Sage Dynamics’ Aaron Cowan recently reviewed a Swampfox Justice to see if it was all it’s cracked up to be. (Spoiler Alert: The “cracked-up” part applies later. Stay tuned.) Is it rugged enough to find itself on the slide of a duty pistol? Can it take the beating optics often have to absorb when screwed onto the top of a gun that gets abused a lot over the course of repeated shifts?
Aaron has a standard evaluation process he takes all his optic reviews through for both consistency and the overall torture test: 2,000 rounds. He breaks the large round count into 500-round increments to pause and add additional non-round evaluations, such as drop tests, to see how the optic performs other functions besides just sighting targets. Expectations set, let’s find out how Aaron liked the Swampfox Justice.
Mounting and adjustments were fairly routine since it fits on a standard RMR footprint. No surprises there. The battery goes in the top, making installation and swaps easy. Adjustments are manual, which he liked, and the Justice features a “shake awake” feature to save battery life — although that is rated at over a year.
Swampfox Justice pistol red dot.
Glass clarity is something Aaron focuses on (ha!) when evaluating an optic, and he finds this one exceptional. One thing he points out is how super clear lenses can deplete batteries faster because the dot has to be brighter to show up against a lit background. So it’s a trade-off between clarity and battery life. He notes a lack of distortion, making see-through easier and more accurate.
As for the dot itself, refresh rate or “flicker” was “very good,” meaning it did not lag or stutter as he transitioned targets or shook the gun, something that can cause a real problem on lower quality optics that use cheaper LEDs or projecting technology. He did notice, however, in certain backlit conditions a halo effect appeared on the lens. While he could still see the real dot aiming point, the extra red lights were distracting.
The halo effect.
One standard test Aaron throws in for all optic tests is a shoulder-height drop test down to a hard object such as concrete to simulate the effects of tough duty and see how well the optic holds up under adverse conditions.
On the first test, some chipping inside the frame appears in the top left corner of the lens. This concerns Aaron but isn’t a deal killer. Zero holds true, so he can keep shooting with no adjustments.
The 500-Round Burndown
Swampfox Justice burndown
Yep, you guessed it: it’s time for a 500-round test – with a catch. It’s on full auto. How does the optic do after all that constant shaking and recoil?
Nothing changes. Zero holds, no fading, no flicker. Optical perfection. And the lens crack isn’t worse.
Single Hand Manipulations
Next, it’s time to test the optic body as a reloading and racking tool, working it off the edge of a wood barricade. Will it hold up against repeated racking? Can it withstand this level of abuse? Aaron is concerned that the lens position — close to the front of the body — might be more susceptible to damage during these drills, but his fears turn out to be unwarranted. The Justice performs flawlessly.
As promised, here is the rest of the story on the lens crack.
On the fourth and final drop test, it finally cracks beyond the small chip in the corner. In fact, the crack goes top to bottom in the left third of the glass. But Aaron is okay with the crack. Why? Because the whole lens isn’t destroyed, only a part of it. The dot still appears and is still zeroed.
Is it Duty Ready?
The shorter answer is no —sort of. Watch the video for Aaron’s answer and explanation in his own words.
David Workman is an avid gun guy, a contributing writer to several major gun publications, and the author of Absolute Authority. A logophile since way back, Workman is a quickdraw punslinger and NRA RSO and Certified Pistol Instructor. He helps train new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as practicable. “Real-world shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”
It’s a helluva week for Springfield to reveal a new magazine for the oh so famous Hellcat. Sig Sauer has announced a patent lawsuit against Springfield Armory for infringement on the Sig P365 magazine. Yet, Springfield perseveres and has released their latest magazine for the Hellcat. The Hellcat, much like the P365, is one of the few micro-compacts on the market—micro-compact seemingly being what we are calling super small 9mms with a high degree of capacity. The latest Hellcat magazine holds 15 rounds of ammunition.
