Springfield’s Hellcat Pro Vs. Glock 43X: Which Is Better?

Glock’s model 43X and Sig Sauer’s P365 XL were unveiled at the 2019 SHOT show, with Springfield’s Hellcat Pro and Sig Sauer’s Macro hitting the scene in March 2022. It seemed that Glock and Sig beat Springfield to the micro-compact market by a mile and started a trend in modular polymer guns. Glock was first on the scene, along with Sig’s P365 XL. But does being first equate to being better? Not necessarily. But it means Glock and Sig Sauer were looking ahead and making strides.

I’m only bringing this up because this is the current trend in the handgun market. And when we take a look around, the gun market is every bit as trendy as the big city fashion market (it seems to change as quickly, too). Look at the gun magazines these days – they’re Tactical Fashion Shows. And why not? Customers want to know what the next, new Big Thing is that’s coming down the pike.

But, for the sake of this article, we’re going to go head-to-head with the Hellcat Pro and Glock 43X.

Tech Specs

It’s only fair that we run the specs here to do a side-by-side comparison of the two pistols to see what we’re working with. Then we’ll run down the points and features of each pistol to see if one is better than the other.

Hellcat Pro                                                    Glock 43X

Barrel:    3.7 inches                                      3.41 inches

Weight:  21 ounces                                      23.07 ounces

Length: 6.6 inches                                       6.5 inches

Height: 4.8 inches                                        5.04 inches

Width: 1 inch                                                 1.10 inches


As we can see, the two pistols are running neck-and-neck, with their specs coming in relatively close. The Glock is slightly larger and heavier, however.

Glock 43X next to the Hellcat Pro.
Dimensionally, the Glock 43X and the Hellcat Pro are similar. Even in the accuracy department, they are very close. Here we can see that the grip angles are different. Photo: Jim Davis.


For me, the grip and ergonomics of a pistol are paramount. A bad grip can turn me off to a pistol in a heartbeat.

The first time I picked up the Glock 43X, I was in love because of the grip. Up until that time, it was the slimmest grip of any similarly sized polymer pistol that I’d held and it was the best thing going for me. The Gen 5 texturing is one of the best for the Glock series, in my opinion. With wet or sweaty hands, however, it’s possible that the grip can slip in the shooter’s hand somewhat.

Glock 43X in hand.
The Glock 43X’s grip texture is used on the Gen 5 Glock series. It’s a slim grip that feels good in the hand. The controls are easy to reach and use. Photo: Jim Davis.

The Glock’s grip angle (22 degrees) is more extreme than that of the Hellcat Pro. Some people hate the harder grip angle, but for me, it feels natural because I’ve been shooting Glocks for a few decades.

The Adaptive Grip Texture of the Hellcat Pro is very aggressive and will not allow any slipping of the hand when gripped tightly. The tiny pyramids really do grip your hand back. The grip angle of the Hellcat Pro is closer to that of the 1911. There is just the mere hint of finger grooves on the front of the grip, but they don’t interfere and their subtlety is welcomed.

Hellcat Pro in hand.
The Hellcat Pro’s Adaptive Grip Texture is spectacular, anchoring the pistol into the shooter’s hand. Even with wet and slippery hands, it’s not going anywhere. The less aggressive grip angle is easier to use for the author as well. Controls are easy to reach and use, with the mag release being especially good. The balance is exceptional. Photo: Jim Davis.

The Pro’s grip is one inch thick, making it slightly smaller than the Glock 43X’s grip. Given that the grips are similar in size, the much larger capacity of the Hellcat Pro puts it ahead of the Glock.

In this department, the Hellcat Pro sweeps it with a clear victory. It’s a more positive grip, is incredibly comfortable, and has superior capacity while being slightly smaller. It’s less prone to slip in the hand.


The Glock 43X weighs 2.07 ounces more than the Hellcat Pro. This isn’t a big deal-breaker either way, but the win has to go to the Hellcat Pro. For me, two ounces is not a huge deal, so the weight factor really doesn’t matter to me.


The Glock 43X is slightly less heavy toward the muzzle, with weight being concentrated a little more toward the rear. It feels good in the hand and points well. As with all the other Glocks, its grip angle often leads it to point slightly low in the hand.

