Feeding The Irreverent Feline: 15-Round Mags For the Springfield Hellcat

Of late, the trend has been to raise the capacity of micro-compact pistols, most often of the 9mm persuasion. And manufacturers have been doing a splendid job of it. There are a few main players in the current micro-compact game, with Springfield Armory’s Hellcat being among them. Today we’re going to take a look at the Springfield Hellcat 15-round magazine.

Hellcat with 15 round mag in place, spare 13 round mag, Emerson CQC-7, and Streamlight ProTac.
Seen here with a 15-round magazine in the pistol, the Hellcat is accompanied by a spare 13-round magazine, a Streamlight ProTac, and an Emerson CQC-7. It’s a well-rounded carry package.  (Photo: Jim Davis)

Many full-sized pistols can claim 15-round capacity, but now micro-compacts are in that league. To be sure, 15+1 rounds are nothing to sneeze at. Considering the small package that all those rounds come in, it’s pretty amazing.

Yes, there are pistols that will carry more rounds onboard…but they aren’t as small as the Hellcat!

What are the particulars of this magazine, and what does it mean for the industry?

The Commander Concept

A few years ago, Glock introduced their “X” series pistols, with a standard-length grip and a short slide. But Glock was not the first to invent this concept. Actually, it came about in the late 1940s when Colt introduced the Combat Commander, a 1911 that features a full-length grip and a shorter barrel. Why? 

It turns out that a full-length grip allows respectable magazine capacity and allows the shooter good purchase and control of the pistol during firing.

The short barrel aids in concealment. I know that many people say the barrel length doesn’t matter as far as concealability is concerned, but that does not seem to be accurate. Try stuffing a handgun with a six-inch barrel down your pants and then tell me that barrel length doesn’t matter.

Aside from the concealment factor, the shorter barrel clears leather (or Kydex) a bit faster than a longer barrel, giving us a fraction of a second advantage. The shorter slide also indexes a bit faster on close threats than does a longer barrel, again shaving fractions of a second off our response time. In a life-or-death struggle, survival can be determined by fractions of a second.

Personally, I love the short barrel concept with the longer grip. Fortunately, the Hellcat offers several options that we’re going to look at now.

Magazine Options

With the Hellcat, Springfield gives us three options currently: 11, 13, and 15-round magazines. How’s that for options?

The 11-round Hellcat mags have an optional extended base plate so the pinkie finger has a place to park. Or the user can use the flush-fit base plate for maximum concealment. Personally, I like the extended plate because it really doesn’t affect concealment, yet it drastically improves the grip. The front of the base plate is identical in length to the 13-round magazine, but it slopes toward the rear and ends at the base of the magazine body.

The flush-fitting base plate on the 11-round mag is the most concealable, but it leaves no place to perch the little finger. It’s my least favorite option.

Hellcat with 13 round magazine in place.
Shown here is the 13-round magazine in the Hellcat. It offers just enough length to get the little finger a place to park while still offering considerable concealment advantages. (Photo: Jim Davis)

The 13-round magazine base plate is extended like the one on the 11-round magazine, but it is flat and extends to the back of the magazine. I consider the 13-rounder to be superior because it basically adds no length compared to the 11-rounder’s base plate, but it includes two additional rounds. This is a stellar option for regular carry.

A few people have mentioned that adding the 15-round magazine makes the Hellcat as large as the Hellcat Pro or some other pistols. True enough. But if I want a smaller pistol, I can go back down to the 13 or even the 11-round magazine. Like I said…versatility and options.

15 Rounds!

With 15-round magazines, the little Hellcat can carry as many rounds as a standard Glock 19.

The mag has a flush-fitting base plate, coupled with a sleeve that fits above it. It resembles the base plate of the 13-round magazine, except that this sleeve can slide up the body of the 15-round magazine. It’s not likely at all that it will slide on its own, because it fits very tightly to the body of the magazine, which is a good thing. It’s going to stay put.

13 and 15 round hellcat magazines compared.
On the left is the 13-round magazine, compared to the 15-rounder on the right. The trade-off for two extra rounds is very reasonable, about 5/8 of an inch. (Photo: Jim Davis)

The 15-round mag is about 5/8-inch longer than the 13-round magazine if my measurements are correct. For an extra two rounds, I think that’s not a bad trade-off at all. That extra little bit of length gives users with large hands a bit more purchase, which many seem to enjoy. And honestly, it doesn’t make the pistol much harder to conceal.

We now have a pistol that embodies the Commander-style concept if we decide to use it that way. Or some people might decide to carry this extended 15-rounder as their spare reload. If things hit the fan and we need to reload, we’re not really going to be concerned with a longer magazine sticking out the bottom of the pistol’s grip.

Hellcat with 15-round mag in place.
Many shooters will welcome the slightly longer grip length of the 15-round magazine. It definitely aids in controlling the pistol, especially for those with large hands. (Photo: Jim Davis)

Personally, I’m still experimenting with whether or not this will be my primary carry magazine or my spare. The way I see it, though, I can’t lose either way.

Features of the 15-Round Hellcat Magazine

Here’s a quick run-down on the mag’s features.

  • Polymer Follower. The magazine’s follower is made of polymer. That means it will glide very smoothly inside the body of the magazine, and will need no lubrication to do so. The friction is at a minimum.
  • Polished Steel Spring. The magazine’s spring is polished stainless steel, which further contributes to the low friction and smooth operation of this magazine. Naturally, we won’t have to worry about rust as much with such materials either.
  • Stainless Construction. Aside from the spring being made of stainless steel, so is the body of the magazine. The walls and body of the magazine aren’t thin and flimsy, either; they are of thick construction, so the magazine won’t dent or deform easily if dropped onto hard surfaces. Not having to be worried about rust is a nice bonus.
  • Witness Holes. The witness holes drilled in the rear of the magazine body, numbered 5 through 15, allow us to see how many rounds are remaining. It’s a nice touch.
  • Versatility. The longer the grip, in general, the better control we have over a given pistol. Consequently, this 15-round magazine, while extending the grip length, gives us more control over the Hellcat. And let’s be fair, the Hellcat does have some snap to it when it is fired. It’s not unmanageable, but it is there. I’ve found the 15-round magazine does help in taming that recoil impulse more so than the 11-round magazine. It gives us big-gun capacity with a short barrel. I see this as nothing but a win/win situation.
mag comparison
Here we see the witness holes in the back of the 15-round mag (left) and the 13-round mag (right). Also note the difference in length of the 15-rounder, which is about 5/8-inch. (Photo: Jim Davis)

Does the 15-round Hellcat magazine deliver as promised?


It’s another tool in the tactical toolbox that functions reliably. It gives our Hellcat options that elevate it into another class of firearms. Having 15 rounds on tap is a game-changer that only a couple of pistols on the market offer, currently.

At the time of writing, the 15-round Hellcat mag sells for $39.99 at GunMag Warehouse. For the versatility that’s offered, it seems like a very reasonable price. I’ll be picking up a few more of these mags. They are well-constructed and durable, and their capacity is hard to beat.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

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