Pistol: Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro FDE (MSRP: $692)
I’ve made no secret about my affinity for the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro pistol. It’s just about the perfect size for a concealed carry handgun you can actually shoot, with a size slightly smaller than the Glock G19 but still allowing a full, three-finger firing grip with the strong hand and plenty of real estate for the support hand, too. With a 3.7-inch barrel, 6.6 inches overall length, 4.8-inch overall height and 21 ounce weight, the Hellcat Pro carries like a subcompact but shoots like a compact. Fifteen rounds in the flush-fitting magazine brings the total capacity to 16 rounds, rivaling guns that are quite a bit larger.
This particular pistol hits on another like of mine: The FDE finish. I can’t explain why, but I’m a fan of the “tactical dirt” on handguns and rifles. It is a purely aesthetic thing, and doesn’t make any difference in how the gun handles, it’s just a personal preference. For those of you out there who share it, there’s now an FDE Hellcat Pro. If you prefer plain black, well, there’s one of those as well.
All Hellcat Pro models come with Springfield Armory’s OSP optics-ready cut in the slide, which accepts optics that use the Shield RMSc footprint. It’s a direct-attach system, so the sight sits as low as possible on the slide. Some additional footprints can be used with adapter plates, such as the Trijicon RMRcc. Should you not be a fan of electro-optics, Springfield has gone with its Tactical Rack U-Notch rear sight and a tritium/luminescent front sight. It makes for a quick sight picture and rapid target acquisition.
In addition to the OSP cut and sights, all Hellcat Pro models come with cocking serrations fore and aft, a short accessory rail on the dustcover for lights and/or lasers and Springfield’s “Adaptive grip texture” that really helps anchor the Hellcat Pro in the hand. It’s a solid choice for a concealed-carry pistol, with a great mix of shootability and ease of concealment. And with the FDE, we now have another choice to consider. That’s a good thing.
Holster: Tulster Profile (MSRP: $69.99); Magazine Carrier: Tulster Echo (MSRP: $39.99)
I wanted to keep the FDE theme, so we’ve opted for Tulster’s Profile holster and Echo magazine carrier, both in FDE, to accompany the Hellcat Pro. The Profile holster is a study in minimalism, with single-sheet Kydex construction, a sturdy polymer belt clip and single-screw retention. The Profile is adjustable for cant, can have Tulster’s SideKick concealment device added for appendix carry, and is available in a variety of color options.
The Echo universal magazine carrier has one of the more ingenious methods for “one size fits most” I’ve seen so far. Rather than rely on screw retention to accommodate double-stack magazines of different widths, the Echo is sized to be wide enough for the largest double-stack 9mm/.40 S&W magazine, and has Tulster’s Mag Retention Device on the side to increase or decrease pressure on the magazine, allowing exactly the right amount to hold the magazine in place while still allowing a rapid reload.
Knife: CRKT Definitive (MSRP: $215)
The new Definitive pocketknife from Columbia River Knife & Tool (better known as CRKT) has something new that really drew me to it for today’s kit. Rather than a liner or frame lock, which require that you put your finger in the way of the blade in order to close it, the Definitive has what CRKT calls its Crossbar lock. To release the blade, simply slide the Crossbar down and the blade can be closed. No need to get your fingers in the way!
The 3.7-inch, 154CM-steel blade wears a stonewash finish and opens via an ambidextrous thumb stud. Scales are G10 and feature lightening cuts, keeping the Definitive’s weight to a mere 3 ounces despite being on the larger size overall, 8.6 inches when open. The handle has a slight curve to position the knife in the hand when in use, and jimping on the back of the blade assists in guiding the blade for cutting tasks. A minimalist pocket clip allows for low-in-the-pocket carry.