Gun Review: Springfield XD Mod.2 .45 ACP

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Springfield was kind enough to send me one of their new XD Mod.2s in .45 ACP to play with last month.  After getting to review the XD-S 4″ in .45 ACP I was excited to see what the difference was (especially since I was impressed enough with the XD-S to buy one).  Having not played with the original XD I was interested to experience this derivation.

I have to say, the Springfield XD Series Pistols really come with a great care package. The XD Mod.2 continues this trend.  It (like the XD-S) came in a large composite case, foam lined with cutouts. The package contained a holster, dual magazine holder, a speed loader, two magazines, and, again, the standard silly cable lock.

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The pistol itself is classified as a sub-compact.

Throughout this article I am going to compare the XD Mod.2 against the XD-S 3.3” .45 ACP (since that is the other “XD” series pistol that has a 3.3″ barrel in .45 ACP). For brevity, I am going to refer to that as “XD-S” (knowing that “XD-S” can refer to a number of other models).  I also recognize that the XD Mod.2 is the “update” to the original XD

Construction

It is a double stack pistol with the option of a 9 round magazine or a 13 round magazine with their “X-Tension” grip extender. It is a third again the width of the XD-S (XD Mod.2 is 1.2”; XD-S is 0.9”), while maintaining the same width as the original XD. The height is a little more than a quarter of an inch taller (when outfitted with the nine round magazine) than the XD-S (but same as the original XD). When you compare the higher round count magazines, there is only a tenth of an inch difference (the XD Mod.2 being taller). The weight is 26 ounces (compact magazine) and 27 ounces (X-Tension), unloaded. This is 4.5 ounces heavier (with either magazine) than the XD-S (but again, same as the original XD). Overall the slide is a little slimmer. The rear serrations are bit more pronounced (more deeply inset). There is also a little higher undercut behind the trigger guard (which is why I think I felt like my grip was more positive than it was with the XD-S while using the lower capacity magazine).

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The grip is one of the big changes to the Mod2. They now have the “Grip Zone” which delineates three different areas. Since buying my XD-S I have fired a few hundred rounds north of a thousand through it. I found that I really disliked the grip, especially the ridge above which your thumb is supposed to sit (apparently my thumbs are fat and after firing a bunch I felt like I was getting a bruise in the middle of my thumb). And the main grip was just a tad too rough. These were all things that I didn’t really get a chance to experience during my earlier review of the XD-S. This is also one of the hazards of doing a review where you don’t fire a crap ton of rounds though a gun—in my case I only burned around 200 rounds (we could learn much more if only we had unlimited budget for ammo and could keep the demos for a year). Anyway, it was annoying enough that I had actually had my XD-S stippled and reshaped by Luke at BMC (including all of the grip X-Tensions).

Apparently I wasn’t the only one that was not happy with the grip. If you look at the new GripZone, it is a lot less aggressive than the original, and very similar to the work I had done.  If you compare it to the original XD (which has similar texturing on the front and back as an unmodified XD-S, and a side stippled panel), you can see a huge difference–one I think is a great direction. The new grip is comprised of three different textures. The very front and very rear (12 o’clock and 6 o’clock) are the most aggressive, and named “Zone 1”. “Zone 2” can be found at (1-2 o’clock, 4-5 o’clock, 7-8 o’clock, and 10-11 o’clock), and is a slightly less aggressive texture than Zone 1. “Zone 3” is everything else (though, I’m not sure I would have given this it’s own designation—it is just the regular polymer frame).

Trigger undercut

XD Mod.2 Trigger undercut

Zone 2 and Zone 3

Zone 2 and Zone 3

Zone 1 front)

XD Mod.2 Zone 1 (front)

Zone 2 Back

XD Mod.2 Zone 2 (back)

XD-S Original Grip

XD-S Original Grip (for comparison)

 

This is the polymer work I had done to my XD-S a few months ago, which I think is very similar to what Springfield has done with the Mod.2

This is the polymer work I had done to my XD-S a few months ago, which I think is very similar to what Springfield has done with the Mod.2

There are the same three main safety devices installed on the Mod.2 as found on the other XD Series pistols: the trigger safety, the grip safety, and the striker block safety.

