The NEW Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP! – Review

Springfield Armory’s brand new pistol, the Hellcat.

It isn’t every day you get to open up the box of a brand new firearm the hasn’t even reached the market.  Enter the Springfield Armory Hellcat Micro-Compact Pistol.  More specifically the Hellcat OSP (Optical Sight Pistol).

Just this morning (September 24th) I received Springfield Armory’s newest entry into the handgun market.  An offering that strives to bring together what shooters have been wanting from a concealed carry pistol.  A thin profile, compact, lightweight, high capacity 9mm that is loaded with features.

Extended 13 round magazine on the left and Flush 11 round magazine on the right.

Let’s start with the inspiration for this gun.  I had a chance to talk with Dave, the head of Research and Development at Springfield Armory.  The Hellcat set out to be “The World’s Highest Capacity Micro-Compact” Pistol.  And to that end, it offers some substantial capacity for its size.  Shipping with a flush fit 11 round magazine and an extended 13 round magazine.  Giving the shooter a 12 or 14 round carry pistol (with a loaded chamber).

Lots of 9mm in a little package.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves, let’s look at what the market has been looking for.  People have been trying to find that perfect small compact pistol that doesn’t give up on capacity.  Something thin and easily concealable, a provision for an optic, good carry sights, and all of those little extras like front cocking serrations, etc.

Well, I think the Hellcat comes in checking most of those boxes.  Here’s the specs.

Caliber: 9mm

Barrel: 3” Hammer Forged Steel, Melonite Finish 1:10 Twist

Slide: Billet Machined, Melonite Finish

Frame: Black Polymer with Adaptive Grip Texture

Sights: Tritium & Luminescent Front, Tactical Rack U-Notch Rear

Recoil: Dual Captive Spring with Full-Length Guide Rod

Capacity: 11+1 Flush Fit Magazine / 13+1 Extended Magazine

Height: 4” with Flush Magazine / 4.5” with Extended Magazine

Length: 6” 

Width: 1”

Weight: 18.3 oz. with Flush Magazine / 18.6 oz with Extended Magazine

MSRP: $569 or $599 OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) Variant

For me personally, the extended magazine fit my hand better than the flush fit.

With that out of the way, what was my experience like?  I took the new Hellcat Micro-Compact OSP out to the range and opened it up for the first time.  I unboxed the pistol, threw on the Cross Breed IWB (Inside the Waist Band) holster that got sent with it, loaded up the two magazines with some 124gr. Minuteman Munitions 9mm and shot the Baer Solutions Cold Start Drill.

I’ll be honest, I failed it.  Definitely did not pass the par time and I dropped 2 rounds.  Was it the pistol’s fault?  Absolutely not, it was me trying my hand with a brand new pistol, holster, and optic straight out of the box (I didn’t even zero the optic for me, just shot it).  Not to mention my ability from a cold start.

The Shield sight fits great on the Hellcat OSP.

After that, I began working my way back on a reduced B/C Zone AR550 Steel Target by TA Targets.  There is something gratifying about the sound steel makes and the Hellcat made it happen.  10 yards was incredibly easy, even in rapid succession, with the RMSc optic on the Hellcat OSP.  Stepping back to 25 yards, while I had to slow down some, the Hellcat easily kept all the rounds on steel.  So I pushed back even further.

I’ll be the first to say, I think 50-yard pistol shots are pretty far outside the realm of probable for most self-defense use.  And mind you this is a 3” barreled Micro-Compact pistol.  But, if I really worked for it, I could get some hits at the 50.  For me personally, that is where I fell apart.  Being able to break the trigger right when I needed it to.

Trigger

While the Hellcat’s trigger is flat-faced, there is a slightly rounded edge on either side.

Which is a good segue into the Hellcat’s trigger.  It is a largely flat-faced trigger that has a slight curve on either side, rounding it out the edges a little bit.  In the middle of the trigger is a blade safety that has to be depressed in order for the trigger to fire.  A common set up for striker-fired pistols.  The trigger breaks at 90 degrees which is nice and is right around 5 – 5.5lbs.  

