It has been a minute since the Springfield Armory Hellcat was introduced, and the little gun that could has certainly been making some waves. A contender to the micro 9mm title belt, the Hellcat came out swinging. Not only did it offer the highest capacity in its class, but it quickly garnered a reputation for toughness and reliability. We actually ran 10,000 rounds through one in a single weekend prior to its release, which it took without a hiccup. That same gun later took another 10,000 from a different crew, which is an absolutely absurd round count for a micro compact. So today, we are going to take a look at some of the new developments for your Hellcat.
The Hellcat was clearly purpose built to go head to head with the SIG P365. At the time, the Hellcat and P365 were the only guns in this class. (What I term the 1.5 stack micro.) Though you now have the option of an S&W Shield Plus or a Ruger Max 9, the Hellcat and P365 are still the leaders. The P365 came to market with either 10+1 or 12+1 magazines, which was amazing. Springfield Armory was not going to introduce a gun that was “just as good” when SIG had a year’s head start, so they pulled a miracle. In the same size of magazines, the Hellcat offered 11+1 or 13+1. That is a small edge, but it is an edge.
SIG answered right back with a 15 rounder. Earlier this year, Springfield Armory matched that with a 15 rounder of their own. Which is semi-ridiculous for a micro 9. The Hellcat magazine extension fits the gun perfectly, offering what feels like a seamless addition to the grip. Now, this might not be a big deal for some, but I think the development is huge. I have said for a long time the Hellcat shoots well enough to replace a full-sized pistol. With 15+1, that is even more true. That is the same capacity as a Glock 19, in a much slimmer package. It is not unreasonable to say that with a couple of 15’s for classes or nightstand back up, the Hellcat can be an ONLY pistol. It can do the job of a full-size, compact, CCW gun well enough to be an only child. And be short nothing.
Speaking of magazines, there is another awesome add-on from HYVE Technologies. HYVE has made available new aluminum baseplates that make either your 11+1 or 13+1 into a 14+1. Yes. Single extension, either magazine goes up to 14. I love this because it makes my 11 rounders useful again. I liked that the Hellcat offers two mag sizes, in case you want that extra ¼ inch of concealment. But if I’m being honest, I have used my 11 round mag zero times since I have owned a Hellcat. And I bet a lot of you are in that same boat. It conceals so well with the bigger ones, that I never carry the smaller one. HYVE really gets it done with this extension. Available in a wide variety of colors, they also add some style to your CCW piece. This is a product we can strongly endorse.
Last but not least, what about optics? What do you do, as a firearms manufacturer, to ensure you have a red dot option that will fit your weapon? If you are Springfield Armory, you buy an optics company. When the Hellcat was released, the optic-ready model was $50 more than the standard model. I told everyone that would listen to buy the optic cut whether you planned on a red dot or not. You never know what the future will hold.
The original option for the Hellcat was the Shield RMSc, which was a great optic. It did, however, have a couple of issues. Number one was the expense. A RMSc still retails for around $430, which is a LOT on a $600 gun. Second, it isn’t waterproof, unless you specifically source and purchase the waterproof model. And third, availability. The RMSc was the hottest thing going, which meant inventory could never keep up.
Springfield Armory solved all of that with its special project, Hex Optics. The Wasp shares a footprint with the RMSc, also known as the Springfield Micro footprint. The optics are waterproof, which is a huge deal for a potentially lifesaving gun. It might be uncommon, but you don’t want your sight to fail because you fell in a puddle during a shootout. You don’t get to choose the time or place that combat breaks out.
The Hex Wasp has a two-year runtime and features an auto-dimming sensor which regulates dot brightness based on conditions an movement. A hardcoat anodized aluminum body means it isn’t going to fail because you look at it hard, and the scratch-resistant lenses ensure a long service life. A 3.5 MOA aiming dot is plenty big enough for the application, ensuring surgical like aiming ability as well as quick acquisition.
That all shakes out to a lot of reasons to own a Hellcat or give yours some serious upgrades. With the support of the aftermarket, there is nothing a Hellcat can’t do.