Innovation is the lifeblood of the firearms industry. With continued innovation there are valid questions concerning the viability of the single stack pistol.
The ability of the men and women in the gun business to respond to demands that require new technologies or better ways of employing existing methods has always been strong and responsive.
The past few years of a strong buyer’s market have driven small arms makers toward offering more value, better performance, and — let’s be honest — a reason to buy that fourth or fifth gun. And with demand at remarkable heights now, the options for these shooters are broad and appealing.
Springfield Armory has been stepping up to that challenge with unwavering consistency in just about every firearms demographic you can name — and there is no stronger demographic than the concealed carry market.
There may be no better example of this innovative ability to meet the demands of the customer than the Hellcat pistol. Packing the most capacity available for a handgun of its size and caliber, the 9mm Hellcat has set the bar for concealed carry pistols.
But was this groundbreaking achievement done even at the sacrifice of the incredibly popular XD-S pistol? As I pondered this thought one day, I decided to give it serious consideration: Does the Hellcat make the XD-S (and more broadly, the single-stack pistol) irrelevant?
Initially, one might think so. After all, with roughly 50% more capacity when carrying a loaded chamber and full standard magazine in nearly the same footprint, it does raise the question. However, I hypothesize that the success of the Hellcat needn’t come at the expense of the XD-S Mod.2. And to convince myself, I went over the differences. Check out my video above, and keep reading the article below.
There are more things different about these two small guns than just their relative capacity of ammunition. They are both very similar and very different all at the same time — and I believe that there are still users who will prefer the single-stack XD-S Mod.2. Here’s why: A slightly longer sight radius for a more accurate shot; proven reliability with nearly a decade of service; thinner — which means even more comfortable IWB/appendix carry; thin magazines means carrying a reload is easier; but most of all — ergonomics.
Believe it or not, it isn’t everyone who is looking for the smallest possible grip frame circumference on a handgun. For folks with larger hands (and this is not limited to men), shooting very small pistols can be uncomfortable or even difficult because the trigger finger over-extends into the triggerguard and collides with the support hand, or even the strong hand thumb.
The XD-S is a thinner handgun, but it is also deeper front-to-back, and this stretches that hand out and offers more comfort for the shooter. There is also a difference in the palm-swell shape of the backstrap that helps fill the hand.
How about your spare ammo? As mentioned above, the slim magazine of the XD-S is easier to pack. In fact, it takes up no more thickness to carry than that old Zippo you used to have, meaning that carrying a reload (highly recommended for all semi-autos) is easy, no matter how skinny your jeans are.
And let’s not forget the external grip safety of the XD-S. This is still a positive feature for many shooters, and this additional passive safety is a plus for many CCW users.
It’s Your Choice
The Hellcat is a modern marvel of firearms engineering, and it has taken its rightful place among the most popular selling small pistols. But, I don’t think it has done so at the expense of its stablemate, the XD-S Mod.2.
A defensive handgun is a tool and, like a screwdriver, there is a reason they come in different sizes and shapes. So, I’ll keep my XD-S if you don’t mind. But I have to admit, those extra four rounds in the Hellcat sure are nice. I guess I’ll just have to keep both!
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