Watch Clay & Co. Give Springfield’s New Hellcat Pistol the 10,000-Round Torture Test

Let’s be honest, how often is the average person going to shoot their chosen EDC pistol? A few hundred rounds to make sure it works, and then stuff it in a holster and not think about it again? Maybe even less?

How about we turn that on its end and hold that gun you’re staking your life on to a higher standard? Instead of just viewing it as a gun that has to shoot a few hundred rounds to be “proven,” how about we hold it to the standard of a full-size duty pistol? What kind of test would that be?

Thousands of rounds of 9mm dwarf the tiny Hellcat pistol. (Photo: TheArmoryLife)

Ridiculous Extremes

Well, if your chosen EDC pistol is (or will be) the Hellcat, let’s throw all our preconceived notions about CCW pistols out the window. And why shouldn’t we? The Hellcat did the same with all the rules for what we should expect from a deep-cover carry pistol. Despite its tiny size and light weight (around 18 oz. and sporting a short 3″ barrel), the 9mm +P-rated pistol packs in 11+1 rounds with a flush mag and 13+1 with an extended one. Bump up to the OSP version (for a mere extra $30), and you get the ability to direct-mount an optic on the pistol that co-witnesses with the excellent U-Dot tritium/luminescent sights.

Basically, you are getting duty pistol capacity, performance, and adaptability in a gun that can be carried concealed easily all day. So how about we apply full-size durability standards to it that we wouldn’t normally to a gun this size? How about 10K rounds through it over two days, with only basic maintenance and care? Crazy? Possibly. Should we try it? Why not?

What we’re talking about here is not only reliability, but also durability. Will an average shooter ever shoot a Hellcat this amount? I doubt it. But, when a new CCW firearm comes to market, I always want to know how durable it is. Now, we could wait months for real-world beta testing, getting some feedback from owners that adopted early. But many times, designs that should have worked according to AutoCAD don’t hold up to expectations. I don’t know about you, but I’d find it pretty comforting to find out if the gun I would stake my life on as a CCW pistol can deliver when it counts.

Clay and his team put the Hellcat through its paces during the 10K ammo test. (Photo: TheArmoryLife)

Rules of the Game

Fortunately for all of us, I do have some experience with overkill (click here to see my 10K test of the Springfield Armory XD-M 10mm). And I knew just the guys to ask for help when it was time for mad scientist gun-testing hour. Federal Ammunition, never a team to back down, donated 10,000 rounds of American Eagle 9mm. The ammunition we used was 115 grain, with an advertised velocity of 1,180 feet per second. That isn’t quite +P, but it is certainly no powder puff. Also, we had Action Target provide us several excellent steel targets for the test. So, with this and a standard Hellcat pistol along with 35 13-round magazines, we had the ingredients for a real test of what the Hellcat could do…

Finish reading Clay’s thoughts and conclusions over at TheArmoryLife.com.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Greybeard November 15, 2019, 3:42 pm

    Great. I think I found the state where I want to move to. Just let me know where it is. And do you have have classes?

  • davud November 15, 2019, 12:04 pm

    my shield 9mm is perfectly comfortable to shoot with full-power ammo all day long. i wonder how much of the notion of user-unfriendly ccw pistols is left over from the days when .357 snubs were the standard.

  • Anil Bhatia November 15, 2019, 10:20 am

    Good test thank you for sharing, although I do not appreciate this gun not having fully ambidextrous controls it’s 2019 come on guys. Also the RMR version has not hit the market yet, Hopefully it comes out soon it’s almost Christmas time

    • Donnie November 17, 2019, 8:11 pm

      Where do people like you get your information that you spout all over the web? The optics version is out and all over the place. WTF are you talking about?

  • Vlad Tepes November 15, 2019, 9:15 am

    In the U.S. Military trials with the 1911 going double that amount (20,000) rounds there were no misfires. Pre-loaded striker fired guns are not at full cock internally and therefore have much weaker ignition systems which was proven in these tests. If you would have factored in extreme cold and congealed lube and a dirty gun the Springfield would undoubtedly have had way more misfires.

  • Steve November 15, 2019, 5:13 am

    I’m in texas and no one is selling these. Any idea when we will be able to see them other than test on youtube?

  • triggerpull November 15, 2019, 3:56 am

    Very cool–though I’m not the least bit surprised–to this day my old XD 45 remains my first go-to weapon of choice on my nightstand.

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