XDs 9mm Failure to Feed

It’s time for me to eat a little crow. Last week Brandon over at Monderno mentioned that Rob Pincus was having some failure to feed issues with his XDs 9mm, and I came out and said that mine had did it once, but after I ran a few rounds through the pistol, it never did it again.

Guess what? It happened again.

Here’s what happened: when loading the pistol, I inserted the magazine and pulled the slide rear. I’m pretty good about not riding the slide forward, or short stroking it, and I let it go. The slide traveled forward about 3/8″ then stopped. You can see in the below picture that the slide is not locked to the rear, but it has slid forward, and is being held open by the round that is jammed inside.

image

The slide was stuck. I tried giving it a tap on the rear with my palm, and it would not go into battery.

When I looked in the breech, I could see that the round was caught up either on the bottom of the feed ramp, or on the ramped part of the locking block below the feed ramp.

In the next picture below, I’ve pulled the slide rear and locked it. You can see how far the round traveled forward before it jammed the slide open. You can also see my tactical toes…

image

So, what’s the problem here?

Today I did some detective work. I shucked the 7 rounds of Hornady TAP FTP out of the magazine and loaded it with 5 A-Zoom snap caps. I proceeded to rack the slide, chambering and unchambering the snap-caps a whole bunch of times, and not once did the pistol jam. I even tried applying pressure on the top round (with a small piece of wood so I didn’t smash my finger…), pushing it toward the bottom of the feed ramp, and I still couldn’t make it jam.

I noticed that the Hornady rounds were quite a bit shorter than the snap caps were, and I think this is actually the issue. To confirm, I scrounged up 7 rounds of Federal HST 124gr +p, loaded them into the magazine, and chambered and unchambered them over 100 times. Not once did they jam.

Guess what?

The Federal HST rounds (left) are a good bit longer than the Hornady TAP FTP rounds (right). I turned my garage upside down looking for my calipers so I could give you an exact OAL for each of these rounds, but they are still missing…

Being that the HST’s are longer, this allows the bullet to contact the feed ramp and start traveling up toward the chamber before the case rim passes the bottom of the feed ramp/locking block. I also suspect that bullet profile may be playing into this a little bit. The more rounded shape of the HST closely mimics the shape of ball ammo which has been 100% in this pistol.

Here’s where this all gets even more interesting: I’ve fired exactly 50 rounds of the Hornady TAP FTP through this pistol, and all of them have fed, and fired just fine while on the range, the feeding issue only occurred when loading the pistol at home.

I think Springfield Armory tried to mitigate this issue by relieving a small portion of the locking block under the feed ramp, but when you add the short cartridge to this small pistol it becomes a perfect storm, and things don’t work quite as nicely as we would like them to.

If you are having this issue, I’d recommend trying a cartridge with a little longer overall length. I’m also going to attempt to rule out the bullet profile, as I really like how the Hornady projectile performs. I suspect that the 135gr Hornady Critical Defense cartridge should be a little longer, and it may mitigate the issue completely.

S&W M&P 9mm Magazine Follower Design Change?
"Just Carry it with the Safety Off..."
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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.

49 comments

  1. Sorry to hear of your problems.

    Just out of curiosity, how many times have you loaded and unloaded the offending rounds? Constant chambering of a round without rotating the bullet which gets chambered will most certainly push the projectile further and further into its case. This will create a situation whereby the round will progressively get shorter, fail to properly feed and possibly lead to a nasty KaBoom with factory ammo.

  2. May find it is bullet profile more than length. Have had profile problems with certain pistols. No records kept, just switched out bullets or guns. I too like the XTP and have had no issues in any of my handguns.

  3. Good post. Never wrong to be humble. jmike raises a good safety question about the re-racking of the same round. Are your 9mm TAPs all the same length? I’ve been keeping an eye on this issue for overpressure concerns myself. And I use hornady TAP for my .40 cal…………….Tactical toes?

  4. Does it jam when chambering a round via the slide release? Just wondering because my Kahr PM9 is notorious for needing to smack the rounds out of the magazine and up onto the feed ramp via the release and rarely feeding properly when the slide is slingshot.

    1. I’ve had it happen both ways. I know Kahr recommends doing it a certain way, but I don’t think that’s the case with the XDs. I’m really hoping it’s just an issue with the ammo, because I really like this pistol.

  5. Are talking a regular xd or a xdm I’ve had my 357 sig. Xd for about 6 mounths over 500 rd. never had a failure to feed with any type ammo.

