Review: Springfield XD Mod.2 Service – The Gun That Hugs You Back!

Good grief! It has been so long since I’ve posted anything on this blog that a squirrel built a nest in it… He offered to pay rent, so I decided to let him stay.

I recently found a Springfield XD Mod.2 Service model chambered in 9mm Luger for a fantastic price and decided to get it. This is my second XD. In fact, the first XD I owned was my very first handgun, and I loved it dearly. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to sell it, and for multiple reasons, sad days ensued.

ANYWAY. Let’s look at the gun:

xdmod29mm

The XD Mod.2 Service is a striker-fired, polymer framed, semi-automatic handgun produced by Springfield Armory, and based on the HS2000 made by HS Produkt of Croatia. It sports an ergonomic grip, a fiber-optic front sight, a 16-round standard magazine capacity, ambidextrous magazine release buttons, a grip safety, a trigger safety, and a drop safety (plunger-style striker block).

The 9mm Mod.2 comes in three different configurations, just like the original XD: A full size ‘Service’ configuration, with a 4” barrel; a long-slide ‘Tactical’ configuration, with a super-tactical 5” not-even-threaded barrel; and a nubby ‘Sub-Compact’ configuration, with a 3” barrel, short grip, and 10-round magazine capacity (or full 16 rounds with a grip extension). You could easily consider the Service model to be in the entry level class of striker-fired handguns, sitting at an average retail price of around $499.99 (although I bought mine for less). The gun comes with a sturdy hard case, two magazines, a cleaning brush, an action lock, two extra fiber optic pipes, and a user manual. Contrary to what the salesperson told me, it did not come with any ducks. Don’t believe them if they tell you it does.

cimg2397

So, what exactly is the XD Mod.2?

The learned firearms enthusiasts out there might know that the Springfield XD is already a perfectly good gun, so introducing the Mod.2 to compete against the original seems like an unusual market choice. When the Mod.2 hit the market, I too was genuinely perplexed by the gun. My biggest question was ‘why?’. Is it supposed to be an improved XD? But the improved XD already exists; it’s called the XD(M), which is doing very well on the market (and by the way, a Springfield rep told me the ‘M’ stands for ‘More’, not ‘Match’, you insensitive ass – some Springfield marketing specialist is in a corner somewhere crying because no one can get their brilliant marketing slogan right).

The (M) has a greater magazine capacity (in 9mm and .40 S&W), interchangeable backstraps for different sized hands, and an appealing new aesthetic. That’s all fine and dandy, however, the step-up in design and features also included a step-up in price. I’m assuming Springfield concluded that consumers find the XD to be bland and the XD(M) too expensive, and those same customers are overlooking the Springfield options for similar polymer-framed guns made by Smith & Wesson, Glock, and Walther. So, like any worried corporation, Springfield probably had a focus group meeting…

I can see it now: A meeting a Springfield HQ…

Boss: Gentlemen, the gun buying public is beginning to ignore our entry level guns.

Engineer: But the XD(M) is such a fantastic success! How can this be possible?

Research Analyst: The XD(M) is selling fine on the intermediate level market, but it’s not an entry level gun. People are getting bored with our entry-level XD. They want something new and exciting. They want features. They want sex appeal. They want it all, but want it less expensive than the XD(M).

Boss: Exactly. The XD is a real trooper that not only helped save our company, but put us deep into the polymer pistol market. But it’s lack of glamour and flash is beginning to impact our sales. We need ideas on how to glam up the XD.

Jerry: Why don’t we start including a flashlight or laser sight like we did with the XDS?

Boss: Get out, Jerry.

Jerry: ……. *quietly leaves while everyone stares*

Boss: Adding other companies’ junk to the gun will only increase cost; it won’t add any appeal in the entry level market. We need to change the look of the XD without adding cost. We need to give it more pizzazz. We need ideas. What do people want right now?

Research Analyst: What about upgraded sights? People really like the sight system we have on the XDS, why don’t we add that?

Boss: Adding sights we already have. That won’t cost extra money. I like it. What else?

