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About a decade ago, I was married to my Ruger P90 for EDC and chained to my Berretta 92FS for duty. A friend brought out his brand new XD in .45ACP. I assumed the XD would shoot like a GLOCK. The gun would run fine, but I wouldn’t shoot it well. I was grossly mistaken. I shot the XD more accurately than the 92 (I had that P90 down pat) or a GLOCK, with zero malfunctions. I’ve been crowing about the XD line ever since. Enter the Mod.2 9mm Sub-Compact . . .


Unlike the GLOCK’s ratty lunchbox packaging, the XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact arrived in a range-worthy custom case with all the ancillary bits precisely laid out. Lipstick on a pig? The Mod.2 Sub is a stubby, fat, oddly angular thing. The handgun’s two-tone tan frame and black slide highlight the “plastic-ness” of the firearm and the slide’s sky-high bore axis. All made worse by the large letters proclaiming “GRIP ZONE” on handle.

My GRIP ZONE gripe: the graphics-for-dummies embellishment makes the gun look cheap. This from a guy who loves the lines of classic revolvers, 1911s and High Powers. If you like the industrial look, you’ll like this one plenty. And none of that has anything to do with how the Mod.2 Sub performs.

There is no thumb safety, but there is the typical long trigger pull of these types of pistols with the added security of a built-in grip safety. The safety is small; you might even say dainty. Some may worry that when you need it most, a poor grip may keep the gun from going bang. Try as I might, though, I couldn’t hold the Mod.2 Sub in any kind of a way that would not disengage the safety, enabling the gun to fire.

20160405_162405 copy_1

The XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact is easily concealable in an inside-the-waistband holster — for me. If you’re the proverbial TTAG OWFG you’ll want to carry this little guy in an outside-the-waistband holster. Either way, the pistol’s short stature disappears under an untucked shirt.

A pocket pistol it is not. I’m not exactly sure what makes a pistol sub-compact vs. micro. Although the Mod.2 Sub-Compact is small, this one is far larger than the Ruger LCP’s and Kahr PM9’s of the world. From either IWB or OWB, the gun draws quickly, nothing snags, and I had no problem getting the fiber optic front sight right on target.

Speaking of which, I’m only half happy with the Mod.2 Sub-Compact’s sights. The front sight is great: a small but brighter-than-daylight red fiber optic. It stood right out. The rear sight was also cut well, giving me space around the front sight to still see my target on either side. This is helpful in both slow fire for accuracy and fast fire to keep sure of the target’s exact location.

The fail is on that “snag-free” rear sight. This is clearly a carry gun designed for self-defense. Guns designed for this purpose need to have the rear sight cut to be able to rack the slide on a pocket, belt, something for one-handed manipulation. If I purchased this gun, that’s the first — and only — thing I’d change.


The large and deep serrations on the back of the slide provided a solid grip for manipulating the slide. There were no front serrations, but on a slide this short my palm covers pretty much the whole thing, and they aren’t really necessary in the first place.

I put 550 rounds through the Mod.2 Sub-Compact in two days. I shot American Eagle 115gr FMJs, Winchester White Box 115gr FJMs, Team Never Quit 100gr Fangible Hollow Points, Gold Dot 147gr pills, and Ruger ARX +P 80gr polycase rounds. I sprayed a little Hoppe’s #9 lube into the breach prior to starting the testing and never cleaned or lubed the gun again.

My course of fire included about 100 rounds of night fire, which more-or-less blinded me [ED: with science!]. On the third flush fit magazine the Mod.2 Sub-Compact’s slide failed to lock back on an empty chamber. On about the 200th round of American Eagle 115gr FMJs, I had one weird malfunction on the last round of a magazine. The round failed to fully eject; it was caught by the slide moving back forward. I didn’t encounter any other malfunctions.


Suspecting operator error, I tried to limp-wrist the Mod.2 Sub-Compact. I held the gun low across my body, pulled the trigger quickly and purposefully loosened my wrist. I can often induce a malfunction in a GLOCK 17 with this method; it virtually guarantees a malf in a G42. I couldn’t get the XD Mod.2 to jam by limp-wristing it.


With the Mod.2 Sub-Compact’s extended magazine, all of my fingers found a solid grip on the gun with a full wraparound of my support hand. There was no slippage at all during fast fire with either a single- or two-handed grip. It was different story with the flush fit magazine. I felt some shift in my hand during fast fire with the flush mag inserted. At seven yards, shooting as fast as I could get the sights on target, my groups opened-up in those last couple of rounds, as the gun slightly shifted in my hands. Slow fire was not a problem.

