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The Springfield Armory XD semi-automatic pistol entered the U.S. market 11 years ago. It was a leap gun for a leap year. The Croatian “X-treme Duty” handgun matched the all-conquering Austrian GLOCK 19 in never-say-die reliability, but cost less, looked better and pointed more naturally. The original XD also offered shooters a grip safety, a smoother, more controllable trigger; a way cool briefcase and plenty o’ accessories. What was not to love — other than a handle harder to hide than Madoff’s millions? That was the question facing Springfield when they gave the gun a makeover . . .



Springfield XD, old and new (MOD.2) (courtesy The Truth About Guns)


The previous XD’s blocky design reflected the gun’s HS2000 utilitarian roots, presenting a profile not dissimilar to a double-decker bus. Detractors of the freshened Mod.2‘s have focused on the words GRIP ZONE on the gun’s honking handle, annoyed at Springfield’s decision to draw constant attention to a piercing glimpse into the obvious. But other than that appeal to rappers’ brandophilia the Croats have done an excellent job modernizing the gun’s graphics, cut angles and ergonomics. The Mod.2’s a much sexier piece than the previous pistol.


Springfield XD MOD.2 (left) and Springfield XD (courtesy


Springfield’s CAD-CAMmers relocated the XD’s nameplate and re-drew the lines connecting the slide and frame. The new gun looks cleaner, more vertical, less like English public transportation. The gunmaker ditched the indent behind the trigger and rounded the trigger guard. The indent aligned and supported the shooter’s trigger finger; the square trigger guard offered secure purchase for a shooter’s support hand’s index finger (especially when gloved). The new XD’s trigger guard design is still stippled and only slightly less useful, but there it is. Or isn’t.


Slide comparo between Springfield XD and XD Mod.2 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)


In a similar nod to fashion, the Mod.2 replaces the old XD’s straight-up rear sight [left] with a slinky, high-visibility low-profile extended sight [right]. The gunmaker touts the replacement as snag-free and holster friendly. Fair enough, but the old design enabled a one-handed slide rack against a belt, shoe or dead comrade. The new sight, not so much.

Before dismissing the Mod.2 as a yuppified mil-spec XD, celebrate the new gun’s slimmer slide [above right]. Combat-racking the Mod.2’s “posi-wedge” serrations is a lot easier for operators operating operationally working to secure life and liberty for all and sundry and people who prefer to operate vending machines to secure spicy nacho Doritos for a pre-lunch snack.

Springfield also re-contoured the XD’s polymer frame, including a slimmer takedown lever for increased snaglessness. More importantly, the “high-hand beavertail” positions the shooter’s hand closer to the XD’s sky-high bore axis. (Practical benefits described below.)


Springfield XD Mod.2 GRIP ZONE (courtesy The Truth About Guns)


The most obvious change from old to new: the GRIP ZONE. The Mod.2’s strategically-positioned stippled plastic panels come in three flavors: aggressive (at the handle’s front and rear), slightly miffed (around the edges) and back on their meds (on the sides). While I had no gripes with the old XD’s chunky checkered grip, the Mod.2 builds on the XD’s ergonomic excellence to create a gun that feels almost as hand-comfy as a Walther PPQ.

The Mod.2’s ergos deliver where it counts. The test gun is an ideal combination of size (7.3 inches nose to tail), weight (27.5 ounces unladen), sight radius (4-inch barrel length) and caliber (9mm). It’s perfectly balanced for slow-fire accuracy, quick double-taps and rapid fire mag dumps. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the XD’s trigger. The trigger pull is as long as Brideshead Revisited (without the compensatory bounteous bodices) and the reset lives in the Kingdom of Far, Far Away. On the positive side, the XD’s go-pedal is blissfully free of GLOCKish grit and the breaking point is sharp, clean and predictable. Again, double-taps are easy peasey perp-stopping squeezy.


