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Springfield Armory Hellcat- Looking for the perfect everyday carry handgun? The Springfield Armory® Hellcat™ OSP™ Semi-Auto Pistol is a micro–compact pistol, specifically designed for everyday carry (EDC) and self defense. This easy-to-conceal pistol features an Adaptive Grip Texture™ for a secure grip and improved control, while hi-vis tritium U-dot sights offer rapid and intuitive target acquisition in virtually any lighting, and front and rear slide serrations make for easy slide manipulation—even with gloved hands. The hammer-forged barrel offers superior accuracy, while a durable Melonite® finish boasts unmatched corrosion and moisture resistance for lasting performance. Plus, the optics-ready, milled slide readily accepts a variety of handgun optics (not included) for maximum versatility.
Manufacturer model #: HC9319BOSP.
Specifically designed for everyday carry
Optics-ready, milled slide
Reversible magazine release
SPRINGFIELD ARMORY HELLCAT REVIEW : IS IT WORTH IT?
SPRINGFIELD ARMORY HELLCAT BACKGROUND
Springfield armory teased us for a while about their new “class-leading product” with a countdown timer over a picture of a city with the words “It’s a jungle out there.”
Most of the speculation online assumed that it was going to be an option for concealed carry because of the urban setting in the photo and the teaser page was hosted at a site and url including the words “fiercely defend.”
Well, it’s officially announced: the new firearm is the Springfield Armory Hellcat. It is a micro 9mm pistol with huge capacity. It holds 11+1 rounds of 9mm with a flush magazine and 13+1 rounds of 9mm with the extended magazine.
SPRINGFIELD HELLCAT REVIEW – OUR TAKE
We think that Springfield Armory has a winner here.
The easiest way for us to summarize the new Hellcat is like this: it’s kinda’ like a single-action Glock, with super high capacity, and effectively the same size as a Sig P365.
Here’s our first thoughts:
Super high capacity… great job Springfield Armory! Competition is a great thing. Sig has dominated the CCW market with their P365 and it’s interesting to see the new Hellcat by Springfield Armory as a challenger.
This invites an interesting question: is Glock being left in the dust? Other manufacturers are making aftermarket Glock magazines so that Glock can get near the capacity of these new micro pistols.
They’ve done a few cool things.
First, Springfield Armory introduced the pistol with optics-ready models available. This is a smart move as the future of pistols involves dots of some sort. Whether they be red dots like the Shield RMS or tritium/fiber optic systems like whats on the new Sig p365 SAS.
Second, if you don’t use the optic portion, they’ve carried the slide serrations up and over the top of the slide. We’re not yet sure if this will catch on a holster but we think it is a cool option for better grip!
Other cool features include a unique sight picture, a flat trigger profile, reversible mag release and a standard rail (even on a micro pistol).
Our first hands-on experience with the Hellcat
The Hellcat is a bit “snappy,” but, honestly, so is any micro pistol we’ve shot. We really have no complaints about the recoil – it was really fun to shoot!
The little pistol is also accurate! I fired 390 shots on steel and decided to shoot one 10-shot group at 10 yards to see what it could do.
Before taking the Hellcat to the range, I took it apart to see what was going on inside. Upon taking the slide apart, I realized that the Springfield Hellcat is easiest described as a single–action Glock. Seriously, just look at that striker and tell me that you don’t see a Glock influence.
That’s right, the slide internals not only look VERY similar to Glock slide internals, they also assembled largely in the same manner. I think this is a great thing – I love it when a design team allows parts to hold each other in place instead of drilling a hole and inserting a roll pin. Also, if the Glock has reliability figured out (they do), why not learn from them?
Even the trigger shoe and some of the trigger springs in the frame look very similar to a Glock setup. Of course, the parts are unique and the operation is different in that the Hellcat is a true single-action instead of having the striker be partially charged on trigger pull like a Glock.
When we picked up our brass after our shooting session, we noticed yet another similarity to a Glock pistol, the primers had the tell-tale Glock shaped rectangle from the striker hole and even had a similar striker mark (with a bit of primer-drag).
