Guns: Sccy CPX-2 review
When it comes to firearms, you usually get what you pay for. If all you can afford is a $100 handgun, so be it. It's (usually) better than nothing...just don't expect reliability, accuracy, or comfort.
Thankfully, most people can drop a little more dough on their pistol, though they still might be unable to pony up the $500+ for GLOCK or M&P. Kel-Tec, a firearms manufacturer based in Cocoa, Florida, has made a healthy business selling to budget-minded consumers; most of its pistols, like the popular P3AT and PF9, have street prices under $300. So does the subject of today's review, the Sccy Industries CPX-2:
DISCLAIMER: Unlike the other guns reviewed here at Shangrila Towers, I didn't buy the CPX-2 with my own money. Bob, the proprietor of my Friendly Local Gun Shop, allowed me to borrow the gun (which he purchased off the shelf) in order to test it. Despite the freebie, I vowed to do an objective review of the gun's performance. So, without further ado...
The CPX-2 comes in a striking red cardboard box. It almost looks like something you'd find in a gaming store:
Inside, the pistol is protected with nicely-cut foam, and comes with two magazines (incredible for a pistol at this price point), extra flat baseplates for the magazines, a trigger lock, and a manual. The CPX-2 is one of the only guns I've ever seen that comes with the trigger lock already in place - likely becase the box is too small to have the lock floating around as a separate piece:
The darn thing is small - about the same height, length, and weight as a 5-shot .38 Special snubnose revolver. It's a bit thicker overall, but slimmer than the revolver's cylinder:
The muzzle is very Kel-Tec-ish. Think of the CPX-2 as the Mirror Universe version of the Kel-Tec P11:
The CPX-2 ditches the awkward manual safety from its predecessor, the CPX-1. Most people never used the safety in the first place, and I've read anecdotal evidence that it could inadvertently engage during firing, causing a malfunction. The gun is also equipped with a slide lock/release, which worked fine during testing.
Bob pointed out that the CPX-2's magazine release extended a little too far out of the frame, and we agreed that the magazine release spring was a little too weak compared to most pistols. Now, to be fair, I didn't experience any instances of the CPX-2's mag falling out, but I could see people having that problem, especially if the gun was exposed to the jostles and jolts of daily concealed carry:
The CPX-2's true double-action only trigger pull is quite heavy and "crunchy" - very similar to the awful trigger found in the Kel-Tec P-11. The actual pull isn't as long as the P-11's, but there's more staging and creepiness through the pull. The hammer is not precocked or preloaded by the slide in any way - each pull of the trigger cocks and fires the CPX-2 ("second strike capability," as it's known in gun ads).
Recoil from the CPX-2 is pretty jarring, like with most pistols this size. The relatively wide double-stack grip ensures the gun won't jump out of your hand like a flyweight .380, but it's still not a pleasant experience. The slide movement was so violent that, after about a hundred rounds, I noticed the frame pins were walking out. Over the next two hundred rounds, I had to push them in with the end of the magazine to keep shooting the gun - not exactly something that gives you confidence in a gun:
Despite all this, the CPX-2 was actually fairly accurate - if I concentrated, I could empty entire magazines into index card-sized groups at 7 yards. Not the equal of a standard service pistol (my M&P9C can throw out a 1" group at that distance), but decent considering the price.
Now the bad news: out of three hundred rounds of factory ammo (Winchester, Federal, and Remington 115 grainers) I experienced at least six light firing pin strikes. Granted, all but one of the rounds could be fired with a second strike from the hammer, but this is plainly unacceptable in a defensive pistol. Aside from the light strikes, I counted one failure to feed and one failure to extract in the three hundred rounds set.
After the course of fire, Bob examined the gun and noted excessive wear in the guide rod - not what you want to see after only 6 or so boxes of 9mm. Aside from the guide rod, the rest of the pistol seemed to be in good shape.
I really wanted to like the Sccy CPX-2. It fits well in hand, comes with two magazines, and even looks pretty handsome considering the roughly $250 street price (for those keeping score, that's basically half what a new GLOCK 26 or S&W M&P9c costs). Though I did have the one FTF and the one FTE, the basic design looks sound enough, given enough tweaking to the hammer and firing pin to eliminate the ignition problems.
At the same time, however, I have to review guns as they are, not as I'd wish them to be. Frankly, I would never carry the CPX-2 for self-defense; the light firing pin strikes and other stoppages I experienced are unacceptable in something you're betting your life on. Last I heard, Bob's sending this gun back to the factory - hopefully everything will get sorted out. I'll post an update if we have any luck.