Personally, when people talk about how nice triggers are, there is a huge disparity…  By way of example, I just came off shooting a 2-day competition, The Tactical Games, with a Springfield 1911A1.  While that pistol didn’t have a “Great” trigger for a 1911, it was infinitely better than any striker-fired pistol.  The person that cracks the code and makes a striker-fired pistol as clean as a 1911 will win.  But I digress.  For me, the Hellcat’s trigger was exactly what I expected from a striker-fired gun.  Depress it, get to the wall and push past.  Did it break like a glass rod?  No, it broke like most any other stock striker-fired trigger.  It didn’t strike me as better or worse than any of the other reputable offerings out there.

While the pistol’s slide release is only on the left side of the gun, the magazine release is reversible.

Feel/Fit

As far as the feel of the pistol, it fit my hand well.  The form factor is small enough to easily conceal and at the same time, not so small that it becomes insubstantial and hard to hold onto.  I think the texturing, “Adaptive Grip Texture”, works pretty well too.  It provides some grip but isn’t so abrasive that it would probably cause discomfort with prolonged carry.

Sights

The front sight is large and bright, easy to pick up during the day.

The sights, while I didn’t use them much, are nice and bright.  The front sight is a high visibility dot around a tritium vial.  On the back of the gun is Springfield Armory’s Tactical Rack U-Notch.  A large U shaped cutout highlighted in white and made with a shelf for racking the pistol slide off of objects.

The Tactical Rack U-Notch is very distinct and bold, offering the shooter a fast sight picture.

Since the model I received was the OSP (Optical Sight Pistol), it came equipped with a RMSc Compact Reflex Mini Sight (to be clear, the OSP version will come milled for an optic but currently doesn’t come with one).  The optic worked great on the pistol and complimented its size nicely.  On top of that, since the slide was actually milled, the RMSc sat so low that you could use the iron sights through it.  That unto itself is a pretty nice feature, alleviating any need for higher suppressor height sights.

Additional Features

On top of all of these things, the pistol also offers some nice added features that more and more people have been asking for.  The list includes front and rear slide serrations, undercut trigger guard, reversible magazine release (for left or right-handed shooters), high extended beavertail, a textured index point above the trigger guard (for your thumb), and last but not least, a standard accessory rail.  Rather than something proprietary, it uses the same mounting system as most manufacturers use, such as Streamlight and SureFire.

Stand-Off Device

I didn’t try the Stand-Off Device, but the fact it is included I think is pretty cool.

One added feature which caught my eye but that I didn’t have time to test for myself, was a built-in Stand Off Device.  Basically the end of what would be the guide rod is a textured piece that won’t move back.  It allows the pistol to be pushed against a target and still fired.  Think about a contact shot in extremely close quarters.  The idea being it will keep the pistol from going out of battery and allow the shooter to fire if need be.

Accuracy

As far as an accuracy standard, I just shot at some targets printed into 1/2” squares at approximately 7 yards.  Why?  Because it is a 3” barreled micro-compact made for self-defense.  While I think people should find their limits as well as that of their equipment, the lions share of shootings takes place fairly close.

Using a number of different defensive loads, this is what I ended up with, shooting 5 shot groups unsupported at 7 yards. 

G9 Bullets, Full Stop 124 grain Solid Copper Hollow Points
Asym Precision +P 115 grain Barnes TAC-XP Solid Copper Hollow Points.
Sig Sauer 124 grain V-Crown Jacketed Hollow Points.
Sig Sauer 365 115 grain V-Crown Jacketed Hollow Points.

Suffice to say, the gun can outshoot me. And if you are curious about that last group, I was fatiguing by the end of it and threw all those rounds. Just me being human.

Reliability

All said and done I fired over 300 rounds throughout my day at the range.  Including Winchester, Remington, Sellier & Bellot, Sig Performance (as well as 365), Minuteman Munitions, Asym Precision +P and G9 Bullets.  During all of it, I had zero malfunctions. Occasionally my grip would override the slide release (this happens when you use a high grip to control recoil on most pistols), keeping the pistol from locking back on an empty magazine. This is not the pistol’s fault but completely attributable to how I was holding the gun.

During the course of my shooting, I didn’t encounter any malfunctions.