Engineer: Ummm… people seem to like fancily milled slides. That sure seems popular. The slide on the XD has a lot of excess and unnecessary metal and I’m sure we could reprogram the CNC mills to reshape the slide with very little cost involved.

Boss: Ok. Let’s mill the crap out of the slide. What else?

Jerry: What about putting in an improved trigger with a shorter reset?

Boss: Damn it, Jerry! I thought I told you to get out!

Research Analyst: What about the grip? Guns like the Walther P99 and the H&K VP9 aren’t popular because they shoot well. They are really popular because they have finger grooves on the grip! We should add that into the grip’s shape.

Boss: Done. Let’s add finger grooves. Yeah. That ought to get everyone’s ducks hard.

Engineer: What about grip texture? A lot of people are taking soldering irons to their guns and adding stippling for increased friction on the gripping surface. Why don’t we just mold grip texture directly into the polymer?

Boss: Yes! I like that! We could put a fancy grip-shaped pattern on it as well. It will have specific zones of grip. Yeah… In fact, we should call them Grip Zones. Yeah!

Jerry: Grip Zone? Doesn’t that seem a little gimmicky?

Boss: Jerry, you’re fired. The rest of you, go trademark ‘Grip Zone’ and make sure it’s plastered on both sides of the new gun’s grip so you’ll have no choice but to look at it.

Research Analyst: Boss, what are we going to call this new gun? The XD Model 2?

Boss: That’s not bad… but it needs to be more interesting… More… Tactical. Like
Mod 2. Wait. Let’s put a period between the the ‘Mod’ and 2. Yeah. Mod.2

THAT’S BRILLIANT.

And the rest is quack history.

To simplify the explanation, the XD Mod.2 is a Springfield XD with plastic surgery (no pun intended). Well, it’s kind of and XD… More on that later. So what does the face lift do to the overall gun?

Looks:

The slide does actually look more appealing than the old XD. The frame of the gun would look better if it didn’t say ‘GRIP ZONE’ on both sides, but overall, it’s actually a pretty decent looking gun.

xdmod2

Weight:

According to Springfield’s website, the Mod.2 is a whole 0.5oz lighter than the original XD. In my hand, the Mod.2 doesn’t necessarily feel any lighter than the XD, but it does feel significantly better balanced.

Sights:

The sights are definitely better than the original XD, even if they really just took the sights off of the XDS and slapped them on the Mod.2 (I’m not complaining though). They point with ease and keeping them square on target is remarkably simple. I do have ambivalence about one thing, though: If you stare at the front sight long enough, you’ll notice that the fiber optic pipe is slightly off center. I’m not kidding, and it’s not just my gun. Every one of the front sights I’ve seen on all XD Mod.2 pistols has the red pipe sitting slightly to the left. It doesn’t seem to impact the gun’s shootability or accuracy, but it sure bugs the hell out of me now that I know it’s there… staring back at me… like a lazy eye…

Grip:

One of the main reasons I chose to purchase my first XD was that the grip dropped into my hands like a neatly tailored puzzle piece (albeit a square and blocky puzzle piece). Surprisingly enough, the grip on the Mod.2 is even more fantastic. As you wrap your hands lovingly around the grip, the gun hugs you back in the deepest and warmest embrace. They’ve contoured to grip to give it more of a hand friendly shape, with ergonomic roundedness and undulated finger grooves. The silly ‘Grip Zone’ plastered on the side of the gun certainly looks cheesy and gimmicky, but it sure feels good in the hands. Ok, it feels good in MY hands, and I definitely don’t have big gorilla-like duck beaters (I meant to type that). If you have large, beast-like hands, your experience might differ.

xdmod2gripzone

Disassembly of the Mod.2 is identical to the original XD.

  1. Remove magazine and make clear <<<<!!!DO THIS, DAMNIT!!!<<<<
  2. Lock slide back
  3. Turn takedown lever up
  4. Slowly release slide
  5. Dry-fire
  6. Pull slide forward off of frame

That’s it.

xdmod2slideoff

All of the insides of the Mod.2 look identical to the original XD, so it appears that all of the changes are external.