Springfield XD Mod.2 at 10 yards, double taps (head) aimed fire (small silhoutte) (courtesy The Truth About Guns)


This is no small point. Most people buying the Springfield XD Mod.2 in the Service Model configuration will keep and bear the full-sized double-stack pistol for concealed carry or self-defense. If push comes to shove, they’ll likely point the XD at the bad guy and pull the trigger a bunch of times, unleashing a barrage of barely aimed fire. Doing so with the Mod.2 at five to 10 yards creates a group size that is, at worst, minute of bad guy. With the pistol‘s high-hand grip reducing felt recoil and the XD’s natural pointing prowess, shooters can reacquire their sight picture and return to target with life-saving speed and efficiency.

The Athena Gun Club target above reveals the results of [a notoriously lousy shot] firing Winchester White Box ammo at 10 yards in both slow fire (small silhouette) and double taps (head shots). To quote Arthur Hoggett, that’ll do pig. Which is no longer a suitable anthropomorphic description of the XD’s looks. Springfield’s mainstay now looks — and acts — more like a well-trained, family-friendly Rottweiler. It’s kind, gentle, faithful and deadly when needs be.

The XD Mod.2 4-inch isn’t a vast improvement on ye olde XD. But the brutish-looking pistol didn’t need vast improvement. It needed exactly what it got: greater aesthetic sophistication and increased controllability. It’s still a better buy than a GLOCK 19.

Springfield Armory XD Mod.2


Model Number: XDG9101HC

Caliber: 9mm (The MOD.2 sub-compact comes in 9mm, .40 cal, and .45 ACP, the 4-inch full-size service model is only chambered in 9mm)

Capacity: 16 + 1 

Frame: Black polymer with GripZone texture

Sights: Red fiber-optic front sight and low-profile combat rear (steel)

Slide: Forged Steel, Melonite Finish

Barrel: 4″ Hammer-forged, steel, Melonite,1:10 twist

Magazines: (2) 16-round magazines, stainless steel

Recoil System: captive recoil spring with captive guide rod

Safety Features: Striker-status indicator, loaded-chamber indicator, grip safety, internal firing-pin block, Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) Action Trigger System

Length: 7.3″

Height: 5.5″

Grip Width: 1.2″

Weight: (w/empty magazine): 27.5 ounces

Action type: Striker-fired

MSRP: $559

Street Price: Around $470, often seen for $399 via Brownells


RATINGS (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *

Not as accurate as the XD(M), but minute-of-bad guy all day, every day. Hi-po self-defense help.

Ergonomics (handling): * * * * *

Already one of the most natural pointing polymer pistols, made better by a slimmer frame, “high-hand beavertail” and GripZone panels.

Ergonomics (firing): * * * *

The trigger’s longer and mushier than a chick flick but just as predictable. Recoil mitigation is top-notch.

Reliability: * * * * *

Fed it 500+ rounds of whatever I could scrounge from my range bag and the back of the sofa and 50 rounds of really expensive hollowpoints. No problems of any sort.

Customization: * * * * *

Plenty available: better triggers, one-handed racking-compatible night sights, snout-mounted lights and lasers, etc.

Overall Rating: * * * * *

If you’re a trigger snob, deduct one star and head over to FN and Walther. If not, the XD Mod.2 Service Model’s a total no-gripe zone.

More from The Truth About Guns:

New From Ruger: LCP II Pistol

Gun Review: Smith & Wesson SD9 VE [Updated 2018]

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  1. The Springfield is a 1911 fanboys concept of a modern plastic, striker fired handgun. The best of both worlds. I own three including the Mod 2 subcompact which replaced my Nano for dress or golf swing restricted carry.

  2. “Before dismissing the Mod.2 as a yuppified mil-spec XD,”

    Too late. All I see is an HS2000 with a “GRIP ZONE!!!!!!!” stipple job.

    I’ll take the clearance model XD service, please.

