Review: S&W CSX a Perfect Pocket Pistol or BUG Only?
The Smith & WessonCSX has a ton of potential. It’s lightweight, reliable, and boasts several features that make it ideal for concealed carry. However, in my initial review of this gun, I talked about a couple of things that were problematic for me with this little pistol.
Can all that potential be thwarted by a couple of negatives? Or was I able to adjust my training and get this gun to be a perfect pocket pistol for me? Let’s dive in and find out.
What is the CSX?
The CSX is an aluminum-alloy-framed, single-action-only, pistol chambered in 9mm. It’s impressively light (ringing in at 0.7 ounces lighter than the Shield Plus) while boasting an equally impressive 12+1 capacity with the extended magazine. Speaking of magazines, you’ll get two with this gun, the 12 rounder just mentioned and a flush fitting 10-round magazine as well. I prefer the 12-round magazine as it allows me to get a nice full grip, while the 10-round mag leaves my pinky just hanging out looking for something to grip onto.
The flush-fit magazine isn’t exactly a new issue, as I have the same issue with the flush-fit magazines that comes with the Shield Plus and P365. The CSX also boasts a large beavertail, an ambi safety selector switch, ambi slide stop, and reversible magazine release. The gun sports polymer grip panels and comes with an additional backstrap if you’d like to bulk up the grip.
Since I mentioned the Shield Plus, a polymer-framed pistol that only sports an extra round of capacity, I thought comparing specs made sense. Check out how these two guns match up below.
What I Love About the CSX
There are a few things that I really love about this gun. I already mentioned that this is a light gun, but it's deceivingly light. I didn’t expect it to be this light when I picked it up at first. This lends itself well to a comfortable concealed carry option. Pair that light weight with a 12+1 capacity, and this has real potential to become a fan favorite among people who want that all-metal frame and single-action-only option.
The grip panels are very nice and give a lot of grippiness to the gun. For being such a small gun, I never felt like it was jumpy, some of that can be attributed to those grip panels. The ambi controls also work very well, and I don’t need to readjust my grip to access anything, which is a big win for me. The safety wasn’t stiff at all, like some I’ve encountered in the past, and the slide stop was easily actuated from either side.
Another feature I really love about this gun, and one that I wish S&W would apply to their M&P lineup, is the slide serrations. They are deep and tactile, allowing for an easy grip and racking of the slide. Speaking of the slide, it’s easy to rack and not too stiff out of the box. Though it’s not at the level of a Shield EZ, it shouldn’t give you any issues either.
Finally, the anti-glare serrations on the slide worked very well for me, too. I was shooting this gun in the bright midday sun and never had any issues with the glare. Speaking of shooting, let’s get into that important aspect.
Let’s start with reliability, which is of utmost importance when looking for a carry gun. This gun, like almost every S&W I ever been around, just ran. It ate pretty much everything I fed to it, including Federal, S&B, Winchester, and Wolf. It ate both training ammo and defensive ammo with ease. I fed around 400 rounds through this gun and had a single malfunction – on some old Wolf ammo that may have been exposed to moisture – so I’m not ready to blame the gun for that one. The cases also spit out in an incredibly consistent pattern, flinging themselves far from the gun.
Shooting the CSX is where I start to see some potential downfalls for this pistol. The trigger is a bit stiff out of the box, especially for a single-action trigger. S&W did tell me that I would need to put a couple of hundred rounds through it before the trigger “smoothed out” a bit. While I would say that the trigger pull did smooth out a bit, I never felt like it was as light or smooth as I would’ve expected for a single-action trigger.
Accuracy was also an issue for me. Now, I’ll preface this by saying there are better shooters than me out there. Still, I thought for a single-action-only gun this would have been as accurate, if not more accurate, than the Shield Plus for me. That was never the case. While I was able to tighten my groups over time, I wasn’t ever able to replicate the success I had with the Shield Plus, which I shot very well right out of the box. I will say that I think it’s more than adequate for concealed carry, but if you’re trying to place 1-inch groups at 25 yards, this might not be the gun for you.
Stones to Throw
I have two major issues with the CSX.
Let’s start with the trigger, more specifically the trigger reset. I’m someone who likes to ride the reset. It was drilled into me when I first started learning to shoot by shooters much better than myself. It’s so ingrained in my shooting habits now that I find it virtually impossible not to ride the reset of a pistol. That’s where the issue comes into play for me.
The CSX for sure has a false reset point. In fact, I think there may even be two false reset points on this gun. This inevitably led me to short-stroke the gun more times than I would’ve liked. Now, if you’re someone who doesn’t ride the reset or you like to slap the trigger, then this may be a moot point. But if you’re anything like me, this false reset (or two) might just be the downfall of the gun for you. It’s certainly something to note when looking for a new gun.
The other major stone I’ll throw at this gun is that it gave me major slide bite. After about 100 rounds through the gun, I feel annoyed by it and am ready to stop shooting. Just as riding the reset is ingrained in my shooting so is getting as high a grip as I possibly can on a pistol. Could I lower my grip a little and maybe avoid slide bite? Sure, but that would go against how I've always trained. It’s my understanding that a high “combat grip” gives you greater control of the gun, so lowering the grip would also likely cause my accuracy to decrease as well.
Now, I’ll say I have some pretty fat hands, especially in the web of my hands. So that may be playing into this issue, and I let other people test out the gun who didn’t experience any slide bite, so it’s very likely that your experience may differ from mine.
Where Does This Gun Fit In?
For me, this is not a primary carry gun because of some of the downfalls, namely the trigger. However, if you slap the trigger this might not be an issue. But it’s an issue for me, which is why I say it wouldn’t make a good primary carry or home defense pistol for me. I could see myself carrying this as a backup gun though if I were to start carrying a BUG.
It’s incredibly lightweight and boasts an impressive round count for such a small gun. Plus, my thinking is that if I need a backup gun, well, things have gone very south very quickly. In a situation like that, I’ll likely not be riding the reset much less thinking about it. But I could be wrong. Hopefully, I never have to find out.
The CSX from S&W is a pocket pistol with a ton of potential. But for me, it's not something I would choose based on the trigger alone. I’m hoping when the CSX 2.0 is released S&W will address this issue as nearly everyone who I had shoot the gun had a similar complaint.
Still, I’m just one person, and some people think this gun is the bee’s knees. Just check out the reviews from Guns.com customers below.