  6. I have the same problem with Winchester 147g HP’s. I found that if you only put 6 rounds in the magazine instead of 7 it never jams. SA tech told me that the mag springs are purposely made tight and will loosen up in time. FWIW.

  7. Sounds like it goes back to… Find a round the functions well and your handgun… Then proceed to carry it. Same issue with 1911’s and steep feed ramps. Thanks for the info on the Hornady round though!

  8. I had similar issues with my PM9 with gold dot and golden saber.

    I’ve had good luck with Federal 9BP and 9BPLE. It has a fairly similar profile to ball ammo so it slides up the ramp like a wet otter. Not the latest and greatest, but the BPLE has a good track record and is Ayoob “approved.”

  9. I’ve had the XDs 9mm for since early summer and noticed the same thing. The Hornady Critical Duty and Critical Defense rounds are not liked much by the XDS. I’ve had it lock the slide like that as well several times when racking that ammo and also once by shooting it, it locked back when trying to feed the next round. So, I switched ammo and never had an issue.

  10. I have the exact same problem with my new XDs 9mm. When racking the slide to chamber a round of HP’s the round hangs up at the bottom of the feed ramp! It does this with Gold Dot 115gr. JHP’s, Gold Dot 124gr. =P JHP’s, Gold Dot 147 gr. JHP’s and CorBon DPX 115gr. +p. The Corbon DPX doesn’t hang up as much as the Gold Dot but it still does occasionally when I rack the slide to chamber the round. It does not hang up on any of these rounds when firing the pistol, only when racking the slide. What can I do about this? I just bought the pistol and this is the first day I have shot it at the range. It runs FMJ with no problem. I’m thinking about taking it back to the dealer where I bought it or taking to their gunsmith. Is this something that will resolve itself over time? I may not have time! It’s now my carry gun! Anyone have any suggestions?

      1. Thanks for the info. Did you try any Speer Gold Dot rounds with the XDs and if so did they hang up on the feed ramp when racking the slide? And can you tell me which rounds did hang up on you when racking the slide in the XDs? That will help me narrow my search for a good carry round. I’ll definitely try the Golden Sabre but would like to have a few options.

        Also, I just noticed when field stripping the pistol that there were little flakes of shiny metal inside! I found the base of the recoil assembly was a bit chewed up! I’m afraid if this happens with only 70 rounds put through the gun it won’t last very long. This is actually a bigger concern to me than the ammo issue! Any suggestions here?
        Thanks for all your help!

  11. I’ve noticed something since my last post. All the rounds I mentioned earlier (Gold Dot and CorBon) cycle fine most of the time if I rack the slide very hard as it would probably act when firing. As someone else mentioned, If I remove the 7th. round from the magazine none of the rounds catch on the feeding ramp. It just seems to happen when the mag is full. Of course this isn’t good as the pistol only holds 7+1 to begin with. If carried this way the capacity is reduced to 6+1. But I guess that’s better than 7+1 round stuck on .the feed ramp. As someone else mentioned, hopefully this problem will disappear as the mag spring loosens over time.

    But my main concern is still the chewing up of the recoil spring assembly base. This base is very thin. Much, much thinner than the one on my XD45 Service model. But I doubt that’s the issue. It seems to me either the metal on the base is too soft or something in the pistol isn’t right and is chewing on the base when the pistol is fired!
    Does anyone have any experience with this or any suggestions? I’m thinking about having the gunsmith at my local range look at it today and see what he thinks.

      1. Thanks for the response and the pictures. I showed the pistol to the gunsmith at my local range and he said don’t worry. The wear I’m seeing on the base of the recoil assembly spring is part of the normal break in process of the gun. He is very smart and experienced and I trust him. So I cleaned it, lubed it and am going to shoot more rounds through it next week. I’ll let you know if this becomes a problem as run more rounds through it. Thanks again!

  12. Had the same problem feeding hornady 15grain on my xds 9mm. When out and got federal HST. Problem is solved. Don’t use hornady ammo on xds

  13. I prefer Critical Duty and Critical Defense, both of which produced similar lock-ups in my XDs 9mm 4.0. Today I tried 124 gr. HST, which did the exact same thing in 2 of 3 magazines. I have some 124 gr. Gold Dot I can try, but I am already thinking the XDs may not be for me. I bought the XDs new and have right at 300 rounds down range.