      • as laughable as the “grip zone” badging is, its appropriate on a handgun called the eXtreme Duty. my buddies and I have taken to referring to it as ‘the mountain dew of guns’. in any case, having only handled one and not shooting it, you cant see the “grip zone” when your hand is wrapped around that comfy ass grip.

  3. I love XDs. I’m just a big fan of all the standardd loaded safety features without having a manual safety.

    The XDM was great having a capacity of 19 rounds, but my hands liked the feel of the 16 round XD much better. I can only imagine the grip has been improved further in the XD mod 2 making it that much more worthwhile to choose the XD over the XDM despite the 3 round difference per mag.

    • There isn’t anything keeping you from running 19-round XDM mags in an XD. I’ve used 19-round P09 mags in a P07 (15/16 round flush mags). If you want a flush mag in the pistol when you’re carrying it you can carry a backup 19-round mag, otherwise the length would be identical to an XDM with a 19-round mag in.

  4. Will have to give this one a look next time I am looking for a polymer striker fired gun. I have always been a fan of the looks and features XD pistols but have passed over the XD and XDm in the past because I just can’t get it to fit my hand right for some inexplicable reason.

  5. My wife has won many a dinner by outshooting me with her XDm. It’s hard to find fault with those guns.

    What they did to the rear sight makes no sense at all.

    • Looks to me like they transplanted the XDm’s sight onto the new pistol. If so, it would have bigger and brighter dots than the old XD sights, which to me makes more sense than snag-free as a benefit (how likely were the sights to snag anyway?).

  6. It sounds like Springfield may have created the perfect polymer pistol with the XD Mod2.

    I already liked them for the same reasons as Roy and tdiinva — I have an XDm compact and my wife has an XD subcompact, and I’ve had a serious jones for an XD duty model for a while — but after fondling a new Mod2 at my local gun shop, it’s officially the pistol I want more than any other. The XD Mod2 feels better in the hand than both the XD and the XDm. And the comfy, natural-pointing grip was what sold me on them in the first place.

    This was a fun review. I’m LOLing at “aggressive… slightly miffed… and back on their meds.”

    As for aesthetics, “brutish” fits my firearm sensibilities just fine, but I’m also glad that the new slide profile is a bit slimmer up top; it ought to make the new Springfields a bit more comfy for concealed carry.

  7. Pfffttt;; couldnt pass up the chance at more Glock bashing, hey TTAG? The fact that Glocks are the most popular handgun in the world must keep you guys up at night. Maybe you should quit fighting it and go over to the Glock side? Then maybe the plaintive squealing about Glocks would subside. Because everybody knows after reading the reviews here that Glocks are the most horrible nasty iinsufferable guns that ever rode in a holster, right? (BTW love XDs have a couple so no its not that. Just the constant Glock bashing.)

      • Just pointing out the slant, dont shoot the messenger. Guns touted over Glock on TTAG: Caracal C, Taurus PT, Arsenal, SCCY, Walther, XD, name your Glock ripoff, etc etc….. guns despised by TTAG, Glock. Pretty obvious slant.

        • If I had a nickel for every time we’re accused of being GLOCK honks, I could buy that Perazzi I’ve always wanted.

          Oh, and there’s a G43 on my hip as I peck this out on my iPhone, Freddy. I bet Nick has his with him, too.

    • Glock gets plenty of fanfare when Glock has news of its own. Quit pissing on someone else’s picnic. Every manufacturer deserves their time in the light when they have news. Did you really expect them to make a post about existing Glock models when Springfield has a new model out, or do you just want every review to be one line: “not as good as Glock”?

    • Relax and try other guns that aren’t GLOCKs. You’ll find plenty of other guns that are more accurate and have better triggers. GLOCKs are still incredibly easy to modify and are plenty reliable. Most of my CC is with an stock Gen 3 G27 (except with a +1 / +2 extension). And it needs new night sights. A stainless recoil spring and guide rod would be nice too, as well as a UAT trigger.

      Or maybe a Sig 229 instead.

      Anyways, I would sweat any GLOCK bashing. They still work just fine.

