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XDs vs. M&P Shield vs. Walther PPS

UPDATE: You can listen to the Triangle Tactical Podcast where Luke, Ben, and I talk about this comparison. At the bottom of this post there is a player. You can either play it from the player, or download it directly.


There are few things finer than a day at the range with good friends. Today I got a chance to spend 2 hours with Luke and Ben of Triangle Tactical Podcast shooting the

  • Springfield XDs 9mm
  • Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
  • Walther PPS

They all turned out to be fine guns, but only one could come out on top.

IMG_20140209_142408From left to right, XDs, Shield, & PPS

After the shoot, we all got together and talked about these three guns on the Triangle Tactical Podcast. Click here to download the episode.

I would like to give a special thank you to LuckyGunner for providing the ammunition for this test. They were very generous in providing us 125 rounds for each of the three guns,

All three types of ammunition performed well. I was especially pleased that the recoil on the Golden Sabre did not greatly exceed the recoil from the standard pressure ammunition.

We decided to evaluate the three guns in the following categories.

  • Size
  • Trigger
  • Sights
  • Ergonomics
  • Recoil
  • Accuracy
  • Malfunctions


All three of these guns are basically the same size. The only real difference in size was the fact that the PPS’s standard magazine was a 6 round vs. the 7 round magazines for the other two. When the PPS had the 6 round mag in it, it was the same size as the other two with 7 rounds.


If you put the 7 round mag in the PPS it was slightly larger.


That being said, these were all very small guns, and I don’t think it makes much of a difference. The PPS has 6, 7, and 8 round mags. The XDs had 7 and 9. The Shield has 7 and 8 round mags.


The winner here was the PPS. It was really nice, smoother and lighter than the other two. The M&P had an Apex Shield kit installed and was still rated the “worst” of the three. But it was “worst” only in the fact that it was merely good. All three of the triggers were serviceable and easy for me to shoot, but the PPS was just a cut above.


The M&P sights were basic, no frills sights. Nothing special, nothing strange. The XDs sights had an extremely bright fiber optic front, which I liked. It was super bright in the indoor range, and Ben, at least, found it to be distracting. I didn’t like the PPS sights. The rear sight on the PPS was a big notch, leaving a lot of airspace on either side of the post. The thing is, I am not sure that it made a whole lot of difference. I shot it pretty well, so I can’t complain that they weren’t effective, but I just didn’t like them. It is certainly possible that the only reason I didn’t like them was because they were different than what I was used to.


They were all pretty comfortable to hold, point, and shoot. The only one that had a problem for me was the PPS because of it’s odd magazine release. I disliked it, and I would not buy a PPS because of the mag release. That’s a personal preference, and you may feel very different. I never lost any skin because of the slide biting me on any of the guns. The one problem we seemed to have with the ergonomics was the fact that both Ben and Luke had a lot of trouble with the slide failing to lock back. They were riding the slide stop lever, which is a common problem with the non-1911 semi autos which often have slide stop levers mounted so far to the rear. I had less of a problem with that because my primary carry gun is an XD.45ACP, and I trained myself out of the problem. I’d rate it as a training issue, and one that’s not hard to solve.


I want to tease Tam by saying that they were all “brisk, but manageable,” but that’s not really true. None were difficult to shoot. The recoil on all of them was easily managed, and none of the three of us had any trouble. The Shield did beat up my trigger finger. Neither Ben, nor Luke had the same problem. I found the Shield to be painful, which would make me less likely to shoot it. Other than that, they were all pretty easy on my hands.


Again, to tease Tam, I’d say that they all offered “acceptable combat accuracy.” The reality is that all three were more accurate than I am. I fired 10 rounds each at 15 meters. All the rounds fired were Remington Golden Sabres.







You can see that I was more accurate with the XDs.


