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Springfield Hellcat Review: Homerun CCW?

How does Springfield's Hellcat do in the mico CCW gun world? We hands-on review it for reliability, ergonomics, concealability, and more.

Have you noticed something changing about concealed carry guns? They seem to be getting bigger…and holding more rounds.

One of the brands taking note of this shift in the market is Springfield with the Hellcat that holds 11 rounds and can be had optics ready right from the factory.

Springfield Hellcat and magazine
Springfield Hellcat with flush-fit and extended magazines

I got my hands on the Springfield Hellcat to do a thorough deep dive into this micro-compact and all that it has to offer.

We’ll walk through the specs, talk about some features, take it to the range and ultimately help you decide if this pistol should be your next CCW.

500
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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Table of Contents

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Breaking Down the Hellcat

First, let’s talk capacity. That’s the big theme behind these guns, right? So it bears mentioning.

Springfield Armory Hellcat
Springfield Armory Hellcat

Springfield ships the gun with two magazines, aiming to beat Sig by cranking it up to 11 rounds of 9mm. 

Goes to 11

The second magazine is the slightly extended 13 rounder.

Recently Springfield also released a 15 round magazine to further compete with the Sig series of 15-round magazines. With the 11 round magazine and flush-fitting baseplate, the Hellcat is 4 inches tall, beating the P365 by about a quarter of an inch. 

Springfield Hellcat magazines
Springfield Hellcat magazines

Springfield also included a pinky extension for the 11-round magazine that adds a little extra size. I’ve chosen to use it because I have big ole hands. I hate when my pinky hangs, and the extension helps a fair bit. 

Finally, there is a 10-round magazine for states with capacity limits. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat with Magazine
Springfield Armory Hellcat with Magazine

The Hellcat brings a 3-inch barrel and an overall length of 6-inches total. The weapon is 1-inch wide and weighs 18.3 ounces empty.

Overall it’s a very efficient weapon in its size and design. 

Springfield did shove a rail on the front of the gun with a single slot. There aren’t many lights that would fit the small profile — zoom to the bottom if you want my light suggestions (among other accessories). 

Springfield Hellcat rail
Springfield Hellcat Rail

Springfield blessed us with a flat-faced trigger with a Glock dingus safety.

We also have the adaptive grip texture.

The idea behind this unique texture is simple — the harder you grab it, the more it grips back.

Springfield Hellcat side rear
Springfield Hellcat “Adaptive Grip texture”

Without a good grip, it’s not abrasive or rough. When you start carrying a small gun tight to the body, you begin to understand why a tight grip texture can be particularly rough to the skin. 

At the top of the slide, we get a solid set of iron sights. There consists of a rear sight with a big hi-viz U and a yellow high viz front sight complete with a tritium lamp sitting in the center. 

Springfield Hellcat sights
Springfield Hellcat front sight

The rear sight has a bright white half-circle around the U dot sight. It’s all effortless to see and very well made. The rear sight is squared off, and you can use it for one-hand manipulations. 

The Hellcat does get rid of the grip safety that’s common on the XD series. I welcome this change and don’t see a need for another thing to break or mess up.

This is my safety

Field stripping is also familiar:

Ergonomics 

Springfield Armory Hellcat
Springfield Armory Hellcat Controls

The controls are fairly simple. We have a slide stop, a trigger, a magazine release, and a take-down lever. Although that being said, an optional manual safety model now exists. 

Here is where I have two problems I’ve found during long-term shooting.

Well, “problem” might be a strong word. I pin down the slide stop with my thumbs when shooting, so the slide never locks back to the rear. 

Additionally, while the magazine release is easy to reach and the magazine drops free, technically, my pinky will pin it in.

This requires me to undo my grip a bit to reload. Damn these man-sized paws! 

Springfield Armory Hellcat
Springfield Armory Hellcat

The slide serrations cover the front and rear of the gun and even go over the top with the rear serrations. I can do nothing more than a pinch grip with two fingers and rack the gun.

