FIRST REVIEW: SA XD-S Mod.2 Single Stack .45ACP

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SA XDS Mod.2 45ACP Review

Well, here it is hot off the production line and in my hands to review; introducing the XDs Mod. 2 .45ACP pistol. Springfield Armory has upgraded its popular concealed carry single stack XDs in .45ACP with enhanced grip texturing, more sight configurations, enhanced trigger with short reset, longer Posi-Wedge slide serrations, improved ergonomics, and more.

We know the excellent performance, smooth trigger, natural point of aim features, and build of Springfield’s XDs and their XD Mod.2 pistols, but now there is a mix of the nice features and performances of both of these guns in a 2018 blended model, the XDs Mod .2 .45ACP.

Does it adequately blend the best of “both worlds?” Does it combine the fine contoured and comfortable high-hand grip relief and the just-right grip texturing of the Mod.2 with the slim profile and single stack features of the XDs? Did they do away with the often-criticized “Grip Zone” molded in the grip? Is the 2018 blended model smaller, shorter in length, with less width, less weight, and is it better for concealed carry? Since the new model has such a short barrel and is in .45ACP caliber, what about the felt recoil and control of it?

Well, I had to answer these questions for myself. I had to field test and evaluate it by actually shooting and handling it personally. Springfield was kind enough to send me one before the public introduction date, so I can test and evaluate it for win-win-win results for all. Thank you, Springfield Armory.

To begin, I want to give you the XDs Mod.2’s specifications and some of its new features. Previously, I evaluated separately on this website the XD Mod. 2 and the XDs, both in 9mm. I evaluated them in depth with specific drills and then ranked them in my Top 21 concealed carry guns in my recently-published book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials.”  I ranked the guns by width, weight, capacity, trigger press, price, features, Overall, etc. Remember, your personal preferences play a key role in your minimal selections. Here I want to give a brief review of this new XDs Mod. 2 .45 with my opinions.

Springfield XDs Mod.2 .45ACP Pistol

Criteria and Consideration for Evaluating the XDS Mod.2 45ACP

Below are just 10 of my Criteria and factors for evaluating the XDs Mod. 2, and I will apply them for my concealed carry purpose. In addition to my criteria, other subjective features may be appealing for some. For example, you may like a particular style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, non-porting, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last “Miscellaneous” criterion. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for an overall possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine.

Remember, there are a lot of attributes, pros and cons, and criteria to include and consider and you make your own tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, and defined needs and use.

Holsters

This new pistol, like any handgun, needs at least one quality holster for your preferred carry method. At this time, given that Springfield Armory just introduced this pistol, there are limited holster offerings. So, I asked some of my contacts, and they have custom-manufactured the below holsters specifically for this XDs Mod. 2 .45ACP pistol. I appreciate that they were able to make some very nice holsters available that are custom fit, provide all-day comfort, conceal well, have good retention, and easy access.

If I were to buy this single-stack subcompact .45 pistol, I would use it for concealed carry and wear it Outside-the-Waistband (OWB), Inside-the-Waistband (IWB), and sometimes Pocket Carry, depending on my type of activity, cover garment and attire at the time, danger level, weather, and other factors.

I found three excellent custom OWB, IWB, and Pocket holsters for this XDs Mod. 2 .45 Subcompact pistol. They are made by Kramer Handgun Leather (KHL), Blackpoint Tactical (BT), and Clinger Holsters (CH.)

Kramer Holster OWB Leather MSP Paddle-Belt Loop Holster
Kramer Holster OWB Leather MSP Paddle-Belt Loop Holster

Kramer Handgun Leather Paddle Holster (KHL)

KHL makes a beautiful, high-quality OWB MSP Paddle Leather custom holster, so you can easily and frequently remove the gun and holster. The paddle is reinforced with sturdy plastic which acts as a spring and helps keep it gripped tight to your side. It has excellent workmanship, is very comfortable, extremely durable, and conceals well. The KHL Leather OWB holster has a nice FBI forward cant and rides high for easy draw. It has a bevel-edged leather welt on the bottom front side that locks the paddle into the waistband and a removable snap-closure belt loop to help secure the holster in the pants. The Michigan State Police and other agencies use this holster, and it works well for the range and home use, as well as for concealed carry. The XDs Mod. 2 .45ACP is shown above in the KHL OWB Paddle holster.

