Sig P365 vs. Springfield Hellcat: Battle of the Micro-Compact Titans
by Quinn Bonner
What’s the difference? Who’s the best every day carry? Which one is the right one for me?
Are you ready to rumble?! The Sig P365 and Springfield Hellcat are going toe to toe for title of the Top Subcompact Pistol, and folks it’s a tough matchup. When Sig released the original P365 in February of 2018, it sky rocketed to the top of the market. No firearm before it was able to combine high carrying capacity, reliability, and comfortable shootability into one easy to conceal micro-compact. Before the release of the P365, concealed carries had a maximum carrying capacity of 6 rounds. In September of 2019, Springfield released the Hellcat and declared war on the P365. Today we are comparing all the specs of the Hellcat and the P365, as well as both of their upgraded models. At the end of the day, they are both phenomenal firearms and we highly recommend you go to the range and give either a try.
The Springfield Hellcat and the base Sig P365 are both identical in size in weight; with the exception of the Sig P365 XL and XMACRO (both have larger mag capacities and therefore slightly increase in weight). The only advantage between the two is the Springfield Hellcat is more compact in height
The Hellcat has a wider circumference around the grip than the P365 and will feel a little bit larger in your hand, which is good for people who prefer a wide grip. While the Hellcat has a wider grip, the length of it the magwell is noticeably shorter when using the flush-fit mags. If you’re a shooter with big hands like me, it’s a huge disadvantage. My bottom pinky cannot grip the bottom of the Hellcat for that extra support. The longer length on the P365 gives me a way more snug grip around the magwell, and a better feel when I pull my draw. Keep in mind though with a bigger grip, you sacrifice some concealability as well. This is the slight disadvantage of Sig’s larger subcompacts, the XL and the XMACRO.
With the extended grip mag in the Hellcat, it’s a better fit in my hand than the standard P365. But the hands down best grip (no pun-intended) is Sig’s XMACRO, which has a slightly longer magwell and comes with interchangeable grip sizes. It all comes down to the dimensions of your hand to determine the better frame. It’s a tough comparison as their frames both have their advantages, but I give Sig the most advantage having more variety and comfortability in their frames.
Small size hands: Hellcat w/ flush-fit mags
Medium size hands: Sig P365 or Hellcat w/ extended grip mags
Large size hands: Sig P365 XL/XMACRO
Sig gets a big win on this one! For starters the guide rail system on all the Sig P365 is a lot better developed making it a bit operate smoother and quicker than the Hellcat. Secondly, the serrations on the P365 slide are more defined and aggressive. This makes the slide easier to grab and pull back even if your hands are wet or if you’re in a hurry.
The sights are where we see the major difference in design between the P365 and the Hellcat. Springfield decided to go with the Tritium U-dot sights. I am personally not a fan of U-dot sights but Springfield did a good job in the front to rear sight contrast for a clear sight picture. For Sig however, the sights differ based on the model. The P365 SAS model has the really unusual FT Bullseye sights. This features a sight window in the rear sight with a glowing fiber-optic tritium night sight at the front. When you look at the rear of the gun, you’ll see there is a tunnel. That tunnel has a traditional fiber optic circle in the front of the gun and then it has a fiber optic ring around that. To aim the sights, you place the ring over the front sight of your target and then center the ring around the dot. While it’s unique it’s a little bit more difficult to get a clear sight picture. At a distance the Hellcat sights definitely outperform the P356 SAS.
If you are looking at the Sig P365 base model and X-series (X, XL, XMACRO), they have the X-RAY3 Day/Night sights. The X-RAY3 sights are like the traditional 3-dot handgun sights but with glow-in-the dark rear and front sight dots. These are more traditional and provide a clearer sight picture than the P365 SAS and the Hellcat's U-dot sights.
While the base model for both the Springfield and the P365 SAS are not optics ready, you can purchase higher end models with optic ready slides. Springfield has the Hellcat OSP, which has a mount for a red-dot. This red-dot will co-witness with the sights on the Hellcat, meaning you have a backup in case your dot fails. The Sig X-Series also has mounting plates that work well with their ROMEO ZERO sights or any other aftermarket red-dot.
