What can the Speed Ledge do for your shooting? To answer that question for myself, I attached one to my feisty Springfield XD-S .45 and hit the range.
Before we get to shooting, let’s get the Speed Ledge mounted to the handgun. Fortunately, it’s easy to pop on and off, as needed. Because of Speed Ledge’s design, which is meant to keep your thumbs pointed forward and down during fire, the Speed Ledge can only be installed on semi auto handguns. Although some may be tempted to install the Speed Ledge on a railed revolver, if you value your fingers, you’ll resist that temptation. The Speed Ledge’s point of attachment must be a Picatinny rail, so as long as your semi auto has one beneath the slide, you’re ready to get started.
Before you pop the ledge onto the rail, you’ll need to line the rail with protective tape. The tape’s intended purpose is to prevent rail scratches. Speed Ledge provides the tape, but you may need to trim it to fit perfectly. Next, follow the instructions included to firmly attach the Speed Ledge to your pistol. After reading the directions, I had the Speed Ledge installed in under a minute.
The thumb rest of the Speed Ledge provides a point of contact and allows the shooter to pre-load the contact arm with tension. That spring tension effect was designed to assist with the dampening of muzzle rise and perceived recoil. To use the Speed Ledge, simply adopt a standard thumbs-forward grip, but press the thumb of your non-firing hand onto the ledge. The thumb rest accommodates both pad down or side-of-thumb positions. See the image to the right for thumb placement.
Determined to test the Speed Ledge design on a pistol that packs a punch, I installed it on the XD-S 3.3 .45. The video embedded above compares, in slow motion, muzzle flip, recoil, and grip control of the Speed Ledge and non-Speed Ledge XD-S .45. Sans Speed Ledge, the pop of Springfield’s 21.5oz pocket rocket sometimes loosens my grip hard enough to make my thumbs slide right off the frame between shots. In order to understand the effectiveness of recoil dampening, I tested using rapid fire and double tap drills. The results? Although I didn’t perceive a significant reduction in muzzle flip, I was able to remain more in control of the hefty snap of the XD-S, allowing me to re-acquire my targets quicker. Simply put, the Speed Ledge improved my followup shots.
The four 6061-T6 hard anodized aluminum Speed Ledge models available at the Speed Ledge website are listed at $50. A $50 accessory for a $700 gun does not necessarily make the Speed Ledge cost prohibitive, but frugal shoppers may disagree. It is a matter of priorities and budget.
The Speed Ledge may not solve all shooting woes, but I did detect an improvement in my ability to control the punchy XD-S .45, and that boosted my confidence.
But, that confidence has yet to be applied to my concealed carry uses. The G2SL widens the profile. With the Speed Ledge installed, my XD-S no longer fits in my hybrid leather/kydex holsters. However, the Speed Ledge website has a few recommendations for finding a holster that will accommodate the accessory (according to the site they’re planning to release their own Speed Ledge brand kydex holster some time this summer) you can check out here. One additional concern that I have seen raised regarding this accessory is the potential for clothing snag during draw. Without a fitting holster, I haven’t been able to test this myself.
After my experience testing the Speed Ledge, two uses for this accessory stand out. Shooters of all skill and experience could employ the Speed Ledge to possibly reduce perceived recoil, and improve their followup shots. New shooters may also appreciate the Speed Ledge as a tool to help train with a thumbs-forward grip. However, there may be a place in the competition shooter’s world for the Speed Ledge as well. Thumb rests, like the Speed Ledge, are already in use by some competitive shooters. The Speed Ledge could provide an edge by helping the user tighten up shot groups, and re-acquire targets more quickly, shaving precious time off their score. When applied on a snappy range gun, or with your open competition pistol, the Speed Ledge may give your shooting just the boost you didn’t know you needed.