The majority of the problems we had were failure to lock back on the last round because of riding the slide lock lever. The XDs had a strange off center primer strike once. We shot the round again and it fired. The problem never reoccurred. The PPS had serious troubles with the 7 round mag, but once Linoge disassembled and reassembled it, it seemed to work fine. There was one fail to feed on the Shield with the Hi-Shok rounds, but it never happened again. Of note was the XDs never had any feeding problems with the Golden Sabers. The XDs has a reputation for being finicky about hollowpoint choices, but it fired the Golden Saber ammo without a problem. Luke says he will probably start carrying them as his normal carry ammunition.


All three were fine pistols. Given the choice, I’d pick the XDs over the other two. I did not like the PPS mag release and I would not buy it because of that. The M&P was painful on my trigger finger. The XDs gave me no troubles and I was more accurate with it.

I am still not sold on the “very small gun” category. If that’s what you want, all three would do fine for you. I still prefer a larger size firearm with more ammunition capacity. But some people can’t dress around a Glock 19, so these three will offer you some good choices.

Again, I’d like to thank LuckyGunner for their generosity. Without their help we could not have done this comparison.

There’s a special place in Hell

If you look just a bit to the right and behind the child molesters and people who talk in the theatre, you’ll find people like this.

A son is charged with killing his bedridden mother.

According to investigators, the suspect set a fire in the bedroom at their home on McFarland Drive in Gastonia and then left.

Let that sink in for a second. He burned down a house with his bedridden mother, with “mental deterioration,” inside. He was so selfish that he thought barbecuing his mom was a good idea.

Suspect (keep scrolling!)

He’s another person that I’m mystified as to why they let him out of jail.

Grandma isn’t giving up her purse

She refused to be a victim

Wake County sheriff’s deputies held (Suspect 1) and (Suspect 2) for Raleigh police, who charged them with attempted robbery after a witness saw two men trying to wrestle a hand bag away from a 50-year-old woman in downtown Raleigh and chased them Tuesday evening.

Random passerby decided to run them off and kept chasing them until a passing Sheriff’s Deputy stopped to investigate.

Suspect 1

Suspect 2

Good on both the 50 year old woman and the passerby.

H937 Restaurant Carry +P+ passes NC House and Senate

House Bill 937 has passed both the House and Senate.

The state House and Senate have approved a sweeping package of gun laws that tighten penalties for those who violate firearm laws and expand where those with concealed handgun permits can carry their weapons.

The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature or veto.

And if McCrory wants to be Governor a second term, and/or has higher aspirations, he’ll sign this bill quickly and trumpet how pro-gun he is.

As soon as the bill is posted to the H937 page, I’ll do my write up on all sections of the bill. The current posting is “Edition 4” which is what passed the Senate and was rejected by the House. For those who want to read the bill now, it’s available as a PDF. In order for me to do the write up, I need it in HTML format.

Found shot dead

Another dead person found in Durham.

Homicide detectives have identified a man found shot to death shortly after 12:30 a.m. Thursday as (Victim), 49, of 204 Mutual Court.

And who is he?


How does that keep happening? If gunfire was as random as everyone makes out, you’d think that the dead would be a much more representative sample of general society, wouldn’t you?

Another abusive waste of oxygen

Get drunk, get stupid, get arrested.

 The alleged victim, a 22-year-old woman, told officers that (Suspect) came to the apartment around 4 a.m. intoxicated and an argument ensued. She told police that (Suspect) hit her with his fists and pounded her head on the floor and also struck her son. She also told police that (Suspect) choked her.

 And what sort of person would attack his girlfriend and her son in a drunken rage?


Yeah, that kind.

Bad things just seem to happen to this guy

He’s minding his own business in his garage when an unknown assailant murders his wife and shoots him.

Officers said the (Victim 1 and Victim 2) live in the Gibson Drive house. They said (Victim 2) told them that he and his wife were in the garage when they were shot by an unknown assailant. He said he struggled with the man after being shot and was able to take control of the weapon and shoot him. (Victim 2) then called 911 at about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

If all happened as he says, good on him for getting the gun and shooting the assailant dead.


Victim 2

Then there’s this.

 In 2005, (Victim 2), then the pastor of a Kannapolis church, was charged with murder in the shooting death of (Previous Victim). Five years later, with (Victim 2) still in jail, prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to go to trial.