With the Hellcat Pro, the balance feels perfect to me. I just can’t underscore this enough, and this factor, combined with the stellar grip, were two huge points in winning me over to it as soon as I held it.


I’ll start off by saying I like the trigger on both pistols. As with polymer pistols, there is a long take-up until the wall is hit. After the wall, there is a break. The Glock 43X’s break might be just slightly lighter than the Hellcat Pro’s. However, the break on the Hellcat Pro feels a little more crisp, with slightly less creep.

In the end, I believe I prefer the trigger on the Hellcat Pro a little more, although they are very close.


This is the easiest part of the evaluation; so far, both have been perfectly reliable, with zero stoppages of any kind. This includes Full Metal Jacket 9mm as well as hollow-point ammunition.


Both pistols are plenty accurate for defensive use and then some. Hitting full-sized silhouette targets at 25 yards and well beyond is quite realistic. I’ve even shot the Glock 43X out to 75 yards at silhouette targets with decent results. And while I haven’t tested the Hellcat Pro out to that range yet, I’m certain it will do about as well.

I think in this category, I’ll call it a draw, as they’re equally good to go.


The Glock 43X’s sights are standard Glock – polymer with the “goalpost” rear and post with a dot out front. I love the goalpost rear sight; it works great for my eyes. My complaint (along with 99.9% of the rest of the Free World) is that they’re made of polymer. Why Glock insists on not using steel for their sights is beyond me. When it comes to iron sights, polymer is more fragile than steel.

I added a set of Ameriglo Classic 3-Dot Night Sights with tritium inserts. They’re stainless steel with a nitride coating, so corrosion won’t be a problem. The rear dots glow yellow, while the front dot glows green. These sights are excellent and won’t break the bank, either; at the time of writing, they sell for $69.99.

43X on the left, Hellcat Pro on the right. Both are slim.
In this photo, we can see that both pistols are slim (the Hellcat Pro is slightly thinner). Both also exhibit a low bore axis. The Glock has aftermarket night sights, while the Hellcat Pro has steel factory night sights. Obviously, the Hellcat Pro is also sporting an optic from Shield. Photo: Jim Davis.

Springfield’s Hellcat Pro comes from the factory with an impressive set of sights. The rear is a U-Notch that’s outlined in white, while the front sight is a post with a tritium dot surrounded by a bright yellow/green circle. The fact that the front sight glows is a nice addition to these sights. In my opinion, these are among the very best factory sights in the industry.

The Hellcat Pro’s sights win this round. If Glock would make their sights steel, it would have been closer, because I really like the white goalpost configuration. But alas, the stock sights are cheap polymer, and rather terrible in comparison to the Hellcat Pro sights.


Both pistols have stellar magazines.

I’ve used Glock mags in a number of training schools and have absolutely beat the hell out of them. Not one has ever failed, despite being slammed onto concrete shoot house floors, gravel, being stepped on, and so on. They just keep on going despite the abuse. I think it’s the fact that they have a polymer shell on the outside and a metal liner inside. Whatever it is, these things just simply work, and keep on working no matter what.

Glock has included witness holes in the rear of the magazine, as has Springfield.

Springfield Armory magazines are no slouch either. They take a different approach, in that the magazines are thick, stainless steel with a polymer base plate. They’re extremely durable and have held up under considerable hard use as well.

Both the Glock and Springfield magazines are almost exactly the same width and height.

However, there’s one glaring difference: The Hellcat Pro magazines hold 15 rounds, while the Glock 43X magazines hold just 10 rounds.

When I carry the 43X, I feel adequately armed with 10+1 rounds; it’s not as if I feel I’m in danger of running out of ammunition too quickly. With that said, 15 rounds are better than 10 rounds, hands down. When it comes to ammo, more is better, especially in similarly-sized platforms.

Hellcat Pro mag on the left, Glock 43X mag on the right.
Although the dimensions on both magazines are similar externally, the Hellcat Pro magazine (left) holds 15 rounds, with the Glock 43X holding 10 rounds. Both magazines are very durable. Photo: Jim Davis.

Glock’s approach is just different in their magazine construction. And they do make a hell of a mag! But other manufacturers have managed to make magazines that are the same size that hold quite a few more rounds. Aftermarket manufacturers have even made 15-round magazines that fit in the Glock 43X. Do I think that Glock needs to revisit their magazine strategy for the 43X and possibly come up with a better product? That might not be a bad idea. However, it has been several years since the 43X has been introduced, so it doesn’t seem to be in the works at this point.

