Firearm: Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP (MSRP: $899)
New for 2021 is Springfield Armory's updated Hellcat RDP (Rapid Defense Package) with several new additions and upgrades. Some are obvious, while others are slightly less evident. Clearly, the most notable additions to the Hellcat platform are the new Hex Wasp red-dot sight we’ll cover separately and the single-port compensator. To answer the two most obvious questions that accompany the compensator: Yes, and maybe. Yes, it uses an included threaded barrel (standard 1/2X28 TPI, so it works with 9 mm suppressors, too), and maybe the compensator and barrel will be available separately at some point in the future.
The compensator has a really interesting engineering point. It is a self-indexing design that does not require a setscrew or shims to install, relying rather on a ratchet-like device that allows rapid attachment or removal. The threaded barrel adds .8 inch to the barrel length, and the compensator adds an inch to the Hellcat’s overall length. The comp has a single port pointed skyward that helps reduce muzzle rise and shot-to-shot times.
The two not-so-obvious changes are in the second generation trigger, which is slightly recontoured for better shooting ergonomics and the manual safety. Available as an option, those that prefer a manual safety may now choose this version of the Hellcat as their everyday carry pistol. If you don’t require a manual safety, that option remains as well.
Otherwise, this is a standard Springfield Armory Hellcat. It has the same sights, magazines, grip texture, etc. as the previous iteration. Like the existing Hellcat, the RDP is presently only available in 9 mm. This package rolls a new red-dot sight, a new threaded barrel, a new single-port compensator, an upgraded trigger and adds a manual safety to what is already a pretty solid EDC handgun. Between the compensator and upgraded trigger, it’s obvious that Springfield Armory has put significant thought into what could make shooting the Hellcat better, in addition to carrying it.
Optic: Springfield Armory Hex Wasp (MSRP: $299)
Also new for 2021 is Springfield Armory’s Hex line of red-dot sights. In addition to the full-size Dragonfly red-dot, there’s also the micro Wasp dot that comes with the Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP and is available separately as well. Designed for the Shield RMS footprint, common to micro-pistols like the Hellcat, SIG Sauer P365 XL and optics-ready Smith & Wesson Shields, the new Wasp incorporates robust construction with an aluminum body and glass lens along with a 3.5-MOA dot, auto-dimming technology and an estimated 2-year battery life.
One of the interesting design features of the new Wasp red-dot sight is the forward-leaning lens cover. Springfield Armory designed this as a hedge against scratching the glass, along with the existing scratch-resistant coating. It also allows for racking of the slide using the edge of the sight without worrying about potential damage, even if only one hand is available. It’s another thoughtful design point aimed at improving the concealed-carry experience. The Wasp is water resistant to IPX7 standards and weighs .7 ounce.
Owing to the recent release of the Hellcat RDP and the addition of the compensator, we needed a Hellcat-ready holster with an open muzzle design. Fortunately, the Baby Appendix Carry holster from Kinetic Concealment is just such a setup, with a hybrid leather-back, kydex shell design we’ve covered in the past. The stiff leather back of the design is covered with neoprene for greater comfort, while the precision-molded kydex shell keeps the pistol firmly anchored.
We’ve pointed out in similarly designed holsters to be aware that the leather backing, over time, may lose some integrity due to moisture and could potentially interfere with reholstering; however, because of the small size of the Hellcat, and the concomitant small size of the sweat guard, this is unlikely to present an issue with this setup. A single plastic clip allows for quick attachment and removal of the rig from the belt, making it a good option for a “grab-and-go” setup.