Most people are familiar with Springfield Armory’s Hellcat pistol; of all the new micro-9 mm double stack pistols released in the past 5 years, the Hellcat is second in seniority only to the pistol that started the craze, the SIG Sauer P365. Designed to literally one-up the P365, the Hellcat offers 11+1 round capacity with its flush-fit magazine, and has extended 13- and 15-round magazines available as well. With the OSP configuration, a micro-red-dot sight can be added to further enhance the utility of this small pistol.
Along the way, though, the Hellcat really started coming into its own. First, Springfield Armory upped the ante with the RDP package, offering a threaded barrel, compensator and Wasp red-dot sight. More recently, we’re starting to see more and more aftermarket support, with trigger upgrades from Apex and holster fits from some of the smaller manufacturers just the tip of the aftermarket iceberg. It’s definitely one of the signs that a gun has arrived when aftermarket upgrades and accessories start showing up.
One reason to consider the micro-9 mm double-stack class of pistols centers on the overall usefulness of this niche. With capacity pretty close to that of a significantly larger handgun, along with the ability to add a red-dot sight, two of the biggest drawbacks to smaller pistols can be ameliorated. When a subcompact single stack pistol holds 6 or 7 rounds compared to 15 to 17, that’s a pretty big difference in capacity. Change that to 11 or 12, it gets better; using the slightly extended 13-round magazine in the Hellcat puts you down only 2 rounds from the G19. With the dot, the smaller sight radius of the Hellcat is no longer a concern in making accurate shots.
With a red dot added to the gun, it’s going to be pretty much relegated to inside the waistband carry. Using a slightly larger magazine, then, isn’t going to hinder concealment – although be careful with the Hellcat and cover garments. The aggressive texture that makes it easier to control also tends to grab cover garments. If you’re planning on a sweatshirt or fleece to cover your holstered Hellcat, it’s something to keep in mind. Not a dealbreaker by any stretch, just something of which to be aware.
I’ve made no secret of my affinity for PHLster Holsters. Its products are super-high quality, comfortable to wear all day long and represent an exceptional value. When I heard PHLster was making a Skeleton for the Hellcat, that shot up to the top of my “check this out” list.
Offering single-sheet Kydex construction with radiused edges for comfort, the Skeleton is offered as a standalone holster or as part of PHLster’s deep-concealment Enigma system. In the standalone configuration we have here, the Skeleton comes with a Griphook tuckable belt loop and a Modwing to tuck the holster into the body. It’s easy to put on and take off, comfortable enough to wear all day and allows for excellent concealment. All this for $58? Sign me up.
We’ve topped the Hellcat OSP with Shield Sights’ RMSw, the company’s (relatively) new water-resistant micro-red-dot sight. Designed with a waterproof gasket between the unit and the pistol’s slide, Shield Sights claims it is waterproof to 20 meters for up to 30 minutes. No, I have not tested this claim. However, in warmer months I’ve taken off my EDC kit at the end of the day to see a holster and pistol slide that look like they’ve been under water for a while, so water resistance is a definite plus.
The RMSw features a glass lens and aluminum body that has been redesigned for a thicker housing to better resist damage from impacts. It is available with a 4- or 8-MOA dot and weighs .6 ounce including the battery, a single CR2032 that yields up to 3-year life. The RMSw also features automatic brightness adjustment that dims or brightens the dot based on ambient lighting, and uses the standard RMSc footprint common to most small pistols for mounting.