The trigger safety is a lever pretty much just like the one you find on Glocks. The trigger can only be pulled when depressed simultaneous with the safety lever.

The grip safety is similar to what you would find on a 1911, though not nearly as wide. You have to have a solid and positive grip on the frame, depressing the safety to allow the gun to fire. It is a little higher than the the XD-S, which in theory should provide more reduction in felt recoil (though this was not my experience).

Both the trigger safety and the grip safety, when disengaged, allow the third safety, the internal firing pin block to disengage. It also has a loaded chamber indicator and striker status indicator,

Striker Status Indicator striker not ready)

Striker Status Indicator (striker not ready)

Striker Status Indicator visible

Striker Status Indicator (striker ready)

Loaded Chamber Indicator

Loaded Chamber Indicator

Disassembly is exactly the same as the XD-S (and I assume the original XD). It has a disassembly lever that you rotate to 12 o’clock (of course after verifying clear and safe, with the magazine removed), after locking the slide back. After engaging the disassembly lever, you gently release the slide stop until tension is off of the spring and while holding the slide gently, pull the trigger. This completes the unlocking of the slide from the frame and you can slide the entire assembly forward. To reassemble, you slide the upper back onto the frame until you can engage the slide lock. After that you disengage the disassembly lever and you can drop the slide.

Shooting

Let me come right out with it. I like where they went with the new texture. But I didn’t like the overall width to accommodate the double stack magazine. It didn’t feel like it fit my hand well. My Glock 17 with a double stacked magazine fits my hand well. The XD Mod.2 does not–the extra 0.3″ translated to a lot for me (which would also indicate to me that the original XD would not fit me well either).

XD Mod.2 next to Glock

XD Mod.2 next to Glock for width comparison

Another initial observation was that my first few rounds were very snappy. It really felt like the pistol was going to jump out of my hand. I think a combination of the .45 ACP caliber, a short 3.3” barrel (compared to the 4” on my personal XD-S) and a higher bore axis (0.4 cm/0.15 inches by my admittedly cheesy estimate–new calipers are inbound) contributed to the increased kick.  I did not have an original XD available to measure (can any of you readers contribute a measurement?).

I'm calling this a rough 2 cm of distance from bore to top of grip.

I’m calling this a rough 2 cm of distance from bore to top of grip on the XD-S.

I'm calling this a rough 2.4 cm of distance from bore to top of grip.

I’m calling this a rough 2.4 cm of distance from bore to top of grip on the XD Mod.2.

That said, the accuracy was fine. It just took some adjustment to get used to as I am really quite a bit more comfortable with my XD-S (and before that, my Kimber Warrior, in terms of .45 ACP).

The length of the grip on the XD Mod.2 with the smaller capacity magazine was not as bad as the XD-S with the five round magazine—I felt like I had a little more purchase on the XD Mod.2 (ignoring the width).

My first time out with it I just played around, getting a feel for it. My initial impression was favorable with the exception of the grip.

The front fiber optic sight is great. I really like a red fiber optic sight on the front of pistol (so much that I even replaced the sights on my Glock with red fiber). It was very bright and easy to pick up, and the contrast between it and the rear dots made alignment quick (though I’ve now grown much more fond of NO dots, or markings, on the rear sight). The rear sight has a smaller profile and appears a bit smoother. I did some dry fire drills and was easily able to get a rapid front sight focus.

Despite a shorter length on the slide technically making it less mechanically accurate due to the sight radius geometry, I did not find there to be much difference in actual accuracy (out to twenty meters) compared to my XD-S (the 4” version).

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I ran some El President drills with the XD Mod.2 the second time I took it out. Just like when I reviewed the XD-S, the problem was that I had two different magazines, and that both interfaced with my hand in two different ways. I used the 7 round as the primary magazine (fully loaded), and modified the drill by firing all 7, then switching to the 5 round magazine (rather than the traditional 6 and 6).

