When Springfield Armory announced the new Hellcat Pro, I knew the company had a gold medal winner on its hands. The gun fits all the needs I have in a defensive firearm designed for concealed carry. In fact, the gun is the exact thing I frequently longed for when I was still a cop. Perfect in off-duty and plainclothes assignment roles, the Hellcat Pro delivers an amazing amount of performance in an easily concealed package.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks that. If the number of these guns selling at the local gun shops is any indicator, I daresay a lot of people agree. A few of the new gun owners are local cops I know from my time in law enforcement.
Not surprisingly, they were looking for a “perfect balance” pistol for off-duty carry also. This seems to be a nationwide phenomenon as well because in April, the pistol received a gold level endorsement – the highest possible recommendation – from members of the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA).
What Is the NTOA?
The NTOA is a non-profit support organization for law enforcement. Boasting more than 40,000 members, the NTOA promotes professionalism in law enforcement through training and the development of improved tactics. I’ve seen their training and advocacy positions over the years, and in my opinion, the organization’s impact on improving policing cannot be overstated.
One of the resources the National Tactical Officers Association offers is its Member Tested and Recommended Program (MTRP). This program allows a company like Springfield Armory to submit samples of its product to NTOA members for review. The NTOA members then give the product a thorough test drive and report back on its performance —through the lens of LE-specific needs.
I should be careful to note that the reviews are not controlled by the NTOA. Instead, the organization provides the connection between the company and the NTOA’s members and then shares the results. Evaluators will test the products in a way that they deem to be fair. This can provide a broader look at a product than a single reviewer could give a product. In this case, Springfield Armory provided production samples of the new Hellcat Pro pistols to a number of NTOA-affiliated officers for independent review.
How Did It Do?
Many of us are addicted to numbers and statistics. We want to know how fast the new Mustang is in the ¼ mile, how many passing yards our favorite QB has and how well the Hellcat Pro scored in this testing using some quantifiable system. While the NTOA does not establish any standards for how a review is to be conducted, it does compile member-provided numerical rankings for more than a dozen attributes to tabulate an overall score. The Hellcat Pro’s scored attributes included quality, durability, comfort and accuracy.
In each attribute area, there is a maximum of five points. Once the individual areas are scored, an overall score for each reviewer is calculated. Then, all of the officer reviews are added up and averaged for a final score. The highest possible score is 5.0 points. With so many variables being calculated, obtaining a perfect score is so unlikely as to be considered impossible by many people.
Tested products that receive the MTRP ranking are given a “standard” rating from a score of 3.00 to 3.99, “silver” from 4.00 to 4.49, and a “gold” rating with a score from 4.50 to 5.00. The information and full review of the Hellcat are available for viewing by NTOA members in the group’s Member Tested and Recommended online database.
The Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro scored an exceptionally high 4.8 points out of 5. That score landed the pistol with the highest “gold” recommendation possible from the MTR Program. In addition, the incredibly successful original Hellcat brought home the MTR Program’s gold recommendation back in 2020.
Beyond the scores, NTOA reviewers are expected to provide details as to how the product performed and justifications for the scoring. Just as the superior point score shows the professional quality of Springfield’s new pistol, the remarks from the individual tactical officers reviewing the gun also painted a glowing picture. Consider the following feedback.
During testing, one law enforcement reviewer commented that the Hellcat Pro appealed to him immediately. “There are a number of specs for this gun that I liked before ever firing a round. The 3.7” barrel adds some length over the original Hellcat, but without becoming something that shrinks the pool of customers who could reasonably conceal it.”
Another law enforcement reviewer had similar feelings about the size of the Hellcat Pro. “For most of us, we usually have to settle on some compromise between capability and capacity versus comfort and concealability. When I received the Hellcat Pro, I was instantly a fan just by the feel of it in my hand. It is just big enough to shoot like a full-size, but also slim enough to conceal well.”
His views were in line with another reviewer’s comments. “I ran various drills at the range to test marksmanship, multiple shot strings, draws from concealment, and more,” said the officer. “The Hellcat Pro performed well and was fun to shoot, especially when I installed the red dot on it.”
One of the officers tested the durability of the gun and found it fully met his expectations. “I probably shot between 800-900 rounds through the Hellcat Pro and only applied oil when needed throughout this testing to see if there would be any issues or malfunctions. I did not experience any,” said the officer. “I would highly recommend the Hellcat Pro to anyone looking at a new EDC firearm!” High praise indeed.
I know the Hellcat Pro is a great pistol. I’ve tested my personally owned Hellcat Pro extensively, and it runs great with all kinds of ammo. The pistol carries easily and shoots more like a full-size pistol than a micro-compact. And let’s face it – the 15 rounds in each magazine is a lot of felon repellant to spread around. With the U-Dot sights or an optional red dot sight, you can trust those rounds will go exactly where intended.
I was pleased to see that the reviewing members of the National Tactical Officers Association also had excellent experiences with the pistol. That gold recommendation from actual NTOA members is further evidence of the Hellcat Pro’s exceptional value. I guess the only question left is have you taken one for a test drive yet?
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