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SCCY CPX-3 Review: First Impressions


The .380 Auto cartridge isn't the hardest hitting self-defense round out there, but it is popular among many concealed carriers. The typical 90 grain 380 bullet leaves the muzzle traveling about 1,000 FPS and is capable of transferring about 200 pounds of energy upon impact, depending on how long the bullet has traveled before it hits its intended target.

In many circles including the ones most of us here on staff at hang out, the .380 Auto is likely the smallest caliber you'd want to use as a self-defense tool.

However, there are some huge benefits to using a .380, in the proper platform. Those benefits are really apparent during my time so far with SCCY's newest pistol, the CPX-3. Keep in mind here, that when I say “proper platform” I'm talking about a bigger gun, not necessarily one of those micro compacts like the Beretta Pico or the Taurus Spectrum.

With a 2.9 inch barrel, this is a small gun, but it is beefy. In comparison to the above two listed pistols, the Pico weighs 11.5 ounces and the Spectrum weighs 10 ounces. This SCCY 380 weighs 15 ounces.

It's also a double stack with a slightly longer grip, also adding to its tiny heft.

SCCY 380

To some degree, when shooting .380 Auto, many people make the false assumption that it recoils less because it's a smaller round. While physics dictate that this is true if all other things are the same, a lot of the time the guns are smaller and absorb less of the recoil.

Because the gun is smaller (like the other two listed above) and doesn't absorb as much of the recoil, it's then transferred to the shooter. Therefore, even though .380 ACP produces less than any of the other acceptable self-defense calibers, it's usually felt more.

The SCCY CPX-3 doesn't have this problem. This handgun is very manageable, recoil wise. Its bigger frame absorbs that recoil well, and the fact that the frame is big enough to get a full combat grip only helps matters.

Since it has a pinky extension on the double stack, 10 round magazines, I can even get my massive hands on it almost completely. Oh, and it comes with three (3) magazines which is incredible for a gun manufacturer to give us.

The pistol is smaller than its 9mm counterparts are, and fits in my hand — literally.

In my hand

The CPX-3 is a pleasant shooter, with a thinner grip than with their 9mm guns and a lighter than average recoil spring. What this translates into is an easier time racking the slide. It isn't quite as easy to rack as the S&W EZ is, but is a huge improvement over other .380 guns I've felt.

I will say that I'm not usually the biggest fan of finger grooves on a pistol. I usually go by the mantra, “I'll put my fingers where I want them, thank you very much.” But, I don't have any issues with the grooves on the SCCY 380 pistol, because they just happen to be right where I'd put my fingers.

Then again, the grip is smaller than I'm used to shooting and there isn't exactly room for me to change where I'd put my fingers. Not a negative from me but someone with smaller hands may wish the finger grooves weren't there and you can't do much about it.

My favorite part about this gun, which may sound strange, is that the slide stop lever is perfectly placed on this handgun. It's also a great size and there is no mistaking that you're on it when you need to be. It is very intuitive. I also had no problems reaching the mag release, which is usually a problem for me because of the way my thumbs bend.

Take down does require the use of a tool, but is simple. Simply remove the magazine, make sure the slide is locked to the rear, and use a flat tip, knife, whatever, to pry out that little pin. I say pry, but it didn't require any prying and popped right out without much pressure.

I even used a knife tip to see how that'd work, and it was fine. I tried my finger nail, but that did not work.

Right above the trigger, and in front of the slide stop, you can see the takedown pin.

The long trigger pull is where my biggest gripe is, but even the trigger feels pretty good for a DAO trigger. My last range day with it I brought a Taurus Spectrum for some .380 comparison, and the Spectrum's trigger is atrocious. Gritty, stacking, hard to pull, etc.

I'd guestimate that the trigger pull on the CPX-3 is somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 pounds, which is heavier than many of us would like. However, the trigger pull is very consistent from initial press to break without any felt grit that I've noticed.SCCY CPX-3

When a trigger pull is that long, it almost always comes with the expense of an equally-long reset and the CPX-3 is no different in that regard.

The reset is very long, and I had to make sure I made a conscious effort to push my trigger finger all the way out, mashing it into the guard, in order to reset the trigger. The average shooter does not have this problem. The reason why I ran into this problem is something you won't likely have to deal with unless your fingers are the same thickness mine are.

I have sausages for fingers and my finger actually hits the trigger guard before the reset happens. I change the way my finger falls on the trigger so it doesn't have this issue. I do want to add that every compact or smaller DAO gun I've ever fired (and there are a number of them) have had this issue.

