XDS-45 The Most Painful Gun to Shoot (Finger Pinch, “XDS Finger,” Blisters, etc.)


You should train with your concealed carry gun regularly, but it’s kind of hard to train with a gun that rips your hands apart.

Even more difficult to put shots on target when your trigger finger develops blisters after a few mags with this gun!

“XDS Finger”

Yes, this is a real search term on Google!

So I’m not the only one who experienced this. My hands aren’t particularly tiny, I also don’t have giant sausage fingers either.

Prior to purchasing this gun, I had never heard of “XDS Finger” or the complaints about the finger getting pinched. In fact, before I took this gun to the range, when dry firing I never felt this either.

So what exactly is happening? 

Basically, if you own an XDS or just bought one, you can feel this for yourself by dry firing (unloaded), then without releasing the trigger, rack the slide back (to reset the firing pin) and feel the pressure the trigger puts on your finger about halfway through the reset.

On its own, it probably doesn’t feel like anything more than discomfort.

However, pair this pinching sensation with the recoil of a 45 ACP on a tiny gun, and you can see how only after a few mags, my trigger finger developed a blister on it.

One handed, 10 yards out, head shots only, 5 round mag

As you can tell, it’s very hard to focus and keep shots on target when your trigger finger is getting destroyed.

Not Everyone Experiences This

Not every XDS owner has experienced this, and I think this is attributed to different shooting styles.

If you don’t keep your finger low on the trigger, then you probably won’t feel this. Also if you use your knuckle to pull the trigger vs. the tip of your finger, you also probably won’t experience this. When I used the joint of my finger instead of the tip, I wasn’t feeling it.

The reason I like to be low on the trigger is because I have full control over the full radius of the trigger pull, it allows for more accurate trigger staging and shooting.

This Gun Has TEETH!

This is not a normal grip you see on most guns, why does this gun have teeth all around it?!?

ALL of your fingers can get destroyed by this gun, not just your trigger finger.

My hand looks like a basketball.

Take a close look at the shape of the magazine and the bottom of the gun… Now look at the bottom of my palm (The part that’s circled above).

This is what happens when you slam the mags in the gun while the back of your palm is on the grip.

You have to hold the gun in a unnatural fashion when reloading. Luckily, for most conceal carry purposes, you probably won’t be reloading. (Discussions on whether or not your should carry back up magazines is for a different article.)

This Gun Can Hurt You In Many Ways! 

How To Fix This?

You can modify the trigger yourself, or you can buy an aftermarket trigger.

Maybe that’s why these custom triggers have a hook on the bottom?

I don’t have the patience to disassemble the lower on a pistol and install a custom trigger so I ended up going crazy with some files and ultra fine sandpaper.

The bottom of the trigger and the trigger guard were both filed. My XDS also has some sharp points on the back that dug into my thumb so I also sanded the back of the gun a little.

The problem seems to be solved now without any damage to the function of the trigger.

It only took about 10 minutes of filing and sanding. Do this at your own risk!

Weird Magazines

The gun came with a 5 and a 7 round magazine. Kind of an odd combination?

I have read that Springfield later released a 6 round magazine so I had to buy it.

The 7 round magazine is huge on this gun which is strange because the Kimber Ultra Carry magazine is smaller and holds 7 rounds?

The 6 round magazine  seems perfect for this gun, and the 5 round magazine is longer than the 6 rounder (with the extended finger plate).

Also, the 5 round magazine provides no support from the rear on your palm. Being able to grip the gun with your pinky is great, but with the recoil of a 45, you also need the back of your palm to make contact with the gun; you just don’t get this with the 5 round magazine.

Failure to Feed Issues

The 7 round magazine had multiple failure to feed problems using Federal Jacketed 45 ACP.

I have a theory that the 5, 6, and 7 round magazine use the same spring, as a result, the 7 round magazine spring might be weaker and there is less pressure pushing up before the slide slams forward, which is why I think I experienced failure to feeds exclusively with the 7 round magazine.

I would stick with the 6 round magazine. It feels right for this gun and it seems to be the most reliable and comfortable to shoot.

Also since the 5 round magazine is LONGER than the 6 round magazine (with the extended pinky bottom), I would use the 6 round magazine for carry purposes.


I have heard great things about the accuracy of this gun.

25 yards out

I am sure that this gun is a lot more accurate than I am.

XDS-45 vs. S&W Shield

The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield has been the staple of concealed carry pistols; it’s cheap, it’s thin, light weight, and known to be reliable.

Not to mention, it’s the most popular concealed carry pistol (especially in California with limited options, the XDS45 isn’t even California approved!)

