Recently I had the chance to field test the new Springfield Armory® 9mm XD-S Mod.2®. I was pretty excited when I received the gun, as my 9mm XD-S® is already my go-to concealment gun. After checking out some of the cool new features, like the extended grip safety, the improved grip profile and the Pro-Glo™ Tritium sights, I immediately took the gun to the range.
Whenever I get a new gun, my top priority is to get the gun zeroed and shoot some groups with different ammunition:
- First and foremost, I need to make sure the gun is zeroed with my primary ammunition.
- Second, I like to see how the gun shoots with my practice ammo.
Call me weird, but I like shooting groups; it gives me a chance to practice some fundamental marksmanship skills while I am testing other important criteria. And shooting groups / zeroing a firearm is a skill; one that I find challenging, rewarding and beneficial.
Since this is a gun I would plan to carry concealed while off-duty, I needed to zero the gun using some self-defense type ammo. In this case it is old duty ammo, as that is what I would be required to carry in an off-duty gun.
When I am testing ammo, or zeroing the gun, I always try to get the gun as stable as possible. How I do this may change depending on the gun and the range configuration.
Table & Chair:If I have a chair and a high table available, I will shoot off the table while seated in the chair. This allows me to relax into a comfortable position, while stabilizing the gun on the table.
Most of the time, I just shoot from the prone position because I consider it the most stable. If I am shooting a full-sized gun, I will rest the frame (magazine base pad) on the ground to help stabilize the gun. In this case though, the frame of the gun is so compact that I can’t comfortably get the frame on the ground from the prone position. So, while I was prone, I used a sandbag to both elevate the gun and stabilize my hands while shooting.
I prefer to use a USPSA target at 25 yards to shoot my groups. “A” zone hits at 25 yards with a sub-compact gun like the XD-S Mod.2® 9mm is a reasonable test of accuracy.
Before shooting the groups, I attach a 4” black circle in the middle of the target to give me a consistent aiming point.
I shot a group of 6 shots with the self-defense ammo first, just to see what zero adjustments I might need to make. The zero was perfect! The group I shot was about 2” and all in the black circle. That is far better than what my expectations are for a concealment gun, especially right out of the box.
I then shot a group of 6 with some cheap 9mm 115-grain FMJ ammo that I bought online from Brownells. This ammo had virtually the same impact location as my self defense ammo, although the group wasn’t quite as tight, but it was definitely still acceptable.
Lastly, I shot 6 extremely soft-kicking 147-grain ammo that I would typically use for fast-paced competition matches. I know from experience that this ammo doesn’t typically group as well. It is designed to have a softer feeling recoil, but since I had some in my truck, I wanted to try it out. As expected, the 147s did not group as well as the self-defense ammo, but it felt really soft, and the gun functioned perfectly. All but one of the shots were in the “A” zone.
REPETITION & RESULTS:
After repeating the grouping session with all 3 types of ammo a couple more times, I now know that the gun shoots both the self defense ammo and the less-expensive practice 115-grain ball ammo extremely well and with the same zero. This is important to me because it allows me to do most of my practice with the cheaper stuff and save the expensive ammo for when I carry.
I encourage you to take the time to check your zero with your carry ammo. As responsible, safe gun owners, we need to be 100% certain the ammunition we are using impacts the target where we expect it to. You may not be able to shoot really tight groups at 25 yards initially, but keep working on the fundamentals for accuracy and you should see your group size shrink. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn something about your ammunition and gun, while practicing fundamental skill building.
And you may even grow to enjoy it.