6

A departure from your traditional gun review, what follows is more of a “shootout.” It’s a review of the SPHINX SDP Compact Alpha through the lens of how it compares to the CZ P-07 and the popular CZ 75 line. You see, in the 80’s SPHINX began producing pistols for the first time, and it did so by licensing the CZ 75 design. Since then it has modified and adapted CZ’s platform, all with Swiss precision and the attention to detail, finish, fitment, and materials that SPHINX has been known for. To some, it’s an upscale CZ. The question, then, is what can you expect from a $1,295 SPHINX that you don’t get from a $510 CZ? . . .

In the past year, the SDP Compact has been in the hands of all of the reviewers you know and love on YouTube. I don’t recall seeing any negative comments (other than the sticker shock), and I concur that it’s an excellent pistol. Ergonomic, accurate, reliable, high-quality… all of it. Really, really nice. Of course, the CZ is all of those things as well. Awesomely enough, both companies (CZ-USA and KRISS USA, importers/distributors of the SPHINX line in the U.S.) agreed to send TTAG loaner pistols with the understanding that a direct comparison would result. After spending a few months with them, a comparison we shall make.

27
CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO SEE FULL SIZE

Conclusion Up Top

That’s right, spoiler alert. The following gets more complicated if we start considering other CZs like the P-01 or something from the custom shop like a P-01 SDP, but for the sake of argument we’re just comparing to the standard P-07 here.

The $550-$750 price spread (depending on “street” to MSRP variance) will mean different things to different people. In many categories, the SPHINX and CZ are basically a wash. In some aspects the SPHINX wins and in some ways the CZ could be seen to win. Which pistol you’ll want to purchase comes down to how you weigh the differences between them and how much the extra ~$650 means to you. However, I know how much everyone hates wishy-washy “we just couldn’t pick a winner” comparisons, so I’ll give you my personal opinions here as succinctly as possible.

If this were my primary or only pistol and I was shooting it a whole lot, I would probably buy the SPHINX. Over thousands of rounds, the extra accuracy would make up for the extra money and there would probably be a bit more pride in ownership. I’d put some work into the trigger (easily done, just like on a CZ 75).

However, if I were to purchase one of these now I would get the P-07. It’s simpler, at least as rugged if not more so, exceeds “combat accurate,” and offers everything you need in a compact or “duty sized” pistol at a price point that belies its quality. Although taken on its own it lacks nothing in the fit and finish department, it still comes across as the tougher, more utilitarian option when compared to the SPHINX. In some cases that can be very desirable.

To drive home the “personal decision” part of this, my investment banker (well, PE now) buddy — and I mention his occupation because the price difference is less of a deal for him than it is for me — actually just purchased the P-07 rather than the SPHINX as an upgrade to his previous-gen P-07 Duty. Despite really liking German and Swiss things (cars, firearms, watches, etc.) and admittedly enjoying and shooting the SPHINX just a bit better, he didn’t feel it was worth the extra dough since he only shoots a few times a year and the rest of the time his pistol lives in a safe on home defense duty. If he shot a lot more, he explained, he’d have gone for the SDP instead.

So…no winner. Or everybody wins, depending on your outlook. Sorry.

Video

The write-up below is going to be a slightly abbreviated version. If you’re truly curious about the mechanical differences between these two guns and what on the SPHINX is similar to the P-07 vs. what is carried over from the traditional CZ 75 design, watch the video as I get into the guts of all that with the help of my SP-01 and previous-gen P-07 Duty for comparison. Plus, as always, there are close-up, slow trigger pulls to try and show how they behave.

Build

14
P-07

CZ’s P-07 is a fairly standard plastic framed pistol design. The frame is molded polymer with steel inserts front and rear on which the slide rides and the trigger and sear/hammer components are affixed. Quality is high, with minimal mold markings and no warping (think GLOCK dust cover). Machining on the steel components is basically flawless, which is interesting coming from CZ as it usually doesn’t bother to polish out tool marks in non-visible, non-essential places.

Distinguishing the P-07 and P-09 from most of your plastic fantastic pistols are the metal trigger, metal mag release, and external hammer (no striker here). I have high confidence in the durability of the P-07 and was quite pleased by the sharp and precise machining.

15
SPHINX

SPHINX’s SDP Compact Alpha, along with some other SPHINX models, has a very unique design that I can’t say I have ever seen before. The slide is steel, the upper frame is billet aluminum, and the lower frame is polymer. From the full-length slide rails down to the bottom of the accessory rail and straight back from there it’s a block of aluminum. Under that, at the top of the trigger guard and back along that same line across the top of the grip, it’s polymer. Star-head bolts affix the poly part to the aluminum part. Alignment is perfect, as you can see but really cannot feel the line between plastic and aluminum.

