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 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.
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 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 and 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 and 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 and said, “Let’s redesign a handgun that is not based off of our XD series directly and does not include a lot of the features like the grip safety that people think are outdated on the XD series of handguns.”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 of this work was the Springfield Armory Hellcat with its 11 plus one capacity and a size that is slightly larger 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, but we’re just here to discuss the gun today. it is worth mentioning and it’s something you can look into.
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 for the Springfield Armory Hellcat despite its small size. 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.
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 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. 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 and in 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.
So, 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, but I will say 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, but this setup just seems to work and balance as well. And 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 for whatever reason 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 smart on the XD series of guns, was 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.
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.
Springfield Armory Hellcat
CALIBER: 9mm Luger
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 11+1/13+1
BARREL: 3 in.
OAL/HEIGHT/WIDTH: 6/4/1 in.
WEIGHT: 17.9 oz
CONSTRUCTION: Steel slide, Polymer frame
SIGHTS: Steel; U Notch Rear, Yellow Tritium Front
MANUFACTURER: Springfield Armory
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. Now one thing to keep in mind is 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, but 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.
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. But 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, so 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 and there’s no other way to access, 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.
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 and 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.
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.
Shooting the Springfield Armory Hellcat
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.
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 are the looks and outline which really come down to personal taste and you might disagree with me completely and the slide serrations.
For the price this gun offers a lot of features and frankly this is the best out of the box gun in this class. The only changes I plan on making to my Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP is adding a Holosun 407k to the gun, that’s really all it needs.