    • “Go home, Glock. Nobody loves you anymore.” – Springfield XD Mod 2.

      I’m not a hater. I’ve had or been issued nineteen Glocks. I no longer own one. It’s not that they’re bad guns at all, they’re just resting on their laurels while the others keep moving ahead.

    • TTAG,

      You hearing this? More, please.
      New firearms model rumors?
      What is going on with the Caracal any way? Last time I heard anything was from RF and his misery with a return.
      In other news, what’s this about the Supreme Court possibly hearing an “assault weapons” case?

  8. How is the stippling in regard to concealed carrying? Does it snag or grab on clothing like a rubber grip can?

    Worse than “printing” is having your gun lift your shirt up all by itself.

    Who the heck in Springfield’s management chain approved putting “GRIP ZONE” right there on the side?

  9. I don’t know. I still like my old brute. Every time I think of replacing it with something else, I take it out the range and remember what I liked about it. It just feels good in my hand. I shot it alongside an FNS 9 once. The trigger didn’t really seem any better to me.

    • I still like my XD9 Duty also, points easy and naturally, and it was cheap lol
      I have qualified on security and police with it and Zero problems or malfunctions in close to a 1000 rounds

  10. I’m not sure there’s a very large portion of the population that is smart enough to read ‘grip zone’ but dumb enough not to be able to figure out where to grip a handgun. They should probably print ‘barrel zone’ or something to that effect on the slide just to make sure though.

    • I thought maybe it would have been more clever to write “Grip Zone” in Croatian, but according to Google translate that comes out “Grip Zona” so I got nothing.

    • The “Grip Zone” label isn’t there to tell you where to grip. Grip Zone is the trademark name they chose for their pattern of grippy bits (i.e., there are different zones on the grip that have different textures). Dumb, sure, but not as dumb as people are making it out to be.

      • But could they have made the trademark much larger? I expect oversized branding on tacky athletic clothing, not firearms lol. It so deterred me from purchase, though, seeing as I bought a Mod.2 recently in spite of this. :p

    • It’s not a target pistol. It’s accurate enough to do the job required, especially when considering the ease of reacquiring the target. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

  11. If they insist on putting “Grip Zone” on the grip, then they could at least put “Danger Zone” on the muzzle.

  12. I’d like to get my hands on the new mod 2; I’m not sure I’d like it with the finger grooves and “grip zone.” (and higher price).

    I picked up an XD Subcompact for $365 out-the-door and actually prefer my XD Subcompact over my G19. But I also prefer my G26 over the XD Subcompact. The higher bore axis of the XDSC does create more felt recoil than I thought it would. Shot side by side, the G27 feels equal in recoil to the XD SC in 9mm.

  13. An XD40 was my second pistol when I returned from Iraq in 2011. I was glad I did as I could still buy ammo for it during firearmageddon. I bought a 9mm barrel for it and a few XD9 mags and it runs flawlessly. I like the gun a lot, but it has been taking a back seat to my CZs. The new XD looks great except for the already mentioned Grip Zone. If they get rid of that, I think I would be taking a look at one of their subcompacts.

  14. Love my XD Mod 2! Love my 5.25 XDM more but doesn’t conceal as well. Highly recommended grip both handle and slide. Hope SA moves those features to the XDM as well.

  15. have the xd9subcompact and xd45. both excellent shooters. picked up ( handled, fondled) a “new grip zone” xd9 at a recent gun show, and couldn’t see the benefit of their changes, specially with a price increase.

  16. This new gun is almost exactly the same as internally as the old version. So it takes the same magazines. And even with the slight variations externally, it tends to work in the same krydex holsters. I had both. The original ran absolutely flawless for over 4000 rounds. I expect the new one to do the same. And about the grip zone… It feels great! When I conceal carry it, no one sees the words, and when I shoot it, my hand covers the words, so who cares!

