After spending about 3 years shooting the Springfield Hellcat at the range, I've gathered some insights on the gun that I'm eager to share in this Springfield Hellcat review.
This compact pistol is a top pick for concealed carry, and it will be judged based on what it is designed for as the baseline criteria for its assessment without comparing it to other handguns.
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Springfield Armory Hellcat: A Quick Overview
Springfield Armory's Hellcat pistol has stirred the market with its high-capacity in a micro-compact design, ideal for concealed carry. The public's reaction was varied, with comments spanning from political to practical. Yet, industry experts have been giving their verdicts after testing the Hellcat themselves.
The Hellcat has been praised for its ergonomics and concealability, offering a comfortable grip and an easy-to-carry frame, although some feel the slide serrations could be improved. It stands out for providing a significant capacity upgrade in a compact size, holding 11 rounds in the flush-fit magazine and 13 with the extended magazine.
The Springfield Hellcat, born as a response to Sig's P365, is Springfield Armory's pride in the concealed carry category. Crafted by HS Produkt in Croatia and imported by Springfield since 2003, the Hellcat is a step up from the earlier XD series. It's a micro 9mm powerhouse, offering an impressive 11+1 or 13+1 round capacity.
Despite its micro size, the Hellcat features a accessory rail, allowing for the attachment of Hellcat compatible light or laser. The Streamlight TLR 7 Sub is the best light for Hellcat.
Key Features of the Springfield Hellcat
- Standard Size Rail: Fits common accessories, making customization easy.
- Optics Ready: Comes ready for red-dot sights, a forward-thinking feature.
- High Capacity: Leads its class with one more round than similar-sized pistols.
Our Hands-On Experience
The Hellcat stands out as a single-action pistol that's comparable to a Glock in capacity and size to a Sig P365. It's a reliable firearm, and during our test, it fired 400 rounds without a hitch. Despite its 'snappy' recoil, common in micro pistols, it's a blast to shoot and surprisingly accurate.
Design and Ergonomics
Also, for those not using optics, the slide serrations extend over the top for a better grip. It's a fresh feature that might become popular, even if we're not sure about its holster compatibility yet.
Other standout features are the distinctive sight setup, a flat trigger, an ambidextrous magazine release, and a rail that's rare on micro pistols.
The Hellcat's design is intuitive, with slide serrations that extend over the top for a better grip. The trigger, while crisp, may not outshine other single-action triggers but is still commendable. The slide release lever, though easily accessible, might be too easy to engage inadvertently, affecting the slide lock-back on empty.
The textured surfaces and grip design of the Hellcat have been noted for their improvement over other smaller guns, providing better grip ergonomics and control. Despite different preferences for grip angles, the Hellcat seems to satisfy a wide range of users.
The Springfield Hellcat comes in versions that are ready for optics and those that are not. It fits the Shield RMSc optic size, and you can find a variety of compatible red dot sights for the slide.
Options include the Holosun EPS Carry and 507K, Shield RMSc, Swampfox Sentinel, among others. From what we've learned, to mount the Holosun 507K or EPS Carry, you'll need the DPP Titanium optic adapter.
Now, if a new defense pistol can't support a red-dot, it's behind the times.
Check out this video by badassoptic.com for more info:
Springfield Armory features the U-dot sights on the concealed carry pistol – they're excellent. Initially, I didn't thought too much about it, but after shooting the Hellcat, the large yellow/green dot made targeting swift and simple.
Moreover, red-dot sights are undoubtedly the future for pistols, and it's impressive to see a manufacturer offer an optic-ready model right out of the gate.
Comparing the Hellcat With Others
When Springfield Hellcat stacked against the Glock 43X, the Hellcat nearly double the capacity. It's a solid contender in the market, though its price point is on par with the Glock 43, which some might argue offers a slightly more refined experience.
The Springfield Hellcat could be best described as a single-action version of a Glock. The striker's design clearly shows Glock's influence.
Indeed, the slide's internal components bear a striking resemblance to those of a Glock, and they're put together in much the same way. This approach is smart — it's always better when parts are engineered to secure themselves without needing extra pins. And if Glock is the gold standard for reliability, which it is, why not emulate their design?
The trigger shoe and springs within the frame also echo Glock's design, although the Hellcat's parts are distinct, and it operates as a true single-action, unlike the Glock's partially pre-charged striker.
The 9mm Hellcat has a similar feel to the Springfield XDS when fired, which is common among micro pistols. The noticeable recoil is to be expected with its small frame.
This pistol is built for concealed carry and isn't intended for the same high-volume shooting at the range that you might do with a full-sized handgun. However, the recoil feels much more manageable with the larger Springfield Hellcat Pro.
The factory trigger definitely feels a bit heavy after shooting highly optimized handguns. The take up isn't too bad, and the wall is very distinct. However, there is a heavy trigger pull until the break, and the reset distance is a bit longer than ideal. I wouldn't trash this gun just because the trigger pull is bad, and there are plenty of trigger upgrades available, which you can check them out here.
The slide release lever is functional but not without its issues. Its small size is typical for a concealed carry gun, but it can be challenging to engage, especially with gloves on.
The design isn't flawed mechanically, but it doesn't accommodate my grip when I'm wearing gloves. Additionally, the slide release's placement towards the back means my thumb often presses it unintentionally due to the gun's compact size.
This design requires shooters to adjust their grip to operate the slide release during a reload.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat is a dependable and precise micro subcompact pistol, making it an excellent choice for concealed carry, and we confidently recommend it.
The gun offers a lot of positives, but its trigger doesn't quite measure up to other single-action, striker-fired guns on the market. This wouldn't be an issue if the Hellcat were priced lower than its more premium competitors. Luckily, there are aftermarket trigger upgrades you can buy to fix this performance gap.
Springfield has done an outstanding job with the Hellcat. As a critic aiming to provide a comprehensive review, I must say this gun is a significant step up from any XDS model. If you're a fan of XDs, you'll probably adore the Hellcat for its superior quality, unless you're not accustomed to what a good pistol should feel like.
- High Capacity: The Hellcat offers an 11+1 or 13+1 round capacity, which is high for its class.
- Reliable: The review notes the Hellcat as very reliable, with no malfunctions reported during testing.
- Accurate: The pistol is described as accurate, with the reviewer shooting a better group than typically achieved with a full-sized pistol.
- Optics Ready: The Hellcat comes optics-ready straight from the factory, which is a forward-thinking feature.
- Good Ergonomics: The grip and slide serrations are praised, with the wrap-over slide serrations being particularly appreciated.
- Standard Size Rail: It uses a standard-sized rail, allowing for common accessories to be used.
- Price: The Hellcat is priced similarly to the Sig P365, but the review suggests it should be less expensive.
- Slide Release Lever Design: Some shooters may inadvertently hold down the slide release lever due to its placement, preventing the slide from locking back on an empty magazine.
- Trigger Quality: While the trigger is described as nice, it is noted that there are better options available for single-action triggers.
- Recoil: The gun is noted to be a bit "snappy," which is common for 9mm micro polymer frame pistols