So Springfield Armory basically released a baby Roland Special platform with the Hellcat RDP. For those uninitiated into what a Roland Special is - I've made a video about it in the past
For those uninitiated - a Roland Special is a series of modifications that was originally done to a Glock 19 by Chuck Pressburg that turned his gun into what he felt was the ultimate pistol. The weapon mounted light was kept clean by the compensator which re-directed the carbon from the muzzle blast up and to the side. While the weapon mounted light was functional (he used an Surefire X300 Ultra on his) - it also acts as a frame weight which helps reduce the muzzle climb of the gun even further. The compensator further reduced the amount of muzzle climb of the red dot, and the red dot made a compact sized gun reach out much further much faster. To combat the shorter grip length he added a magazine well allowing him to reload the gun faster as well. In short - the Roland Special is a series.
Put simply - it was turning a regular run of the mill gun like a Glock 19 into a USPSA open gun. Enter the Springfield Armory Hellcat RDP.
The RDP comes straight from the factory with their new Hex Wasp electronic sight. The Wasp is a super low profile red dot that co-witnesses with the stock Hellcat sights. It's an auto adjuster - meaning dot brightness is dictated by the sensor on the sight and not by you manually pushing a button. Auto adjusters are not my favorite but this sight does a pretty good job keeping up with lighting conditions - even when I used the Surefire XSC weapon mounted light with it - the dot would still be visible. The dot is a 3.5 MOA - which is OK - 6 would be better - but more importantly it's fueled by a CR2032 battery - which has more battery life than the 1632 that show up in other micro red dots. The shroud appears robust and offers cocking wings to allow users to cycle the slide through pulling on the optic - which is pretty neat.
The other feature is the compensator on the end of the barrel. There are 3 ports on the compensator - which angle the gas the ammunition generates up and to the sides rather than simply out of the barrel. When you shoot a round - the gas that exits the barrel is what produces recoil - by altering the path the gas takes out of the gun to up or to the sides - it changes how the recoil arc behaves. The upward port puts downward pressure on the gun at the muzzle to help reduce muzzle climb - the ports on the side are angled up in a "V" pattern so they contribute to stabilizing the wobble in recoil as well as provide downward pressure.
When introducing V shaped ports like this - "clocking" or seating the compensator exactly level on the gun becomes important - but Springfield solved this problem by a fairly genius self-clocking system that doesn't allow you to install the compensator crooked. Once you understand how the little tab works
But it begs the question...
With ports so small - does it even matter? To answer this question it's pretty easy - shoot the gun one handed. Unload the gun, remove the compensator, then shoot the gun again - one handed. Could you feel a difference? For me - Absolutely.
Not only could I feel a difference - I could see a difference as well in how the dot lifted and returned. The dot lifted higher in recoil in the window than it did with the compensator installed. Micro 9mm guns like this are notoriously flippy little guys - and this is no exception. With the compensator installed on the gun - the gun is STILL flippy - just less so.
The combination of a red dot sight and the compensator is a pretty winning pair - it absolutely makes a gun more capable - shooting the gun at longer distances turns what many would consider a phone booth fighter or bad breath distance gun into a capable gun that is more than capable of stretching out to 25 or even 50 yards - if you have the skill.
Zooming back from the new shiny features of the red dot and the compensator - it's worth discussing the virtues of the Hellcat itself.
In my opinion - the Hellcat is "winning" the micro carry 9 segment right now. It has the best grip texture, the best trigger, the best capacity (ships with 11 and 13 round magazines - 15 round magazines just released as well.
The shape of the grip - in it's base configuration is a little short. With the pinky extension on the 11 rounder or the +2 base plate on the 13 round magazine - the gun becomes a full three finger affair in the grip department - which is important in managing the flip of the gun. The new 15 round magazine is just divine - although it comes at the cost of increasing the grip length to be much larger than the gun started life. My one big complaint about the grip is that the sculpt under the trigger guard could be improved - and maybe the ergonomics are a little boxy - but ultimately the gun is very easy to get a grip on.
And once you get your fingers around the gun- it stays planted due to the excellent texture on the grip. The texture locks in when you squeeze on it but it isn't overly abrasive on your hand when you carry it in an inside the waistband holster. The trigger with the Hellcat RDP was updated - previously the Hellcat had a quirk where you could pull the trigger a weird kind of way and potentially NOT depress the trigger blade safety so the trigger wouldn't move to the rear. This type of trigger pull was highly improbable in happening - but "never zero" as they say. The new trigger this problem was solved entirely.
The trigger take up is smooth - the wall is mostly solid - with only a tiny amount of creep. The break is fairly clean, overtravel fairly typical, and reset/swing forward unremarkable. For a gun in this size class - this is the best trigger going. That doesn't sound like a glowing review - but it is. It is easily the best in class for this category of pistol. With the gun - the Hellcat now offers a very well designed manual safety which gives you the option to carry the gun cocked and locked - or more appropriately - you can flip the safety on when holstering - then flip it off once safely in the holster.
Speaking of holsters - those are a little tougher to come by. In my review of the gun I picked up a holster from Vedder and had a couple sent to me by QVO tactical. So holster support is out there. I quite like the styling of the QVO holsters and can recommend them. https://www.instagram.com/p/CORHTjlrjNR/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link All in all - the Hellcat RDP is an excellent concealed carry piece.
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