Today’s market is flooded with striker-fired polymer pistols. In fact, I just read a review of a new offering by CZ where the author claimed it to be a “problem solver” for the handgun market. That comment left me perplexed, as I wondered “what problem is this new pistol solving?” Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing CZ products or predicting they aren’t going to bring a wonderful pistol to the shooting public. However, when thinking about what is unique about it, I’m left blank. When Springfield announced their Mod.2 revision of the XD platform earlier this year, I had a similar reaction: “Yawn… an XD with a recontoured slide and grip with some no-snag sights.” That is, until I starting thinking further.
Years ago, I purchased a gently-used stainless XD-40 service model at a pawn shop. I was looking for something in .40 as an alternative to a Glock 22, as the Glock ergos didn’t suit me (and still don’t, although I do have a G22 in my stable). Surprisingly, the XD-40 was accurate. Meaning, superbly accurate. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what made this rather pedestrian pistol so good. The only thing I could come up with is the trigger pull. It’s long, but smooth with no discernible “wall” before the break. This “almost revolver DA style” feel may create such as smooth pull that it encourages good trigger control. I liked the XD so much that I’ve held on to it, upgraded it with some nice night sights and a Streamlight TLR-1, and put it in my bedroom as my “oh my God I need a handgun at 2 am what the hell is that noise” pistol. So, as I started thinking more about another handgun to replace some of the hammer fired DA/SA units I’ve sold recently, the Mod.2 hit my radar screen. After about a month of reading reviews, dry-firing at local stores, and checking prices online, I stumbled into the local Cabelas to buy a pair of hiking boots. Per our usual MO, my son and I breezed past the gun counter. Hanging off an XD-9 Mod.2 Tactical (meaning it has the 5″ barrel) was a price tag of $479. After chatting with the sales person and finding out the pistol had been mis-priced, I scooped it up on the spot. Oh, and I didn’t buy the boots (in case you were wondering).
My first outing with the XD-9 Mod.2 was less than memorable. The trigger on this one wasn’t quite as smooth and light as on my older XD-40, which may be somewhat attributable to not being broken in. the pull was heavy enough that I felt some modifications were in order. For a measly $12 or so, I was able to purchase a reduced pull Powder River sear and hammer spring and had them installed in about an hour. This immediately brought the trigger from around 6 – 6.5 lbs down to around 4.5 lbs… a huge difference. It now had a lighter and seemingly smoother pull.
On 11/20, I was able to take the Mod.2 out again. My main reason for shooting that day was to finish up some targets with my Dan Wesson PM-9 for a virtual competition I was in, but I wanted to see how the XD shot with the new springs as well. I ran only 20 rounds through the XD, 10 at 7 yards and 10 at 15 yards. Not focusing on this pistol, I shoved those targets back into the range bag and went back to the PM-9. If you read my last post, you know the PM-9 is now my “reigning champion” of 9mm accuracy. That pistol is so smooth, so tight, and so accurate that it’s practically a laser. Well, tonight I decided to take a look at those XD-9 targets from a couple weeks ago. Low and behold, here’s the results:
Now, keep in mind, this is not my best shooting. But, remember that this is only two groups, 10 shots each, from 7 yards and 15 yards, with a pistol that is practically brand new to me. The first group is 1.375″, the 2nd is 3.75″. Again, not amazing by any means, but in the five 7 yard 10-shot groups I’ve shot with the Dan Wesson PM-9 I’ve averaged 1.775″ and only have one group that is better than the group from the XD above. My 15 yard average with the Dan Wesson is 3.275″, which my 15 yard XD group would have bested by 1/8″ if not for the one flyer I had outside the black.
What’s the conclusion here? Well, the PM-9 is still, by far, my most accurate handgun. But, the XD-9 Mod.2 Tactical is showing some glimpses of real promise. Its initial outing with the new springs surprised me once I really sat down and looked at them objectively. This new polymer pistol is going to see some more range time soon to work out more of its potential. Regardless, I think it’s safe to say I’m initially pleased with the purchase and excited to see what more it will do!
Note: I looked at, but did not opt for the XDM. The XDM’s grip, to me, felt much bulkier and I preferred the ergos of the XD-9 Mod.2.