The serrations are great and would make clearing jams and getting the gun back in action simple. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat

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Rating score

4.8

6 ratings

Who Is the Hellcat For? 

Well, that’s pretty easy. It’s aimed at the concealed carry market. It’s short, light, and quite sweet. 

Something like the Glock 19 is also considered a concealed carry gun, so let’s elaborate a bit more.

Springfield Armory Hellcat
Springfield Armory Hellcat

The Hellcat brings shooters the same capacity as something like the Glock 26 without being a big blocky sidearm.

Instead, it’s very easy to conceal a firearm that borders almost on pocket pistol size. 

This is a pistol that can be easily utilized for deep concealed carry.

If you feel like you want a gun that’s easier to conceal in casual clothes without special-purpose holsters or anything crazy. It’s well suited for formal clothing that challenges bigger firearms. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat
See how small!?

Even when carried OWB, it’s relatively easy to conceal.

On the flip side, it is large enough to use for home defense and offers up to 15 rounds of 9mm.

Add in the rail and the ability to add a light, and you can have a competent home defense option that doubles as a carry gun. 

While lots of gun owners and gun enthusiasts have multiple firearms, I’m willing to bet most people who want a gun to defend themselves likely don’t want two or three guns. And the Hellcat is capable of doing both. 

To The Range 

Shooting the Springfield Armory Hellcat
Shooting the Springfield Armory Hellcat

With my magazines loaded and my wallet a fair bit emptier, I began to sing the song of steel and lead.

My targets include various steel and paper options, and my goal was to run the gun through a wide variety of drills.

Low Round Count Drill Dot Torture
Break out the targets, boys and girls.

My favorites are classics like the El Presidente, the Box Drill, the iHack, and the 10-10-10.

I started warming up with some simple Box Drills from the draw.

Here is where those big sights stood out. They caught the eye well. Dropping the Circle into the U made it simple to score those initial two shots. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat Front Sight
Springfield Armory Hellcat Front Sight

Tracking the big yellow front sight is also simple so getting those follow-up shots are fairly easy to do.

Repeat shots aren’t challenging, but you most certainly feel the difference between the Hellcat and a full-sized pistol. As far as recoil goes, it is what I would call ‘mild.’ 

It’s got a little snap to it, but not so much to be painful or annoying.

The adaptive grip texture does a great job of keeping the gun in your hand, and it doesn’t try and wrestle its way out of your hand. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat Rear Sight
Springfield Armory Hellcat Rear Sight

When you start adding precision with drills that involve 2-inch dots like the iHack, you do see some problems with those big sights.

They cover that target up a fair bit, but you can drop rounds in the circle. They might not be in the center of that circle, but they’ll break the line at the very least. 

On those drills where accuracy and time are an issue, you will see better results with standard-style sights. I passed the 10-10-10 drill, but I didn’t score ten tens by any means. 

Springfield Hellcat group
Springfield Hellcat grouping from a trip to the range a while back

Slow fire accuracy is fairly good.

The flat trigger is nice, and the pull of the trigger is smooth. It’s not the lightest, but it’s plenty short and suitable for concealed carry and accuracy. 

At 25 yards, I dinged and dinged 6 and 8-inch gongs. If I had the OSP model with a red dot, I bet I could reach out to 50 yards and score solid center-mass hits. At 50 yards, I could hit a man-sized target fairly well. 

The World of Hellcats

The Hellcat comes in numerous models. What we have here is the standard model, which presents the most affordable option. 

The OSP variant allows you to use Shield pattern optics like the Holosun 507K, Shield RMSc, Springfield Wasp, and a few more. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP
Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP

There is also the RDP which comes with a Wasp optic and a compensator.

It’s a sweet rig that adds a little size and weight to the gun but aims to make it very soft shooting. I’ve had limited time behind an RDP but did find it an impressively easy-to-handle gun. 

899
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Inside of these variants, there are low-capacity models with 10-round magazines for those less free states.