    1. I have the XDs 9 and was only having FTF issues when I was manually racking the slide to chamber a round. Found out I was riding the slide. Now that I don’t do that I have no feeding issues. I have shot several brands of FMJ target ammo, 115gr., 124gr.+p, 147gr. Gold Dots with no miss feeds. I have also shot CorBon 115gr. +p DPX with no feeding issues.
      I had feeding issues with the Federal HST 230gr. in my XD .45, they were hanging up on the feed ramp. It seemed the mouth of the hollow point was too large causing it to catch on the edge of the feed ramp. Because of this I have not tried them in my XDs 9. I have also read on other posts that other people have had problems with the Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty in their sub compact 9mm. They said it looked like the polymer tip had too sticky for lack of a better word and was sticking a little on metal parts in the feeding system and or magazine.
      I suggest trying the Gold Dots and see if that doesn’t solve your problems. Also make sure you’re not riding the slide when chambering a round like I was nor touching the slide release lever with your thumb when firing the weapon.
      I have been guilty of both of these bad habits and both caused failure to feed issues in my XDs 9.
      Just a couple of thoughts from my limited experience.

  14. The XDs is notorious for being unforgiving of bad habits like limp wristing and riding the slide. I carry only Critical Defense in my XDs 9mm and Critical Defense and 135gr+P Critical Duty in my 9mm CZ P-07. The CZ is 100% FTF free. I can WALK the slide down quietly like the crap you see in movies and it will still feed, but not with the XDs. I had similar problems with FMJ in the XDs .45 before my 9mm, but only with larger weight bullets that I shouldn’t be shooting out of a 3.3″ barrel anyway. While it would have been nice to see Springfield make this firearm a little more amateur-friendly, it ONLY has FTF when I don’t commit to forcefully racking the slide. In operation, it has eaten every Critical Defense load without fail … 100% reliability. BTW, I’ve NEVER experienced a FTF using the slide release. This issue is USER ERROR. Period. Bad habits developed with larger user-friendly and forgiving firearms are accentuated with the XDs. With well over 1000rds of FMJ and ~300 of CDefense/CDuty, I have full faith in my XDs and carry it daily. If you’re an XDs owner and aren’t comfortable with it’s operating characteristics, trade it in and get something else. My 2 cents. :-)

    1. I tend to agree with you. My XDs problems were all user error, my fault. Now that I have learned from this I have no issues with the XDs.

  15. After experiencing this issue with my relatively new XD-S 9mm (<500 rounds through), I showed it to a friend, who pulled out a magazine of Hornady rounds he had handy for his Glock. Strangely enough, about 1/2 of them were slightly longer than the rounds I was having issues with! Swapped them out in my 7-round mag, and they racked/loaded with absolutely no issues!

    I'll be trying out Gold Dots and other rounds mentioned above to see which ones end up working reliably in my pistol. I just wanted to point out that apparently, not all Hornady Critical Defense rounds are the same length (both were 115 grains).

  16. I believe I have found the issue with the xds FTF. Noticed when I pulled the slide back to lock the slide lock I would encounter a spot where the slide stopped. I had to exert extra pressure to get past that spot and engage the slide lock. After disassembling the weapon, I noticed that the small patch under the slide that recocks the hammer has a small lip at the front. When hand racking the slide back to where it naturally stops, this lip was catching the .45 acp round right in front of the rim and not behind it. It always pushed the nose of the round downward and into the ramp. I duplicated this 100% of the time. I also learned that if I pulled the slide past the “so-called” spot to where the slide was definitely behind the .45 round, I could even let the slide forward rather slowly and it would still go into full battery each and every time. For the life of me I can’t figure out why the bottom of the slide has this small lip. Doesn’t seem as if it could serve a purpose whatsoever. Disassembled my standard 4″ xd and it does not have the lip at all. Anyone contacted Springfield about this?

  17. I have had this exact same issue with the XDs and Hornady Critical Defense ammo. And it only happens upon manually releasing the slide. So it appears this is definitely not an isolated problem.

  18. Great I’m not the only one having this issue. Will double check how I’m racking the slide but issue only seems to happen on round 7 and sometimes 6 so I believe the spring tension is a factor. If slide is closed when magazine is inserted I have the Ftf but if open seems to load fine when slide is released so maybe user error but never had issue at the range. Going to always have one round in chamber for sure now

  19. 4 months ago I left a comment concluding user bad habits and not mechanical issues with the XDs 3.3 9mm. After reading more comments I think it fair to say your mileage may vary. Four months later and 500 rounds of fmj 124gr practice ammo, 50 rds of 115gr critical defense, and 50 rds of 135gr critical duty +P (my new preferred carry in all my 9’s) I have yet to see this issue outside of manually racking the slide. I can duplicate this manually <5% of the time with either round, 100% of the time my fault with bad practices. And yes I try intentionally every week. Though sometimes my ftf is unintentional on clambering the first round for daily carry. My bad always.

