Industry experts and consumers alike have been searching for the perfect full-powered everyday carry (EDC) pistol for the last 10 years or so. This search has led to a textbook example of the “pendulum of change” phenomena — seeking to fix a problem from one side and creating a completely new problem on the other side. At either extreme, fewer people are happy. The trick is to get the pendulum to rest in the middle. With the introduction of the Hellcat, Springfield Armory now has an EDC pistol positioned in the middle of the pendulum swing … and it’s impressive!
Evolution of the Springfield EDC Solution
Many years ago, Springfield Armory — like other manufactures — entered the polymer pistol revolution. They sought to give consumers a lightweight, high-capacity, full-powered 9mm/.40 caliber. Springfield cut down its 4-inch XD Service model double-stack pistol and created the 3-inch Sub-Compact XD. The XD Sub-Compact is a fine pistol. Like others in its class, however, it isn’t a practical ankle or deep carry gun.
As the EDC concept developed, those who carried pistols like the XD Sub-Compact decided that they wanted increased carry comfort and carry versatility. The pendulum was pushed the other way, and Springfield introduced the single-stack XD-S.
Single stacks have narrower frames than double stacks with commensurately reduced slide width and magazine capacity (normally seven rounds). The XD-S is a great carry gun. I sold a lot of them while employed at a local gun shop. But the pendulum had been shoved too hard for some concealed carriers (including cops) who began to feel that maybe the magazine capacity was too small, and the grip was too thin and less easy to control. It was time to gently push it back the other way.
Enter the ‘Micro Hi-Cap’ Pistols
Springfield Armory describes the Hellcat as a micro-compact pistol. I believe the term “micro hi-cap” is better, as it describes a single-stack-sized pistol with double-stack capacity (11 rounds) engineered into a smaller frame that is more substantial than the single stack. I am amazed at Springfield’s engineering to have accomplished this feat! This Hellcat represents a whole new genre of EDC gun.
Springfield Hellcat 9mm Micro-Hi Cap Specifications
Weight: 18.3 Ounces
Height (with 11-round magazine): 4 inches
Barrel: 3-inch hammer-forged steel with Melonite finish with loaded chamber indicator port
Slide: Billet machined steel, Melonite coated
Overall Length: 6 inches
Frame: Black polymer with adaptive grip texture-fixed with no adaptors
Grip Width: 1 inch
Sights: U-Dot: Tritium/luminescent front, tactical rack rear-optics ready models are available
The Hellcat is extremely well designed and has all of the must-have features required on modern pistols: full-length top slide serrations for enhanced manipulation, a built-in rail for mounting accessories and a dual captive spring with full-length guide rod for reduced felt recoil.
The Hellcat’s trigger is flat-faced with an integral automatic safety lever. Pull weight is in the 5- to 6-pound range, with approximately ½ inch of take-up followed by a crisp let-off. The magazine release catch is reversible by the user. The slide release lever is located on the left side of the frame. Both controls are easily accessed.
I tested the Hellcat on a dreary Ohio winter’s day with light drizzle falling. The outstanding grip, which seems to melt into the hand of the shooter, was immediately evident. The incredibly vivid sight picture made possible by the yellow/green outlined Tritium front sight jumps into alignment on the target. It is a great setup!
I had brought along a quantity of SIG Sauer’s “365” FMJ practice and V-Crown defensive ammo for testing. The 365 ammunition line is optimized for use in EDC pistols. Both loads use 115-grain bullets loaded to 1,050 feet-per-second velocity, generating 282 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
Testing started with the extended 13-round magazine loaded with the 365 FMJ loads. The steel magazine slid in slickly and ejected just as easily. The firing distance was at 20 feet using a two-hand standing stance. Functioning was flawless, with shots landing dead-center to the point of aim. The low recoil generated by the 365 ammunition was barely noticeable, and the adaptive grip texture came in handy as the drizzle fell.
I loaded up the 11-round magazine with the 365 V-Crown loads and dropped all 11 shots into a group that measured 2.5 inches. This is one accurate pistol! Unfortunately, however, the rain increased and shut down testing.
Even with the limited range time, I was extremely impressed with the Springfield Hellcat. Carried with the 11-round magazine and backed by the 13-round reload, there is enough firepower on board to deal with most situations with sufficient accuracy and power. Springfield’s EDC pendulum is positioned in just the right spot. I hope they don’t push it again. MSRP is $569 as tested.
Springfield Armory: Springfield-Armory.com
SIG Sauer: SIGSauer.com
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer since 1980, working undercover in liquor and narcotics investigations and as a member, sniper and assistant team leader of a SWAT team. He currently works as a patrol sergeant. He is a police firearms instructor, certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun. Scott also works as a criminal justice professor and police academy commander.
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