So what’s not to like?  The trigger. It’s long with a good amount of take-up followed by a squishy and uneven pull. Follow that up with a reset that’s just horrible. The reset is almost as long as the original pull, and it really slows shooting down. This was especially noticeable on single-handed shooting.

To shoot more quickly, I had to adopt an old strategy I use with double action revolvers: forcibly pushing my trigger finger forward quickly and back, in a swinging motion. In two-handed fire, I would find my sights back down on the target prior to the trigger being ready to fire again.

The Mod.2 Sub-Compact is a small gun with a high bore axis. And little recoil. I had no problem getting the sights back on target quickly and I certainly wasn’t chasing the gun around. Credit its heft. Although the Mod.2 Sub-Compact is small, it’s not particularly light. With the flush fit magazine empty, it weights 26 oz. making it a full 10 oz. more than my PM9 and a surprising 2 oz more than an aluminum-framed STI Officer 1911 with a 3.25″ bull barrel.

Although the billboard trademark Grip Zone is ugly, the grip itself is exceptional, which made a big impact on how well the gun recoiled, or I should say, didn’t. Better yet, what you gain in weight you also gain in capacity. Both of the aforementioned guns are relatively small round count pistols. The flush fit magazine on the XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact, though, holds 13 rounds. The extended a full 16 rounds. That’s a whole lot of rounds for such a small gun.

I perform all of my accuracy testing at the end of a review. I like to have a good feel for the gun and I like the gun to be dirty before I see what kind of groups it will fire. Starting about the 450 round mark, I switched from steel to paper and started measuring. All of my tests were five-shot groups fired seated off a front bag at a target 25 yards away, with as long as it took to get a solid shot.

The first couple of groups didn’t surprise me with the Winchester White Box FMJ and American Eagle FMJ’s printing 4″ and 4 1/4-inch groups, respectively. They opened up a bit with the heavier 147 grain Gold Dot to 4 3/4 inches.

If this were where the review ended, I’d call those groups adequate for the size of the gun. But the 100 grain Team Never Quit HPs shot a much better 2 3/4 inches for the entire 20-round box. Not bad at all. The big surprise: the Ruger ARX 9mm+p 80 grain round. It printed solid 1 1/2- inch groups. No group I shot with this round — and I shot the whole box — shot to even 2″.  That is outstanding accuracy from a gun with a 3-inch barrel.

The Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact is not the world’s most beautiful gun — unless you judge beauty based on function. In that case, the Mod.2 Sub-Compact is a stunner: a concealed carry gun that packs a lot of rounds in a small package and delivers them with more-than-merely-adequate accuracy. Change the rear sight for one-handed racking and it would be ideal.

Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact


Caliber: 9mm
Recoil System: Dual spring with full-length guide rod
Sights: Dovetail front and rear (steel) 3-dot
Weight: (with empty magazine) 26 ozs. with compact mag, 27 ozs. w/ X-Tension
Height: 4.75″ with compact mag, 5.5″ with X-Tension
Length: 6.25″
Grip width: 1.20″
Slide: Forged steel, Melonite finish
Frame: Black polymer
Barrel: 3″ Hammer forged, steel, Melonite / 1:10 twist
Magazines: 1 13-round compact, 1 16-round w/ X-Tension

MSRP: $508 at

Ratings (out of five stars):

Appearance and Style * *
The Mod.2 Sub-Compact is particularly ugly in two-tone. The Grip Zone stamp is absolutely horrible. If you want to make it look even worse, you can hang a light on it.

Reliability * * * *
With only two malfunctions in the whole string using many different types of rounds, the gun is certainly reliable. I’d trust it with my life any day. But it wasn’t perfect.

Accuracy * * * * *
Good with most rounds, better with some rounds, exceptional with one particular round. If you have this gun, you owe it to yourself to get a box of Ruger ARX and see what it does for you. I was blown away.

Overall * * * *
A great sub-compact at a reasonable price. It’s a little wide and not light, but the Mod.2 Sub-Compact packs a lot of rounds in a small, accurate package.

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  1. “Grip Zone”

    As if I didn’t know where to grip?

    Maybe they should etch on the slide “sliding zone,” or on the barrel “bullet zone,” or the magazine “magazine zone.”

