Hellcat Pro Upgrades from Apex Tactical

By Jeremy Tremp
Posted in #Gear
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Hellcat Pro Upgrades from Apex Tactical

December 7th, 2022

6;50 runtime

I knew I wanted a Hellcat Pro as soon as it was released. I had been a fan of the original Hellcat since its launch, but the Pro added just about everything I could want to that solid micro 9mm foundation. With increased capacity and increased barrel length and sight radius ­— yet in a package just slightly larger than the smaller original Hellcat — the Hellcat Pro is an everyday carry (EDC) pistol that makes me feel extremely well-protected when I am carrying it.

hellcat pro upgrades from apex tactical specialties
The Hellcat Pro is an amazing defensive pistol straight from the factory. What if you wanted to customize it? Apex Tactical offers a range of options for you to upgrade your pistol.

But, those who know me know that I can’t leave well enough alone. Is the Pro ready to go for EDC right out of the box? Yes, most definitely. But, I love to customize my guns and gear. And why not? We choose our clothing based upon our personalities and lifestyles. We lift our trucks, lower our cars, manicure our lawns, style our hair, etc. Why? We do all these things because, at least to my mind, there’s always a better, cooler, or just different way of doing things based on what fits my needs.

This is particularly true for me regarding my firearms. From Cerakote finishes to optics, triggers, extended magazines, magwells and more, the list is just about endless. For me, I have fun guns, range guns, vault guns and my carry gun. Each of those has a different level of customization. For my carry gun, I am very strict on the brands I choose for any parts replacements or upgrades, as I trust this pistol with my life.

apex upgrades for hellcat pro
Here are the parts offered by Apex Tactical Specialties that were installed by the author on his Hellcat Pro.

I also want my carry gun to reflect my personality and be unique to me while also being reliable. That last point is non-negotiable. For quality parts that not only enhance my pistol, but perform every time I need them to, I look to Apex Tactical Specialties for EDC mods. Apex has committed a lot of effort and attention to the Hellcat family since its launch, no doubt because they recognized it as a popular and extremely capable EDC pistol. The result is a line of rock-solid parts that can be trusted to work every time.

Custom Finish on My Hellcat Pro

I also decided to drop my Hellcat Pro off at one of my favorite Cerakote companies in the country, Koted Arms. Luckily for me, he’s only an hour drive away. When I work with J.D. over at Koted Arms, I like to give him a base idea and then let him “run with it” and exercise his creativity and artistry. My direction to him on this one was to do a desert tiger stripe camo theme, but to take creative liberty where he saw fit.

A week later, I got my Hellcat back looking better than ever. J.D. painted his version of the tiger stripe camo with great detail and a perfect palette of colors. I know the stock gun in black is just fine, but tweaks like this make me feel that much more connected to my EDC pistol. It’s mine, and there is none other like it. 

custom cerakote kinish on hellcat pro
Custom finishes, like this Cerakote finish from Koted Arms, allow you to best fit the pistol to your preferences or style.

Custom Parts from Apex Tactical

While the finish is certainly eye-catching and attractive, there’s now more to this Hellcat Pro than just its looks. Remember that I mentioned Apex?

Let’s circle back around to the new parts that I soon added to the Pro once I got it back from Koted Arms.

Threaded Barrel for the Hellcat Pro

The heart of the Hellcat is its barrel. The 9mm Threaded Barrel from Apex for the Hellcat Pro is a direct drop-in unit with 1/2×28 threads to accommodate standard muzzle attachments such as compensators or sound suppressors.

threaded barrel upgrade for hellcat pro
A threaded barrel is an excellent upgrade for the Hellcat Pro. With it, you can add a sound suppressor or other muzzle device.

Apex manufactures these barrels from premium quality cold hammer-forged stainless steel blanks. The barrels use a standard 1:10 twist rate and are coated with a black Melonite finish for longevity and durability.

suppressor on the hellcat pro with an apex threaded barrel
A sound suppressor offers greater flexibility for your Hellcat Pro. The Apex threaded barrel allows you to easily add one.

An Enhanced Trigger

The Apex Action Enhancement Trigger is the easiest and quickest way to enhance your Hellcat’s trigger system. The Apex trigger enhances the feel of the trigger pull without reducing factory safety values, which is an absolute must for any aftermarket trigger.

apex enhanced trigger for hellcat pro
Apex designed its Action Enhancement Trigger to provide a different pull and feel to your trigger.

The Action Enhancement Trigger takes the trigger pull weight to about 5.0 lbs. after a short break-in period. The Apex Hellcat Trigger has a smooth uptake and reset, reducing overall travel and reset distance.

Apex’s Extended Takedown Lever

The Apex Extended Takedown Lever is machined from tool steel and heat treated for a lifetime of use. For those new to pistols, the takedown lever is the control you use to field strip your Hellcat.

apex tactical extended takedown lever for hellcat pro
A takedown lever may not be as exciting as a new trigger. However, it is a functional upgrade that can improve the ease of disassembly as well as offering a thumb rest while shooting.

The Apex Extended Takedown Lever offers a thumb rest for anyone who shoots with a “thumbs forward grip,” extending outwards slightly more than the factory option and featuring a serrated face for easier disassembly.

Extended Magazine Release for the Hellcat Pro

The Extended Mag Release from Apex is user swappable for left or right-handed shooters. The face of the magazine release is extended by 0.65” from the factory, giving you just a bit more positive purchase on the release for easier reloads.

apex magazine release for hellcat pro
The Apex extended magazine release for the Hellcat Pro gives you more surface area for engagement.

