First Look: Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro Pistol

Springfield Armory took its Hellcat and made it… bigger.

by
posted on March 4, 2022
pistol with red dot facing right

Springfield Armory’s brand-new Hellcat Pro should look rather familiar. It builds on the supremely popular Hellcat pistol to offer a slightly larger variant. It’s more on the size of a compact than a subcompact, featuring a 4.8-inch height, 15-round flush-fit magazine and 3.7-inch barrel. To put things in perspective, it’s .6 inch shorter in overall length and .2 inch shorter in height than a Glock G19, and weighs 2.6 ounces less. Unless the shooter has exceptionally large hands, a full three-finger grip can be achieved on the Hellcat Pro without use of a magazine extension.

Comparing it to the original Hellcat, though, is interesting. The Hellcat Pro is only .6 inch longer in overall length, .8 inch taller and weighs 3.1 ounces more than the standard Hellcat. Width is the same, and the two pistols are pretty much identical other than in size—they both have the same grip texturing, sights, OSP optics cut, slide serrations, etc. There are two differences (beyond size) between the Hellcat and the Hellcat Pro: The Pro offers a Gen 3 trigger compared to the Hellcat’s Gen 2, and the Hellcat Pro has a stubby accessory rail at the end of the dustcover for micro lights, lasers or combination accessories.

That little section of rail, however, brings up another item of which to be aware: The Hellcat Pro will not necessarily fit existing (open muzzle) holsters for the Hellcat. The rail section changes the overall dimensions just enough that precision-molded holsters will be too tight. Springfield Armory has worked with several holster manufacturers to provide holsters for the Hellcat Pro, and the Hellcat will fit in the Pro’s holsters (at least all that we’ve had the opportunity to check).

two pistols with red dot sights facing right
The Hellcat Pro is slightly larger than the standard Hellcat, but not by much.

 

So, the real question is, why would Springfield Armory take one of the defining, winning features of the Hellcat—its small size—and make it larger? Well, the reality of life is that, with few exceptions, the original Hellcat is not really small enough to fit in most pockets (and certainly not with a red-dot sight attached). It’s going to be carried on a belt. Given that, why not have a gun you can get a full three-finger grip on? As for the extra overall length? It’s below the belt line, so it’s pretty easy to hide. The grip is longer, yes, but it’s really about the same as the regular Hellcat with the extended 13- or 15-round magazines. The Hellcat Pro is still quite easy to conceal, certainly more so than larger, “compact” size handguns.

Should you opt for the Hellcat Pro over the standard Hellcat? That’s a personal question, and really can best be solved by shooting each of the two pistols. The Hellcat Pro is almost certainly going to be easier to shoot, between the longer barrel for extra sight radius and the full grip. As for price, well, the Hellcat Pro is a whopping $14 more than the standard Hellcat OSP (since the Hellcat Pro is only available with an optics cut, it’s only fair to compare price with the OSP). Price is unlikely to be the deciding factor in choosing between the two handguns.

In the end, the Hellcat Pro is another option, and more options are a good thing. It’s slightly harder to carry than the original Hellcat, but slightly easier to shoot. That’s more or less a universal tradeoff—easy to conceal vs. easy to shoot—and Springfield Armory has cleverly narrowed the gap considerably with the Hellcat Pro. Everything that made the original Hellcat such a hit, from the adaptive grip texture to the excellent U-Notch rear sight/tritium front sight, is present in the Hellcat Pro.

 

Specifications

Manufacturer: Springfield Armory; (800) 680-6866, springfield-armory.com
Action Type: Striker-fired, semi-automatic
Caliber: 9 mm
Capacity: 15+1 rounds
Frame: Polymer
Slide: Billet-machined, Melonite finish
Barrel Length: 3.7 inches
Sights: U-Notch rear sight; Tritium/luminescent front sight
Length: 6.6 inches
Width: 1 inch
Height: 4.8 inches
Weight: 21 ounces
Accessories: Soft case, two 15-round magazines, magazine loader, cable lock
MSRP: $634 (red-dot optic sold separately)

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