I Hated Subcompact Pistols Until I Shot the SCCY CPX-2

   09.30.15

The world of small carry guns is a crowded one that is dominated by a handful of big-name manufacturers. Ask any shooter what they carry and chances are you will receive a response including one of the following brand names: Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Beretta, or Kel-Tec. Each of those companies offers a number of different compact and subcompact handguns, catering to the needs and tastes of just about every shooter out there.

One name that has been gradually working its way into that storied bunch is SCCY (pronounced “sky”). SCCY is focused solely on producing affordable, reliable, and well-made carry pistols. Its first offering was the CPX-1, a subcompact, double-action-only, 9x19mm semiauto released in 2005. Five years later, the CPX-2 was unveiled. Lacking its predecessor’s manual safety, the CPX-2 is perfect for those who don’t want to fuss with any levers when drawing their gun.

After touring SCCY’s Daytona Beach, Florida facilities during this spring’s Big 3 East event, I was offered the opportunity to test one of the company’s CPX-2s. This is the part in the review where I claim that I was initially skeptical of the product for some silly reason or another, like the fact that it is available with a purple or orange frame. But beyond the color options, the CPX-2 had no odd quirks for me to belittle, other than the fact that it was a subcompact pistol—and I just fricking hate subcompact pistols. Here’s why I feel that way about most pocket pistols:

  • They are incredibly unfun to shoot (I know, I know—carry guns aren’t supposed to be fun to shoot. But how can you practice with a carry gun that is physically unpleasant to shoot?)
  • They are overpriced
  • They have grips that are way too narrow (contributing to the unfun shooting experience described above)
  • Their triggers are too damn heavy, even when they sport manual safeties

For me, shooting guns is mostly a recreational activity. I shoot to have fun (and work), and subcompact pistols aren’t very fun. Even when I carry, it’s usually a full-size or slightly-under-full-size-pistol in an IWB holster under a big coat—I’m just more comfortable shooting and relying upon those kinds of guns.

The CPX-2 is available in a variety of colors. Purple is clearly the best possible choice.
The CPX-2 is available in a variety of frame colors. Purple is clearly the best possible choice.

Despite my misgivings, I opted to give the CPX-2 a try. It was cheap, I could get it in purple, and I figured I owed the subcompact world another shot. After shooting and carrying it for five months, I’m here to say just one thing: I really like the SCCY CPX-2 and I’ll carry it any day of the week.

Before I go into any further detail, here’s how the gun breaks down specs-wise. Its dimensions are quite similar to other subcompacts.

  • Caliber: 9x19mm
  • Length: 5.7”
  • Height: 4”
  • Barrel length: 3.1”
  • Twist rate: 1:16”
  • Width: 1”
  • Weight: 15 oz
  • Frame material: Polymer
  • Frame color of reviewer’s gun: Purple
  • Receiver material: 7075-T6 aluminum alloy
  • Capacity: 10 rounds (double-stack mags)
  • Trigger: Double-action-only, around 9 pounds
  • MSRP: $314 (can be found online for $275 or less)

Shooting

While the CPX-2 features a heavy, double-action-only (DAO) trigger, it’s the only DAO semiauto I’ve shot that the trigger feels perfect on. The nine-pound pull is smooth, requiring just the right amount of force for a safety-less carry gun. It also has one of the most positive resets I’ve ever felt on a subcompact. The generously tangible reset helps facilitate rapid follow-up shots.

The CPX-2 (top) and a Ruger LC9.
The CPX-2 (top) and a Ruger LC9.

The pistol’s grip fits my hand incredibly well and is suitably wide—I don’t find myself scratching the first knuckle of my thumb with my trigger finger, as I can with guns with slimmer grips. This also made the gun more controllable and easier to land follow-up shots with, as I wasn’t subconsciously struggling to correct my grip after each shot.

If you buy a CPX-2 new, it will come with two 10-round, double-stack magazines. The mags come equipped with finger extension bases that can be swapped with (also included) flat bases. I never felt the need to put the flat bases on, as the CPX-2 was still comfortably concealable, smooth-drawing, and pleasantly shootable with the extended bases. Draw-and-shoot drills were fast and easy with the pistol, especially due to the lack of manual safeties.

I’ve run roughly 700 rounds through the CPX-2, and I have not encountered a single failure. I’m confident in its ability to function reliably when needed.

I did not conduct benched accuracy tests with the CPX-2—it didn’t seem necessary. When shooting human silhouette targets at distances between three and 10 yards with commercial ammo, rapid-fire groups were sufficiently tight (two or more shots within five inches).

An overhead comparison of the CPX-2 (left) and the LC9. The CPX-2 is just a tenth of an inch wider than the LC9, but can carry three more rounds and in the author's opinion offers a much better grip.
An overhead comparison of the CPX-2 (left) and the LC9. The CPX-2 is just a tenth of an inch wider than the LC9, but can carry three more rounds and in the author’s opinion offers a much better grip.

Ultimately I found myself actually enjoying range time with the CPX-2, something I had not experienced with every other subcompact handgun I’ve shot.

Carrying

It’s quite comfortable to carry the CPX-2 concealed. I’ve carried it in both pocket and IWB holsters with no issues. A number of manufacturers, including Alien Gear and DeSantis, offer great holsters for the CPX-2.

I carried the CPX-2 throughout most of the past summer, which I spent in Detroit. Though I lived in a nicer area, it was still a good idea to be armed whenever possible. The CPX was easy to carry on walks down the street to the liquor store, long strolls around the neighborhood, and on bike rides—during most of which I was wearing shorts and a light t-shirt.

Concluding

Maybe I just like my CPX-2 because it’s purple. Maybe I just like it because it’s cheap. Or maybe it’s just a dang good gun for the price and it’s actually fun to shoot.

The CPX-2 is fun to shoot and easy to carry—what else could you ask for in a carry gun?
The CPX-2 is fun to shoot, reliable, affordable, and easy to carry—what else could you ask for in a carry gun?

The CPX-2 is now my go-to carry piece and it always ends up in my range bag, something I’ve never been able to say about a pocket gun before. It addresses all of my common criticisms of carry guns and then some.
If you’re curious, you should try renting one at your local range. You might get hooked, too.

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