A consistent analytical comparison has been made of the transient behavior of critical and subcritical fast-spectrum reactor systems, the basic core design assumed in each case being that of the 80-MW(thermal) mixed-oxide-fueled, Pb-Bi-cooled, experimental accelerator driven system (XADS). The transient calculations were performed using the FAST code system developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute. The present study demonstrates a high level of self-protection of both the critical and subcritical systems over a wide range of postulated events, including transient overpower due to reactivity insertion, loss of flow, station blackout, loss of coolant, and core overcooling accidents. The relative advantages and shortcomings of the two system types, from the viewpoint of transient behavior, are discussed on the basis of the corresponding simulation results obtained.