The Hellcat Pro wins the magazine and capacity category. Their magazines are quite robust, and they hold five more rounds than the similarly-sized Glock magazines.

Magazine Release

Glock’s magazine release is, you guessed it, polymer. And it’s a square, blocky affair. It works well, and I can just reach it without shifting my grip on the pistol to eject the magazine. The size of the release is generous and gives the thumb plenty of room to push.

The Hellcat Pro’s magazine release is slightly easier to reach and it’s made from metal. The size is sufficient to allow the thumb enough room to activate it. Magazines are ejected very forcefully, which is satisfying. I find the mag release on the Hellcat to be easier to reach and manipulate. The Hellcat wins this round.

Slide Stop/Release

The Glock 43X’s slide release lays rather flat against the frame. It is possible for me to use it without shifting my grip, however, it is fairly stiff and I typically don’t use slide releases to release the slide. Instead, I prefer to use my support hand to pull the slide back and release it.

I find the Hellcat Pro’s slide release to be easier to release because it’s a little further back on the frame and my thumb can reach it better. In addition, it sticks out slightly from the frame, so it catches on my thumb a little better.

As stated, the slide release is not a big deal for me since I rarely use it, but the Hellcat Pro’s release again takes the gold here.

Firing Characteristics

The Glock 43X is a little snappy when fired, and the trigger seems to find a way of slapping my trigger finger during the process. Neither factor is a big deal, and I generally like the way the pistol shoots at the range. The sights return to target quickly enough for follow-up shots.

The Hellcat Pro is a little smoother in firing, and I enjoy shooting it at the range. Follow-up shots are fast and easy.

The two are very close in this category, but the edge goes to the Hellcat Pro.

Aesthetics/Coolness Factor

My 43X is an early one, so it has a matte silver-colored slide. There are forward and rear cocking serrations. Other than that, though, it’s typical Glock: square and blocky. It’s not a bad-looking pistol, it’s just a bit “plain vanilla.”

The Hellcat Pro has an FDE finish on the frame and slide, which really floats my boat. Forward and rear cocking serrations adorn the slide, which also features some additional machining to make it look a little more interesting. The Pro series is available in a few colors, so there is some variety for consumers there.

For me, the Hellcat Pro wins this category, although it’s totally subjective to taste.

Accessory Rail

The 43X has no accessory rail, but the G43X MOS models do have accessory rails now added to them.

The Hellcat Pro has a rail with two notches cut out for mounting a plethora of accessories. Being able to mount lights, lasers, and other accessories is desirable for many shooters.

Given that both pistols can now be had with accessory rails, this one is a tie, unless you find yourself in my boat of having an early model 43X without the rail.


Generally speaking, the Hellcat Pro’s ergonomics beat the Glock’s. The placement of controls is slightly better and they’re more responsive to the user. The grip is also better than the Glock’s, as far as texture and angle, and it balances better.


Before anyone accuses me of being a Glock hater, let me state that I’ve been a fanboy for years. And I still do think very highly of Glock. I’m certainly not going to run out and sell mine any time soon. With that said, Springfield Armory has really stepped up its game in the ergonomics department. They’re listening to what consumers want, and they are delivering! I think if Glock were to listen and respond more to what customers yearn for, they could improve their product line.

Glock has remained pretty consistent over the years, and some people get bored with that. Springfield has been introducing new things, which people like. But beyond Springfield’s new designs, they are solid and dependable; they’re not just a pretty face; they actually work very well.

At this point, I believe the Hellcat Pro has more to offer than the 43X. I just like the feel, balance, and look of it better.

Regardless, I still carry my 43X sometimes when I feel like it, and I feel perfectly well-armed when I do. After all, 10+1 rounds is nothing to sneeze at, and it’s still a slim, highly concealable pistol that feels great in the hand. Variety is the spice of life, and if we can have that, then why not?

And this review basically amounted to splitting hairs between two outstanding carry pistols. In reality, the outcome, in my mind, was pretty darn close. One pistol didn’t dramatically overshadow the other, except maybe in capacity. Whichever one of these pistols you choose, you’ll be making a solid choice. But then, why should you need to make a choice? Why not just get both?

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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