The newest Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro sports a Desert FDE color and comes with a threaded barrel for the easy attachment of a suppressor or other muzzle device. In addition to the dark tan finish, the gun retains all of the features Hellcat Pro owners love including the ability to mount a flashlight or laser on the accessory rail, the incredible grip texture and optics that mount directly to the slide. Firearms veteran Scott Conditt gives us the full story of this new model 9mm pistol.
Since the Hellcat line of pistols was unveiled in 2019, the line has become one of the most awarded pistols in its class. Over the last few years, there have been a few iterations and options additions to the lineup, the most recent of which was the Hellcat Pro series that added barrel length and grip frame length, and later added the option of a threaded barrel.
My everyday carry is the Hellcat Pro, and I love shooting suppressed whenever possible. So, this model was particularly appealing to me, and I really have enjoyed my time at the range shooting with it.
Whereas the finish of a pistol doesn’t impact the mechanical functionality or capability of the gun, it can certainly play a role in firearm selection for specific environments. And it absolutely plays a role when it comes to individual taste and preference.
So, for all of you Desert FDE fans out there, buckle up, because the Hellcat Pro OSP 9mm with a threaded barrel is now offered in that wonderful color that you love so much.
The Evolution of The Hellcat
The Hellcat Pro offered exactly what I had been desiring in the Hellcat line: increased capacity and a longer grip and barrel. When I made the switch from the standard Hellcat to the Hellcat Pro, I was very satisfied with the transition.
I still appreciate the standard model Hellcat for all of its design features and extremely compact size. However, I enjoy the increased round capacity of 15 rounds with the flush fit magazine and 17 rounds with the included extended magazine. I also appreciate the slightly larger frame when it comes to handling and control for my EDC. The Hellcat Pro just checked all the right boxes for me.
When the threaded barrel version of the Hellcat Pro was announced, I was excited to have the opportunity to add a suppressor or muzzle device, like a compatible compensator, and now this model of Hellcat Pro is available in one of my favorite colorways, Desert FDE.
All of the tried-and-true features we’ve grown to love about the gun have remained intact including the hammer-forged steel barrel, which measures 4.4″ while featuring the threaded portion (1/2×28) at the muzzle, and includes a rugged Melonite finish with a 1:10 twist.
I was extremely eager to run the gun with the suppressor at my favorite outdoor range here in Arizona. The process of attaching the JK Armament CCX compact suppressor was a flawless and attractive fit to the Hellcat Pro and required only to be twisted on. It was really an easy and quick install.
The 1/2×28 threads allow a wide range of compatible suppressors, and I can’t understate the enjoyment I get from shooting 9mm suppressed. When the sound of the round impacting steel is louder than the actual shot itself, that is a win in my book and a treat for the ears.
As long as the threading and caliber rating on your suppressor are compatible, the threads on the Hellcat Pro will pair wonderfully with dedicated 9mm-specific and also compatible multi-caliber suppressors. It’s nice to have the option for those who have a few cans to choose from in their armory.
It may seem obvious, but I think it is worth mentioning that fieldstripping the Desert FDE finished Hellcat Pro with a threaded barrel is exactly the same as the Hellcat Pro. The only real addition to the gun is the threaded portion of the barrel itself. As long as nothing is attached to the barrel, it will come out of the slide as normal.
During my time at the range, I ran a few mags of Remington Range 9mm Luger 115-gr. ammo through the gun just as the pistol came out of the box, with the thread protector in place. No surprise, it was the same reliable, comfortable, and accurate experience I have grown to know and appreciate from my standard Hellcat Pro.
After establishing the gun’s reliability, I removed the thread protector from the barrel and installed the suppressor to get down to business. I was really impressed with the Hellcat Pro when I paired it with the JK Armament 105 CCX compact suppressor because I really didn’t perceive the weight distribution to be compromised or offset at all.
This particular sound suppressor is extremely light and has such a slim profile that you barely notice it’s attached. The balance and feel in hand were familiar and comfortable. I have a great degree of familiarity with the Hellcat Pro as it comes stock and utilize it at the range during nearly every trip for routine training work because it is my EDC, so for my own experience, I can say it felt negligible in terms of the real difference in hand. Handling and overall operational feel during shooting were exceptional.
