In a previously published post in this space, I touted the XD Sub-Compact’s full-sized feel, excellent trigger and trigger safety, ambidextrous safety, and grip safety. They’re still favorite features, to be sure, but after a couple years of regularly carrying this gun concealed, there are four more reasons I’ve discovered about why this gun is one of my favorites for concealed carry.
Two of those reasons have to do with how well it carries in two particular locations on my person. The other two reasons are important but often unsung features. Put simply, the XD Sub-Compact has staying power.
Sometimes you have to carry a handgun a long time in order to discover how best to carry it. Early on, the XD Sub-Compact could be found holstered inside my waistband, specifically at 1 o’clock or appendix. As I experimented with other carry locations, I found I actually preferred two others: strong side, in an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster and weak side, in a belly band.
[Editor’s Note: The XD Sub-Compact is one of several Springfield Armory handguns included in the current Gear Up Promotion. You can read more about that here.]
Outside the Waistband
With an OWB carry location, it wasn’t so much which holster I was using but, because some of you might be wondering, the two I chose the most were a leather belt slide holster and a plastic holster with an open mouth and snap-on belt slide straps. Both carried the XD Sub-Compact with a forward cant, which made a 4 o’clock carry position quite comfortable while still easily hiding the gun. Credit to the XD Sub-Compact’s height — or lack thereof. It’s 4.75” resulted in the grip pointing up toward my back, not out.
You can get similar, if not better, concealment results with an IWB carry holster, but there’s another reason OWB may be better: improved ability to quickly get a hand around the gun’s grip. What’s worth keeping in mind is that you may not lose any concealment advantage by switching to OWB. But you almost certainly will gain an advantage in being able to more quickly or handily grasp the grip. Yes, OWB puts the XD Sub-Compact on the outside of your waistband, but even at 1.2” wide at the grip, it is still relatively easy to hide under a covering garment — especially if you double up on shirts or add a jacket.
The other winning location for carrying the XD Sub-Compact concealed is in a belly band, weak side. This means you draw the gun with a cross draw motion — generally easier to do from a belly band that can be worn higher on the torso, putting the gun about halfway between an armpit and waistline.
Carrying in a belly band like this is more of a deep cover concealment location — more hidden/concealed, but also more difficult to access and draw. If you’re more of the tucked-in shirt type, carrying in a belly band allows this. You just have to practice the whole process of clearing garments and getting a good grip on the stocks. Again, the XD Sub-Compact’s grip can be served up well, depending on the belly band and how it rides on your torso.
If you think you might like this option, just be sure you get a very comfortable belly band and that you adjust the tightness of the wrap so it supports the weight of the gun, but doesn’t make it difficult to breathe. That can be a fine line.
In addition to OWB and belly band carry locations, the XD Sub-Compact impressed with two features its always had: the loaded chamber indicator and the striker status indicator — both of which you’re able to feel while the gun is holstered and hidden.
The loaded chamber indicator is located on the top of the slide, just behind the breech. When a round is in the chamber, the loaded chamber indicator pops up out of the way of the sight line, but enough so that you can see it if you glance at it.
But, it’s meant to be felt more than it is meant to be seen. The idea is that you put a finger or thumb on the top of the slide — while your gun is holstered — feel that raised indicator, and know that you have a round in the chamber. No more “press check” where you have to visually see that a round is chambered (although some will argue that’s always the best way to verify).
The other very useful feature is the striker status indicator — a way of knowing the gun is ready to fire. Located in the center of the back of the slide, the striker status indicator will protrude after the slide cycles, showing that the striker is in its ready position. If it is not protruding, the gun is not ready to fire.
Neither of these features, in and of themselves, are the end-all, be-all of concealed carry features. But their usefulness is clearly evident when the XD Sub-Compact is holstered/concealed. Rather than having to un-holster the gun in order to confirm it being loaded or ready to fire, you can check both with two simple touches: one to the top of the slide and one to the back of the slide.
Additional advantages: Both the loaded chamber indicator and striker status indicator can have a tactical advantage, providing tactile information about the gun’s status when it is in your hand and you can’t look at it (either because the situation calls for your eyes to be elsewhere or because your immediate environment lacks enough light to actually see either of them).
With the XD Sub-Compact in a strong-side OWB holster or a weak-side belly band, I can use my thumb or finger to discreetly touch the top or back of the slide and verify the gun’s status.
Other guns have one or both of these features, but sometimes they’re not executed as well as they could be. With the XD Sub-Compact, I have a new appreciation for how readily the gun provides that information to me. And, with the benefits of these carry locations, this handgun proves again that it has serious staying power.
Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!
Join the Discussion
Featured in this article
XD® 3″ Sub-Compact
Springfield Armory Gear Up 2023
Read the full article here