Today, we finally get to talk about the new XD-S Mod.2. This is a difficult gun for me to review, for a number of reasons. First, I have said about all there is to say about the Gen 1 XD-S. I have carried the 3.3 model since 2013, and I reviewed the 4-inch model here. When I wrote “ 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons”, a multipart series, earlier this year, the XD-S featured prominently. The various caliber models basically had their own episode, here. When someone asks what model I recommend for a CCW gun, XD-S is unfailing the answer. I am about out of words to tell you how awesome it is.
Secondly, I came to this XD-S Mod.2 release with some hesitation. I always worry when someone has “improved” an object I already loved. From “ John Wick” to New Coke, the sequel is rarely better. Go look at the market value of a Bronco II if you don’t believe me. I didn’t like the idea of Springfield Armory messing with what I already saw as the perfect carry gun.
Fortunately, my fears are unfounded. Pretty much everything about the Mod.2 is better. I took them both to the range, to see for myself. Old faithful, my daily companion for the last 5 years. And the usurper, that some guy in a suit told me made it obsolete. No Disney stories here, the Mod 2 trounced the original.
The number one question I had in mind, would the Mod 2 really have less felt recoil? That sounds like marketing hype. The XD-S already handled 45 ACP recoil like a champ, for such a small gun. I attributed a lot of that to the grenade style texturing on the frame, of which I am a fan. You could get ahold of this gun, and that matters. Well, turns out, the Mod 2 blows its doors off. Part of that has to do with a lower bore axis. The Mod 2 sits close to ¼ inches lower in your hand, with your thumb web now protected by a small frame extension. Side by side, it is obvious which one stays on target better.
Point:1 for the Mod 2.
- Type: Dual-recoil operated semaiuto pistol
- Cartridge: .45 ACP
- Capacity:5 +1 rds. or 6 +1 rds. /w mag extension
- Sights: ProGlo Tritium
- Overall Length: 6.5 in.
- Height: 4.25 in.
- Barrel Length: 3.3 in.
- Weight: 21.5 oz.
- Width: .975 in.
- Manufacturer: Springfield Armory
The frame has changed in other ways as well. The original felt a little bit boxy. Nothing I would complain about, or ever really noticed, to be honest. But I notice now. The Mod 2 features rounded edges on the front and rear of the grip, along with a deeper undercut on the beavertail safety. There is some texturing, but it is a basket weave pattern, and much less obtrusive than the Mod 1. I left my degree in ergonomics in my other pants, so I can’t tell you exactly why the new one feels better. But it does. Drastically better. I would compare the feeling, if strapped for an analogy, to the difference between driving a dump truck and a Platinum F-150. Once you have tested both, you know a difference exists.
The grip has what Springfield refers to as Tenacious Posi-Wedge serrations that make the slide easier to grab and rack.
Point: 2 for the Mod 2.
The trigger is a subtle improvement, but like the other changes, one that you can’t unsee. Side by side, you’ll feel the upgrade in the new one. It is both marginally lighter, and there is less takeup.
Point: 3 for the Mod 2.
The original XD-S came with grown-up sized sights, a huge advantage over most carry size guns on the market. If they had a weakness, it was that they were only fiber optic. If you wanted tritium night sights, you had to go aftermarket. That has also been corrected on the Mod 2. From the factory, you now have the option of Ameriglo’s Pro Glo fronts. This is an awesome little sight, with a tritium center surrounded by a super bright daylight visible paint ring. I am not sure pictures do this one justice. The front sight, in the brightest desert sun, cannot be missed. The green ring sticks out like MC Hammer pants at a funeral.
The rear sight also features an improvement. The Mod 1 had a melted style rear, which meant it wouldn’t snag on things. This is great unless you need to use the rear sight to make the slide behave. Either to rack it one handed, or potentially clearing a jammed casing. In a CCW gun, those might be things you need to do. The Mod 2 features the new Springfield Armory tactical rack shelf, a flat spot with 90-degree edges that lets you do just that.
Point:4 for the Mod 2.
The only real change I am not certain about, the Mod 1 XD-S came with 3 magazine options. They were 5,6, or 7, depending on the extension you used, making the grip longer as you went. I am assuming due to popularity, but the Mod 2 only comes with 5 or 6 fitting magazines. I tended to carry my XD-S with the 7 rounder in it, for a total capacity of 8, in addition to liking the grip size this offered. So I was dismayed to learn that my preferred method is no longer an option. But then I realized that if you take the plastic extension off, the old 7 rounders still fit. So point Mod 2.
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Springfield has continued to raise the bar and bring improvements to pistols, I didn’t think they could improve upon. For those looking for a solid choice for CCW, you’d be hard-pressed to look past the new Springfield XDS Mod.2 in .45 ACP. Like test driving a new car, if you are an XD-S owner, take these words as a caution. Don’t go to the store and fondle the Mod 2. Because you won’t leave without it.
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