The suppressed shooting experience was comfortable both in terms of handling and on the ears, and in future tests, I would be extremely interested in running some subsonic ammo through the gun as well to compare the sound signature. That said, with the Remington 9mm Range Ammunition, the sound signature was comfortable and significantly reduced in volume.
The Desert FDE finish is extremely well done, has a nice rich coloration, and it has a very clean uniformity to the application of color between the slide and frame. Being from the southwest, I love the dark brown color because it blends in nicely with the desert landscapes and complements a lot of my FDE gear.
The frame on this pistol is molded from Desert FDE polymer, which is extremely durable and includes one of the features I have personally become very fond of, Springfield Armory’s Adaptive Grip Texture. This unique and thoughtfully engineered texture provides amazing grip in contact zones without tearing your hands to hamburger meat during longer-range sessions.
If you haven’t had a chance to feel it, I strongly encourage you to get your hands on a Hellcat and check it out. The texture is comprised of a number of tiny offset pyramid shapes that really lock into the skin of your palm but are also designed in such a way that it doesn’t feel like you’re gripping sandpaper.
I’ve had a number of pistols that featured aggressive grips and specialized textures and often found that the positive grip and control factor was negated by the fact that they’d tear up my palms after trips to the range, or snag on clothing fibers during holster work. It may sound like a small gripe, but sometimes it’s the little things that count, and the Adaptive Grip Texture featured on the Hellcat line of pistols offers the best of both worlds with none of the negatives.
The Desert FDE coating on the slide comes in the rugged and reliable Cerakote finish and pairs beautifully with the color of the frame.
Moving on to some of the other features that make the Hellcat line of pistols a standout, the sights that come installed on this handgun are Tactical Rack U-Dot sights which are high-contrast tritium and align with the tritium/luminescent front sight.
I have run this gun in multiple training scenarios and lighting conditions, and it just makes sighting in feel natural and easy. The rear “U” aligns with the dot and fills your sight picture, making target acquisition and re-acquiring an intuitive and quick process.
The threaded barrel makes adding a suppressor or compensator a breeze. Likewise, the Hellcat Pro in FDE with threaded barrel features the same ample accessory rail and OSP (Optical Sight Pistol”) sighting system for the addition of additional accessories.
I utilized the OSP slide, which is cut to accept optics and features a cover plate, to include a Shield SMSc red dot. Installation was easy and the ability to quickly direct-mount the optic to the slide, which set it exceptionally low on my slide and allowed me to easily co-witness my U Dot irons through the Shield’s window.
Trigger, Magazines and More
The pistol’s trigger pull weight is calibrated within 5 to 6 lbs., which I really like for my EDC. The wall is easy to find and the break is clean between shots and a very clean and quick reset, which for me is a positive aspect when considering defensive EDC scenarios.
[Apex Tactical offers a variety of exciting accessories including an Action Enhancement Trigger kit. See Jeremy Tremp’s review of these upgrades here.]
The Hellcat Pro in Desert FDE with threaded barrel comes with a flush-fitting 15-round magazine and an extended 17-round magazine that features a Desert FDE baseplate. I really enjoyed running the extended mag at the range and like how contoured the baseplate is to match the pistol frame flawlessly while adding additional grip.
Other features that are synonymous throughout the Hellcat Pro line include the easy-to-access slide lock lever which is serrated for positive control and features a tactile ledge to allow for easy manipulation. Additionally, the Hellcat Pro includes a loaded chamber indicator cut into the very top of the slide. Even though I know I leave my EDC Hellcat Pro pistol in a readied state within my gun safe, I check this window each and every time before I carry it. It’s a quick, safe and effective way to know for certain that my pistol is loaded with one in the hole.
Taking a look at the overall measurements of this pistol, the Threaded Hellcat Pro measures 4.8” tall, 7.2” long and a mere 1” wide. I have always been impressed with how comfortable and slim this pistol feels for a CCW when stacked up against how much capacity and capability it brings to the table.
|Finish||Cerakote Desert FDE|
|Capacity||15/17+1 (one each included)|
If you’re a fan of the Hellcat line of pistols I think you will really enjoy the new Desert FDE model with threaded barrel. It adds a great capability to the pistol while offering this slick-looking new colorway to the options menu.
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