Pistols are the fundamental basis for all firearms training. As one special operations combat veteran revealed to me, “all firearms are pistols, some just have a longer barrel.” We have previously covered one of my favorites in the pistol category, the HK VP9 chambered in 9mm. That pistol is a full size beauty. An outstanding open carry sidearm for any operator. But what about the concealed carry category? Well my friends, after 6 months with this little girl, I can finally give my Springfield Hellcat RDP chambered in 9mm, a proper review.
Alice is her name
Before we delve into the review, I must reveal something to y’all. I name my weapons. All of them. My guns and my knives. And all of those names are female. You see, I was only blessed with sons, I have no daughters. Therefore, I name my weapons as female. A modern personification of your weapons is an ancient practice. Warriors the world over have named their preferred weapons of combat. For various reasons, some going as far as giving the weapon a soul that is bonded to the wielders. I just like opening my safe and saying, “good morning ladies.” My Hellcat RDP is named Alice, after the high tech and deadly Artificial Intelligence character from the Resident Evil movies and games. She was small, but quite deadly.
1k rounds and counting
So after firing off about a thousand rounds with Alice I must say she is one mean machine. But originally, I was on the fence about a few of the features of this weapon. Most prominently was the Hex Wasp micro RDS (red dot sight). I have never fired a pistol with anything other than iron sights. Why? I’m an old school purist I guess. I do not like adding more moving parts to a weapons system if they are not needed. The simpler the better. The less that can fail, the better. And a battery reliant electronic red dot system has quite a few ways to fail. The last thing you want is a non functioning optic on a self defense firearm.
However, the Wasp so far is pretty rugged and keeps it’s zero nicely. That, and the 2 eyes open aiming advantage you are given when utilizing an RDS equipped firearm, is a huge benefit. It literally opens up your field of view by 100%. This increases situational awareness and response time for engagement of contacts and avoidance of bystanders. Even with that feature benefit of an RDS, I still didn’t want one. Until I learned the Hellcat has a co-witness iron sight, and RDS. Meaning, the rear sight posts are not covered by the small sized micro RDS that the Wasp is. Therefore, if the electronics fail for any reason, or the glass gets cracked, I can still utilize the iron sights in a firefight and won’t be devoid of a functional weapon due to failure of optics. And that increase in functionality sold me on my first RDS on a pistol.
Another feature that I was unsure about was the self indexing compensator. It has ports for vertical and horizontal stabilization and is said to allow for more accurate repeated fire. After box after box of ammunition I can say, this little bitch is as hot as a firecracker in August. Alice can easily dump the 13 round magazine in a 3 inch group at 21 feet, in under 4 seconds. The 18.3 ounce firearm stays amazingly still and returns to the firing position naturally, with proper grip. Not to mention the “self indexing” feature is nice. It clicks in one of 2 positions that locks the compensator at a proper position on the end of the barrel. It’s like a threading system that is smarter than you.
The feature I wanted on this pistol is the tritium tipped U-Dot rear and front Iron sights. Tritium is a mildly radioactive material that glows, constantly. In low or no light settings the glow of tritium will give you sights to orient on your target that you can see. And tritium has a half life of 12.3 years, meaning you have a dozen years before the glow begins to fade. The tritium is nice, but I was very interested in the ease of engagement with the U-Dot iron sights, regardless of fancy radioactive materials. In operation, these sights perform beautifully and allow for more intuitive aiming and accurate repeated fire.
Another feature I wanted was the high capacity, because I like to party. It comes standard with an 11 round and 2, 13 round magazines. It also has 15 round magazines now available. This puts the Hellcat RDP into the “High Capacity Concealed Carry Category.” After the summer of 2020, I wanted a weapon with more rounds standard. My previous CCP held only 8 with a round in the chamber. Now, I can hold 14 and still be concealed. That’s the ability to deal with 6 more problems. Sounds like a party. I’ll take it. There are many weapons in the “high capacity CCP” category, but for me the Hellcat is better than all of them.
That is simply because this weapon was the only one designed for the purpose of high capacity concealed carry with the ability to engage rapidly and have faster and more accurate repeated fire. The RDP stands for Rapid Defense Package, and it performs as advertised. No other High Capacity CCP has a compensator option, much less a threaded barrel option. The threaded barrel allows for mounting of a suppressor as well, if you are so inclined. That would make it almost impossible to conceal at that point, but a suppressed 9mm is a unique tool. And if you’re worrying about the RDS and compensator making it hard to conceal, don’t. A leather backed Kydex holster will square you away nicely here. I carry it on me every day, and it is comfortable and light.
At the end of the day, this is a solid weapon to try out before you make that final decision on what CCP to buy. It isn’t the smallest. That would be the Sig Sauer P365, but it is does have the most bells and whistles standard. Other weapons require additional purchases of threaded barrels, compensators, and RDS optics to match the features included on the Hellcat. And who doesn’t like saving a buck eh? The Springfield Hellcat is truly a modernized self defense pistol for the threats of today.