The Hellcat premiered with 11 and 13 round magazines for the pistol. The 11 rounder fit flush into the Hellcat, and the 13 round variant offered you a slightly extended option. For the longest time, Sig held a slight advantage with the P365 and the availability of a 15 round magazine. Now Springfield has closed the gap between the Hellcat and the P365. Springfield’s new Hellcat magazine gives users 15 rounds of 9mm on tap.
11, 13, and 15 round magazines allow the Hellcat to be customizable for easy concealed carry and gunfighting.
Breaking Down the Hellcat Magazine
The key to the success behind the Hellcat and Sig’s magazine design is the way it tapers. Near the top, it’s a single stack design for the first three rounds. Below that it tapers into a double stack design. The magazine has a chrome exterior coating and witness holes from rounds 4 to 15.
At the very bottom, we predictably get an extended finger rest also coated with the adaptive grip texture that the Hellcat wears. As a dude with big hands, I always preferred the slightly extended 13 round magazine for the extra grip length, so I can appreciate the extra grip the 15 round magazine offers.
A witness hole for every round makes eyeing capacity easy.
However, for concealment purposes, the 15 round magazine does get a little long. The 15 round Hellcat magazine adds an extra quarter-inch when compared to the 13 round magazine. It’s a half-inch longer than the 11 round Hellcat magazine when wearing the flush-fitting baseplate.
Like most extended magazines, the 15 round Hellcat magazine will make you choose between capacity and concealment, well, kind of. What’s the point of a super compact handgun if the handle has the same length as a Glock 19? I see Hellcat’s 15 round magazine being carried as a spare magazine.
Consider your grip formally extended.
Carrying the Hellcat with an 11 or even 13 round magazine keeps the weapon concealable, and packing an extra 15 rounds for when things go south makes a lot of sense. It’s easy to drop a magazine in a pocket and forget all about it.
Hellcat vs. Sig
I’m not making a full-on comparison of these two guns— it’s been done before. However, I want to talk about the two guns and their magazines. Specifically, I want to compare their 15 round magazines. Fifteen rounds of ammo is a ton for a subcompact, almost pocket pistol-sized gun. So who does it more efficiently?
Both the Hellcat and P365 now offer 15 round magazines.
I grabbed my standard P365 frame, a 15 round magazine, and compared it to my Hellcat and its 15 round magazine. The SIG magazines use side witness holes every five rounds, which isn’t a big deal, but I prefer the Hellcat style.
Oh look, my P365 magazine is rusting…again.
The SIG’s all-black magazines have this nasty habit of rusting. I don’t use the 15 round magazine often, but I wasn’t shocked when a good bit of rust developed on the rear of it. I store my handgun magazines together, and the P365 magazines are the only ones that consistently rust. I’ve never had any issues with rust with the Hellcat magazines.
The P365 15 round magazine is noticeably longer than the Hellcats.
Size-wise the Hellcat magazine provides a more efficient and slightly shorter magazine. When you measure from the top of the rear sights to the bottom of the magazine, the Sig P365 measures 5 ⅛ inches. The Hellcat measures 5 inches even.
The Hellcat’s main competitor happens to be the Sig P365, which already has a 15 round magazine.
From the bottom of the grip to the baseplate of the 15 round magazine, the Sig measures 1.25 inches. Measuring from the bottom of the grip of the Hellcat magazine to the bottom of the magazine is 1-inch. It’s a good bit shorter, and that matters if you plan to carry the gun with the magazine in place.
The Sig P365 magazines provide two points of grip to rip the magazine from the magwell if needed. The Hellcat doesn’t pack the same grip points.
Hellcat Magazine — Fit and Function
So does the magazine work? My previous experience with the Hellcat left me feeling confident enough that it’d work, but I needed to figure it out for myself. Loading the magazine is a feat of strength. The Sig has extra room to stretch and makes it rather easy to load.
