I Carry: Springfield Armory Hellcat Pistol in a N8 Tactical KO-1 Holster

posted on January 8, 2021

Firearm: Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP (MSRP: $599) 

Springfield Armory’s Hellcat OSP is the latest in a relatively new category, the micro-double-stack pistol. Certainly, examples like the Kel-Tec P11 have existed for years, but until SIG Sauer released the P365, interest had been more muted. Springfield Armory wasted no time adding the Hellcat to this burgeoning class of pistols, and no doubt added a bit of literal one-upmanship in the amount of ammunition it carries. With the flush-fit magazine, you have a total of 12 rounds; with the slightly extended version you’ve got a total of 14. That’s getting awfully close to the standard capacity of a bunch of guns significantly larger than the Hellcat, and in each case it’s one more round than the P365 carries 

But, it’s not just the surprising capacity that makes the Hellcat worth a look. Moderately aggressive texturing surrounds the grip, keeping the small pistol anchored in the hand. This extends to molded sections just above the end of the trigger guard that present a tactile area to rest the trigger finger when not shooting. Springfield Armory put some thought in the sights, too – either a bright, fiber-optic pipe or a tritium lamp surrounded by a luminescent ring are available, both in the standard version and in the optics-ready OSP configuration. 

As you can tell, today’s kit includes a Shield RMS2 red-dot sight that makes use of the OSP configuration. This mitigates one of the common problems facing pistols with short barrels--the diminished sight radius. With the shorter barrel required for the small pistol, there’s a lot less room for error when lining up the front sight with the rear; adding a red-dot sight changes that paradigm. Find the dot, and you’re on target. Between the red-dot sight that simplifies the sight picture and the extended magazine that gives a full grip, the Hellcat is more than just a “quick trip” option – it’s one you can carry all the time and not feel like you’re compromising. 

That’s probably the strongest point in favor of the Hellcat and pistols like it. It’s one thing to favor a full-size pistol over a tiny, flyweight .380 ACP that’s hard to aim; it’s another thing entirely when the difference boils down to two to four rounds of ammo. The Hellcat doesn’t have to be an occasional carry piece; it truly can be a pistol you can rely on day-in, day-out. 

Holster: N8 Tactical KO-1 (MSRP: $34.95) 

One of the big advantages to the Hellcat is its small size that allows it to be carried easily without adding a tremendous amount of bulk to your everyday life. The N8 Tactical KO-1 holster is an excellent complement to this minimalist mindset, offering a taco-style Kydex holster with a thin profile, multiple attachment options, adjustable cant and ride height in addition to a budget-friendly price. 

The particular model we have today has N8 Tactical’s standard belt clip, but an EZ Clip version is available for a $5.95 upcharge. Also available for those who prefer them is a ModWing to assist in carrying appendix-style, for an additional $8.95. It’s even relieved to accept a mounted red-dot optic. Despite the upgraded components, the KO-1 is still quite affordable and comes with both a two-week trial period as well as a lifetime warranty.  

Knife: Kershaw Link (MSRP: $79.99) 

Every EDC kit needs a good knife, and the Link from Kershaw is an excellent example. Featuring Kershaw’s proprietary SpeedSafe assisted-opening mechanism, the Link opens quickly and easily by way of a flipper projection off the back of the knife. A liner lock keeps the blade open when in use, and can be closed with one hand almost as easily as the Link can be opened. The 420HC steel, 3 ¼-inch blade wears a black-oxide finish, and this particular model has gray, aluminum scales. 

As with many of Kershaw’s offerings, the Link is available in numerous configurations. Blades can be had in tanto or drop-point styles with or without serrations. Scales come in black, gray and green, and the pocket clip can be swapped for left- or right-pocket carry, but only in tip-up configuration.

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