Hellcat vs Hellcat Pro: Which One Should You Buy?
Exactly what makes the Hellcat Pro…”Pro”?
It seems Springfield thinks a bigger Hellcat is more professional.
Here’s a maxim with which most people agree: Bigger guns shoot better, smaller guns conceal better.
So here’s the real question…
How much better does the Hellcat Pro shoot?
Also, how much better does the standard Hellcat conceal?
Main Benefits of the Hellcat Pro
The additional weight in the slide and barrel of the Hellcat Pro tames muzzle flip. That means faster follow up shots.
The Hellcat Pro’s longer barrel also means a longer Picatinny rail. That means you can install bigger lights and other accessories on the pistol.
The Hellcat Pro’s taller grip holds up to four additional rounds (Although the extended grip of the standard Hellcat can hold up to 13 rounds).
The Hellcat Pro carries 15 rounds while maintaining the ergonomic and slim profile of the standard Hellcat.
The Hellcat Pro also has the benefit of a flush-fitting magazine (the extended mag of the standard Hellcat can pinch your hand if you slam it home).
Main Benefits of the Standard Hellcat
The standard Hellcat will shoot 90% as well as it’s bigger brother.
You have the option of slimming down your carry pistol with the flush fitting magazine on days you prioritize concealment. The smaller grip makes the standard Hellcat almost an inch shorter than the Pro version.
That can most definitely matter on days when you really want to emphasize better concealment.
While the shorter barrel won’t really aid concealment that much (because it’s the part of the pistol inside the waistband when concealing) it does shave off extra weight.
Shaving off extra ounces can definitely be noticeable when you carry a pistol around all day.
What Do Both Versions Have In Common?
Both versions have many of the same amazing qualities.
They both feel very similar in your hand.
Both pistols have almost exactly the same stippling, controls, sights, trigger, etc.
While every Hellcat Pro comes with a red dot mount, it’s optional on the standard Hellcat.
Now that we covered the basics, let’s do a deep dive into both pistols!
Hellcat vs Hellcat Pro Specs
Hellcat VS Hellcat Pro Dimensions:
Length – Hellcat: 6”
Hellcat Pro: 6.6”
Barrel length – Hellcat: 3”
Hellcat Pro: 3.7”
Height – Hellcat: 4” w/Flush mag – 4.5″ w/extended mag
Hellcat Pro: 4.8”
Grip width – Hellcat: 1”
Hellcat Pro: 1”
Weight – Hellcat: 17.9 ounces & 18.3 ounces (OSP) – 18.3 ounces w/flush mag – 18.6 ounces (non-OSP version) w/extended mag
Hellcat Pro: 21 ounces
Hellcat VS Hellcat Pro Price – Hellcat: $569 – OSP version is $599
Hellcat Pro: $634 without optic
Both versions come with a Picatinny rail. Although, the rail on the Hellcat Pro is almost three-quarters of an inch longer.
If you want to carry lights (or other accessories) on the rail of your pistol and you’re deciding between the Hellcat VS Hellcat Pro, it just makes sense to choose the bigger Pro version.
Both the Hellcat and Hellcat Pro are built with billet machined slides and come with a Melonite finish.
You’ll find the same Dual Captive Recoil Spring on both pistols. Though, of course, the Pro version’s spring and guide rod is longer.
Thankfully, Springfield designed both pistols to be +P rated. That means they are built tough enough to withstand the incredibly high pressures of 9mm +P ammunition.
Whether you love or hate hot 9mm rounds, it’s a good sign of build quality when you know your pistol can handle it if you ever decide to use it.
Both the standard and Pro versions have Hammer Forged Steel Barrels with a Melonite finish. Again, the Pro version will be a bit longer.
Both versions come with a standard black polymer frame.
The stippling is nearly identical on each version. It is a very unique texture. Springfield calls it: Adaptive Grip Texture. We’ll explain this further down in the ergonomics section.
Textured stand-off device to help keep the slide in battery when the pistol is pressed against something.
Rest assured, Springfield ensured the build quality of both Hellcat and Hellcat Pro pistols will hold up to any pistol on the market until you get into high-end, custom pistols.
Hellcat vs Hellcat Pro Magazines
The standard Hellcat ships with an 11-round magazine and a 13-round extended magazine. Springfield also includes a pinky extension for the 11-round mag if you choose to install it.
A flush-fitting floorplate comes pre-installed on the 11-round mag.
Both versions have a reversible mag release for left-handers.
Which One Conceals Better?
Of course, a small gun conceals better but there is plenty of gray area here.
