Firearm: Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP (MSRP: $633)
We’re returning to the Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP in this week’s episode to highlight its potential as a backup or deep concealment option. As more and more models become available in the micro-9mm double-stack pistol market, with longer barrels, full-size grips and optics cuts, one of the original design parameters tends to get overlooked: the small size of these guns. With a double-stack magazine, these pistols aren’t much larger than a five-shot J-frame revolver or 7-round .380 ACP, but with 11 or 12 rounds of 9 mm on hand.
After the proliferation of micro-9mm double-stack pistols, it wasn’t long before the highly competitive nature of the handgun market kicked in. Pretty much every one of the micro-9s had an optics-cut variant available; some added compensators and/or extended magazines. Before you knew it, these guns started getting bigger, in the overall length, the grip or even both. It made sense, in that adding a powered optic meant the gun was no longer a good candidate for pocket carry; since it was going to be carried on a belt regardless, why not make it a little bigger to aid in shooting?
In the case of Springfield’s micro pistol, the Hellcat Pro version was added to the family, bringing a 15-round flush-fit magazine and, later, a slightly extended 17-round option. It’s slightly longer and taller, and more or less expected that a powered optic would be added. What if you had originally bought a Hellcat for the concealability, but then upgraded to the Pro? Well, you’ve got just about the perfect combination for a primary and secondary defensive handgun arrangement. The standard Hellcat fits easily in a pocket or other deep-concealment option, like an ankle holster, and it takes the same magazines as the Pro. Carry the Pro as a primary, rely on the standard for backup use.
No matter how you plan on carrying the standard Hellcat, though, it’s still a rock-solid choice. With 11 rounds in the flush fitting magazine, and the capability to accept extended 13-, 15- and even 17-round variants from the Hellcat Pro, it’s certainly got the capacity. Size is about middle-of-the-road for micro-9mm double-stack pistols: 3-inch barrel, 6-inch overall length, 4-inch height with flush magazine, 1-inch width and 17.9-ounce weight. It’s easy to conceal and, with the extended magazine, fairly easy to shoot. It’s even available in Flat Dark Earth if you’d prefer your handgun in “tactical dirt” rather than black. It’s another option, which is always a good thing.
Holster: Galco Ankle Glove (MSRP: $179)
Galco’s Ankle Glove holster, new for the Hellcat, superbly complements the Hellcat. While carrying a firearm in an ankle holster means it takes longer to access the firearm, the upside is that concealment is excellent, and the pistol is more accessible from seated positions, such as when driving or sitting at a desk. If you’re not experienced with ankle carry, especially retrieving the pistol from the holster, it would be an excellent idea to seek out dedicated instruction, or at least integrate a significant level of dry practice before going live.
Galco’s Ankle Glove holster is constructed from premium steerhide and offers sheepskin padding to cushion the ankle from the firearm. Sturdy hook-and-loop material keeps the holster firmly in place, while a leather retention strap with a reinforced thumbbreak helps maximize retention. Unfortunately for lefties, the Ankle Glove is only available for right-handed shooters, and it’s only available in black. A number of firearm fits are available for other semi-autos and revolvers.
Accessory: PowerTac E10 G4 flashlight (MSRP: $79.95)
A sturdy light is an excellent addition to anyone’s everyday gear, and in keeping with the smaller theme of today’s kit, we’ve opted for the PowerTac E10 G4 flashlight. Low, medium and high settings are available, with output from 19 to 600 lumens, as well as a super-low “firefly” setting of .4 lumen and a “turbo” setting of 1,200 lumens. There’s even a strobe feature for emergency situations. All settings are toggled by holding the power button in until the appropriate level is reached, and the light remembers what setting it was last on—if you change it to the medium setting, for example, it will turn back on to that level rather than reverting to something else.
The E10 G4 has two really neat features. First, as we’ve covered previously, is the charging system. Rather than removable batteries or a USB-cable, PowerTac uses a proprietary magnetic charging cable. Plug the cable into any standard USB plug, then attach the magnetic portion to the corresponding area of the flashlight. The power button glows red until the battery is at full charge, which is super easy and convenient. Second, the clip on the E10 G4 allows it to be clipped to the brim of a hat for hands-free operation. This is great if you’re cooking outdoors at night or making emergency repairs on a car at the side of the road.