What we loved: The Hellcat is a high capacity micro pistol that has proven very reliable. We have no concern recommending this pistol to anyone.
Also, we didn’t love the slide release lever. This is VERY likely just a personal thing but it bears mentioning. When I was shooting the Hellcat like I would normally shoot a pistol, it failed to lock the slide back on an empty magazine EVERY SINGLE TIME. This is because I was inadvertently holding the slide release lever down with my thumb. However, when I shot the pistol with my thumb very far away (not my normal grip) the slide locked back as it should. Therefore, it’s not a function issue with the Hellcat, but rather a bit of a design issue.
Yes, I’m blaming the design for my grip. I had others shoot the pistol as well and it happened to them. I compared it to my p365 and the Hellcat’s slide release lever is much further back on the pistol and it sits just under my thumb’s knuckle making it almost impossible not to touch (especially on such a small pistol). The p365, however, has a slide release lever much further forward and out of the way of my thumb.
I get it – it’s my fault. Springfield Armory made a very easy to access and actuate slide release lever, A byproduct of that choice is that it is very easy to hold down (for me). Also, even the slightest touch causes it to not hold the slide open.
The trigger. According to others, the trigger is better than a Glock trigger. To me, it’s hard to say if it is “better,” but it is certainly crisper/shorter travel than a Glock. But, when you compare it to other single action triggers, it actually feels more like a Glock trigger. I hope this makes sense.
Also the reset, although audible/tactile is a bit far out for my liking (especially for a single action trigger).
Springfield Armory made quite a few claims about the Hellcat 9mm, let’s address them each:
Wrap over slide serrations. Springfield wrapped the rear slide serrations over the top of the slide.
This is AWESOME and I wish more manufacturers would do this! It really made a difference.
I actually wish that they did this for the front serrations, too.
Special texturing. Springfield Armory claimed that they had a unique texture incorporating flattened triangles so that the grip wasn’t too abrasive with shorter triangles that were engaged with a tighter grip. Their diagram and description seem great! However, in reality, the grip texturing appears to be fairly standard texturing and very similar to the p365.
U-dot sights and Optics ready configuration. Here’s another kudos to Springfield Armory – these sights are great for a CCW pistol. I didn’t like them out of the box, but once I started shooting the Hellcat, I realized how quick and easy it was to keep the giant yellow/green dot on the target.
Also, red-dots are clearly the future of pistol sights. It is really cool to see a manufacturer offer an optic ready version straight from the factory when the pistol is released.
Full-sized accessory rail. Even though the Hellcat is a micro pistol, Springfield made it with a full sized accessory rail so that common accessories can be mounted.
This is a great idea!
Also, if you’re doubting my analogy to this being a VERY Glock-like pistol, take a look at the accessory rail – it looks just like a Glock from the single horizontal groove for mounting to the embedded serial number plate (and its orientation).
The Springfield Armory Hellcat is a reliable accurate pistol that would be great as a CCW option and we recommend it without hesitation.
However, it still feels like a gun made in Croatia (because it is) in that it feels like a solid “value” gun that has a LOT going for it. However, when compared to other single action striker-fired firearms, the trigger falls short. This wouldn’t be a problem if the Hellcat wasn’t the same price as these more professional-grade guns.
I really like the Hellcat. I think Springfield knocked this pistol out of the park. I’m just trying to be a critic and give you everything. This gun is MUCH better than any XD I have shot. If you like XDs, you’ll either LOVE the Hellcat because it’s so much nicer, or you’ll hate the Hellcat because you don’t know what a good pistol is.
HOW TO CARE YOUR SPRINGFIELD ARMORY HELLCAT
The most important thing we can do for our firearm is to keep it clean and maintain it. The Hellcat is a stellar firearm, so it’s important to take care of it and keep it operational. Keeping up with the maintenance will make it last a lifetime! To help you do this, here is a video on field stripping and cleaning the Sig p365.
