Heckuva Hellcat Stage!

By Kippi Leatham
Posted in #Skills
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Heckuva Hellcat Stage!

December 1st, 2019

4 minute read

It was a lovely October Sunday afternoon in Arizona. Debbie Keehart, my Her Handgun co-founder, and I were hosting our women’s monthly practice session. We had a great turnout — probably because it was the first practice since the weather had finally broken — and everyone seemed particularly peppy. After a long, hot Arizona summer, 85-degree temps have that effect on us.

Kippi Leatham at Arizona match
Kippi Leatham (shown) and Debbie Keehart set up an interesting course for running the new Hellcat 9mm pistol.

Deb and I are very fortunate to shoot with this group of 15 to 20 women on a regular basis at Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club. We are all responsible firearm owners and we all have different skill levels; some are brand spanking new to shooting, others have more experience and have just bought their first belt and holster, and many are already hard-core, totally addicted competition shooters. I can’t explain to you just how inspiring it is to watch their confidence grow as they each become more and more competent.

Women in competition shooting
All the shooters at the match had not had a chance to try the Hellcat before that day.

New Cat at the Match

Typically, we shoot our own pistols on all of the practice stages, but occasionally Deb and I will bring out a new firearm for them to try on one or two stages. On this day, I brought Springfield’s new Hellcat 9mm micro compact pistol. A lot of our ladies got a big smile on their face when I introduced the gun.

Start of a competition shooting match
The shooter would wait for the signal to begin the stage, keeping both hands on the table.

I wanted the ladies to get a feel for acquisition (moving the Hellcat quickly from target to target) and multiple shots on targets — so here’s the stage:

String 1

  • Start Position: Unloaded Hellcat on the “X” on the table, loaded magazines on table with hands flat on table.
  • Procedure: On signal, retrieve Hellcat and load, then engage targets 1 through 7 with one hit each. 

String 2

  • Start Position: Loaded Hellcat on the “X” on the table, loaded magazines on table with hands flat on table.
  • Procedure: On signal, retrieve Hellcat and engage targets 1 through 4 with two hits each.
Pistol match layout
The stage, from the shooter’s perspective. Note the locked-back slide and loaded magazines.

Cat’s Meow

As the stage range officer, I got to hear a lot of what everyone said about the gun. Overall, the Hellcat reviews were very positive:

  • All of the ladies liked how quickly they were able to pick up the U-Dot tritium signs (especially as the sun was starting to set). The U-Dot sights feature a high visibility tritium/luminescent front paired with a U-notch rear.
  • Many were impressed with the thin grip width and the impressive magazine capacities (11 or 13 rounds, +1).
  • Most everyone liked the more tangible/abrasive grip texture, known as the Adaptive Grip Texture, featuring a pattern of staggered pyramid shapes.
  • Several of our competition ladies commented on the light weight and ease with which they shot the gun (recovered from recoil).
Recoil of handgun during a pistol competition
The shooters enjoyed testing the Hellcat out, with all doing quite well on the range with it.

I personally was impressed with:

  • The trigger feel and weight (and I am super finicky about triggers).
  • The U-Dot sights (LOVED them).
  • The feel of the grip — it’s hard to be too aggressive for me.
  • The controllability of the recoil and how quickly I was able to shoot accurate shots (the stage targets were from 4 to 11 yards and I didn’t drop a single point). Not bragging, just reporting!

Second Swipes

And in closing, I will share the follow-up emails I received from my gals.

“Thanks for letting me shoot the Hellcat, Kippi. I loved the sights; so easy to pick up. Nice fit in hand too (especially with the extended mag – I have big hands) and the weight was good.” — Ramona

“As a newer shooter and competitor, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try different types of pistols. The Hellcat obviously is much smaller than my XD-M 5.25, but it was such fun to shoot! And even though the trigger press was heavier than my 5.25, I was quickly able to adapt to the smooth feel to shoot good hits on the targets.” — Kelly

Working the handgun slide
The Hellcat ran without a hitch during the event, with several shooters commenting on its good performance.

“Just picking up the Hellcat was new and exciting— but also familiar — if you love Springfield guns like I do. It is small, but substantial in weight, especially for its size. Springfield’s quality is as apparent in this micro-compact as it is in my full-size XD-M. The Hellcat has exactly what I look for in a concealed carry gun:

  • Similarity to the gun I shoot the most (my XD-M), which will help when under pressure.
  • Overall size that is easily concealed.
  • Above-average magazine capacity.
  • Sights that are easy to acquire.

“I have to say that the new sight design on the gun is amazing! Shooting the Hellcat was fun and the ergonomics made it easy to get the sights back on target. Springfield knocked it out of the park with the Hellcat, and as soon as I can find one, it will become my new carry pistol.” — Anissa

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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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Kippi Leatham

Kippi Leatham

Kippi is a three-time USPSA Women’s National Pistol Champion. Throughout her shooting career, as a member of Team Springfield and Team Safariland, she has also won multiple Gold, Silver and Bronze IPSC World Championship individual and team medals. Although she retired from the National and World shooting/competition circuit in 2011, she still enjoys competing for fun at her home range. Kippi is also a pistol instructor (co-owner of Her Handgun) and finds it extremely rewarding to teach new shooters about firearms and firearm safety. She also enjoys introducing new competitors to the action shooting sports via her and Rob’s Practical Shooting Starter Course.

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