HELL(cat) YES!

Being in the firearms industry has its privileges. SHOT Show brings out the heavy-hitting new launches each year, and we get a sneak peek at the latest guns throughout the year. The past couple of years, we've seen a growing trend of micro-compact pistols that stretch magazine capacities to the max. This week we snagged a new one from Springfield Armory dubbed the Hellcat, and all we can say is HELL YES! hc1

Yes, Yes, Yes. We all know Sig Sauer brought the P365 to market with great acclaim, and rightfully so. It was one of the first models that shrunk frame size and grew the magazine capacity. Other companies were quick to introduce similar firearms, but I honestly don't believe these were knockoffs of the original. Instead, I protest that these subsequent models were just slower to market because companies wanted to perfect their design. New guns don't just appear overnight, but take many years to fine-tune to company standards. The Springfield Hellcat surpassed what I expected to come from the storied company. Let’s begin.

The Hellcat comes in two models. One is a 3” Micro Compact and the other is a 3” Micro Compact (OSP) Optical Sight Pistol. Before you ask, MSRP for the models are $569 and $599, respectively. That’s about where I thought they would land with pricing. For the money, even if you aren’t planning on a red dot for the immediate future, I recommend spending the extra 30 bucks for the OSP version.

MAX CAPACITY
More is better. Springfield took those words to heart by including a flush-fit, 11-round and an extended, 13-round magazine with the Hellcat. This makes it the highest capacity micro-compact pistol on the market. It is important to note that the magazine design is patented. I prefer to call it wizardry. I’m still scratching my head how companies continually shrink frame sizes and grow capacity.hcs

OPTICS READY
Red dot optics on carry firearms is the now. There is no more talk of the future. This is happening, so get used to it. In the not so near future, every concealed carry gun you buy will come equipped with an optic. We ran a Shield RMSc red dot on the Hellcat and could conceal, draw and fire without any issues. If you choose not to run an optic on the Hellcat, fear not. Springfield Armory includes a cover plate with top slide serrations, giving you more surface area for slide manipulation.

SIGHTS
I've never run a U-Dot rear sight. I'm rethinking that I should probably start shooting them more often. The Hellcat Tactical Rack U-Dot rear sight and tritium and luminescent front sight allowed me to get on sight more quickly than most sight sets on other pistols. However, I found myself resorting to the red dot for an even faster sight recognition. Again, the future is NOW!

GRIP AND GOhcg
Usually, I don't pay attention to marketing speak. But I needed to understand Adaptive Grip Texture better. What are we adapting to and if Springfield Armory developed a grip texture that adapts to any given environment, then I have buried the lead. The Hellcat's grip texture is a macro-array of staggered pyramid shapes. Larger pyramids of the Hellcat texturing are flattened at the top, reducing the snags on clothing and feeling smooth to the touch. Firmly grip the gun, and that's where the short pyramids begin to play. As our skin nestles into the grooves, smaller pyramids initiate grips. So, is this what I experienced? It worked exactly as advertised.

Smaller guns are snappy so texturing makes a huge difference. Springfield Armory wrapped the entire grip and index point with their Adaptive Grip Texture. This is a massive plus for shooters with weak grips.

STAND-OFF DEVICE/GUIDE RODstandoff
Just like a guide rod, but with some enhancements. Springfield Armory lengthened it and called it a stand-off device. Did I mention they textured it as well? Anyway, the extended length on the guide rod prevents the slide from coming out of battery when pressed against any surface. That helps when things get tight.

ABSENT PARTS!
There is one glaring piece missing from the Springfield Armory Hellcat. A GRIP SAFETY. This isn’t the norm for the company, which seems to be a polarizing issue for many folks. I’m not sure if they will continue this trend moving forward, but I am a fan of eliminating the grip safety.

MAGAZINES
This one is worth mentioning one more time. In the box, shooters receive an 11-round mag with pinky extension AND a 13-round extended mag. I would carry the 13-round mag in the Hellcat and have the 11-round mag as my spare.

OTHER IMPORTANT FEATURES
Here is a list of important features that I know will be asked.hc2

Accessory Rail – The Hellcat comes with a standard accessory rail that handles a wide variety of lights and lasers.

Trigger – Flat trigger body with nickel boron coated trigger.

Reversible Mag Release – Great little feature for left- or right-handed shooters. Easily switched, bonus!

Undercut Trigger Guard – Even with big hands, shooters can grip high under the trigger guard. Plus, Springfield Armory designed a high-hand extended beavertail, which positions a shooters hand closer to the bore axis.

CLOSING THOUGHTS
Hell Yes, I like the Hellcat. The gun fit firmly in my hands, and I shot the pistol extremely well. By the end of the range day, I was hitting steel targets at 60 yards. If you know me, this is a big deal because my pistol shooting is on the weak side. We put approximately 200 rounds through the gun so I wouldn't say we ran her too hard. However, I really think Springfield has a great pistol on their hands. Departing from the grip safety was a pleasant surprise, and the price ain’t half bad either. ~ KJ

STATS
Hellcat 3” Micro Compact
Caliber: 9mm
Barrel: 3’ Hammer Forged Steel, Melonite Finish, 1:10
Slide: Billet Machined, Melonite Finish
Frame: Black Polymer
Grip Texture: Adaptive Grip Texture
Sights: Tritium & Luminescent Front, Tactical Rack U-Notch Rear
Recoil: Dual captive Recoil Spring w/Full-Length Guide Rod
Width:  One Inch
Weight: 18.3 ounces w/flush mag, 18.6 ounces w/extended mag
Height: 4” w/Flush Mag, 4.5” w/Extended Mag
Length: 6”
Magazines: (1) 11-Round Flush Fit, (1) 13-Round Extended
Cost: $569

Hellcat 3” Micro Compact OSP (Optical Sight Pistol)
Caliber: 9mm
Barrel: 3’ Hammer Forged Steel, Melonite Finish, 1:10
Slide: Billet Machined, Melonite Finish
Frame: Black Polymer
Grip Texture: Adaptive Grip Texture
Sights: Tritium & Luminescent Front, Tactical Rack U-Notch Rear
Recoil: Dual captive Recoil Spring w/Full-Length Guide Rod
Width:  One Inch
Weight: 17.9 ounces w/flush mag, 18.3 ounces w/extended mag
Height: 4” w/Flush Mag, 4.5” w/Extended Mag
Length: 6”
Magazines: (1) 11-Round Flush Fit, (1) 13-Round Extended
Cost: $599

Kevin Jarnagin
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.