Springfield Armory definitely keeps on its toes. In addition to releasing new offerings like the SA-35, it also makes sure to keep its established lines “fresh” with new options. A great example of this are the two new XD-S variants recently released — the Mod.2 3.3” OSP .45 ACP that I reviewed previously, and the XD-S Mod.2 OSP 4” 9mm I am reviewing now.
While I really liked the .45, I love this new 9mm. I spent a chunk of time at the range with these new pistols, and being the 9mm guy I am, I spent some extra time with the 9mm. It’s pretty close to a perfect pistol for comfortable and discreet, concealed carry. The Optical Sight Pistol (OSP) feature makes it that much better.
A New Option
The XD-S line has always been made up of small, reliable and shootable single-stack pistols designed to be carried. These two new offerings from Springfield Armory fit that category well, and they do so as OSP pistols. The OSP designation indicates the slides are milled to accept red dot optics. We will dive into why this is a big deal, in my opinion, in a bit, but first let’s talk about what makes these guns what they are.
As noted, the XD-S Mod.2 handguns are single-stack guns. This is what lends to their thin profiles and aids with the ease with which they can be concealed. The Mod.2 aspects of the design basically refer to its enhanced grip texturing design. I think the texture is a great balance between being grippy enough to shoot well and smooth enough to keep from hanging up on clothing when concealed.
The magazine release is a double-sided affair. This fully ambidextrous system means you have the option to release the mag on the right or the left side of the gun all the time. This is a superior set-up to other guns whose “ambi” releases force you to make a choice and stick with it until you get tools out and reverse it.
On the back of the grip resides the grip safety. I’m not a grip safety fan, but Springfield Armory executes this one well. First off, it is extended to help ensure that the grip safety is engaged when the gun is grasped. A feature that separates the XD-S from the other XD pistols is that the XD-S slide is able to operate even if the grip safety isn’t fully depressed. This is a big deal in my opinion, especially if you end up dealing with some kind of a malfunction.
Both the slide and barrel on the single stack 9mm are forged and treated with a Melonite coating. The forging produces metal with a higher density, leading to increased strength and durability. The Melonite treatment increases the lubricity of the metal, which reduces wear and also helps prevent corrosion.
The top of the slide is milled with the Springfield Armory Micro Footprint, allowing the direct mounting of a wide variety of red dot pistol sights including the Springfield Armory HEX Wasp, which is available separately, or the new Crimson Trace 5MOA Red Dot Sight, available as an option packaged with this XD-S. The pistol without the optic is a mere $450; with the Crimson Trace optic, it is just $550. An OSP cover plate covers up the optics cut if you simply want to run irons.
As far as I’m concerned, this optics cut is the real news with the release of these two new XD-S pistols.
Let me explain.
Where It’s At
As I was researching the different XD-S Mod.2 models, some of which I’ve worked with pretty recently, I saw a pattern. All XD-S models currently available are OSP models. This is an important indicator of where concealed carry handgun design is headed, and where Springfield Armory is leading. The math is pretty simple, as far as I’m concerned. If you want an XD-S, it’s gonna be an OSP. Of course, you can run the plate on the gun without an optic and it will be just like a standard XD-S. But, I think if you try this with an optic, you’ll be hooked.
I’ve had the opportunity to run a wide variety of red dot sights mounted on pistol slides. I found the Crimson Trace with this pistol to be quite serviceable. The dot was bright and easy to pick up, and the minimal recoil of the pistol made it very easy to track. For a small, concealed carry gun, I have no issue with the large 5 MOA dot. It is intended for close-in work, not precision at distance.
The majority of the Crimson Trace optic is polymer, including the housing and the lens. This is one of the reasons the dot is such a value — the polymer allows for inexpensive yet durable construction. Of course, the dot is adjustable for windage and elevation, and I very much appreciate the sight channel that is cut into the rear of the dot’s housing. This allows for the use of the factory sights should the optic go down. No need for the expense of suppressor height sights.
Long & Short of It
The extended 4” barrel of this pistol is the thing that sets this XD-S apart from all the other XD-S Mod.2 pistols in my opinion. It also happens to be my favorite part of the gun.
First off, the gun is incredibly shootable in this format. The 4” barrel adds a touch of mass at the muzzle that softens recoil wonderfully. I really felt like I was able to shoot this pistol. My friends at Remington sent out a variety of ammo for me to test out. The gun ran the Remington UMC in 115-, 124- and 147-gr. loadings without issue. And I ran more than just target ammo. Even the defensive rounds sent by Remington worked well. The Golden Sabers were reliable and would be a great defensive choice in this gun.
In addition to its shootability, the longer barrel also offers the benefit of increased sight radius if you are running the iron sights. This allows for more precise shots at greater distances. It also offers increased ballistic performance. But the bottom line is that this 4” barrel is shootable, and that is why everyone I think will love it. Except for me. I have a different motive.
My favorite part? The longer barrel means a longer slide. The longer slide makes for a longer lever arm to counteract the handgun’s desire to rotate out of the waistband when being carried. In addition, the longer slide provides a greater surface area to spread out the pressure of the belt. Because folks typically carry in an inside the waistband holster, there is no increase in footprint. The longer gun actually makes it easier to conceal the gun, and not more difficult, as many might suspect. That right there is my favorite part of the XD-S Mod.2 OSP 4” 9mm.
The bottom line for me is this: The XD-S Mod.2 OSP 4” 9mm is a keeper. If you are like me and have dot experience and plan on carrying the gun, you can pick it up without a dot for an MSRP of $450 and then add the dot of your choice. I’ll be putting a HEX Wasp on mine. If on the other hand you are wondering about the dot and if it’s for you, pick it up with the 5 MOA dot from Crimson Trace. For an MSRP of $550 you can’t beat that price as an introduction to the dot life.
I also think it makes sense to keep paying attention to what Springfield is doing. They are reading the future and making very good choices. XD-S pistols are OSP’s for a reason. It increases the overall value of the gun and its long-term flexibility. Solid gun and smart business. That is a win in the long game. So check out this new pistol. I am sure you’ll like it!
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