    That being said, my Remington model seven 7mm-08 loves federal fusion. My dad's, old school core-locks that mine hates. Every firearm is different and prefers one ammo over the other for whatever reason. Yes, sometimes it's the firearm or the ammo. Sometimes it's us. I will say it again. If your XDs doesn't work for you, GET SOMETHING ELSE.

    I think recently the most astute comment came from Billy noticing a mechanical issue that can be duplicated manually but probably not in normal operation of the weapon. I'll be trying the same and will report back accordingly.

  20. Jason,

    I’ve had the 3.3″ XDs 9mm for about a year and I have the FTF issues with Hornady Critical Defense/Duty rounds that others are talking about. In my XDm 9mm, I carry Critical Duty, so when I got the XDs, I tried them in it as well. But as others have seen I’ve had failure to feeds with the hornady rounds when racking the first round in. As others have noted, I’ve never seen this issue when actually firing the gun. So, once you get a round in the chamber, it seems you are good to go.

    However, I purchased some Speer Gold Dot 124gr bullets to load and actually found that I can occasionally get the issue with them as well. Again, it’s only when racking the first round in the chamber. This has been such an issue(not consistent, but enough) that when I keep the gun around the house without a round in the chamber, the first round in the mag is FMJ ball. When carrying it, I always have one in the chamber so it’s not a concern.

    However, today, I was testing out some *new* Speer Gold Dot’s that I got real cheap cause they were pulled bullets… They had a bigger opening in the front(hollow point) so I thought they would be much worse in the XDS… I loaded several to a pretty short OAL 1.070″ and ran them through the XDs. That is just racking them in. I couldn’t reproduce the issue. I’m going to keep playing with them… But I am wondering if it is as others have mentioned a factor of bullet shape(form) and OAL. I did try some at long OALs as well and couldn’t get it to happen with the new bullet with the wider opening in the front.

    I’ll do some more experimenting and get back with you.

    THanks,
    Barry

  21. I did some more testing and created a video showing what I think is going on…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJNlacNd57c

    The video shows what’s going on. But long story short, the small diameter hollow points can get stuck on the bottom lip of the feed ramp when the barrel goes forward as the round is sliding forward.

    I’ve found that with big fat hollow points the failure to feed issue can be eliminated.

  22. I was looking at getting the XDS 9mm. I like the looks and never heard of any misfires till coming across this site. What do you guys recommend? Is it a good gun that feeds certain ammo better or are there flaws in the mechanisms?

    1. It’s a great pistol. As with any gun though, you need to make sure you get to the range with your ammo of choice to make sure it works. I found 124g Remington Golden Sabres to be a good round for my XDs.

    2. I agree with Lucas. It’s a nice gun you need test it like any gun with the specific ammo you wish to carry. I’ve never had an issue with any ammo in mine other than when you try to manually rack a round in. With a round in the chamber it’s functioned flawlessly with all my ammo.

      The issue is that when you rack the slide, the top round can dip down and there’s a slight chance for pointy hp rounds to get caught on the bottom of the feed ramp.

    3. When racking the first round you must be sure to rack it HARD! Rack it by putting the pistol in front of you and pushing your strong hand forward VERY vigorously while pulling back on the slide so vigorously that that hand hits you in the chest after releasing the slide. It must simulate the force of a discharged round! Doing this my XDS 9 will chamber a round 99.9% of the time. Try it. It works. Shown to me by a qualified shooting instuctor. This eliminated miss feeds for me when racking the slide to chamber a round.

    4. What the rest said. It’s an awesome little gun. Hornady critical defense was only problematic manually loading that first round … but also fmj if I rode the slide. 100% failure free in operation regardless of ammo. Just sold mine but that was due to my inadequacies. Hands too long and too difficult to properly control the trigger in tactical training. Had to replace with a double stack . Already miss the XDs.

      1. Appreciate the feedback! I was about to order this gun when I realized Springfield is coming out with a new series. I’m debating on ordering the XDS soon or waiting to see what is coming out. Considering this will be my first carry firearm. Has anyone heard of the new series and what is being added/taken away?

      2. Haven’t heard of a new series – course that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. Mine was a post-recall 9mm XD-S 3.3 from early Dec last year … the XD-S 4.0 came out earlier this year. Only difference AFAIK is 4″ barrel vs 3.3″. Whatever it may be, if it’s your first carry weapon I’d recommend renting and shooting at your local range before pulling the trigger on a purchase. [pun intended :-)] Firearms are personal. Doesn’t matter how people rave about the finest Agave Tequila if it turns out you hate tequila.

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