I've brought the CPX-3 to the range on a few different occasions, shooting different brands and types of ammunition. To get it out of the way right now, I've put Winchester white box, Blazer Brass, and Hornady hollow points through it. So far, the total is just north of 200 rounds.

And, so far, I've not had any malfunctions–which is counter intuitive from some of the keyboard warriors in forum comments that may or may not have any merit. They dis $305 guns, saying they must be junk.

Need I remind you that this gun is made in America and SCCY does have one of the best warranties in the industry.

I'll continue to test this gun, and update here as I do. As for right now, this gun seems like a winner for those of us who would like to carry 10+1 rounds of ammo in a lighter recoiling, easier to manipulate gun.

Here are some features for the SCCY CPX-3 that I pulled from their website.

  • NEW, INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY: featuring the “ROEBUCK QUAD-LOCK” for more repeatable accuracy.
  • Magazine: Includes (3) double stack, 10 round capacity magazines. 1 with finger extension base installed and 2 with flat bases.
  • Barrel: Machined from bar stock with 7 lands and grooves having a 1:16 right-hand twist.
  • Receiver: 7075‐T6 aircraft grade heat treated aluminum alloy, machined from bar stock.
  • Slide: Quality Stainless Steel available with Natural Stainless or Black Nitride finish.
  • Grip/Frame: Made from Zytel polymer, with ergonomic finger grooves.
  • Recoil Spring System: All steel, fully encapsulated for ease of disassembly and reassembly.
  • Slide Lock/Release: Steel with a Zytel over molded polymer extension for ease of operation.
  • 3 Dot Sight System: Steel rear sight, adjustable for windage only with locking screw.
  • Hammer Firing System: Double-action only, internal hammer with inertial firing pin to prevent accidental discharge if dropped.
  • Double-action trigger: Specifically designed for shooter comfort and accuracy by designing the system to have a smooth effortless, consistent 9-pound trigger pull.
  • Trigger Guard Lock: Custom designed to properly fit and be child resistant. Includes 2 keys.

Stay tuned because as I shoot this little DAO 380 gun more, I'll update this article. Also, make sure you leave your thoughts on it in the comments below.

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24 Responses to SCCY CPX-3 Review: First Impressions

  1. Jeff McQueen August 29, 2019 at 6:23 pm #

    I enjoyed reading your review of the SCCY CPX3. I am also enjoying mine. I think it will double as an EDC/BUG.

    • Jeff September 3, 2019 at 2:25 pm #

      Great review! I have shot the CPX-2 and was impressed except for the fact the recoil bruised my hand. Just uncomfortable at the beavertail. Everything else is awesome. A little upset that our SCCY shoot was cancelled here in Daytona because of Dorian,but still considering the CPX-3 for the wife and the BUG!

  2. jim August 31, 2019 at 3:04 pm #

    what is a goo self defense round for 380 ?

    • Bryan September 3, 2019 at 3:02 pm #

      I like Federal HST 99 grain hollow points. Winchester PDX1 will get the job done too.

  3. frankjbonazza3 August 31, 2019 at 9:52 pm #

    I had a sccy cpx-1, and I agree that the trigger pull is not good. Mine felt more like a 15+ lb break, and was longer than a country mile. The reset was also atrocious and non existent as it literally resets when you allow the trigger to let all the way out. I had numerous issues with the slide returning to battery as well… I traded it in for a Taurus millennium g2 in 9mm, and I couldn’t be happier now. Personally I cannot say anything good about any of the Sccy lineup, and would never buy one again, but to each his or her own… Well written review Joshua, I enjoy your articles every time.

    • Joshua Gillem September 1, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

      Thank you very much for sharing your experience as well as your compliment. I’ve got a review of their CPX-2 coming your way in the coming weeks, so far no hiccups with that one either, but I’ll continue to put it to the test.

      Thanks again,


    • Joe December 28, 2019 at 4:57 pm #

      Well I too had problems with sccy. Had one when they first came out. Would not extract and feed good. Back to factory three times and never came back good. NowTaurus is just as bad. I have had problems with them. Sold all my taurus pistols 5 of them. I do still have two taurus revolvers and no problems with them. I’ll stick with s&w, Ruger, Glock, and of course KIMBER.

  4. Andrew September 4, 2019 at 12:11 pm #

    I wouldn’t rely on any of Sccy,s firearms.
    My freind that works there says for every 100 that are made 15 come back in the door and they send them out with problems knowing they can fix them later. I’ve heard nothing but bad things about this company. ?
    Love your reviews though and the fact they are non-biased.

