CONCEALMENT 12 Review: Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 9mm Chad McBroom This article originally appeared in CONCEALMENT Issue 12 Choosing a firearm for daily concealed carry requires a lot of forethought and insight into one’s motivation and lifestyle. Your carry gun should fit your hand well and be chambered in a caliber sufficient to stop a deadly threat. It needs to handle well enough that you can get a quick sight picture and place accurate shots on target while effectively managing recoil. Last but not least, it must be comfortable to carry and conceal. A firearm does absolutely no good to anyone if it’s constantly left at home because it’s too big and heavy to carry in your typical daily attire. In this article, we’ll look at a pistol that checks all the boxes listed above — and even a few that aren’t. XD-S Mod.2 9mm Springfield Armory has been producing firearms for more than 40 years. The company once known for manufacturing iconic American weapons, namely civilian versions of the M14 and M1911, expanded its product line to include polymer pistols in 2002. Since its entry into the polymer pistol market, Springfield has broadened its XD (X-treme Duty) line with a substantial selection of full-size and compact pistols. The XD-S subcompact single-stack pistol has been the company’s most popular pistol since its introduction; the feature-heavy, XD Mod.2 is probably a close second. In a likely sequence of events, Springfield combined the most desirable traits of these two pistols to create the XD-S Mod.2. First introduced at SHOT Show 2018, the XD-S Mod.2 was first offered in 45 ACP — with 9mm and perhaps 40 S&W to follow. Eight months later the XD-S is available in 9mm. We were able to grab one of these nifty little pieces off the assembly line so we could put it to the test and share our thoughts on this newly revamped piece of hardware. Springfield has been making minor tweaks to the XD-S over the years, but this time they did a major overhaul. With a design as popular as the XD-S, this might have been a risky move, but that didn’t stop Springfield from pulling out all the stops with their Mod.2 package. The pistol combines many of the attributes that existing XD-S fans know and love with some upgrades that might draw a completely new following. Compact Carry No doubt one of the major driving forces behind the popularity of the XD-S is the market demand for smaller and thinner defensive-caliber pistols. Springfield could’ve simply rechambered the existing 45 ACP XD-S Mod.2 in 9mm, a common move in the firearms industry. Instead they designed a new version around the 9mm round itself. By doing so, they were able to package it into a smaller frame with a slimmer profile. The Mod.2 9mm ships with two magazines, one seven-rounder and one nine-rounder. The seven-round magazine has a pinky rest to add just enough length to get all four fingers around the grip. For deep concealment, the pinky rest can be replaced with a flat base plate that sits flush against the bottom of the magwell. The nine-round magazine has a contoured grip extension that gives the shooter an extra inch of real estate. An eight-round magazine that splits the difference between the two in terms of capacity and grip enhancement is also available. Get a Grip One of the things that keeps guys with Dremel tools and soldering irons in business is the inability or unwillingness of gun manufacturers to take a clue from their base and design their polymer frames with the kind of textures and contours that shooters love. Springfield appears to be one of the few companies that has figured out they can offer many beloved grip features right out of the box. Choose the magazine that fits your needs — nine, eight, or seven rounds. The Mod.2 “GripZone,” as Springfield has christened it, features three different textures around the grip to enhance shooter comfort and control. Zone 1 covers the frontstrap and lower portion of the backstrap with a skateboard-tape-style texture. Zone 2 covers the peripheral areas, where the palm and fingers wrap around the grip, offering a slightly more aggressive variation of the same texture. Zone 3 is a slick portion extending up the middle. These varying degrees of texturing make for a comfortable yet secure gripping surface that won’t rub your abdomen raw when it’s concealed under your shirt. The Mod.2 also has a higher cut tang to lower the bore axis and place the shooter’s hand closer to the slide. The deep undercut on the trigger guard combined with the extended beaver tail allows for a higher grip and provides excellent recoil management. EDC First & Foremost The Mod.2 upgrades were chosen to perfect the XD-S for everyday carry. The front sight has been upgraded to a bright AmeriGlo Pro-Glo tritium sight for quick sight acquisition during day or night. The rear sight has been replaced with Springfield’s serrated “tap-rack” sight, with a shelf that offers a positive surface to rack your slide (e.g. against a belt, boot, doorway, etc.) should one-handed slide manipulation become necessary. A breakaway view of the lower receiver shows how low the bore sits in