Getting the last three rounds into the 15 round Hellcat magazine is a serious feat. I had to give my thumb a rest before I could load the final round. Holy crap, this thing is hard to load. When loaded, trying to get the magazine into the gun with the slide closed is another feat.
Not gonna lie, my big hands dig the extended grip.
As much as I’d love to do a plus 1 with this magazine, I’d probably just drop the +1 into the pipe directly. Once the magazine was loaded up, I wasn’t excited to load it again. The good news is that I got to unload it the fun way.
I emptied the magazine and committed a reload with a spare 13 rounder. I let the magazine hit the dirt, and this was the first reload of many I committed to. My range area is finely tuned sand, and sandhills are not uncommon in Florida. It’s fine white sand, and it’s coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.
Sand sucks for firearms, but the magazine didn’t choke even after taking a few dives into this crap.
It will also disable most mechanical goodies, and magazines are simple mechanical goods. I did a dozen reloads, letting the magazine hit the sand every time. Sand infiltrated the magazine, and every time I loaded the magazine, I heard the follower grit and grind. Yet, it never failed or choked.
Size matters, but sometimes you want to be shorter than longer boys.
I completely loaded it two more times after it was exposed to sand, and it still functioned without issue. It also fed a good deal of sand into my gun, but no big problems to report.
Get Yours Now
15 rounds of 9mm provide you plenty of options to deal with nearly any threat. It’s a lot of ammunition and provides plenty of firepower for any concealed carrier. The Hellcat magazine design is rather efficient and quite reliable. I broke the gun and magazine down, and a little warm water and a rag cleaned it out, and we were back to being golden. It’s always nice to have more options than fewer. Does the 15 round Hellcat magazine appeal to you?
Would you carry in the weapon or as a spare?
Let us know below.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner, a lifelong firearms enthusiast, and now a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is the world’s Okayest firearm’s instructor.
The popularity of Springfield Armory’s now-signature micro-compact has necessarily produced a wide range of Hellcat holster options. For similar reasons (and because so many of us like to tinker with our pistols) we’ve seen a whole slew of Springfield Hellcat accessories. Among them are a wide range of functional upgrades, aesthetic modifications, and implements to expand modularity. We’ll cover some of those below. While no means comprehensive, it will include news that relates to the Hellcat and provide some of our own reviews.
Apex Tactical Solutions just added a new model to its lineup of Failure Resistant Extractors — this one is for the Springfield Hellcat 9mm pistol line— designed to, “…ensure consistent and reliable extraction under the most adverse conditions.” Their aftermarket extractor replaces the factory extractor and is intended to deliver more consistent, reliable extraction.
Here’s the factory extractor next to the Apex Tactical Solutions extractor. See that little dot on the one to the right? That’s their Rockwell Hardness Checkmark, which confirms that the part was checked for hardness.
Machined from a billet of heat-treated stainless steel, the critical engagement surface features Apex’s custom extractor hook geometry. The extractor is Black Melonite finished for enhanced durability.
Features and Specifications: • Replaces factory extractor • Features Apex’s custom extractor hook geometry • Provides consistent, reliable extraction • Works with all current 9mm Hellcat model pistols • Easy to install • Apex Part #: 115-090
Installation is fairly simple. The only tool you’ll need is a 3/32″ pin punch, or a 1/16″ if that’s what you have.
Field strip the slide.
Remove the backplate and pull out the striker and extractor plunger system (these typically come out in one unit).
Once the plunger system is out of the way, depress the striker block with the pin punch to press the striker block in. Then roll the extractor into the breach, and out of the way. Once the extractor is out, relieve tension on the striker block so it doesn’t shoot out.
Consider cleaning out the extractor channel while everything is taken apart.
Install the replacement extractor.
Press the striker block as far in as you can, up out of the way, so the extractor can be seated properly.
Drop the extractor into the breach, roll it back, then drop it into the slide.
When you release the striker block, the extractor is held in place.
