Springfield’s California Legal Pistols: Hellcat, Hellcat Pro and XD-M Elite

By Peter Suciu
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Springfield’s California Legal Pistols: Hellcat, Hellcat Pro and XD-M Elite

January 11th, 2024

6 minute read

I am confident that all of us would easily agree that protecting our Second Amendment rights is one of our most important responsibilities. There is the old saying that “As California Goes, So Goes the Nation”. While this may be true for automotive emissions and even online privacy laws, in the case of firearms, it can often go in the opposite direction. While the rest of the nation can own a wide range of firearm types, it can be a challenge to get any new handguns or rifles in for consumers in the state.

Shown is a new Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP 9mm pistol that is CA compliant. The State of California approved the gun for sale in its jurisdiction to all lawful citizens. The regulations require certain modifications in the manufacture process including the addition of a loaded chamber indicator as shown here. Now the gun is on the roster with the certify designation, it offers a superior alternative to the offerings from Sig Sauer and Glock.
Springfield Armory has long supported California’s citizens. The addition of the Hellcat, Hellcat Pro (shown) and XD-M Elite pistols is evidence of its continued commitment to the people of the Golden State.

Frankly, it seems like supporters of the Second Amendment in California face what can only be described as “unique challenges.” The nation’s most populous state requires specific requirements and modifications to be “Cali-legal.” Some of these includes a magazine disconnect, tactile and visible loaded chamber indicator at the rear of the ejection port, and a 10-round magazine.

[Read Massad Ayoob’s Hellcat Pro review here.]

Fortunately, Springfield Armory has recently surmounted the steep hill of California’s requirements to offer three new “California-compliant” handguns that include new offerings in its popular Hellcat and XD-M Elite lines. With these releases, residents in the Golden State will have access to the XD-M Elite 4.5” 9mm, and a pair of offerings from the Hellcat series of 9mm pistols — the Hellcat OSP and the Hellcat Pro OSP.

In this photo, you can see an oblique view of the Hellcat OSP gun's left side. Clearly visible are the front sight and rear sight, trigger and Adaptive Grip Texture. Also, the price is very reasonable. It passed firing tests to keep the gun safe. The 9mm Luger, 9x19 or 9mm Parabellum cartridge for which this gun is chambered is suited for self defense, personal protection and home defense. It is easy to shoot with modest recoil and is quite affordable.
Springfield Armory’s addition of the Hellcat OSP (shown), Hellcat Pro and XD-M Elite give residents a broader range of high-quality 9mm handguns from which to choose for personal protection.

Apart from the adaptation of the designs for the magazine disconnect, the loaded chamber indicator and the 10-round capacities, all three variants will feature the same proven performance and capabilities of their non-Cali-legal siblings. 

“California’s requirements for handguns are legendarily stringent,” said Mike Humphries, media relations manager for Springfield Armory. “Thankfully, Springfield was able to adapt these three firearms to the stated requirements while still retaining the appealing design and performance features that make them so popular.”

Hellcat OSP

Resident of the most populous state will have an opportunity to purchase an excellent micro-sized concealed carry pistol with the Hellcat 3” OSP 9mm. this pistol, featuring cutting-edge design and performance, raises the bar on concealed carry pistols with its exceptional handling and shooting characteristics. 

In this photo we see a left side profile of the Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm pistol with the CA DOJ handgun requirements. Of all the handguns for sale in California, this one is one of the best. It has an optics cut for a red dot making it more likely you will hit only the intended target. Likewise, the Adaptive Grip Texture helps you to maintain control of the handgun when shooting. The modifications made to the gun include the loaded chamber indicator at the top of the slide. Compared to a Ruger, Beretta or Kimber, this pistol is the best choice when shopping — no asterisk in sight.
Without a doubt, the Hellcat OSP is one of the best 9mm pistols ever designed for concealed carry. It is now on the list of California legal handguns, making it available to the state’s residents.

[Read a full review of the Hellcat OSP here.]

Premium features include its 3” hammer-forged Melonite-coated 1:10” twist barrel and slim 1” width. Despite its small size, the Hellcat OSP still packs in 10 rounds of 9mm. Its OSP-cut slide cut can accept a micro red dot sight, while its Adaptive Grip Texture makes for exceptional handling characteristics. 

It ships with two 10-round magazines and a double-zipper case.

The Hellcat offers shooters a compact and capable EDC pistol, yet one with impressive double-column magazine capacity and impressive shooting characteristics.

