5 Reasons Why a Springfield Hellcat Should Be Your First Handgun

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5 Reasons Why a Springfield Hellcat Should Be Your First Handgun

March 27th, 2024

5 minute read

If there is anything gun owners can agree on, it’s that purchasing a handgun for the first time can be daunting. Unlike buying a T-shirt or a piece of furniture, you can’t simply take it back if it’s not a good fit. Plus, not everyone gets to demo a firearm prior to purchase.

Dropping a few hundred dollars on a handgun that may or may not “feel right” when in use quickly leads to buyer’s remorse. I can speak from experience that my first handgun purchase — a lightweight revolver — kicks like a mule and I wince at even the thought of shooting it as an everyday carry gun.

tray with Springfield Hellcat and ammo
Is the Springfield Armory Hellcat the best handgun for first-time buyers? The author thinks so.

This was more than a decade ago and the transaction still haunts me. Had I been given the chance to take it for a spin prior to spending a small fortune on it, I would have likely walked out of the gun store with a completely different handgun.

Luckily, there are many firearm retailers nowadays with an on-site range that have demo guns set aside for prospective gun buyers. These folks, in my opinion, have earned their place in Heaven for their service.

Recently, I had the itch to purchase a new concealed carry handgun since I didn’t have a compact 9mm handgun in my possession.

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to try out the Springfield Hellcat. I was more than impressed and had this handgun been available when younger me was out shopping for guns the first time, this is the one I would have brought home.

author pulling pistol from purse
The author likes the compact nature of the Hellcat. A thin, compact gun can be easy to conceal, while the pistol’s features ensure it remains easy to shoot.

For those that need some convincing, below are five reasons why a Springfield Hellcat should be your first handgun.

Tactical Rack U-Dot Rear Sights & Optics-Ready Design

For starters, I can’t say enough good things about the rear sights. The Tactical Rack U-Dot design neatly cups the bright tritium front sight for quick target acquisition. For those stuck with the square-shaped rear optics which (for some) take up precious milliseconds in lining up perfectly, this is an optimal alternative. A shooter is only as good as their aim, and anything that can seamlessly aid in hitting the target is impeccable in my book. The Springfield Hellcat sights are really great.

Tactical Rack rear sight
The Hellcat has a Tactical Rack rear sight. It allows you to use the edge of a hard object to operate your slide in an emergency.

That being said, I do have to mention the Hellcat’s optics-ready OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) design. The slide is milled so shooters can easily mount a red dot sight if they so choose. For those who love customizing a firearm or who need added optics for either competitive shooting or better performance (or both), the Hellcat more than delivers.

Perfect Size for Concealed Carry

At just 4 inches in height, 6 inches in length, and a mere 1 inch wide, the Hellcat could have been dubbed the “Hellkitten.” Its slim profile prevents printing when carrying concealed and it hardly takes up room in items such as purses for off-body carry. Shooters of all hand sizes (especially ones with petite lady hands like yours truly) can feel comfortable drawing and holstering the Hellcat.

Springfield Armory spent years designing this high-capacity micro compact 9mm and the design is a boon to the concealed carry handgun market.

Innovative Ergonomics

I can’t talk about the Hellcat’s design without mentioning its textured grip and serrated slide. Aside from always minding the Four Rules of Gun Safety, maintaining a firm grip and control over a firearm should be at the forefront of every shooter’s mind. The Springfield Hellcat grip sports the unique Adaptive Grip Texture which amplifies your hold on the firearm. For those that get sweaty palms in high-pressure situations, the grip helps you rise to any challenge.

Adaptive Grip Texture
The Adaptive Grip Texture is able to positively connect the hand and gun for excellent control in all conditions.

Textured grips aside, if there’s one thing I wish all semiautomatic handguns had, it would be effective slide serrations. There’s no shortage of handguns with slides that are hard for me to rack out there — if I have to ask for help when racking the slide, it won’t be coming home with me. Springfield clearly thought of shooters that needed this “helping hand” when designing the Hellcat, and for this I will be eternally grateful.

Capable Ammo Capacity

For those of us that like having choices, you’ll appreciate having the option of carrying an 11- or 13-round magazine. Compared to other micro compact 9mm handguns out there, the ammo capacity is generous. If you’re relying on the Hellcat as an everyday carry gun, you can trust that you’ve got serious backup at the ready.

Unbeatable Performance

Features aside, let’s talk about how the Hellcat performs at the range! I’ve shot many guns in my lifetime and this one is by far one of the more impressive 9mms that I’ve handled.

Hellcat performance
The author found the Hellcat was easy to shoot. She had excellent control of the handgun’s recoil.

I noticed right away how easy it was to maintain control of the Hellcat thanks to its textured grip and the trigger had a perfect pull — not too short and not too long. Personally, I hate hair triggers and I can’t stand triggers that have too lengthy of a pull. Maybe it’s a tactile preference, but that’s my preference and I’m not about to budge on that.

Upon discharge, it’s evident that there’s no shortage of “oomph” with the Hellcat despite its small size. The Hellcat most certainly packs a punch, and it gave me added confidence that it most certainly would make an ideal CCW. As impressed as I was with the Tactical Rack U-Dot rear sight prior to shooting, I was blown away by how easy it allowed me to stay focused on my target.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, folks. There are plenty of reasons to opt for the Springfield Hellcat — from its innovative sights and ergonomics to its compact size and optimal reliability. It’s not easy to find a handgun that is a perfect blend of design and optimal function but somehow the team at Springfield managed to accomplish just that. If you’re looking for a handgun that “checks all the boxes”, you’ve got it all with the Hellcat.

In short, if your local firearm retailer doesn’t have a Hellcat in their inventory, do yourself a favor and turn around, walk out the door, and find a gun store that does. 

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Laura Cromwell Starita

Laura Cromwell Starita

Laura Cromwell Starita's passion for firearms started when she was just a little girl. She spent many afternoons playing with cap guns, which later evolved into going to the range to shoot the real thing. After graduating from college with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she managed to pair her love of firearms with her degree by starting her career in the NRA's Publications division. Since then, she has been a product copywriter for outdoor sporting goods, a brand storyteller, a firearm reviewer, and a Search Engine Optimization professional for all things Second Amendment.

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