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American Handgunner July/August Digital Edition - Page 69
“ Gen-2 The John Connor ” Gen-1 sights are on the right, vastly improved Gen-2 sights at left. PIsTol By I.o. InC. don’t like teensy-tiny micromini pocket pistols, period. They try to squirt outta my oversized mitts like crazed goldfish. Their sights are generally minuscule and atrocious, more pro forma than professional. These little 91/2-ounce party-poppers are so light that in some garments I hardly know they’re there, and my heavygun heart misses the comforting heft that whispers “Ordnance on board, buddy!” Ain’t none of ’em pleasant to shoot, and the .380 ACP cartridge itself? It doesn’t inspire much fightstopping confidence … So why do I now carry one — sometimes two — of these party favors all the time? Because I drift back into reality, and realize what they’re for, and what they can realistically do. In those rare situations where you can’t carry even compact cannons, you can conceal one of these with ease. If your regular Roscoe has run dry and you’re surrounded by empty mags and piles of hot brass, they’ll give you another spin of the big Wheel-O’-Fortune. Hellcat .380 I i.o. inc.’s hellcat .380 – cold comfort in a tiny package. The Hellcat Reborn Why review “just another (yawn) teensy pocket pistol”? Three reasons: Uli, Improved and Money. I’ve known fieldstripping the hellcat .380 is a single-pin operation. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM Uli Wiegand, the honcho at I.O. Inc. for 5 years. He has tirelessly pursued his dream of producing 100 percent madein-USA guns, and as he says, “Keeping the jobs, the factories and all the profits right here in America!” After years of incorporating imported parts while building a factory in North Carolina, he has achieved that goal with his AKs, and the Hellcat .380 was his first all-American pistol. While some native-born Americans are “going off-shore” with their business, this “Euro-imported” guy proudly builds in the USA. The “Gen-1” Hellcat .380 was serviceable; a decent pistol. Then Uli did something unusual. He gathered up all the consumer comments, hired a highpriced mechanical engineer and said “Make it so.” The trigger mechanism, extractor and barrel were redesigned A Half-Pint Pocket Pal for smoother pull and greater reliability, and all tolerances retuned; the slide was re-dimensioned to produce a better sight plane and its mass rebalanced; magazines were upgraded and a pinky support added. The new Gen-2 Hellcat is topped off with much better sights, including a fluorescent-dot front sight, and a lifetime warranty. Finally, he kept the price rock-bottom, listed to retail at $239.95. The Hellcat employs CNCmachined solid billets, not castings, and a polymer frame with a slightly larger triggerguard than some competitors. It’s a bit wider at the web of the hand, which mitigates recoil. Action is DA only, and there’s no external safety or slide-locking lever. Continued on page 86 69