Here’s a post I originally wrote for Springfield Armory’s “Armory Life” blog.

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Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with small pistols. Whether it was a .45 caliber cap and ball “Philadelphia Derringer,” a two-shot cartridge firing over/under Remington .41 caliber rimfire, or a semi auto AMT Backup in .45ACP. I’ve always thought compact guns, whether pistol or rifle, were practical firearms to own. As long as you stay within the practical and realistic expectations placed on the chosen firearm, you are good to go.

I’ve owned an AMT Backup .45 for about 20 years. I owned a Star Firestar in 9mm for years before that, and I still have a Keltec PF-9, 9mm. These days my Springfield Armory XD-S 45 (the original) is my go to. I have found my XD-S 45 to be accurate, very compact, and easy to control.

Springfield Armory Inc. recently sent me a “Mod.2” XD-S 45 to try out and I must say, all the improvements that were made were favorable. Let’s discuss some of those improvements.

The Grip

The first and most visibly noticeable modification / improvement is the grip texturing. Although I have no problem with the texture of the original XD-S I already own, I like the smoother and more refined Mod.2 grip texture better than the original. Along with the grip texture, is the extended beavertail above the web of the firing hand which, incidentally, places your grip higher in relation to the bore’s axis, and thus improves control of the pistol.

The Sights

The XD-S Mod.2 is now available with a “Pro-Glo” tritium front sight from Ameriglo. Although I like the fiber optic on my original XD-S, a tritium front sight is a great option to have on a factory pistol. Couple this with the “One-handed, Rackable” steel rear sight (a squared off shelf meant to catch on a belt or other hard edged surface), it is a great improvement over the original.

Shooting Impressions

I will say that, for me, the Mod.2 shot and performed no better than my original XD-S (which does really well). At 10 meters the photo shows my typical grouping when I’m “takin’ my time in a hurry” with both my original and the newer Mod.2 XD-S 45. The difference in the lower bore position is slightly noticeable, but regardless, I do like the slightly extended beavertail grip. Also, the bright yellow outline of the tritium front sight stands out in all but the brightest shooting light.

Comparing either original or Mod.2 XD-S 45’s to my old AMT Backup 45 is pointless. The AMT was the “Compact .45ACP” of its day, but performance wise it is left in the dust by either the original or Mod.2 Springfield Armory XD-S 45.

Accessories

Hard worn original XD-S with shoulder holster

I have always been a fan of shoulder holsters and I’ve been using them for over 30 years. When it came time to get a holster for my XD-S 45, I went with the Galco Classic Lite system which I have used for a number of other compact pistols. I believe it’s one of the best shoulder rigs around for concealment of a subcompact pistol.

XD-S Mod.2 top left, XD-S original top right, AMT Backup bottom for reference

Another accessory that is a “no brainer” for an automatic pistol is extra magazines. Although the XD-S 45 comes with a five and a six round mag, I not only purchased extra five and six rounders, I purchased some SA seven rounders as well. They come with a sleeve for both the original and the Mod.2 pistol grip and both the six and seven rounders will fit in the offside mag pouch of the Galco shoulder rig.

The Ammo

The “food” you feed your defensive firearm is critical to its performance and lethality. Although one of the reasons I like the .45ACP is that it’s already almost a half -inch in diameter, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself every edge. The performance of the Federal Hydra-shok  has been proven to be phenomenal for self -defense in a wide range of calibers (210 gr .45ACP here), so there’s not much to say other than it is one of the more accurate loads out of both the XD-S 45 original and Mod.2.

The 205 grain “Syntech Defense” and the 230 grain “Syntech” ball ammo from Federal both performed well and give some shooters more options when using their pistol on the range. Just like the original XD-S and Mod.2, I would carry the 205gr. Syntech and the 210gr. Hydra-shok for defense without reservation.

Conclusions

Springfield Armory continues to improve their lineup. Whether it’s improving what they already have in production, or adding new types and models of firearms, they continue a manufacturing standard by which the industry is compared to.

JCD

“Parata Vivere” – Live Prepared

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