A Tale of Two Pistols: The XD-S Mod.2 and the XD Sub-Compact

By Richard Johnson
Posted in #Guns
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A Tale of Two Pistols: The XD-S Mod.2 and the XD Sub-Compact

March 1st, 2021

5:25 runtime

When looking for the right concealed carry gun, you might get overwhelmed by all of the choices. Yet, the sometimes-subtle differences between pistol models might make all the difference in how well you shoot or in your decision to carry at all.

Springfield Armory offers a number of excellent options for the CCW market. Two of them are the XD-S Mod.2 (now offered as the XD-S Mod.2 OSP optics-capable variant reviewed here) and the XD Sub-Compact.

Both of the guns come from the same line and both are aimed at the personal protection market. Even so, each offers a unique set of features that will make sense to different people. In this comparison, I hope to highlight the best features of each to help you understand which gun might make sense for you.

Going Skinny

Consider the XD-S Mod.2. A striker-fired pistol with a polymer frame, the gun has proven itself reliable with consistent accuracy and high visibility sights. It is a single-stack pistol chambered for the 9mm.

Shooting a Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 pistol
For many people the slim, compact nature of the XD-S is perfectly suited for their concealed carry needs.

The single-stack design allows the gun to be much thinner than many alternatives. With a grip width of only 0.9”, this gun is ideal for inside-the-waistband carry under a shirt or other light cover garment.

Of course, that thinness impacts other aspects of the gun. For me, it seems perfect for trigger reach. That means improved accuracy under stressful conditions since I am more likely to press directly back rather than pulling to one side.

Also, the single-stack magazine affects firepower. This equates to 7 rounds of 9mm in a flush-fitting magazine. However, to my needs, 7+1 rounds of 9mm before a reload is very reasonable.

When More Matters

However, your needs may be different. If you need an easily concealable pistol with a bit more capacity, the Defend Your Legacy Series XD Sub-Compact is the pistol to consider. It is also a striker-fired, polymer-framed gun with a long history of outstanding performance. Unlike the XD-S, it feeds from a double-stack magazine.

Woman shooting Springfield XD Sub-Compact 9mm pistol
The Springfield Armory XD Sub-Compact shares function and magazines with the XD 4″ Service Model.

Not bound by the single-stack mag constraint, the XD Sub-Compact squeezes 13+1 rounds into its magazine. For reloads, it can feed from the Service Model’s 16-round mags as well.

Understandably, the additional ammunition means a thicker pistol, though it isn’t as much as you might think: only 0.3” more. That’s not necessarily bad. When compared head-to-head, my wife much prefers the XD Sub-Compact to the XD-S because of how it fits her hand. She’s able to get a better grip on the pistol to control it throughout the shooting process.

Springfield XD-S Mod.2 vs. Springfield XD Sub-Compact
Which is the right gun for you: the slim XD-S or the higher capacity XD Sub-Compact?


My point is not one pistol is better than the other. Both are reliable shooters that will help you win any defensive encounter. Instead, I am suggesting that one or the other might be a better choice for you based on your individual needs. Get your hands on them both at your local gun shop and I bet you quickly fall in love with one of them.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Having made many odd choices in his youth, Richard was left with two career choices: aerospace engineer or cop. After failing his second year of chemistry, Richard pursued a law enforcement career where understanding covalent bonds was not a requirement for success. Along the way, Richard discovered a passion for writing. Consequently, he hung up his uniform and now publishes GunsHolstersAndGear.com where he reviews firearms and other shooting gear to feed his frequently annoyed family.

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