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Springfield Hellcat Pro Review

Springfield Armory released their Hellcat in September 2019 and since then, the pistol has been quite a success in giving the SIG Sauer P365 a solid competitor. This is our Springfield Hellcat Pro review.

They followed up the Springfield Armory Hellcat with the Hellcat RDP, which came stock with a HEX red-dot and compensator. This was the first micro-pistol on the market in this format, but  Springfield has now followed that up with the Hellcat Pro, which has quite a few differences from its predecessors.

The previous Hellcat pistols held 11 rounds with a flush-fit magazine. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Left Angled

This one has a much larger grip and is designed to hold 15 rounds with the flush-fit magazine. Despite still being extremely thin. The Pro is the smallest factory 9mm gun to hold 15 rounds.

For reference, the Glock 43X and 48 are similar in size to the Hellcat Pro. But the glocks only come with 10-round OEM magazines. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro

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You can modify them to use aftermarket Shield magazines that hold 15 rounds. But if you want to run your gun in an OEM configuration, the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro is going to be the best option.

Role

Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro is definitely designed to be a carry pistol. 

It’s a little bit small for shooting competitions or duty use, though it could be used for duty if the person using it had very small hands.

The Thai police adopted the SIG P365 XL as their duty weapon for that reason.

This gun is purposely designed for concealed carry in my opinion. 

As previously mentioned, the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro is really good for its capacity and size. It’s designed to be big enough to shoot well while small enough to still carry with a slim profile. 

It will conceal well if you’re carrying at the appendix or strong side on the hip. 

It could also work well as an OWB concealed-carry gun. I really like thin guns for OWB carry since that carry style is already more challenging. 

What makes it unique? 

The Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro comes with a very good set of sights (standard with a red-dot optic cut) and a really good capacity from the factory in a small size.

That being said, this gun does have some flaws. We’ll cover these later on in the review.

Grip/Ergonomics

The grip on the Hellcat Pro is just a longer version of that of the Springfield Armory Hellcat. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro grip

If you’re used to the standard Hellcat with the 13-round extended mags, then the grip is going to feel very similar to that. 

The Hellcat Pro has a blockier grip, in my opinion, in a very similar way to the original model. 

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It’s rounded on the corners but nowhere else, so it doesn’t really sculpt to your hand like a SIG P365 XL would. 

That said, the difference from the back- to the front strap seemed to be pretty good to me, which will allow people with larger hands to use this grip well.

Beavertail

There is no beavertail on this pistol but the tang of it is routed nicely with no discomfort for my large hands. 

If somebody had really small hands, I could see the tang of this gun being slightly uncomfortable. But if you have large or larger-sized hands, you’re going to really like this gun. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Tang

A friend of mine who has massive hands and can’t shoot the SIG P365 or original Hellcat handled this pistol and was really impressed. 

He actually considered picking one up to supplement the 2011 as his normal carry gun.

Texturing

The texturing on the Pro is identical to the original Hellcat.

If you’re not familiar with the Hellcat pistol, the texturing is something like a very fine-grit sandpaper, so it’s not going to be uncomfortable when you’re carrying directly against your skin. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Frontstrap

They have texturing all over this grip—the only place that is devoid of texturing is right behind the magazine release. They even put texturing between the magazine release and the slide stop, where most guns have nothing at all. 

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I’m really impressed Springfield did it for this gun.

There are also textured pads in front of the frame, though these pads are mostly cosmetic in my opinion. Some peoples’ thumbs may line up perfectly with them for their grip, but most will not. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Backstrap

There’s not much of a functional advantage there.

General Feel

The overall feel of the grip is good, works well with the texturing, and as I said earlier, will work well for most hand sizes. 

If you have really large hands, this will shoot like a smaller gun, but it’ll still be shootable. 

If you have really small hands, it’ll shoot like a larger gun, but again, it will still be shootable. This is a good one-size-fits-all firearm. 

If you’re buying a gun for home defense that you want multiple members of the family with different-sized hands to be able to use effectively, this could be a good option.

Slide

The slide on the Hellcat Pro is fairly large, and that’s actually one of the things I really like in this review. Having that larger slide makes the gun a little bit easier to manipulate. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Slide Serrations

The serrations, however, are not that great. 

They look good and fit the profile of the gun, but they aren’t that aggressive. They work well enough because the texture of the finish on the slide is very matte. Because it’s not a slick texture, it works well for press checks or racking the slide. 

If I could make one change to this gun, I would definitely make the slide serrations more aggressive. 

That being said, the slide is more than easy to rack and manipulate.

