Many people will tell you that an inexpensive carry gun is not worth having. After spending a few weeks with the new SCCY CPX-1, I have to disagree. This well-equipped, compact 9mm has a suggested retail price of $339. You can generally find one well under $300. Some will dismiss this gun as a serious self-defense tool merely because of the price. That would be a mistake.
The CPX-1 is the first firearm offered by SCCY (formerly Skyy Industries). SCCY is plowing a lot of new ground with this gun. The CPX-1 is only offered in 9mm and comes in both all black and a two-tone finish with a silver-colored slide assembly. Both models have black polymer frames with stainless steel slides. The color difference is merely a function of the coating applied to the stainless steel.
The CPX-1 is compact and nearly identical in size to a Kel-Tec P-11. This is a good size for a concealed carry piece. It is large enough to shoot well but small enough to easily carry.
This gun would work in a large, baggy pocket, but it will probably be carried on a belt by most people. The gun is a true, double-action-only (DAO) with repeat strike capability. It has a concealed hammer, as opposed to the striker-type action seen in many modern DAO guns. The magazine holds nine rounds. With one round in the chamber, you can carry a full complement of 10 rounds. (Make them standard pressure rounds, because SCCY does not recommend the use of +P ammo.)
The magazine comes equipped with a finger hook base plate. Flat base plates are now available as an option. The magazines are proprietary and don’t work with any other existing guns. Spare magazines are available from the factory for a reasonable $24.95 each.
SCCY reports that standard magazine capacity will be increasing to 11 rounds by the time this issue is released. Make sure to keep an eye out for that if the extra two rounds are important to you.
The sights are very visible, with bright white dots on the front and rear to aid in acquiring a quick sight picture.
All in all, this gun has a strong feeling of quality. It is hard to believe this is a $300 gun. From the fit to the finish this feels like a more expensive firearm. The feeling of quality is further enhanced by the fine packaging, including a well-written instruction manual. It also includes a trigger lock and two magazines with finger extensions. Every company selling a semi-auto should ship their guns with two magazines. I applaud SCCY for not cutting corners here.
The SCYY CPX-1 on the Range
It should go without saying that compact 9mm handguns like the CPX-1 are not plinkers or target guns. They are designed to be carried a lot but not shot much. With that being said, this SCCY compact is reasonably comfortable to shoot. I have large hands and find that the finger grooves do not fit my fingers well. I have not yet found finger groves on a firearm that do. Even with the mag extension, I could not get three fingers on the grip. My pinky would have to wrap underneath the bottom of the mag. If you have smaller hands, you may well manage a full, three-finger grip.
Recoil using standard pressure, 9mm rounds is quite manageable. The gun’s grip surfaces are smooth and well-finished. The grip’s “beavertail” design prevents any slide bite. My only complaint with the design is that the rear corner digs into my hand at the base of my thumb on recoil. This gets uncomfortable after shooting a few magazines.
The accuracy of the CPX-1 is more than adequate for defensive purposes. It exceeded my expectations. At 25 yards, I was able to keep all shots well within a standard silhouette target. At 7 yards, which is more realistic for combat, I could put all 10 rounds into one ragged hole. The sights are large and visible. The only real handicap to shooting this gun well is mastering the heavy trigger.
How Does It Feel?
The trigger pull is long but has very little stacking and a crisp release. This trigger compares well to other guns in this category. The relatively wide trigger surface acts like a trigger shoe. It makes the pull much easier and more comfortable, although it is still quite heavy at 9 pounds. Those accustomed to a DAO semi-auto or double-action revolver trigger should have no problems mastering this one.
Features and Controls
The most unusual feature on this gun may be the presence of a safety lever. This is an unusual feature for a DAO gun. SCCY chose to include this feature based upon market research.
The safety lever is ambidextrous and is pressed down with the thumb to fire in a reasonably natural manner. On the other hand, putting the safety back to the “safe” position is not as natural and requires some shifting of your grip or perhaps the use of the weak hand. While I would prefer not to have a manual safety on a gun of this kind, I was largely able to ignore it.
I experienced one occasion in which my thumb accidentally engaged the safety on recoil. I blame this on my large hands and the fact I was tired after shooting all day. Nonetheless, this potential is something you want to be aware of if you carry this gun. SCCY has plans to offer a version of the CPX-1 without a manual safety in the future.
The rest of the controls on the gun are very standard and easy to operate. This includes an over-sized slide release that is easy to reach with the strong hand thumb. The magazine release is located in the traditional position, at the base of the trigger guard. The CPX-1’s slide locks back on an empty magazine, as it should on a defensive handgun.
All in all, my shooting impressions of the SCCY were very favorable. The gun functioned flawlessly with a variety of 9mm ammunition. I did not experience any stoppages in approximately 500 rounds of testing. Early CPX-1 users reported some difficulty feeding the very commonly used Winchester “White Box” ammo. However, the factory addressed these issues by loosening up some of the tolerances to ensure more reliable feeding of a variety of ammunition. I am happy to report that the changes were a success. I shot several hundred rounds of Winchester White Box without a hiccup.
The only problem I experienced with the SCCY was the loss of the white dot on the front sight post after about 300 rounds. At some point, I realized that the dot was gone. Of course, the front sight post remained and the gun was still fully functional. This merely required a standard sight picture, as opposed to aligning the three dots. A call to SCCY confirmed that this was a rarely reported occurrence, but covered under warranty.
Carrying the CPX-1
Once I had established SCCY’s reliability, I carried the gun in my daily travels. This gun rides well in a belt holster. It is perfectly suited to either inside-the-waistband or outside-the-waistband carry. A few holster makers are already set up for the SCCY line. Leather will be getting easier to find as the gun increases in popularity. The leather holster shown is a Cheyenne Defender produced by K&D Holsters.
SCCY CPX-1: The Verdict
SCCY’s CPX-1 is a very functional, well-designed and well-built firearm. The SCCY product is not in the class of a SIG Sauer or Heckler & Koch, but it isn’t intended to be. The CPX-1 is an exceptional value in a defensive firearm. This gun is further backed by a lifetime warranty described by the factory as “anyone … anywhere … anytime.” You can’t ask for any more than that. The CPX-1 is a worthy defensive handgun from an up-and-coming manufacturer. You actually get more than you pay for. It is worthy of your consideration.