With the recent spate of micro-9 mm, double-stack pistols, one can be forgiven for lumping Smith & Wesson’s new CSX pistol into that group. Alternately, one might be tempted to think the CSX is Smith & Wesson’s take on the micro-9 mm 1911, like the SIG Sauer P938, Springfield Armory 911 or Kimber Micro9. Reality, of course, is that the CSX is both of these things, marrying a 1911-style, single-action operating system with a double-stack magazine bringing capacity to 10+1 rounds.
Let’s start off with some specs. The CSX is nearly a clone of the Shield Plus, size wise. Length, width and height are identical for both pistols: 6.1 inches, 1.1 inches and 4.6 inches. Even the barrel length – 3.1 inches – is identical. Weight is the only spec where there’s a difference between the two pistols: the CSX is .7 ounces lighter, and that’s with an aluminum frame, not a polymer one. It is in the operating system alone where these two pistols are the most different.
One look at the CSX and it’s immediately apparent this is a 1911-style pistol, albeit with some slight upgrades and tweaks. There’s no grip safety, much like the Colt Mustang and 380 Government pistols as well as the other 9 mm variants mentioned earlier. The CSX does have a bladed-trigger safety to prevent accidental discharge if dropped, and there’s a thumb safety common to all 1911-style handguns, though this one is ambidextrous. A quick note: initially, the safety is a little stiff to engage, but smooths out over time and repetition. It is easy to disengage from the get-go, using a standard 1911 grip that places the strong thumb on top of the safety. Lefties rejoice! The slide stop is also ambidextrous, and the magazine release is reversible at the turn of a small, slotted screw.
Smith & Wesson’s CSX is a quiet revolution for the 1911 fan. It marries the capacity of the modern micro 9 mm double-stack pistol with the familiar, single-action trigger of the 1911. While I have read complaints online about the trigger being heavy, my experience with a number of CSX pistols hasn’t borne this out – the trigger is quite manageable. Whether you’re looking for a backup pistol for a larger 1911 or simply prefer the single-action trigger, the CSX gives capacity, shootability and concealability all in a pistol the size of a Shield. That’s a little bit on the amazing side.
Since the CSX is somewhat of a bridge between the worlds of the 1911 and the micro 9 mm, it makes sense to have a holster that’s also a two-in-one. Galco’s Tuck-n-Go holster can function as both an inside-the-waistband option or as a pocket holster if needed. Now, whether you’re comfortable with a single-action pistol in a pocket is another question, but the option is there.
When used inside-the-waistband, though, the Tuck-n-Go offers tuckability, which you probably gathered from the name. Two clips are provided; one is a standard belt loop, while the other is intended to hook over the waistband of your pants with a slight plastic projection that hooks onto the belt. This option, when tucked, leaves a minimalist footprint for deep concealment. Available in black steerhide, the Tuck-n-Go is, much like the CSX, fully ambidextrous as well, with attachment points on both sides of the holster.
Knife: True Knives Trueblade (MSRP: $24.99)
I’m going to once again beat the drum for the affordable pocketknife here. True Knives’ Trueblade pocketknife offers a 2.75-inch, partially serrated 420 stainless steel blade in a stainless steel frame with aluminum scales. It’s lightweight, has a pocket clip for easy carry and is suitable for any number of everyday tasks.
It’s also, well, affordable, with an MSRP of less than $25 and a “real” price of about $20. If you lend it to a co-worker and they lose it, you’re not out a ton. You can pick up a couple and stash one in your car’s glove box for emergency situations without worrying about it. There’s a lot to like about a good, functional knife that doesn’t set you back a ton of cash.