Springfield Armory XD-S Recall – Update & Review of Upgraded Guns
From Guns America: by Paul Helinski Editor, Gunsamerica Magazine & Blog- It was a huge surprise when this past Labor day weekend we started to hear that Springfield Armory had announced a recall on their XD-S series of concealed carry pistols If you are not familiar with the XD-S, it is a small, but not tiny, 45acp six shot, and this year Springfield brought out a 9mm eight shot, with the same external dimensions. The magic of the XD-S is ergonomics. The .45 shoots like a 9mm of any other brand, and the 9mm shoots like a .380 of any other brand. Springfield has never had a recall on any of their guns, so nobody knew what to expect. This article is something of an update, with the latest news, and we got to shoot a couple of the modified XD-S’s this weekend. An overview and review follow.
This past Friday, October 18th, Springfield started shipping back the upgraded guns from the folks who had sent them in starting that first week in September, when we first sent out our notification. The guns will be upgraded in the order that they were received. Denny Reese, the Co-CEO of Springfield explained what’s going on with the upgrade process in an interview on Friday.
“We really feel for our customers who have sent in their guns and have been patiently, waiting for their return. We are doing our best to not only get the guns back quickly, but also to make sure that your XD-S is the same great reliable gun that it always has been. We genuinely thank everyone who sent them right in, and we will be working around the clock, literally three shifts, to get them back to you. By next week we should be able to update everyone through the SpringfieldRecall.com website as to what the average turn around time will be in the future.”
I have personally carried the XD-S .45ACP from our first article on the gun since back in June of 2012. You will see my holster worn gun in the pictures. For me, as an XD-S devotee, I have to ask the question, “why should I send the gun in when there is nothing wrong it from what I can tell?” From my initial tests, this modification to the gun is an actual upgrade. I shot it better. Plus, though I personally have not had any problems with my gun, Springfield would not have gone through all of this difficulty for themselves if there wasn’t a genuine safety concern.
“We want everyone to send their guns in,” explains Denny. “The guns will truly come back to our customers better than they left. The biggest concern we have heard from people is they are worried that we are going to install a ‘bandaid fix.” The new parts are a true upgrade, and new design is extremely simple. Yes, from a safety perspective, we have erred on the side of caution in announcing a recall. However the safety of our customers is everything to us here at Springfield Armory, and this upgrade makes the XD-S a better gun, and a safer a gun. The trigger pull is slightly smoother, slightly heavier, and everyone who has tested the upgraded gun says that they shoot the XD-S better with the upgrade, and that it is more accurate as a result. ”
Visually the “upgrade” to the XD-S amounts to a roll pin in the grip safety. Inside the pistol there are 3 other upgraded parts, the sear, the sear spring, and the disconnector. On field stripping, nothing is different at all. I am personally not a tinkerer, so I will most likely never take apart the insides to see what they actually did that is different in the guts of the gun. My XD-S is the only gun I carry now. It is the only semi-auto that I have ever carried that always fires the whole magazine regardless of how long it has been since I cleaned out the lint from my pocket. I was as concerned about sending in my gun for the upgrade as everyone else. But now that I have seen the changes and felt the changes I will be sending my guns in immediately (I bought the 9mm from our review as well but don’t carry it).
As to Denny’s claim that the XD-S shoots better, I agree. The groups you see here in the pictures were the best examples I took from over 200 rounds in each gun. Most of my shooting was with range rounds, mostly milsurp and Speer Lawman. Both my rested and offhand groups were smaller with the upgraded guns. They weren’t drastically different, especially offhand, but as a whole the upgraded groups were smaller, with much fewer flier shots. The targets I picked for the pictures were shot with Hornady Critical Defense, which has always been my best performer in the XD-S.
When you get your gun back, don’t be surprised if you don’t feel that the trigger pull is heavier than when the gun left, even though it technically will be. I had to put my digital trigger gauge on the upgraded guns, because side by side I felt that the difference wasn’t something you would notice. The gauge measured slightly over ½ a pound difference. So far I have blind tested five people to dry fire both the orignal and upgraded guns, and none so far have been able to tell any difference in the pull.