  5. David Butler September 4, 2019 at 3:07 pm #

    Would have been good to see a side by side with at CPX-2 so that I can compare it to the one I have. Not sure how big your hands are so not sure how small the weapon really is.

    • Joshua Gillem September 4, 2019 at 3:10 pm #

      Yeah that’ll be coming. I have a one of those. I’ll see if I can get a pic of them next to each other and upload it to the review.


  6. Chuck5O September 5, 2019 at 9:54 pm #

    A good defense round you ask? Take a look at Underwood Ammounition. They use Lehigh Defense bullets that have some of the most impressive results I have seen in my military and law enforcement careers. I use them in 9mm and .40 S&W pistols I use for CCW. I have had no failures to date. Check Underwood out!

  7. Steve September 17, 2019 at 3:08 pm #

    Great article Josh. I’ve been thinking about the CPX 3, would like to have a mid size 380 to help with reduced recoil for my arthritic hands. I’m a little concerned to see the negative comments from one reply. I’ll keep an eye out for any updates you may have. As far as the miserable trigger, I see they have trigger kit from Galloway as well as short stroke triggers. These upgrades could make the trigger problems go away, but then you got a $100 or so invested in the trigger of a budget pistol. Anyway, thanks for the article.

    • Donna December 16, 2019 at 2:12 pm #

      My neighbor has a CPX-3 and the pins are walking out.SCCY said to send the gun back as new improvements have been made on newer models with serial numbers 12k and up…but when he got the gun back it was a different color..A NEW GUN.They did not know he HAD a newer gun…so typical SCCY fix?Send a new gun out and hope the owner does not shoot more than 3-5 hundred rounds through it.Sorry but SCCY has had YEARS to get this straight.I really wanted to get one but have too many doubts.

      • Joshua Gillem December 17, 2019 at 5:31 am #

        Thank you for sharing this experience.

  8. Donna December 16, 2019 at 2:07 pm #

    CPX-3….Pins walking out of the frame on NEWER models with serial numbers well past 12k.Also,newer CPX-2 guns with ”DEAD TRIGGERS.” Anyone else with this issue??

  9. Andy December 27, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    Never had a single issue with my CPX-2 and I’ve put close to 1000 rounds through it. I do NOT like DAO triggers so it’s not my favorite pistol but it has been reliable.

  10. Mark S January 18, 2020 at 11:24 am #

    I own 2 of them….CPX2, and CPX3. Both have provided excellent performance, and reliability. Throughout my lifetime I have loved shooting handguns. I own Smith&Wesson, Ruger, Beretta, Colt, and when I’ve purchased, and shot these SCCY pistols, I’ve done-so by stacking them up against some darn good guns. Over a lifetime of shooting….what I discovered was, at $200+tax they represent a well made gun, which provides a ton of value! I feel like SCCY put a lot of thought into the CPX3. Now they have are listening to a certain segment of their would-be customers, by announcing a striker-fried version of their 9mm. The examples I saw used the CPX3 handgrip, and added front cocking serrations. So if ppl want to trash-out a well made, $200, American handgun, which includes a lifetime (no matter who owns it)warranty, based on purchasing one 10yrs ago, or cause they can’t shoot a DAO trigger very! I implore ppl to try the new CPX pistols. I think they’d be pleasantly surprised. I have been since 2017.

    • Tom Ingram May 3, 2020 at 9:25 pm #

      Thanks, Mark, for the comments – especially related to the CPX-3. I’m in the market for a .380 eventually for a friend, and don’t currently own another .380 (have not for more than 20 years) – but I do have two CPX-2’s – and I’m very pleased with them. I also own a Ruger EC9s, and nothing but good about it so far, but low usage to date.
      I appreciate your input on these low-priced but good quality guns from SCCY.

  11. Mike April 30, 2020 at 4:13 pm #

    Great honest review! I am a 73 year old guy who has carried for over 50 years. As we age, things change. I have a beautiful Beretta 85BB Cheetah. It is a wonderful
    classic firearm, beautifully made, and will digest anything!
    Having said that, the recoil is quite prominent, and the slide has extremely stiff recoil Springs. The gun is beautiful, and pricy. I purchased the SCCY 380 and I can
    Unequivocally state that everything that you stated in your article is spot on! The pistol is for carry, and does everything that it’s supposed to, flawlessly! It is accurate
    and extremely comfortable. I feel quite confident that loaded with the right ammunition, it will fill the role that it was intended to. I’m quite please with it.

