RIGHT-SIZED .45

SPRING­FIELD AR­MORY’S XD-S MOD.2 FEA­TURES A NEW GRIP FRAME, EN­HANCED SHOOT­ING QUAL­I­TIES

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - STORY & PHO­TOS BY BRAD FITZ­PATRICK

Spring­field Ar­mory's XD-S Mod.2 fea­tures new grip frame, en­hanced shoot­ing qual­i­ties.

By Brad Fitz­patrick

We want it to be just right.

When it comes to a de­fen­sive hand­gun, most buy­ers want a gun that’s large enough to shoot com­fort­ably, but com­pact enough to carry and con­ceal even un­der light cloth­ing. When you start nar­row­ing the field of new striker-fired guns that meet those cri­te­ria, you quickly win­now out the num­ber of po­ten­tial pis­tols con­sid­er­ably.

Guns in Spring­field Ar­mory’s XD-S line fit neatly into those Goldilocks pro­por­tions. The XD-S guns are built around the same ba­sic ar­chi­tec­ture as Spring­field’s other XD striker-fired guns, but the S-se­ries pis­tols are sin­gle-stacks, which means they are lighter, thin­ner and eas­ier to con­ceal than their beefier dou­ble-stack sta­ble­mates. The new­est mem­ber of the XD-S line is the XD-S Mod.2, an up­dated and re­vised ver­sion of the orig­i­nal guns cham­bered in .45 ACP.

THE UP­GRADES

To be clear, there is noth­ing wrong with the orig­i­nal XD-S. I re­viewed an early model and was im­pressed by the gun’s build qual­ity, ac­cu­racy, safety fea­tures and com­pact size. But the team at Spring­field Ar­mory wasn’t con­tent to sim­ply rest upon

the past suc­cesses of their ear­lier mod­els and in­stead de­cided to tweak the XD-S’s fea­tures to turn it into an even more ap­peal­ing sidearm for per­sonal pro­tec­tion.

All XD-S guns come with a nar­row poly­mer grip, but the tex­tur­ing on the XD-S Mod.2 has been up­graded for im­proved com­fort and con­trol. The stan­dard XD-S has square tex­tur­ing on the grip sur­face that is very ag­gres­sive. It kept the gun planted in the hand, but it wasn’t as com­fort­able as some com­pet­ing mod­els.

The XD-S Mod.2 has a new grip de­sign with molded fin­ger grooves and a new tex­tur­ing that is less ag­gres­sive and more com­fort­able. That doesn’t mean that this new gun is prone to slip­ping out of the hand, though; the well-thought-out de­sign has just enough tex­tur­ing to keep the gun in po­si­tion without gnaw­ing at the shooter’s hand.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the grip al­lows shoot­ers to main­tain a higher grip on the gun, and that makes shoot­ing this com­pact .45 more pleas­ant. Po­si­tion­ing the hand higher on the pis­tol al­lows the rear­ward force of re­coil to travel through the arms, where it can be ab­sorbed. Al­ter­na­tively, a lower hand po­si­tion trans­lates to more muz­zle flip and less con­trol, and that, in turn, re­sults in slower fol­low-up shots.

The beaver­tail has also been nar­rowed and to­gether with the grip an­gle also aid in a se­cure hold on the gun. Un­doubt­edly, the en­gi­neers at Spring­field worked to make this com­pact .45 more man­age­able, and the new grip de­sign and higher hand­hold make this a sur­pris­ingly mild .45, espe­cially given its com­pact size. The new XD-S Mod.2 has a thin­ner slide than the pre­vi­ous XD-S model. The slide mea­sures about 0.9 inch wide, ex­cel­lent for con­cealed carry. The grip width is 0.975 inch, so this cer­tainly is a slim .45.

With the in­cluded flush-fit mag­a­zine, the pis­tol mea­sures 4.4 inches high. With the ex­tended mag, the to­tal height is just 5 inches. Over­all, the length is 6.5 inches, and the pis­tol weighs 21.5 ounces to 22.5 ounces with the flush-fit and ex­tended mags, re­spec­tively.

