Hellcat vs. older "sub-compact" 9mm Pistols

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by wally, Aug 10, 2021.

  1. wally

    wally Member

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    Having just picked up my new Springfield Hellcat 9mm pistol, I thought comparing them to some other sub-compact pistols that came before them would be interesting.

    Tons of articles about the Hellcat, Shield Plus, SIG P365, Ruger Max etc. in the absense of gun shows and poor inventory in stores that is basically why I choose the Hellcat over the others in this new generation of 10+ round 9mm sub-compact pistols.

    Lets start with the overall length comparison:
    CompareLength.jpg
    From L to R: Beretta 9000S, Taurus G2C, S&W Shield (what mainstreamed the single stack sub-compact pistol craze), CZ RAMI, and Hellcat.

    Now for the height/width comparison:
    CompareHeightWidth.jpg
    Same order as before.

    Some key measurements:
    Pistol Mag Cap. Weight (empty mag) Grip W Slide W Max W
    Beretta 9000S: 12 rounds, 27 oz 1.21" 1.25" 1.69" @ ambi-safety
    Taurus G2C: 12 rounds, 21 oz 1.10" 1.06" 1.21" @ safety
    S&W Shield: 7 rounds, 19 oz 0.98" 0.91" 1.01" @ safety
    CZ RAMI: 10 rounds, 25 oz 1.29" 1.10" 1.29" @ grips
    Hellcat: 11 rounds, 17 oz 1.03" 0.88" 1.08" @ slide lock

    What jumps out at me is how competitive the CZ RAMI would still be in this market except for the weight.

    Finally four side view overlays of each pistol with the Hellcat in front:
    Hellcat over 9000S:
    HellcatOver9000S.jpg

    Hellcat over G2C:
    HellcatOverG2C.jpg

    Hellcat over Shield:
    HellcatOverShield.jpg

    And finally, Hellcat over RAMI:
    HellcatOverRAMI.jpg

    A few random comments. I've shot the Shield by far the most, the G2C the second most. The G2C would compete better in height if it had a flat magazine bottom option. I'm over 1000 rounds with the G2C and have yet to clean it after its initial outing and have had zero failures of any kind with the cheapest ammo I could find. When I got it, you could find them for ~$200 new -- I got mine as part of the Millinium pistol "recall" which Taurus handled very poorly. The Shield has also been flawless, as has the RAMI and 9000S although these haven't seen half the rounds of the G2C.

    I'm looking forward to shooting the Hellcat after I mount a Red Dot (SIG Zero) and Crimson Trace laser to it. My main carry for the past few years has been a S&W Shield 40 with built-in factory laser and a Trijicon RMR dual illuminated (fiber & tritium, no batteries). I hope the Hellcat can replace it as there will be a significant reduction in overall height (Hell cat is ~0.25" shorter and SIG Zero is lower and mounts lower in the factory milled slide cut) and I gain 11+1 rounds of 9mm vs. 6+1 of .40S&W.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2021
  2. groundhog34

    groundhog34 Member

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    There is a great website, https://www.handgunhero.com/, that compares pistol sizes. IMO size is not the most important factor in selecting a carry pistol. Trigger, capacity and what feels best in your hand are more important.
     
  3. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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  4. wally

    wally Member

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    Hand feel is something you can't get without holding the gun and it can be deceptive, for example the Beretta 92 feels too big in my hand but I shoot it wonderfully.

    I like the feel of the Hellcat a lot, but I did take a risk of getting one without having held one first. I respectfully submit that the "right size" is the most important feature simply because if you aren't actually carrying it, it does no good what so ever should a situation arise.

    I'd definitely endorse handgunhero's size measurements over my caliper measurements, I just wanted to get decent indications about these five all in this one post.

    I'd encourage anyone with a collection of the modern ones -- P365, Hellcat, Shield Plus Ruger MAX-9 to try and post similar photos.

