When the Springfield Hellcat was introduced in 2020, I didn’t get one. I had a number of other projects in the works, and I’m not typically a fan of small guns. So many of them are not comfortable to shoot and the Hellcat was a small gun.

Time passed, and I discovered that among the fellow gun writers, instructors, and collectors I know and respect, so many of them were carrying Hellcats. I jumped in when the Hellcat Pro came out. I’ve lost enough weight for appendix carry to become comfortable, and the Hellcat Pro works great in that capacity.

Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP 9mm handgun (top) and Hellcat Pro (bottom)
The author shot the Hellcat OSP alongside his Hellcat Pro and found the smaller gun just as accurate and just as easy to control.

Then, I had a conversation with The Shooter’s Log editor, Dave Dolbee, about a new Hellcat OSP offering he wanted me to write up. He sent me a link to the Hellcat OSP Kit listing on the CheaperThanDirt! website. By the way (in case you were wondering) OSP stands for Optical Sight Pistol. As I looked the kit over, I decided it was time for me to become a Hellcat owner.

Hellcat OSP Kit Features

This package, perfect for the holiday season, includes the soft case Springfield Armory has been shipping its handguns this year, plus a range bag, and five magazines — one 11-round, two 13-round, and two 15-round magazines. Springfield’s marketing materials boast that the Hellcat is the “world’s highest capacity micro-compact 9mm.” The Hellcat OSP is small.

It measures six-inches long and one-inch wide with a three-inch barrel. The height varies (depending on which magazine you have in the gun), but it is 4.25 inches with the 11-round magazine, and 4.75 inches with the 15-round magazine. The small package weighs only 17.9 ounces.

I reached out to my friends at Springfield Armory to get one of the kits. Because I anticipate carrying the Hellcat in the appendix carry position, I looked for holsters and found one produced by one of the suppliers we feature at CheaperThanDirt! — Crucial Concealment. It has an Ambi Covert IWB holster for the Springfield Hellcat that is just right for appendix carry, so I got one.

I’ve become a convert to red dots on my carry pistols. Since the OSP version of the Hellcat makes it so easy, there was no question that I would get one. The only issue was ‘which’ one? I put a Swampfox red dot on my Hellcat Pro and like it a lot. However, that model was too big for the smaller Hellcat OSP.

infographic of the Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP 9mm handgun with bullets showing magazine capacity
The Hellcat OSP Kit comes with increased-capacity magazines allowing 11+1, 13+1, or 15+1 rounds on board.

I did find a Swampfox model (Sentinel-A) that fit the Hellcat OSP well. It’s an always-on, red dot sight with a battery life of 4,000 hours. The remarkably low cut on the slide, along with the direct-mounting system, made adding the Swampfox Sentinel-A to the Hellcat a piece of cake. Once aligned with the use of a bore sighter, I found the dot on the Sentinel was superimposed on the front sight of the pistol.

My new Hellcat, with its Swampfox red dot sight, in its Crucial Concealment IWB holster is a comfortable appendix carry rig. But what about my aversion to shooting small handguns? Before doing any shooting, I was impressed with how comfortable the Hellcat is to hold. I tried it with each of the three different magazine sizes and determined the 13-round magazine suited me best.

Front and rear serrations on the slide provide enough hand purchase to manipulate the slide as needed. Both the slide release button and the easily reversible mag release button are the right size and feature the texture to operate effectively. Springfield’s Adaptive Grip Texture (on the frame) makes the gun comfortable to hold and would be my friend in both hot and cold weather conditions.

Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP 9mm handgun, right profile
Although the Hellcat OSP is small and easy to conceal, features such as the cocking serrations on the slide and the adaptive grip texture on the frame, make for an easy-handling and easy-shooting handgun.

Range Testing

I elected to bring my Hellcat Pro along when first shooting the Hellcat OSP, so I could compare the two guns. Positioning a set of targets at seven yards, I first fired the Hellcat Pro. Then, I fired the Hellcat OSP. I was somewhat surprised when I felt no noticeable difference between the two guns in the recoil department.

The Hellcat was not uncomfortable to shoot. The combination of the adaptive grip texture, grip angle, high undercut trigger guard, extended beavertail, and low bore axis all work to make this small gun not feel like a ‘small gun’ when you shoot it.

My first five shots with the Hellcat OSP grouped a little better than my Hellcat Pro shots. As I continued to try different types of ammo (working the gun to determine accuracy and reliability) I recognized I would be joining the ranks of Hellcat fans and toting my Hellcat OSP in the appendix carry position as often as not.

Iron sight on the Hellcat and Hellcat OSP with red dot sight
The Hellcat features a high visibility tritium & luminescent front sight paired with a Tactical Rack U-Dot rear sight for easy target acquisition in all lighting conditions. An added red dot sight will co-witness the fixed sights.

I can work the slide, even with my arthritic hands. I can hold the gun on target and work the smooth trigger to put shot after shot where I want them. I can comfortably carry the Hellcat in an IWB appendix carry holster with the 13-round magazine in the gun and 15-round magazine in my jeans pocket as a backup.

I find the iron sight rig, consisting of a large tritium-ringed front sight and U-shaped rear sight, to be easy on my eyes. The Swampfox Sentinel-A green dot sight provides for quick target acquisition.

Takedown for cleaning is done by locking the slide back, dropping the magazine, and checking to ensure the gun is empty. You’ll then rotate the takedown lever on the left side of the frame (up) 90 degrees and letting the slide go forward. When it stops, point the gun in a safe direction and pull the trigger.

The slide comes off the front of the frame easily. Compress the captive dual spring recoil rod slightly and lift it out. Next, lift the barrel out. After cleaning and oiling, reverse the procedure to reassemble the firearm, and you’re back in business.

Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP 9mm semi-automatic pistol on a blue and white paper target with bullet holes in the X and 10 rings
This target was positioned 7 yards from the firing line. These shots are the author’s first ones with the Hellcat OSP and Swampfox Sentinel red dot installed.

Final Thoughts

The OSP kit, with extra magazines and a range bag, provides extra value to the ownership experience. If you missed the initial Hellcat offering, or have a loved one who needs a good carry pistol, you owe it to yourself to check out the Springfield Hellcat OSP Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol Gear-Up package currently being offered. The Gear-Up package brings so many extras to the table…

Are you a fan of bigger or smaller handguns for concealed carry? Which do you prefer the Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP or Hellcat Pro? Share your answers in the Comment section.

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