Springfield-Armory XD Mod 2: http://www.springfield-armory.com/products/xd Mod 2 45acp/
Buy one on GunsAmerica: /XD Mod 2
There’s been a lot of flap about thin polymer pistols lately. Too much flap. I’ve had my fill of all of the yammering about the thinnest this, or the most concealable that. I’ve made the argument before, and–at the risk of repeating myself–I’ll say it again: it isn’t that much harder to conceal an extra .25″ of plastic. The race for the bottom, the smallest, the thinnest, earns companies (and the shooters who embrace their products) nothing but bragging rights. And you aren’t going to prevail in a gunfight with bragging rights. You win with a functional firearm and adequate training.
Both are critical. You want a gun that’s going to be big enough to manage, but not so big that it can’t be concealed. Finding that delicate balance can be super tricky. It requires actually shooting the gun–a luxury most of us don’t have unless we’re willing to pony up. It requires a lot of side-by-side comparisons, which means your FFL has to have a good selection. And it may mean that you give up some hard-won brand loyalties and consider everything equally.
But before we get into the meat of this, I’d like to take a video detour. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to shoot Springfield-Armory’s new XD Mod 2 in .45 ACP. It wasn’t your average day at the range–I was working with Rob Leatham. Shooting with Leatham is like a master’s course in handgun skills. The two videos below are from that shoot.
Back to the matter at hand…
Let’s consider for a moment the recent single-stack race. Springfield-Armory has been a big contender in this race for quite some time now. Their XD-S line rocked the concealed carry market, and I was an early adopter. I love my XD-S in .45 ACP. It is very easy to conceal. And it was one of my favorite carry guns until I spent some time with the XD Mod 2 line. Let’s take a side-by-side look at the two and see how they stack up.
- Caliber .45ACP
- Recoil System Captive Recoil Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
- Sights Fiber Optic Front and Low Profile Combat Rear
- Weight (with Empty Magazine) 26 ozs.
- Height 4.75″ w/ Compact Mag, 5.5″ w/ X-Tension™
- Slide Forged Steel, Stainless Steel® Finish
- Barrel 3.3″ Hammer Forged / 1:16 Twist
- Length 6.5″
- Grip Width 1.20″
- Frame Black Polymer
- Magazines 1 – 9 Round,1 – 13 w/ X-Tension
- Caliber .45ACP
- Recoil System Dual Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
- Sights Fiber Optic Front & Dovetail Rear (Steel)
- Weight (with Empty Magazine) 21.5 ozs.
- Height 4.4″
- Slide Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish
- Barrel 3.3″ Steel, Melonite®, Hammer Forged
- Length 6.3″
- Grip Width .9″
- Frame Black Polymer
- Magazines 1 – 5 Round, 1 – 6 Round w/X-Tension
Just to hit my point again, the height of the XD-S is 4.4″. The XD Mod 2 is 4.75″. Length is even less significant. The XD is a mere .2″ longer. Width? .3″ wider. We’re talking about measurements that are hard to envision without the aid of measurement tools. Do this little exercise. Put your fingers .25″ apart. Now ask yourself what that miniscule measurement gets you.
You get 4 more rounds of .45 ACP. The XD-S has a 5 round mag. The XD has a 9 round mag. For those at Springfield who are reading this and feel like I’m bashing on the XD-S–you have my apologies. I’m not. I still love my XD-S, and am confident in carrying it. But it feels inadequate next to the XD Mod 2’s increased capacity. I did a full blown review back in November. I reached the exact same conclusion then (when just the 9mm and .40 S&W were avialable), which gives me confidence in my opinion. These guns are game changers.
If you haven’t picked up on the larger implications of this, I’ll spell it out for you. I’ve been carefully using the XD-S as a stand in for a lot of other guns. The Mod 2 makes any single stack 9mm, .40, or .45 obsolete. Why would you give up capacity for a slim fraction of an inch less width? I can’t imagine anyone shooting this pistol side-by-side with any single stack on the market coming away with the single-stack. Perhaps some of you out there want a fancy pistol, one that looks good with a suit. If you accessorize your firearms like you do belts and shoes, the polymer framed XD may not impress. Or if you’re a diehard single-action guy, you may have a tough time with the versatility of the XD. But I doubt it. Maybe you’re so confident in your prowess with handguns that you need the handicap of single-stack capacity….
What’s different about the new XD Mod 2?
Now they’ve added the .45 ACP. I’ve shot all three side-by-side, and I’m partial to the .45 ACP. There’s no difference in the feel of the guns, and only a modest difference in the felt recoil. The .45 ACP is more manageable for me than the .40 S&W, and less fatiguing on my hand. You can dicker all you want about which caliber is most effective, but I’ve yet to find fault with these three. In the end, it may come down to personal preference. Or, if this is going to be a backup gun, I’d choose the same caliber as my primary gun.
Either way. One thing that is a major upgrade on the Mod 2 is the GripZone texture on the frame. While the old XD had knobbly bumps that resembled mud tires, this one is a bit more refined. The actual hashes are like grains of rice, only smaller and with sharper edges. They offer a solid grip. It is a great improvement. The old grips have good surface area, but weren’t as ergonomic. These feel great in the hand.
The increased grip equates to more control. While some of the competition’s guns need to be sanded here, and stippled there, the XD is a perfect fit.
How does the .45 ACP perform from a 3.3″ barrel?
Not bad. I ran several varieties through the chronograph. While most are coming in below what I’d like for the .45, the speeds are still respectable. We didn’t have any rounds that broke the 1,100 FPS mark. We only had one go below the 900 FPS mark, and that was a big fat 230 grain Federal jacketed hollow point that slipped in at 870 FPS. All told, the XD Mod 2 puts up numbers that compare very favorably to a 1911. In most cases, there’s less than 100 FPS of velocity loss from the 5″ barrels to the 3.3″ inch barrels. Odds are slim that anyone on the receiving end would be able to notice the difference.
So the speeds are enough to ensure expansion and penetration. The gun is small enough to conceal. And the gun holds more than a typical 1911. This “why-settle?” question seems to be evaporating quickly. There’s no good reason I can think of to settle. At least not for me.
And maybe that’s where this ends up. This is me. I’ve known some really tiny people who like to carry guns. I’m not talking about children, though I know them too. I’m talking about small framed adults. Women, mostly, but some rail-thin dudes that could use a sandwich. It is conceivable that the XD, even as compact as it is, would be too big to conceal. For those shooters, I can’t see any 9mm, .40, or .45–even the single-stacks–being easy to carry. Those skinny folks are tailor made for the .380. And Springfield-Armory doesn’t make one of those. Yet.
For the rest of us, there’s the Mod 2. The gun sells for $500, give or take. That’s not bad, better than some of the contenders, and very affordable.