Springfield Hellcat Review
Springfield rebranded what were once budget pistols, gave them better finishes and sold them as a premium striker-fired product to compete with Glocks on the US market. At the time the guns were introduced there were pretty much no other striker-fired competing handguns with Glocks. So, the Springfield XD series had a major portion of the US handgun market.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat is a gun imported into the US by Springfield Armory. The Springfield Armory Hellcat is manufactured and designed by HS products out of Croatia. HS products used to import a line of handguns that we now know as the Springfield XD series. Springfield started importing the XD series after HS had little to no success doing it themselves.
Springfield brought out the Springfield Armory Hellcat to compete with Sig’s p365 series of handguns. The Sig p365 was unique because it offered 10 rounds of capacity. All in a gun size that previously only held six with most other manufacturers.
Just a few years earlier Walther had introduced their PPS series of handguns. Which never did that well on the US market because they sold at the $800 price tag. Then Smith and Wesson Shield introduced their Smith and Wesson Shield line. The Smith and Wesson shield line sold great as it came in at a budget price point.
Springfield always seems to be second to the market in a given product class. They introduced the Springfield XDS line which held seven rounds of nine-millimeter with a flush fit mag or nine rounds with an extended mag. And they also introduced the Springfield XDS and 45 ACP which held six rounds of 45 ACP. Those guns were quite popular until other manufacturers like Glock started making guns in the same size class. They came in a price point that was slightly more expensive than the Smith and Wesson Shield.
When the Sig p365 was introduced, that gun took away a lot of the sales from all the other manufacturers. Including Springfield whose XDS sales had been waning. So, Springfield got together with HS products. They said, “Let’s redesign a handgun that is not based on our XD series directly. Does not include a lot of the features like the grip safety that people think are outdated on the XD series of handguns.” The result was the Springfield Armory Hellcat with its 11 plus one capacity. In a size that is slightly smaller than the Sig p365.
Now you can’t mention Springfield Armory without discussing their political actions in the state of Illinois that occurred in 2017. Springfield has their own side of the story as well as many people in the gun industry who think they have sold out. You can believe the Springfield side or you can believe the other side. We’re just here to discuss the gun today. it is worth mentioning and it’s something you can look into. We couldn’t do a Springfield Hellcat Review without mentioning this.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat has an 11-round magazine in its flush fit format and they also offer a 13-round magazine. This just slightly outclasses the Sig P365 with its 10 and 12 round magazines’ internal capacity. Although I will say the Hellcat is slightly larger for the increased capacity. The magazines themselves sell for around the $30 price point through retailers.
So, they’re very reasonably priced and beat the Sig offerings which are $40 or greater. One thing the Sig p365 does have over the Springfield Armory Hellcat is Sig offers a 15 round magazine that can bring the capacity of the P365 and Sig P365XL to 16 rounds with one in the chamber.
As of right now, there are no aftermarket mags that exceed 13 rounds. There is a little bit of a bevel on the mag well of the Springfield Armory Hellcat making the mags fairly easy to insert the shape of the magazine at the top also seems to match up well with that bevel further aiding easy insertion.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat does not offer removable back straps or anything at the s as such which is very normal on a gun of this size or the grip to be a one-size-fits-all solution. There is a slight beavertail at the rear of the gun and your hand is able to get very high in that tang/beavertail area of the gun. And the ergonomics on it are fairly comfortable. They could be a little bit better and it could slope into the frame itself at a gentler slope than it does. Depending on the size of your hand you might feel a slight discomfort in the rear grip of the tang.
Doing the Springfield Hellcat Review we discovered there is texturing all over this grip. The texturing extends 360 degrees around the bottom of the grip. And it also extends to the mag sleeve on the 13 round magazines, if those are the magazines you’re using on Springfield Armory Hellcat.
The texturing itself is a stipple like texturing with micro texturing on the frame. They’re evenly coated all around and provide good traction. But at the same time, if you aren’t gripping the gun hard, they are somewhat slick in a good way as that means when carrying the gun, they are unlikely to chafe the skin of your stomach or love handles when carrying the gun in your Hellcat Holster.
There’s also texturing and then the area of the frame above the mag release and below the slide stop. That is nice as it does give a little bit of texturing for your support hand palm to sit on when fighting the recoil of the gun. There are also two ovals of texturing at the front of the frame for your hand and support hand thumb to index. I would not suggest resting your support hand thumb unless the grip just uniquely works for you ergonomically in doing that. But they do give you index points that you’re able to feel and it’s a great place to rest your trigger finger.
