It seems like the latest buzz in concealed carry the past few years has been the sub-compact striker-fired pistols offered by the major manufacturers like Glock, Sig, and Kimber. Often overlooked in this frenzy of the striker-fired single-action subcompact concealed carry pistols is the Springfield Armory XDE Concealed carry handgun.
You will notice the difference in the Springfield Armory XDE as soon as you open the case. There is no mistaking the look of the XD series from Springfield Armory – it’s a great looking firearm. There is also a distinctive difference in the XDE and the rest of the Springfield lineup – the hammer is nestled in an almost concealed fashion in the back of the slide.
The Springfield Armory XDE was first available to the public in 2017 and has since become popular among those who concealed carry and prefer a double-action pistol. Technically the XDE is a double-action/single-action pistol, but that is a minor technicality.
Why Double-Action over a Single-Action Striker-Fired Pistol?
Those who prefer to conceal carry a double-action pistol point to safety issues as the main reason. To understand the safety concerns, you need to understand the difference in the trigger and safety mechanisms on striker-fired and double-action hammer-fired pistols.
Single-Action Striker-Fired Pistols
Striker-fired pistols have been all the rage for several years. The major difference between a striker-fired pistol and a hammer-fired pistol is the lack of a hammer or the use of an internal spring-driven striker that initiates the firing when the trigger is pulled.
Having an internal striker eliminates the external hammer, which some point to as a problem when carrying a hammer-fired pistol as a concealed carry gun. Snagging may or may not be a problem depending on how you carry and the model of striker-fired pistol you carry.
Another significant difference in most striker-fired pistols is the safety mechanisms employed on the pistol. Most of the striker-fired pistols on the market use a passive safety system, which can include a trigger lock and grip safety. Some models employ only the trigger lock and omit the grip safety.
Operationally, having a passive safety system means that it is only necessary to draw and fire the gun in a self-defense situation. According to most manufacturers, a striker-fired pistol with passive safety systems is safe to carry with a round in the chamber without any worries, but there are counterarguments to this as well.
Shooters who are passionate about their striker-fired pistols argue that having to operate a manual safety is an unnecessary step with the safety systems in place on their striker-fired guns. These shooters also point out that the double-action/single-action mechanisms require a much longer and harder trigger pull on the first shot.
Double Action/Single-Action Hammer-Fired Pistols
DA/SA pistols are much more traditional in function and operation. An external hammer is cocked, and when the trigger is pulled, the hammer falls and strikes the firing pin. In a semi-automatic pistol, the recoil of the slide performs several actions. The movement of the slide backward ejects the spent shell casing and re-cocks the hammer. With the hammer re-cocked, each subsequent shot is single action.
It’s true that the first shot usually requires more effort and a long trigger pull to initiate. The trigger pull on the first shot can be an obstacle for some shooters. However, there are advantages to DA/SA mechanism.
DA/SA fans are often adamant to point out that a striker-fired pistol carried in any other fashion than a level two or level three holster is an invitation to disaster. Carries in a purse or bag, an errant object can insert itself into the trigger guard in such a way that a negligent discharge can occur. Even when carried in a belt holster, negligent discharges are known to happen when clothing or other objects impede the re-holstering action.
Most DA/SA pistols come equipped with a manual safety/de-cocker and an internal hammer block that stops the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the safety is disengaged. It is this physical disconnect of the hammer from the firing pin that most lovers of DA/SA pistols point to as the ultimate safe way to carry a gun with a round in the chamber.
Is the Springfield Armory XDE the Right Choice for You?
Choosing the right concealed carry weapon is completely a personal preference. While we can’t tell you what to choose, we can give you all the relevant information and help you make that decision based on your needs and your concerns about carrying a concealed gun. Below, we’ve outlined some pros and cons to the Springfield Armory XDE.
- Reliability – Springfield armory builds some of the most reliable guns on the market. Reliability must be a big issue in a concealed carry self-defense gun. Your concealed carry pistol must go bang when you expect it too.
- Sights – The XDE comes with fiber optic front sights and a double white dot rear low profile sight. Springfield Armory includes additional fiber optics inserts with the package.