  17. Gave my new bride a mod 2 sub 9 for her wedding present last week. She put 120 round through it, and I considered myself lucky to shoot 20. It’s a great piece of hardware. She loves it, and I’m going to have to get one in .45.

    • Why do you think Springfield has had so much success? It may kinda of sorta look like like a Glock but it is not a Glock. It’s the modern 1911. What they did was go back to JMB’s original concept for the 1911 before the obsolete horse cavalry put in their two cents worth. They ditched the backup thumb safety.

  18. My 12 year old son got to shoot a friend XDm a couple weeks ago. He was accurate enough to embarrass my friend, but when asked, he wasn’t that thrilled with it. He didn’t like the sights, though he knows they were sighted for my friend’s wife. He really doesn’t like the safety. He is in the camp of strongly preferring a manual safety.

  19. My XDs 40 was my first carry gun. And guess what; it’s still my primary carry weapon. I do not really see enough of a difference to run out and buy a new Mod2. There are currently other guns I want. Yeah, I’ll admit, Robert’s “a much sexier weapon” almost got me. But hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And just like my wife, I love her with or without her makeup. The Mod2 may have a little more makeup on, but she is still the same underneath. As for the Grip Zone; whatever. It doesn’t make or break the gun for me. If the time comes and I do buy one, I wont care. Just think, if Springfield does find popular opinion is against the label and decides to remove it, then you better scramble to get one because those are the ones that will be sought after down the road (limited initial number produced). Just a thought.

  20. You forgot to mention the excellent fiber optic sight.

    First time I shot a Mod2, I rented a new 3.3″ subCompact from the local range, and using Atlanta ammo reloads, I took aim at the bullseye by centering it in between the narrow dots of the flat style rear sight and raising the muzzle up until the red fiber optic sight covered the bullseye, fired off five shots as fast as I could pull the trigger at a target 7 yards away and cut out a 1/2″ grouping. It was the most natural, point and shoot gun I’ve ever fired. It was like making a gun with your extended finger and thumb and having i replaced by the XD9Mod2.

    There is another trick to the design you also failed to note. Take a photo of the rear of the old XD and the new Mod2 side-by-side with the grip bases flat on the table. You will see a curve in the Mod2 that is what aligns the gun over the center of your hand and what makes it such a natural point-and-shooter.

    They also widened the rear of the slide making racking a lot easier. It will take all of the same mag the XD took – including the long 30 and 32-rounders (National & ProMag).

    Recoil is well-mitigated – in fact, it had less recoil than the Walther CCP which was designed to have lower recoil from its delayed gas return system.

    I hate Glocks. I call them, “Bricks on a Stick.” They are front-heavy and is the only full-size gun whose slide did a Cuisinart job on my thumb, leaving blood all over the range table. It happened because the slide rides so low, there is very little room to put a large support hand. The high-riding Mod2 will never let that happen.

    But, to compensate for the higher riding slide, the deeper and more curved beaver tail along with the trigger guard cutout allowed the shooting hand to be held higher up on the frame and closer to the bore axis, which, in turn, greatly improved accuracy.

    I could care less what it says on the grip. A strip of Talon can cover it if it actually bothered someone to madness.

    My on ly bone of contention is the price. Recently, GunBuyer had the .40SW model on sale for $399. IMHO, that should be the going price of the gun for either length barrel – just as it was for the XD when everyone and his brother was selling the Essentials Kit in either subcompact or service for $359-$379

    I like the 13 & 16 round X-tender magazines. If you need more than 30 rounds to carry (13+16+1), consider doing a New York reload.

  21. I just bought this a few weeks ago from my local dealer. Took it to the range with about 400 rounds of different ammo and it ate everything. Also went through Winchester PDX1 Defender 124+p ammo as well. No problems. I bought this to replace my SCCY CPX2 as my concealed carry gun.