What we’re really looking at is:
The Hellcat Pro is almost an inch taller in the grip and just over half an inch longer in barrel length.
What difference does that really make?
For some people, it’s barely even noticeable. Others say the standard Hellcat is already hard enough to conceal carry.
Here’s the real breakdown.
90% of people carry just behind their hip. Less than 10% of people carry up front (appendix style).
If you carry your pistol up front in the appendix position, you’ll definitely appreciate the shorter barrel of the standard Hellcat.
If you carry just behind your hip, the barrel length won’t matter. You’ll care about the grip height.
Will the taller Hellcat Pro grip be harder to conceal than the standard Hellcat grip when you carry behind the hip? Yes. A little.
You’d probably only really notice the longer grip being harder to conceal if you prefer snug-fitting shirts.
If you prefer a looser-fitting shirt, it’s very doubtful you will notice the Hellcat Pro being harder to conceal than the standard Hellcat.
That’s a very broad statement though. Smaller men and also women will notice the taller grip of the Hellcat Pro much tougher to conceal.
Most men that are: at least average-sized, who don’t wear tighter-fitting t-shirts, and carry behind the hip likely wouldn’t notice much difference when concealing either pistol.
Remember this important fact though.
Everything I just said about the ease of concealing the Hellcat VS Hellcat Pro depends on having the proper equipment in your load out.
A good gun is worthless for concealed carry without a great holster.
Good holsters will carry your pistol securely all day so that when you need your pistol, it’s ready to go.
Great holsters will conceal your pistol very well so it’s not easily noticed by others.
The best holsters will do all this and add in comfort. Comfort is the key. If your pistol and holster combo isn’t comfortable, it won’t get used as much as it should.
No matter how amazing that Hellcat pistol is, it needs an amazing holster to make it really shine as a concealed carry companion.
Clinger Holsters are the absolute BEST holsters you can find because they are the most comfortable holsters you can find!
Clinger Holsters’ Kydex holsters have an optional Clinger Cushion that adds a crucial amount of cushioning. It truly makes concealed carry extremely comfortable.
You can find these amazing holsters here:
Hellcat Pro Holsters
Here’s where the Hellcat Pro definitely outperforms the smaller Hellcat. After all, this is why the engineers over at Springfield built and added a longer-barreled version to their Hellcat lineup.
The shorter a barrel is, the more felt recoil there is. You can’t fight physics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
When that 9mm cartridge explodes, the expanding gas pushes the bullet forward and the pistol backward. The more mass (weight) you have in the top half of the gun, the less the gas can move the pistol backward.
A longer barrel also gives the gunpowder more time to fully burn which can generate more velocity for the bullet.
The lower recoil should translate into faster follow-up shots.
If your pistol didn’t jump away from the target as far as a higher-recoiling gun would have, that means the front sight stays closer to the target. That means it’ll take less time for you to re-align your next shot.
That’s the whole idea behind adding 0.7 inches of barrel length to the Hellcat Pro.
The good news is that it works! The Hellcat Pro definitely is noticeably softer shooting than the Hellcat.
The taller grip will also allow you to handle the Pro version easier. That is, unless you have the extended grip on the standard version.
The Hellcat Pro comes standard with a red dot cutout while the Hellcat has a red dot option. Springfield calls that option the Hellcat OSP.
So what’s the difference between the Hellcat and the Hellcat OSP? The only difference is the red dot cutout.
While red dots are great, a pistol should still have good iron sights.
The sight system on both Hellcat pistols is identical except for one small detail.
If you guessed it was a longer sight radius on the Hellcat Pro, you’re right!
The Hellcat is 6 inches long while the Hellcat Pro is 6.6 inches long. That means you have over a half inch longer sight radius on the Pro version.
The benefit of a longer sight radius usually translates into higher accuracy. The shorter the sight radius, the more a small misalignment in your aim will matter.
Both versions use a U-Dot sight system. That consists of a dot in the front and a U-shaped rear sight.
You can line up the dot inside the U-shaped rear sight surprisingly fast.
It is a very nice sight system for a defensive pistol where speed is more important than it is on a target pistol.
The front sight is a green-colored tritium sight so it’s easy to find in the dark. Plus, because it’s tritium, you won’t have to worry about the front sight losing its charge for many, many years.
Both sights are made from steel. Also, the rear sight is flat to ensure a tactical rack is possible. That means if one arm is injured, you can rack the pistol with one hand.
Simply push the rear sight against something with your free hand to rack the pistol.
There’s one more important point to make about these sights: they allow co-witnessing through a red dot if you have one installed on the pistol.