Blackpoint Tactical Hybrid Leather Wing & Kydex OWB Belt Holster
Blackpoint Tactical Hybrid Leather Wing & Kydex OWB Belt Holster

Blackpoint Tactical Hybrid Belt Holster (BT)

BT also has a quality and comfortable “Leather Wing” kydex and leather hybrid OWB holster with a sweat guard and available straight and canted options in several colors. It has a minimal profile and it naturally contours to the body for a comfortable and secure fit. The benefits of kydex are combined with the leather wings on the side for a curved, slim, and a comfortable fit. You have your choice of several front, back, and leather color options and metal belt loop sizes. It can accommodate threaded barrels and tall sights. All of their OWB holsters can be converted to IWB by removing the loops from the back and attaching IWB loops to the holster front. Above is shown a standard stock BT Leather Wing OWB belt holster.

Clinger Holsters' Comfort Cling Pocket Holster
Clinger Holsters’ Comfort Cling Pocket Holster

Clinger Holsters (CH)

CH has a Comfort Cling clipless holster that clings where you stick it, and no belt clip is necessary (Shown above.) Clinger says “The non-slip holster utilizes friction to stay in place. The Comfort Cling has a gel-like core that completely dissipates the sharp edges of your gun.” It can be used as an IWB holster, a pocket holster, and can be used to stow your handgun in a glovebox or safe. It is very reasonably priced. This holster safely covers the trigger and will not snag your rear sight. It uses Zig-Zag stitching and sturdy ballistic nylon like used in military applications for durability and a low-friction interior surface of the holster to help the draw. This holster has the advantage in that it can be used on many different gun models. CH also makes a small footprint, reasonably-priced OWB No Print Wonder (not shown) holster with a full-coverage sweat shield. It uses a unique Cling Tab to actively pull the grip of your gun in close to your body and a flexible leather tab on the other side for comfort. The holster has steel belt clips and is fully tuckable. CH offers a free repair or replacement Lifetime Warranty.

The Thin Less-Than-An-Inch Width of the XDs Mod. 2 .45 is Apparent
The Thin Less-Than-An-Inch Width of the XDs Mod. 2 .45 is Apparent

XDs Mod. 2 .45ACP Field Test

At the range, I shot about 200 rounds of Sig Sauer FMJ and HP ammo of 230-grain weight at close-up self-defense distances of 5, 7, and 10 yards. Some of my students also shot it, and they gave me their opinions and recommendations, which I considered. Also, you should know that Springfield is not paying me for my review or opinions, so I am not on their payroll for any reason and want to give my honest opinions and evaluations.

One caveat we all recognize is that ANY gun should be “broken-in” with about 400-500 rounds fired for a better evaluation of its performance. So acknowledge that I did not shoot that many rounds. Remember, the gold standard is for you to actually shoot and handle the gun for yourself to learn your accuracy with it and things about it like I did.

Let me say up front that for me for ANY gun, ACCURACY and RELIABILITY are most important. Closely related to that is the handgun’s trigger and the gun’s comfort and controllability in the hands, so I focused on these. I used my Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge and averaged 12 readings to measure the trigger press.

This small-barreled, thin profile and lightweight concealed carry gun was not that harsh to shoot as a .45ACP, and I could handle the felt recoil. Some students did not like the stout recoil from this 3.3″ short-barreled .45 subcompact pistol.

Below are my evaluations for each of my 10 criteria for my concealed carry purpose. Recognize that I am not a top-gun shooter by any measure and this new gun is not broken in yet. Thanks to Sig Sauer ammo for providing great-performing premium V-Crown JHP and FMJ ammo to test the new XDs Mod. 2 .45 pistol.

During live-fire at the range, I shot my first two mags (one flush mag loaded with five rounds and one mid-mag with six rounds) at five yards in slow fire with a mag change and all eleven hits were in the nine to ten rings (See below.)

I really had to grip the gun very tight and lock my wrist because I am not used to the stout recoil from a small gun like this. Given my aging eyes and regular use of my customary 9mms, I was pleased with the about 3-inch groups at five yards, but my 7, 10 and 15-yard hits were not that good. I just could not control the .45ACP recoil from this 3.3″ short-barreled gun at the longer distances. I am used to my 9mm guns and practice more with them.

Below are my slow-fire hits on one target at five yards with a mag change from my range field testing of it. For a short-barreled subcompact .45, it was acceptable accuracy for me up close at 5 yards for self-defense purpose. Just wish my seven yards and beyond hits were that good. But, this is not precision bullseye shooting.

11 Target Hits Slow-Fire with Mag Change at 5 Yards
11 Target Hits Slow-Fire with Mag Change at 5 Yards

Field Test Results for Each of my 10 Criteria for the XDs Mod. 2 .45ACP pistol:

1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10

The accuracy of the XDs Mod. 2 .45 was very good for me at distances of 5 and 7 yards, acceptable at 10 yards, but not good at 15 yards, given my aging eyesight and lack of practice with a .45ACP subcompact. My groups at the closer distances were close to 3.0 inches, but greater at the longer distances, for the first time I ever fired the .45 gun. Practice with this subcompact will help accuracy. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various 230-grain JHP and FMJ ammo. All rounds were reliably handled without malfunctions or stoppages.

