When Springfield Armory introduced its Hellcat in early fall of 2019, it was relatively late in entering the sub-compact, double-stack game favored for concealed carry and self-defense. The company’s competitors had a huge head start, and its models had been selling well for years. Springfield pressed on with the new gun design despite the seemingly insurmountable challenge, and somehow kept the project a corporate secret for the nearly two years it took to develop.
Early feedback was glowing for the Hellcat. Response from enthusiasts proved equally positive and the handguns sold fast. Last year, only the first full 12-month period it was available, it claimed third-place honors on GunBroker.com’s annual list of top-selling semi-auto pistols. There’s good reason for the enviably fast climb toward the top, too.
American Rifleman received an early model for testing and review. The story explains the Hellcat is not a version of the company’s already popular XD line, but something all new that just happens to be the “…highest capacity micro-compact 9 mm handgun in the world.”
As for ergonomics, reliability and accuracy, American Rifleman concluded, “After shooting the gun and living with it, even for a short time, I can say with confidence that I want one, and I want it yesterday. The standard Hellcat is slated to wear an MSRP of $569, so the gun is going to be priced competitively at retail. Better still, the OSP [optics ready] model is only $30 more—that’s the option I’d go with.”
All Hellcats are chambered in 9 mm and have a 3-inch barrel. The pistol measures only 1-inch wide and unloaded tips the scales at a feathery 18.3 ounces. Standard magazine capacity is 11, but the guns ship with an extended version that runs the count up to 13. Overall length is 6 inches, and height comes in at 4.
Add a reversible magazine release, loaded-chamber indicator, rail, top slide serrations and hammer-forged barrel and the Hellcat has all the touches we’ve come to expect from Springfield. A tritium and luminescent front sight works in concert with a Tactical Rack U-Dot at the rear to ensure fast target acquisition.
Springfield Armory has introduced a number of variants since its introduction, including state-regulation-compliant models that ship with 10-round magazines. FDE coloration has joined the original offering of black, with or without optic-ready slides. There’s even one with a manual safety. Starting MSRP hasn’t budged from $569, but they run up to $643 in the basic line.
For $799 you can also take home a Hellcat with a nicely matching Shield SMSC red-dot optic. The new RDP model is top of the line, though. It ships with a compensator and a HEX red-dot optic. It sets you back a still-reasonable $899.