Reinstall the plunger assembly.
Take note of the small shelf on it. That shelf has to go down against the extractor. If it goes up or any other direction, it’s not going to seat properly.
Insert the plunger assembly and guide it forward. If you’ve got it right, you’ll be able to see it come through the window and push against the back of the extractor. If it’s not aligned right, it’ll sit inside the window and won’t protrude.
Put the striker back in.
Put the backplate back on: press in the striker with the fork on the backplate and press the plunger in with the pin punch. The backplate should snap into place.
Perform a function check when the slide is reassembled. Using the pin punch, articulate the extractor inside the breech a couple of times to make sure it moves.
If the function check is unsuccessful, go through the assembly process again.
Apex also has these extractors available for Gen 3/5 Glocks, Gen 4 Glocks, FN 509, M&P, and M&P M2.0 model pistols.
Here’s the full installation video.
Hogue Beavertail HandALL Grip Sleeves for the Hellcat
Hogue has expanded their line of HandALL grip sleeves to include models fit for the Springfield Hellcat. Hogue says these soft rubber Beavertail grip sleeves are guaranteed to enhance the Hellcat shooting experience with a more secure grasp, protection for the hands, and best of all: reducing the felt recoil.
It has become common for shooters to resort to custom stippling to upgrade the factory texture of polymer pistols; however, this practice ultimately compromises the original condition of the firearm’s frame. To avoid this irreversible trade-off, Hogue has perfected their Beavertail grip sleeve design to ensure a long-lasting, yet non-permanent alternative that will greatly enhance the shooter’s grip experience. Hogue HandALL Beavertail grip sleeves come in a variety of colors and retail at an affordable $12.95.
The new grip sleeves are available in six different colors, made of thermoplastic elastomer, and designed to fit securely with the Hellcat’s texture and contours.
• Precision fit for Springfield Armory Hellcat • Material: Rubber • Texture: Cobblestone • Colors: Black, FDE, Olive Drab Green, Purple, Aqua, and Pink
• Gentle palm swells fit comfortably in hand • Finger grooves naturally position fingers for optimal grip • Textured with Hogue’s famous Cobblestone pattern for increased comfort and grip • Beavertail cushions the hand on recoil and offers increased hand comfort higher on the grip • Made from long-lasting durable thermoplastic elastomer that ages gracefully for years of service • Designed for a tight and secure fit engaging with the texture and contours of the firearm’s frame
New Apex Action Enhancement Trigger for the Springfield Hellcat
Apex Tactical Specialties just announced its new Action Enhancement Trigger for the Springfield Hellcat pistol. The body of the trigger is aluminum machined with a center-mount pivoting safety that sits just sub-flush when the trigger is pulled. Installation is direct drop-in, with no adjustments required, and according to the company, the trigger pull will be 5-5.25 lbs after a little break-in period.
The Action Enhancement Trigger for the Springfield Hellcat is available in five color options. Top: Freedom Edition Black, and Freedom Edition Thin Blue Line. Bottom: Black, Red, and Thin Blue Line.
The package includes the trigger shoe, sear spring, and striker spring.
Here’s how Apex described the new trigger in their press release:
Starting at just $79.95, the package includes an Apex Action Enhancement Trigger, Apex Sear Spring and Apex Striker Spring, which, when installed, significantly improves the feel of the trigger pull while reducing trigger travel and pull weight to that appropriate for a duty or carry pistol.
Apex’s engineering and design team developed the Action Enhancement Trigger as a direct drop-in replacement of the factory polymer trigger and springs of the Hellcat. The new trigger will be available in Black, Red, Thin Blue Line, and Black anodized Freedom Edition versions. Pre-ordering will begin soon.
Features and Specifications
• Reduces trigger pull weight to 5.0 to 5.5 lbs after break-in period • Smooths uptake and reset • Reduces overall trigger travel and reset distance • Crisp trigger break • Direct drop-in replacement of factory polymer trigger • Maintains factory safety values • Easy to install (Drop-in installation)
Here’s the product launch video that Apex put out.