As a side note, because so many discussion board “experts” skip over this. a heavier trigger pull isn’t the worst thing when talking about striker fired guns. Everyone’s biggest complaint on striker guns is that the trigger is too light, when compared to a double action/single action semi-automatic or a double action revolver. Some worry that a light trigger results in accidental discharges, though in practice they are infrequent. The XD-S upgrade only adds about a ½ a pound of trigger pull to the gun, and I think the trigger is a little smoother. The upgrade also does not effect the reset length, which is just over 1/10th of an inch on the XD-S. Side by side, besides the trigger pull, the only physical difference I could ascertain was that the grip safety seems to allow the trigger to fire a little bit earlier.
If you were planning to buy an XD-S in the near term, you will be able to tell if the gun is upgraded by the added roll pin in the grip safety. Springfield has notified their dealers of the details of the recall. This upgrade is not an intermediate fix just for existing guns. The exact changes and parts are going to become a permanent part of the XD-S engineering and production, so there will be no difference in upgraded guns and new guns going forward. For now the efforts at Springfield will be to get the customer guns upgraded of course, and that work will be done at the Springfield plant in Geneseo, Illinois. New XD-S pistols will then be coming back to dealer’s shelves.
I live in Miami. Concealed carry isn’t a joke here. Our evening news has really bad stuff in it almost every night. My XD-S is the only gun I keep loaded and with me at all times. I stake my life and my families lives on that little gun, so this recall was a big shock. I’m sure it was for a lot of other people out there too, because all of us XD-S owners love them so much. If you ask me what has made the XD-S such an over the top successful gun it is that when you shoot it, and you see how well you shoot it, a certain confidence settles into your perceived ability to protect yourself. Springfield Armory has my confidence that the upgrade will make my XD-S safer, and that the upgrade will bring the same never fail reliability to my XD-S that it has always known. I have shot the upgrade guns, and I shoot them better. For now I have decided not to share my opinion of why I think we are all reporting that we shoot them better. It will be interesting to see whether people come up with the same explanation I have, or if it is more of a feel thing that everyone explains their own way. Suffice it to say that this little bump in the road for the sake of safety is not going to derail the XD-S as the leader of the pack in concealed carry. If you can get beg, borrow or rent one, try an XD-S for yourself. Unless you want something really tiny and that is all that will do, there is no better concealed carry pistol on the market.
The XD-S from Springfield Armory is a pocketable 6 shot 45ACP and an 8 shot 9mm, both with the same external dimensions. The scuffed up and dusty on the bottom has been my personal concealed carry gun since my review of this actual gun in June of 2012. I trust my life to the XD-S, so this recall did not come lightly. The top gun is the .45ACP XD-S with the upgrade. I shot it better than my gun.
The top gun here is the 9mm XD-S that I bought from Springfield after reviewing that gun earlier this year. The bottom gun is the 9mm upgraded gun. Click to make the picture bigger and see if you can tell the difference.
The only outward difference in the upgraded guns is that roll pin you see in the grip safety of the upgraded gun. There also three parts inside that have been upgraded to new specs. The new parts and design are not intermediate “fixes.” They are permanent changes to the engineering of the XD-S, and the new guns will not be different from the upgraded guns.
On field stripping, there are no differences to be seen in the frame.
… or the slide assembly. Note the layer of pocket lint on the inside of the top slide. The XD-S always works though!
I carry Hornady Critical Defense in my XD-S. This is the 185 grain FTX bullet in .45ACP. At 10 yards, rested, the left group of my original carry gun is quite good for an out of the box pocket pistol. On the upgraded XD-S, right, three of the six shots went into the same ragged hole exactly to point of aim. This was the same disparity with 230 grain Speer Lawman roundball, though the Hornady groups were of course overall much smaller. Same barrel, same grip, same feel. What makes the gun shoot better? The upgrade!
The difference in the two 9mm XD-S guns was less pronounced, but the upgrade gun shot closer to point of aim. These groups were shot after 200 rounds of milsurp 9mm in each gun.
The heavier pull of he upgrade guns was not discernable by any shooter we have asked to dry fire both the upgrade and orginal XD-S, but we were able to measure it as an average of about 8oz heavier.