    • Joshua Gillem May 1, 2020 at 6:49 am #

      I’m glad to hear that Mike! Also glad to hear that you’re still carrying.

      Stay safe,


  12. Tom Ingram May 3, 2020 at 9:10 pm #

    I am now looking for a SCCY CPX-3 for a lady friend who wants one. I’ll buy one in a color she likes and keep it as ‘another’ even if she doesn’t care for it. I was very pleased to see your specific comment about the weight of the gun compared to two other models mentioned – and how the recoil does not translate back to the shooter as much – since that’s a concern for her. I’ve showed her your comments (it also made me seem smarter, somehow – good for me)!
    I own two CPX-2’s and a Ruger EC9s in the smaller frame size, and she didn’t care for the EC9s. Her nickname is ’38 Special’ from years ago, and she has her dad’s older S&W .38.. so I suggested a .380 might be a better partner to the bigger .38, rather than a different caliber, incompatible ammo, etc…
    I love love love my first CPX-2 and have run maybe 500 rounds through it, and I can’t think of a single FTF or range issue with it. It’s an older one, probably within their first year or two of operation. I LIKE the long-pull trigger, and I have found it to be smooth and consistent. I too have large hands – but not the sausage fingers – and I have no issues with its reset or failing me. I’m not trying to beat Jerry Miculek with it. My CPX-2’s are ‘self-defense’ and CC and in that position, I’m sure I can get off a half-dozen rounds if I must – hopefully, one or two will change their mind, and if not, I’ve still got a half-dozen more behind that, and I’m confident with it now.

    My only complaint, and not much of one, on the first CPX-2 is the ‘fit’ of the magazines in the mag well, it’s as if they took a tiny bit too much material off the bottom of the grip, which left a tiny gap or reveal of about 1/16 inch. It’s never a gun performance or mag insertion or ejection issue, but the tiny gap looks different from photos of the gun. I bought it mail-order, so I didn’t examine it ahead of time. And, the gap is with the gun… as my two new magazines from my new CPX-2 fit it exactly the same, they have the same gap. The new gun does not have the visual gap with the magazines inserted.

    My 2nd CPX-2 is brand new to me, and only about 50 round through it, and no issues at all with it. The triggers feel ‘the same’ from one gun to the other – so I’m pleased.
    My FFL friend asked about the CPX-2, and I spoke well of it, and recommended it. The American-made thing is a real thing. And I think SCCY has done well. I like the products I own, and I’m about to look into making a 3rd purchase.

    Thanks for the review, It was helpful for me, and for her.

    • Joshua Gillem May 4, 2020 at 7:31 am #

      Glad to hear, and it’s always nice to sound smart. Looking forward to hearing how it goes for you once y’all get it.


  13. InkyOne June 20, 2020 at 3:47 am #

    My wife purchased a CPX-3 back in February. I was not really on board with her decision but I went to the LGS as the dutiful husband. Well after spending a sometime in the store trying to find something about the SCCY to convince her not to purchase it I came up empty and was intrigued instead. So right out to the range we went and I was immediately impressed with the CPX-3. Yes the trigger pull is long but it’s also smooth and not unduly heavy, it is the safety after all. Long story short, she made a great decision and is thoroughly enjoying her SCCY and trips to the range with me, I couldn’t be happier.

    Incidentally her little jewel only set me back $170.00 and that is simply incredible.

  14. Al Scuderi August 7, 2020 at 7:12 pm #

    I Just Purchased a CPX 3 and will Pick it up Tomorrow ,Have My CCW and also I Like the 380 round as I Have A few Bersa’s Thunder CC & Thunder Plus , also P238 Sig and 938 , TCP Spectrum , and assorted 9s, I Like the 380s because I had a Full Shoulder repair done in 2013, and I can shoot them longer and More comfortable , My should will tell me to stop shooting and rest , and with the Technology that the 380s have today I think Make them a Viable round , The American Made is a Big Deal for Me and with them Up the Road Here in Florida, comes with 3 mags? , Lifetime warranty?, what s Not to Like? I mean really !!! I have an Honor Defense Honor Guard which is a Fantastic Weapon !!! also American Made , so if other people dont want them , send them to Me !! they are missing out on some fantastic buys , Good Guns do not have to be ridiculously expensive, Those guns will never leave their safes , take them out to oggle at them and then put them Back in the safes , Not for me ,

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