Final Thoughts

What are my thoughts…?  I think it is an incredibly solid offering.  The pistol includes literally every feature that people are/have been looking for in a carry pistol.  To summarize, it’s tiny, it holds more rounds than anything else in its size class, it has high vis night sights, tactical rear sight for emergency racking, it’s optics ready and will allow co-witness with stock sights, front and rear serrations, reversible/ambi mag release, good grip texture, undercut trigger guard, high extended beavertail, solid self-defense trigger, stand-off device, non-proprietary light/accessory rail, it’s reliable, and it’s got the backing of Springfield Armory. I can’t think of much else I’d want.

It might be time to upgrade to a high capacity carry gun, with a small footprint and provision for optics, I’d take a hard look at the new Springfield Armory Hellcat.

Check out the video of my 1st Look at the Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP below.

Visit Springfield Armory to learn more about the Hellcat.

About the author: Ivan Loomis has spent a lot of time outdoors, backpacking and camping as well as extensive international travel. Eventually, he landed in the Marine Corps in the late 90’s. After a hiatus from the service to race the Baja 1000 a couple times, he reenlisted with the Air Force. Departing that he wound up in a large metropolitan Police Department for a spell before landing in the Security Contracting world.One constant through these experiences was gear and weapons. Having spent time in a lot of environments and with the opportunity to field a lot of equipment, he’s grown fond of well-made gear.He now shares those experiences, adventures, and knowledge through contributing articles and videos to various publications, including his own site: www.kitbadger.com

{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Kirk Brown January 18, 2020, 4:33 pm

    Hello. What exact model of Crossbreed IWB holster was used with the Hellcat OSP pistol? Minituck, supertuck, etc. can you email me a picture of the holster?

  • John Lee October 22, 2019, 4:34 pm

    Good in concept. However the best thing about the Sig P365 is it’s a TEN+1. Meaning its mags are 50 State legal. I live in a commie state, so if I bought the Hellcat, I’d have to purchase a separate butchered magazine. Would rather have the gun been smaller than the magazine be bigger.

  • Wolf Wysgoll October 19, 2019, 1:25 am

    Can it be holstered equipped with its optics?

  • Wolf Wysgoll October 19, 2019, 1:20 am

    Amazing firearm well built great review. Question? Can the optic equipped still be holstered? Thankyou for all of your hard work.

  • bill October 7, 2019, 11:26 pm

    the sig 365 can be equipped with a 15 round mag; about 45 bucks.

  • Ej harbet October 7, 2019, 4:25 pm

    I think we all know (sig365) what inspired this gun. It looks like itll be a good answer to some

  • AJ October 3, 2019, 10:48 pm

    One thing people fail to realize with any stock trigger, is that when the adrenaline is at a high, that take up can save your life.
    Positive identification of a threat is extremely important in the realm of self defense. And that take up helps mitigate the risk of squeezing off a round when adrenaline makes your muscles tense up and jerk, especially when you haven’t identified an absolute threat.
    It also helps mitigate the risk of letting one go on your draw. A lot of people train extensively. Which is always a good thing. But you never know how your body is going to act when faced with an immediate threat unless you’ve been there. Even then, there are a lot of variables.
    So it’s probably best to leave the carry gun trigger alone. Don’t look for a competition trigger with a featherweight pull in a carry gun.

  • Mark N. October 2, 2019, 12:47 am

    What happened to the grip safety? It was one of the reasons my first pistol buy was a Springfield XD and I refuse to buy a Block.

  • JCitizen October 1, 2019, 4:39 pm

    Can’t wait to trade my XDS in for this one! I was shocked to find out how controllable such a small package was with the .45 cal cartridge!! Now I can have more capacity – it should be even more controllable with 9mm – LOVE IT.

  • sigmundsauer October 1, 2019, 11:02 am

    I’m tired of the gun community at large making excuses for compact and sub-compact pistols. Testing for accuracy at conversational distances may seem justifiable for a pistol in this class size but is it really a test of accuracy then when we’re only shooting at 7 yards? 25 yards/25 meters has long been the “standard” for pistol accuracy. It’s reasonable to not expect a sub-compact class pistol to print groups comparable to a full size service pistol but that doesn’t mean you have to pull punches by testing the sub-compact at a fraction of the distance just because it’s barrel is an inch or less shorter. Please stop making excuses for small pistols. My SIG P365 will shoot toe-to-toe with any of my full size pistols at 25 meters off-hand. Often better than most full size pistols, and can easily put 5 into less than 3″ at 25m with ammo it likes. None of my Glocks can do that regardless of size. It’s a fighting pistol regardless of size.