Here’s a complete installation video guide. Note the differences between the factory components next to the Apex parts. The Apex striker spring is slightly longer and the Apex sear spring has an hourglass shape compared to the straight cylindrical coil of the factory sear spring. The differences between the two trigger bodies are fairly obvious.
Between the number of holsters you can choose from to the number of small and easily carryable guns on the market — holy crap, is it a good time to be carrying a gun! One such gun is the Springfield Hellcat. The Hellcat stormed upon American shores offering shooters an excellent compromise with its small size but high capacity. The Hellcat is the size of any old standard single stack 9mm but packs 11 to 13 rounds in its magazine. If you have one you need a holster for it, right? With its popularity, a massive amount of holsters have been released. Here’s our roundup of the best Springfield Hellcat Holster options available as of this writing.
1. Crossbreed Reckoning Hellcat Holster
Crossbreed embraced the Hellcat with open arms with a massive amount of different Springfield Hellcat holster options in various configurations. This includes IWB, OWB, pocket, Bellyband, and beyond. One that stands out is the Reckoning. The Reckoning is a compact-sized IWB rig designed primarily for AIWB carry, but it can also be carried strong side IWB.
The Reckoning features vegetable-tanned leather with a polymer molded shell. This Crossbreed holster embraces dual metal clips for a rugged design. The sweat guard protects you from the gun and vice versa and allows for maximum comfort. Lastly, the Reckoning is modular. You can add an Accomplice mag carrier to the rig for a complete appendix carry rig.
2. Bravo Concealment OWB Hellcat Holster
I’m an OWB nerd, and I’ve long appreciated OWB designs. The Bravo Concealment OWB design is primarily made from polymer and is custom fit for the Hellcat. The Bravo Concealment rig is ultra-modern and designed to cling tight to the body and disappear with minimal fuss. The design incorporates passive but adjustable retention.
Since the Hellcat comes in an OSP model, the Bravo Concealment OWB holster is cut for an optic and will even accommodate a threaded barrel. This Springfield Hellcat holster allows for slightly adjustable cant for increased concealment. The Bravo Concealment OWB rig is a thoroughly modern and well thought out OWB rig for those of us who still prefer OWB carry. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and well designed.
3. Desantis Mini Scabbard Hellcat Holster
Leather may not be tactical anymore, but my oh my, is it still fashionable. The Desantis Mini Scabbard is a little fella that might be far from tactical, but still a comfortable option for those of us a little less high speed. The Mini Scabbard pushes the Hellcat up and out of the way for a very concealable carry option in the OWB arena.
The Mini Scabbard is molded to the Hellcat, and this ensures the rig is safer than most leather rigs. The Scabbard sports an adjustable tension device, allowing the end-user to customize just how hard or how easy it is the remove the gun from the holster. The Mini Scabbard is an old-school cool Hellcat Holster with a dose of modern common sense.
4. Crucial Concealment Covert IWB Hellcat Holster
Crucial Concealment has discovered a magic formula that makes holsters disappear while leaving the user in complete comfort. Their Covert IWB rig is a minimalist Hellcat AIWB holster featuring a single wide clip that attaches with a lustful passion to your belt, or so it seems when I try to take it off. This little rig allows the end-user to adjust the cant by simply removing and reattaching a screw. This is a simple device to make the gun disappear a bit more or to make it easier to grip and rip.
The Crucial Concealment Cover IWB is also ambidextrous so you can swap the clip from side to side with ease. The Covert IWB has an adjustable tension device, and yep, they were smart enough to cut it for optic compatibility. This Springfield Hellcat holster is a smart design that’s blends comfort and concealability with a good dose of practicality.
