I Carry: Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP Pistol in a Galco Holster

Today on I Carry we have a Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP pistol in a Galco Holster with an Ontario Knife Company pocketknife.

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posted on December 16, 2022

Firearm: Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP (MSRP: $620)

We’re taking another look at the Springfield Armory Hellcat 9 mm double-stack micro-9 mm handgun today as a backup or deep-concealment option. When the Hellcat first arrived on the scene in the late 20-teens, it represented one of the very first optics-ready micro-9 mm double-stack pistols. This brought about a sea change in the small, pocket-ready 9 mm pistols, in that the micro-red-dot optic helped overcome one of the big obstacles, namely the short sight radius of these small handguns.

This short sight radius translates into a pistol that’s more challenging to shoot accurately than a larger pistol, in that small deviations from the perfect alignment of front and rear sights translate into larger misses compared to a pistol with a longer sight radius. Adding a micro-red-dot sight obviates this problem, as the dot need only be superimposed on the target for proper alignment. However, adding a dot – even a micro-size dot – pretty much excludes the pistol from any sort of pocket carry.

And that’s a shame, because the Hellcat is perfectly sized to be carried in a pocket. The 3-inch barrel translates into an overall length of just 6 inches, with a height of just 4 inches with the flush-fit magazine. Oh, and that magazine contains 11 rounds of 9 mm, for a total on-board capacity of a dozen rounds, nearly twice as much as single-stack offerings. Weight is 17.9 ounces with the flush-fit magazine, certainly fit to carry in a pocket. Larger capacity magazines are available, of course, with 13- and 15- round variants offered by Springfield Armory, but these will complicate pocket carry somewhat.

Why pocket carry? There are many reasons, but two that spring prominently to mind are deep concealment, especially if a cover garment is impractical, and in a back-up capacity. As the weather gets colder, our outerwear gets bulkier and layers get added, meaning it takes more time to get to the pistol carried on the belt. One way to circumvent this is to carry a backup in the front pocket of the outermost layer. With the Hellcat, you could carry a Hellcat Pro with an optic as a primary and the regular Hellcat as a backup. The Hellcat can use the Pro’s magazines, and both have the same feel in the hand and general shooting characteristics, definitely a plus when considering a backup/primary gear situation.

 

Holster: Galco Front Pocket Horsehide Holster (MSRP: $76)

While the Hellcat is a tad on the larger side for pocket carry, given a proper pocket holster like Galco’s Front Pocket Horsehide Holster it can be managed. A rough, horsehide outer construction anchors the holster in the pocket, and the smooth interior facilitates a smooth, rapid drawstroke. The Front Pocket Horsehide holster also keeps the pistol properly oriented in the pocket while completely covering and protecting the trigger and trigger guard.

A common obstacle encountered with pocket carry is drawing the pistol quickly and efficiently without launching the holster on the draw. The Front Pocket Horsehide holster works to prevent this in two ways: first, in the rough outer layer that provides friction in the pocket, and second with the double-hook shape designed to catch pocket edges. As with much in life, with some practice, it can be easily accomplished.

 

Knife: Ontario Knife Company Ti22 Equinox (MSRP: $137.95)

Since we’re focusing on pocket carry, we’ve opted for the Ontario Knife Company Ti22 Equinox pocketknife to round out this kit. Slim, light and easy to deploy with one hand, the Ti22 Equinox features a 3-inch, S35VN-steel blade with a tanto profile and black powder coat finish. Scales are titanium as the “Ti” in the name suggests, and the knife is opened via a flipper mechanism and kept open via a frame lock.

In addition to being lightweight at only .15 ounce, the Equinox can be configured for tip-up or tip-down carry. The thin pocket clip is nicely rounded to minimize catching and flared outward to allow for easy clipping to a front pocket. Despite the smooth appearance of the titanium scales, the Equinox allows excellent purchase, with ergonomic contours and slight jimping on the blade to direct the hand.

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