TO THE RANGE!

At the range, I did a basic accuracy test based on 5-shot groups using Sellier & Bellot 115gr FMJ and Winchester SUPER UNLEADED 147gr FMJ Encapsulated.

ammousedI shot these groups having never shot the gun before.  The first five shots were taken with the S&B, and I think they speak for themselves:

The Winchester SUPER UNLEADED!!!! also proved quite accurate:

When taking slow and focused shots at 10 yards, the gun proves to be plenty accurate. Two of my shots even made me giggle. They made me giggle so much that I avoided shooting those targets for the rest of the session (as much as I could, anyway). Two perfect bullseyes. I know a bullseye shot doesn’t really say much for consistency, but come on… Smack dab in the center, TWICE! It looks at you like a couple of eyeballs… or… boobies.

eyeboobs
Slight Lazy Eye.

The Mod.2 is just plain fun to shoot, but I must admit, there is something rather visceral about the gun. It is, quite honestly, the first gun I’ve ever shot that is 100% neutral… Let me rephrase that: This is the first gun I’ve ever shot that does nothing to amplify or hinder the shooter’s ability. Allow me to extrapolate:

The grip: The grip is comfortable and about averagely sized compared to other polymer framed, striker-fired guns. While gripping the gun, the distance between the face of the trigger and the web of my hand is suspiciously perfect. The grip angle is also comfortable for people that shoot American guns (even though the design is Croatian), as the grip angle is closer to a 1911 than the aggressive European grip angle Glocks use.

The sights: The sights are actually fairly easy to align and the windows on either side of the front sight post (when aiming) are not overtly large or small. This equates to a much more concise sight picture that is easy to center properly.

The Trigger: While the trigger pull is rather long, the pull itself is very smooth and lacks any kind of staging or grit. This in turn allows for a consistent trigger weight all the way throughout the trigger pull, which means it’s easier to predict how the pull will impact the sight picture throughout the trigger travel. That, in turn, means keeping square alignment of the sights during trigger pull is easily accomplished. Keep in mind that it is not a 1911 trigger, so there really isn’t a clear wall where the trigger breaks. You just kind of develop a muscle memory for where the breaking point is.

In short, the gun is perfectly accurate and there doesn’t seem to be any aspect of the gun that prevents you from shooting it accurately. How accurate you will be with the firearm, however, will depend upon how well versed you are in the fundamentals of accurate handgun shooting. That’s not to say that fundamentals aren’t important when shooting other handguns, but let’s face it: The Sig P226, the H&K P2000 and P30, and any high end 1911 – you really only need to point any of those guns in the direction of your target and they do the rest of the work. Nonetheless, with the XD Mod.2, if you’ve got good fundamentals, your shot groups will be tiny. Albeit, the gun doesn’t necessarily do all of the work for you, either. As easy as it was to shoot accurate slowly, I found myself wanting to speed up unnecessarily. When I did that, the gun really showed my undeveloped speed shooting fundamentals and my accuracy dropped to storm trooper levels.

But, if your fundamentals do suck, fear not. The gun will help you develop and train your shooting fundamentals to get your ducks in a row. Since the gun has no hurdles or detriments to overcome, the only thing you’ll need to work on is your own shooting. It’s good to know that whatever skill you do develop on the XD Mod.2 can be easily utilized on just about any other firearm.

To be honest, I really have only one complaint about the gun: The trigger reset is obnoxiously long. How long, you ask? About the distance from here to next Thursday. After trigger break, the trigger has to come just about AAAAAALL the way back out before it resets (0.2825″ to be exact).

Considering that I’m coming from a Walther P99 (which has a reset of 0.079″ – not kidding), you can imagine the hilarity that ensued when I tried to perform rapid strings of fire with the gun.

BLAM! BLAM! nope… err.., *reset click* BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! nope… (repeat).