That’s very important on a self-defense pistol. While red dot batteries typically last over a year or two, they do eventually die.
It’s nice to know that you can still aim you pistol accurately using the iron sights if your red dot battery dies.
You simply look through the glass and line up your sights as if the red dot wasn’t there.
Hellcat VS Hellcat Pro Trigger
The trigger on both pistols is exactly the same. That’s a good thing because it’s a decent striker-fired trigger.
I won’t lie, I have other striker-fired pistols with better triggers straight from the factory.
The Hellcat and Hellcat Pro triggers feel like a slightly better Glock trigger to me.
The last quarter-inch of the trigger pull is just a tad spongy before it hits the wall.
After that, the break is pretty clean. The reset is short and audible. The reset could be a bit shorter but it’s decent.
It comes with a flat trigger that helps keep your trigger pull consistent.
The trigger group is also Nickel boron-coated. This helps with consistent trigger pulls.
Overall, it’s a good trigger and it’s identical on both pistols.
In my opinion it’s an average trigger. There are some pistols in this category that are better. There are others that aren’t as good.
However, for a self-defense pistol, it’s good.
Hellcat vs Hellcat Pro Ergonomics
For the vast majority of people, the Hellcat Pro will just plain feel better in hand than the standard Hellcat.
That’s because of the taller grip. It’s just more comfortable.
Everything else ergonomic-wise is pretty much identical.
They both have front slide serrations and rear serrations that wrap over the top of the pistol.
Both versions have Adaptive Grip Texture. It has staggered pyramids textured into the grip. When you grip tighter, the smaller pyramids bite into your grip.
The taller pyramids have a flattened top.
It works great for comfort. It won’t rub your skin raw on your hip.
The high undercut trigger guard and beaver tail on both models helps control muzzle flip because it makes the bore axis sit lower in your hand.
You’ll also notice understated finger-grooves on the front strap of both versions. Of course, the Hellcat Pro will have a more defined groove for your pinky.
Both versions are equally (very) reliable. There’s nothing to add here.
Both versions are identical here as well. The both have a loaded chamber indicator via a witness hole in the top of the slide.
They both also have a safety inside the trigger. It’s a blade that has to be depressed in order for the rest of the trigger to be pressed.
Accuracy is an area where the Hellcat Pro shines. The longer sight radius and barrel come together to offer a greater accuracy than you can achieve with the Hellcat.
This is a good reason to carry a longer-barreled gun.
Hellcat vs Hellcat Pro Holster Selection
Both pistols have a good holster selection on ClingerHolsters.com. Whichever version you choose, Clinger Holsters have many holsters from which to choose.
If you are going to spend money on a great gun like the Hellcat or Hellcat Pro, doesn’t it make sense to buy a high quality holster for it?
You’ll enjoy that premium pistol so much more if you match it with a premium holster.
The best part is the Clinger Cushion that makes it extremely comfortable.
Check out Clinger Holsters here:
I’ll restate the obvious here.
The bigger Hellcat Pro is easier to shoot well. The standard Hellcat is easier to conceal.
I feel more confident on the shooting range with the Hellcat Pro. The taller grip feels amazing in my hand and when I’m shooting fast, I can definitely get my shots into a tighter grouping on the target. Plus it carries 15+1 rounds of 9mm! I love the Hellcat Pro.
Now, the standard Hellcat is more comfortable to conceal carry. It weighs a bit less and its less likely to be noticed poking through my shirt because of it’s shorter grip.
You can see the dilemma here! They both have their merits. I want both!
Which one should you buy…
Now if someone were to ask me which one I would buy if I could only buy one, I’d say I want both. Why only have one gun? Isn’t this America, after all?
I’d want the Hellcat Pro to carry as much as possible and to take to the gun range. I’d want the smaller, standard Hellcat to carry on days when I wanted a smaller pistol to tote around.
But what if you forced me to choose only one?
I’d have to go with the Hellcat Pro. The grip feels better in my hand and I can shoot it better.
If I didn’t have a smaller pistol to carry on days that my wardrobe demanded a smaller pistol, I would just have to change my wardrobe.
In truth though, no one should have just one concealed carry handgun. You need at least 3 sizes ranging from a pocket gun to a large gun.
Also you shouldn’t have just one holster. You should have different carry options available.
Clinger Holsters provides pocket holsters, appendix holsters, and the ever-popular strong-side holster.
The best part is you can convert the Gear Holster into an Appendix Holster just by changing the belt clip!
Plus, the available Clinger Cushion makes concealed carry unbelievably comfortable.