Why you should Apex your Hellcat

Success in a gunfight is improved by fast accurate shooting and the Apex Action Enhancement Trigger is an essential part of that equation


I tested the Apex Action Enhancement Trigger for the Springfield Armory Hellcat pistol. This combination was definitely synergy. That is, the whole became greater than the sum of its parts.

The Apex Kit comes with an Apex Action Enhancement Trigger, Apex Sear Spring and Apex Striker Spring. When installed by a competent gunsmith or trained armorer, it reduces trigger travel and pull weight. Compared to the original Hellcat trigger, it is a little thicker, and the bearing surfaces are smoother.

The Hellcat trigger requires about 100-200 rounds of break in to set the springs after installation. I found that after the kit was installed by our local gunsmith Richard Macchia, it took only a few dozen shots to settle in. The pull weight was consistently around 5.1 lbs., right in the range of a good duty/carry gun. Macchia reported that the installation was easy, and Apex’s installation video made it even easier.

The Springfield Armory Hellcat equipped with the Apex Action Enhancement Trigger shot better at 15 yards than most micro-compacts at 5 yards. (Photo/ Robert Marvulli)
The Springfield Armory Hellcat equipped with the Apex Action Enhancement Trigger shot better at 15 yards than most micro-compacts at 5 yards. (Photo/ Robert Marvulli)

Hellcat Design

The Springfield Armory Hellcat is Springfield’s answer to the demand for a micro-compact 9mm. It is 1” at its widest point, and is only 6” long, which is really pocket-sized.

The Hellcat’s most noticeable difference is the 11+1 capacity for the flush-fitting magazine, and 13+1 for the extended magazine. Even with the extended magazine, the Hellcat is smaller than half of the 7+1 micro guns on the market. With a flush magazine, the Hellcat weighs 17.9 oz.

The Hellcat comes with tritium U-Dot sights, which for most of us, are quicker to align than three dot style sights. The Hellcat’s Adaptive Grip Texture feels like the 1960’s version of the Gerber Mark II “cat’s tongue” handle.

I shot one for the first time during its debut. The Hellcat melted into my hand. It shot like a full-sized gun, and it had all of the accuracy anyone would want for a combat gun.

A gun designed to be well hidden is usually full of design compromise. Some beat the shooter up because of their poor ergonomics. Other guns don’t fill the hand, feel blocky, or have designs that don’t agree with the training of the shooter.

Apexed

There is something about an Apexed Hellcat that makes it shoot better. I could describe it, but this conversation really needs to take place over a couple boxes of cartridges.

Apexed is a word, by the way. It is defined as an aftermarket improvement by the Apex Tactical Specialties. When people ask me about the difference, I hand them my Apexed Shield.

I own several Apexed guns. Using a MantisX dry fire training system, which uses a sophisticated accelerometer and gyroscope system to measure a shooter’s trigger pull, measurements from before and after installing an Apex Action Enhancement Trigger demonstrate the accuracy improvement. On the range, I was able to confirm the improvement in speed and accuracy.

This is the reason we Apex a gun, by the way. Success in a gunfight is improved by fast accurate shooting. The Apex Action Enhancement Trigger is an essential part of that equation.

Range Time

Break-in time after installation consisted of both dry-fire and live-fire training. First, I tried some sear reset drills. There was a marked reduction in trigger stacking.

With the installed Apex trigger, the Springfield Armory Hellcat measures around 5.1 lbs on the trigger scale. This is within factory specs for safe on duty/off duty carry. The real difference is the way the trigger feels. (Photo/ Richard Macchia)
With the installed Apex trigger, the Springfield Armory Hellcat measures around 5.1 lbs on the trigger scale. This is within factory specs for safe on duty/off duty carry. The real difference is the way the trigger feels. (Photo/ Richard Macchia)

Trigger stacking is defined as an increase in spring pressure the further a trigger is pulled to the rear. It occurs naturally in a combat firearm, simply because a trigger springs coils get closer together as it compresses. Several strategies reduce stacking, and some of them take some real knowledge in engineering.

Most people think that simply reducing trigger pull will increase shooter accuracy, absent other real-world factors like shooter skill. Actually, premium builds can improve trigger feel without significantly reducing trigger pull. A trigger pull that is too light is undesirable in a gun carried for defense. Apex triggers are generally drop-in kits that can be used on or off duty. They change more of the trigger characteristics than the pull weight.

Trigger slack and trigger break was also improved. Trigger slack is the distance the trigger has to travel in order for the mechanics of the firing mechanism to engage. Many triggers have to go a ways before the gun fires. This was reduced on the Apexed Hellcat, including the sear reset, the amount a trigger must go forward after firing, in order for the gun to fire again.

The Hellcat is one of the best concealable combat handguns on the market today. The Hellcat shoots 15-yard groups what most micro-compact 9mm guns can do at 5 yards. Maybe it’s the hammer-forged barrel. Maybe it is the way the grip can force its way deep into the beavertail. I don’t know, but it is better.

The Hellcat trumps most micro-compact 9mms in capacity, even with the flush-fitting magazine.

The Apex trigger is incredibly smooth, light and consistent. It is designed for safe carry. It maintains factory safety values for on- and off-duty equipment.

I almost out shot my Glock 19 with this combination. I recommend that this package be sworn in for duty.

NEXT: Why the Geissele Super 700 trigger is an amazing upgrade for the Remington 700

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