    This thing is amazing! Easy to shoot, very accurate, and great quality and lots of aftermarket parts like the author said. I got a custom OWB leather holster from a guy I know here in WI with a 15 degree cant, and I can conceal this baby no problem. And I’m 150 lb soaking wet 6 foot tall stick mind you. And this thing still conceals even with just a t shirt on. I highly recommend this firearm. This was my first Springfield to shoot and to own, and I was a bit iffy buying one without trying one out, but after this I definitely will buy another Springfield in the future. Great review by the way.

  22. I could care less that Grip Zone is on the handle. Something had to be there. Seriously, so what? The bottom line for me was while in the gun store I held several that were on my list. Glock, M&P, Sig, and the older XP. I kept going back to the Mod 2 each time immediatly after holding one of the others on that list. I kept remarking to my Son, there with me, how perfect that Mod 2 felt in my grip and had him try each to. I never cared that it had Grip Zone on the handle. Never even thought about it. It felt perfect compared with any of the others. Amazingly so. I bought that gun on the spot because I knew if it feels right half the battle is won. I will shoot right with it. The reputation of Springfield was another part of the equation. I bought the 4″ service model. The way I see it, if I’m carrying it concealed and the rest of the time my hand is around that Grip, who cares that Grip Zone is on the handle? That is such a petty complaint. I’m pretty sure no one is thinking he don’t know where to put his hand! Stupid. Bottom line, that Mod 2 is perfect for me. Flawless still. And guess what? I hit what I’m aiming at! And that’s the bottom line. There’s a lot of makes and models. There’s a lot of shooters. But unlike a lot of opinions I’ve read on here, I’m not telling everyone that’s the only gun for them and dissing other models. Before you shit on it, wrap your hand around it. Then decide.

  23. The trigger is not even that bad, as the reviewer describes. The reset is actually fantastic. As far as the “Grip Zone” thing is concerned, how is that bothersome at the point in time you are operating the firearm, considering your hand will be covering it? It really isn’t really that big of a deal and doesn’t effect the function of your weapon at all. I think we should applaud Springfield for making quality firearms for ages, and the XD line is no exception. I should touch on this about the XDs before someone tries to attack that. The XDs recall was a bad thing and I heard what that series of XD was doing, but mistakes happen, and mistakes have happened with other firearms manufacturing companies. At least it was caught before someone was seriously hurt or worse. Hopefully they will have a better “Grip Zone” on quality control.

    I own a XD9 Service and now a Mod 2 service model. Both are awesome. I also have an M1A which I love.

  24. The whole complaint about the words “grip zone ” being on the grip I find quite humorous. Go to your safe zone children. This weapon is a very well manufactured concealed carry item. I’ve run 300 rounds through mine and it has done anything but feed, fire and eject while keeping a tight group. As I said, if words offend you, go to the safe zone of mommy and daddy’s basement.

  25. Well I’m picking one up tomorrow then I’ll find out first hand about this Grip Zone. I’d like something smaller than my XDM.40 to haul around on my hip or where ever I chose. My XDM.40 is real nice and shoots great.

  26. Real target…real accuracy test….Minute of bad guy? Does that mean it will hit a 5 gallon bucket at 25 yards? What if you have a hostage situation and must head shot the bad guy at 15 yards….will it stay on the palm of your hand size target or will you throat shot the hostage because the gun was not accurate at all. A Springfield 1911 in .45 will shoot 1/2″ 5 shot groups…out of the box at 25yd… What is this capable of and is it reliable…will it conceal?

  27. I bought a 4″ Service Mod 2 9mm a few months back- got a great deal on a grey-framed version.

    It feels great in the hand- I shoot it well- but its not my most accurate gun. Good for self defense- sure, impressing your friends with quarter size groups? Not me with mine.

    Its 100% reliable- so its my SHTF gun, if not my EDC gun, maybe when its colder.

    I like the magazines, well made, but inexpensive. Mec-Gar used to make 18 round mags, but stopped production recently. I got a few- but if you haven’t, get them before they dry up at reasonable prices.

    Oh- “Grip Zone” is cheezy, but it really isn’t a factor me. As others have said, you hand covers it when using.

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