OTHER FEA­TURES

Adding to that, the slide is treated with a Melonite thermo-chem­i­cal treat­ment that won’t rust or flake, so this gun is equipped to stand up to the rig­ors of carry (pri­mar­ily cor­ro­sive per­spi­ra­tion) without wear­ing. The Melonite fin­ish gives the gun a matte black fin­ish that WIN­TER 2018 • CON­CEALED CARRY HAND­GUNS

matches that of the black poly­mer grip. The 3.3-inch bar­rel also re­ceives a Melonite treat­ment.

Con­trols on the XD-S are straight­for­ward and sim­ple. While they’re min­i­mized to ease carry and re­duce the odds of hang­ing up dur­ing a rapid draw, they’re also large enough for ev­ery­day use at the range. There’s a mag­a­zine re­lease but­ton, a ser­rated slide stop and a ro­tat­ing take­down lever.

There’s no man­ual safety, but Spring­field has in­cor­po­rated a lengthy list of safety fea­tures into the gun. For starters, it comes with a grip safety. Be­fore the gun can fire, the shooter must de­press the safety with the hand. It’s less com­pli­cated than it sounds; when your hand is in proper po­si­tion on the grip, the safety will be de­pressed au­to­mat­i­cally. But, un­til that hap­pens, the gun will not fire—a sim­ple safety fea­ture that is vir­tu­ally fool­proof and one that I’m sur­prised more pis­tol man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t in­cor­po­rate into their guns. There’s a bladed trig­ger safety that re­quires a straight pull to fire, and there’s also a loaded cham­ber in­di­ca­tor that pops up slightly along the top of the frame to pro­vide in­stant vis­ual ver­i­fi­ca­tion that there is, in fact, a round in the cham­ber.

There are a num­ber of other fea­tures that help the XD-S stand out in this crowded field. For one, it comes with very good sights. The XD-S Mod.2 I tested came equipped with the Ameriglo Pro-Glo green tri­tium front sight in­side a lu­mi­nes­cent yel­low cir­cle and a black, ser­rated steel U-notch rear sight. The “tac­ti­cal rack” rear sight has a flat front ser­vice that al­lows the gun to be ef­fec­tively racked on a hard sur­face us­ing just one hand—an ex­cel­lent fea­ture on any de­fen­sive pis­tol—and both the front and rear sights are dove­tailed into the slide.

Spring­field also added their Posi-Wedge rear slide ser­ra­tions to the XD-S Mod.2, and it’s a nice ad­di­tion. Trim sin­gle-stack semi-au­tos can be hard to rack, espe­cially for new shoot­ers. The Posi-Wedge de­sign of­fers a bet­ter grip on the slide for more pos­i­tive ma­nip­u­la­tion.

Over­all, build qual­ity is ex­cel­lent; there’s a heavy-duty ex­trac­tor, the mag­a­zines (five-round ca­pac­ity for the flush fit, six for the ex­tended) are made from stain­less steel, and the dual cap­tive re­coil spring de­sign is ro­bust.

Take­down is sim­ple; there’s a ro­tat­ing lever on the left side of the frame that, when ro­tated 90 de­grees, al­lows for sim­ple take­down of the pis­tol for rou­tine clean­ing and main­te­nance. There’s also an ac­ces­sory rail un­der the bar­rel if you choose to mount a light or laser.

A GOOD SHOOTER

To test the XD-S Mod.2, I fired five five-shot groups at 15 yards from a fixed rest us­ing five dif­fer­ent brands of .45 ACP am­mu­ni­tion. The ammo was a mix of three tar­get and prac­tice FMJ loads and two ded­i­cated de­fen­sive

rounds. The re­sults were pretty good con­sid­er­ing the XD-S’s com­pact size.

The most ac­cu­rate load tested was Hor­nady’s Crit­i­cal De­fense 185-grain am­mu­ni­tion and that was fol­lowed closely by Winch­ester’s new Su­per Clean Zinc 160-grain core. The best five-shot groups hov­ered around 2 inches, and none of the loads tested av­er­aged more than 3 1/2 inches.