Controls

As of right now, the Springfield Hellcat Pro does not have the option for an external safety, but both versions of the Hellcat that are out now do have a version for an external safety, so I expect the Hellcat Pro will have that offering soon. 

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On that note, I really like what they’ve done with the external safety on the Hellcat series so far, so I expect the external safety on the Pro to be just as good. 

There’s a thumb safety mount at the rear portion of the gun that is ambidextrous and low-profile yet still large enough for you to place your thumb on top of when firing. 

This means you can shoot the gun almost like a mini 1911 in terms of manipulating the safety.

Magazine Release

The magazine release on this gun is reversible, but it comes set up for a right-handed shooter, being mounted on the left side of the gun. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Magazine Release

It’s easy for me to reach with my large hands, but I think somebody with medium-sized hands would also not have an issue reaching the magazine release. 

Anything smaller and you’re likely going to have to break your grip to release that magazine. 

When releasing the magazine myself, the magazine drops free. 

I don’t see that being as easy if you have extra-large hands. There’s a chance that the base of your palm could cover the bottom corner of the grip.

That would prevent the magazine from falling free. 

It’s something to keep in mind, but the vast majority of shooters will not experience that problem.

Slide Stop

The slide stop is mounted on the left side of the pistol. 

I really wish they had gone with an ambidextrous slide stop on this gun, but it’s a small gripe in this Hellcat Pro review. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Slide Stop

The slide stop itself is a little bit sharp on the top edge and very low-profile. 

That’s actually more of a curse than a blessing—being so low-profile makes it a little bit hard to press down and up if you’re trying to lock the slide back. 

Personally, I’d like to have seen it just a little bit bigger and, as I stated earlier, to be ambidextrous. There’s no reason they shouldn’t have gone with an universally-compatible slide stop.

Magwell Springfield Hellcat Pro Review

The magwell on the Springfield Hellcat Pro is nothing special. 

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It has slightly-beveled edges on the rear and sides. The front also has a very slight bevel, but it can’t really be considered much of one—it’s so slight that it doesn’t do much of anything to aid in a quick reload of the gun. 

That being said, there’s nothing especially hard about loading this magazine into the grip on the Springfield Hellcat Pro.

Overall Ergonomics

Overall, the ergonomics of this gun are pretty darn good. As I said earlier, they’ll work for a large variety of hand sizes. 

My biggest complaint is probably the slide stop being just a bit too small for a gun of this size.

Trigger

The trigger on the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro is identical to that of the standard Hellcat. 

You might see a slight difference between guns, but that’s just going to be manufacturing tolerance stacking, not actual significant design changes. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Trigger

The trigger on the Hellcat Pro has a dingus or trigger safety that you must disengage. 

After disengaging that, you’ll feel a light pull and take up that builds as you reach a wall. Once you reach that wall, you’ll start to feel some creep and then a fairly stiff break. 

If you like having a stiff break on your trigger, you’ll really like the Hellcat trigger. 

It doesn’t roll in any way whatsoever. (Personally, I prefer a rolling break on my self-defense triggers, but your mileage may vary.)

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The reset on it is fairly authoritative and goes right back to that wall. You’ll feel that little bit of creep again right before the trigger breaks.

Aesthetics Springfield Hellcat Pro Review

Aesthetically, the Springfield Hellcat Pro is a well-proportioned, good-looking gun. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Right angled

It’s not going to win any contest as far as being the sexiest gun out there, but it definitely looks good enough. 

It’s on par with your typical polymer striker-fired handgun. 

Sights

From the factory, the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro comes with a front night sight and a regular rear iron sight. 

The rear sight has a white outline in a U notch while the front sight has a bright yellow ring around the tritium vial. I really like this standard sight package.

Springfield Hellcat Pro Sight Picture

The Hellcat Pro uses standard Sig Sauer-cut sights, so you can replace these with almost any others out there designed for a Sig cut. 

That means lots of aftermarket options. 

However, the iron sights on this gun are so good that most people won’t want to replace them unless there are just others out there that you prefer more.

Red-Dot

Another nice feature on the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro is the factory-standard red-dot cut. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro

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Springfield used the same red-dot cut for the Pro that they used on the original Hellcat OSP, which is designed off the Shield RMSC footprint. 

One thing I don’t like about the optic cut is that they’ve got two little front knobs that make this cut incompatible with the Holosun 507K. The Holosun 507kis a considerably better optic than the Springfield Wasp series that the company offers directly. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Optic Cut

It’s also better than the Shield RMSC that this was originally designed for. The holosun mounting pattern is identical to the hellcat minus the 2 nubs.

When you run the Springfield Hellcat Pro with the Holosun 507K, you have to get an adapter plate. That adapter plate pushes the height of the optic up just slightly and also adds additional cost. 

