Some would argue, and rightly so, that once you have something right, let it be, but Springfield Armory has been developing XD variations since its first polymer-framed models were introduced back in 2001. Over the years, the company has made continual improvements and upgrades to its existing models while also introducing groundbreaking new designs like the XD-S series. What you have with the new 9mm XD Mod.2 is an outstanding “hybrid” of the proven 3-inch-barrelled XD Sub-Compact design (introduced in 2003) combined with features from the latest XD-S models, including new frame and slide contours, an XD-S red fiber-optic front and white-dot combat rear sights, Springfield’s improved Mod.2 Grip Zone and a cleaner, leaner, more integrated look overall.
The new design for the XD Sub-Compact represents significant alterations in the polymer frame’s shape and, most notably, how the frame and slide integrate externally. It is a more cohesive look. Think of it as fine-tuning to make the 9mm XD Mod.2 easier to handle, with slightly leaner dimensions in the re-contoured slide and frame to improve holstering and concealment.
Get In The Zone
Springfield’s new Grip Zone texturing is not as aggressive as some guns today, but rather designed to create a variety of surfaces that easily meld with the hand (or even the surface of a tactical glove) without biting the skin on recoil. The overall concept is based around the dynamics of the human hand, and the new Grip Zone has a trio of interrelating surfaces that work to connect the hand to the pistol. The three-quarter panel, where the palm swell and the first joints of the fingers wrap around the grip, is the most aggressively textured. The front and rear surfaces are the second most aggressively textured where the palm and the insides of the fingers grasp the pistol. The third is a somewhat mild, light grain texture that extends from the side panels to the entire frame.
The Grip Zone is intended to provide improved grasp performance and “stickier grip characteristics,” making the Mod. 2 less prone to torque, wrench or lever during recoil. The triggerguard is also rounded at the front, like the XD-S, rather than squared off like earlier Springfield XD models.
In addition to a slimmer contour, the new Mod.2 slide also has several improvements including new serrations at the rear, which Springfield is calling the Posi-Wedge Slide Serration. This deeply recessed design with five grooves helps reduce the chance for slippage when racking the slide. Adding the XD-S red fiber-optic front sight helps to get on target faster under varying lighting conditions. When combined with the combat-style white-dot rear sight, the overall sight radius is also extended by 0.5 inches.
With the XD’s grip angle, high beavertail and grip safety working in concert with Springfield’s Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) blade trigger safety, the Mod.2 takes nothing away from the previous XD Sub-Compact design, but adds features that bring this established Springfield model up to par with the latest XD-S series. The end result is improved sights over previous XD Sub-Compact versions, smoother exterior lines for carry and concealment and a better gripping surface. That is what should define improvements: nothing more or less than what is absolutely needed.
With two external safeties, the 9mm XD Mod.2 retains a clean, uncluttered profile with a slightly raised, serrated slide release and a beveled takedown lever on the left side of the frame. And like all XD models, this latest Springfield semi-auto is one of the quickest guns in the world to field strip. The new gun is also just as easy to reload thanks to its serrated, ambidextrous magazine releases, which are placed at a slight angle and framed by the molded-in thumb rest. A firm press from either side rapidly expels a magazine for a tactical or full reload.
The XD design’s proven loaded-chamber indicator also remains one of the easiest to see and feel. Located behind the ejector port on top of the slide, the front edge projects upward just enough when a round is chambered to either see it under your line of sight, or surreptitiously feel it by running a finger over the top of the slide. The Mod.2 also has the original XD’s striker status indicator at the rear of the slide, which protrudes slightly from the back when the action has been cycled. This too is easy to feel with a touch of the finger, and is one feature that is not available on the later Springfield XD-S series.
Being a single-action, there is no second-strike capability, however the quick-reset trigger mechanism only requires the slide to be withdrawn to the rear 0.25 inches to re-enable the action. Internally, the Mod.2 uses the same proven short recoil system as all XD Series semi-autos. The barrel design employs the later Browning solid camming lug, and locks to the slide with a squared face on the breechblock. A steel locking block, through which the disassembly lever passes, is pinned to the Mod.2’s lightweight polymer frame. Recoil for the subcompact 9mm is tempered by the dual recoil system, which combines a large coil spring and secondary smaller coil spring within a captive-style, two-piece recoil guide rod assembly.
The Mod.2’s staggered, flush-fitting magazines hold 13 rounds, giving the subcompact an impressive 14-round capacity. Tipping the scale at 26 ounces unloaded, the 9mm XD Mod.2 measures 6.25 inches in length, 4.75 inches in height from the base of the magazine to the top of the low-profile combat rear sight, and 1.125 inches in width (including slide, frame and slide release lever). In short, it is a pretty small gun for a 14-round 9mm. Springfield also offers an extended-capacity magazine for the Mod.2 that adds another three rounds for a 16+1 capacity and a longer grip (with the magazine’s X-Tension), which increases height to 5.5 inches. There will also be a matching Mod.2 chambered in .40 S&W with a 9+1 standard-capacity and 12+1 with the extended magazine.
Trigger pull on the test gun averaged 5.3 pounds. For subcompact handguns with barrel lengths of 3 inches, the standard target testing distance is 15 yards. For the 9mm XD Mod.2, ammo selection was Sig’s Elite Performance 124-grain JHP V-Crown, Speer Gold Dot 115-grain GDHP (Gold Dot hollow-point) and Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain FTX. All tests were fired from a rested position at one-second intervals. The Hornady cleared the ProChrono chronograph’s traps at an average of 1,110 feet per second (fps), Sig Sauer at 1,059 fps and the Speer traveled downrange at 1,121 fps.
The new XD 9mm balances well in the hand and stays put as intended with the Grip Zone texturing. The recoil proved moderate, as is usual for the XD’s dual recoil spring design, and sight reacquisition was notably easier with the XD-S-style fiber-optic front sight. All hits scored five points each on the Speedwell B-27 target placed in front of a Target Shooting Solutions 36-inch BCS-36 Bullet Trap. Best groups averaged from 1.27 to 1.70 inches. A second test was conducted using a Weaver stance and a two-handed hold from 15 yards and firing five rounds in rapid succession. All hits were within the 9, 10 and X rings. From a defensive position, all rounds, whether fired off-hand or from a rest, struck in center body mass on the B-27 target.
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