Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro HCP9379BOSP 9mm Luger

We liked the Hellcat Pro 9mm a lot. It is reliable and useful, and there isn’t a pistol this size with quite this performance. The SIG P365 XL Spectre is a good pistol, but we simply did not see a difference worth the surcharge for the SIG.


The past few years have been exciting for those who favor subcompact 9mm handguns. These handguns were first popularized by the KelTec PF9 and Smith & Wesson Shield. There have been other introductions and handguns with superior features, including greater magazine capacity and superior sights. Modern pistols feature superior reliability, good sights, good trigger actions, and high-capacity magazines. These handguns are good choices for concealed carry. They offer twice the rounds on board of the once-standard snubnose 38 Special, ride flatter, and are easier to use. Just the same, larger guns, such as the SIG P320 and Glock 19, are easier to shoot well and handle better. The two pistols tested in this shoot out are designed to split the difference between micro-compact and compact handguns. Each is larger than the parent pistol, with a longer slide and barrel as well as a taller grip frame. The larger grip and longer slide of each pistol results in a handgun that is easier to shoot and only a little more difficult to conceal. Another plus is added magazine capacity.

Speed loads were easily handled with either pistol. This is the Hellcat Pro.

The first gun was a SIG Sauer P365XL Spectre P365V001, $1100. With the Spectre, SIG took the route of designing a custom-shop piece with plenty of flair. While based on the proven P365 action, there are important changes, and most of these changes are improvements. The slide is distinctive. The slide features a distressed finish sometimes called battle worn. The stainless-steel slide features a stylized X and cut outs in the slide. The result is a unique appearance.

The Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro HCP9379BOSP, $575, is another elongated pistol that features a longer slide, barrel, and grip than its primogenitor. The pistol is 0.8 inch taller than the Hellcat and 0.6 longer. The Hellcat Pro, then, went a bit longer in the grip than the XL treatment of the SIG P365. In return you have a 15-round magazine. Essentially, Springfield designed a new Hellcat with the Hellcat Pro that is intended to sell at a popular price point.

We found each pistol reliable and accurate enough for personal defense. This was a tough shoot out, with the raters split to the end on which pistol is best suited to personal defense. There is plenty of room for personal choice, but only one handgun is the better buy, in our estimation.

Gun Tests Grade: A (BEST BUY)


Old-timers used to say a gun was lively in the hand. The Hellcat Pro is a lively and fast-handling pistol — and a lot of gun for the money.

The first impression of the Hellcat Pro is that it is larger than the SIG P365XL Spectre 9mm pistol. This isn’t completely true. The Hellcat Pro is the same length as the SIG. You would have to split hairs to find a difference in width. The difference is in height. The prospective buyer will have to decide how important this extra length is. That is, whether it is undesirable, as may be the case in concealed carry or whether the extended grip is desirable for shooting comfort. The weight penalty in the pistols when unloaded is slight, but when loaded, the four extra cartridges in the Hellcat add a bit more weight. The Hellcat Pro 9mm has the same magazine capacity as the Glock 19 and similar pistols.

Action TypeSemi auto, striker fired
Overall Length6.6 in.
Overall Height4.9 in.
Maximum Width1.06 in.
Weight Unloaded20 oz.
Weight loaded27.6 oz.
Slide MaterialSteel, Melonite Finish
Slide retraction effort17.5 oz.
Frame MaterialPolymer
Front Strap Height2.5 in.
Rear Strap Height3.5 in.
Barrel Length3.7 in.
Grip Thickness Maximum1.06 in.
Grip Circumference5.25 in.
Magazines(2) 15 round
Rear SightDrift adjustable, U-shaped rear
Front SightTritium lamp outlined with high vis circle
Sight Radius5.1 in.
Trigger Pull Weight6.0 lbs.
SafetyTrigger blade safety, striker block
WarrantyLimited lifetime
Telephone(800) 680-6866
Made InCroatia
The Springfield Hellcat Pro, left, gives the impression it is square and angular compared to the SIG P365 XL Spectre, right, but it feels great in the hand. After firing both on the combat course, our raters said the Hellcat is easier to control.