NOTE MY OPINION: I believe striker-fired guns like this one have an advantage for a carry gun because of the same, RELIABLE, consistent lighter trigger press each time. An advantage in critical defensive situations and for a higher caliber gun. Quicker follow-up shots are possible because of the usually lower bore axis, consistent press, and simple design with a striker bar and without a hammer. Their safeties are usually passive, so no extra steps with certain fine motor skills involved. They are simpler to shoot, especially for new or less experienced shooters, and easier to conceal without hammers. But, Practice, Practice, and Practice!

2. Trigger Press – Score: 9

The trigger press for this new, not broken-in gun averaged 6.8 pounds, with 12 readings by my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. This press was disappointing to me and above my preferred maximum of about 5.5 to 6-pound trigger press. However, it was not that distracting for accuracy and was acceptable, but I was hoping for closer to the 5.5- 6-pound press. But, I could definitely tell the trigger’s crispness, short reset, and minimal takeup. I expect that after more break-in time, the press will get better.

3. Trigger – Score: 10

The trigger had a short travel distance, a very identifiable reset, and it was smooth. My shots were consistent each time, and I liked the fine travel distance and reset. The trigger’s reset was very tactile, audible, and identifiable. The trigger gave me consistency from shot-to-shot. This gun shoots well, and I really enjoyed shooting it as a .45 caliber. Although slightly heavy for me, I like the enhanced trigger with short reset.

4. Barrel Length – Score: 9

The XDs Mod.2’s 3.3-inch Stainless Steel Barrel was nice for concealed carry. It is Melonite-treated and hammer-forged steel. Although I noticed the felt recoil, I was surprised that it was not that stout and was controllable for this .45ACP. It was manageable. I did not notice extreme muzzle flip (but some due to the higher caliber) and the short sight radius was not a distraction.

XDs Mod. 2 with Pro-Glo Tritium & BRIGHT Luminescent Front Sight in Daylight
XDs Mod. 2 with Pro-Glo Tritium & BRIGHT Luminescent Front Sight in Daylight

5. Sights – Score: 10

The Pro-Glo Tritium/Luminescent Front and Black U-Notch Serrated Rear Steel Sights were excellent and helped my older eyes with front sight acquisition, especially in the evening and at dusk. I like these glow-in-the-dark night sights. These Tritium sights really helped, and the bright yellow front ring really stood out. The rear black Tactical-Rack Serrated white-dot sight worked fine, and the long Posi-Wedge serrations helped cut down the glare some. I like the all-black rear sight and very bright front. The rear sight has a flat shelf with edges to help with one-handed racking and malfunctions. The three sight options include a fiber-optic font and Tactical-Rack Serrated white-dot rear; Ameriglo’s Pro-Glo green tritium/luminescent front with Tactical-Rack Serrated steel rear; or a red Viridian laser.

6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 10

The lightweight and slim polymer frame combined with the stainless steel barrel and slide for a nice 23-ounce unloaded mag total weight. Comfortable for all-day concealed carry. Although lightweight and a .45, it was easy to handle. It was not too heavy, and there was manageable felt recoil. Great weight for carry. It was just right, and I could handle it well and accurately for a .45 subcompact.

7. Caliber – Score: 8

The .45ACP Caliber had a little stout, but manageable felt recoil and was OK to shoot. I did feel the recoil some, but not as much as I anticipated with this subcompact with its short 3.3″ barrel. My wife and students did complain about the stout recoil, but they do not regularly shoot .45ACP rounds. I do prefer 9mm as my usual CCW and rounds. I expect they will come out with a 9mm model with these features soon. It handled the various weights of premium ammo, including hollow points, without any malfunctions or stoppages.

8. Capacity – Score: 8

The 5 and 6-round capacities of the 2 included .45ACP mags were borderline acceptable to me. They were steel and quality made, but I wanted just a little more capacity. But, the limited ammo capacity of the mags was a tradeoff for the nice small size, width, height, and weight of the XDs Mod.2 for concealed carry. I did have a pinky-finger dangle when using the flush 5-round concealed carry mag.The included baseplate pinky extension for the flush mag helped. The 6-rounder is not best as a primary concealed carry mag because of its size but works as an extra. It would be nice to have another round in this mag for range use and for use as a backup concealed carry mag. There is an extra Mid Mag with grip sleeve to add another round and to help with recoil, but that is more cost. There are concealability, performance, and capacity tradeoffs.

