Review: SCCY CPX-3

posted on July 23, 2019

SCCY Firearms has made a name for itself building and selling the subcompact CPX-1 and CPX-2 9 mm pistols. Now, the company is adding to that line with the CPX-3, an even smaller pistol chambered in .380 ACP. The CPX-3 is a Double-Action-Only (DAO) pistol that uses a 10-round, double-stack magazine, giving it the edge in capacity over smaller .380 pistols. At 5.7 inches long, the CPX-3 is slightly shorter than its 9 mm cousins, with a shorter 2.96-inch barrel as well. The CPX-3 retains the height (4.2 inches), width (1.1 inches) and weight (15 ounces) of the 9 mm variant.

(l.) Sporting the familiar white dot, the front sight is easily seen when on target. (l. ctr.) Made of steel, the rear sight is adjustable for windage with a locking screw. (r. ctr.) Though heavy, the DAO trigger has slight takeup, no stacking and no overtravel. (r.) Short in length, the barrel makes this pistol an ideal CCW.

Shipping with three 10-round magazines, one of which has an extension for your finger and the others flat magazine plates, it also comes with a gun lock and manual. Taking the gun out of the box, it felt like just about any other subcompact pistol out there today: The slide-lock lever was easy to manipulate, and the locking pin has a scoop on it to allow you to pull it out using an empty cartridge case. The CPX-3 uses a patented “Roebuck Quad Lock” system to link the barrel and the slide, which is designed to provide greater accuracy in a small pistol like the CPX-3. However, in my tests, I found that the heavy, 10-pound DAO trigger and short sight radius of the CPX-3 made it difficult to see any improvements in accuracy the Quad Lock system provided.

Inserting a full 10 rounds into each magazine proved to be a bit of a challenge the first few times I tried it, but the springs soon loosened up and I was able to load all supplied magazines to capacity. Sliding in a mag and pulling the slide back revealed one of the nice features of this gun: Because it shoots the lower-powered .380 ACP round and needs less recoil to operate, the slide on the CPX-3 requires much less effort to move than 9 mm pistols of similar size.

(l.) Finger grooves and slight cutouts for the thumb aid in maintaining a firm hold. (ctr.) Both the backstrap and grip are textured for better purchase. (r.) Three magazines are provided, with one having an extension.

Sights on the CPX-3 are of the conventional three-dot variety, and the rear sights are drift-adjustable. Grips and the backstrap on the polymer frame are stippled for a better purchase on your pistol, and the rear of the slide has cutouts for a better handling. The trigger guard is slightly undercut to allow for a higher grip on the gun, and the two finger grooves on the front of the gun also help you maintain a firm hold. Additionally, I found the slight cutouts were perfectly placed to lock onto the thumb of my firing hand for even better purchase. The trigger on the pistol is long and heavy with slight takeup, no stacking and no overtravel. If you’re used to the trigger on a double-action-only revolver, you’ll get the hang of this trigger quite quickly.

On the range, the CPX-3 was a joy to shoot. The larger frame and excellent ergonomics meant that quick follow-up shots were a breeze, and the gun was quick to come back on target after each shot. I experienced no hiccups or malfunctions of any kind with the 250 rounds I shot in my gun. The (non- reversible) magazine-release button was right where I wanted it to be, and making fast, repeatable hits at common defensive-pistol distances was easy.

Takedown of the gun for cleaning and maintenance begins with dropping the magazine, ensuring clear, locking the slide to the rear and pulling out the locking pin with either a screwdriver or the rim of an empty cartridge. Because the gun is hammer-fired double-action, there is no need to pull the trigger during disassembly, a feature common to similar-size, striker-fired guns. The recoil spring, barrel and slide all came off the frame easily, making this one of the easiest pistols I’ve found to disassemble and clean.

The MSRP on the SCCY is $305, and prices in your local gun shop will probably be significantly lower than that, making it an excellent choice for someone on a tight budget looking for an easy-to-use, easy- to-shoot defensive pistol.


PHLster Enigma Review
PHLster Enigma Review

Enigma Express Holster Review

A streamlined, ready-to-wear version of Phlster’s popular Enigma system.

First Look: EAA Girsan MCP 35 PI Pistol

A smaller, more compact sidearm that's derived from a legendary service pistol.

Handloading from a Novice’s Perspective

What happens when a novice learns to handload with the help of experts?

The Keys To Successful Speed Shooting

Learning effective speed shooting means learning how to do the basics on-demand as efficiently as possible. 

First Look: Primary Weapons Systems Suppressors

Known for their modern sporting rifles, PWS is now branching out into the suppressor market.

Why A Shotgun Is Best for Home Defense (And All Sorts Of Other Things)

Have you lost that lovin’ feelin’ for your scattergun? Here’s why it should be a go-to choice for home defense.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.