    • Mark N. October 2, 2019, 12:38 am

      Most 25 yard tests employ a rest, while here, his 7 yard test–self defense distance–was unsupported, giving a pretty good idea of accuracy in the real world, i.e., when it comes time to shoot something other than nice neat holes in paper.

  • hugo September 30, 2019, 7:40 pm

    I was hoping for a higher cap XDe DA/SA. I sometimes carry appendix…I trained myself to release the grip safety on my xd pistols during re-holstering. The Hellcat doesn’t allow that option.

  • Spike September 30, 2019, 6:31 pm

    Great review, thanks!

  • Jim September 30, 2019, 1:58 pm

    It’s a striker fired pistol. Notice the absence of a hammer in the pictures?

    • Wolf Wysgoll October 19, 2019, 1:16 am

      Yes I did notice the absence of a hammer since it is not a 911

  • Firemanbob September 30, 2019, 1:55 pm

    The Un Civil Gun War has begun, the winner is we the consumer. Great technology coming at us from all directions, capacity, sights and fair pricing. Another great review.

  • D B Cooper September 30, 2019, 12:05 pm

    Am I the only person that finds it odd the nowhere (except under 1 pic) does he mention the cal ? I do not see 9mm in his report nor in the specs. That is STUPID. Give this report an F.

    • CyberRon September 30, 2019, 4:06 pm

      I counted 4 mentions of 9mm in the article…

    • Tommy September 30, 2019, 6:18 pm

      You mean 9mm on the first line of the specs wasn’t enough for you? Or perhaps the first tag under the title? It seemed pretty clear to me.

    • Huntre October 1, 2019, 4:29 pm

      um….., and pictured in the ammo boxes? plus several mentions.

    • Mandi Mando October 10, 2019, 8:59 pm

      8 times at least if you count the pictures.

  • RTM66 September 30, 2019, 11:36 am

    I’d like to have one but, I live in the PR of Maryland. Us peasants aren’t allowed to have weapons that hold more than 10 rounds in the mag. Our rulers deem it unnecessary. Hopefully SA will come out with a communist approved model for us poor souls.

    • j September 30, 2019, 2:30 pm

      I hear this will soon be your only approved weapon:
      https://www.bugasalt.com/

    • Mark N. October 2, 2019, 12:45 am

      Maybe for you, but we on the sunny Left Coast haven’t had a new pistol in six years. Nor very much likely to ever see a new one, as things now stand. When the manufacturers stop making all the approved models, we will have only new revolvers to buy, or used guns. This State would ban all guns if it could get away with it.

      • William P.e December 17, 2019, 7:35 pm

        Reason #16 in a series of why we relocated from CA to TN.
        That shithole state is no longer golden.

        • Scotty F July 2, 2020, 1:36 pm

          Same here, I moved from CA to TN in 1990

  • Jim September 30, 2019, 11:27 am

    The only thing I did not see was if it was SA or DA/SA. I very much like the ability of the DA and the ability of a second strike trigger. This was something that my Taurus 24/7 has and I loved it. I now carry a Springfield 9mm Shield Performance Center Model and very much like it. The reason I put up my Taurus is because it was large and heavy being a .45cal. How about it Springfield, any chance you might make this model have a second strike ability?

  • EZ Jeffreys September 30, 2019, 10:44 am

    Nicely done article. Would like to see a side-by-side comparison to the P365 to see if you are giving up anything for the extra round (other than full night sights).

  • Kenneth M Bettasso September 30, 2019, 10:30 am

    Finally, a Hellcat I cant afford (mean mug at dodge).

  • Jet September 30, 2019, 10:25 am

    I have seen this before. Years ago I bought a Taurus millennium G2 and it is basically the same gun as this hellcat at a lower price. The thing has served me well. I plan to check out Springfield’s newest offering when it hits the store.

    • Steve October 2, 2019, 6:42 am

      The G2 is nothing like the Hellcat. The G2 is bigger and heavier all the way around and does not accept a red dot optic. The Hellcat is currently the smallest, highest capacity 9mm available.

