By: Justin Hilbert
SCCY Industries, LLC, a Florida-based company that’s been manufacturing American-made handguns since 2003, produces a CPX line of firearms aimed at being “cost-effective and precisely manufactured to be as good as—or even better than—other brand name products, without the high cost to the retail buyer,” (according to SCCY’s website).
Cost and performance were the primary factors I considered in deciding what type of concealed carry handgun to get my 60-year-old mother, who, though no expert, does have some experience shooting. As a county deputy for Animal Control years ago, she had to pass her sidearm qualifications, but she never felt the need to carry on the job.
I took the fact that my mother is a capable, independent woman into consideration during the gun buying process, though in hindsight, I may have given a little too much weight to her previous shooting experience. It has been so long that she is almost starting anew.
Reasons I Chose the SSCY CPX-1:
I was in Costa Rica during the buying process and wasn’t present to handle the pistol myself. Multiple rave reviews on the CPX line, with titles like, “I hated sub-compacts until I met the CPX-1,” were what initially brought the SCCY into the conversation I was having with myself.
I made some calls to a couple reputable gun shops in my mother’s area, and the CPX-1 came up in conversation along with the usual suspects: Glock 43, Springfield’s XD, and Smith and Wesson’s M&P Shield. One shop owner spoke highly of the CPX-1 and made a great argument regarding literal bang for your buck.
Price is a big deal. And the gun shop I just spoke of near my mom had a brand-new CPX-1 with Muddy Girl Camo for a steal at $249. This is a good $100-150 less than the base price of the Springfield or Glock, and $50-100 less than the Shield, depending on where you’re shopping.
Needless to say, the CPX-1 is a visually appealing little gun, especially with that pink Muddy Girl Camo. The shop didn’t have a used one to test-fire, but my mother liked the gun and happily took it home with her.
The CPX-1 is small enough to carry easily in a purse or even fit in a pocket, yet stout enough to be intimidating to anyone standing on the wrong end.
The gun is a sub-compact 9mm with just 6” of overall length and a 3.1” barrel. It stands at 4.2” and weighs just 15 ounces. It comes with two double-stacked magazines with a 10-round capacity and a factory trigger lock.
It features an ambidextrous, manual-guarded safety, a double-action 9-pound trigger, and an ergonomic polymer grip with finger grooves and “RE-COIL CUSHION” on the back.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a CPX-1 for Your Mom (or Wife, Sister, etc.)
Maybe your mother is an experienced shooter, and if that’s the case, the CPX-1 might not be a bad option. But here is what I noticed while putting the first rounds through the SCCY CPX-1:
It’s Extremely Hard to Rack
My mother told me she could barely pull back the slide of this gun. I figured it was just because it hadn’t been broken in yet. But after pulling the slide back myself, I felt what she was talking about. It is definitely harder to rack than a new G43. I know the springs will loosen up a bit over time, but this is something to consider with regard to an older woman’s hand strength.
When the slide is locked back, you have to relieve a lot of tension while simultaneously thumbing the slide release, a process that is going to be very difficult for my 60-year-old mother. Even my wife (who’s only in her early 30s) would have issues with the slide on the CPX-1.
The Molded Safety Guard Is Poorly Positioned
One of the features that attracted me to the CPX-1 was the ambidextrous safety. I thought it would be a nice, simple feature to help keep my mother safe while purse-carrying and while reacquainting herself with shooting in general.
What I didn’t take into consideration —nor did the designers at SCCY— is that the guard juts out at the top-rear part of the tang. It digs into your hand upon each and every shot recoil – so much so that I am currently sporting a blister on the inside, upper region of my thumb near the back knuckle. The only difference between the CPX-1 and CPX-2 is the safety. In retrospect, I would recommend the smoother tang of the CPX-2. Honestly, the safety on the CPX-1 is awful.
The Trigger Pull Is Too Long
I know a long trigger pull is common in the sub-compact realm as a safety feature of sorts, but the CPX-1’s pull is really long. I eventually adjusted to it, but was initially shooting quite low during my point-and-shoot. Even after I started using the sights, I really had to put a lot of focus on not pulling the muzzle down with my trigger finger.
A new shooter would send a lot of rounds off-target with this uber-long trigger pull. And to drive this point home further, amidst the wonderful smell of burning powder inside the firing range, I spoke to a woman who owned the CPX-1 and got rid of it because of this exact reason. She was an experienced shooter, and she said she had to focus too much on the long trigger pull so she wouldn’t shoot low.
The In-Class Comparisons
The G43 is much more comfortable, especially for a smaller hand. It racks easier, and the trigger pull is a lot shorter. That said, although the G43 trigger pull is rated at 5.5-lbs, and the CPX-1 at 9-lbs, the G43 feels a bit harder to squeeze, and I pull rounds slightly to the left with the 43 if I am just doing a point-and-shoot without using the sights. The Shield feels like the best out of these three in the sub-compact class to me. Racking the slide is somewhere between the G43 and CPX-1, and the trigger pull is nice and even.
The polymer grip on the SCCY is quite a bit chunkier than the Glock and the Smith and Wesson. The thick grip was one of the main complaints I heard from two women I let fire my mother’s new gun at the range.
I noticed the CPX-1 tends to roll much less than the Shield. You can level and re-level your sights more easily on the CPX-1 after firing. The recoil on the CPX-1 feels highly controlled. Both the G43 and Shield jerk slightly more.
I should also note the brand-new CPX-1 jammed on me twice in the first hundred rounds. The first time it happened was about halfway through the magazine, after about 30 rounds. The second time, it was the very first round that didn’t enter the receiver correctly. And sometimes the slide would lock back upon emptying the magazine; other times it wouldn’t.
With exception to the safety guard, the CPX-1 is a great little gun for the price for a more experienced shooter or for someone with strong-ish hands.
For a novice shooter, however, it seems the SCCY will have a steep learning curve. Plus, the jamming concerns me. My Shield has never jammed on me, and the various times I have shot a Glock 43, I have yet to have one jam.
If I had it all to do again, I would have pushed my mom toward the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. It’s more comfortable, more reliable, and a better point-and-shoot for just a few bucks more.
Justin Hilbert is a copywriter and content strategist, writing from Florida and Costa Rica. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.