Additionally, Springfield produces an FDE variant of the standard and OSP models. I wish they did a stainless slide or an FDE/Black dual-tone. A boy can dream. 

Rapunzel Day Dreaming
Me thinking about other Hellcat finish possibilities

My Favorite Accessories  

Sure, accessories aren’t a feature of the gun itself, but knowing that high-quality accessories are available for a gun is a huge advantage. Here are a few of my favorites for the Hellcat.

Springfield Armory Hellcat
Springfield Armory Hellcat

Light

The Rogers Shooting School Rail Mount Kit is a weird system that works really well for the Hellcat and similar weapons.

It’s a quick detach system that utilizes a plastic mount and a Streamlight Microstream. It pops on and off and isn’t meant for holstered use. 

It just pops on, packs 250 lumens of close-range light power. Oh, and it only costs $40. 

40
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Mantis X10

Speaking of rail use, we might as well make use of the Mantis X10 for dry fire training.

It’s an awesome training system that delivers you outstanding feedback for dry and live firing, drawing, and more. This system pops onto your magazine via a special base plate and to the Hellcat’s rail. 

Available Coupons

Trigger

The Hellcat’s trigger is acceptable, but the Apex Trigger Kit makes it a fair bit better. It’s a little smoother, and the metal trigger just feels better. It’s fairly affordable and an easy upgrade. 

Available Coupons

Optic (For OSP/RDP Model)

I don’t have the OSP model, but I had one it would wear the Holosun 507K.

The 507K is the best of these mini optics. It’s very capable, robust, and provides three different reticles for those who are picky. 

289
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

By The Numbers

Ergonomics: 4/5 

My big problem is the thumbs forward grip failing to work with the slide release. I’ll blame my big hands for the magazine-dropping issue. I love the grip texture, the slide serrations, the magazine release, and even grip length. 

Accuracy: 4/5  

For the gun’s size, it’s fairly easy to shoot and accurate enough for concealed carry. No one would mistake it for a competition pistol, but it works. Smaller, more traditional sights might slow you down, but they would enhance accuracy. 

Micro Compacts Springfield Armory Hellcat

Reliability: 5/5 

The only malfunctions I’ve experienced are with some hard-primered Tula. I had a single click and couldn’t get the weapon to fire in a Glock 19 or a Sig P365. Other than that, the weapon remains insanely reliable. 

Customization: 3/5  

The Hellcat has some customization options, but it still hasn’t reached Glock or even P365 levels. 

Value: 5/5 

It’s a fairly priced pistol outfitted with the features I want for a concealed carry pistol. What I do enjoy is the fact the gun comes with an extended magazine which sets it a little bit apart. It’s nothing genre-changing for the price but acceptable. My big issue is the magazine prices are not low by any means. 

Available Coupons

Overall: 4.5/5 

The Hellcat provides stiff competition for the P365, as well as the other Micro Compacts on the market. It’s a solid concealed carry pistol with varying capacities, optional accessories, and an actual Picatinny rail. 

Field Strip & Reassembly

Conclusion

The Springfield Hellcat guns for the Sig Sauer P365 and do so well. With a competitive price, a comfortable, yet diminutive frame, and stellar accuracy, it’s a winner.

Micro Compacts Springfield Armory Hellcat

What is your top Micro or Sub-Compact? Let us know below. Also, check out more mico compacts in the 5 Best Micro Compacts!

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42 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Meredith Snow

    I have the sig p365xl and the hellcat. I shoot better with the sig, but I like the hellcat. I carry the sig with the romeo zero red dot and the hellcat is my home defense pistol...

    January 24, 2022 6:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    James

    The Rogers gen 2 rail light does not fit on the Hellcat.

    January 18, 2022 5:37 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark Clark

    I doubt anyone who has a Hellcat leaves it in the safe. This is a beast and is the best of the group. As for the Taurus owners, just one comment - Oh please!

