The absolute best gun you can have in an emergency is the one you are carrying. For many though, the idea of carrying a full-size pistol is simply a deal breaker. From the guns being too big for a person’s frame to an unwillingness to make clothing changes to conceal the gun, the challenges are real. In cases like this, I steer shooters towards a smaller framed pistol that still has decent firepower, but also has a smaller footprint than full-sized pistols. This market, however, is flooded with options and it can be tough for the uninitiated to navigate it. One pistol that has recently come to my attention is the SCCY CPX-3 and it is worth taking a closer look at.
- Type: Recoil-operated, double action only semiautomatic
- Cartridge: .380 ACP
- Capacity: 10+1 rds.
- Barrel: 2.96 in.
- Trigger: DAO; 9 lbs.
- Length: 5.7
- Width: 1.1 in.
- Weight: 15 oz.
- Sights: 3-dot; steel adj. (rear)
- MSRP: $230
- Manufacturer: SCCY
Look to the SCCY
The CPX-3 is the first .380 ACP pistol manufactured by SCCY. I found it interesting because it produced some very nice groups with a variety of ammunition. The gun’s ability to shoot good groups repeatedly gave me a reason to pause. In most small guns of this nature, the lock up is not exactly super consistent and as such they tend to produce larger groups. The key to their exceptional lock up is the innovative Roebuck Quad-Lock system. The primary goal of the design is to improve barrel stability and accuracy. The CPX-3 is really in a bit of a size class by itself as well. It is not quite a full size yet it is not a micro pistol either. What it is, is easy to handle. It has a good balance of weight and size that helped me manage recoil. The grip on the gun follows this balance of size and houses a staggered 10 round magazine. This is an added plus in my eyes considering that .380 auto is considered by many, including myself, to be the power floor for defensive handgun rounds. With any handgun you will more than likely need to dispense more than one round into an adversary to get the desired results. The fact that the CPX-3 allows me to carry a 10-round staggered magazine is a plus on the tactical side.
The CPX-3 is a double action only (DAO) pistol. This means the trigger does two things. It drives the hammer to the rear and then releases it at the end of the motion. In a time of striker fired guns and SA/DA actions, the little SCCY pistol seems to be standing a little bit out on its own. The upside or offset to this and its’ 9-pound trigger is that the gun has no external safeties. The “safety” is being a responsible gun owner, following the fours safety rules and a generally longer and firm trigger pull. In a smaller gun, I would see this as a problem, but it’s not the case here. The hammer of the gun is internal and shrouded by the slide. This provides one of the benefits of striker pistols in that it will not snag its hammer while drawing. There is sufficient real-estate to get a good grip and still run the trigger. The trigger travel was notably smooth with no bumps or grinds along the way. The pull length is an inch with a full ¾-inch reset. Compared to most other subcompact guns, the smoothness and clean break of the trigger were exceptional.
Home on the Range
On the range, I found the CPX-3 easy and comfortable to shoot. This remained the case even in what turned out to be a high round count day. This is an important factor because if any gun is uncomfortable or not enjoyable to shoot, then you won’t shoot it. This leads to diminished skills and real danger. The pistol’s dimensions are 5½ inches long by 4½ inches tall by 1 inch wide. This makes it a good gun to conceal as well as shoot. Add into it a set of fixed three-dot metal sights and we are ready to roll. While I would like to say I shot this little gem from a bench rest at 25 yards, I found that to be a bit unnecessary. This is a small concealed carry handgun meant for real world encounters. Since that is its intent, I would test it in that capacity. My target was set up at 7 yards and all shots were fired off hand. I was able to run three flavors of ammo that day. They included Federal Premium 99-grain HST JHP, Remington 95 grain MC and American Eagle 95 grain FMJ. The winner for the day was the Federal HST with a group of .85 inches. The Remington performed well with a 1-inch group and the American Eagle gave me a 1.25-inch group. Overall, I was very pleased. I found the sights of the CPX-3 easy to acquire and get the gun on target during faster drills. I only had one failure to feed but I will have to accept responsibility for that. My primary gun is a full size, so when I transition to a new smaller gun I usually self-induce an issue or two.
Better Than Its Price
It is at this point that we need to address the 700-pound gorilla in the room. In so many cases, guns that we find in the SCCY price range are less than optimal for serious use and carry. While I can’t say that one range session is a true endurance test, I did find the gun capable of performing at a pace equal to a gun almost twice its’ price. So where is the magic then? Just how does a company make a good gun at such an affordable price point? The biggest contributor to the lower cost is the polymer frame. They are dramatically less expensive to make and allow for a consistent product. It is not just a quickly poured piece of plastic though. SCCY pistols have an aluminum receiver machined from 7075 T6 aluminum billet that sits inside the frame. This makes it sturdy and long lasting. There is also no metal injection molded (MIM), cast or even forged parts on this pistol. All the flat metal parts are stamped. In the end, SCCY has done their homework and managed the production side of the house very well. We as customers get to enjoy the benefits of their labor by having access to a good .380 pistol while not breaking the bank.
For more information about the SCCY CPX-3, click here.
To purchase a SCCY CPX pistol on GunsAmerica, click here.