- GRIPZone® – The grip on the XDE features the usual Springfield Armory 1911 angle but with a new twist. The patented GRIPZone® treatment on the grips. The grip texture is comfortable, and it works well in hand without slipping.
- Low Effort Slide – Springfield introduced its no Low Effort Slide with the XDE. According to Springfield Armory, the new design takes 27% less effort to pull the slide.
- Shielded Hammer Design – The “E” in SDE stands for “External” and references the external shielded hammer. Double-action shooters now have an option for a compact single stack semi-automatic pistol for concealed carry.
- Slim Design – At only one inch wide at the grip, the Springfield Armory XDE is easily concealable and comfortable to carry.
- Lightweight – The XDE comes in at 25 oz. unloaded. The polymer frame helps keep weight to a minimum yet provides support and controllability when firing.
- Accuracy – Across the board, reviewers found the XDE to be reasonably accurate out of the box for a compact short-barreled pistol. Reports show that the XDE feeds a wide variety of bullet styles without problems.
- Ambidextrous Controls – Left-handers will be pleased to note that the Springfield Armory XDE comes standard with ambidextrous safety/de-cocker and magazine release.
- Long Double Action Trigger Pull – The trigger pull on the XDE is quite long and hefty. The initial trigger pull in double-action mode weighs in at about 12 lbs. This trigger pull weight is not much different than most revolvers. The length of the trigger pull is, however, excessive. The trigger sets up in double-action mode for the first shot so far forward that only those with large hands or long fingers can get a proper position on the trigger and maintain a proper grip.
- Manually Operated Safety – If you carry the XDE in condition one status (hammer cocked and safety locked), you still risk the chance, albeit a slight one, that you could suffer and negligent discharge. External safeties have been unknowing disengaged allowing the gun to go into a hot mode. If you carry in double-action lock mode (hammer down and manual safety activated) you must manipulate the safety before firing your first shot.
- Two Different Trigger Pulls – Carrying a double-action/single-action semi-automatic pistol means that you are dealing with two different trigger pulls in one gun. After the first shot, done double-action, the next shots are in single-action mode. The trigger resets to a much shorter position and the trigger pull drops to 4.5 lbs. A change in trigger conditions can be unsettling for some shooters.
- De-cocker – After the last round, the hammer remains cocked. This condition can be disconcerting for some shooters because it requires manually de-cocking the hammer.
- Esthetics – Many purists don’t like the looks of the whole XD series, not just the XDE. The tall slide makes the gun look top-heavy despite how it feels in hand.
How Does the Springfield Armory XDE Stack Up for Concealed Carry?
Overall, the Springfield XDE covers the bases and then some. It meets all the basic requirements for a top-notch concealed carry gun and offers some features and options that haven’t been seen in a concealed carry sub-compact pistol.
By all accounts, the XDE shoots well and is accurate. It operates reliably with a wide range of ammunition and bullet style. The design of the gun makes it easy and comfortable to carry. The grip makes the gun comfortable to shoot and manageable enough to remain reasonably accurate even when firing rapidly.
In short, the Springfield Armory XDE stacks up well against the other sub-compact concealed carry pistols on the market. The option to carry a double-action/single-action exposed hammer pistol might be the tipping point for a lot of traditionally minded shooters.
Thoughts and Conclusions
I like the Springfield Armory XD line of pistols. I carried an XD for many years as my concealed carry gun of choice. That being said, I switched my daily carry to a different firearm prior to the XDE line being available. Now that it is, I may be rethinking my daily carry of choice.
Carrying a double-action/single-action pistol involves changes in training. You must train properly to add the extra steps in the system to accommodate the difference in handling, triggers and safeties. I think both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, and at the end of the day, it is your decision which best fits your needs and situation.The Springfield Armory XDE checks off the boxes that make it a viable concealed carry gun for me. I hope that this article has made it easier for you to make your decision.
We’ve also reviewed the Glock 26 and the Ruger LCRx handguns for concealed carry, and also have our recommendations for the 10 best concealed carry guns, which may shed more light on the various options you have before you. As always, do your research, and stay safe!