Springfield Armory makes a number of compact pistols in their XD product line, and two that some people wind up trying to decide between are the XDS and XDM compact models.
Both have some improvements over the base XD pistol, which gets some people interested in Springfield's mid-tier carry pistols. However, there are some differences between the two that might tilt a person towards one or the other.
The big difference? The XDS series is single-stack, the XDM is a more traditional double-stack. The rest of the differences are basically cosmetic, which we'll get to in a moment. Which should you consider buying?
Either gun is a decent pick to have in your concealed carry holster, but which is "better" depends mostly on your preferences.
So with that said…
The XDS And XDM Have Changed A Lot
The XDS and XDM product lines have changed significantly in recent years. Both have been on the market for more than a decade, so things are going to change every so often.
At one point, there were four tiers of the XD. The base model (XD), a middle tier (XD Mod.2) a single stack subcompact (XDS) and the XDM, which was the Match model.
The original XDS has been phased out in lieu of the XDS Mod.2, and there aren't many different models. In fact, Springfield only makes three XDS Mod.2 models at present. The XDS was launched to compete with the M&P Shieldand other single stacks, but is starting to fade into the background of the XD product lineup.
Meanwhile, the XDM product lineup was updated for 2020 with the new XDM Elite models, which have a number of improvements over the original XDM. Some of the XDM Elite features have been incorporated into the XDS Mod.2, and the original XDM has been discontinued as of 2022.
Currently, Springfield Armory only offers a 3.8-inch compact, a 3.8-inch carry (full-size grip), a 4.5-inch full-size (with or without threaded barrel) and 5-inch XD-M Elite. 9mm is offered in all barrel lengths, and 10mm is offered in all configurations except the 5-inch model. .45 ACP is offered in the 3.8 Compact.
A lot of major manufacturers aren't adding new guns in .40 S&W. We call this a clue.
Okay, great; Springfield Armory keeps revising their catalog. So what's the difference between the two?
Springfield XDS Mod.2: Springfield's Single Stack
The XDS Mod.2 has a number of changes from the original XDS, and the product line has been condensed to basically three pistols. The gun is offered in 9mm or .45 ACP with a 3.3-inch barrel, or in 9mm with 4-inch barrel.
Some people prefer the longer barrel; the longer sight radius is a bit of a shooting aid and a longer pistol can be easier to conceal as the gun is more stable inside the waistband.
The grenade-style texturing and swappable panels have been replaced with Mod.2 texturing.
The grip safety from the XDM Elite has been added, which features a memory bump (much like a modern 1911 grip safety) for more reliable engagement when gripping the pistol. The trigger was redesigned for a little less take-up and a more positive wall, a long-standing criticism of XD triggers.
Granted, a working class poly-striker gun is never going to have anything like a custom 1911 trigger. Sorry, it's just not. Walther comes pretty close, but it's the nature of the beast.
Another significant change is that all models of the XDS are OSP models; the slide is milled for an optic whether you want it or not, and is milled for the Shield RMS footprint. All are available with or without a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 optic.
All models have standard-height steel sights, with a black steel u-notch rear and black steel front with a white dot. It's essentially a generic version of 10-8 Performance sights (Hilton Yam's disappointment intensifies) and they are standard height.
All models come with a flush-fit magazine with a pinky extension and a +2 extended magazine.
Dimensions are as follows:
XDS 3.3 9mm
XDS 3.3 .45 ACP
XDS 4 (9mm)
4.4 inches/5 inches
4.4 inches/5 inches
4.4 inches/5 inches
If you want to add the optic, MSRP goes up to $550, and the gun comes with - as mentioned - a Crimson Trace CTS 1500 with a 5 MOA reticle.
XDM Elite Compact
The XDM Elite product lineup includes both compact and longslide competition models, so clearly one must compare the compact to the XDS.
The XDM Elite Compact is offered with a 3.8-inch barrel only, and is offered in 9mm and 10mm. You can opt for an OSP model (with or without a Hex Dragonfly optic) of both, or a non-OSP model in 9mm. The 10mm XDM Elite Compact is not offered without the OSP slide.
