Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gun Review: My XDS 45

Your first gun purchase is always memorable, there is the excitement building up to that perfect gun that you have dreamed of.  You've spent countless hours going through forums, threads, google searches, asking friends and daydreaming about how it will be.  You've convinced yourself that this is the perfect gun for you, it's exactly what you want and need.  At least, that's how I've come about this.  Truth be told, I purchased a revolver a couple weeks before because I needed something for easy hiking and concealment, and that purchase had it's own feelings, but nothing quite like this.  A brand new gun, only been fired once in the factory.


My excitement quickly faded as I realized that there are a few quirks with it to start with, almost border line regretting the purchase, but then I have to remind myself, that a brand new gun has springs that haven't been warn in, it doesn't have the grooves worn in on the slider, or part of the extractor wore off and extra lube replacing those worn out spaces.

The first thing I noticed was that it was hard to pull the slide back and lock it.  After locking the action open, it was hard to rack the slide again, it takes quite a bit of effort to get the slide back a little bit further and push the slide lock down to release the slide.

Another piece was the magazine, the bullets are hard to get in, and even harder to pull out.  That appears to be influencing the slide, when I try to load the first round in the chamber, and it also effects the extractor.

Trip to the Range

I got a chance to finally take it to the range.  I had been carrying my friends XD-45 Compact for the last few months and had shot my fair share of rounds through it.  My dad found a great deal at Bi-Mart for a 250 round box, I decided I was going to shoot 100 rounds through it this time.

After struggling to get both magazines with 5 rounds each I pushed the first magazine into the XDs with a click.  Pulling back the slide to release it now I was ready to take aim at my target and fire.  Immediately I noticed the red fiber optic on the front site that allowed me to zero in, I drew a deep breath, let it out slowly as I steadied my arms, and moved my index finger to the trigger.  As I reached about half a breath I held my breath and began to pull back on the trigger while slowly exhaling.

It didn't got off the first time, with no need to rush I removed my finger from the trigger, relaxed my arms, and started the process over again.  I wanted this first shot to be perfect.  It took till the third round, each time squeezing the trigger ever so slightly more, then BANG!, it went off and the recoil was what caught me by surprise, and the empty shell flew back and caught my dad by surprise.  He could feel the reverberation from next to me and described it as a canon going off.

First Impression

Right away I noticed that the recoil was enough to cause my right and left hand to separate.  I tried a few more shots and finally got the recoil under control.  I knew going into it that a lot of people say that a short barrel causes more recoil, and they were right, especially with how light this gun is.

One great surprise was how easy it was to aim and be accurate, I was having groupings similar to my friends XD-45 Compact.  It gave me a lot of confidence and I felt comfortable switching immediately to this for my concealed carry sidearm.  It could fit loosely into my friends Crossbread Holster that was made for his XD-45 Compact, I already had one being shipped on the way.

My dad tried to shoot it and didn't make it through one magazine before giving up.  It left imprints on his hand from the grip.  He is Type-I diabetic and approaching 60, so perhaps that has to do with the circulation in his hands not being as good.

Getting in the car with the XDs is noticeably better, I no longer notice that there is a gun behind me at four o'clock.  After receiving my new holster it became part of me, I don't even notice that I'm carrying.  There is less of an imprint on my leather seats also.  Overall I really like this gun, and any immediate regret or disappointment I felt when I first picked it up disappeared after taking it to the range.

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts on this are that if you are a smaller guy who's used to shooting a larger caliber then this is very worthwhile.  I haven't had a chance to try the sub-compact XD-9mm, and I think that one may be a great CCW, especially if you are a little concerned with there only be 5+1 rounds. (I have started carrying +1 because with only 5 rounds I think the +1 is worth it.  When I carried my friends XD-45 with 10 rounds I never bothered with the +1.)  I haven't gotten one yet, but there are now 7 round magazines for the XDs.  It would probably be worth it to have a couple of those even if they are only used for range practice.  I would have to try them out with ease of concealment before I switch to that.  Overall a great gun.

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