Springfield Armory Hellcat (MSRP: $569)
While there’s a lot to say about the Springfield Armory Hellcat, one of the most crucial aspects of any handgun--but especially a personal-defense firearm--is its shootability. If we judged the Hellcat by initial impressions only, its size is an indicator that the gun is going to be fairly snappy. However, this ultra-compact, double-stack pistol is far more controllable and comfortable to shoot than you might think, in part because of Springfield’s proprietary Adaptive Grip Texture. Aside from the grip’s texture pattern, the grip itself further contributes to how easily a handgun of this size can be managed.
Where the Hellcat is larger than a single-stack gun, it takes up more surface area in the hand, dispersing recoil across a larger section of your palm. However, it’s not quite as wide as most other double-stack pistols, so it still fits nicely even in smaller hands. What’s more, those with larger hands will appreciate the fact that Springfield ships a flush magazine with either a flat floorplate or a pinky rest. There’s also an extended magazine which adds two rounds to the capacity as well as half an inch to the gun’s overall height, and gives some users much-needed extra real estate for a full grip.
One other benefit that isn’t often found in handguns as compact as the Hellcat is an optic cut for a red-dot sight. While the Hellcat is quite small, it still manages to use a slide that’s wide enough to mount an optic. While there’s nothing wrong with the sights on the gun, the fact that the OSP model is red-dot-ready definitely ups the gun’s ease of use, and it only adds a modest premium compared to the standard Hellcat. If you’re not planning on adding a red dot sight to your Hellcat, you can opt for the model without the cut and save $30…
Exarchy Holster Co. Omega Series (MSRP: $115)
The Hellcat is a thin gun, especially considering its capacity. So why add unnecessary, bulky material to a gun built for CCW? That’s one thing that makes horsehide an ideal leather-working material. Typically thinner than most other hides used in producing leather, such as steer hide, it work better for CCW products such as holsters, mag carriers, wallets and other leather-based products, as it’s more concealable. Another benefit, is that horsehide is typically more rigid than cowhide; since it doesn’t flex, it’s more durable as a load-bearing material. This property also means it’s more resistant to wear. And because the pores are smaller, horsehide products tend to require less maintenance to keep the leather in working condition, and are more resistant to moisture, to boot.
While the Hellcat isn’t a terribly heavy gun, its small size doesn’t leave much room to spread that weight out. Exarchy Holster Co.'s hybrid Omega holster, the company’s premium model, brings the best of both kydex and leather to one single unit. Because the horsehide isn’t as porous as steerhide, it holds up against sweat and the oils our bodies naturally produce. The Omega can be worn appendix IWB, strong-side hip IWB, back-of-hip IWB, strong-side hip OWB, or back-of-hip OWB. In other words, it can be worn nearly anywhere.
The Omega can be adjusted for both ride height and cant, and retention is increased or decreased via one of the screws holding the clip in place. The discerning eye will notice that the clips on this specific model are intended to ride on the actual waist of your pants and be hidden by a belt, though others can be purchased and installed on the holster. The entire package includes clips and screw options, your choice of left- or right-handed draw and color of kydex, and choice of leather material and leather color, all at no extra cost. If you decide to mount a light or a laser to your Hellcat, Exarchy can form the Omega series to accommodate those accessories as well. To make the most of your Omega holster, Exarchy offers a full line of aftermarket parts for the holster, including a plethora of clip options, concealment wings of various styles and other accessories.
Kramer Single Magazine Pouch (MSRP: $56)
For the same reasons it makes for a good holster material, horsehide can also be turned into a great magazine pouch. The single magazine pouch from Kramer Leather is available in black and mahogany colors if crafted from horsehide leather, and one color in steerhide.
The mag pouch is designed for weak side, vertical carry, with the bullets facing forward. Enough of the magazine extends above the pouch to provide a quick, smooth draw. Users can even index the magazine by placing their index finger along the un-stitched front edge of the pouch.