Ultimately, it's a double-stack compact striker pistol; nothing new there. Whereas the XDS is more simplistic (everything you need, nothing you don't, a little bit of refinement) the XDM Elite comes rather stocked with features.
The XDM Elite update included an improved trigger pack, with a shorter uptake and a flat-ish trigger. The grip safetyhas an added memory bump, for more reliable engagement. The slide features forward cocking serrations, and the frame has swappable panels on the back of the grip.
All models come with a removable mag well for faster reloads. The Compact 9mm comes with two 14-round magazines, and the 10mm model comes with two 11-round magazines. Both are compatible with full-size magazines with an added magazine sleeve.
The XDM Elite pistols also have fully ambi controls, including magazine and slide releases.
Standard sights are a "combat" style rear ramp with a fiber optic front sight. Springfield will sell you the guns with a Hex Dragonfly optic, which is their house brand of optics.
The XDM Elite OSP model is milled for the Docter/Noblex footprint. How we know this is Springfield says the Hex Dragonfly uses the "Springfield Standard Footprint" but then goes on to say it's the same as the Vortex Venom and Burris Fastfire optics, which use the Docter/Noblex footprint.
The Springfield Standard Footprint, like the cake, is a lie.
Here are the XDM Elite Compact dimensions:
$590 ($633 for OSP)
So, slightly bigger and slightly more expensive...but you get something for putting up with it.
Springfield XDS vs Springfield XDM Compact
Really, comparing the two comes down to whether you just can't put up with a double-stack pistol for concealed carry or not.
The XDM Elite Compact is less than half an inch longer, less than a quarter-inch taller, and one-third of an inch wider. It is slightly heavier unloaded...but it's 5 whopping ounces. The reality here is that it's maybe 10 percent bigger in any dimension.
That make the XDS a little more compact, a little easier to conceal, a little easier to carry everyday...but not by that much. If you prize compactness over anything else, then yes the XDS will be your preference but the XDM Elite Compact is hardly any bigger.
The larger grip radius, the extra mass and longer grip will make the XDM Elite Compact more of the shooter's gun. Easier to run, easier to shoot well, and higher capacity to boot.
But the thing is....there's a bit of a hitch.
Looming in the background is the question of why these two guns at all. Because there's another pistol that Springfield Armory makes that kind of begs the question of why you'd consider these two pistols.
There's Also The Hellcat...
Earlier, we mentioned that Springfield was making fewer XDS pistols. The reason for that is the Springfield Hellcat, which all but makes the XDS pointless. Sorry XDS fans, but it's true.
Does it make the XDM Elite Compact obsolete or less relevant? Not entirely, but close to it.
The Hellcat is even more compact than the XDS. Exterior dimensions are 6 inches long, 4 inches tall with the flush-fit magazine and 4.5 inches with the extended magazine, and 1 inch wide. The barrel length is 3 inches, but the capacity is 11 rounds in the flush magazine and 13 rounds in the extended box.
On top of that, it has better sights (another 10-8 clone set, but with a day/night sight in the front) a flat-blade trigger but no grip safety, which as it happens is one of the most common complaints about the XD and - to be fair! - the cause of a lot of user-induced malfunctions.
Sure, it costs more; about $150 more than the XDS for the non-OSP model and an extra $30 on top of that if you want the optics-ready Hellcat...but you're getting something for it. More capacity, better features, and a more concealable gun.
If there's any reason to opt for the XDS over the Hellcat is if you live in a state with a magazine restriction.
In other words, the gun is smaller than the XDS but has almost the same capacity (with the 'stendo) as the XDM Elite Compact. If concealment is what you're concerned about, the Hellcat makes a far better case for itself than the XDS does.
Where the XDM Elite makes a case for itself is as the shooter's gun, with a fuller grip, mag well, ambi controls and the highest capacity. Just small enough to be concealable, but just big enough to be easier to run really well.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.