California Compliant Hellcat OSP Specs

Barrel3” Hammer Forged Steel, Melonite Finish, 1:10” twist
SlideBillet Machined, Melonite Finish, Optics Ready, Loaded Chamber Indicator
FrameBlack Polymer w/ Adaptive Grip Texture, Magazine Disconnect
SightsTritium/Luminescent Front, Tactical Rack U-Notch Rear
Recoil SystemDual Captive Recoil Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
Grip Width1”
MagazinesTwo (2) 10-Round
Weight17.9 oz.

Hellcat Pro

The Hellcat Pro OSP 9mm in the Golden State offers the perfect balance between concealability and performance. Taking everything about the Hellcat that was great, the Hellcat Pro adds on a little more barrel and grip length for enhanced performance and handling. 

Shown in this photograph is a Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro that is now on the list of CA legal handguns. The additional barrel length and grip length give the gun an improved firing grip plus improved accuracy and reduced muzzle flip. When compared to a Smith and Wesson revolver, this gun has better sights, capacity and handling characteristics. It goes without saying that it is vastly superior to any single shot pistol that the California Title 11 would seem to want to force on people.
The Hellcat Pro is an awesome self-defense tool. Designed to be as thin and concealable as the Hellcat OSP, the Pro model adds grip and barrel length for better performance in all conditions.

The pistol features a hammer-forged barrel and the Adaptive Grip Texture treatment. Optics ready and equipped with a versatile accessory rail, the Hellcat Pro OSP combines compact dimensions with the performance capabilities of a much larger pistol. Its hammer forged 3.7” barrel further provides impressive strength and durability, along with enhanced ballistics and downrange performance. 

The California-compliant pistol ships with two flush-fitting 10-round magazines, and double-zipper case. 

The Hellcat Pro offers shooters a very capable EDC pistol with excellent ergonomics and shooting characteristics. It is also designed to easily accept optics and light and/or laser units.

California Compliant Hellcat Pro Specs

Barrel3.7” Hammer Forged Steel, Melonite Finish, 1:10” twist
SlideBillet Machined, Melonite Finish, Optics Ready, Loaded Chamber Indicator
FrameBlack Polymer w/ Adaptive Grip Texture, Magazine Disconnect
SightsTritium/Luminescent Front, Tactical Rack U-Notch Rear
Recoil SystemDual Captive Recoil Spring w/ Full Length Guide Rod
Grip Width1”
MagazinesTwo (2) 10-Round
Weight21 oz.

XD-M Elite 

The XD-M Elite 4.5” 9mm was designed to pack all of the advanced features of the Elite line into a well-balanced and extremely capable package that is Golden State approved. It features the Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly (META), designed to deliver what Springfield describes as “the finest production polymer-framed pistol trigger pull available”. Rounding out the package is an ambidextrous slide stop for fully ambi controls along with enhanced slide serrations.

The XD-M Elite is a full-size 9mm handgun that serves as a great firearm for competition shooting and home defense.

The most notable difference between the standard XD-M Elite 4.5” 9mm and the California-compliant model is the lack of the extended and flared magwell (due to the shorter 10-round magazines). The pistol comes with two California-compliant 10-round magazines and a double-zipper case.

[Check out this review of the XD-M Elite for additional information.]

The XD-M Elite 4.5″ 9mm features the META (Match Enhanced Trigger Assembly) as well as enhanced ergonomics.

California Compliant XD-M Elite Specs

Barrel4.5” Hammer Forged Steel, Melonite Finish, 1:10” twist
SlideForged Steel, Melonite Finish, Loaded Chamber Indicator
FrameBlack Polymer, Magazine Disconnect
SightsFiber Optic Front, Tactical Rack U-Dot Rear
Recoil SystemCaptive
Grip Width1.2”
MagazinesTwo (2) 10-Round
Weight29 oz.

California Dreaming

Springfield Armory never abandoned the citizens of California. While no one can reasonably justify the draconian anti-gun laws in the state, the company’s philosophy has been that California residents are still entitled to the right of self-defense.

Consequently, the company always offered as many California compliant handguns as possible to the lawful residents of the Golden State. In fact, on the company’s California Legal Firearms page, you can find dozens of guns that Springfield has on offer for residents.

“The modifications to the California-legal Hellcat, Hellcat Pro and XD-M Elite 9mm pistols — such as the magazine disconnect safety, tactile and visible loaded chamber indicator and 10-round magazine — allowed these excellent pistols to now be available to the residents of this state,” Humphries continued. 

I am sure that residents of California could not be happier for these pistols to now be available in their state. And why shouldn’t they be? They now have access to three of the best 9mm pistols available on the market today.

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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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Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based freelance writer who regularly covers military history and hardware for The National Interest and FoxNews. He has collected military small arms and headgear since he was 12 years old. His most recent book A Gallery of Military Headdress was released last year and is available from Amazon.com here.

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