For a concealed carry pistol, one of the primary characteristics people look for is size. After that, attributes like chambering, magazine capacity and hand fit come into play. If you think about it, size probably influenced your own decisions about what car to buy, which apartment you rented or the shirt you selected to wear this morning. If you don’t pick the right size for your needs, you may not be able to accomplish the task at hand: from hauling lumber home to impressing a prospective employer.
Springfield Armory offers a number of compact pistols suitable for concealed carry. For example, the micro-compact Hellcat is one of the most popular handguns in America today. But what if you want something a little beefier? Maybe something in a caliber beginning in 4?
That’s where the Springfield Armory XD Sub-Compact in .40 comes into play.
This compact pistol holds 10 rounds of hard-hitting .40, conceals easily in an IWB holster yet retains many of the characteristics of its larger duty-sized brethren. Oh, and Springfield priced the gun very competitively.
So, is this the gun for you? That’s one of the questions I tackle in this Springfield XD40 subcompact review.
The XD 40 Sub-Compact is a miniature version of the larger XD 40 pistols. Check out my review of the XD 40 Service model and my XD Tactical in .40 review for additional information on those guns.
This striker-fired pistol has a 3” hammer-forged barrel, which contributes to a short overall length. The grip length is also relatively short for improved concealment. Without a magazine, my pinky finger hangs off the bottom of the gun. With an included extended magazine, I can get a full grip on the pistol.
While the reduced size might give you more felt recoil and less precision due to a shorter sight radius, it greatly increases your ability to carry the gun concealed. For the law-abiding citizen, this often means successfully carrying the gun in a belt holster with a shirt or jacket covering it. The reduced grip size helps you avoid “printing” when wearing more tailored clothing.
Likewise, the gun’s compact nature makes it an excellent choice in the role of backup gun for a street cop. I’ve carried backup guns on my boot and on my body armor in my prior law enforcement career. In both locations, the XD 40 Sub-Compact was sized just right for concealment under a standard-issue uniform. If you carry a full-size XD in .40, the subcompact pistol is even more useful as it will run your service pistol’s magazines.
Steel three-dot sights are standard on this pistol. While I personally like the U-Dot style sights found on the Hellcat, three-dot sights are perfectly useable. Plus, the XD sights are steel — not the plastic toy sights found on the guns from some other companies. The sights will not bump out of position or simply break because of rough handling.
Up front is an integral accessory rail. The rail is large enough for most compact lights and lasers if you wish to add one. Personally, I like having a weapon light on my CCW pistol and a handheld flashlight.
Another standard feature engineered into the XD design is the ambidextrous magazine release. This is a true ambidextrous design and not a single-sided release that requires you to disassemble and flip the release over to use it from the opposite side.
Here are the specs on the XD 40 Sub-Compact:
|Weight||26 oz (unloaded, flush-fitting magazine)|
|Capacity||9+1, 10+1 extended|
Springfield Armory also offers a second version of the pistol with a stainless steel slide. The stainless slide gives the gun a two-tone appearance I find quite attractive. Even so, there is no premium attached to the price tag as both versions list for $540.
Not a lot of people in the gun world gauge their gun buying by what is approved by the state of California. However, gun owners living in the Golden State are only allowed to purchase new guns that are on an approved roster. As you might imagine, this severely limits what products Californians are able to legally purchase.
Springfield Armory has not forgotten the Americans living in California. The company offers a number of XD pistols that are (begrudgingly) approved of by that state, and the XD Sub-Compact in .40 is one of them.
So, if you are reading this in Oakland, Anaheim or Fresno — you can purchase this pistol. For readers in the other 49 states, the gun is available to you as well.
I’ve been blessed with what is a dream job — I shoot guns for a living. While rifles and shotguns are fun, I’ve always had a preference for shooting handguns. When we are talking about modern production guns, I guess I’ve shot most of them.
Springfield’s XD line impresses me. The guns are relatively simple in form and have excellent reliability and ergonomic characteristics. It’s been my experience that XD pistols are easy to shoot no matter the model or which cartridge they are chambered in.
The XD 40 Sub-Compact proved to be more of the same: pleasant shooting and complete reliability.
|Hornady Critical Duty 175-gr. FTX||934 fps||339 ft-lbs||2.21”|
|Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense 60-gr. JHP||1,822 fps||442 ft-lbs||1.98”|
|Speer Gold Dot 180-gr. JHP||907 fps||329 ft-lbs||2.44”|
I carried various .40 caliber duty pistols as a police officer. While the felt recoil with all of them was greater than their 9mm counterparts, they were never uncontrollable. I felt the same about the XD Sub-Compact.
In my previous review of the XD 9 Sub-Compact, I noted the design of the pistol mitigated a substantial amount of the force a shooter feels. Springfield built the same design characteristics into this model and did an effective job of taming the .40.
From full metal jacket loads to hard-hitting defensive loads, the .40-caliber XD Sub-Compact handled all with aplomb. Everything ran smoothly with nary a hitch.
But, Is It For You?
In my opinion, the entire Springfield Armory XD line is worth consideration for anyone who is looking for a self-defense firearm. The guns run well, offer excellent accuracy and have better ergonomics than much of the competition. While some of us might never admit it, the affordable prices of these guns make them even more attractive.
If you need a pistol to carry outside the home in a concealed manner, the XD 40 Sub-Compact is one to consider. It is small enough for concealment in most circumstances, yet large enough to attach a white light or run as a backup to a duty pistol. There are many holster options available for it, so you should have no problems in putting together a complete carry rig.
If, however, you are looking for a pistol to serve in a home defense role, I recommend looking at the Service Model or even the Tactical Model. Both of those pistols offer advantages including softer recoil, improved sight radius and a full-size grip. In other words, don’t go small if you don’t need to.
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