Back in 2018 SIG started a trend when they introduced the P365, a tiny gun with a big capacity. It came with a great trigger, night sights, and a very reasonable price. Other manufacturers sat up and took notice. The following year Springfield Armory introduced their Hellcat which was billed at the time as the smallest micro-compact 9mm with the highest capacity. It held 11 +1 rounds with its flush fit magazine and 13 + 1 with its extended magazine. But now the new Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro steps it up even more.
Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro Details
The Hellcat is almost effortless to carry, very accurate, and possesses flawless reliability. For these reasons, it became my everyday carry gun. But lightweight micro-compacts loaded with hot defense loads can be a handful and the Hellcat is no exception.
Decision-makers at Springfield Armory recognized this and realized that not every customer wants or needs a micro-compact. The new Hellcat Pro offers users all of the advantages of the original Hellcat with a longer barrel and a longer grip frame and increased capacity.
Boasting a 15+1 flush-fit magazine, the Hellcat Pro provides shooters with a more controllable defense pistol. The longer slide and its mass help take a bite out of muzzle flip and combined with the longer grip frame make shooting hotter defense loads more manageable.
Springfield Armory outfits the Hellcat Pro with a barrel .70” longer than the original Hellcat. I found the longer barrel length accounted for a 3-7% increase in velocity in my testing. Is it enough to make a difference in projectile expansion? Probably not, but it can’t hurt either. The longer slide also increases sight radius and makes it easier to shoot the gun more accurately.
The Hellcat Pro features an optics plate and Springfield shipped my test and evaluation pistol with their Hex Optics Wasp red dot already mounted. The optic uses a CR 2032 battery and boasts two years of run time. In fact, there isn’t even an on/off switch. Its brightness is automatically adjusted to ambient lighting and the optic possesses a 3.5 MOA dot.
Shooting the Hellcat Pro
On a cold late February morning, I arrived at my shooting spot in Sonoita Arizona just before sunrise. There was still some snow on the ground from a storm two days earlier. The car thermometer said 17 degrees when I started setting up my DOA portable shooting bench and chronograph. I left the car running and warmed my hands between groups. I fired all groups from a seated rest with the Hellcat Pro’s accessory rail resting on a Millett BenchMaster.
Hornady’s American Gunner 124-grain XTP +P loads produced the single best 5-shot group measuring just .88” at 15-yards and also delivered the most energy with 366 Foot Pounds of Energy! The largest group the Hellcat Pro produced was only 1.16”. Given better weather conditions I’m betting that all of these rounds could have produced sub-1” groups!
Springfield Armory equips the Hellcat Pro with its Gen 3 trigger, and my test samples pull broke with 5.5 pounds of pressure. Crisp and with a very firm reset the Hellcat Pro’s trigger is just about perfect for a defense gun!
Not everyone needs a micro-compact gun. For some people having a gun that fits comfortably in their hand with an adequate sight radius that makes it easier to hit with are the most important features. After all, it’s the hits that count! For a more detailed evaluation of Springfield’s new Hellcat Pro read my article in the June/July issue of Ballistic magazine!
|Black Hills 115-gr. JHP||1,173||351||1.05″|
|Federal 138-gr. SJHP Syntech Defense||1,053||339||1.16″|
|Federal 147-gr. Syntech Training/Match||986||317||.94″|
|Hornady American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P||1,154||366||.88″|
|Winchester USA-Ready 115-gr. Flatnose FMJ||1,189||361||1.10″|
Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Overall Capacity: 15+1
- Overall Length: 6.6 inches
- Height: 4.8 inches
- Overall Weight: 21 ounces
- Sights: Tritium/luminescent front, Tactical Rack “U” Notch, white outlined rear
- Slide: Billet machined, Melonite finish, optics-ready (optic not inlcuded)
- Frame: 1-inch, with Adaptive Grip texture
- Barrel: 3.7 inches, hammer-forged, 1:10 twist, Melonite finish
- Recoil Spring: Dual spring
- MSRP: $634