Hellcat: My Impressions
March 25th, 2020
5 minute read
Concealed carry pistols are a unique enigma. Our whole reasoning for owning concealed carry pistols is to carry them for self-defense. But we all hope we will never use them for their intended purpose of defense.
So, what becomes of them, then? Are they that survival tool you never use? Well, we train with our carry pistols, shoot them recreationally for fun, use them as a tool to teach others, and maybe even shoot a competitive league with them.
While we hope to never discharge them in defense, we likely are shooting them a lot for all of those other reasons. And while compactness and reliability are obviously important qualities in a CCW gun, accuracy starts to become pretty imperative with your pistol.
So, as the firearm industry is involved in this perfect storm of racing towards smaller guns, increased capacity and more accuracy, who wins? You, the consumer does. And you win because this confluence of goals has led to the creation of the Springfield Armory Hellcat.
While the Hellcat has been out for only a handful of months, it has handily proven itself in nearly every metric possible — especially accuracy.
After reading Springfield Hellcat Review: Best CCW 9mm, I knew I wanted one of these pistols for myself.
Wringing It Out
I have been handling, shooting and carrying the Springfield Armory Hellcat since its announcement, and have been very pleased. I have shot this pistol a lot, but I had not yet really focused on answering the question of how accurate it is.
So, on what has been the coldest day in Minnesota so far this winter, I journeyed outside and accepted the challenge. I hung a simple silhouette target out at 20+ yards which is 3x the typical self-defense distance of 7 yards (or 21 feet). I shot a 10-round grouping (when it was -10°F, no less) that was a testament to how accurate this pistol can be.
How did I shoot almost one ragged hole at 20+ yards with a carry gun? Well, I do practice and am familiar with the Hellcat. That is important for all the firearms you use: Shoot them and become familiar with them. Also, the pistol deserves a lot of praise because it vastly outperforms other carry guns I have had in the past. I would normally be hard-pressed to shoot that type of grouping at 10 yards, let alone at more than 20.
The pistol comes standard with an 11+1 magazine that accepts either a flush fit or a finger extension floorplate — both of which are included. Additionally, the pistol comes with a 13+1 extended magazine that gives you complete purchase on the firearm yet is still quite compact.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat’s Adaptive Grip Texture ensures you have a solid and repeatable grip on the pistol. Whether it’s 90°F out and your palms are sweaty or it’s -10°F like the day I shot my impressive groups with hands half-numb, the Adaptive Grip Texture ensures you will have a good grip on the gun. The Adaptive Grip Texture even carries over onto the magazine floorplate extensions so you get maximum grip on the pistol.
The precision hammer-forged 3″ barrel proved its worth that frozen day out on the range, and was part of the reason why my groups were so tight — even pushed out to a distance beyond typical self-defense ranges.
A flat trigger is typically a feature reserved for custom firearms, and offer the advantage of creating a more consistent, repeatable pull and travel. The Hellcat sports one of these standard —along with a nickel boron coated trigger group — and gives you a good trigger for wringing out accuracy as my range time experience showed.
Additionally, the Tactical Rack U-Dot rear sight matched with a tritium and luminescent front sight makes for an amazing sight picture. It’s easy to aim in varying light conditions and fast to acquire. In defense or competition, you need to achieve a clean sight picture as fast as possible, and the Hellcat absolutely allows for that. Bump up to the OSP (optical sight pistol) version, and you can direct mount a micro red dot sight to the Hellcat slide that can co-witness with the U-Dot sights.
Additionally, the Hellcat features forward and rear slide serrations, with the rear ones wrapping over the top of slide for increased purchase. An accessory rail is located on the dustcover, and stand-off device at the muzzle keeps the gun in battery when pressed against a target. A reversible magazine release and loaded chamber indicator round out the package.
Make Your Choice
For those who have been sucked into the perfect storm of attempting to find the perfect carry gun, Springfield Armory has solved that problem for you with the Hellcat. It’s compact, has impressive capacity, and is startlingly accurate. It checks all the boxes. So check one out for yourself!
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