I ran the drill back to back with my XD-S, and overall my times were not much different. I had an average of 12.10 with the XD Mod.2; not quite a second slower than what I have done with my XD-S (11.28).

Reliability

Again, not being able to shoot other people’s ammo, I ran less than 200 rounds through it so I can’t give you a true reliability measure… 🙂 I did not have any failures and I did run the crappiest ammo I had.

Conclusion

Prior to my experience with the Springfield line, I’d always been a 1911 fan in the .45 ACP category. I now definitely have an appreciation for pistols in this caliber in other form factors. Personally, I like the XD-S (with the 4” barrel) more, but simply for the reason that it fits my hand better and I like more length (and weight) on a .45 ACP. The accessory kit is okay—it’s probably a good starter kit and I like that they have opted to include a speed loader—though it is kind of gimmicky in that it can mount to a picatinny rail (the intention I’m sure, is to mount it to the holster or magazine holder).

Speed loader can be attached to any picatinny rail... :)

Speed loader can be attached to any picatinny rail… 🙂

I’d rather see the package offered with choice in magazines of the same capacity. Springfield, please, please start offering your XD line with two of the same magazines!

One other thing that I found a little annoying is how easily the X-Tension slides on the stainless steel magazines. It is great for putting it on the magazine, but was a little irritating while reloading the magazine (even with the included speed loader). It is probably something related to my technique, but I did want to point it out. Oh, the horrible “first world” problems we have: “Maaaa! My mag X-Tension slides around tooooo easy”… 🙂

If you like .45 ACP and want a small concealable package, the XD Mod.2 is not a bad choice (neither is the XD-S). I think the biggest thing comes down to feel in your hand (and, really, my opinion is that you should run guns that work for you). It is nice that it can accommodate more rounds—but the difference in grip width just doesn’t work for me.  If you are a fan of the original XD, though, I think this would be a good fit.  If any readers have one, please feel free to chime in (especially if you have an original XD).

Pros

  • .45 ACP
  • Great sights
  • Comes with a nice accessory kit
  • Wider grip (just like original XD) may fit some hands better
  • Gun can accommodate a 13 round magazine

Cons

  • Gun felt a little snappier than the XD-S 4” .45 ACP
  • Grip may be too wide for some people’s hands
  • Gun comes with a 9 round and a 13 round magazine (rather than two of the same)

MANUFACTURER SPECIFICATIONS

  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Capacity: 9 Rounds (13 Rounds, With Mag X-Tension)
  • Length: 6.5”
  • Barrel Length: 3.3” Steel, Hammer Forged / 1:16 Twist
  • Height: 4.75” / 5.5” With X-Tension
  • Width: 1.2”
  • Weight: 26 ozs. w/ Compact Mag, 27 ozs. w/ X-Tension
  • Trigger Pull: 5.5 – 7.7 lbs
  • Sights: Fiber Optic Front & and Low Profile Combat Rear
  • Price: Street ~$500


Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • USMC03Vet

    I use to make fun of the “grip zone” until I put my hand on the grip zone. Now I’m a believer. Yes it’s tacky as hell and rubs people that care about how a gun looks more than it functions the wrong way but it delivers. The grip is just a dream. Holding a sub compact as comfortably as a full sized service pistol isn’t anything negative and that’s how great it felt for me. I was at the range doing some shoot offs to figure out my new carry gun and I was very impressed. So impressed it bested non sub compacts like the PPQ.

    I wish they came in more colors though. Black is so 1990’s.

    • Doc Rader

      Yep. I had to pay to get my XD-S with a similar grip. So I’m glad that Springfield is going that direction.

      Give it a couple years on color… 🙂

  • mrninjatoes

    Awesome review. I was debating between the XD-S and the XD Mod 2. Thanks for comparing them side by side.

    • Doc Rader

      Thanks! I’d still recommend shooting both and see which one fits you better.