5. Clinger Holsters IWB Hinge Hellcat Holster
Holster design doesn’t grow in leaps and bounds, but by slight steps forward that are often tagged with innovation. The Clinger Holsters rigs might be the next step forward. Their hinge system is aimed at strongside IWB. The rig uses a polymer holster with two leather wings that house the clips for your belt. It’s odd but super functional.
It allows the gun to sit extremely close to the body, remaining comfortable and unencumbered. The Clinger Holster IWB Hinge system keeps it simple and comfortable. The gun remains easy to draw and absolutely disappears under light clothing. It’s simple and, in a way, quite ingenious. Clinger also produces a pad to attach to the side of the rig for increased comfort.
6. Alien Gear Shapeshift Hellcat Holster
The Shapeshift system is so much a single holster but a series of holsters that incorporate a common shell. The Alien Gear system is quite ingenious and allows one to carry a gun in nearly a dozen different ways. This includes a shoulder rig, ankle rig, cheat rig, and normal IWB, OWB, and AIWB options. You swap shells from backing to backing, and you can carry any which way you like.
The Shapeshift is the most modular Hellcat Holster on the list. It allows you to carry with essentially the same holster over many different rigs. If you normally go AIWB but gotta prepare for a road trip? Well, toss on the shoulder rig or even the ankle rig. Each backing can be used throughout the whole Shapeshift line, so if you wanna carry your Glock instead of your Hellcat, you can use the same backings with a different shell.
The Shapeshift system is a massive undertaking from Alien Gear and the start of something interesting for the holster industry. However, for right now, it’s the most modular Hellcat Holster on the market.
The Hellcat Holster Market
These are the Springfield Hellcat holsters that interest me as of this writing. There will be more!
Each different design brings something to the table that captures my imagination and often a credit card number. There are, without a doubt, dozens of companies making near-identical AIWB polymer holsters for the Hellcat. If you don’t see the holster that works for you, drop a comment below. Let us know what works and why you like it. Better yet, let us know what doesn’t work and why.
N8 Tactical KO-1 AIWB/IWB Kydex Holster
N8’s first all-Kydex holster is a Hellcat option that begins with a one-piece Kydex pocket that is form-fitted to the specific gun.
The KO-1 offers multiple clip options, adjustable retention, and an available ModWing attachment.
Multiple Clip Options
Your carry method may change and your holster should change with it. The KO-1 AIWB/IWB All Kydex holster has two different clip options: a low ride tuckable option (default configuration), or a non-tuckable high ride EZ Clip option (optional).
Set up your holster with YOUR desired retention! With the KO-1 AIWB/IWB All Kydex Holster by N8 Tactical, you can easily adjust the retention of your holster by simply tightening or loosening two screws that connect the front and back of your holster.
Available ModWing / Claw for Maximum Concealability
Carrying concealed means exactly that: concealed. With the ability to easily add a concealed holster ModWing (claw) you can ensure superior concealment by pressing the holster closer to your body to help eliminate any unnecessary printing.
News of this IWB Hellcat Holster comes along at just the right time as we enter the heat of summer. Take a look at the holster below, and you’ll see why.
Galco says the KingTuk Cloud is designed for comfortable carry and superior concealment. The backing plate is made of ballistic nylon front over a closed-cell foam body. The back portion of the plate that rides against the wearer is lined with Galco’s Comfort Cloth, an Adaptive Performance Mesh that provides padding and moisture-wicking.
A rigid Kydex holster pocket provides fast draw and easy holstering while facilitating a full firing grip. Worn inside the waistband, the KingTuk Cloud includes Galco’s patent-pending, tuckable polymer UniClips for excellent concealment, stability and easy on-off capability. The clips can be moved up or down in the corresponding holes in the backing plate, enabling the user to set the carry height and angle to suit their unique preferences.