His spends 5 years in jail awaiting trial only to have the charges dropped. Before that he spent 8 years in prison on an armed robbery charge. Now his wife is murdered and he’s shot.

Bad stuff keeps happening to this guy.

Welcome To The New Server

Over the past couple days there were some serious server issues which is a long story abbreviated here.

So if you’re seeing this, it means you’re at the new server.  Look around if you see something broken leave a comment or let Sean know.


Consumer Alert: Avoid this seller

A gun store owner went on the radio in support of the internet ammunition sales ban that the usual suspects are pushing. I’m with Tam when she says,

Dear Jeremy Alcede of Tactical Firearms, Katy, TX: I hope you freeze in the dark, you gutless quisling punk.

When your children are crying “Daddy, why are we on food stamps?” you can tell them “It’s because your Daddy was a selfish, pusillanimous sellout who put his personal bottom line ahead of the Bill of Rights, kids, and so nobody would buy anything from his store ever again.”

 Sadly I don’t live in Katy, Texas so I can’t go and tell him personally I won’t be buying anything from him. I did use his contact page to let him know how I felt. You might want to do likewise.

Biology and Gun Control, or, War, what’s it good for?

This is probably a topic better suited to being ripped apart by LabRat, but I’ll give it the thumbnail sketch. (Via Shall Not Be Questioned)

One of the ongoing debates simmering in evolutionary biology lately is the competition versus cooperation argument. On one side, we have the more traditional Darwinian position that competition is the primary driver of adaptation, and hence survival of any given species.

But more recently, the idea is gaining traction that humans may have evolved most successfully not due to “survival of the fittest” but rather, “survival of the kindest,” quoting Dr. Dacher Keltner, Co-Director of the Greater Good Society at UC Berkeley.

Oh, dear God. Where do we get these people? It’s a classic rhetorical fallacy of False Dilemma. Either we are purely competitive psychopaths always ripping each other apart for the smallest advantage, or we’re wonderfully cooperative creatures who live in a fantasy world.

Horseshit. We are both. How we treat you is determined by what sort of group we feel you fall into. If you are of our tribe, great, we’ll help you out. That is assuming that you are following the tribal rules. If you aren’t of our tribe, we will compete with you unless helping you is to our advantage. It’s not that hard. Insiders get cooperation, outsiders get shot in the face.

This is one area where Western culture is clearly superior to most non-Western culture. We haven’t so much trancended tribalism as we have expanded the definition of it to include people who share our belief systems. Somalia is filled with people who owe their allegiance to their clan, where we’re filled with people who believe that if you act like an American, you’re as good as a brother. We’ve defined our tribe, American, to be anyone who accepts and espouses American ideals. That doesn’t mean we will universally like you, but you’ll be family. We’ll at least invite you to Thanksgiving dinner and talk bad about you rather than talk bad about you behind your back.

The real problem with this “Survival of the Kindest” malarkey is that it makes people think that competition and warfare are somehow set in opposition to cooperation. They aren’t. Competition is rarely one on one. Most competition is a team sport. All of warfare is a team sport. You cooperate with the people on your team and you compete with those who are not.

If you’ve got the time, pick up the Harry Turtledove “Worldwar” series. I am convinced that Turtledove doesn’t write to tell a story, he writes to answer a question. The question that this series answers is, “War, what is it good for?”

The series pits humans against an invading alien race who happen to show up in the middle of World War II. The aliens have been planning the invasion for hundreds of years, and are just certain that they are going to crush the pitiful humans. The problem is that due to constant warfare between competing groups of humans, we’re no longer riding horses clad in maille while trying to whack each other with swords. For the aliens, 500 years isn’t enough time to change anything, but for us we’ve gone from knights almost to atomic weapons.

Turtledove’s answer appears to be “the constant competition of war, coupled with the cooperation within the various warring groups, leads to intense technological advancement. Those groups that didn’t adapt and improve were swept away by those that did.”

I think he’s right.