When I heard through the grapevine that Langdon Tactical Technologies (LTT) was about to drop a customized Springfield Armory Hellcat, I was more than a little intrigued. Ernest Langdon (to see an interview with Ernest Landgon by Massad Ayoob, click here) and his team at LTT have a reputation for getting it right. What surprised me twofold about the project was that Langdon wanted to take on the Hellcat.
First off, the Hellcat is a very capable gun right off the shelf. Second, Langdon has made his reputation known in the specialized work he does on DA/SA guns like the Springfield XD-E. Although Langdon does custom work on many different customer guns, the Hellcat is the only striker-fired gun available from Langdon Tactical on the LTT Custom Gun list.
With curiosity engaged, I started to dig in on this unique gun. I was not disappointed.
Why Refine the Hellcat OSP?
When I first considered why LTT would want to dive into a custom Hellcat, I was initially a bit confused. I have a lot of experience with Springfield’s Hellcats. Personally, I am quickly approaching ten thousand rounds through various Hellcats on different projects. I’ve witnessed another 10k being fired through Springfield’s micro 9mm. In today’s ammo-starved environment, this is a lot of shooting. I think that qualifies me as being “familiar” with the pistol. My opinion is that the Hellcat is a great pistol right out of the box.
It is also clear to me that the Hellcat is a reliable shooter. The Hellcat has easily achieved 20,000 rounds out of a single pistol without any breakage or malfunctions. That kind of reliability is something to take note of.
In addition, the Hellcat is an easy gun to shoot well. The trigger is responsive, the recoil is manageable, and the gun looks great. In fact, the gun is great.
This is what led me to question of why Langdon would want to customize the Hellcat. A single sentence on the LTT website answered the question for me.
“LTT creates customized confidence through making great firearms extraordinary.”
Reading that really made it click. Springfield makes a great Hellcat. It is a production gun with a very reasonable price tag. Langdon Tactical wanted to tackle that very pistol because it is a great gun and the fact that their customized attention could make it even more extraordinary. That customized attention is the difference that makes the LTT Hellcat even more special.
In my opinion, the available upgrades on the LTT Hellcat Custom do two things. First the tweaks make the gun stand out visually. Second, they make the gun incredibly shootable, while retaining the reliability we expect from the Hellcat. Let’s start out with the obvious upgrades on the LTT Hellcat Custom.
When I first took a look at the LTT Hellcat Custom, some of the changes were readily apparent. Immediately upon unzipping the bag, the most obvious change was in the trigger. The LTT Hellcat Custom that Langdon Tactical sent out to me featured a red Apex trigger (while a black variant is also offered). We will talk about the performance of that trigger shortly, but from a visual standpoint it really made the Hellcat pop!
The trigger shoe of the Apex trigger itself is substantial. The shoe is a red anodized aluminum while the smoothly operating trigger paddle safety is a rich contrasting black.
The second aspect of the pistol that caught my eye was the slide. The right side of the LTT Hellcat’s slide is smartly engraved with the Langdon Tactical Technologies logo, clearly identifying this Hellcat as an LTT Custom gun.
Finally, a red Hyve Technologies back plate finishes off the aesthetic upgrades to the LTT Hellcat Custom. It again features the LTT logo and provides a nice finishing touch to the red and black theme of the LTT Hellcat.
I like a good looking gun, but I’d be a liar if I led you to believe that looks were what was really important to me in a defensive gun. As far as I’m concerned, it all comes down to performance. Again, Langdon delivers with the LTT Hellcat Custom.
We’ve already discussed the Apex trigger Langdon decided to use with the Hellcat when it comes to looks. Let’s talk about performance, and start with simple trigger geometry. The Apex trigger has a wide, flat trigger shoe. I find the feel of the Apex trigger on my trigger finger to be pleasant and reassuring. The wide, stable shoe seems to aid in distributing the pressure of the finger and ensuring that the press is straight to the rear.
I also like the paddle safety. It seems to have a particularly smooth operation, allowing me to disengage that trigger safety reliably by simply pressing the trigger. In addition, the paddle safety has what feels like a fairly robust return spring, providing a positive feeling when both touching and releasing the trigger. Very nice.
When it comes to the trigger press, I found the LTT Hellcat Custom to have a consistent and pleasant press. Langdon achieves this trigger press through “internal work” on the trigger components. Whatever they are doing, I like their “internal work.”
Now, all that being said, it is important to note that I think the Hellcat OSP has a great trigger out of the box. The improvements provided by the Apex used and tuned by LTT are extraordinary, but they are by no means a requirement. But, they are nice!
As mentioned, the LTT Hellcat Custom is an OSP pistol, meaning it is cut to accept optics. For me, it only made sense to stick with Springfield’s HEX Wasp optic for it. It’s low-profile direct-mount design enables me to use the stock U-notch sights that come on the Hellcat.
If you have a different optic preference, you can purchase that optic straight from LTT along with a C&H Precision mounting plate to mate that optic to your Hellcat. Langdon Tactical is on top of its game and knows that the use of a mounting plate increases the height of the optic and blocks the U-Notch sights. As a result, LTT also offers Ameriglo sights that stand taller to address this. These sights increase the ability to use your iron sights with other optics. IMO the HEX Wasp is the more elegant solution.
Let’s face it. The Hellcat is a micro 9mm, and that means there is some recoil. Springfield did a great job designing the gripping surface of the Hellcat. Langdon Tactical offers two optional ways to increase your purchase on your Hellcat. The first is the simple Talon Evolution Grips. Think custom-cut skateboard tape to add grippy texture to a larger area of the grip.
The second is custom laser stippling. For $145 Langdon will add permanent stippling to your LTT Hellcat Custom. The stippling mimics the stippling from the factory but adds texture to areas of the frame that come smooth from the factory.
Anytime a qualified expert takes the time to customize and individually tune a great production gun, you can expect something special to result. That is exactly what Langdon Tactical Technologies promised and delivered with the LTT Hellcat Custom. This is especially true considering the price. You can get into an LTT Custom Hellcat for as little as $685, or you can push the customizations to the limit and top out at more than $1,000.
The bottom line is simple. Langdon Tactical takes the already extraordinary Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP and makes it even more so.
Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!