I’m not normally one to throw around superlatives willy-nilly. Few things - guns included - excite me to the point of inflated language. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a gun guy through and through. I love my guns. And I’ve shot quite a few that I liked over the years. But nowadays, it’s hard to find models that really stand out, especially among polymer striker-fires. Ho, hum. So when one does come along that offers something new and useful (not just new and novel), I stand up and take notice.
Full disclosure: I’m not a Springfield fanboy. In fact, I don’t really like the original Hellcat or the Hellcat RDP all that much. I found them...well, boring. Nothing to write home about. Not even worth a text. They aren’t bad, just fairly unremarkable. I reviewed them and found them adequate.
So when I learned a Hellcat Pro was headed my way, I didn’t get too excited. Same song, third verse, I thought. Being in marketing in my day job, I figured the “Pro” add-on was just a gimmick.
Let’s just say that all my preconceived notions zipped out the door the moment I took the Hellcat Pro out of the box. It was not at all what I expected. Have you ever seen the comedy actors who do a sort of double blink when they’re surprised? I did one of those.
Everything I didn’t like about the first two versions was gone, from the too-short grip to the tiny sight radius to, well, all of it. The Pro felt like a completely different gun in my hand.
I immediately took the gun to the local range where I teach and put a box of 9mm ball ammo downrange. Based on my experience with the Pro’s smaller siblings, I expected the same snappy recoil. However, while it certainly felt snappier than a full-size gun, it was nowhere near its predecessors. In fact, I’d almost call it comfortable to shoot.
I’ve taken it out several more times since and shot various loads through it, all with zero issues and a great shooting experience. Compared to the original Hellcat, the extended grip provides a more comfortable and secure hold.
The Hellcat Pro's extended barrel and improved slide serrations make racking and manipulating the slide smooth and effortless. The trigger breaks crisply at around 5.5 pounds, with minimal take-up and a clean reset. Recoil is somewhat snappy but extremely manageable, thanks to the longer grip with aggressive grip texture.
Are you a red dot shooter? Then grab your favorite micro red dot because the Hellcat Pro is optic-ready standard from the factory and accepts the most popular models.
The true test for me came when I started carrying it as my EDC. I’ve been carrying another gun for years, so switching to the Hellcat Pro took some getting used to. I also had to get a couple of new holsters, which was a bit more of a chore than I anticipated. Who knew that such a popular gun had so little aftermarket support? Anyway, after much searching, I got a couple of holsters and mag carriers and set out to carry the Pro daily.
I incorporated it into my EDC rotation until I felt comfortable carrying it every day. Eventually, I found myself carrying the Hellcat Pro more often than the gun it was slowly replacing.
The Hellcat Pro's slim, 1-inch profile provides minimal printing and makes it ideal for concealed carry. It disappears comfortably under an undershirt or in a dedicated holster, making it a great choice for everyday carry. Two 15-round magazines offer outstanding capacity without significantly impacting concealability. It’s nice to have full-sized capacity in a compact, where the average capacity in the class hovers around 11.
The Springfield Hellcat Pro is a top contender in the CCW pistol market. It might even be the best option out there. Is it a perfect gun? Of course not. Every gun can be better with a tweak here or there. But its combination of capacity, concealability, and performance makes it an ideal choice for concealed carry, while its standard features and upgradeability cater to a wide range of shooters.
If you're looking for a reliable, feature-packed, and highly concealable pistol for self-defense or everyday carry, the Springfield Hellcat Pro is worth checking out. Its impressive performance, comfortable ergonomics, and class-leading capacity make it an outstanding option in the compact market. ~ David Workman
David is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. In addition to being an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and RSO, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. "Real life shootouts don't happen at a box range."