The Hellcat is Springfield Armory, Inc.’s most popular concealed-carrying pistol and one of the most modern and fully-featured handguns in its category today. The original Hellcat Micro-Compact was introduced in 2019, quickly followed by variant models, such as the red-dot-ready Hellcat OSP and the competition-oriented Hellcat RDP.
However, the newest model in the Hellcat pistol line, the Hellcat Pro, introduces the most significant differences from the standard Hellcat family to date. Learn the differences between the standard Hellcat and the new Hellcat Pro and find out which model is better suited for you.
The Original Springfield Armory Hellcat
In 2019, at the time of the original Hellcat’s introduction to the market, the gold standard for what constitutes an ideal concealed carry pistol (e.g., Glock 19, Glock 26) had been seriously challenged by new products such as the SIG P365XL and the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Subcompact.
The main draw for these new pistols is a combination of good ergonomics, high capacity, and a proven self-defense caliber: the 9x19mm cartridge. The original Springfield Hellcat followed the same overall trend. It is a 9x19mm subcompact pistol designed for concealed carrying, with a barrel length of 3” and an empty weight of under 20 ounces.
However, the manufacturer touted the Hellcat as the world’s highest capacity micro-compact pistol. While it featured a standard flush-fit 11-round magazine, matching most of its competition’s capacity, the Hellcat’s extended baseplate magazine boosts the capacity to 13+1 rounds despite increasing the pistol’s height by only 0.5”.
The Hellcat offers a magazine capacity approaching a full-size pistol while still being a highly concealable subcompact.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro
Springfield introduced the new Hellcat Pro in March 2022 at the IWA 2022 firearm trade show. The Hellcat Pro is an enlarged version of the original Hellcat, making it the first midsize pistol of the Hellcat product family.
Although similar to its micro compact counterpart in many ways, the Hellcat Pro features numerous significant differences:
The taller grip is intended to be more comfortable and easier to control for shooters with larger hands.
It comes with a 15-round magazine designed to sit flush with the taller frame.
Features a longer 3.7” barrel and matching slide, increasing the sight radius.
Despite the ergonomic improvements and the increased magazine capacity, the Hellcat Pro is still intended to be easily concealable, with an overall length of just 6.6”, or only 0.6” more than the original Hellcat. Additionally, the Pro’s slide comes out of the box with an optics-ready cut, making it similar to the OSP and RDP models.
Comparison: Hellcat vs. Hellcat Pro
Here is a breakdown of the most significant features of both pistols, including their similarities and differences.
Size and Dimensions
Although there is no question that the original Hellcat is smaller, lighter, and easier to conceal than its Pro variant, both are excellent carry guns, with dimensions designed to facilitate concealment in an appropriate gun holster.
Remarkably, despite being longer and taller, the Hellcat Pro does not feature a thicker grip than the standard version. This factor helps prevent it from printing significantly when conceal-carried.
Original Hellcat dimensions:
Overall length: 6”
Height: 4” (with an 11-round magazine) or 4.5” (with a 13-round magazine)
Weight: 18.3 oz. (with an empty 11-round magazine), 18.6 oz (with an empty 13-round magazine)
Barrel length: 3”
Hellcat Pro dimensions:
Overall length: 6.6”
Weight: 21 oz.
Barrel length: 3.7”
Performance and Capacity
Both pistols are chambered in 9x19mm, and the 0.7” difference in barrel length doesn’t translate into significant differences in muzzle velocity or accuracy.
Although some shooters may argue the Hellcat Pro’s slightly longer sight radius is helpful for accurate shots at longer distances, the difference is minimal. Neither Hellcat is meant to be used beyond typical self-defense distances. So, as long as the shooter does their part, both pistols offer more than adequate accuracy.
The primary performance-related difference between the standard Hellcat and the Pro version is the magazine capacity. The standard Hellcat comes with either a flush-fit 11-round magazine or a 13-round extended magazine, whereas the Pro only accepts the flush-fit 15-round magazine designed for it.
Although the latter has a higher capacity, the Hellcat still offers an exceptional maximum of 14 rounds of 9x19mm in a subcompact platform, minimizing the practical differences.
If necessary, the 15-round Pro mag will fit in the standard Hellcat. However, it will protrude past the bottom of the frame, potentially making the pistol uncomfortable to hold.
Controls and Ergonomics
The ergonomic differences between the Hellcat and the Hellcat Pro should be familiar to shooters with experience owning both a compact and a subcompact pistol of the same overall family. Both handguns feature similar controls, sharing specific parts: magazine releases, slide release lever, takedown lever, and trigger system.
The only meaningful ergonomic difference is the grip height. Although both feature the same grip texture and subtle finger grooves, the standard Hellcat only has two grooves, whereas the Hellcat Pro is tall enough to show three, indicating the latter may be a better choice for shooters with larger-sized hands.
Both handguns feature the same iron sights in their stock forms: a tritium-illuminated front sight for shooting in low-light environments and a non-illuminated U-notch rear sight.
This configuration is a middle-ground compromise between daytime-only sights and home defense night sights, allowing a shooter to use either handgun in any lighting conditions.
While the iron sights are identical on both models, the Hellcat Pro has a significant advantage over its standard variant: it features an optics-ready slide out of the box. This feature allows a shooter to install a mounting plate and a micro red dot sight (RDS), such as the HEX Wasp, Shield SMSc, or JP Enterprises JPoint.
If you want to install one of these sights on a subcompact-sized Hellcat, the standard version will not accept them; you will need the Hellcat OSP instead.
Find Top-Quality Handmade Hellcat Holsters at We The People Holsters
We The People Holsters is proud to offer an extensive selection of high-quality, 100% US-made holsters for American shooters of all skill levels and backgrounds. Whether you carry the standard Hellcat or the Pro, prefer Kydex or leather, IWB or OWB, plain black or printed and colorful, we have the perfect holster for you.