The Hellcat Pro doesn’t have the out-of-orbit looks of the SIG P365 Spectre, but the Pro costs $500 less. Looks and bling are fine if you are willing to pay for them, but we look at performance. While each pistol must stand on its own merits compared to the other in this shoot out, it is inevitable they will be compared to their smaller primogenitors. Each pistol shoots and handles better than the original version, no question there. The issue is, how small a footprint are you looking for? Another question may be if the subcompact pistol is difficult to shoot well in the scenarios you deem likely for personal defense. Perhaps you need something a little larger, but not too much.

We liked the Hellcat Pro’s sight set up. The U-shaped rear face is easy to see and align.

The Hellcat pistol is another striker-fired polymer-frame pistol. The Hellcat is also optics ready. The optics plate is removed from the top of the slide to mount a red dot. We had no real preference between the two types of plate attachments. The slide is well machined and finished in Springfield’s Armory Kote. The slide features both forward and rear cocking serrations. The 3.7-inch barrel features a generous cut out acting as a loaded-chamber indicator. While it does not have a tactile indicator, it is strong on visual presentation.

The Hellcat Pro is an attractively sized handgun. It is a far different pistol in handling than the original Hellcat. Disassembly is as simple as the Spectre’s.

The sights are an excellent design for personal defense. The front sight features a white ring around a tritium dot. The rear features a deep U notch with white outline. This set up makes for a real speed in personal-defense shooting, we found. Deep U-notch sights have been referred to as “old man’s sights” because they are an aid for those with limited visual acuity. This is an appropriate tool for older eyes, but they are fast indeed for any shooter. As for the front tritium post, we tried the sights in a dark room. There is no difference in the front posts of the pistols as far as brightness. The SIG offers three aiming dots in dim to dark light. The Hellcat offers a single dot. This was a close call, with raters divided. For the most part, we feel that in daylight shooting, the rear sight of the Springfield offers the better flash sight picture as used in personal defense. As for concealed carry and a fast draw, the SIG is virtually snag free, and the rounded edges of the Hellcat Pro may also offer less tendency to snag.

The Hellcat Pro pistol, right, remains quite thin as well. The SIG measures 1.1 inches wide, while the Hellcat Pro comes in at 1.06 inches wide — not much of a difference.

The frame offers a hand-filling grip. Those with larger hands will like this handle, while those with smaller hands will have no trouble. The grip profile seems more angular than the original Hellcat. The grip treatment is different than the SIG P365XL Spectre. While some liked the laser-cut SIG better, this was based primarily on style. Either works well. A person with very small hands will be well served with the SIG. We feel that the overall gripping surface of the Springfield works best for control during recoil, while the SIG will conceal better. A trade off, to be certain. Each has merit and each treatment is well done.

Range work turned out well. The pistol has good balance and control isn’t difficult. The Hellcat Pro comes on target quickly and tracks between targets well. The balance of the pistol makes it more controllable in rapid fire during combat drills than the SIG, but it was close, very close. A 9mm handgun in the 22-ounce weight class should not kick more than any of the other guns in the class unless there is a significant difference in design or handling. The two pistols were similar in performance during the combat fire testing. If anything, the Hellcat was slightly ahead in combat firing accuracy. During the absolute accuracy testing, firing from a benchrest with the MTM shooting rest, the Hellcat Pro 9mm did not prove to be as accurate as the SIG Sauer P365XL Spectre. Still, the difference was slight. The Hellcat averaged 15-yard groups just over 2 inches wide.

Our Team Said: We found the Hellcat a good choice for personal defense. The pistol is reliable with standard and +P loads and handles well. Accuracy is good. The Hellcat Pro carries 15 rounds. It is a concealable and useful handgun. Each did a good run on the combat course, with the Hellcat slightly ahead in this course, while the SIG exhibited slightly greater accuracy from the bench. With the Hellcat Pro offering comparable performance for half the price, and with no screws working loose, we think it’s a Best Buy in this match up.

9mm Luger Range Data

We fired groups at 15 yards from a bench rest using an MTM Case-Gard K-Zone Pistol Rest. We used a Competition Electronics Pro Chrony to measure velocity. The chronograph was 10 feet from the muzzles.
Winchester USA Ready 115-grain FMJ Flat Nose RED9SIG Sauer P365XL SpectreSpringfield Armory Hellcat Pro
Average Velocity1150 fps1164 fps
Muzzle Energy338 ft.-lbs.345 ft.-lbs.
Small Group1.7 in.2.0 in.
Average Group2.0 in.2.5 in.
Hornady American Gunner 115 grain XTP Hollow Point 90244 SIG Sauer P365XL SpectreSpringfield Armory Hellcat Pro
Average Velocity1167 fps1159 fps
Muzzle Energy348 ft.-lbs.343 ft.-lbs.
Small Group1.5 in.2.2 in.
Large Group1.9 in.2.6 in.
Winchester USA Ready Defense 124-grain JHP +P RED9HP SIG Sauer P365XL SpectreSpringfield Armory Hellcat Pro
Average Velocity1189 fps1201 fps
Muzzle Energy389 ft.-lbs.397 ft.-lbs.
Small Group1.5 in.2.1 in.
Average Group2.1 in.2.5 in.