Overall, the gun feels much larger than it actually is which is a feature I quite like as a medium to large handed shooter. The ergonomics don’t feel extremely comfortable in the hand, but they allow you to get a grip on the gun in the place you need to keep it still under recoil and when pulling the trigger; which is the most important feature of handgun ergonomics.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat comes with some of the best sites if not the best sites in its class. This was one of my favorite things when doing the Springfield Hellcat Review. They’re a little bit unconventional for what most other guns offer. The front sight is a tritium vial that is surrounded by a yellow fluorescent ring. It’s very easy to pick up the yellow fluorescent ring in daylight. The rear sight is the most unconventional piece of this gun. It features a u-notch, but that u-notch also has a white U outline surrounding it.
If you’re used to a blacked-out rear sight that won’t take away from your picture of the front Sight, then you might find this a little unconventional at first. When I first saw the sights, I did not like them. They’ve grown on me quite a bit as that front Sight seems to easily find its way back where it needs to with the help of that white U outline.
I normally like front sights that are much louder than the rear. This setup just seems to work and balance as well. In my opinion, this is the best set of Sights that comes on any gun in this class. Including Glocks that ship stock with Ameriglo or the Sig P365 with the Siglite night sights.
If these sights aren’t to your liking you can easily replace them with any Sights that accept a Sig cut. One thing that Springfield Armory did really well designing the guns to accept Sig sights. So, any Sig dovetail Sight will fit on the Springfield Armory Hellcat. This really opens up a bunch of aftermarket options to being adaptable to the Hellcat.
Springfield Hellcat Review Hellcat Red Dot
If you’re wanting to mount a red dot, then you’re in luck. Springfield Armory offers the Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP as an option. The OSP allows you to mount any shield arms RMSC or Sig Romeo zero style mounting system. So, the gun will also fit the very popular Holosun 507 K series. This is an awesome feature for those of you that want to run a red dot on your micro carry gun. Personally, I wish Springfield Armory had just made this standard on all the Hellcats but unfortunately, they did not. That would be my biggest gripe about the sighting system of this gun.
The only external safety on the Springfield Armory Hellcat is the trigger safety making the gun drop safe. There is nothing special about it. It works, it doesn’t not work. That’s all I can really say about that.
Now talking about the mag release. The mag release on the Springfield Armory Hellcat is quite low profile, but surprisingly easy to get to. As short as this gun is, if you’re trying to drop the magazine, you’ll likely have to break your grip. Not because you can’t reach the mag release, but because the bottom of your palm will likely be stopping the travel of the mag itself. And inverse when you’re reloading, you’re going to want to loosen your grip on the gun and get your palm away so it isn’t stuck. So, it doesn’t get pinched between the mag magazine base plate and the mag well of the pistol.
The mag release is installed on the left side of the gun for right-handed shooters. It can be flipped around for a left-handed shooter. And a left-handed shooter can easily access it using your trigger finger or their middle finger if they so desire.
Springfield Hellcat Review Slide Stop
The slide stop on the Springfield Armory Hellcat is frankly one of my least favorite features. It’s very hard to manipulate for a newer shooter. I personally don’t have any trouble. I handle guns a lot so I am not the best person to ask. But I think a lot of newer shooters might have trouble manipulating it due to its small size and being slightly sharp on the top corner.
It’s positioned fairly far to the rear of the gun. Anyone will be able to access it using their primary hand thumb. If you’re a left-handed shooter though, you’re out of luck. The slide release is way too far back to access using your index finger. There’s no other way to access it, so you’ll just need to rack the slide manually.
Overall, the ergonomics of the Springfield Armory Hellcat are quite incredible. The gun feels a lot bigger than it is which is a plus for people with normal-sized hands. The Sig P365 feels like a scaled-down version of the Sig p320 series. While the Springfield Hellcat feels like a gun that is sized in between something like the Sig P65 and a full-size handgun.
