THIS SMALL PISTOL HANDLES A BIG ROLE
Why I chose the XD-S 3.3 as my sole sidearm
Let me start off by saying that I have never been a big fan of handguns.
However, I believe they do have their place in the arsenal of anyone interested in protecting themselves, their family and their survival stores. When it comes down to it, I would rather use a 12-gauge shotgun for home-defense; but away from home, a shotgun draws a great deal of attention (typically unwanted attention).
My thoughts on sidearms changed because of the numerous shootings taking place at schools, shopping malls and the like. Today, more than ever in our recent history, there is a need to not only have the means of protecting yourself in public, but also for knowing how to use those tools.
Because I didn’t own a handgun, I needed to do some research to decide which model would be the right fit for my needs. Personal security wasn’t the only reason I would carry this gun, so I needed to take a lot of factors into consideration. Reading about how I went through this process might help firsttime handgun buyers find the best option for their own needs.
The main purpose for my firearms is hunting—which means I have rifles and shotguns, not handguns. While some people do hunt with pistols, I never have. I hunt pigs here, in New Hampshire, and
I FOUND THE XD-S TO BE LIGHT AND TIGHT. IT PERFORMED PERFECTLY RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX AND IS REALLY FUN TO SHOOT.
some of my friends who hunt pigs in other parts of the country asked me what I was using as a sidearm. When I told them I didn’t use one, they recommended highly that I get one. I thought about it, realizing a long gun would do me no good when trailing a wounded boar or bear into thick brush.
So, now the search was on. Which handgun would give me the knockdown power I needed—but at the same time, would be light enough to carry all day?
I visited gun shops and asked a lot of questions. I looked at .44 Magnums and .357 Magnums. I looked at revolvers and semiautomatics. After a great deal of searching, I found the Springfield XD-S 3.3 in .45 ACP. I liked its feel. It was just the firearm I was looking for.
WHY THIS GUN?
There are plenty of really good handguns on the market today in every style and caliber you can think of, so the choice was hard to make. When searching for this gun, there were certain things I was looking for: First, it had to be light enough to carry all day in the field on hunting trips. Second, it needed to have enough punch to stop a wild boar or a bear in an emergency situation. And, third, I needed a firearm my wife could pick up and use in an emergency. The XD-S fit the bill.
During my search, I asked a lot of questions. I spoke to friends who hunt wild boar in Florida and Mississippi. I talked to bear hunters and with the people at gun stores. I got different answers. Some preferred semiautomatics, while others liked revolvers. One thing that they all agreed on is that I needed something with a lot of knockdown power and nothing smaller than a .357 Magnum.
I spent 12 years in the U.S. Army, for which my issued sidearm was a 1911 .45 ACP; my personal sidearm was a Smith & Wesson Model 27 .357 Magnum. Both guns have the power to do what I want, but they are heavy, and weight and size are issues. Because I was also looking for a firearm my wife would feel comfortable using, I also looked at .38s, .38 Specials, .380s, 9mms and .40s; these were small enough to meet most of my needs and they are great people-stopping rounds, but they would do little on a wounded boar or an enraged bear.
The Springfield XD-S 3.3 was the perfect gun for my needs. It weighs 21.5 ounces (without a fully loaded magazine), measures only 4.4 inches high when
fitted with the compact five-round magazine and has an overall length of just 6.3 inches. The polymer frame design, single-stack magazines and 3.3-inch barrel all work together to reduce weight and overall size. Springfield produces this sidearm in .45 ACP, so I was able to get the knockdown power I was looking for.
Despite the positives, there are a few drawbacks to this firearm. First, the standard five-round magazine makes this firearm hard to handle if you happen to have large hands. In its defense, the XD-S is designed to be a concealed-carry firearm, which requires the small size. There is a six-round magazine available that makes gun handling much easier and user friendly. The second drawback is that because of the very nature of its design, the available magazines don’t allow for the number of rounds many people are used to.
… I NEEDED SOMETHING WITH A LOT OF KNOCKDOWN POWER AND NOTHING SMALLER THAN A .357 MAGNUM.
I am a firm believer in gun safety. Nothing upsets me more than hearing about someone being shot—and the excuse given is that someone was cleaning the gun and it went off. Guns don’t just “go off.” The question is, Why were they cleaning a loaded gun?
With that being said, I liked the XD-S because of its safety features. While no gun is truly safe unless it is unloaded, the XD-S is about as idiot-proof as you can make a gun.
The author’s preferred sidearm—the Springfield Xd-s—along with American Eagle rounds and a Blackhawk! holster
Below: Author Benner practices shooting his XD-S right handed.
The author’s pack with the XD-S and Gerber Strongarm knife. These two help keep the author safe in the field and when he is away from home.
Below: Loading a magazine with American Eagle FMJ rounds
Right: Zeroing in on the target at the Manchester Firing Range at 30 feet Below right: Taking aim with his new XD-S, the author was six for six with hits at 40 feet.
Above: The author shoots his XD-S left handed at an outdoor range.