There’s an old cliché in the gunwriter world that “a .22 on you beats a .45 in your truck,” and like most clichés, it has a ring of truth to it. Having a gun on you when you need it the most is far, far more preferable than trying to call a “time out” in the middle of a armed violent encounter, so having a gun, ANY gun puts you way ahead of the game when it matters the most. This is big reason why single-stack 9 mm pistols like the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 have recently become so popular: Because they so lightweight, slim and easy to conceal compared to a full-sized, full-capacity service pistol, they are a much lighter burden to carry compared to a bigger gun. Yes, there is a tradeoff in capacity and a slight tradeoff in accuracy, but with practice, these can be managed, and a single stack 9 mm becomes a viable choice for a self-defense gun.
Springfield Armory saw the benefits of single stack 9 mm early on, and for some time now, the company's XD-S pistol has been a great choice for someone looking to buy a small, easy-to-carry 9 mm pistol. But even great choices can get better, and Springfield Armory has recently announced the 9 mm XD-S Mod.2, with a number of significant improvements.
The frame for the XD-S MOD2 is reshaped and re-textured from the original XD-S. The stippling on the frame is no longer rows of raised dots, but rather more like the grip tape used by some competition shooters to give them a better hold on their guns. The shape of the grip itself is changed, allowing for a higher grip on the gun, which allows for better recoil control (a handy little feature in a gun this size). The trigger guard is also undercut to allow for a higher grip, and overall, I found the XD-S to be noticeably easier to shoot than its predecessor.
The XD-S Mod.2 ships with one seven-round magazine with a extension for your little finger to rest on, and a nine-round extended magazine. I found the seven-round magazine to be a bit too short to get a full firing grip on the pistol, and the nine-round magazine was a bit too long to carry in the gun without it showing up as I carried it concealed. However, Springfield Armory also shipped out an additional eight-round magazine with my test gun and that magazine was a nice balance between concealability and ammo capacity. Unfortunately, Springfield does not include the eight-round magazine with the gun when it ships from the factory. You'll have to buy it separately.
The rear of the slide on the XD-S Mod.2 has serrations that are cut deeper and longer than the original XD-S, and I found them to be easy to grip and use to get the pistol into action. The sights on the model I tested featured a tritium luminescent front sight and a serrated rear sight, which I found to be easy to use and helped get me on target quickly and accurately.
On the range, the XD-S Mod.2 was easy to shoot and pointed naturally in my hand. I’m a big fan of the single-stack 9mm as a day-in, day-out carry gun, and the XD-S Mod.2 shoots as well as any other subcompact 9 mm I’ve shot. The controls of the gun are logically placed and easy to access quickly, and the gun was comfortable in my hands, even after a 200-round practice session.
The trigger on the XD-S Mod.2 has noticeable take-up and some stacking, and breaks at just over 7 pounds, after which there is about a half-inch of reset travel and a very distinct reset. While that’s not match-trigger performance, it’s quite adequate for a concealed-carry gun, and the trigger had no noticeable effect on my accuracy with the pistol. Trigger pull weight, measured with a Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge, averaged 6.86 pounds.
Overall, the XD-S Mod.2 is real contender in the single-stack 9 mm game. With its slim frame, excellent sights and comfortable ergonomics, it makes a great little pistol for concealed carry, especially when using either the seven-round or eight-round magazine. If home defense is your concern, the nine-round extended length magazine gives you added firepower, and frame accessory rail lets you add a wide variety of lights, lasers and other accessories that will help you make the shot when it counts the most. The suggested MSRP on the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 9 mm starts at $524.