6 inches in length, 4 inches in height, 1 inch wide, and 11+1 capacity. Those are the dimensions of the Hellcat.
This is Springfield’s entry for the ever increasing appetite of gun owners for more “micro” sized carry gun with higher capacity. Indeed, as the ad claims, there is no gun that packs more 9mm shells into the “6…4…1” package than the Hellcat. In order to find out how this much anticipated gun performs, we took it out for a function check.
We’d like to thank MMP Guns and Byron for getting us a sample to test. Manufacturers are not sending guns to us for marketing purposes, so it’s not easy for a non sponsored operation like ours to source samples, especially when they are new and in demand products. Big thanks to MMP Guns for loaning us their one and only sample.
As a reminder to anyone new to our reviews, we are not firearms professionals, and we approach our tests and reviews with the mindset of gun enthusiasts. There are much more qualified professionals, and more experienced reviewers who can provide the technical aspects of this and other firearms. We are offering our opinions based on our shooting experience with the gun. It’s only our opinion, and we encourage you to view other excellent videos and reviews on this firearm if you are more interested in the technical aspects of the gun, or a professional opinion of the performance of the gun from a qualified expert.
With that said, let’s get to the review of the Hellcat. We brought along my carry gun, a Gen3 G26, a SIG P365 (Joe’s father’s carry gun, thank you sir for allowing us to borrow it) for size comparison purposes. The 3 guns are remarkably similar in size. At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the P365 for the Hellcat to the untrained eye. Both the G26 and the P365 are 10+1 in capacity, one less than the Hellcat. Here are the specs for the G26 and P365.
As you can see, the differences in length, height, with and weight are negligible when looking at just numbers. However, the Hellcat, despite being the smallest and lightest of the 3 (by a small margin) has one additional round of capacity while using the flush fit magazine. (All the dimensions are compared with the flush fit magazines to be consistent)
When viewed all together, these guns are virtually identical to naked eye in size.
Next up, we tested the gun with 3 brands of ammunition, Magtech, S&B 115 grain brass, and 115 grain Wolf Steel Case. As expected, the gun ran perfectly. No problems with feeding, ejection, or cycling of the slide. We did not run plus P rounds through the gun as it is a loaner, and our review is for general function and feel of the gun. As expected with the small size, and the thinner grip, the gun is not easy to control.
You will need to practice with it to shoot it well. The recoil is manageable, and the grip texture does give good purchase. However, to a novice or inexperienced shooter, I would suggest you shoot it first before buying it. This is not specific to the Hellcat, but to any other subcompact gun. The smaller and slimmer the gun, the more difficult it is to shoot accurately.
Chris, Joe, and I feel the Hellcat is easier to control than the P365. I would like serrations added to front of the trigger guard like the G26. I like to wrap my support hand index finger around that area to aid in controlling muzzle flip. The Hellcat’s name is appropriate since it’s a bit rebellious in the hands of someone who doesn’t shoot it often.
I’m not saying it’s uncontrollable, but feeding a small gun like this with Plus P ammunition would be pushing the limit of accurate shooting beyond arm’s length for the novice shooter. At the risk of being redundant, this gun (and other 9mm in this size) will require practice to get accustomed to the “snappiness”. In my opinion, the best part about the Hellcat are the sights. They are easy acquire, and very bright. They are better to me than the SIG P365 sights which are very good as well.
So what do we think of the Hellcat? Chris, our production engineer, loves it. It’s a gun he would purchase. Joe likes it as well if not better than the SIG P365. As for me, I’m still partial to my G26. While the engineers at Springfield need to be congratulated for designing a smaller package, with one more round of capacity, which functions reliably, there isn’t enough innovation or ground breaking advancement for me to leave the G26.
The Hellcat MSRPs at $599. That is the same as the P365. I think it will come down to personal choice. The size reduction and the additional round of the capacity in the base magazine may make the difference for some. You can up your capacity on the P365, but SIG magazines are expensive. The Hellcat does come with an additional 13 round magazine which feels better in the hand. That is not standard with the P365.
In summary, the Hellcat is as good a choice as any in the competitive subcompact to micro 9mm field. It functions well. It offers leading edge size and capacity (by a slim margin), and it is competitively priced. However, it does not significantly break any barrier from a technology or value standpoint. It is basically a SIG P365 with an extra round, at the same price… not that there is anything terribly wrong with that.
I believe it’s a matter of personal choice as I don’t see the Hellcat doing anything better than the P365. The one additional round and minimally smaller dimensions are probably not enough to win over SIG owners. Had this gun come in at the $450-$500 range, it may have been able to garner some business from the Glock and/or SIG market.
Look for the video review on episode 2 of Kickin’ Brass!