relation to the grip. Longer Posi-Wedge slide serrations on a narrower slide provide a secure grip surface for slide manipulation. Though not a substitute for manual inspection, such as a press check, the loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide lets the shooter see and feel the condition of the weapon when it’s placed in a holster. An ambidextrous push-button magazine release gives the shooter access from either side of the gun, making it friendly for right- or left-handed shooting. One surprisingly under-advertised advantage built into Springfield’s XD line of pistols is its standoff capability. During an extreme close-quarters confrontation where you might find yourself in a clinch with an attacker, it may be necessary to make a contact shot. The danger is that press contact will likely push the slide out of battery, preventing the gun from discharging. The XD series full-length guide rod protrudes slightly past the muzzle, providing a contact surface that takes the pressure off the slide and keeps the slide in battery. It’s not foolproof, but it increases the odds in your favor. Safety First The Mod.2 has three passive safety mechanisms. The trigger safety blocks the trigger from moving to the rear unless the safety lever and trigger are depressed simultaneously. The grip safety located behind the tang must also be depressed for the gun to fire. An additional “drop-proof” striker block safety is connected to the grip safety. This prevents the striker from moving forward and striking the primer until it’s disengaged during the firing sequence. All three safeties work in unison to ensure the gun won’t go off unless it’s in your hand and you’re pulling the trigger. Endurance Testing Springfield boasts an impressive 25,000-round endurance test without a single failure, so we decided to do a little endurance testing of our own. After receiving a sample XD-S Mod.2 3.3 from Springfield and 2,000 rounds of 115-grain Critical Defense from Hornady Manufacturing, we were off to put this pistol through the paces. Our testing protocol was simple: We began with a seven-round accuracy test at 10 yards to set a baseline, then it was blaze ops for 500 rounds. After each 500-round iteration, we would disassemble the gun and inspect it for irregular or excessive wear, cracks, breaks, or deformities. If everything looked good, we would slap it back together, do another seven-round accuracy test, and repeat the process. Our initial accuracy test (keep in mind this is offhand shooting, not a mechanical accuracy test) yielded a nice 2-inch group, definitely a great place to start. Then, we set out to ring some steel from just about every firing position and hand configuration we could think of. We experienced our first malfunction at just over 200 rounds. The top round on a full magazine took a nosedive into the feed ramp, requiring the remedial action of ripping the magazine and reinserting it. The same phenomenon occurred about 100 rounds later. After the second time, we stopped to take a closer look at things and quickly realized it was operator error. In our rush to fill magazines, we failed to seat the top round all the way to the rear with several magazines. This caused the rounds to dip forward and impinge against the feed ramp. Once we put a stop to that nonsense, we never saw this problem again. At around 1,250 rounds, we had our first and only major malfunction that appeared to be either a weak casing or over-pressured round. The casing ripped in half and the top portion remained inside the chamber, preventing any subsequent rounds from seating. We cleared the chamber with a pass of a cleaning brush from the muzzle end and went back to shooting. Again, this malfunction couldn’t be attributed to the gun itself, and if anything served as a testament to the durability of the Mod.2’s hammer-forged barrel. Our final test results yielded no malfunctions other than the shooter and ammunition-induced stoppages described above, neither of which can be attributed to the gun. Our final accuracy test showed no degradation in accuracy. In fact, our final group was tighter than our first group by half an inch. As far as handling goes, we found it easy to hammer steel with the precision of a blacksmith, even out to 50 yards. The short-reset trigger and low bore axis made our follow-up shots extremely fast. Our only negative feedback is that with an aggressive thumbs-forward, two-handed shooting grip, the tendency to ride the slide stop and prevent the slide from locking back on the last round is very high — around 98 percent would be our very unscientific guesstimation based on what we experienced. Final Impressions The Springfield XD-S Mod.2 is an impressive little gun, and the upgrades from the original add to its performance capabilities. This gun is purpose built for defensive carry, from its enhanced short-reset trigger and tap-rack sight to its slim profile and compact frame. Its reliability, as evidenced during our own testing, makes the XD-S Mod.2 a gun deserving of a spot near the top of your self-defense shopping list. 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