I was sure that I was going to hate this pistol. Single action, a manual safety, an aluminum frame, and of course hammer-fired, all mean that I was solidly out of my comfort zone with Smith & Wesson’s new CSX 9mm carry pistol. What boomer asked for this nonsense? If you were to put an M&P Shield and a Colt Officer’s model in a hotel room, threw in a bottle of schnapps and walked away, this gun would probably be the end result. But despite my love of polymer, striker-fired, utilitarian pistols, it is very easy to love the CSX – it definitely is not my style, but it is sexy, fun, and capable. If you are a 1911 fan who has been looking for a pocket-sized carry pistol, welcome home. This is your gun.
Smith & Wesson @ TFB:
- VIDEO: The NEW Smith & Wesson CSX Review
- The New Metal-Framed Micro-Compact Smith & Wesson CSX Pistol
- Red Dot Revolution: Smith & Wesson Releases Upgraded M&P9 M2.0
- Add A Millimeter! Smith & Wesson Introduces The 10mm M&P 2.0 – First Shots
In this episode of TFBTV, James Reeves reviews (and mini-torture tests) the (super-leaked) NEW Smith & Wesson CSX, or “Chief’s Special X”. Is this just a metal S&W Shield Plus? No – it’s also hammer fired. And single action only. And smaller. And lighter. And holds more ammo. You know what, just watch the damned video.
FIRST SHOTS: The Sexy Smith & Wesson CSX Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol
The first, and in my opinion the most important feature of the S&W CSX is a healthy magazine capacity. We can argue about striker-fired and hammer-fired handguns all day, but a modern 9mm carry pistol needs to carry a minimum of 10 rounds. This new carry pistol comes with a 10 round and a 12 round magazine leaving it with a max capacity of 13 rounds. And unless you are looking to shave off about 1/4′ inch for deep concealment, the 12 round magazine is the way to go. A slide on adapter plate helps to keep the longer magazine sleek and form-fitted.
Also important in a carry gun are well thought out ambidextrous controls that are both snag resistant and easy to manipulate. The CSX hits the mark with both the slide lock lever and the thumb safety. Both are unobtrusive yet easy to work quickly. Slide serrations help with working the action, especially in wet conditions. S&W states they also help to reduce glare, a problem I have yet to experience on any carry gun (I save my polished chromed guns for the range). The mag release is a perfect blend of accessible but protected from accidental presses. It is reversible if you are a left handed shooter.
The grip is both slim and smooth in some areas and textured and form-fitting in others. The palm swell is comfortable and has the right amount of roughness. The center of the grip is smooth, allowing for your thumb to slide up to either the safety or slide lock lever without issue. The front strap is rough textured for a positive grip clamp.
- Manufacturer’s Page: https://www.smith-wesson.com/product/csx?sku=12615
- MSRP: $609
- S&W® CSX™
- 9mm Luger
- 10+1, 12+1
- Metal White Dot
- Metal White 2-Dot
- Single Action
- Interchangeable Backstraps
- Stainless Steel with Armornite® Finish
- Stainless Steel with Armornite® Finish
- Aluminum Alloy
- Matte Black
- Matte Black
- 3.1” (7.9 cm)
- 19.5 oz.
- Aluminum alloy frame
- Glare reducing serrations on top of slide
- Interchangeable, textured backstraps including small and extra small sizes for better concealability
- Textured front strap
- Ambidextrous manual thumb safety
- Ambidextrous, elongated slide stop
- Two magazine release buttons included for left and right hand shooters
- Chamfered ejection port to help ensure no snags when drawing from holster
- Slide includes EZ-tab integration for simpler racking
- Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim
- Flat faced trigger with integrated safety for a consistent ﬁnger placement
- Single action for a light, crisp trigger pull for accurate shot placement
- Armornite® durable corrosion resistant ﬁnish
This handgun is the perfect size for deep carry, without having to sacrifice on caliber or capacity. With the right pants (or shorts) the CSX can be easily pocket-carried. And in a pinch, since the hammer can be left on half-cock and the manual safety engaged, a holster isn’t required. Something I would never say about a striker-fired pistol. I still recommend using a holster for any carry gun.
The sights are a standard white three-dot setup that are actually pretty bright for not having tritium or fiber optics inside.
Not being an expert on single action pistols, I was happy to discover that you can rack the slide with the thumb safety engaged.
The grip is the widest part of the gun and the texturing could be a little too aggressive for all of you fancy boys and girls that are concerned for your custom tailored garments.
The trigger is actually delightful – it has the characteristics of a 1911 with a more modern feel. The trigger safety gives a slightly mushy impression at first, but the there is a crisp break that striker-fired guns can’t seem to replicate.
The one downside that I’ve noticed is that the frame seems to scratch and mark easier than polymer guns. Scratches never bother me, even on very expensive guns and the CSX isn’t designed to be a safe queen. But if you are extremely OCD it may bother you that everyday wear might show up faster than your polymer pistols.
I’m comfortable in saying that this is not the carry gun for me. Manual safeties and hammers just aren’t a part of my EDC vocabulary. However, I do have love/lust feelings for the CSX. It is well made, small, light, and has a modern ammunition capacity. The trigger is beautiful and I enjoyed shooting it – there is no excessive muzzle flip or rise which is a bonus for such a small gun. For all of you “Condition 1” carry guys who are looking for a smaller alternative to a compact 1911 and maintains double stack capacities, this could be your next gun.