Sig Sauer and Springfield only place a manual safety on their State Compliant models. The Springfield Hellcat has the advantage of having a standard trigger safety.
Both the Sig P365 and the Hellcat have a trigger pull around 4-4.5lbs. Although, Sig Sauer has a better reputation their stock triggers. The P365 is no exception to that. The take-up on the trigger squeeze is light before you get any creep. The creep is pretty smooth and once you pull through, you get a nice rolling break. The Hellcat has a little bit heavier of a take-up that rolls into what feels like a wall. Once you break through that wall, the Hellcat has a smooth rolling break. If you like a smooth pull on your trigger the P365 wins. If you like a hard and definitive trigger pull, then I’d go with the Hellcat. If you are a fan of flat triggers, I highly recommend Sig’s P365 X-Series. Their X-Series triggers have a smooth take-up which breaks right at 90 degrees for an even smoother trigger squeeze.
The Hellcat out performs the base model P365 in mag capacity, holding 11+1 in a standard mag and 13+1 in the extended grip mags. But all the Sig P365 X-Series blow the Hellcat out of the water. The new P365 XMACRO, with the highest capacity, holds 17+1. Another big plus for the P365 X-Series is their ambidextrous magazine releases for all you left-handed shooters out there. If you are left handed or don’t mind carrying around a little bit bigger of a gun for some extra firepower, the then Sig P365 XMACRO should be your choice.
Firing and Recoil
When you take both the Hellcat and the P365 to the range, keep in mind whether you are using flush fit or extended mags when comparing the way they fire. I personally give the P365 another victory because their longer frame design with a flush-fit mag is more balanced and allows me to put my whole hand around the magwell for better recoil reduction. In order to get the same control with the Hellcat, I had to use the extended magazine. But even with the same control on the Hellcat, the smoother trigger creep on the P365 allows me to reset the trigger quickly and put more lead down range quicker.
The Hellcat RDP and the P365 XMACRO both have introduced compensators to better their recoil reduction. Compensators help vents gasses upward putting downward pressure on the muzzle greatly reducing muzzle rise for better control and faster follow up shots. The Sig P365's compensator in integrated into the slide while the Hellcat RDP is attached to the threaded barrel. Sig gets another point for ingenuity because its compensator does not add to the length of the gun, while the Hellcat's compensator adds over an inch.
Quality and Aesthetics
The frame on the Springfield Hellcat feels more sturdy and durable in the hand compared to the P365. I think this is intentional because Sig made the P365 to be more modular with tons of upgrades available by Sig and aftermarket companies. While the frame is a little bit lower quality on the P365, the slide on the P365 is unmatchable in quality and smoothness. The overall quality level on both the Hellcat and the P365 is pretty similar. One thing I do like about Sig Sauer is they are all American-made, produced in New Hampshire. The Springfield Armory HQ is based out of the US, but outsourced their Hellcat to be produced all the way in Croatia. I have nothing against Croatia, I’ve visited there and it’s a beautiful country, but I feel a bit better knowing my money is going to a US manufactured gun. Aesthetically speaking, the P365 looks sleeker with less markings and better pronounced slide serrations than the Hellcat. They are both incredibly sexy guns, but I am giving this round to Sig.
Currently the MSRP on the P365 base model is around $500 while the Hellcat base model is going for around $600. The upgraded Sig P365 XMACRO starts at around $800 and the Hellcat RDP at $1000. While the MSRP for the Hellcats are higher, parts and accessories for the P365s tend to be more expensive. While Sig wins on price, the Hellcat has a lot of qualities worth the price difference.
Honestly it is really difficult to say which is better. Both are award winning Micro-compacts. It all comes down to your personal preferences and the way you like to shoot. My personal preference for my everyday carry is the Sig P365, specifically the XMACRO because I don’t mind carrying a little bit bigger of a CCW for more features and firepower. Also the P365 just feels more natural in my larger hands. I definitely recommend the Springfield Hellcat for people who like a smaller and sturdier compact carry. And for the price, the Hellcat is one hell of beast. We made a pros and cons list below to help you try before you buy.
Want to upgrade your Sig P365 or Springfield Hellcat? Check out some of our parts!
MCARBO Springfield Hellcat Accessories
MCARBO Sig Sauer P365 Accessories