The Springfield Hellcat has arrived! I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to receive a Hellcat from Springfield Armory. If you didn’t read my previous blog article, then you may not know the big deal behind the Hellcat.
The Hellcat is an ultra-small 9mm handgun in the same vein as the Sig Sauer P365. It’s roughly the same size as a single stack 9mm, but it holds a double stack’s worth of ammunition.
The Hellcat offers the highest capacity of these new micro-compact guns. The Hellcat holds 11 rounds in a flush-fitting magazine and 13 shots in a slightly extended magazine. I’ve had the Springfield Hellcat in my hand for almost a week now and have been hitting the range extensively every day since then. Let’s dig into what makes the Hellcat so hellacious.
The Springfield Hellcat is a small gun, and it’s almost too small for my hands. My pinky hangs off the bottom when equipped with the flush-fitting magazine. Luckily the gun comes with a pinky extension, and that provides a much better grip. The Hellcat has a comfortable grip, and the Adaptive Grip Texture is a nice touch. This texture is entirely new to Springfield firearms and is an exciting development in grip design. The grip texture is fascinating. When you grip it, it is aggressive and clings to the hand. However, when being worn as a concealed carry gun, the texturing will not rub your sides raw.
The gun’s grip has a beavertail that gives you extra control over the weapon and helps prevent the slide from coming rearward and biting your hand. The flat-faced trigger has a short reach made perfect for shooters with smaller hands. The gun has minimalist controls, and all are placed for use reach and use. My only complaint is the slide lock. My thumb sits over it when firing, and this prevents the slide from locking back on the last round.
Small guns and precision is a tough one. They typically won’t reach the standard of a full-sized handgun, and that’s true with the Hellcat. However, the gun is still exceptionally accurate. There are a few reasons for this. First, the sights are amazing. They come from Trijicon and are outstanding. They are called U Dot sights and were an excellent choice for the Springfield Hellcat. The rear sight is predictably a U shaped notch with a white half-ring around it. The front sight is a tritium night sight with a luminescent yellow insert. This allows the front sight to be quick to pick up during the day and the night.
The sights are easy to focus on and fast to acquire. They are easy to align and make it so you can shoot accurately and quickly. That’s how a concealed carry gun should be.
The trigger is the second reason the gun is so accurate. It’s flat-faced and ergonomic as well as smooth and light. There is a solid wall, so there is always a very conscious decision to pull the trigger. That being said, the pull is short, and this makes it quite accurate. I can hit a small two-inch circle from ten yards away without difficulty. At 25 yards, I can make consistent headshots in the T zone of a bad guy’s face. In close range rapid-fire, I can put rounds on target quite quickly and very accurately due to the sight orientation.
I ran a variety of different drills with several requiring reloads. I do have big hands, and that makes allowing the magazines to drop free difficult. My hand pins them inside the magazine well, so I have to make a conscious effort to let my grip go a bit to let the mag fall freely. I do love the location of the magazine release and how easy it is to reach and engage. It makes swapping magazines easy and very quick. The serrations on the slide go over the top, and they grab your hand when reloading, and it makes sure you don’t mess up your slingshot technique.
With a little practice, I could reload rapidly from concealment and get right back to shooting. With the 11 and 13 round magazine capacities, I doubt you’ll have to reload often.
This gun eats even the worst ammo without issue. In a short period, I sent hundreds of rounds downrange. It’s eaten everything, and I’ve yet to see a single malfunction with the gun. It’s rated for +P ammo, which is very common when it comes to self-defense ammunition. This is a must for use with the best modern ammo. +P is a bit pricey, so I only put 20 rounds of SIG V Crown 124 grain through the gun, and it fed without any issues.
How does it Conceal?
Brilliantly. My gun came with a Crossbreed Reckoning IWB holster, and it disappears beneath a t-shirt. It hides well and carries comfortably. As I mentioned, the grip texture is very soft on the skin and won’t irritate. You’ll barely know you are concealing it. I mean, you’ll forget you have it on you. The Hellcat is quite light and unobtrusive. As a big guy, that’s easy for me to say, but I allowed a female friend of mine to try it out, and she loved it. I hardly got it back from her.
Is the Hellcat for You?
The Springfield Hellcat is only the second gun in this genre of high capacity compact firearms, but it’s distinct enough to make it a choice for many. The Hellcat’s rail, factory optics ready design, as well as it’s 11 and 13 round capacities make it a distinct weapon that’s not simply trying to mimic another gun. The Hellcat is well priced, well made, and a great home and self-defense weapon.
Credit: Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.