    • at 15 yrds
      5 shot firing
      I touched 2 at target
      other 3 were withing 1 to 1 1/4
      both eyes open
      awesome gun
      first time shooting a 9 mm my daughter grouped at 3 inches
      awesome gun xd mod to…. whats not to love

  2. Pretty much the same experience I have had with the gun except I have had zero malfunctions. I purchased it to replace my Nano. I hated the trigger and wanted to standarize around either the Springfield or JMB ergonomics. I don’t care about the grip zone logo or other aesthetics; it is a plastic fantastic after all. I don’t carry it that often, usually when I play golf. My XD/m compact is my usual urban carry piece, otherwise I walk around with a 1911. It is a much better gun than a Glock 42 or 43.

    • yeah, but in any mechanical contrivance that small, form will closely follow function.

      If i recall correctly, the rem r 51 had pleasing lines. It didn’t function so hot tho.

  3. Love my XDm 3.8″ Compact in .45ACP. I was intrigued with these Mod.2’s and it looks like Springfield did another great job. I do agree that actually putting “Grip Zone” on the gun looks a little ridiculous, but I think the two-tone coloration is growing on me. At the end of the day if it’s easy to carry and goes bang when you need it, what’s not to love?

    • I actually carry a 9mm xdm compact. It has the stainless slide and i ceracoated the frame FDE. I debated between the xdm and xd mod2, but i really like the 19rnd fullsize magazine and the lines look a little nicer on the xdm slide.

      I would be happy the carry either one, but prefer the xdm.

  4. You should include width in your specifications. It’s an important factor in the comfort of an IWB holster.

  5. JWT, so you recommend the Ruger ammunition? The accuracy looks great. Ive always used Gold Dots and picked up some Ruger ammo the other day but couldn’t bring myself to buy it without doing some research first.

  6. I got a Grip Zone tattoo on my shaft. Gonna texture it next.
    A decision only rivaled in stupidity by the SA clowns who decided to mold Grip Zone into their pistols.

  7. I have the XD Mod2 .45 and it is a beauty. The solution to the trigger issue is a company called Powder River Precision in Baker City, OR. They make an OEM replacement so if you already have the gun, buy just the trigger replacement. They will also sell you the gun, customize it and send to your FFL which is what I did. I did the combat trigger, Tru-glow night sights and crowned barrel. I had the gun in hand in under 3 weeks. Here’s a link: And no, I don’t work for them. :o)

  8. Alrighty-a Croatian creation nearly identical to the lowly Brazilian Taurus 111g2. Which works great and costs half. I’ll pass up the “grip zone”-rag on me all you desire…

      • My pt 111 & 140 Taurus pro’s in SS 1st gen were beautiful. And ran perfectly. But I never dropped ’em lol…ditto for the all metal Taurus’.

  9. What I got from that review is the gun does what it is supposed to and does it well. How it looks, is it too heavy, even trigger pull are pretty much subjective. Sounds like one I might go check out, I kind of like the two tone, being all black doesn’t help me forget its polymer. The sights wouldn’t bother not having edge either, if I am headed to combat I will take a full sized with me, and in a real world gun fight if I am one arm down and I need a reload and to rack the slide I didn’t bring enough with me to start with.

  10. I have an original xDSC in .40 & an xDs in .45. No problems with the .40, but I had one of those no boom experiences while performing a Tueller drill during a class and it has made me very skeptical about the grip safeties. I very rarely carry either of my Springfields because of it.

    On the subject of the Mod 2 variety, I work with a guy who asked me about my xDs and he ended up buying the Number 2 in 9. While putting some purchased remanufactured ammo through it, the frame cracked. Springfield told him they wouldn’t warranty it due to using reloads. He went round and round with them for a few weeks and the price went from north of $150 to south of $50 with shipping included, but he was not happy about the whole experience. Who can blame him. If you get one, take care on what you feed it.

  11. Can’t write a good article without bashing glock!?! Probably can’t brag bout your junk without running down another mans junk too.

    • A guy at one of my classes had a Glock 19 and it had FTF issues the entire class. So it does happen with the right (or wrong) ammo.

      I don’t get these short barrel guns. The length of the gun doesn’t help in concealability unless it is for an ankle holster. The grip is usually the issue, not the length. Put some more barrel length on there for a longer sight radius and mass to reduce compact snappiness.

      • Short barrels help with appendix carry. Particularly for the low-rise-jeans-cut-to-fit-under-the-gut crowd.

  12. My first extended handgun experience was with a Glock. I never shot it well. I shot the Springfield much better, and it was my first purchase, partly due to the way it shot and the price, but also due to the grip safety. It has been very reliable, but is too large for CCW. (For that, I’ve joined the Kahr crowd, and am very happy with my little pocket pistol.) I would likely buy an XDS in .45 if they were available in California.