Slide-to-frame fitment and barrel-to-slide locking fitment is quite precise. Machining is extremely good and very precise and clean everywhere except for a couple of places I’m actually used to seeing machine marks from CZ but don’t on the new P-07 — in the underside of the slide, basically, where there is no metal-to-metal contact. Just very light swirls (and some lovely color case hardening rainbows).

20
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

No, I don’t care but some people definitely do. As you can see above, SPHINX did polish out the underside of the slide where it drags along the top round in the magazine whereas CZ did not. Actually, there was one more place where I noticed machining marks on the SPHINX but not the CZ: the muzzle.

18
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

Off-vertical striations from, presumably, the bar stock being cut to length. Of course, the CZ has a dang “3” stamped on the front sight so hey. Again, I’m really not concerned with these nit picks but I know plenty of folks are so it needs to be mentioned. As a general rule, you probably shouldn’t be staring at the muzzle of your pistol too terribly much anyway.

Finish

CZ puts a “nitrated finish” on the P-07’s slide, barrel, and some of the other metal parts, which is very similar in look and feel to Tenifer/Melonite. I think the lack of machining marks in the normal CZ places is either due to aggressive media blasting before the finishing process or the finish itself just adds enough texture to hide it.

19
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

SPHINX does a TiAIN finish on the SDP’s slide and uses some form of QPQ treatment on internal parts subject to wear. The aluminum upper frame is hard anodized. The slide is clearly heat treated and coloring of the sort seen on color case hardened steel is apparent in a few internal locations.

Barrel

Both barrels use what I’ll call a GLOCK-style lockup, in that the entire barrel hood locks into the slide (into the huge ejection port). This is opposed to the CZ 75-style lockup, which has lugs on top of the barrel that lock into the inside of the slide just like a 1911.

The CZ has a GLOCK-like (i.e. BHP-like) barrel lug that’s open on the bottom, whereas the SPHINX has a closed CZ 75-style groove/channel in the lug — see two photos up. Yes, I realize how awkward it is to say that the SPHINX has a CZ-style lug while the CZ doesn’t, but what can you do?

16
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

The most notable difference here is that the CZ’s cold hammer forged barrel sports traditional rifling, while the SDP’s barrel has polygonal rifling. I have come to think that the benefits of polygonal rifling are blown out of proportion (although interestingly enough I don’t see it mentioned anywhere in any of SPHINX’s material), however I must say that the SDP turned out to be ridiculously accurate. Also, it gives a distinct “whump” to your neighbors on the range.

When my buddy and I were shooting it we also shot the previous-gen and the current P-07 along with a 1911 (in .45) and a .22 LR pistol, and, as the bystander off to either side of the pistol, only the SPHINX hit the you in the chest with a sonic thump on every shot. Obviously I’m not entirely sure why, but I think the polygonal rifling and the alleged better gas seal that comes with it is primarily responsible. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to compare velocities.

Sights

Steel sights all around, with a 3-dot arrangement on the Czech contender and a blacked out rear and white dot front on the Swiss. The P-07’s sights are not tritium but they do glow in the dark once charged by a light source. I do like the 3-dot better than the old P-07’s white U outline (GLOCK-style) rear notch, but my preference for target shooting is still a blacked out rear as on the SDP and on my SP-01, which is on the right in the photo below.

9
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX CENTER, SP-01 RIGHT

Grip

One of the biggest practical differences between the P-07 and SDP is the backstraps. As you can see in the photo above, the SDP has pronounced palm swells. Swapping the backstraps not only changes the front-to-rear length of the grip and the shape of the backstrap curve, as is, by far, the standard in the industry and the case with the P-07, but it also changes the size of the palm swells.

10
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

If you’ve noticed they look pretty darn smooth, you aren’t wrong. Their grip comes from the fact that they’re rubber, not hard plastic. Well, rubber on top of a plastic frame. Tacky and grippy when things are dry, I found them a little slick when wet or with sweaty hands. Still, the shape of them is conducive to a secure grip.

Above all else, the SDP’s grip is incredibly comfortable. Hands down one of the best feeling pistol grips anywhere at any price. The understated stippling/pebbling texture on the front strap is nice, as are the understated finger grooves. I’m normally not a fan of finger grooves in general, but SPHINX nailed this one.

The P-07, however, is no slouch and it holds its own against the competition with an ergonomic and simple grip with effective but comfortable texturing. It feels good and it offers great control.

On both pistols, a pin must be driven out at the bottom rear of the backstrap to remove it from the frame. It’s very easy to do but it can’t be done without tools. Both pistols ship with a S, M, and L backstrap.

Hammer

The new P-07 gets the ‘race style,’ angular hammer first seen on the P-09. I dig its looks. It works as you’d expect.

On the SPHINX, however, it’s something pretty unique. At rest, the hammer is flush with the back of the slide. It basically cannot be manually cocked from this position, and it sure as heck can’t snag on anything. When visible, it’s kind of like a solid club shape.