KingTuk Cloud Features
•Hybrid Kydex/nylon construction
•Ballistic nylon front over closed cell foam
•Comfort Cloth™ lining provides padding and moisture wicking
•Rigid Kydex holster pocket for fast draw and easy holstering
•Full firing grip accessibility
•Dual tuckable polymer UniClips™ adjust for ride height/angle
•Fits belts to 1 3/4″
Comp-Tac Hellcat Holsters
Comp-Tac just added three new holsters fitted for the Springfield Hellcat: the Warrior Holster, eV2, and Infidel Max.
The Warrior holster is an outside the waistband (OWB) holster that was recently approved by the National Training Officers Association (NTOA). An all-Kydex pancake design is excellent for concealed carry and or general range use. The Warrior is optics friendly and will accommodate both the standard Hellcat and the OSP optics-ready version.
The eV2 holster is an appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) holster designed for concealed carry. The eV2 is optics compatible and includes the Comp-Tac KICK, a piece designed to help press the grip of the gun into the body for better concealment.
The Infidel Max holster is an inside the waistband holster designed to be worn behind the hip at the 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock position. With an easy-on-easy-off single clip, this holster is a favorite for users who want the ability to put on their gun or take it off as their environment changes.
1791 Tactical and 1791 Gunleather just announced their new IWB Kydex Holster for the Springfield Hellcat.
1791 says this newTactical IWB Kydex Holster is made from durable and proven 0.080” Kydex and has an integrated concealment wing that allows for an even stealthier level of concealment.
From 1791 Tactical:
Its open-muzzle design accommodates weapons with threaded barrels and a tall sight channel works great with suppressor height sights. The RMR/Optic cut accommodates most pistol optics. The Kydex option is available, as well as multiple IWB and OWB options in leather. The 1791 Gunleather Belt Holster BHC, Smooth Concealment Holster (size 1), Two Way IWB (size 2), Three Way, Ambidextrous Belt Slide Holster 3WH (size 2) and the Four-Way IWB/OWB holster 4WH (size 2), are great options for the Hellcat as well.
When new guns launch it can be difficult to find quality holsters for those guns. It takes some time for the accessory market to see how consumers respond to a gun and then take action to bring products to market. As an example, Springfield Armory’s recent micro-compact pistol; it’s a great little handgun, but there was necessarily a gap between the release and the first availability of a Springfield Hellcat holster.
Holster manufacturers can’t afford to invest in the R&D and the tooling to bring a product to market unless that gun is going to be a success.
I have enjoyed shooting my Springfield Hellcat, but until now I hadn’t found the right holster for it. The Burdette Custom Holsters HC3 has changed that.
Burdette Custom Holsters
This HC3A2 is the 4th prototype of Burdette’s Springfield Hellcat holster that Joe Weyer provided input on.
Doyle Burdette started Burdette Custom Gun Leather in order to scratch his own itch. Burdette has been a police officer for 27 years. He started making holsters because he couldn’t find quality holsters that he could afford on a cop’s salary.
I appreciate the fact that Doyle understands the importance of the role a holster plays. If a holster isn’t comfortable you won’t wear it. A holster that makes it hard to hide a gun won’t get used either. Both issues result in your gun being at home instead of on your body. A holster also has to keep the gun accessible. If you can’t draw it, you might as well not have it… These aspects of the importance of holsters are lost on many holster makers who instead are focused on churning out holsters that only meet some of the needs an armed citizen has.
From the Burdette Custom Gun Leather site:
“Every holster design I make has been tested by officers or others who go in harm’s way. These are not mere ideas but proven designs that work.
I realize that your life may depend on the holster I make for you and I work to ensure your holster will be an integral part of your personal security. I take pride in the fact that officers, military personnel, and civilians choose my holsters.”
Even with the 13 round magazine, the Hellcat is a small gun. Burdette didn’t make it any bigger with his holster.
There is something about a good leather holster. It has just the right amount of give in just the right places. It has been years since I have slid a leather holster into my waistband. When I clipped the Burdette Hellcat holster onto my belt I realized that I have missed leather.