    January 14, 2022 9:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Alex

    How is it that there are comments from 2019 but the article says published 21 hours ago? Are you guys just putting out old shit because you don’t have any new content?

    January 11, 2022 9:49 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      Hey Alex, we regularly update articles and refresh posts with new information so our articles are accurate and up-to-date. And we have plenty of new content coming out each week! Thanks for reading!

      January 12, 2022 8:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    ARMED CITIZEN

    I will put my Taurus G3C or G2C against it for 1/2 the price! Enough said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 11, 2022 9:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Donny Thomas

    Folks, I took my 3MOA Romeo 0 off my 365 Sig and mounted it on my OSP Hellcat. OMG, what a combo that made!! Sight acquisition is super quick and follow up shots are incredibly easy. Couple this with a Bucks IWB holster w/claw and the Sig went in the gun safe with the Glocks, S&Ws, and Caniks. Waiting for the Apex trigger to get here and I’ll swap those out. This CC weapon is on my side now everyday through thick and thin without anybody knowing it’s there.

    January 11, 2022 6:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Marty Monaco

      Donny, I love my Hellcat, too! I have arthritis and was thinking of installing the Apex trigger as well. I don't know that I am "capable" to do it myself but, would love to know if you do it yourself and how hard it was to do. The only thing I'm not in favor of on the Hellcat is the trigger guard. I have to put a bandage on my trigger finger so the guard doesn't rip it to shreds (like I've done) after 100 rounds or so. Glad you're a fan, too, and the best of luck with it!

      January 12, 2022 2:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Scott

    My favorite is the baretta px4 sub compact
    Really sweet in all ways
    2nd place tie 365 Sig and hellcat.
    3rd. Believe it or not 2” S&W 44 mag
    For when I’m in the woods. Camping/ hiking
    Bears and cougars beware. Great review
    All the above are more accurate than me
    Ha ha

    January 11, 2022 5:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    B Moseley

    I own the 43x, P365(w/ both grip modules), Shield 2.0 and the Hellcat. The Hellcat sits in the safe. Never touch it. Don't care for the sights, the ergo's and it's by far the snappiest of all of them.
    Now I'm running 2 Mossbergs. The MC2sc(14+1) with a dot, and the MC2C(15+1) with Olight Baldr mini. Very nice ! Love this new lineup.

    January 11, 2022 4:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Philip Dunson

    Awesome Hellcat Review

    October 4, 2021 2:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Charlie

    Will the Viridian C5L fit the relatively new Glock 43X MOS (w/rail)? I understand that the C5L should fit anything with a rail, but I was hoping for some firsthand experience.

    November 15, 2020 9:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Neil

    Cool gun but, The TLR-7's don't fit. Tried everything from TLR-7,8, Nightstick TCM-550XL, APL C. Closest fit is a TLR-3 and Crimson Trace CMR-202. You can clamp the TLR-7 on (without tab ) but if you put it in a reputable Kydex holster with decent retention the light would pull off and be stuck in the holster forever.

    November 11, 2019 2:56 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Neil

      A Olight PL 2 mini Valkyrie or Viridian C5L might be a good option too.

      November 11, 2019 2:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    cervantes

    I just dropped 20% at my local pawn/gun shop, Tomball Pawn & Jewelry.
    460 to go and I'll be on the range.. well, yeah.. I guess I'll be drawing from the case, no holster yet..

    November 8, 2019 10:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Hollywood

      Black Rhino makes holsters for them, ordered mine last month, fits great, conceals great

      November 10, 2019 7:02 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Christopher

    Very nice shooting tiny,very concealable 9. Accurate! Really difficult to load either mags though. Just purchased today and very pleased even from an old school 45r

    October 25, 2019 11:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gabriel Simmons

    Do a SIG P365XL vs SIG P365 vs Glock 43X vs Glock 19 GEN5 vs Springfield Armory Hellcat vs Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield. It would be a very educational video for people looking it CCW.

