Smith & Wesson departed from the current 9mm lineup in a number of ways with the new 9mm CSX single-action. Based on the first pictures I saw, I thought it might be what amounted to an M&P or Shield with 1911 parts slapped on. (OK by me since I am a big 1911 fan.) However, like many assumptions, that was wrong.
The CSX is a brand-new pistol that redirects certain design elements from the current S&W lineup, like the interchangeable backstrap system of the M&P, and adds in 1911-style features modified to function on a pistol that S&W accurately describes as a micro-compact. The end result works very well.
What’s Different About the Smith & Wesson CSX 9mm
At first glance, the CSX appears to have a polymer frame as S&W palmswell grip adaptors are included with the package. As the CSX frame appears very similar to the M&P lineup, I assumed it was polymer. Wrong again. The frame is made of aluminum alloy, adding 2 ounces over competing polymer-framed guns as well as a solid, stable feel.
The grip adaptors come in two sizes. The factory installs the large size, and a much smaller compact adaptor comes in the box.
Two Armonite-coated stainless-steel magazines are included: one 12-round and one 10-round. The 12-round magazine is as close to flush fit as you can get. And I don’t see the need for the 10-round magazine to be included.
Like other micro 1911s on the market, the CSX lacks a grip safety. However, S&W added a trigger safety lever system for those who prefer two manually operated. The CSX’s trigger safety lever is about as unobtrusive as you can get. It melts into the face of the CSX trigger and can’t be felt as the trigger is pulled. The ambidextrous frame-mounted thumb safeties “snick” solidly into their safe and fire. You can engage or disengage the safeties with the hammer down, as well as manually cycle the slide with the safeties engaged.
The skeletonized hammer spur is tiny. I could operate it well enough but would like to see it enlarged just a bit. The trigger pull averaged a crisp 5 pounds, 8 ounces. One can easily reach the extended slide release levers, which are also ambidextrous with either thumb. The magazine release button, while not ambidextrous, can be switched by the owner from the left side to the right side of the frame.
There are cockling scallops at the front and rear of the slide. At the very rear of the slide is an integrated “EZ Tab” to make retracting the slide easier. The sights are basic three-dot. The rear sight is adjustable for windage only. There is provision for mounting optics, and there is no light rail.
CSX Handgun Specifications
Weight: 19.5 ounces
Frame width: 1.01 inches
Barrel length: 3.1 inches
Overall length: 6.1 inches
Overall height: 4.6 inches
Barrel and slide: Stainless steel with Armonite finish
Front strap: Textured for sure grip
Smith & Wesson 9mm at the Range
The temperature was 26 degrees with a constant wind, plus 40 mph gusts that dropped the felt temperature down to 13 degrees. My initial test was brief.
I used two types of ammo. The first was a box of Norma Range and Training practice ammunition. No slouch in the power department, Norma R&T ammo propels a 124-grain FMJFull Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullets are bullets that have no exposed lead on the nose or sides and do not deform as dramatically as hollow-point or bare-lead bullets. RN bullet from its brass case at 1,181 feet per second, which produces 382 foot-pounds of energy.
Racking the slide easily chambered the first round. I had noted previously that the feed ramp featured a very high degree of polish. I fired the 10 rounds from a distance of 30 feet, during which time the wind tore the bottom of the target free. Pausing between gusts, I still managed to drop eight rounds into 3 inches with two called flyers.
Next, I loaded up six rounds of SIG Sauer’s M17 124-grain +P+P and +P+ are designators identifying ammunition as carrying a higher internal pressure than is standard for ammunition of its caliber. V-Crown Elite JHP ammo. The M17 load launches its hollowpoint projectile at 1,198 feet per second and delivers 395 foot-pounds of energy. I fired these rounds as quickly as I could on a steel silhouette from 20 feet to test controllability. It was easy to keep the CSX on target, and all six rounds “clanged” in the center of the silhouette. I was highly impressed … though cold.
The S&W CSX is a great little pistol and quite ingenious. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it as much as I did. I plan to spend some more time shooting at some steel plates. MSRP is $609.