Value Guide: Smaller 9mm Luger Handgun Rankings

Gun NameIssueGradeComments
Taurus G3X 1-G3XSR9031 9mm Luger, $310Feb. 2023ABest Buy. It isn’t expensive, but it does a good job as a reliable personal-defense pistol.
FMK 9C1 G2 Dark Grey 9mm Luger, $332Feb. 2023BFunctioned with the ammunition tested. We did not like the trigger, and accuracy was not impressive.
SCCY DVG-1 9mm Luger, $270Feb. 2023CThe size, handfit, finish, and sights are all good features. Bad trigger limited accuracy.
SAR USA SAR9 Compact X 9mm Luger, $632Sep. 2022AOur Pick. Larger and more expensive. The SAR9cx was the most accurate and fastest pistol in this group.
Mossberg MC2C 89031 9mm Luger, $380Sep. 2022B+Best Buy. Provides great capacity within a very thin package. Second in accuracy and third in speed drills.
Savage Arms Stance 67001 9mm Luger, $408Sep. 2022BA concealment pistol and, as such, its groups are acceptable. We would still like to see them tighter.
SCCY Firearms DVG-1 9mm Luger, $245Sep. 2022CLightweight and easy to handle, but we had several failures to extract.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ M2.0 12436 9mm Luger, $499Jul. 2022AOur Pick. We liked the way this pistol handles and operates. Racking the slide is easy enough.
Kahr K9 K9093A 9mm Luger, $750Mar. 2022AAn excellent option for EDC. Metal frame mitigates recoil for faster follow-ups. Grip angle is comfortable.
SIG Sauer P365 365-9-BXR3 9mm Luger, $599Dec. 2021AOur Pick. Small enough to fit in a pocket. Carries 10+1 rounds of 9mm. Felt recoil is less than a 38.
Ruger MAX-9 No. 3500 9mm Luger, $544Sep. 2021AOur Pick. This is a sophisticated pistol. No fault with the magazines, capacity, or general accuracy.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Plus 13246 9mm Luger, $553Sep. 2021AA step up from the previously tested 9mm Shield. The new pistol has an improved trigger and more capacity.
Taurus GX4 1-GX4M931 9mm Luger, $398Sep. 2021A-Best Buy. The Taurus is the most compact, and the Taurus is the only pistol with a changeable backstrap.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ 12437 9mm Luger, $479Feb. 2021A-The Shield EZ9 was easy to manipulate and soft to shoot, but the sights needed to be calibrated better.
KelTec PF9 Blued-Black 9mm Luger, $358Feb. 2021B+An inexpensive pistol that functioned flawlessly. It reminded us of a good 38 Special snubbie.
Taurus G3C 1-G3C931 9mm Luger, $306Feb. 2021B+Best Buy. The Taurus G3C pistol is an inexpensive offering that functioned flawlessly and shot well.
Springfield Armory Hellcat HC9319BOSP 9mm Luger, $550Mar. 2020AOur Pick. An 11+1 pistol, this small Springfield might be the most versatile pistol in the group.
Walther PPS M2 2805961 9mm Luger, $649Mar. 2020ABest Buy. A smaller pistol with grips that will not abrade tender hands.
Ruger Security-9 Compact Model 3818 9mm Luger, $309Feb. 2020BThe pistol is adequate for the task of self-defense and will not break the bank.
SIG P365 Nitron Micro-Compact 9mm Luger, $465Feb. 2020BThe SIG costs more than the Ruger Security-9 without overwhelming advantages.
Springfield Hellcat Micro-Compact 9mm Luger, $500Jan. 2020F/AHellcat #1 failed when the trigger wouldn’t reset (F). Hellcat #2 worked perfectly (A). Best accuracy.


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