All of the loads tested func­tioned per­fectly well in the XD-S, although the slide failed to stay open af­ter the last shot on two oc­ca­sions with two dif­fer­ent loads.

The Spring­field’s trig­ger breaks at around seven pounds with a fair amount of up­take, but the short re­set al­lows for re­ally fast fol­low-ups.

Shoot­ing from prac­ti­cal po­si­tions—stand­ing, walk­ing, kneel­ing, ly­ing down and so forth—at typ­i­cal de­fen­sive ranges of 1 to 10 yards, the XD-S Mod.2 shines. Sure, there’s some up­take on the trig­ger, but when fir­ing fast dou­ble-taps, you’ll care less about the up­take and more about the short re­set that al­lows for a quick one-two punch.

That bold yel­low and green front sight, a lit­tle large for benchrest shoot­ing, is per­fect for de­fen­sive shoot­ing at close range in any light. The newly de­signed grip sur­face is com­fort­able, and the high hand po­si­tion does help man­age re­coil.

The .45 is a snappy round, espe­cially when fired from a 20-ounce, inch­wide poly­mer pis­tol. For this rea­son, it might not be the best choice for a new shooter. But, the XD-S Mod.2 is man­age­able, and you can get off two fast-aimed shots with this pis­tol in a hurry.

WOR­THY EN­HANCE­MENTS

The Spring­field Ar­mory XD-S Mod.2 ef­fec­tively bal­ances porta­bil­ity and shootability. And even though it’s rel­a­tively pow­er­ful for a small gun, it’s not abu­sive like some carry guns. And shoot­ers with large hands will find there’s enough room on this pis­tol for all their dig­its. All in all, this Mod.2 has all of the qual­ity of the orig­i­nal, with ex­cel­lent up­grades to truly im­prove its per­for­mance by mak­ing the gun eas­ier to shoot well. CC

“THE SPRING­FIELD AR­MORY XD-S MOD.2 EF­FEC­TIVELY BAL­ANCES PORTA­BIL­ITY AND SHOOTABILITY.”

There was noth­ing wrong with the orig­i­nal XD-S, but Spring­field added up­dates to the new Mod.2 ver­sion that in­clude a re­designed beaver­tail, a trim­mer slide and new grip tex­tur­ing. Spring­field Ar­mory photo

02) The XD-S Mod.2’s trig­ger breaks at 7 pounds. The very short re­set al­lows for fast fol­low-up shots. 02

04) Though it’s a bit course for tar­get work, the Ameriglo green tri­tium front sight is ideal for its pri­mary pur­pose— rapid tar­get ac­qui­si­tion at de­fen­sive ranges in any light con­di­tions. 04

01 01) The XD-S Mod.2 has a new grip de­sign with less ag­gres­sive tex­tur­ing, fin­ger grooves and ar­chi­tec­ture that places the shooter’s hand higher on the gun for bet­ter con­trol.

03 03) The XD-S Mod.2 has a ser­rated steel rear sight with a tac­ti­cal rack de­sign. The Posi-Wedge ser­ra­tions make grip­ping and ma­neu­ver­ing the slide sim­ple.

Right: Both the slide and the grip of the XD-S Mod.2 mea­sure less than an inch wide—great for car­ry­ing con­cealed. De­spite its nar­rows di­men­sions and rel­a­tively small size, the XD-S is sur­pris­ingly com­fort­able to shoot. Spring­field Ar­mory photo

Above: The XD-S Mod.2’s bar­rel and slide are pro­tected by a Melonite fin­ish. The ac­ces­sory rail is small, but it will ac­com­mo­date a light or a laser such as the Crim­son Trace Rail Mas­ter shown here.

Be­low: The XD-S Mod.2 is re­li­able, well-built and rel­a­tively af­ford­able, con­sid­er­ing the long list of in­cluded fea­tures. Spring­field Ar­mory photo

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