Big Gun Performance from Springfield’s Micro Hellcat Rapid Defense Package (RDP)

The NEW RDP package from Springfield Armory includes a Hellcat, HEX Wasp Micro Red Dot, and Muzzle Compensator

So how do you mitigate the short sight radius and tame the muzzle flip of a full power micro compact 9mm? Easy, install a micro red dot to eliminate sight alignment errors and a lightweight aluminum compensator to keep it on target. 

Springfield Armory has been active in the field of practical pistol competition since the 1980’s and knows a lot about race guns, red dots, and compensating pistols. The Hellcat Ready Defense Package (RDP) takes micro carry guns to a whole new level.

The Hellcat RDP maintains a small defensive sized package while maximizing the potential of the highest capacity micro-compact on the market.

Hard anodized 8082 aluminum compensator reduces muzzle rise

Small pistols like the Hellcat are always going to have recoil and muzzle flip when shooting full power 9mm rounds. The patented self-indexing compensator mounted on the threaded barrel of the Hellcat RDP reduces both.

The gases escaping behind the bullet strike the rear facing surfaces of the compensators internal chamber and are redirected out the ports to minimize the recoil. The gases exiting the compensators top port act to push the muzzle downward reducing muzzle rise. You know how it works, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Patent-pending self-indexing compensator mechanism 

The single port aluminum compensator threads on the Hellcat RDP’s extended barrel and has a spring-loaded catch on the bottom. The catch indexes into a keyway cut in the bottom of the barrel ensuring proper alignment.

True to the purpose of the Hellcat, the compensator is small so it doesn’t negate the concealability of the pistol. In addition, due to the design and material it only adds 19 grams, about 5/8 of an ounce to the overall weight.

Micro red dot Hex Wasp fits perfectly on Hellcat RDP

Another significant upgrade of the Rapid Defense Package is the addition of a red dot sight.  The RDP takes advantage of the optics ready feature of the Hellcat and includes a HEX Wasp micro red dot.

The Wasp is just the right size for inclusion on the RDP. Small enough to maintain concealability but powerful enough to add real value to the accuracy of the micro Hellcat. Go HERE for a full review of the new HEX Wasp on GunsAmerica.

What makes the red dot work so well on the Hellcat RDP is the low mounting of the Wasp. It’s down at the same level as the installed sights so that the red dot can easily be picked up by shooters accustomed to using iron sights.

Low mounting of Wasp co-witnesses with iron sights

The short sight radius of micro guns always makes shooting accurately a challenge. Adding the Wasp removes the sight alignment errors and allows focus on a single plane- down on the target.

The Wasp has many features that are desirable on a defensive pistol, it has a long battery life and stays on all the time, so it’s ready when you need it. It also auto adjusts for the lighting conditions, so the dot is always at the proper intensity.

The aluminum bodied Wasp is mounted on the Hellcat RDP slide by two torx screws, along with an index point at each of the bottom corners to ensure alignment.  Like the compensator the Wasp is extremely light so it doesn’t weigh down the everyday carry use of the Hellcat.

The RDP also comes with the Hellcat Gen2 trigger, an upgrade to improve trigger geometry. The Hellcat RDP trigger broke at an average 6 ½ pounds on the trigger scale. A bit heavy, but you don’t want too light a trigger on a defensive pistol being carried inside your waistband.

Simple breakdown of Hellcat RDP

The RDP breaks down just like a standard Hellcat. The compensator can be removed, and a knurled cap is included to protect the threads. A profiled plate is provided to fill the slide if the Wasp is removed and a shooter wants to just use iron sights.

Specifications

Caliber-           9mm

Height-            5.2 inches

Length-            7 inches

Width-             1.05 inches

Weight-           19 1/8th ounces (with 11 round magazine)

Capacity-         11+1 or 13+ 1 with extended magazine

Barrel-             3.8 inches

Sights-             HEX Wasp micro red dot & Tritium front, U-notch rear iron sights

Safety-            Optional ambidextrous thumb safety

MSRP-             $899

Range Time

All the frills and gadgets in the world don’t make a pistol worth having unless it performs on the range. The good news is the Hellcat RDP is a solid performer, delivering a dominating performance on paper and steel. 

I tested the RDP many times, shooting it with the compensator on and then removing it and shooting the same targets. I can’t provide any actual statistics or percentages, but the lightweight single chamber compensator does noticeably reduce recoil and muzzle rise. 

