Springfield’s 9mm Hellcat Hits 20,000-Round Milestone Test

The Armory Life team put another 10,000 rounds through a single Springfield Hellcat with only user-induced malfunctions. (Photo: Armory Life)

Springfield Armory’s newest everyday carry handgun, the Hellcat, has earned a lot of praise in the short time following its release. When it comes to everyday carry reliability is paramount and Springfield’s shining a light on the Hellcat’s performance.

In 2019, Springfield took a Hellcat off the production line and put it through a single-day 10,000-round torture test with Clay Martin. Now Paul Carson’s done it, too. In one day Carson and the Armory Life crew put another 10,000 rounds through the same handgun, serial number AT234795, all on video with only user-induced malfunctions.

The full video–sped up–is available for everyone to watch at the Armory Life. Everyone who has two and a half hours, that is.

The test took over 15 hours. (Photo: Armory Life)

“We are very proud to see that the Hellcat once again proved its dominant position in the market as the finest and most durable micro 9mm available,” says Springfield Vice President Steve Kramer. “Carlson’s test held the Hellcat to a very high standard, and it once again showed that the pistol has what it takes to deliver the performance and capability concealed carry users should demand.”

Springfield teamed up with Federal Ammunition to provide ammo for both rounds of testing. They only used limited preventative maintenance, including cleaning every 500 rounds and a scheduled recoil spring replacement after every 2,500 rounds.

The user-induced malfunctions included running the slide stop, which stopped the pistol before it ran empty, as well as dropping the slide on an empty magazine. At one point the crew also ran into a problem when someone tried to chamber a round backward, which is no fault of the gun.

Action Target provided three of these unsung heroes that withstood the bulk of the 10,000 rounds. (Photo: Armory Life)

Around the 15,000-round mark, the gun began to slow down due to a buildup of grime in the grip frame, but no parts failed. After a deeper clean, the Hellcat was up and running normally.

“The Hellcat is even more capable of a gun than I first realized,” said Carlson. “I’ve never really considered small guns to be capable of what this Hellcat has accomplished. I’ve liked the Hellcat ever since I first shot my own, and now have even more faith in it. Springfield Armory has earned its keep on this one.”

A small-frame polymer striker-fired pistol, the Hellcat is one of the first of a new kind of EDC. It combines elements of single-stack pistols and double-stack pistols to make a small, light handgun with a solid 11-round capacity or 13+1 rounds using a slightly extended plus-two magazine.

See Also: Springfield Armory’s Got Hellcats in FDE, Standard and Optics-Ready

The standard Hellcat has a 3-inch barrel and weighs just over 18 ounces empty, which makes it about the same size and (unloaded) weight as most single-stack pistols but with a much larger capacity.

While many smaller handguns, even sub-compact service pistols, can be less reliable than duty handguns, the Hellcat’s proving that it can hold its own under the kind of hard-use that would prove to be problematic even for a lot of service pistols.

“No one would ever expect a micro-sized pistol intended for CCW to be subjected to such an incredibly demanding test, but we never doubted the Hellcat would come out on top,” said Springfield CEO Dennis Reese. “Quality is our number one priority and it always will be, and the Hellcat proved that during this test. We’ll be watching as it continues to prove itself for the next 10K rounds, and beyond.”

For more about the Hellcat and other Springfield Armory products, head over to the company website.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Scott July 6, 2020, 11:42 pm

    Great stuff. What other pistols can do that?

  • DAVID MILLER July 3, 2020, 7:06 pm

    how did it not over heat

  • KMacK July 3, 2020, 12:43 pm

    Looks like a nice pistol except for one thing: That “three-inch” barrel is actually two inches with a one-inch chamber which is not exactly efficient for getting the best performance out of the 9X19mm cartridge. Muzzle flash and all that equals wasted energy, and while there are specialized cartridges for short barrels, they cost more for what is only marginal improvement. Nice pistol, but I’ll stick with my 4″ barreled handgun.

    • Jeff July 3, 2020, 1:30 pm

      You don’t like it because it has a short barrel?… I feel like you’re missing the point of a SUB-COMPACT handgun designed EXCLUSIVELY for concealed carry and close defense. It’s not a duty gun for crying out loud.

  • Mark Hood July 3, 2020, 8:09 am

    Great, they piss away 20k rounds on a commercial and There is not a box of 9mm any where to buy. Makes me think this “shortage” is by design

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