Smith and Wesson’s CSX Home Run – Ava Flanell

It’s the time of year when gun and gear companies release their new products for the 2022 SHOT Show and Smith & Wesson is no exception. The new S&W CSX subcompact, however, leaked a little early, so the first reviews are already out. Shooter Ava Flanell gives us her thoughts in the video linked below.

Being a striker-fired kind of gal, Ava’s initial thoughts about a new hammer-fired 1911-style gun were a little ho-hum. But she says that after handling the Smith and Wesson CSX, she’s “actually very impressed with it.” She’s of the opinion that hammers just complicate things but this one didn’t bother her. The CSX is single action only, so there’s no heavy double-action trigger pull. You can carry it cocked and locked if you choose.

Shooter Ava Flanell reviews the S&W CSX.
Shooter Ava Flanell reviews the S&W CSX.

Ava says the CSX “shoots really well. She likes the double-stack 9mm mags because they make the grip “much nicer, a little thicker. This actually fits really well in my hand.” A better grip, along with the heavier aluminum frame helps mitigate the snappier recoil you usually get from a micro-compact gun. She compared the recoil, head-to-head, with her S&W M&P Shield Plus and she says the Shield Plus’s recoil is heavier than the CSX. “If you like the Shield Plus and you’re okay with the recoil,” she says, “I would definitely say, hands down, [the CSX] is a lot better.”

Ava Flannell shooting the Smith & Wesson CSX
Ava says the CSX shoots really well.

Ava goes on to say that she doesn’t like to list specs in her video, so I’ll give you a quick rundown:

  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Hammer fired single action only
  • Overall length: 6.1 inches
  • Barrel length: 3.1 inches
  • Thickness: 1.12 inches
  • Height: 4.6 inches
  • Weight: 19.5 ounces
  • Capacity 10+1 or 12+1
  • Barrel and slide material: Armornite finished stainless steel
  • Frame material: Aluminum alloy
  • MSRP: $609.00 per S&W website
Smith & Wesson CSX compared to M&P Shield
The CSX weighs about the same as the M&P Shield Plus, but has a lighter recoil.

Ava says she likes the sights, especially how the rear sight is squared off if you need to rack the slide one-handed. She doesn’t like the trigger though. She initially thought the light single-action pull was nice, but she has an issue with the reset. The trigger has an audible and tactile feel on the reset, but it isn’t the reset, at least not on her test gun. The trigger has two pins in the side, presumably as part of the trigger safety mechanism (see photo below). When the trigger is resetting, Ava says the pin gets stuck just enough to generate a sound and a feel that simulates a reset. She shows us footage of her shooting the gun and failing to fire because she thought this problem was the reset. She notes that it would only likely affect shooters who are trained to fire on the reset, but it may be an issue.

CSX adjustable metal sights
The CSX’s adjustable metal sights are good, especially since the rear sight is squared off in front.

Ava likes the grip, especially the smooth section on the front quarters. She likes a textured grip, especially on a self-defense gun, but a smooth section makes it more comfortable to shoot during long range sessions. This may be an effort by Smith & Wesson to get the best of both worlds. She also likes the reversible mag release. She says it has a loaded chamber indicator on the extractor, which directly contradicts another review I saw, so I’m gonna say that, if that’s important to you, then do your own homework. Another concern Ava has is whether, as it loosens up over time, the thumb safety might start to catch on the holster during the draw stroke and accidentally engage.

CSX trigger
Ava did not like the trigger on the CSX.

Overall, Ava likes the CSX. She says that if the “Shield Plus had a baby with the Sig 938, this is what it would look like.” Probably an accurate image. She closes with the comment that the CSX is “Definitely kind of a home run.” “Kind of” ambiguous? Maybe, but probably not. Watch the video and see what you think.

CSX double-stack magazine
The double stack mag makes for a thicker grip that feels good in the hand.
William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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