    The Crimson Trace CMR-201 laser site was not a drop in fit to the Hellcat rail. I had an extra one from a Midway BOGO sale. I had to file the #1 rail lug on the sight and "angle" the rear of the laser to get it to fit the Hellcat. Seems solid, but only shooting will tell, alignment with the iron sights pretty good, which is generally a good sign about the mounting. Tomorrow I'll mount the SIG Zero Red Dot.
     
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  5. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    If you do attach the Sig Zero to the Hellcat be prepared to shorten the screws that come with the sight. I do not recall the screw length needed but a google search should give you the magic number.
     
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  6. wally

    wally Member

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    Its not so much they need to be shortened, as the SIG supplied screws have an un-threaded shoulder that is too long so the shoulder hits before the sight is secured. But I had other screws that fit already on hand.

    Here is a photo of my Hellcat with the Crimson Trace Laser and SIG Zero optic attached:
    HellCatOpticLaser.jpg

    And here is an image of it in front of my S&W Shield40 with Trijicon RMR and built in Laser that I've been carrying:
    HellcatOpticOverShieldOptic.jpg

    You can see the gain: over 1/2" in the maximum height and 11+1 over 6+1. The loss, 9mm instead of .40S&W, and an extra ~500 grains in ammo weight (180gr .40, 147gr 9mm) although this is more than negated by the Hellcat being ~2 oz (875 gr) lighter with empty magazines in each.

    Once nice thing about the Hellcat sights and the SIG Zero is that the Hellcat sights are tall enough, and the SIG Zero short enough that I can still use the irons as a last ditch backup, my old eyeballs make this a true last resort -- pure instinctive point shooting might be better :) But if you can still use irons effectively this might be a nice transition setup as you get older and the vision deteriorates.

    This particular Crimson Trace laser is not a great choice for the Hellcat as I had to file its rail insert and remove a bit of material from the back of the laser to account for the trigger guard curvature to mount it to the rail. It sticks out about 1/8" from the recoil spring guide rod, which protrudes a bit, presumably to provide a "stand-off" so the gun doesn't come out of battery if at contact distance, the extra stand-off might be a feature to an ad copy writer :) I had it on hand as I got it over a year ago as part of a Midway BOGO sale.

    I will definitely BOLO for another sale on the SIG Zero, I don't like its adjustments, and the fact you have to remove it to change the battery, but it automatically turns on when the gun is picked up, the size and low profile is great for carry, and the Shield/J-Point/DeltaPoint footprint makes it easy to find a mount for. I love the Trijicon Dual Illumination for its lack of batteries despite it being rather fat and tall, but its mounts are among the scarcest of all -- I had to mill my own for several pistols (They sell a universal blank for doing this).
     
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  7. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    Good photos. To me, the Hellcat still looks chubby compared to the single stack Shield.
     
  8. wally

    wally Member

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    Looks can be deceiving. The Hellcat grip is a definitely "fuller" and more "squared". My single stack Shield grip is ~53mm in length (front to back) where the Hellcat is ~45 mm. For my hand the Shield grip is a bit too long, I've shot it a lot and have mostly overcome its tendency to want to "twist" in my hand during recoil. I hope to get out to shoot the Hellcat later this week, that is really the only way to know for sure.

    Might be a bit hard to describe, but with my grip the Shield has the middle and ring finger distal joints end up to the left of the grip forcing the finger tips to curl in a bit more that they really can. The Hellcat grip being "shorter" and more "square" (fuller) puts the joint right at the edge so I only need to bend the tips a bit less than 90 degrees as oppose to a bit more than 90 degrees. Loss of some finger tip mobility is pretty much the root cause having me look for an alternative.

    I've carried the Shield for almost five years and been averaging 50 rounds a week through it pretty much the entire time, but the grip issue has definitely gotten worse with age the past couple of years, reduced ability to practice during the Covid peak only made the issue worse. So I'm open to a change as long as it carries more rounds in about the same size package. The Hellcat looks to fill the bill in a slightly smaller package.

