I rack the slide by hand on a new magazine to load the first round). In my opinion, The XD series in general has struck the right balance between defensive pistol simplicity, practical safety, and ambi controls. I am not aware of any other pistols that strike this balance.

    After bying a hybrid IWB holster for my XD and wearing it around the house, I was not confident that merely shortening the grip (a la compact XD or XDm) would be enough to easily conceal it. I often dress in shorts and a polo in the summer, and my physique is not conducive to concealing bigger guns.

    I was seriously considering the Nano, the M&P shield, LC9, a Kahr, or just dealing with a thicker XDm compact, when I heard about the XDs 45. Being heavily invested in 9mm, I didn’t really want to pick up another caliber. I heard Springfield was working on the 9mm version, and I decided that on paper, this was the gun for me.

    I held on to one in the store and was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was to hang on to. I was prepared to deal with a smaller gun than it actually is. Some small guns have such a short trigger-backstrap distance that my trigger finger feels like it will get caught in the web of my support hand (big hands, remember) while pulling the trigger. Not so with the XDs – it feels closer to a full sized pistol.

    After putting about 150 rounds down range, I can report that it shoots very nice – almost better than my full sized XD. I am using the large backstrap, and I think that gives the gun a better natural point of aim in my hands. The falling plates were ringing impressively quick, despite the fact that I do not shoot for speed very often.

    So to me, the XDs in 9mm feels like the stars aligned and the gods smiled upon me and bestowed the perfect carry gun into my posession.

    • As I said, it is a good gun but after owning and carrying a Kahr PM9 and now a Sig P938, I find that I am more comfortable with a pocket gun under 17 ounces. With Hogue grips on my Sig, it fits my hand perfectly plus I like manual safeties per a previous post I made. Hey, I came very close to getting the XDs in 9mm but I just did not like the weight. I do not like to keep my belt tight due to GERD so I need lightweight pocket guns. :)

  11. Enjoyed this blog entry; this is my first time reading as I just discovered your site via a link. I just subscribed. As far as a single stack 9mm, I love my everyday carry piece, the Para Ordnance Carry 9 LDA…yes, they can be a bit pricey and not 17oz, but are light weight alloy…much lighter than the Sig p239 that I was considering…similar to the EMP…you can fit entire hand…perfect size and performance for my needs. Para USA makes several styles of single and double stack 9mm and 45…and they just revamped their entire line of pistols for 2013…and if you have never tried out the LDA trigger system, try one if you can…quite amazingly light double action 1911′s…just a thought

    http://www.para-usa.com/

    peace,
    brett

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    • You are right. Not a fan of the XDs in 9mm. I like XD pistols and recommend them to people who ask. Just not crazy about the idea of starting off a new gun line with a .45 caliber frame and then using it to chamber smaller rounds. I am trying to think of another gun model where the 9mm weighs more than the .45 and cannot think of one. I can understand the tremendous cost savings of using an existing design for new guns. Sig designed its P229 around the .40 and then chambered it in the 9mm which is why it has a larger grip than the P226. Just do not see why I would choose a 23 oz. gun over one that has the same barrel length and capacity but is 8 ounces lighter. Well I can see a reason and that would be less recoil. If you want less recoil you do not want a pocket gun. The XDs gun is barely a pocket gun and the only one that I had to make sure that my shirt covered the pocket. I would not carry it in my large pockets if I tucked in my shirt like I can my other pocket guns. However, different guns for different people so just because it is not my cup of tea means nothing other than it is not for me. Still is a good gun. I do not prefer Glocks but will never say that they are not good guns either.

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