  • Nicks87

    Still I think the Glock 30s is superior based solely on the fact it doesnt have that ridiculous grip safety. Also, you listed .45 ACP as a pro? Really? Not in my opinion.

    • Panzercat

      ‘And The Lord said unto him, “Smiteth thee with thy 45acp and tear his soul asunder. Thy aim be true and thoust round will devour his very being, his heart having hardened toward other bullets of inferior caliber. 230 grains shall be thy wieght and thoust enemies will fall by that number. Thy round shall cast them down into darkness, never to return to torment thee, so sayth The Lord.”‘

    • Doc Rader

      Queue the Holy War of Calibers.

      • Nicks87

        No need for that. I just dont think .45 is a positive feature in a handgun. It almost seemed like the writer was stuggling to think of positive things to say about the pistol so he tossed out the caliber thinking it might appeal to certain folks.

        • Doc Rader

          Nope. I wasn’t “struggling” (as you say) to think of positive things to say. Some people genuinely like .45 ACP. Heck, *I* genuinely like .45 ACP. It’s not like this is a competition gun or a plinking gun… 🙂

          • I’ll take a 45acp first then a 9mm—-

          • Marcus D.

            Ditto. The sweetest gun I’ve shot to date was a well broken in (range gun) full size Kimber. After shooting it, I just had to have one. And even though my 4″ isn’t as smooth, I still get giddy when I take it for a spin at the range.

          • Nicks87

            That’s fine if you like .45 ACP I’m not trashing the caliber. I’m just saying that when I am in the market for a gun I’m not looking for one chambered in .45, it’s not a favorable attribute in my opinion. Like I said, certain folks^^. 😉

    • Marcus D.

      Ridiculous grip safety? I bought an XD as my first gun BECAUSE it had one and the Glock did not. I’ve read enough stories of accidental discharges (or NDs if you prefer) with Glocks because some object got inside the trigger guard and caused the firearm to fire. Can’t happen with an XD. Nor can I think of anything truly derogatory to say about the LCI or the cocked indicator, netiher of which are available on the Glock. If you don’t like them, they are easily ignored, but you can never say “I didn’t know the gun was loaded.”

      • Nicks87

        I would never say, “I didn’t know the gun was loaded.” I always treat firearms as if they are loaded. Some people dont depend on mechanical safties and feel they offer a false sense of security. All you need to do to avoid NDs is to practice safe weapons handling procedures. You dont need a plethora of safty devices that can fail (all mechanical devices do at some point) when lives are on the line. You dont want to be that guy that says,” I thought the safety was on”. The grip safety is a wonky, needless device but it does appeal to certain people, I guess.

        • Marcus D.

          I do as well, but there are plenty of gun buyers who haven’t a clue, and have had no formal safety training–i.e., the lowest common denominator. This is why California now requires a mag disconnect–for all the clueless idiots who think that a gun is unloaded because they dropped the mag.
          That said, the LCI on the XD is failsafe. It is a metal rod that rides on the lip of a cartridge. There is nothing to fail. The cocked indicator is the back end of the firing pin–and it too cannot fail. I don’t know what you have against grip safeties–John Browning put one on the 1911, they work, and that’s good enough for me. In fact, I have on more than a single occasion bumped the trigger and been thankful for the added level of protection that the Glock does not offer; and as I said, there have been any number of instances where an object or a finger got into the trigger guard and fired the pistol inadvertently. I don’t want that to happen to me. Period. I would much rather carry a 1911 cocked and locked than a Glock.

  • john huscio

    Still prefer p220 in any size for .45

  • W.P. Zeller

    Quite an accomplishment by “Springfield Armory” (which they certainly are NOT).
    Took one of the most ill-proportioned, unattractive guns out there and made it even less lovely. And less huggable.
    That comes from a former XD “Tactical” owner, who took the thing in on trade for some work. It was alleged to be a “Custom Shop” gun, too.
    Got rid of it so fast the mags hardly even got broken in.
    Must be that Croatian beauty model.