I remember when the goal of all new cellphones was to be as compact as possible, even if that meant the buttons were almost impossible to use. Since then, there has been a trend of phones getting bigger, as people are seeing the benefit of choosing added capability instead of convenience. However, the rapid advancement of technology has landed us in a pretty sweet middle ground. Modern cell phones have all of the features we need while staying compact. Everything I just said about phones has been mirrored by the concealable handgun market. With advancements in magazines, belts, and holsters, carrying a larger, more capable firearm has become a more accessible option, and we seem to have landed in that same middle ground. Holding a flush 15 rounds, plus coming with a Picatinny rail, 3.7″ barrel, and an optics-ready slide, this is the new Hellcat Pro from Springfield Armory.
Hellcat @ TFB:
- TFB Review: The Hellcat RDP from Springfield Armory
- Springfield Armory Hellcat Rapid Defense Package (RDP)
- 20K Round Endurance Test Accomplished for the Springfield Hellcat 9mm
The Springfield Hellcat Pro: By the Numbers
- Manufacturer’s Page: https://www.springfield-armory.com/hellcat-series-handguns/hellcat-pro-handguns/
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Capacity: 15+1
- Barrel length: 3.7″
- Overall length: 6.6″
- Height: 4.8″
- Width: 1″
- Weight: 21 oz
- MSRP: $634
A Pro on the Table
I’ve had this gun since late January. After receiving a call from Centennial Gun Club, I zoomed over and picked it up. That night, I began dry firing the pistol to get a feel for what I was working with. When my wife was looking for a concealable handgun, we tried the Hellcat. Though it’s not what she decided on, I remembered liking it. I enjoyed the way the gun felt, specifically the way it filled my palm. The grip was thin but filled my hand. The Hellcat Pro had that same feeling but with the added bonus of a longer grip. The Adaptive Grip Texture is attractive and aggressive without causing discomfort.
The iron sights will be familiar to anyone with Hellcat experience. My copy came with the HEX Wasp installed. This is the slimline option from HEX Optics, the optics division of Springfield Armory. All of this was nice, but I really got excited to hit the range when I felt the Gen3 trigger. This thing feels as sharp as a disapproving glance from my wife when she catches me drinking from the milk carton. I didn’t measure the exact weight of the trigger, and it feels a little heavy, but only right before the break, and that break is nice. Keep in mind that I’m comparing this to other striker-fired triggers, but I’d put this one in the top three stock triggers that I’ve felt.
I was also pleased with the size of the gun. The grip allowed me to get full purchase and the balance felt just right. I was surprised to find how much I liked the index point on the frame of the gun. I didn’t think I’d use it but now I find myself wishing I had one on more pistols.
A Hellcat in the Streets
Carrying the Hellcat Pro was easy, mostly. The width of the gun made it disappear. However, I’m fairly thin (5’9″ 160lbs.) and tend to wear more fitted clothing. The added length in the grip did make the pistol a little more difficult to hide, though not by much. I had two holsters that I used for testing: the BlackPoint Tactical DualPoint 2.0 and the Crucial Concealment Ambi Covert IWB.
I took the Hellcat Pro to my usual testing range at MODTAC Training Group. The sun was shining and snow was still on the ground from the day before. It was a beautiful day for some shooting. Starting with accuracy, I put a couple groups on paper. As you’d expect from any modern firearm, the gun seems more capable than I could ever be. Below was my best one.
Shooting the Hellcat Pro was a blast. The recoil is sharp and quick. Your dot is back where it needs to be rather quickly. Follow-ups on steel were no problem at all. One of the courses of fire I ran ended with two rounds to the head, on paper. From somewhere between 10 and 15 yards, I put the majority of my holes into one of the eyes on the target, with very little effort. Aside from a little extra snap, due to the shorter barrel, I felt like I was shooting a larger-framed handgun.
Of the two holsters that I mentioned above, my preference was the Crucial Concealment. The one from BlackPoint is very nice, but the clip on the Ambi Covert fits my AttackPAK Inner Belt perfectly. Both are very sturdy and comfortable to carry and draw from.
One of my favorite things about a gun this size is that it can serve as your carry gun and as a fun range gun. There is massive value in being able to comfortably use your carry gun in classes and competition, if that’s your bag. The more practice I have with the gun that I’m most likely to actually use, the better. This isn’t something that I’d do with a J-frame. I ran the gun out of an OWB holster on my battle belt and it performed just like my usual full-sized pistol.
Does It Hellcat Like A Pro?
My favorite part of the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro is a difficult thing to decide. There is a lot to like about this gun. If I had to pick one feature, I think it would have to be the trigger. The break is crisp, the reset is where it should be, and the shape is a good blend of a curved and a flat trigger. I found that I was far more consistent in producing good hits than I am with other handguns in this category, and I think the Gen3 trigger was the biggest contributor to this.
I also really love the capacity. Fifteen rounds of 9mm is an outstanding capacity for a factory magazine in a carry gun, and is something that has been ignored by some “perfect” competitors. It puts the pistol more in the realm of full-sized guns than what one typically thinks of as a carry gun. There’s no need to carry a lower-capacity flush-fit magazine and a bigger backup. With just the two provided magazines, you can feel sufficiently protected with 30+1 rounds at the ready.
While the size of this gun is what allows for many of its pluses, I think that it is also the biggest downside. If we’re looking at this purely from a concealed carry perspective, the added length in the grip is the hardest part to conceal. Adding even a half-inch can make a huge difference in how much you may print. I think that the added length, in conjunction with the hard corners of the Hellcat’s lines, makes this pistol a touch harder to conceal.
If, however, we’re looking at the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro from a multi-use perspective, I can’t seem to find anything to complain about. For someone who is looking for a pistol that can do it all, this should definitely be on your list of potentials. Fifteen rounds, a Picatinny rail, optics cut, longer grip, and sweet trigger can easily serve with the same proficiency in your pants or in your home. The first gun I ever bought was a single stack 9mm with a 7+1 capacity, and I’ve been carrying it ever since. This review process was the first time a gun made me think it was probably time to upgrade.
If you would like to read more about the Hellcat Pro, you can check it out on the Springfield Armory website. Be sure you follow them on social media, as well. They can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Watch the video below if you want to see me fall in the snow.
Outdoor photography by Bronson Eguchi.
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