Textured Grip is Just Right and WITHOUT the "Grip Zone" Molded into the Grip
Textured Grip is Just Right and WITHOUT the “Grip Zone” Molded into the Grip

9. Ergonomics – Score: 9

The ergonomics of the slim, single-stack XDs Mod.2 .subcompact striker-fired gun were great and really helped comfort. My medium-sized hands fit OK, and the enhanced aggressive grip texture on the rounded edges of the front and rear straps and side panels helped me have a firm, high up on the backstrap, and solid grip. I really liked its natural point of aim. The grip texture was not too rough and did not catch on any of my clothes. The various textures of the “Grip Zone” were maintained in this model and helped with a solid and comfortable grip. And there is NO “Grip Zone” text molded into the grip. There is a deep undercut on the beavertail safety. The grip was less than an inch wide, which helped me to easily reach all the controls like the magazine release, slide lock lever, and takedown lever without adjusting my grip. But, I did feel the recoil from this .45ACP pistol. The short and positive reset with minimal takeup made it easy to shoot rapidly.

The XDs Mod.2 had a Nice Hard Case included a Lock, Cleaning Brush, second Mag, & Instruction Manual
The XDs Mod.2 had a Nice Hard Case included a Lock, Cleaning Brush, second Mag, & Instruction Manual

10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9

Before I shot it, I disassembled, re-assembled, and cleaned the XDs Mod.2, and I did not have to press the trigger to do it. Its sear deactivation system works. It has a dual-captive recoil spring, with a full-length guide rod. It was very easy to takedown and reassemble. The mags had witness holes which were very handy. Wish there was a third mag included, like with some of the other Springfield guns. The nice included Hard Case had a lock, cleaning brush, second mag, and instruction manual, but no holster, pouch, loader, etc. was included as in some other Springfield models. I like that the XDs Mod.2 has a somewhat lower bore axis than some other similar guns. The MSRP of this model is slightly higher than the separate XDs or other Mod 2 .45 models, but shop because prices vary. There are three configurations with tritium, fiber optic, and Veridian laser.

Total Points = 92 out of 100 Possible.

I RECOMMEND this fine .45ACP single-stack, striker-fired, subcompact handgun for concealed carry (performance, build, and function trump any possible, uncertain, controversial political issue), but you must practice with it to deal with the stout recoil. I do practice regularly with and prefer the 9mm caliber, but do carry a .45ACP at times, but the stout recoil of this short-barreled subcompact affected my mid and long-range hits because I don’t practice enough with .45 caliber guns. I liked its lightweight and slim profile, solid and aggressive grip texture (without the molded “Grip Zone” mark), smooth trigger and accuracy, and overall ergonomics. I do like the grip safety, but you have to practice with it so you can be certain to press and grip it correctly so it will fire every time. Only one of several students had problems with the grip safety and firing it. But, I did not like the low 5-round capacity flush mag for concealed carry. The pinky extension was nice but did not add another round, and I had just a little pinky dangle with the flush fit mag. The short-reset trigger with minimal takeup was very nice. So was the crisp trigger break, but the press while smooth was harder than I like. Although a .45ACP caliber with stout recoil,  the felt recoil was manageable, though not ideal like my 9mms. I will buy this gun in 9mm. The sear re-engages with an audible click, and there is tactile and audible trigger reset. This gun would make a very nice pocket carry gun and backup (BUG) gun. Its reliability, thin profile, nice trigger, reliability, and accuracy were impressive. These are just my personal opinions, so try it for yourself. Again, this gun is a good option for concealed carry in the pocket and as a BUG. It is small, very concealable, and the great-textured grip, glow-in-the-dark night sights, and smooth trigger help.

I hope this review of the very new Springfield XDs Mod. 2 .45ACP subcompact, single-stack has helped you gain some information you did not previously have. Consider that this is just my point of view with limited live-range fire and using only 200 rounds of premium ammo. Like always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what features are important to you ahead of your range time. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my book), with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds. Remember, safety first always.

Continued success!

Photos by Author and Springfield Armory.

Contacts:

Springfield-Armory for XDs Mod. 2
1-800-680-6866
Geneseo, IL 61254

Sig Sauer for Elite V-Crown .45ACP FMJ & JHP ammo
1-603-418-8102
Newington, NH 03801

Kramer Handgun Leather for holsters
1-253-564-6652
Tacoma, WA 98411

BlackPoint Tactical Holsters
1-770-752-8592
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Clinger Holsters at American Concealment Solutions
479-262-2714
Van Buren, AR 72956

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.