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You can see the rifling in the barrel in this photo. The fully supported feed ramp on the barrel is polished to a mirror finish. Given the nature of the beast, a very short action and a large cartridge, it needs to reliably slide smoothly up the ramp and into the chamber. Failure to feeds are NOT an option in a CCW handgun that you are betting your life on.
The 3.3" barrel is Melonite coated which should provide many years of reliable service. Melonite is not actually a coating but rather more like bluing in that the process interacts with the surface of the metal. Unlike bluing, Melonite makes for a very hard and durable surface. For what it is worth, Smith & Wesson uses a Melonite barrel in some of their AR-15 rifles instead of chrome plating them. M&P 15 owners have been very pleased with their barrels and they are very accurate for an off the shelf non-custom barrel.
The dual captured recoil springs make it easier, in my opinion, to remove and install the spring assembly in the slide. Not much chance of launching by misplacing a thumb or finger. The XD-S is a striker fired pistol, like the others in the XD family. It uses a safety pin to block forward movement of the striker unless the trigger is pulled to the rear. This helps prevent a discharge should the sear release the striker if the pistol is accidentally dropped.
Springfield Armory provides a good amount of checkering on the XD-S grip. Control of the pistol after pulling the trigger is paramount if a quick and accurate follow-up shot is required.
Here is a good view of the difference between another XD grip and the XD-S (right) grip. As you can see, Springfield has increased the texturing on the XD-S quite a bit. Not only does it wrap much further around onto the sides of the grip but it also has a more aggressive pattern.
The back strap (on the lower back portion of the frame) is interchangeable so that you can get a better fit for your hand. Two sizes are included with the XD-S. A 3/32" punch pushes the roll pin (circled in red) out of the frame allowing the back strap to be exchanged with the other one included in the case.
Just like the other XDs I have, the XD-S has a grip safety.
Some folks do not like the grip safety. It works along the same lines as
the grip safety on the infamous Model 1911 .45ACP pistol. For a striker
fired handgun like the XD family, I think having a grip safety is a great idea.
All of my handgun practice starts with a draw from the holster. While I've
gotten more than my share of bad draws, I've never managed to get one that
didn't allow me to pull the trigger (because the grip safety was not