Firearm: Springfield Armory XD-S Mod2 Optics Ready (MSRP: $425)
Springfield Armory’s XD-S series was launched in 2012 and represented the company’s single-stack, subcompact pistol designed for concealed carry. Mod2 upgrades came out a few years ago, and finally we now have an optics-ready version of the pistol. The XD-S Mod2 OSP has the same dimensions as the original XD-S and Mod2, of course, with a 3.3 inch barrel, overall length of 6.3 inches and a height of 4.4 inches. Currently only available in 9 mm, the pistol has a 7+1 capacity, a grip safety and upgraded grip texture. Time will tell if Springfield offers other calibers or barrel lengths down the road.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. The Hellcat is also made by Springfield Armory, is roughly the same size and carries four more rounds. Why would I opt for the XD-S, then? And, that’s a reasonable question. The differences between the two pistols are quite small: overall length is only a .3-inch difference, overall height difference is .4 inch and the weight difference is about 3 ounces. The XD-S only bests the Hellcat in overall width, coming in slightly slimmer due to its single-stack magazine. So, what’s the appeal of the XD-S? Price. While the Hellcat is very reasonably priced for what it is, the XD-S comes in nearly $200 less. In fact, for $20 less than the price of the non-optics-capable Hellcat, the XD-S OSP can be had with a Crimson Trace red dot sight already mounted from the factory. For a difference of four rounds, that’s something to think about.
There’s another noticeable difference between the Hellcat and the XD-S Mod2, and that’s the grip safety present on the latter. Pretty much a Springfield Armory trademark when it comes to polymer-frame, striker fired pistols, it gives an additional level of protection against inadvertent firing, which does allow for greater peace of mind for those who desire it. The grip safety requires a firm hold on the pistol to activate, and while I’ve never had problem with grip safeties, I know some folks have. If you’ve struggled with this type of safety on other firearms, it would be a good idea to try out an XD-S before purchasing one.
Optic: Shield Sights RMS2 (MSRP: $430)
In the world of pistol-slide-mounted red-dot optics, the folks at Shield Sights have been one of the originators, offering mini-red dots since the 1990s. The company’s sights have been offered with numerous red-dot capable pistols, including (ironically) the Smith & Wesson Shield, Walther PPS and others. New for 2020 is the RMS2 sight, which brings a more robust offering to the company’s lineup. An interesting change from the RMS to the RMS2 is the battery drawer. The original RMS had a drawer that could be removed, allowing battery changes without taking the dot off the pistol. The RMS2 has the battery under the sight, necessitating removal for battery changes, but has a greatly improved battery life of up to 4 years, depending of course on brightness setting and overall use. This design change lets the RMS2 sit lower and allows co-witnessing of standard sights on many pistols, including the XD-S OSP.
The RMS2 is, like its RMS and RMSc siblings, minimalist. There are adjustments for windage and elevation, two screws to attach it to the pistol and, well, nothing else. The brightness of the dot is controlled automatically, and works quite well – you can watch it in real time bringing the pistol up with a light source nearby. Weight is a mere .6 ounce, and that includes the glass lens (which now comes standard on Shield sights). The Shield Sights RMS2 offers a minimalist, miniature sight for even the smallest handguns like the XD-S OSP.
Holster: Bravo Concealment IWB Torsion (MSRP: $52.99)
Since the pistol and the red-dot sight in this kit are minimalist, it would make sense to include a holster with the same characteristics. Bravo Concealment’s IWB Torsion holster can be worn as a tuckable using one clip or it can have two clips for greater support. The holster’s design features a 10 degree angle that keeps it pulled in tight to the body for greater concealment, all while offering solid retention based on form-fit.
Of note are a sight channel to accommodate suppressor-height sights as well as a molded section at the muzzle for threaded barrels. The Bravo Concealment IWB Torsion holster is available for a wide variety of pistols and configurations, at an affordable price.