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Springfield Armory’s Hellcat

The Capacity King of the Micro Subcompacts

Photos by Rob Curtis

Why folks choose to carry a 7-round, subcompact pistol is simply beyond us. Now look, if you’re in a no-sh*t, if they find my gun they’ll kill me/fire me/whatever real-deal, nonpermissive environment, then OK — that makes sense. But, if not, why handicap your abilities by carrying a pistol that you’re not at the top of your game with? So you can wear your skinny jeans and a size smedium shirt? C’mon.

OK, try this one on — here’s an all too familiar scenario. You and your family are in a large grocery store, restaurant, or fair and a couple of active murderers decide today is the day and they’re between you and the exit. Is carrying that 7-round single stack really where you want to be?

With that said, there’s a compromise, when the situation necessitates it, and that compromise is a new classification of pistol called the micro-compact. Like Sig Sauer’s P365, these micro-compacts are capable of comfortably carrying 10 to 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition in a small, concealable package, but are also highly shootable and extremely accurate. OWB, IWB, AIWB, pocket carry, ankle carry, off-body carry, these pistols are capable of doing it all. Huge bonus points if they have the capability of accepting a miniature red-dot sight to make up for their extremely short sight radius. By adding a red-dot into the mix, you have the closest thing to a carbine in your pants as you can get. That is what we’d want if things go sideways.

The Hellcat’s takedown lever slides up instead of down, and pulling the slide off requires the trigger to be depressed.

The latest addition to this new segment is Springfield Armory’s Hellcat micro-compact carry pistol. Within the handgun market, Springfield is probably best known today for its popular polymer-framed XD-series pistols. Whether you love the XD or hate it, the Hellcat isn’t one. In fact, the Hellcat is an all-new, from-the-ground-up design for Springfield, and it just may prove to be its best yet. Time will tell, but it may claw its way to the top of this new micro-pistol classification.

After spending some time with the Hellcat, it quickly became obvious that someone, or someones, inside Springfield Armory have been paying very close attention to the market, or has accepted some guidance from a group that knows a thing or two about what makes an ideal carry pistol.

Dimensionally, the Hellcat falls right in the middle of the micro-compact class, measuring 1 inch wide, 6 inches long, and 4 inches tall. The barrel is 3 inches in length, and the whole package weighs in at just 17.9 ounces for the OSP model, with an empty flush-fit magazine.


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The Hellcat’s frame is a bit wider than the slide, making the slide release easy to hit and turning the takedown lever into a thumb-rest, for those inclined to use it that way.

Two versions are available; one with iron-sights and one milled for the popular Shield RMS-C footprint with co-witnessed iron sights. Our test pistol is the milled version and came equipped with an RMS-C, nestled extremely deep within the slide, just the way it should. So deep, in fact, that the bottom of the lens is almost level with the top of the slide. The low-profile, snag-free iron sights are visible within the window of the sight and are positioned just above what would be considered lower 1/3 co-witness height. Both models feature the same front sight, featuring a high-vis yellow circle that surrounds a tritium insert and a U-notched rear sight with a white outline … that’s easily blacked out with a Sharpie.

Frame

To kick things off, Springfield Armory nailed the undercut of the Hellcat trigger guard, allowing a high-firing hand grip, bringing the already low-bore axis that much closer to the top of the hand. The pistol snuggles deep into the web of your hand, and the extended beavertail allows for an extra high-grip without any fear of railroading.


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