One of the common themes at SHOT 2020 has been pistols for concealed carry—no surprise considering it is one of the fastest-growing areas of interest for firearms owners. Springfield Armory has had a number of options available in this realm, from its tiny 1911-style 911s to its single-stack XD-S and XD-E polymer guns. They were a lot less predictable with their latest offering, the all-new Hellcat series.
When SIG Sauer released the P365 two years ago, their 10- and 12-round magazines were revolutionary for nearly doubling the capacity available in similarly sized micro-compact guns from other manufacturers. While other small pistols have double-digit capacity, especially with extended magazines, they’re generally larger than the 4x6 index card size of the P365…until now.
With the introduction of the Hellcat, the bar has again been raised for miniature concealed-carry guns: the Hellcat ships with a flush-fit 11-round magazine and an extended 13-round magazine. They are available standard with U-Dot tritium night sights, with an MSRP of $599 for either option. The OSP allows, unusually for a gun this size, for direct mounting of an electronic red-dot sight to the slide, allowing for faster and more precise target acquisition than traditional iron sights, especially for the visually challenged.
The Hellcat surprisingly handles and recoils closer to a full-size gun than not. It may not be as enjoyable to rapid-fire a full magazine as a duty handgun, but it’s also not as punishing as most small guns. Keeping a Hellcat on target for fast follow-up shots was also easier than expected for being so diminutive.
Micro-compact carry guns often require compromises in either capacity or shootability for ease of concealment, and Hellcats require neither. With the optics-ready version in particular, the Springfield Hellcat is quite capable and a solid choice for the one-gun-fits-all approach to concealed carry.