The size of the Hellcat micro-compact and the holster complement each other. The holster doesn’t needlessly increase the size of the gun and this adds to the comfortable feel of the combination of the gun and holster together.
As I write this I am just back from a bike ride with the kids. I wore the Hellcat in the Burdette holster and it wasn’t an issue even leaning over the bars of my mountain bike.
The Burdette Custom Gun Leather Holster for the Springfield Armory Hellcat isn’t designed to be a race holster. Instead, it is optimized for concealment.
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The Hellcat is a naturally concealable handgun because of its diminutive size. The Burdette Custom Holster makes it more so. To the right of the trigger guard is built up on the holster to help and cam the magazine into the body.
In addition, the holster is slightly longer than the slide of the gun. This additional length can help to spread the pressure of the gun out over a larger area. This is more comfortable but also helps with concealability. The extra 1/4”, when coupled with the stiff spring steel clip, helps to keep the mass of the grip from rolling out away from the body.
Speaking of the clip, the ride height is set so that the gun sits deep in the waistband to help hide the gun.
The gun sits deep but not too deep. There is just enough room for me to get my fingers between my belt and the grip of the gun. This allows me to establish a full firing grip while the gun is still in the holster. The holster is just supple enough to allow the belt to increase the retention of the holster, but it isn’t so soft that it collapses when the gun comes out. This makes one-handed reholstering an easy task.
It is clear that the details were well thought out on the holster. Many of the details are a result of Burdette’s 25 years of experience in making holsters. Joe Weyer, a career LEO and head trainer at Alliance Police Training also advised Burdette on the holster. Weyer gave input to Springfield as they developed the Hellcat. As a result, has a vested interest in having a quality holster for the subcompact.
It’s not surprising that details were attended to in the holster. An excellent example is that the seam on the holster is on the face, under the clip instead of along the trigger guard or the sight channel. The intent is to increase comfort for the wearer.
The mouth of the holster stays open enough so that the Hellcat can be holstered with one hand.
I’m not sure I’m a super fan of the sweat guard. My gut tends to push it over the opening of the holster requiring me to use my thumb to move it out of the way of the mouth of the holster. A quick glance reveals that there is no stitching on the sweat guard. This means that after a time I could simply cut it down to a shape that suits me.
Obviously, cutting a sweat guard off is much easier than adding one after the fact.
The Burdette Custom Gun Leather holster for the Hellcat stacks leather on top of the gun for rigidity and to help cant the grip into the body.
The Hellcat’s U-Notch sights aren’t huge, but they are substantial sights for such a small gun. The Burdette Custom Holster for the Hellcat makes sure that the sights have a clear path during the draw. The holster is cut for an optic making it a fit for either the iron sight Hellcat or the OSP version with an optic.
The stitching on the holster is minimal, but what is there is neat in appearance and solid. It is clear that this handmade holster is a quality piece of work.
Despite the layers on the front of this excellent little custom leather holster, very little width is added to the package.
I have a Springfield Hellcat OSP on the way and it is going to get some carry time for sure. Up until now, I haven’t found a holster for the Hellcat that fits my needs. The Burdette Holster is comfortable, concealable and it keeps the gun accessible. Each of the holsters that comes from Burdette is custom made to order and the price is reasonable on the HC3 at about $80. The distinct advantage of this is that I may have some specific requests when I place my order. I’m going to be looking for a mag pouch as well to carry the 13 round hellcat mag for my reload…
If you are looking for a holster to carry your Hellcat or any other holster for that matter, consider taking a look at the gallery at Burdette Custom Gun Leather.
Then reach out and see what Doyle and his team can do for you.
This has been a collaborative effort by two or more members of The Mag Life contributor team: to wit, a JWOT (Joint Writing Operations Team). We’ll advise which specific contributors in the text of the article. Subscribe to GunMag TV and follow GMW on Instagram, @gunmagwarehouse. Connect on Facebook, /gunmagwarehouse/.