Mr. Guns’n’Gear on the S&W CSX Compact Pistol

Today we join Mr. Guns ‘N Gear (MGG) in a review of the new Smith & Wesson CSX Micro Compact Pistol. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

Smith has a few small 9mm pistols in the mix already, so would another little 9mm really make much of a difference? I mean, seriously, isn’t it overdone at this point? Well, by the end of the review, it may become apparent why they went the route that they did.

The Smith and Wesson CSX is a 9mm pistol that is very small and is single action with a barrel length of 3.1 inches. It is 4.6 inches high and 6.1 inches long, weighing 19.5 ounces with a 12-round magazine in place (the magazine weighs 2.4 ounces). As mentioned, it is not a large pistol (and it is not tiny, either). Did you catch that? Yes, I said it is single action. Aside from the 1911 platform, it’s rare these days to see a single-action pistol (much less in 9mm) that is this compact.

single action CSX
Cooked and locked single action! S&W switches things up! Will we see a version cut for an RDS or equipped with a light rail? Maybe we’ll learn more at SHOT Show 2022.

So it’s unique. Is it unique enough to set it that far apart that people will flock to it? Only time will tell, but I can’t help but think that it’s different enough to make people want it. Personally, I find it intriguing enough to be appealing, and really wouldn’t mind having one.

I enjoy my striker-fired pistols well enough, and they certainly have their advantages. But a single action is just…classic!

CSX Capacity

There are two magazines included: one 10+1 and the other 12+1 rounds. The 12-rounder offers a bit longer grip, while the 10-rounder offers the most concealment. When you stop to think about this for a moment, the little CSX can hold 13 rounds. Remember the Browning Hi-Power? You know, that full-sized service pistol that held 13 rounds? It’s a testament to how far we’ve come in firearms technology when we can pack that many rounds into small pistols (and many of them on the market these days have round counts into the teens).

CSX magazines, 10 round and 12 round
10 round and 12 round magazines.

Action

As mentioned, the action of the CSX is single action with a thumb safety, just like the famed 1911, making this a much different offering than usual for S&W. The trigger pull on the pistol tested was 6.5 pounds, and the trigger has a flat face with a safety lever (similar to the Glock). Trigger pull is reported to be excellent. There is one minor complaint that MGG had with the trigger, though; it exhibits a “false reset.” That is, when releasing the trigger after a shot, it reaches a stage where there is a slight click, making the shooter think he has reached the reset, when in fact, he has not. One has to allow the trigger to continue forward for a short time to reach the actual reset, which is indicated with a stronger click. Mister Guns ‘N Gear opines that this is not a major issue because the majority of shooters do not shoot to the reset, but rather allow the trigger to go out all the way. Personally, I agree and don’t see this as a major issue.

The frame of the CSX is aluminum and it comes with two Polymer backstraps that can be switched out with a punch that is included. The backstraps have the M&P 2.0 texturing, which is aggressive, to aid in the grip. The rest of the frame is smooth, aside from the front of the grip, which is also textured. There is a high undercut beneath the trigger guard, which aids in getting a higher grip.

The CSX next to a Ruger LCP.
The CSX next to a Ruger LCP.

One nice aspect is that, when the safety is engaged, the action can be cycled. The pistol will also fire with the magazine removed.

The magazine release is nicely textured and sticks out enough to be easy to activate. It’s not ambidextrous, but it can easily be reversed to the other side of the frame. Magazines drop free easily. Both the safety and the slide stop are ambidextrous.

Smith & Wesson CSX mag release, trigger, and slide release
A good shot of the mag release, trigger, and slide release. The undercut allows a nice, high grip.

Mr. Guns ‘N Gear relates that the recoil is more manageable than he expected, and in the video, it is evident that recoil is minimal. This is likely owed to the low bore axis, along with the aluminum frame. Rapid fire proved to be very easy. Mr. Guns ‘N Gear was ringing steel very quickly with this little pistol, and he made it look fairly effortless.

Smith & Wesson CSX rapid fire
Rapid fire proved to be no problem, and the muzzle didn’t rise much.

With certain guns, it’s possible to just intuitively know that they are fun to shoot when you see someone shooting them. I’m not sure why or how this is, but when you see it, you just kind of know. And to me, this is one of those pistols.

Mrgunsngear reviews the CSX
Note the brass in the air, yet the muzzle is still on target!

There is no accessory rail for lights, lasers, etc. The slide has both front and rear serrations and wears an Amornite finish (Nitride) in black. There are anti-glare serrations built
into the top strap of the slide.

Smith & Wessson CSX, serrations on the top of the slide
There are serrations cut into the top of the slide to reduce glare.

Sights are all steel and of the three-dot configuration, with a square notch rear sight. The front and rear sights have serrations to reduce glare. The hammer is skeletonized.

Smith & Wesson CSX front slide serrations
Front slide serrations are a nice touch, as are all-steel sights.

Disassembly is routine and begins by removing the magazine and ensuring the pistol is unloaded. The user then brings the slide back to where a notch lines up with the slide stop. He then pushes a pin out, removing the slide stop. From there, the slide comes off, the guide rod and recoil spring are removed, and then the barrel is removed. That’s it. Just like most other autos on the market, this one holds no surprises.

removing slide stop pin from Smith & Wesson CSX
Removing the pin from the slide stop for field stripping (after making sure the pistol is unloaded!).
Smith & Wesson CSX field stripped
Field stripped, there were no surprises.

MGG fired a few different types of ammunition through the CSX, including FMJ ammo, Red Army Standard steel cased ammo, and Federal HST. All fed with 100% reliability, and at the conclusion of the video, he had fired 600 rounds through the pistol so far with zero issues.

I’ll confess that this little CSX has kind of caught my eye. It’s accurate, not much recoil, and is just attractive. I like the size and the fact that it carries a decent amount of ammo on board. With an IWB holster, this little pistol would be a joy to tote around while still offering enough gun to be a force to contend with should one be threatened. Dammit, now I want one!

At the time of this writing, MSRP on the CSX is just over $600, with a street price of around $549. That’s pretty reasonable when compared to many of the other offerings on the market.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.

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