For those of you who shoot Glocks and M&Ps, the reset will probably not be much of a factor for you, but I’m pretty sure the reset in the XD is longer than those other two firearms.

I do have one other interesting observation about the gun. Earlier, I mentioned that the Mod.2 was kind of an XD, and there is good reason for that. While playing with an original XD and an XD Mod.2 side by side, I tried swapping the slides. No go. The Mod.2 slide won’t fit on an original XD… Here’s where it gets crazy… I also had one of the new XD(M) suppressor ready models also, and I attempted to put that slide on the XD Mod.2. HOLY SHIT… IT FITS… AND IT FUNCTIONS…

XD(M) slide on XD Mod.2 Frame
LOOK AT THIS GODLESS MONSTROSITY!

After playing a bit, I took a few measurements on the original XD and Mod.2 and found out a few things:

The barrel geometry is different.

The barrel lugs and locking blocks have a fairly different geometry with vastly different widths:

The barrel lugs and the locking blocks are, in fact, identical to the XD(M) series of pistols. This is actually a wise choice, as Springfield will only need one geometry for barrels and locking blocks on both series of pistols. In fact, there is a good chance that they might discontinue the original XD and replace it permanently with the Mod.2 for this very reason.

One other note: Trigger safeties (TRIGGER WARNING)

At work, customers often comment about Glocks, XDs, and M&Ps, saying, “I don’t like it because it doesn’t have a safety.” WELL! The sheer ignorance of people! Before you vomit your internet warrior ‘facts‘ at me about why you need a thumb safety, allow me to point some things out for you. First of all, all three of those guns have at least two safeties: A trigger safety and a firing pin (drop) safety. These guns CANNOT go off unless you deliberately squeeze the trigger. In the case of the XD Mod.2, there is an additional grip safety. So, you have to be GRIPPING the firearm and DELIBERATELY SQUEEZING the trigger to get the gun to fire. If you need some kind of extra mechanical safety to prevent you from shooting your duck off because you can’t help but squeeze the trigger on yo’ gat always, then I worry about you as a gun owner… The same goes for children excuse also. Teach them proper gun safety at an early age (like my dad did) and this won’t be an issue.

ANYWAY

RANGE TIME:

Firearm: Springfield XD Mod.2 Service
Magazines: 16 Round (x2)
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Ammunition: Sellier & Bellot 115gr FMJ / Winchester SUPER UNLEADEDEDED!! 147gr FMJ
Elevation: Between 100 and 150 feet above sea level
Rounds Spent: 175
Final Disposition: Mostly Indifferent, but very positive.

PROS:

  • It’s inexpensive (about $500 or less)
  • Easy to shoot
  • Accurate
  • Works your fundamentals
  • It’s ergonomic and has them finger grooves (mmmmmyesmm)
  • Has no detriments to ruin your shooting
  • Did not once explode

CONS:

  • Trigger reset = A metric mile (what???)
  • Has that lazy-eye fiber optic pipe
  • Has no detriments to ruin your shooting (nothing to blame your shitty shooting on)
  • Says ‘Grip Zone’ on BOTH sides of the gun (yech)
  • Did not come with any ducks
  • Might have given me the gout
  • Forced me to come up with cons because I couldn’t find very much wrong with the gun

In conclusion, rather than spewing aphorisms about how the original XD is perfectly fine and the XD Mod.2 is completely unnecessary, I will admit that I actually like the Mod.2 more than the original XD. It retains all of the quality and simplicity of the original, but adds nuance to delightfully compliment the design. In fact, I might actually be disturbed by my own findings. While testing for this review, I shot considerably better with the $500 XD Mod.2 than I ever have with my $700 Walther P99… Does that mean that I’ll get rid of my Walther? HELL NO. They don’t make those anymore. BUT, I also have no qualms about owning the Mod.2, either. Be it an entry level gun, the gun still shoots pretty damn well. If you are looking for an entry level gun that will carry you a lot of miles, the XD Mod.2 is an excellent choice. Heck, maybe it will even get you out shooting more often (you hermit).

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