Last month Springfield announced its new 15-round magazine for the highly popular Hellcat. The pistol had already made its mark as “the world’s highest-capacity micro-compact 9mm,” shipping with an 11-round and 13-round mag. Obviously, the addition of a couple more rounds to the count sounds very attractive. But if you’re like me, you’re also interested to know if the new magazine changes how the Hellcat fits and performs. And another big question for the concealed carry crowd — does the 15-round mag make the Springfield Hellcat less concealable? All good questions.
All About the New Hellcat Magazine
Here, we have compiled some articles/reviews about the 15-round mag. We will add more as we find them. The first review is a really good read by Jim Shepherd over at The Tactical Wire. You’ll be interested to find out what he learned about the differences between the 13-round and 15-round magazines after shooting just 28 rounds.
We’ve also included Travis Pike’s review—it’s quite thorough and even makes some comparisons between the Hellcat and the P365.
One thing that stands out to me between the two reviews is that both guys appreciated the additional quarter-inch that the new magazine added to the grip. It seems like just a small measurement, but as you’ll read below, it can possibly make a measurable difference in shooter performance.
At the bottom, you’ll find our original piece covering all the specs and details. Here’s what we’ve got so far about the Springfield Hellcat 15-round magazine. Enjoy!
Learning by Seeing
Jim Shepherd (Originally published on The Tactical Wire, June 1, 2021)
Everyone I know in the shooting sports agrees that when it comes to competition, having more rounds in your gun is good. More rounds mean fewer reloads, and fewer reloads, at least for mere mortals (like me), means time saved. I also realize, however, that the old adage “you can’t miss fast enough to win” is equally true.
But have you ever considered that in a personal defense scenario more rounds might mean fewer rounds needed? Today, more and more shooters are carrying smaller pistols. Smaller pistols, ordinarily have always meant fewer rounds. But having fewer rounds in the gun was viewed as a tradeoff for more comfortable and more easily concealed (smaller) guns in our concealed carry holsters.
In any emergency situation, however, more is generally regarded as better than fewer, especially when you’re talking round counts in a handgun. So, engineers went back to their CAD programs and came up with ways to increase capacities without radically changing the overall dimensions of their small guns.
As a result, we now have very small guns that carry 11, 12, even 13, rounds. Much increased capacities, but not significantly increased manageability. In fact, not everyone can get enough grip on these tiny blasters to shoot them as effectively as larger guns.
Enter the “enhanced capacity” magazine. It might not seem like a lot, but adding a slightly extended magazine to anything from S&W’s M&P Shield to Springfield Armory’s new Hellcat can make a big difference.
Being “large framed” I always elect to go with the enhanced capacity magazine as primary and leave the smaller magazine as the backup. I’m not planning on emptying either, but I’ve never intentionally gone into a situation where I’ve needed my gun, either. So, for me, more– initially- is better.
Recently, Springfield Armory announced new “higher capacity” magazines for their very successful Hellcat. The Hellcat was already available with 13+1 capacities, but this new mag adds two more rounds, enabling you to have 15+1 rounds of 9mm in a micro compact. In case you’ve not been paying attention lately, round count is sort of a big deal in the hot new micro category.
But does the enhanced capacity really bring you any benefit other than more rounds? It’s a question I thought I could only answer by testing. So, I reached out to S-A and they graciously sent me a couple of their new 15-rounders.
A word of advice: If you’re getting these new 15-rounders, consider investing in a loading device of some sort. Trust me, your thumbs will thank you. They are stiff.
After loading both mags, I headed to the range for some decidedly non-scientific testing.
What I had in mind was simple: I would take two identical targets and shoot 13 rounds into both of them at the same distance. On one, I would use the 13-round magazine and the 15-rounder on the other. Then I would compare the results.
As it turned out, those two targets were all the testing I needed to be convinced that based on my personal shooting abilities (key factor), the 15-round magazine enabled me to shoot more accurately, and faster.
That might sound pretty simple to some of you, but the simple addition of the quarter-inch or so of gripping surface as opposed to the 13-round magazine yielded measurable results.
With the 13 round target, my shots landed inside a 4×4 inch area. For me, that’s not terrible, especially since I was trying to shoot as quickly as I could reacquire the target.
Using the 15 round magazine and the same shooting pace, 13-rounds tightened into a 3×3-inch space. That’s significantly better shooting, with nothing changing except the magazine length.
A simple, 26-round test convinced me that given my hand size, plunking down another $39.95 (MSRP) per 15-round magazine would be an investment in improving my Hellcat.
Not everyone’s hand size is the same -and not every pistol (including the Hellcat) includes a selection of grip inserts to help adapt the gun to your hand. But something as simple as trying the small gun you like with different capacity magazines (if they change the grip area) can make a difference.
For me, the additional two rounds enable me to shoot more accurately and faster. In a defensive carry pistol, I don’t see how I can afford not to make that investment.
Springfield’s Latest Hellcat Magazine Gives us 15 Rounds
Travis Pike (May 22, 2021)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Springfield Hellcat Magazine Increases Capacity to 15+1
Stephanie Kimmell (May 17, 2021)
The Springfield Hellcat has been a popular concealed carry choice since its release in the fall of 2019. In fact, the gun won several awards within the first year of its release, including 2020 Handgun of the year and Best Compact Handgun. It’s touted as the world’s highest-capacity micro-compact with a capacity of 11+1 and 13+1. And now, the Hellcat just got a nice boost. Springfield just announced a new magazine that increases the round count to 15+1 and is only slightly more than a quarter of an inch taller than the 13-round magazine.
Like the 11-round and 13-round magazines, the new Hellcat magazine body is made of stainless steel with numbered round count witness holes and a polymer follower. The extension is patterned with the same Adaptive Grip Texture as the Hellcat frame, and, though it isn’t much, that little bit of extra length offers more gripping area.
Here’s the press release straight from the company.
Springfield Armory has taken its Hellcat pistol — the smallest, highest-capacity micro-compact 9mm handgun in the world — and increased its already impressive capacity with the new 15-round Hellcat magazine. The result is a micro-sized 9mm pistol with an astounding 15+1 capacity comparable to compact and duty-sized pistols, yet in a package that is smaller than similarly configured, lower-capacity competitors.
The new magazine, which is only slightly longer than the 13-round extended version, is currently available directly from Springfield Armory with an MSRP of $39.95 and will soon be available from Springfield retailers as well. It is offered in both black and Desert FDE.
The Hellcat is available in both standard and OSP™ (Optical Sight Pistol) versions, with the latter featuring slides cut to accept the smallest micro red dot sights on the market. The micro 9mm ships with a patented 11-round magazine as well as an extended 13-round magazine, and this newest magazine will allow users to have a full 15+1 rounds of 9mm ammo ready to go.
“This magazine offers Hellcat owners the ability to increase the total capacity of their pistol by two rounds or to carry a larger 15-round mag as a back-up,” says Steve Kramer, Vice President of Marketing for Springfield Armory. “This increased capacity puts the Hellcat platform even further beyond its competitors and means users can carry with even greater confidence.”
The Hellcat has received numerous awards since its release in 2019, including the 2020 Handgun of the Year Award from the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman, the Guns & Ammo 2020 Handgun of the Year Award, Ballistic magazine’s Ballistics’ Best 2020 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Compact Handgun, the NTOA MTR Gold Award, and more.