The face of the Extended Magazine Release is serrated on the majority of the surface, ensuring positive grip even in adverse conditions. During testing, Apex reported over 10,000 fully loaded magazine drops with no issues.

Upgraded Extractor

The Apex Failure Resistant Extractor is machined from a billet of heat-treated stainless steel to create what Apex believes is the most reliable extractor in the world.

enhanced extractor for hellcat pro
The Hellcat Pro is exceptionally reliable. Nevertheless, you may wish to further enhance the pistol’s function with the addition of the Failure Resistant Extractor from Apex.

With decades of experience designing extractors, the Failure Resistant Extractor features Apex’s custom extractor hook geometry on the critical engagement surface. The Extractor is Melonite finished for enhanced durability.

Early Look: Extended Slide Lock Lever

I actually had a unique opportunity to get an early look at the Apex Extended Slide Lock Lever, which is slated for release in the first quarter of 2023. It is a direct replacement for the factory slide lock and offers increased purchase for your thumb to lock the slide to the rear. This makes field stripping and clearing malfunctions a little bit easier for the user. The Extended Slide Lock Lever is machined from heat-traded steel and then block oxide finished.

hellcat pro extended slide lock lever
Apex also offers an Extended Slide Lock Lever for the Hellcat Pro. This can be a significant advantage when manipulating the control under stress or when wearing gloves.

So, that’s a lot of fancy words to say that these parts are precision crafted from the finest materials by craftsmen that are obsessed with enhancing every aspect of the Hellcat experience. I’ve toured the Apex facility twice now, getting a peek at every process their parts go through, and it’s one of the reasons why I trust their parts with my life. Their dedication to quality without compromise is obvious in everything they do.

Hands-On Review of Apex Upgrades

Now that I had my Hellcat Pro back from Koted Arms, it was time to install the Apex parts. Another thing I truly appreciate about Apex Tactical is their customer service when it comes to installing their parts. The company produces in-depth install videos for customers that takes them through the entire process. So, whether you take your parts to a gunsmith or do it yourself, you are set.

testing apex parts on the range
To ensure reliability, the author extensively tested the parts in his Hellcat Pro on the range.

The installation process of all the parts was smooth and easy for me, with the Action Enhancement Trigger being the most complex. But, with the video, it wasn’t nearly as daunting as simply reading the directions on paper. I joke with the Apex guys that their videos are like Bob Ross as a gunsmith explaining how to install happy little gun parts, but they truly are a huge help.

My Hellcat Pro was looking sleek and feeling good with all my custom parts, and now it was ready for some range time. When I run my Hellcat Pro at the range, I focus on my concealed draw and drills that focus on speed and accuracy under pressure. I want to push the limits of my mind and my gear to see where I need work and how my pistol performs. Better to find out an issue on a flat range than during a scenario that I hope I never find myself in.

hellcat pro upgrades from apex
The author tested the gun with his carry ammunition: Nosler 124-grain JHP rounds developed for defensive use.

Since I am testing my EDC, I also wanted to run my defensive ammo through it for the most realistic training. I’m using Nosler Asp 124-gr. JHP bullets, which I’ve found to be high quality, reliable and accurate.

During my range time, I realized the most noticeable change to my Hellcat Pro was the Apex trigger. Even though the Hellcat Pro comes with a great factory trigger, the Apex trigger makes it even better. With the reduced travel and pull weight, I notice my shots were a bit more accurate, especially when speeding up my shots. The trigger also just feels solid and comfortable on my trigger finger.

hands on review of apex parts on hellcat pro
Although the author likes the factory trigger, he found the Apex Tactical trigger helped him tighten his groups even more.

The new controls worked great, especially the extended magazine release. It allowed me to quickly and easily find the mag release — especially when my heart rate was up and my dexterity was being tested. The Cerakote added about 20 style points to my draw and made the range experience radical. As expected, the Nosler ammo was super accurate and consistent, with my groups at 7 yards being about 1.5”.

The Apex extended slide lock was a great addition, as well. The bottom portion of the slide lock is serrated for easy grip when locking back the slide, and the top is smooth with a little indent scoop built into it, giving you easy manipulation to drop the slide after a reload.

apex tactical parts on hellcat pro pistol
This Hellcat Pro has a custom look to match its upgraded parts, giving the author exactly the custom-style EDC gun he wanted.

I’m not sure how many compensators there are for the Hellcat at this point, but having a threaded barrel ensures you are able to utilize them or to have some fun with a suppressor. I also happened to have a JK Armament CCX suppressor that I tested out. The cool thing about the CCX is that it’s so small and lightweight that it doesn’t need a booster. It was awesome to be able to run a small suppressor on the Hellcat Pro, which performed great while also being hearing-safe.


I had a blast customizing my EDC with some trusted Apex parts, as well as a totally custom look provided by Koted Arms. If you’re running a Hellcat, do yourself a favor and check out Apex Tactical for any of your aftermarket Hellcat needs. You can trust that they have your back.

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Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp is a filmmaker/photographer who turned his passion for the firearms industry into a dream job. Having identified a need in the 2A space, he and some like-minded friends started Offensive Marketing Group to help bring their unique skillsets to an industry in dire need of "outside of the box" marketing approaches. One of the perks is getting access to some of the best gear and training in the industry. In his spare time, he loves to be at the range testing gear and learning to be a better shooter, firearms advocate and content creator.

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