Review: Springfield Armory’s Hellcat

The featured photo shows a Springfield Armory Hellcat and a Blade-Tech Klipt Holster.

Sig Sauer made big waves when it introduced the P365 in 2018 and for good reason (check out our P365 post). Holding 10+1 rounds in such a tiny package was a feat by itself, and Sig Sauer made sure we all knew it.

However we all knew the moment was coming when another company would come along and attempt to dethrone the reigning champion. It’s pretty obvious that Springfield Armory is trying to take a chunk out of the P365 market share.

Springfield Armory has been in the business of making sub compact and micro compact pistols for awhile now with their XD line. Which is kind of the problem. They’ve been making the XD line for a long time, and functionally the entire line hasn’t changed too much. Brands like GLOCK, Smith & Wesson, and Sig Sauer blew right by the XD series with their sub/micro compact offerings.

However, I think the Hellcat launches Springfield Armory into the modern age of concealed carry and shows a real effort to push the needle.

Blade-Tech Holsters Blog Post - HellcatA Springfield Armory Hellcat and Sig Sauer P365.

In Comes the Hellcat

Have you held a P365? Imagine that with one extra round. The Hellcat is dimensionally very similar. Both of them are the same width, slides are about the same length, and the Hellcat comes in with a shorter grip. All while jamming in 11+1 rounds with the flush fit magazine. That’s pure magic.

So great, you’ve got one extra round. Always better to have more, right? Maybe. The 11+1 capacity is pretty stellar, but there is no sense in having the extra round if you can’t shoot it well.

I hit the range with the OSP model which has a pre-milled slide. On top I ran the Jpoint MRD with the 4 MOA dot and I loaded up some 124 grain ball ammo.

Blade-Tech Holsters Blog Post - HellcatA Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP, a JPoint RDS and a Blade-Tech Klipt Holster.

Shooting the Hellcat is a lot like shooting any other micro compact pistol. It’s snappy, and harder to shoot than full size firearms. Less mass to soak up that recoil, and your grip is compromised. Micro compact pistols always start with compromises as it’s just in the nature of the beast. There isn’t a lot you can do to get around physics, but companies like Springfield Armory have been focusing on ways that you can combat the tiny size when it comes to shooting.

Springfield Armory describes the grip texture with a lot of marketing jargon that I don’t totally understand. Despite that, they did a great job with it. It isn’t overly aggressive and allowed me to keep and maintain a tight grip on the firearm. Additional texture is applied up high too, allowing you to have tactile feedback and extra grip when pushing your hands high up on the pistol. That high grip also becomes easy with a deep undercut at the trigger guard as well as a generous beavertail. With the pinky extension you’re left with a firearm that offers a full grip without being even close to a full size firearm.

Let’s talk about the trigger for a moment. It’s totally decent. It has a bit of take up, a really hard wall, then a ~6lbs break. Reset is tactile and a bit long to hit. I wouldn’t see any reason to modify the trigger as it’s easy to get a hang of and very consistent. The trigger shoe itself is mostly flat with a small curve at the bottom that reminds you if you’re too low.

Sights on the Hellcat are excellent. With it’s bright fluorescent circle around the tritium vile up front, and the white outlined u-notch in the rear you’re presented with an easy sight picture. Lining up the irons on this gun is a breeze and other firearm manufacturers should take note. There is nothing worse than buying a new firearm, and immediately having to spend $100 on a new set of iron sights.

Blade-Tech Holsters Blog Post - HellcatA Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP and a JPoint RDS.

I do have a few small gripes with the Hellcat. I have a tendency to run my thumb high, and I kept holding onto the slide stop which prevented the slide from staying rearward on the last round. That could be trained around, however I do think the slide stop sits too far back. The second gripe that I have is a lack of an ambidextrous slide stop. If you’re a left handed shooter you’re out of luck or stuck with grabbing the slide. Lastly is the recoil spring. If you have issues with hand strength this won’t be the firearm for you. The slide takes some strength to pull back. 

Living with the Hellcat

Carrying the Hellcat in one of our Klipt holsters is about as easy as it gets. The Klipt is no nonsense and compliments a small firearm like the Hellcat well. I found carrying it appendix to be very comfortable and because of its small grip, I didn’t feel like I needed a clar or wing to push the grip in.

Micro-Compact firearms are usually all easy to carry and tuck nicely into the waistband. What sets the Hellcat apart is having 11+1 or 13+1 rounds. At that point you’re coming close to GLOCK 19 size capacity without carrying that size gun. When there are moments where you have to be discreet or wear formal attire this would be the one to carry. Forget the others. Carry this one if you can shoot it well.

The Wrap Up

Overall I’m pretty pleased with the Hellcat. It’s ergonomic, holds a ton of rounds for its size, and comes ready to go right out of the box. Frankly I even enjoyed shooting it despite my aversion to micro-compact pistols. It’s snappy but manageable even with just the pinky extension. Firearms like the Hellcat make the GLOCK 43 or even the Ruger LCP hard to recommend. The trade offs just aren’t worth it. It’s not hard to justify bumping up to the Hellcat from either of those two firearms. What you gain in round count, ergonomics, and the iron sights makes that recommendation easy.