  • Stephen Graham September 30, 2019, 10:14 am

    I have never seen your reviews before, Ivan. I a truly impressed with the non-edited nature of the review, your objectivity, your skill-set, and your honesty (getting tired). I truly look forward to more reviews by you. I am a trigger geek. Can you subjectively compare the trigger to the P365?

  • Tenbones September 30, 2019, 9:45 am

    No external hammer, no deal, although an external safety might change my mind. I like the optics ready option, but really not a fan of striker fired pistols.

  • TexDad September 30, 2019, 9:29 am

    Glad it doesn’t have a safety.

    Not trying to be argumentative, just want to add that there is a major camp that doesn’t want a manual safety. Mine won’t come out of the holster until I need it to go bang. A make-gun-not-work switch doesn’t factor into my self-defense plan.

  • Charles Marshall September 30, 2019, 9:14 am

    No thumb safety is a deal breaker for me. G2C compares in all aspects to the Hellcat at half the price.

  • John September 30, 2019, 8:51 am

    No safety. Pass.
    Too bad looked like a good design otherwise.

    • Trevor Teague September 30, 2019, 9:42 am

      It has a safety. It’s built into the trigger.

      • Lee Latham September 30, 2019, 11:08 am

        Can we all stop pretending that is some kind of truly useful safety?

        If you don’t have the werewithal to thumb down an ergonomically placed manual safety in a stressful situation, I’m not sure you should be carrying a gun.

        Glocks and their imitators like this are dangerous trash.

        • Larry September 30, 2019, 1:18 pm

          Dangerous trash? Maybe we should all stop pretending everybody needs an external safety.

        • James DeLap September 30, 2019, 3:57 pm

          I’ll probably have time to pull out the cannon in my purse.

          While my husband argues.

        • Ejharbet October 7, 2019, 4:30 pm

          If you dont have a safety between your ears,I’m not sure you should be carrying a gun. FIFY😀

  • gary holfstra September 30, 2019, 7:42 am

    My only concern would be the optic – getting it snagged on clothing from a concealed carry holster. It sits up rather high and is squared off. Perhaps some taper added to the rear to help prevent snagging.
    Any feedback from the range session on the draw? The included holster was mentioned but nothing on how it worked with the optic.

    • Ivan Loomis September 30, 2019, 10:13 am

      It was a non-issue. I’ve ran a number of optics on pistols and this is the same, smaller than most in fact. As to the holster, they are just cut higher sometimes in the top front edge, to accommodate optics.

  • Jesse Scott September 30, 2019, 7:36 am

    Nice job Spring. Great competition for Sig. Hellcat is kind of a dorky name, but it is the hardware that counts in the end.

    • TexDad September 30, 2019, 9:27 am

      I hated it when SIG chose P365 for theirs, making their own P### pistol naming scheme into something of a joke. Looks like Springfield has followed suit.

      They both look to be good guns though, at this point.

  • Al September 30, 2019, 7:36 am

    Great gun with the added feature,would love to try to fire to compare to my sig

  • R.L. Lohan September 30, 2019, 5:48 am

    Before watching Ian’s YOUTUBE demonstration, SA sent me their Advertisement Email (I own several SA pistols) “teaser” to wet everyone’s appetite! Needless to say, it worked! While watching Ian connecting steel, there was very little recoil, resighting almost immediately! This got my attention! I agree with Ian, for CC the features is what most individuals will be looking for…

    This Hellcat is going to replace my FNS9C for CC… Is it a better choice? Over the next few months, I’ll know!

    Besides, with a 13+1 Extended Magazine, just might make a difference in a critical moment.

    One might think, an additional bullet will not make a difference. I would rather have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it.

    Gauging one’s life over an additional bullet, is a no brainer! 13+1 it shall be…

  • Marvin September 30, 2019, 5:23 am

    Love Springfield Armory, own several, but stealing the name from Gary Reeder’s Hellcat series? That’s not right. Let the independent gun maker make a living. You can hire a marketing guy to come up with something new.

  • DAN III September 30, 2019, 4:07 am

    Will the Hellcat function using XDm 9 magazines ?

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