Size, firepower and capacity have always been defining characteristics for concealed-carry pistols. Today, there are many options when it comes to hard-hitting .45 ACP semi-autos suitable for concealed-carry use. Among the smallest and most innovative in their respective designs and operation are the Boberg XR45-S and Springfield Armory XD Mod.2. The Springfield is one of the most compact .45 ACP models on the market, only bested by the Springfield XD-S (with its 3.3-inch barrel, 6.3-inch overall length and 5/6/7+1 capacity) and the Boberg XR45-S, presently the smallest .45 semi-auto in the world at 5.77 inches in overall length. How they compare truly defines this category of compact concealed-carry firearms.
Though very modern looking, the Boberg is actually a timeless amalgam of designs, some more than a century old. The XR45-S begins with a simple premise: Make the gun as small as possible without compromising barrel length, recoil control or handling. To accomplish this task, the Boberg begins with the adaptation of two famous designs—the 1900 design by British arms designer Hugh Gabbett-Fairfax for the Mars Pistol, which used a rear-feeding magazine system similar to the Boberg’s, and John M. Browning’s 1897 patent for a rotating barrel system.
The Boberg’s reverse-feeding magazine loads rounds from the back, nose first and nose down, and it sits under the barrel rather than behind it. The slide extracts a fresh round from the back of the magazine, moving the cartridge to a lifter that positions it to be pushed directly into the rotating barrel breech as the slide closes. This eliminates the need for a feed ramp, thus the Boberg’s 3.75-inch barrel is longer than the length of the slide and frame suggest.
The Boberg is nearly a half-inch shorter in length than the Springfield XD Mod.2 but with a barrel that is 0.73 inches longer. The Boberg measures 5.77 inches in length, 4.4 inches in height, 1.08 inches in width and weighs only 22 ounces. The pistol holds 6+1 rounds.
When fired, the barrel moves back in unison with the slide 0.125 inches and then begins to rotate counter-clockwise 23 degrees before unlocking from the slide, which then continues its rearward travel. The barrel remains parallel to the slide, rather than tilting down as in traditional short-recoil designs; the Boberg barrel never leaves horizontal alignment. This results in reduced recoil, a longer locking delay and improved accuracy since the barrel does not have to tilt back up before reengaging the slide. For concealed carry there is no smaller or more powerful semi-auto .45 ACP pistol available.
Appropriately named, this second variation of the XD design is a significant departure from the shape of the first generation. The most significant feature of the Mod.2 is the new GripZone. The overall texturing provides three different tactile surfaces. The three-quarter panels are the most aggressively textured, while the backstrap and frontstrap are slightly less tactile with a mild, light-grain texture extending from the side panels to the entire frame. The GripZone design provides improved control.
In addition to being slightly narrower, the new Mod.2 slide has several external improvements, including new, deeply recessed rear grooves and a red fiber-optic front sight that helps you get on target faster under varying lighting conditions. In combination with the combat-style white-dot rear sight, the Mod.2 allows quicker target acquisition.
With its dual recoil system—which combines a large coil spring and a secondary, smaller coil spring within a captive-style, two-piece recoil guide rod assembly—the grip angle and high beavertail and grip safety (combined with Springfield’s Ultra Safety Assurance blade trigger safety), the Mod.2 is doubly safe for carry and has very manageable recoil for a .45 ACP subcompact.
The Springfield XD Mod.2’s standard capacity is 9+1 rounds. Weighing 26 ounces unloaded, the XD Mod.2 measures 6.5 inches in length, 4.75 inches in height and 1.32 inches in maximum width. In short, it is a pretty small gun for a semi-automatic .45 ACP.