I like silver barrels

You have to pay an extra $100 to get the neon sights on the Shield, while the XDS-45 comes with a neon red front sight. The Shield is still cheaper than the XDS-45.

I am comparing the Shield 9mm vs. the XDS-45 in the event that someone wants to carry a 45 ACP, without the added weight and bulk of a 1911 or Glock 21.

Fully loaded, 6 +1 in the chamber 45 ACP, the XDS-45 only weights 2 oz more than the fully loaded Shield 9mm.

The Shield 9mm 7 +1 in the chamber.

So, if you are thinking about carrying 45 ACP, realistically using the 6 round magazine + 1 in the chamber, you’re only giving up 1 round for the added (in my opinion a benefit) of carrying 45 ACP instead of 9mm.

Red Neon Front Sight (Does not Glow in the Dark!)

The XDS45 is thicker than the Shield 9mm, however not by much. A Glock 21 is probably still a lot thicker than the XDS45. Every little bit of thickness makes a big difference when you wedge a gun between your body and your belt.

The Shield 9mm is still the all time most comfortable gun to carry in my opinion, but the XDS 45 is nearly identical (they won’t fit in the same holder though).

Is This the Best Concealed Carry 45?

If this gun was California Legal, yes, I think it would be one of the best Concealed Carry 45’s in California.

For the rest of the county, there are so many other options out there!

STI has a really nice DVC Carry that has 10 +1 45 ACP (also comes in 9mm variant 15 +1).

I think 1911’s are really great 45 ACP guns and the triggers are perfect!

However, as far as a polymer, light weight, striker fired 45 ACP goes, the XDS 45 is not bad.

Custom Polish Job from OC Custom Coating

In spite of all the complaints and painful experiences I have had with this gun, I still think that the XDS 45 makes a great concealed carry piece! (It just needs some work out of the box!)

A concealed carry gun is not a war fighting gun. I don’t expect to fight the second American Civil war with the XDS 45. A concealed carry gun is supposed to be small, comfortable, and reliable when you need it most.

There’s a lot of different philosophies when it comes to concealed carry guns. Do you really need 15 rounds plus 3 extra back up magazines for your Glock 19 for a trip to 7-11? No, but that’s your choice if you think you need it.

Concealed Carry Philosophy 

I can’t predict when the next mass shooting is going to happen or if I’ll be jumped by 10 yakuza, but I also know that I don’t have 10 gang members after me and I actively avoid going to things like concerts, malls, etc, where these types of crimes often happen.

Being prepared for anything is one thing, actively trying to avoid dangerous places and dangerous times is also an important life style decision you have to make when carrying. If you live in a bad part of town and you think you need to carry 30+ rounds of 9mm then go ahead and carry a Glock 19 and 3 extra magazines everywhere you go!

But for most concealed carry purposes, I would suspect that the XDS 45 is more than capable of doing the job with 6 +1 45 ACP!

However, if you are willing to have the extra weight of a 1911, and live in a free state, I would definitely go for some of the other 1911 style options out there. As far as striker fired polymer guns go, the XDS 45 seems like a great overall gun with a cheap price point! (I paid double because I bought this in California via private party transfer.)

Update: Talon Grips

Talon Grips are adhesive grips that go over the stock grip of a gun.

They send us these grips for the XD-S 45 and I have to say that it definitely has dampened the “bite” that this grip put on my palm.

There are two options, the rubbery texture and one that is like skateboard grip tape (usually seen with competition shooters.)

I think this does a great job of fixing the deeply flawed grip of the XD-S.

A note on the Talon Grips, make sure you buy the right grip that correlates with the back strap of the gun!

Update: 10 Months After Daily Carry, PROBLEM!

The gun had a fatal malfunction after 10 months of carrying it daily. By “fatal” I mean, probably I would be dead if I actually used this in a self defense situation!!!

Yes, I had periodically trained with it during that 10 month period, but this time I needed to unload it for long term storage and then this happened…

Apparently the spring pressure from the 6 round magazine, fully loaded and topped off +1, was so powerful that is caused the bullet in the magazine to jam up the entire gun. Notice, the slide lock is not activated, the slide was locked back, and the magazine was nearly impossible to eject without squeezing the release with pliers.

This is really bad. I will no longer top off the 6 round magazine, even though I prefer the 6 round magazine because it offers a good grip size.

I do not understand why the magazine only holds 6 rounds when it’s practically the same size as a 7 round 1911 mini-magazine?

The magazine design for the X-DS really has some problems and this is a BIG DEAL as a lot of people top off their mags for their carry gun.

Because of this issue, I can not recommend the X-DS (45) paired with the 6 round magazine as one of “the best” carry guns.

It has a great form factor, but this is not acceptable.

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