  13. Hmmm. A thorough review of a homely but apparently good gun, marred by an incessant auto-play ad for that same family of weapons.

  14. Finger grooves

    Just, WHY?

    No one complains when there are none.

    Guess thats what you’d expect from a gun that tells you where to grip

  15. Even if I could get it for $200, I think I’d pass. Grip Zone just makes me feel bleeeegh every time I look at it.

  16. Thank you for the review, Mr. Taylor. I was skimming the articles posted and saw the story about the XD mod 2 which I was contemplating on buying one but in .45 caliber. I got a smile on my face when you declared you had carried the Ruger P90 because that is what I use as my EDC still (Stainless with decocker). Oh, and my duty carry piece is a Beretta 92D, seems we are almost brothers….no, not really. Anyway, thanks again for the article and review of the Mod 2.

  17. Perhaps less applicable to grip safety equipped XD than most other striker guns, but I’d rather not have a ledge style rear sight that can hang up during re holstering. Leading to wiggling, more force used and………..oops, the sight wasn’t the only thing hung up……..

  18. For the life of me I can’t figure out why anybody would think that Springfield put the letters GRIP ZONE to inform the user where to hold. It is surely an attempt for marketing their texturing or so when you see it in a store you would want to check it out in your hand

  19. Had one and loved it. So it had Grip Zone on it. Whatever. Shot great and felt great in my hands.
    Concealed nicely and never gave me a problem. Was a bit of a chunk to haul around and in the end, that’s what did it in for me but it never had an issue.

  20. I rented one to try out two weeks ago. I really enjoyed shooting it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy one as my EDC. The Glock 26 would otherwise be that EDC but I detest that grip angle. Pointability is paramount to me. I shot the same color model as the reviewer and I like it. At any rate, it’s going to be hidden nearly all the time anyway. Not exactly a gun your going to be showing off in an OWB much.

  21. I love my XD Mod 2 9mm sub-compact. Sub-compact is Springfield’s words, not mine. For me at least, it’s a bit large for concealed carry, but it’s my preferred concealed carry gun for many of the same reasons the original reviewer mentioned. I’ve fired over 1000 rounds through it without a misfire or jam. The fiber-optic front sight is a real winner for me at least. It makes target acquisition much faster. It sticks out like a sore thumb. You can’t miss it. I have the solid black color. I’d call it stocky, but not ugly. But, hey, I didn’t buy it to look at. What’s not to like about it?

    • Amen, I love mine and all the people who whine about the “grip zone” the only time you see it is when you lay it down. If you are shooting it or it’s holstered you can’t see it. So what’s the big deal.
      I never though Glocks were pretty but it never stopped them from doing the job it’s intended for. Right?

  22. I’ve put about 1200 rounds through my XD 9mm (1st gen; non mod 2), with 0 FTF. I’ve shot Glock 19’s, 26’s, and most recently a 43. For the life of me I can’t shoot as well with those guns as with my XD on day 1. All the Glocks I’ve shot on the other hand eject shells on top of your head and occasionally in your face, down your shirt, land on top your hand etc (burned myself twice, cut my face once, friend cut his face once; not bad, but that’s not the point). I watch my friend shooting his Glock in the stall at the range and almost feel embarrassed watching him with shells bounding all around and on top of him. I just don’t get the hype of Glocks w/such issues as I mentioned. There are several videos of YouTube that say as much, I’m just surprised I don’t hear more people complaining about these issues. I’d worry as much about a shell in the eye as a FTF when carrying and finding oneself in a situation, unless you plan on keeping your safety glasses on all the time.

  23. I have a XD9 Mod.2 without the grip zone; which is what Springfield calls their current style of texturing not telling you where to hold the gun, that would be stupid. I have over 1,000 rounds through mine without a malfunction of any kind. It took a while to get used to the trigger but it shoots pretty well for a short barrel.

  24. I’ve had my XD Mod 2 compact for about 2 years. It is my EDC. I’ve also used it in IDPA in the production division. I’ve put a few thousand rounds down the barrel. I’ve not experience any malfunctions at all. My EDC ammo is Hornady JHP and use Syntech 115 grain for practice and IDPA. Two of the features I like are the high bore axis and the very modest recoil. The trigger doesn’t seem squishy to me it does have a long take up, but my experience has been a crisp and no issues with the reset.

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