    October 22, 2019 6:21 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis Eagleberger

    My 365XL holds 12+1, and it's a Sig. I have owned and traded off the Glock 43, it's just too small and too low capacity. Thought about the 43X, then saw the 365XL, and it's really no contest. As for "Hellcat", well it will be a cold day before I buy from Springfield. Long Live The Second for all. Glock fans, I do love my 17.

    October 17, 2019 5:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jeff

      The path of ignorance is guided by fear.

      November 3, 2019 8:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Bill Randall

      I am beginning to feel the same as you only in regards to Sig. I have the P938 LEGION with two short comings: (1) The recoil spring guide is made in two parts which separate, and (2) The sights are not adjustable - although the manual says they are.

      February 17, 2020 3:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Calypso

      Your loss.

      October 9, 2020 9:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dan

    The Hellcat is made in Croatia. No thanks. I’ll stick with my made in America P365.

    October 16, 2019 1:32 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Frank C

      The 365 is full of crappy foreign parts disguised as an american gun. Namely from freaking India where they get all their internals, its printed write on the packaging.

      November 4, 2019 7:53 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Donnie

      With MIM parts made in India.

      January 26, 2020 7:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    N8

    I’ll stick with my P365 (made in NH). Feels great with 12 rd magazine.
    Where are the SA Hellcats made?

    October 15, 2019 6:04 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Dan

      Croatia

      October 16, 2019 1:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jaxson50

    I don't have micro hands. That's always the challenge for me with micro pistols, my hands are not exceptional large but I have long fingers.
    I can't get a proper purchase on the trigger, pushing shots to the left.

    October 15, 2019 9:22 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    harryhabrams

    Is there any reason to carry a "full size" pistol if you are a civilian???
    An M&P 9c feels big next to a p938 or P365. I can no longer imagine using a fullsize, since i wouldn't use a pistol for hunting, and I don't do competitions.

    October 15, 2019 6:07 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bigguy

    Not a KelTec fan but 1995 the P11 offered a compact 9 with similar dimensions. So, Sign and Springfield are just catching up.

    October 14, 2019 11:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Marcus Aurelius Tarkus

      My SIL nas a KelTec P11. I fired it a couple of years ago and had no complaints. However, I don't recall the mag capacity. I'll have to look again. Meanwhile, I do love my Sig P365.

      October 14, 2019 2:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve Heintze

    I’d like to see Walther shrink their PPS-M2 into a smaller package.

    October 14, 2019 8:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Brad S.

      The PPQ M2?

      October 14, 2019 9:24 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sean Kendall

    I carry a full sized handgun. I worked hard about ten years ago to get used to, like and carry sub compacts. Manipulating these small weapons is much harder and error prone than a full sized or even the step down to a G19 sized gun. If you have a good CC holster and you set it up so that your belt goes over the gun and presses it into your body it is not hard to be complete concealed. I really like the move to larger CC handguns and I am hoping we'll see 1911 killers from SA and Sig and others. Basically full sized, single stack, thin and reliable, modern firearms. I won't buy any weapon that I can't manipulate quickly and safely under stress.

    October 14, 2019 6:39 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    S Jaggard

    I love my XD’s extremely reliable.accurate and tough if these are similar I would trust it in any situation-perfect for any one looking to protect themselves or loved ones-

    October 13, 2019 9:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Scott C.

    I’m just here for the SA flames. Anyone got any hotdogs?

    October 13, 2019 8:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis Eagleberger

    I refuse to purchase anything from Springfield Armory.

    October 13, 2019 6:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Deborah Hendricks

      What's going on with Springfield? I've seen this comment a lot but not sure why.

      October 13, 2019 9:17 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Ed

        They were involved in some underhanded politics, but they’ve started correcting this by not selling to Dick’s and taking some other stands.

        December 14, 2019 6:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Alan

    Any news on the ria- armscor 10 mm semi auto and the Rowland 460 conversion kit used on 9mm glocks and 45s to move on up to 44 special?

    October 13, 2019 6:08 pm
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