Firearm: Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro (MSRP: $634)
Springfield Armory’s brand-new Hellcat Pro should look rather familiar. It expands the popular Hellcat pistol line to bring a slightly larger version to market, being more the size of a compact than a subcompact pistol. The Hellcat Pro features a 4.8-inch height, 15-round flush-fit magazine and 3.7-inch barrel, and to put things in perspective, this means it is .6 inch shorter in overall length,.2 inch shorter in height and 2.6 ounces lighter than a Glock G19. 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.
But, folks are more likely to compare the Hellcat Pro to the original Hellcat. Here, the 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 small 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 holsters for the Hellcat, even those with open muzzle designs. 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 original Hellcat will fit in the Pro’s holsters (at least those that we’ve had the opportunity to check).
In the end, the Hellcat Pro is another option, and more options are a good thing. It’s a little harder to carry than the original Hellcat, but a little 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 Pro.
Holster: Crucial Concealment Covert IWB (MSRP: $65.99)
One of the companies that is making holsters for the Hellcat Pro is Crucial Concealment, and we have their Ambi Covert IWB as part of this kit. This holster offers single-sheet kydex construction, screw-adjustable retention and an optics cut. It is also fully ambidextrous, with matching clip holes on both sides of the kydex, Simply unbolt the screws, flip the holster over and attach on the other side, and now it’s set up for lefties.
Other than handedness, the cant is also adjustable, depending on whether you prefer a straight drop for appendix carry or a slight angle for traditional inside-the-waistband. There’s a generous sight channel for taller sights and a medium sweat guard. One word on the sweat guard, though. Since it’s ambidextrous, it presents a somewhat narrow opening for reholstering. This is just one of the many reasons we stress slow, careful reholstering.
Accessory: Springfield Armory Hex Wasp Red Dot (MSRP: $299)
Since we’re running a brand-new Springfield Armory pistol with an optics cut, it made sense to add an optic, right? And, since Springfield Armory just happens to have optics available, we figured we’d add a Hex Wasp red-dot sight. With a 3.25-MOA red dot, auto-dimming sensor and claimed 65,000-hour battery life, it’s an excellent complement to the new Hellcat Pro.
With an aluminum housing and glass lens, the Wasp is rugged and water resistant to IPX7 standards. It runs on a common CR2032 battery, which is located on the bottom of the unit as are most optics of this size. Again, this means the Wasp will need to be removed to change the battery, so it might be a better idea to torque the sight down rather than Loctite it. The Wasp uses the standard RMS footprint, and Springfield Armory even provides two sets of screws.