One nice thing is that you don’t have to replace the iron sight to get a co-witness. These iron sights just barely co-witness through the window on the Holosun 507K using the CHPWS mount. 

Shooting Springfield Hellcat Pro Review

Shooting the Hellcat Pro, I was somewhat disappointed. 

This gun has a lot more recoil than I was expecting for its size. It shoots more like a standard Hellcat than a larger gun like one of Springfield’s XDMs or a Glock 19. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro

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I was really hoping this gun would run smoother, so that’s left me somewhat disappointed. 

I really think they could do a little more work on the recoil spring assembly just to get this gun smoothed out a little bit. 

That said the full-length grip is a major asset. This gun is still very shootable.

Aftermarket

Accessories can be a great gift for the gun owner in your life, but the Springfield Hellcat Pro at the time of this review is relatively new, so there aren’t a lot of aftermarket options out there for it yet. 

That said, you do have a couple of red-dots that’ll fit. The iron sight means it’s compatible with a lot of other iron sights out there on the market. 

There really aren’t a lot of aftermarket upgrades you would want to make to this gun, but you can replace the trigger shoe on it and there are some holster options out there.

One thing to be aware of with the Springfield Hellcat Pro is it does not fit in standard Hellcat RDP holsters. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Right

The guns are similar in length, so I was really hoping that would fit. 

The Pro has a rail on it that makes the size very close but not close enough to get a good fit. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro

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The nice thing about the rail on the Hellcat Pro is its ability to accept multiple lights. 

I will caution you, however, that you want to make sure that there is a holster available for your chosen light-gun combo before making that final light decision.

Maintenance

Maintaining this gun is quite easy—all you have to do is clear the gun to make sure it’s safe. After that, take the empty magazine out, lock the slide back, and rotate the takedown lever up. 

Springfield Hellcat Pro Takedown Lever

Once you do that, you can drop the slide. 

You’ll have to dry fire to pull it off, but once you do, the slide comes right off and you can just disassemble the gun as normal. It’s an easy gun to clean with a well-thought-out design.

Springfield Hellcat Pro Takendown

Final Thoughts Springfield Hellcat Pro Review

Overall, I really do like the format and size of the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro but am disappointed with the optic-mounting situation. 

I really wish they hadn’t included those two front knobs on the optics cut. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro

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The size of this gun is just about perfect for concealed carry. Holding 15 rounds in a package this size is really nice. It comes with a great set of iron sights out of the box. 

The only thing that keeps this gun from becoming a carry gun for me is the recoil impulse. The Pro just has a little more recoil than I would expect for a gun its size. 

That being said, for the money, it really is hard to beat this gun. 

If you want a slim, 15-round, red-dot-compatible gun out of the box, you can’t beat the Hellcat Pro. 

All you have to do is buy an adaptor plate, throw on a Holosun 507 or 407K, and you’re ready to roll. There’s no other gun out there on the market right now that holds 15 rounds and is this small that can say that. 

Let us know your thoughts on the Springfield Hellcat Pro Review below.

3 Replies to “Springfield Hellcat Pro Review”

  1. G WHITEY says:

    Nice firearm…with one problem. The slide release, along with being small and sharp as you noted, is VERY hard to move down. A thumb generally will NOT do it. Often, a right hander must use the left thumb to push down. It is either a too strong spring, the lock should be tapered, or too deep a cut in the slide. BUT….I noticed that it is very hard to release the slide when the mag is empty. but easier when a shell is in it. Inspection shows what when the mag is empty, the top left shoulder or the plastic in the mag, pushes up on the release spring/arm. With no mag/or the mag dropped 1/8 “ or a mag with a shell (the shell lowers the shoulder off of the spring) there is little pressure and the slide can be easily released with the right thumb. To solve this, I took one of my mags and filed/cut some of the shoulder down so there is less pressure on the release. Made a huge difference. I will have to do more mags.

  2. Designed to offer the best of both worlds, the Hellcat Pro delivers full-size performance in a concealable, EDC-ready package.

  3. Greg Westbrook says:

    Had my HellCat Pro OSP nibs milled down by a gun shop. The Holosun 407k fits flush with no adapters and cowitnesses well with this slight mod. $30 bucks, The Rock Guns in Fayetteville, NC. I like Olights, and holsters for this combo are non-existent, a down side. Mags are expensive, but well built with mostly stainless at $45 each, and no aftermarket to date. It is snappy, but the good grip texture helps and I have modified my hold to compensate. It shoots accurate, but not as well as my Glock G45, I think I’m anticipating the recoil though and working on technique. It would be interesting to check it in a vice and compare to another make/model.

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