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XDs Grip Safety

I’ve been pretty outspoken against the grip safeties on the standard XD and XDm pistols in the not-so-distant past. I owned a XD fullsize for a time, and I felt that the grip safety was a hindrance, and made gripping the pistol uncomfortable. On the XD and XDm pistols the grip safety keeps the slide from being retracted without the safety being depressed. For some reason, I don’t like this, although I’m not really sure why.

Fast forward to the Springfield XDs, which like the rest of the XD line, sports a grip safety. I think Springfield did a good job making the XDs grip safety very unobtrusive, and it blends in with the grip nicely when depressed.

Being that the XDs is so small though, there’s practically no way to grip the pistol without engaging the grip safety. We all know that pistols don’t just go off when sitting still, but rather when being handled, and if you are handling the XDs, chances are the grip safety is probably engaged.

So if the pistol doesn’t just go off on it’s own, and gripping the pistol in just about any fashion engages the safety, whats the point of it? The answer is, I’m not sure. If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s just marketing. Certainly many people buy the pistol because it has a safety, but I’d be willing to bet just as many people don’t buy the pistol because of the grip safety.

I can’t think of a situation where the grip safety would keep me from firing the pistol (unless a foreign object on the inside kept it from being depressed, which seems very unlikely). It’s not like a 1911 grip safety that will not engage if you grip too high, because the grip safety on the XDs isn’t part of the beavertail, it’s below it. If you are gripping the XDs, you will engage the safety. Period.

Would I like the XDs better if it didn’t have the grip safety? Sure would. I feel like it’s unnecessary, and adds parts to the gun that have to make it cost more. The pistol already has a striker block, and a trigger safety, which is enough in my opinion.

Do I really care about the grip safety? No. It’s there, but it doesn’t get in the way, so whatever.

Do I think the grip safety makes the XDs any safer? Nope.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. The grip safety in the XD is necessary because the striker is fully retracted and ready to fire. The Block doesn’t need one because pulling the trigger cocks the striker. That’s why the Block was considered DA and could be used in SSP while the XD had to compete in ESP in IDPA.

    • Interestingly, the XDs doesn’t use the same sear as it’s fullsize brethren. It’s very Glock-like on the side, and the sear cocks the striker as the trigger is pulled. I thought it was strange that it wasn’t setup like a normal XD.

  2. Got to hold my first XD-S Saturday. 9mm. I liked the feel. Nice and thin. I too could live without the grip safety, but was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t bother me. You’re right, it would be cheaper without. The red front fiber optic really stands out.

  3. If you grip the gun, you depress the safety? Not so! I have a compact XD in 9, an XD-S in 45, and my wife has an XDS in 9. Her natural grip is not high enough to depress the safety and I don’t depress the safety with a left handed grip. But with our guns without safeties we can fire safely and accurately.

    • If her grip doesn’t activate the safety, I’m seriously concerned about the way she is gripping the pistol. Does she have extremely small hands?

      • My girlfriend has the smallest hands I’ve ever seen..even for a girl, she grips the XDS fine and completely engages the grip safety, even when trying limp wrist exercises…I agree, grip has to be very awkward to not engage it…it’s the primary location you should be absorbing recoil at on your hand.

        As for the purpose?? We both love the grip safety for one reason, you’ll never get “Glock Leg”, even if you are distracted. Good training prevents Glock Leg…but when the adrenaline is flying and your mind is distracted…I’ll take one more safety measure. I’m about a million times more likely to get Glock Leg in my lifetime than have a grip safety fail me when I need to fire.

  4. The grip satefy reassures me… As I am a big guy, it is harder for me to get the gun in a holster that is always a bit squished. When I insert it in the holster I leave my hand off the grip safety just in case some part of my clothing gets caught on the trigger… Don’t think it will ever happen, but it reassures me.

    • Good plan.

      Lots of videos on YouTube about people having ND from a striker fire pistol because something (clothing or stray finger) engaged the trigger while holstering.

  5. As with all safety’s, they can not be considered 100% safe. That being said, the grip safety is mainly for safer carry in a holster when cocked and locked. If you have to consciously put pressure on that grip safety, I would think either the gun is not a good fit for your hand, or not a correct grip.

  6. Paul McCullough

    Trust me any striker fired weapon that has a round in the chamber is considered cocked. The grip safety ensures that it is cocked and locked. Any striker weapon that doesnt have a thumb or grip safety is considered condition 2 since all you have to do is pull the trigger to fire.

  7. 1) An XD can be both holstered and unholstered without engaging the grip safety (rest the thumb on the back of the slide), reducing the chance of glock-leg.

    2) Everyone’s first instinct when they drop something (gun or otherwise) is to try and catch it before it hits the floor. Unfortunately, if your finger catches the trigger, it could cause the gun to discharge.

    There has been a surge in first time gun owners the last few years. They weren’t in the military; they aren’t policemen; and they haven’t had extensive firearms training. It’s not realistic to expect them to be as gun savvy as others with more experience. It just is what it is.

    The grip safety provides an extra layer of safety for this group, without forcing them to give up anything in functionality.

  8. Grip safeties allow another layer of protection without the necessity of switching off a manual safety under stress. Probably should be installed on all pistols (IMO). Unfortunately, it seems to be fashionable these days to bash safeties, so new shooters, many of whom educate themselves online, may be convinced not to purchase or carry anything with a safety on it, which influences the manufacturers, and may increase the likelihood of accidental discharges among inexperienced shooters. Firearm related crime, violence, or accidents hurt all of us because the disproportionate publicity they receive tends to influence the non-shooting public, which in turn may influences their vote, which in turn affects legislators.

  9. Its seems odd that the readers of this article have identified the reason for the grip safety as being to make the gun safer during reholstering. This is one of the primary reasons for negligent/accidental discharges and the grip safety solves that problem. The grip safety may have convincing negative aspects or not, but if you can’t identify this as a positive attribute, should you really be writing this article?

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