Two Springfield Armory 9mm single-stack defensive pistols are on the firing line: It’s the Springfield XD-E vs. XD-S, both with 3.3-inch barrels. Rob Pincus presents their features and handling characteristics.
The XD-E is a double-action/single-action gun with a manually operated external safety. Why would a shooter want this as opposed to a modern striker-fired gun? For those who want a manual safety lever, the XD-E is perfect. Other people feel that the first shot double-action is a built-in safety and they won’t use the safety lever on the XD-E. They’ll simply carry the gun with the safety off and know that the first shot is going to take more effort and energy.
Because it’s a hammer-fired gun, when a round is chambered, the decocker lever must be pushed. As opposed to many subcompact handguns with safeties, the decocker lever on the Springfield XD-E can be operated naturally, without much shift in your thumb position.
Shooting the XD-E
When firing the XD-E, there’s a long take-up on the first shot as the hammer comes back, then a quick reset for the single-action follow-up shot.
In the XD-E vs. XD-S comparison, Rob’s personal choice is the modern striker-fired gun, the XD-S. It’s simple and easy to use. Smaller than the XD-E, the XD-S is more concealable but a little less shootable and the recoil is harder to control, a factor during long days of handgun training. Capacity is 7+1 as opposed to the XD-E’s 8+1.
XD-E vs. XD-S: Similarities
Both guns have an ambidextrous magazine release, loaded chamber indicator, and the same sights: a fiber-optic front and two white dots and a narrow notch in the rear. Due to their subcompact size, both the XD-E and XD-S are good choices for concealed carry.