First Look: Smith & Wesson’s CSX
Every year manufacturers look to bring out the next “best” gun that the shooter “needs” to have. It’s a continuous ploy to stay significant in a massive market where manufacturers attempt to evolve and stay relevant to the consumer. In recent years ARs, precision rifles, and concealed carry handguns captured the majority of headlines. This year is no different, only now it is one of the oldest American gun makers stealing the headlines.
The new Smith & Wesson CSX had a relatively quiet release. Several videos dropped on YouTube over the course of the initial launch week, but the gun world was relatively silent on it. Now, to be fair, Smith didn’t bring anything “new” to the CSX, however what they accomplished is fresh. Smith has smashed together a plethora of handgun designs and incorporated them into a single firearm. The trend currently, of course, is high capacity concealed carry handguns that maintain a svelte frame with increased capacity. Names such as the Sig P365, Springfield Hellcat, Glock 43X, and the newer S&W Shield Plus all come to mind that highlight this trend. So why then the CSX?
The early revolution of the concealed handgun market—early as in 5 or so years ago—saw guns like the Sig P938, Glock 43, Kimber Micro 9, and the S&W Shield (see a pattern?) compete for the top spot. Common traits among those were relatively easy manipulation, 1911 style trigger pull, aluminum frame, and small footprint. Obviously the Glock 43 and S&W Shield were polymer frame, striker fired guns, but they were competing with the hammer fired 9mms of Sig and Kimber. So what happens when the features of the older—relatively speaking—concealed carry guns are mixed with the characteristics of newer ones? Something like the CSX appears.
CombinationThe CSX sports an aluminum frame like the P938 and Micro 9, yet uses replaceable backstraps like
many popular polymer frame guns do. It is hammer fired, but has a trigger reminiscent of that on a striker fired gun and keeps the inherent trigger safety design. Capacity is 10+1 or 12+1, depending on the magazine used—which is on par with other current offerings. Other features include ambidextrous safety, left and right hand magazine releases, and textured front strap. All of these combine to create a gun that isn’t “new” but newly capitalizes on many design features.
The CSX hits a broad target audience (no pun intended). Its combination of features hits a certain sweet spot in the concealed carry lineup. There is no other offering that compares to it, however, its uniqueness challenges the status quo of the existing options—namely Sig, Springfield, and Glock. Will the CSX revolutionize the marketplace like the above mentioned firearms did? It’s too early tell, but the CSX is promising. Too many times manufacturers are copying what others are doing to stay competitive, it’s rare anymore for a manufacturer to take the initiative to develop something entirely different in a given niche.