Hellcat RDP is still a very small firearm even with compensator and red dot

The difference in controllability was obvious, and the divergence between bullet impacts tightened up with the comp during controlled pairs. The real improvements showed up when the distance increased or the target size decreased.

The Hellcat RDP was an absolute rock star against my dueling tree. The 6” plates were downright easy to hit from 20 yards out with the Wasp, and the comp made it fast getting to the next plate. I have to admit the Hellcat RDP makes me believe it’s time for red dots on carry pistols.

Hellcat RDP delivered very accurate performance

Accuracy testing was done with the butt of the grip resting on a sandbag from a distance of 10 yards; this is a micro compact gun after all. As it turns out, I could have shot from much further out than most would ever go with  a defensive pistol.

The groups above bear out that the Hellcat RDP is a very accurate pistol. The Wasp red dot made it easy to center up on the target, and though it wasn’t needed the comp brought the dot back down into the black immediately after each shot. These were perhaps the fastest groups I have ever shot in testing for an article. 

The only challenge, whatsoever, was on me to cleanly break the trigger. Obviously, the Gen2 trigger was up to the task of doing some thoroughly  accurate work, as well as working over all my steel targets.

Accessory packed RDP maximizes performance of the high-capacity Hellcat

In all I shot 250 rounds of ammunition through the Hellcat RDP and it functioned flawlessly. Feeding and ejecting several different types of bullets without any issue.

Parting Thoughts

Springfield Armory made some serious upgrades to the already proven Hellcat platform and the results are outstanding. The Hellcat RDP’s performance speaks for itself. It was 100% reliable and shot some fantastic groups proving its accuracy and the benefit of the installed Hex Wasp. 

The compensator adds very little weight but provides noticeable improvements in recoil and muzzle control.  The Ready Defense Package lifts the Hellcat’s performance to a level far above that expected from a compact pistol, let alone a micro.

Visit Springfield Armory for more information about the HELLCAT RDP by clicking HERE

Awesome Hellcat RDP/ Hornady ammunition combo. Target says it all

Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!

About the author: Jeff Cramblit is a world-class competitive shooter having won medals at both the 2012 IPSC World Shotgun Championship in Hungary and more recently the 2017 IPSC World Rifle Championship in Russia. He is passionate about shooting sports and the outdoors. He has followed that passion for over 30 years, hunting and competing in practical pistol, 3gun, precision rifle and sporting clays matches. Jeff is intimately familiar with the shooting industry – competitor, instructor, RO, range master, match director. Among his training credits include NRA Instructor, AR-15 armorer, FBI Rifle Instructor, and Officer Low Light Survival Instructor. As a sponsored shooter, Jeff has represented notable industry names such as: Benelli, 5.11 Tactical, Bushnell, Blackhawk, DoubleStar, and Hornady. He has been featured on several of Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery episodes and on a Downrange TV series. Jeff’s current endeavors cover a broad spectrum and he can be found anywhere from local matches helping and encouraging new shooters as they develop their own love of the sport, to the dove field with his friends, a charity sporting clays shoot, backpack hunting public land in Montana, or the winners podium of a major championship.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • jarrett March 24, 2021, 11:53 am

    What is the best recommended ammunition for the Hellcat RDP?

  • Josh March 22, 2021, 4:24 pm

    Has anyone found a compensator to buy on its own for a hellcat and threaded barrel?

  • JOHN T. FOX March 1, 2021, 5:12 pm

    DUE TO CATARACTS IN BOTH EYES THIS WILL BE MY NEW SELF-DEFENSE PISTOL. WHEN THE PRICE DROPS BY $500.

  • Zupglick March 1, 2021, 10:49 am

    So far, the only problem I see is remembering to change the battery in the red dot.

    • Vindicator May 9, 2021, 9:02 pm

      Meh, fooey. Does it still shoot if the red dot batteries are tango uniform? Just shoot the damned thing and make the best of a less-than-optimum situation – you’re still armed.

  • lawrence h falkenstein March 1, 2021, 9:34 am

    Hi, Jeff.
    I have a couple standard 9mm HellCat’s. Is it possible to upgrade to a RDP (parts kit)?
    Thanks!

  • Bad Penguin March 1, 2021, 8:18 am

    Why not just put a 1.5 inch longer barrel on the pistol?

    • Justamessenger March 1, 2021, 6:27 pm

      Why not just read the article before posting?

      • Bad Penguin March 5, 2021, 8:16 am

        Sorry but I don’t suffer from limp wrist syndrome. To me that compensator just adds unneeded length to the barrel.

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