    I have similar grip issues with arched mainspring housings on 1911 pistols. The flat housing helps, using double stack 1911s helps even more.
     
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  9. wally

    wally Member

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    I just got back from the range with its first outing. Didn't have the optic screws mounted tightly enough initially, but no issues after re-tightening them. I used the iron sights do a pre-shooting zero but not knowing the Hellcat sight picture, turned out it was about 4" high at ~10 yards. Tweaked it and then ran ~130 rounds of 147gr FMJ, 50 rounds of Brown Bear 115 gr FMJ, and finally 50 rounds of my carry ammo 147gr Winchester Ranger-T JHP. No failures of any kind. So initial experience was very positive. Off a sandbag at 10 yards there was not enough difference among the three ammo types to attempt further tweaking of the zero.

    Shooting at our club's steel 2/3 IPSC silhouette with 4" pivoting center plate, in rapid fire I was hitting the pivoting plate about 75% with either optic or the laser (which was not so rapid as it was hard to see), the misses were all on the left side of the opening. Looks like I need more time with its trigger, some dry fire is in order, the laser is a good aid for this at home.

    What I don't like about the Romeo Zero is:
    (1) you have to remove the sight to replace the battery.
    (2) the adjustments are non-click and need an 0.050" hex wrench to adjust.

    What I really like is the size, weight, and price -- Joe Bob Outfitters had them on sale for $150, mine came last week so they may still have some.


    The laser sight wandered a lot during the first ~75 rounds I kept tightening the screws and re-adjusting (to the Red Dot) after four times tightening, it stabilized and no further adjustments were needed. Day was too bright to do much more with the laser than get the zero stabilized. Part of it may have been the filing I had to do to get it to fit the Hellcat rail. If it doesn't stay stable I'll get the one with the coupon than came with the pistol and move this laser to a different pistol.

    Its always a problem with mounting parts made of plastic its hard to know when the metal screws are tight enough to hold but not risk breaking it. So needing tightening in the first outing is not necessarily a bad thing. A few more outings should build the required confidence to start actually carrying it.
     
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  10. DTL

    DTL Member

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    I'm a 1911 and Beretta fan mostly but was impressed with the Hellcat I had a chance to shoot last week at the range. Swapped try-outs with one of the regular morning guys there with my .45 Ronin 4.25". No red dot on his but he's adding one soon.
     
  11. needmorecowbell

    needmorecowbell Member

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    I snagged the Zero 6moa off Amazon for 159 + tax. Looks great on the Hellcat I think. Still gotta get out and shoot though.
    E04CC225-454F-4EA6-ABC1-271991C0046C.jpeg 5CF67FDC-DD7A-4E58-92A3-A6B956A9A2DD.jpeg
     
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  12. wally

    wally Member

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    Have to follow-up. My Crimson Trace laser doesn't hold zero on my Hellcat, I suspect that my modification of the recoil lug was just not up to snuff. It came with extra recoil lugs so I expect I can mount it on another pistol, as I said, I tried it because I had it on hand from a BOGO free sale. The one I originally mounted has held zero very well so I doubt the issue is with the laser itself. Elevation seems to hold well but it shifts left and right apparently drifting back and forth between two extremes that represents about 3 inches at 10 yards as I shoot.

    I used the promo coupon included in the box with the gun and ordered the Verdian Hellcat specific laser for 50% off which $66 + shipping
     
  13. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    I have also found my Taurus G2 ultra reliable… but a flat magazine base plate is a bit of improvement for carry … I really like my GX4 .. so far its been perfect also 971C136D-22F1-4B0C-8382-F337F982FA88.jpeg
     
  14. wally

    wally Member

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    Taurus really got back on track with the G2C and its following models. The GX4 looks to be a nice upgrade, but I haven't been able to shoot one yet.
     
  15. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Member

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    I really liked my RAMI. Still kick myself for selling it.
     
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