As a competition shooter, I always want to know how well a gun will function in a performance environment. Sure, self-defense and daily-carry use are also performance-intensive, but where I need most of my guns to excel is in a controlled, scored, organized, competition environment.
That’s how I measure performance.
No Compromises, No Excuses
I can't settle for “that’s a good score for a carry gun" or “I was slow, but I’m using my carry holster” justifications. We are only impressed by pure speed and accuracy, regardless of equipment. In such an uncompromising and demanding environment, you quickly find out what works best.
Here are some basic elements I consider when deciding on a competition gun:
- Does it need to be light and compact?
- Does it need to be as small, short or thin as possible?
- Should it be as large as possible (based on the Division rules) to allow for shooting quickly and accurately?
The very nature of competition shooting means that, in most cases, we must compromise portability for performance. To accomplish this, weight and size is increased, which in turn makes the gun easier to shoot:
- A larger gun allows a better grip
- A heavier gun aids in better overall control
- A heavier gun yields reduced recoil
- A longer sight radius aids in accuracy
Obviously, all adjustments to weight and size are made within reason. But the ultimate goal is to shoot the best you possibly can.
In its intent and purpose, a competition gun must differ from a carry gun.
Weight is your friend
A competition gun's weight can make or break your results - remember:
- The best counter to recoil is mass
- A heavier gun kicks less, so a full-size frame is an advantage
- A longer, heavier slide is preferred
Bigger is WAY Better
When it comes to size, competition guns should run on the bigger end - here's why:
- A longer frame lets you get all of your fingers comfortably on the gun
- A larger frame offers more surface area for your hands to contact the grip
Longer is not a Liability
It's also important to see length as an asset - keep in mind:
- A longer slide means a longer sight radius - this makes sighting errors easier to see and therefore easier to fix
- A longer sighting radius enhances the shooter's ability to aim more precisely
- Greater precision in the sight picture enables you to more easily aim the gun and hopefully shoot that much more accurately
- The longer slide also moves weight forward, reducing recoil and improving balance
- The corresponding longer barrel increases velocity, allowing the ammo to make higher velocity without the need for hotter, harder kicking ammunition
All of these factors make the gun more difficult to conceal and heavier to carry, but in exchange improve the overall shooting performance. As is always the case, though, everything must be kept within reason (i.e., a 10” barrel and slide would be too heavy and cumbersome, even for competition use).
So we compromise and look for the happy medium.
The Sweet Spot
The 5" barrel and slide length are kind of a “happy place” when it comes to competition. The original 1911 design, which has won more competitions than any other in many shooting disciplines, has, by coincidence, a 5” slide and barrel.
It is a kind of “sweet spot” - many other pistol models have lengths in the same ballpark. So, if we take our XD® Mod.2™ design and optimize it to increase its performance potential, what do we get?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the all-new Springfield Armory® 5" XD® Mod.2™ in 9mm.
This new model includes:
- A longer slide
- A full-length frame
- Increased weight
- Larger gripping area/grip size
This gun is pretty much everything I want in an off-the-shelf, competition-capable package - without being too big or too heavy.
On top of these new specifications, you still get all the greatness of every Mod.2™:
- Fiber-optic front sight
- Grip Zone™ frame texturing and shape
- Posi-Wedge frame serrations
- High-hand beaver tail
- Slim, contoured frame
- Low-profile, extended rear sight
- Slimmer slide
- High-hand grip relief
- Slim, contoured safety lever
So it's not hard to see why this is the competition Production Division gun I have been waiting for!
As they say, though, the proof will be in the pudding. Having won both the NRA Bianchi Cup and the USPSA Nationals in Production Division, I know how accurate our original 5" XD® models are. I'm hoping and predicting that this new Mod.2™ will perform even better.
I can’t wait to shoot one at a match, and when I do, I'll be sure to give you an update...