Guns and Gear

Four Reasons the XD Sub-Compact 9mm Is Ideal for EDC

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.

The Springfield Armory XD9 Sub-Compact is excellent for EDC. It is shown here with a leather holster, purse and high heel shoes — all worn or carried daily by the owner of this pistol.

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.


carrying the springfield xd 9mm subcompact in belly band holster ccw rig
If a traditional holster is inappropriate, consider carrying the Springfield XD 9mm subcompact pistol in a belly band holster. A quality rig will work with a range of clothing styles including athletic wear.

[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.


woman shooting xd subcompact 9mm she carried every day for self defense personal protection
Carrying every day for self-defense can mean adapting your clothing choices to match your gear. The Springfield XD 9mm Sub-Compact is a compact package that makes concealment easier.

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.

Belly Band

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.


police officer carry back up gun springfield xd 9 pistol handgun firearm gun self defense duty law enforcement
For a police officer, everyday carry includes a quality backup gun. The XD9 Sub-Compact is excellent as a standalone pistol. It is excellent as a backup to a full size XD 9mm duty pistol.

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.

Dual Indicators

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.


cocked striker indicator on springfield xd 9mm sub compact handgun for edc
Springfield Armory’s XD line of handguns includes a cocked striker indicator at the rear of the slide. You can quickly determine if the gun’s striker is cocked by feeling for the raised pin.

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.


loaded chamber indicator california compliance edc pistol ccw personal defense against criminal attack assault
Springfield Armory includes a loaded chamber indicator in the XD pistols. When a cartridge is in the chamber a small lever raises above the top of the slide offering a visual and tactile indication.

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).


shooting the springfield armory xd-9 pistol gun control law regulator sight alignment
Even in the Sub-Compact form, the XD is an easy-shooting pistol with full-size sights. It is a mature platform that has proved ultra-reliable.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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