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    Gun Test: Springfield XD-S 4.0

    The Springfield XD-S 4.0 is a variation on the Springfield XD—a popular and proven firearm. The XD-S is a good concealed carry handgun with the same action and features as the popular XD but enough differences to give the XD-S a distinctive character. The grip treatment is much different and offers plenty of abrasion. The XD-S .45 ACP version may sting the hand a bit, but it offers real power in a compact package. The XD-S 9mm version is more controllable and offers more rounds in the same compact package.

    Springfield XD-S 4.0 with stainless steel slide right profile
    The author prefers the corrosion resistant stainless-steel slide.

    The original version is a 3.3-inch barrel pistol that rides light on the hip and is easily concealed. Springfield also introduced a 4.0 version. This pistol features a 4-inch barrel. I have always liked the CCO version of the 1911, a pistol with a 4-inch or Commander-length barrel over an Officers Model frame. It wasn’t a stretch to acclimate to Springfield’s XD-S 4.0 9mm.

    I like this pistol better than the original XD-S 9mm as a shooter and find no problem in concealing the 4.0 version. While the pistol must stand on its own merits, when comparing it to other similar sized 9mm handguns, the Springfield XD-S has features that push it to the top in any fair comparison. While it may seem counter intuitive to add .7 inch to a purpose designed concealment pistol the results are clear- the XD-S is an easy handgun to shoot well.

    Springfield 4.0 for Concealed Carry

    First, let’s look at concealed carry. The relatively small grip isn’t difficult to conceal and not likely to print on clothing. The slide may be concealed in a proper inside-the-waistband holster. The extra .7 inch of slide doesn’t bother me and makes for a good balance, rigidly contained in a Galco IWB holster. If I were carrying appendix style, I might opt for the shorter original 3.3-inch barrel XDs, but then I may not. It depends on clothing and style.

    sight picture of the Springfield XD-S 4.0 pistol
    The Springfield’s sight system is well designed. Note the serrated rear sight and fiber optic front.

    With an IWB holster, the extra barrel and slide length aren’t noticeable. With the OWB, perhaps, but wearing the pistol on the belt is less desirable than a holster that conceals the slide in the pants. This allows carrying a more formidable handgun. And the 4.0 pistol does shoot better than the 3.3-inch barrel handgun.

    The pistol is offered with either a blue or stainless-steel slide. Holsters are no problem. In a pinch, a Glock 19 holster fits just fine. The pistol is loaded and made ready like any other—insert the magazine and rack the slide, or the preferred insert a loaded magazine and drop the slide.

    There is no manual safety. The safeties are effective, but they work simply by grasping the handgun in a normal manner to fire. A lever is set in the trigger that prevents lateral discharge. As the trigger is pressed, this lever is pressed flush with the trigger. A grip safety must be depressed to release the trigger and fire the handgun. This safety is intuitive simply grasp the handgun in a firing grip, and the trigger may be pressed. If the pistol is dropped the safety is activated.

    Springfield XD-S 4.0 left profile with spare magazine
    The Springfield is more compact with the 7-round magazine in place.

    The pistol is supplied with a 7-round, flush-fit magazine and an 8-round extended magazine. Nine round magazines are available. The XD-S is supplied with a hard-plastic lockable box along with two changeable backstraps. My example isn’t supplied with a holster and magazine carrier, some versions are. Features include a fiber optic front sight and a rail for mounting a combat light. Overall, this is a formidable handgun for the price.

    The trigger action breaks at 7.8 pounds compression. This seems a bit heavy, but it is smooth and very clean. The trigger is as controllable as most six pounds triggers and feels tight.

    The Springfield isn’t a large handgun, but it handles well and has a good natural feel. The trigger was the primary concern. While it could not be classified as a light trigger press, the trigger has a rapid reset. I found the pistol fast on target, and center hits were not difficult at 5, 7, and 10 yards. While the extra .7 inch of slide adds only two ounces to the total weight of the handgun, it makes for good forward balance and enhances recoil control.

    I began the test with a handload comprised of the Hornady 124-grain FMJ over enough Unique powder for 1,050 fps. Every 9mm in the world feeds this load—if it feeds anything! The pistol is fast on target and controllable in rapid fire. It was no problem to center punch the target at 5, 7, and 10 yards.

    Trigger lever safety on the Springfield XD-S 4.0 pistol
    A lever, set in the trigger face, prevents lateral discharge.

    Next, I moved to proven personal defense loads. The Hornady 115-grain XTP has given good results in firing test as well as penetration and expansion. The XD-S fed this load well. I also tested the 115-grain Critical Defense. The Critical Defense is a good choice for civilian defense. This design features a plug in the nose that instigates expansion in a different way that a hollow sump as used in the XTP. While either offers good wound ballistics the Critical Defense may plump up more and penetrate a bit less.

    Springfield Armory XD-S 4.0

    • Manufacturer: Springfield Armory; (309) 944-5631
    • Action Type: Recoil-operated, semi-automatic
    • Caliber: 9mm
    • 7, 8, 9 rounds

    I like to perform a wide-ranging test for validity. In the 9mm, the tests included 147-grain loads. I used the Speer Gold Dot 147-grain load. Recoil was modest and the load burned clean. An interesting load is the Federal Deep Penetrating Hydra-Shok. This 135-grain load is designed for those who need greater penetration. An example might be those who may face heavily bundled felons during the winter months and may need a deep-penetrating bullet with good wound ballistics. The Federal Deep load is reliable and accurate enough for personal defense.

    The Springfield XD-S 4.0 is a good handgun that I like very much. The balance is good, the longer barrel handles recoil well and gets the last bit of velocity out of personal defense loads. The XD-S 4.0 9mm is a viable choice for personal defense.

    As for absolute accuracy, I fired the Hornady 124-grain XTP and Speer 147-grain Gold Dot from a solid bench rest for accuracy. I fired at 15 yards. The XTP went into 2.6 inches, the Gold Dot 2.4 inches. That will service for personal defense.