Springfield Armory Hellcat with SureFire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light

by Matt Olivier

photography by Matt Olivier

March 17th, 2021

Click pictures for a larger version.





SureFire XSC Micro-Compact Pistol Light.



"CID Slide" holster in Elephant hide from Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters.

In September of 2019, Springfield Armory introduced the Hellcat. At that time, it was their smallest, most compact 9mm pistol. Intended for deep concealment, this "Micro 9", as these have become to be known, is a double stack pistol holding either 11 or 13 rounds, depending on the magazine. Through their innovative design, Springfield was able to keep the grip width down to only 1", making this pistol, along with its modest 3" barrel, a very concealable pistol. The pistol was awarded the coveted NRA Handgun of the Year award in 2020. This pistol has been written about many times, so gun enthusiasts can find plenty of information regarding its size, reliability, as well as its performance. 

Twice a year, long time gun writer Dick Williams conducts media events held at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, AZ. I am fortunate enough to live about 90 miles away and am able to participate in this exciting invitation-only event. During the last event, representatives from Surefire brought out their new XSC Weapon Mounted Light (WML). These were specifically designed for the "Micro 9" compact pistols. Surefire offers three different models, one for the Hellcat, one for the SIG 365 and one for the Glock 43X/48. It is a 350-lumen, and lightweight at 1.7 ounces, which makes it an extremely compact light that fits nicely under the dust cover of these micro compact pistols. It was designed with what Surefire describes as a "parabolic reflector for positive target identification in the darkest confines". I will readily admit that there are other much more powerful WMLs out there on the market today; however, it appears the market is continuously introducing brighter and more powerful WMLs. What makes this Surefire XSC light different it its size, compactness, and brightness for such a small package. From my perspective, one of the best and handiest characteristics of this light is that it is rechargeable. Surefire designed a "new and unique lithium-polymer battery" that is quick to recharge and that is very easily changed out. It attaches to the underside of the light body just as common house tools and their battery pack but though in a much smaller package. This allows it to be easily swapped out, especially for when you are on the go. By the time you read this, Surefire will offering both spare chargers ($70) and spare batteries ($35). The provided battery charger, included with the light when purchased, can charge 2 batteries simultaneously, thus making it easy to have a spare, that is charged and ready to go when you are. The charger is light and compact, just like the light itself, and comes with a Velcro option allowing you to stick it in a vehicle, nightstand, or reloading/cleaning bench while keeping it out of the way. All that is needed is a power connection for the micro-USB charging cord. 

This compact light has a button on each side, allowing for manipulation with the thumb or index finger of either hand, depending on which hand is your dominant hand. The light can be used in either momentary-on or constant-on with either a tap of the button or a full depress of it. This high quality XSC light is constructed with aerospace grade aluminum that is described as "mil-spec hard anodized for scratch and corrosion resistance". It is also gasket sealed for weather protection. This feature came in handy while we were out shooting it at Gunsite, as it rained continuously throughout that day. Of course all the guns got wet, the lights got wet, pretty much everything got wet. This little, yet powerful, light still performed without a hiccup. 

To test out these lights, Springfield Armory provided each of us with the micro compact Hellcats. The lights were easily mounted and installed on the small Picatinny rail. The new battery "pack" fit snugly in the light, with minimal play or movement. We fired the Hellcats through various Gunsite drills without any issues. We also used them in the Playhouse, one of Gunsite's simulators. As the weather was dark, wet, and gloomy out, inside the house was even darker, making the use of the XSC very helpful. I found the 350 lumens to be just the right amount of light for our intended purposes. It provided sufficient brightness for target identification as well as threat determination inside the Playhouse. 

During this media event, Double Tap Ammunition was present as well and brought with them their great duty and self-defense ammunition for us to sample. I had the privilege of shooting both the 77-gr solid copper HP and the 115-gr solid copper HP loads through the Hellcat without any issues. In fact, as a bonus to us, we were able to do some ballistic gelatin testing with each load. The results for both loads were quite impressive, especially out of the 3" barrel of the compact Hellcat. Both bullets types provided perfect expansion and penetrated quite well. The 77-gr load penetrated 12-13" while the 115-gr load penetrated 13-16". The expanded bullets retained virtually all of their weight, while their terminal expanded shape leaves you definitely thinking about not wanting to be shot by one! 

Gunsite is first and foremost a fighting school. While they run a hot range, all guns must be holstered. In order to allow use and testing of the Hellcat with the XSC light mounted, Dale Fricke, of Dale Fricke Holsters in Bozeman, MT provided each of us with his Gideon Elite OWB kydex holster. This holster was specifically fitted to for the Hellcat with the XSC light. The holster proved to be sturdy and very comfortable, while providing what I call the "Goldilocks" fit, not too loose, not too tight, but just right! I contacted Dale after the event and ordered an IWB holster, along with a couple of mag pouches, one IWB and one OWB, giving me a variety of carry options for the Hellcat going forward, as I plan on carrying and using this set up!! It will be perfect for the shorts and T-shirt attire ("Arizona casual") which is a must have here in the Phoenix area from March until about November. 

If you're looking for a WML for your Springfield Hellcat, I would suggest you consider the Surefire XSC for light, tight, and bright performance from one of the world leaders in lights. MSRP as of March 2021 is $329.00 US. You will not be disappointed.

To find a Springfield Armory dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at Lipsey's: www.lipseys.com.

To Order Springfield Armory products Online, click on the GUN GENIE at Davidson's Gallery of Guns: www.galleryofguns.com.

Order Surefire products at Lipsey's: www.lipseys.com.

Dale Fricke Holsters: www.dalefrickeholsters.com.

Simply Rugged Holsters: www.simplyrugged.com.

Wilderness Tactical: www.thewilderness.com.

Gunsite Academy: www.gunsite.com.

Double Tap Ammo: www.doubletapammo.com.

Matt Olivier

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Gideon Elite OWB kydex holster by Dale Fricke.



Dale Fricke holster on a Wilderness Tactical “Frequent Flyer” belt.



Ballistic Gel testing at Gunsite with Double Tap Ammo.