Rifleman Review: Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP

by
posted on April 12, 2023

Editor's note: the Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP in the video above is shown with a Hex Wasp red-dot optic, but Springfield Armory now (early 2023) ships its red-dot-equipped handguns with the Shield RMSc.


When Springfield Armory released its Hellcat micro-compact, it was immediately the most capacity-rich such gun on the market and quickly became one of the dominant platforms sold in this new market of concealed-carry guns. Building on that success, the company developed new models of its Hellcat, one of which is the Hellcat RDP.

upclose image of right side springfield armory hellcat rdp pistol black gun in hands gold ring green shirt midsection view of man

"Springfield Armory recently developed a small concealed-carry pistol called the Hellcat to really take advantage of seeing how much 9 mm they could put into the smallest possible package," said Brian Sheetz, American Rifleman editor in chief. "But now Springfield has upped the ante with a new package. This is called the Hellcat RDP, or Rapid Defense Package."

The Hellcat RDP featured the same barrel length and frame size as the company's original Hellcat, but the addition of a milled slide allowed it to accept an optic. Springfield Armory's original RDP package included the company's own Hex Wasp optic, but the company now ships the RDP and other MRD-equipped pistols from the factory with the Shield Sights RMSc. The other major addition was the inclusion of a threaded barrel topped by a muzzle compensator.

"This is a proprietary Springfield compensator," Sheetz said. "It's self-indexing. It's cut from 8000-series aluminum, and it makes a pistol that was already a pretty easy-to-shoot pistol even easier to shoot."

man on shooting range with Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP pistol black gun with red-dot optic indoors

All of the controls on the Hellcat RDP are the same as those found on Springfield's original Hellcat micro-compact, including a single-sided, push-button magazine release, takedown lever on the left side of the frame, single-sided slide-stop lever and the company's second-generation striker-fired trigger. Additionally, the gun can be purchased with or without a manual safety.

"This particular Hellcat RDP has bilateral safety levers, very positive, and very cleanly incorporated into the design of the pistol and the contours of the pistol, very low-profile," Sheetz said. "This pistol is available without the manual safety, but for those folks who want a little extra protection in terms of when that pistol's holstered and they want to train to release that safety when they draw a pistol, there is a manual safety version available."

Springfield Armory hellcat pro rdp left-side view black pistol on white target with stainless steel double-stack magazine on left slide-mounted optic red dot

Despite the additions, the Springfield Hellcat RDP still provides an easily carried self-defense package that's designed to enhance the capability of armed citizens to protect themselves and their families.

"Even with the compensator and the optic, we're talking about a gun that's 7" long overall and 4.5" tall, and that's with the extended magazine," Sheetz said. "Even more amazing, the Hellcat RDP package, even with these accessories attached, is under 20 ozs. The Hellcat RDP is really the state-of-the-art when it comes to concealed-carry pistols."

To watch complete segments of past episodes of American Rifleman TV, go to americanrifleman.org/artv. For all-new episodes of ARTV, tune in Wednesday nights to Outdoor Channel 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST. 

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