Compact and sub-compact handguns are all the rage the past couple of years, and we have them in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP these days. In a sub-compact, I believe it is best to stick with one in 9mm, because you get one or two more rounds in some of the magazines, and it is controllable – more so than the .40 S&W and the .45 ACP. If you can’t control your firearm for follow-up shots, what good is it? I received my Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 several months, before they were released to the public, and have enjoyed testing it so much, I just flat out forgot to do an article on it. I was just having too much fun shooting it.
I don’t want to second-guess the powers-that-be at Springfield Armory, but in the case of the XD-S Mod.2 – I believe they should have give it a different designation – there are so many changes on the Mod.2 version, that it really isn’t much of a brother, sister or cousin, from the original XD-S model, if you ask me. It is a substantially different gun – it even looks different than the original XD-S. It is more stream-lined and much easier to hold and shoot – more on this, shortly.
The XD-S Mod.2 is a single-stack 9mm sub-compact handgun, that is just begging to be concealed – deeply concealed because of its small and compact size. It is actually less than an inch wide, and with the 3.3-inch barrel, it is as small as you can go, and still have a functioning semi-auto pistol, that is accurate and easy to shoot. The Mod.2 has some really great upgrades over the original XD-S. To start with, there are the AmeriGlo fiber optic front sights – the big green front sight is easy to see, and mine has the upgraded Pro-Glow front sight. This has a Tritium insert for day and night use – excellent. The rear sight is also new, compared to the original XD-S – it has the tactical rack design so you can rack the slide against any surface that has an edge on it – if for some reason you can’t use two hands to chamber a round.
Of course, we have two passive safeties, one is the grip safety, and the other is the lever in the face of the trigger – if both are not depressed, the gun cannot fire. There is also a drop safety, in the slide – if the gun is dropped, it cannot fire unless this safety unblocks the striker. Yes, this is s striker-fired handgun. The redesigned frame also brings the shooters hand up higher on the frame, so it is closer to the bore axis of the barrel, giving you more control for faster follow-up shots. There is a dual, captured recoil spring set-up, and the folks at Springfield told me you can shoot all the +P ammo you care to, through this little gun. The trigger reset is shorter than on the original as well, and the gun just flat out sits better in my hand. And, that’s not counting the redesigned stippling on the frame areas, placed just where they are needed to keep the gun secure in your hand under recoil.
The XD-S Mod.2 ships with two magazines, one that holds 7-rounds and has a flat mag base, but also comes with a pinky catcher mag base – something I have been telling Springfield to do for years now – most folks who purchased the original XD-S would buy an after-market mag base with the pinky catcher, and put in on their 7-round magazines. I found that it didn’t extend the magazine all that much, the gun still concealed just fine. I’m just glad that Springfield is now providing a similar pinky catcher mag base pad with this gun. It also comes with a 9-round mag, that is extended – I’d use that magazine for my spare magazine for a reload. And, you can now purchase 8-round mags for this gun as well – Springfield has their bases covered, this time around.
The trigger pull itself is really good – much better than on the original version – making for better accuracy. Plus, there are plenty of holsters out there, for concealed carry in a variety of manners, from inside the waistband, to outside the waistband, to an ankle holster and just about any other way you want to conceal this little gun. BTW, this is one of the most sought after concealed carry 9mm handguns on the market. Springfield put 25,000-rounds through a test gun, with zero problems – that says a lot to me.
The slide is coated in black/charcoal gray Melonite – tough stuff, that helps protect the slide from the elements. Of course, the frame is black polymer (plastic). However, it also comes in several different colors, and one will sure suit your tastes.
I’ll tell you right up front, I did not like shooting the XD-S Mod.2 with the standard flat magazine base on it – I could just barely get two fingers around the grip frame, and it was a bit too hard to control for follow-up shots. I like the pinky catcher extended mag base plate. This makes the gun feel completely different – and I do mean completely different, and more controllable. The 9-shot X-tension mag, well, it’s great for that spare magazine you all should carry – but I wouldn’t carry the gun with that mag in it – the pinky catcher mag worked fine. Then the optional 8-round mag, it might be the “just right” size” as Goldilocks said in the fairy tale – or it could be used for the spare mag on your belt – choice is yours to make.
My Extensive Tests
To be honest, I carried this little gun as my regular CCW pistol for several months, and it was shot by several of my regular testers, and other friends. I lost count, just flat out lost count of the number of rounds through this gun, but its safe to say, at least 2,500 rounds or more went through it – with zero malfunctions. I never cleaned the gun, only lubed it.
From Black Hills Ammunition, I had a good selection of ammo to run through this little gun. Their Honey Badger 100-grain all-copper fluted +P, as well as their 125-grain all-copper fluted sub-sonic load. Their 124-grain JHP +P (one of my favorite loads from Black Hills for street carry), 115-gr FMJ, 115-gr EXP (Extra Power) HP, 124-grain JHP and their 115-grain Barnes TAC-XP + P load. I also ran some aluminum-cased and steel-cased ammo through this little gun – and it never missed a beat. And I shot some “range” 9mm ammo – a mixed bag – and it all ran fine through this little gun. The 124-grain JHP +P was a bit stout in this little 21.5-ounce gun, but it was still controllable.
I did my accuracy testing using a sleeping bag, over the hood of my Dodge Ram pickup, and the target was out to only 15 yards. I was on my game with this little gun, because I shot it a lot before this portion of my testing and it just kind of grew on me. Best overall winner was the 125-gr Honey Badger subsonic load – it gave me groups slightly more than an inch – from a 3.3-inch barrel. I consider that outstanding. Everything else was right at 2-inches if I did my part. There were a few called “flyers” – my bad, not the gun. You can’t ask for better accuracy than that, in a sub-compact 9mm handgun.
This is a super sub-compact little 9mm handgun, that won’t let you down, with which you can shoot +P ammo. So this might be just the pistol for you. Check it out – it’s not the old XD-S model, it is the XD-S Mod.2 But again, I think it is essentially a new model.
Compared to many other similar-sized 9mm handguns, I believe that this XDs Mod.2 has a lot to offer, and I believe, based on both my own testing, and the documented 25,000-round torture test that Springfield Armory put it through, this little gun is ready for war. It can take a beating, a real beating, and it just keeps on going. It may not be the absolute smallest of the bunch of sub-compact 9mms, but I believe in the end, it will leave the rest in the dust, if put to a head-to-head shoot out. I wouldn’t hesitate to put it up against many full-sized 9mms on the market. It has it all, great concealability, as well as being more than accurate, and it’ll get the job done.
I rarely “endorse” any products, especially firearms, but this little 9mm has taken the shooting world by storm, and I highly recommend it for your next purchase. Over more than a quarter century of testing all types of firearms, this one really caught my attention, and these days, it takes a lot to do that.