The gun doesn’t necessarily feel great in the hand. But it allows you to get leverage on the gun in all the right places to shoot it very well which in my opinion is the most important part of ergonomics.
Springfield Hellcat Review Slide
The slide has serrations on both the front and the rear. The serrations themselves are very low profile and frankly leave a lot to be desired. They’re somewhat slick. If your hands were wet, they might not offer you enough to grip the gun as well as you need to be. The recoil spring is also somewhat stiff considering the size of the gun; so that’s something you have to take into mind if you’re a more inexperienced shooter. This gun might be harder to load and unload than other options.
The front serrations are really only designed for press checking. I would not suggest using those to load and unload your firearm. Due to the location and it’s hard to get a solid grip using that portion of the gun. I am very experienced with handling guns of this size and this one I find is harder than most to rack the slide using the front serrations just due to their lack of depth and aggressiveness.
If I could change anyone feature on this gun, it would probably be to make the slide serrations more aggressive. That said in a practical gunfighting scenario, you’re most likely to not expend more than the 11 or 13 rounds you have in the gun. So, reloading or manipulating the slide will hopefully not be an issue unless you have a malfunction.
The trigger on the Springfield Armory Hellcat is a pretty standard striker-fired trigger. It has takeup, a wall, and then a slight bit of heavy creep before it breaks. The trigger really doesn’t feel that good from a gun store counter perspective. But when you get the gun in hand, get a full grip on it, and pull it’s acceptable, maybe even slightly better than that. From the reset, the gun resets exactly at the wall so you have that slight bit of creep before there’s a heavy pull and break.
The trigger could be lighter for most people’s tastes, but this is a self-defense gun and the trigger is perfectly suitable. Don’t expect a match-grade trigger on this gun, but if you treat the trigger well it’ll probably work for you.
Springfield Hellcat Review Aesthetics
Overall, the Springfield Armory Hellcat probably isn’t the best-looking gun in its class. I would have to give that prize to the Sig P365 just because it looks so proportional. That said, I think that Springfield Armory Hellcat probably wins a few more points in ergonomics. At least for most normal sized hand male shooters.
The serrations do look good and the texturing on the gun is put in nice tasteful places that are effective and also look good. But the shape and outline of the gun itself is somewhat blocky and unrefined. That said looks don’t matter nearly as much as how the gun shoots, so now let’s talk about that.
Cleaning the Springfield Armory Hellcat is an easy process. Field stripping the Hellcat isn’t difficult and you just have to rotate the takedown lever down 90 degrees to remove the slide.
Hellcat Review Shooting
When you’re shooting the Springfield Armory Hellcat, you’re honestly going to be completely surprised the amount of recoil in this gun is absolutely insane, because there isn’t much. If you have a good solid grip on this gun it really absorbs recoil extremely well. The sights reset under recoil right to where you want them to make shooting this gun fast a breeze. It’s also extremely accurate.
Due to Springfield Armory’s political past, everyone wants to hate this gun. Frankly the XD series of pistols have been known to have a lot of issues and there are not a lot of people that like that gun. So, the Springfield Armory Hellcat had a lot of negative hate before it was introduced.
But I can’t tell you how many texts I have gotten from fellow gun guys who have said, “Hey man, have you checked out the Springfield Armory Hellcat?” And I say yes and then they proceed to tell me the story that they had with one they shot at the range. Every one of these people goes into shooting the Hellcat wanting to hate it and they end up having a begrudging respect for this little gun. This little gun just shoots really well. It shoots more like a full size than a micro 9mm.
Springfield Hellcat Review Closing Thoughts
The Springfield Armory Hellcat is that gun that is perfect for IWB carry and frankly probably is better for most people than the Sig P365 if you’re planning on pocket carrying, the Sig P365 is obviously going to be a better choice due to its slightly smaller size. Or if you’re a really small stature person with really small hands the diminutive size of the Sig P365 might be an advantage.
That said for the average male shooter and many female shooters, the slightly bigger size and girth on the grip of the Springfield Armory Hellcat is going to be very hard to beat. The only real attraction I can give this gun is the looks and outline which really come down to personal taste and you might disagree with me completely and the slide serrations.