7
SPHINX

Controls

The SPHINX is decocker-only while the CZ can be converted back and forth between decocker and safety (for “cocked-and-locked” carry), and ships with the parts needed to do so. On both pistols, these controls are mirrored on both sides. With the hammer fully cocked, pressing down on the decocker lever will safely drop the hammer to a half-cocked notch as in the top right photo inset above.

In both cases the slide stop and magazine release are not ambidextrous, although the mag releases can be swapped from one side to the other.

Trigger

Here’s where we get into the first CZ 75 comparison, because the SPHINX uses the traditional CZ 75B trigger mechanism and FCG design while CZ seems to be moving towards its simpler, possibly stouter, and better-out-of-the-box Omega system.

I like the shape of the new P-07 trigger — carried over from the P-09 — a lot. Not just in looks but in how it feels. The SDP has a more traditional curved trigger, although it has a great side-to-side radius to it and the subtle vertical grooves feel nice. In this case I do prefer the CZ.

8
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

Both triggers are steel.

Both are over 10 lbs in double action and 3-4 lbs in single action. CZ’s new Omega trigger is pretty smooth out of the box and felt just as nice as the SDP’s in the full DA pull, but it stacks a bit at the end of the pull whereas the SPHINX’s was more consistent. In single action, the CZ had just a bit more creep but I actually preferred it, as it was smoother and lighter and, again, I like the feel of the trigger blade better.

Takedown

No difference, and traditional CZ 75 in both cases. Pull the slide back so the line on the slide lines up with the line on the frame, and push the slide stop out. The slide will now slide off the front of the frame. Captured recoil springs and barrels come out just like you’d expect. That’s field stripped.

Magazines

Basically the same here. Both made by Mec-Gar, just like the factory CZ 75 mags. Both 15-round capacity. However, the P-07’s magazines are a true double stack and are wider than the ‘staggered’ SPHINX mags, which means the CZ carries that capacity in a slightly shorter grip. It also means the P-07 (or P-09) mags will not insert into the SPHINX frame. However, the P-07 will accept the SDP’s magazines as well as standard CZ 75 magazines, albeit with some wiggle room — they do typically function flawlessly, though.

23
P-07 LEFT, SP-01 CENTER, SPHINX RIGHT

Yes, CZ 75 mags fit in the SDP. In fact, the SDP’s mags may be identical to CZ’s compact 75-series magazines (e.g. for the P-01) but I don’t have one handy to test at this time. The factory and Mec-Gar-branded full size mags from my SP-01 fit and functioned perfectly in the SPHINX.

Cross-Compatibility

Other than the magazines working one way, the only other parts swapping I tried was between slides. Fitment of either slide to either frame worked just fine, actually, but a difference in the location and width of the ejectors prevented them from going all the way on. Not that I would have tried firing it swapped anyway with the different barrel lugs and sear systems, etc (and the barrels wouldn’t swap between slides).

22
SPHINX FRAME LEFT, P-07 FRAME RIGHT, SLIDES SWAPPED

In the Box

Okay this probably should have been up top. Hmm. Regardless, not a huge difference here other than the SPHINX’s cleaning kit is more comprehensive and the SDP comes with a little mag loader tool.

12
SPHINX

13
P-07

Accuracy:

5-shot groups, butt (the gun’s) rested on a table at 15-20 yards distance.

P-07 target

SPHINX target

In case you can’t read my handwriting there, the ammo I grabbed for accuracy testing was PMC Bronze 115 grain (top left targets), Aguila 124 grain (top right targets), and American Eagle 147 grain (center targets).

Shooting Impressions

The SDP has a bit less muzzle flip and felt recoil, probably due to the heavier slide as well as the aluminum upper frame. I shot it more accurately and originally credited most of that to my preference for its sights, but after doing the accuracy testing above it’s clear that the SDP is actually more accurate than the P-07.

Enjoyment factor was about the same. As mentioned, I do prefer the feel of the trigger on the CZ, however the grip on the SPHINX is freaking amazing. That said, it’s a bit “slippery when wet.”

I wouldn’t hesitate to toss the CZ around, get it dirty, “run and gun,” draw it and holster it a zillion times, and otherwise treat it like a real tool. I think that, irrespective of price, there’s something in the look and feel of the SPHINX that makes me want to baby it a little. Maybe it’s the smoother finish and the large, flat areas on the upper frame that I wouldn’t want to scratch up.

Final Note

I’m actually not a huge fan of this compact/duty size for a pistol. It’s too big for me to CCW in normal attire and it’s too small for me to shoot well in competition. For instance, I absolutely prefer shooting the P-09 to the P-07.

I mention this because my go-to pistol — my gun — has been a CZ SP-01 for many years. Nothing has ever come along that made me consider replacing it with a different pistol. It’s my favorite gun to shoot on the range and it’s my favorite gun to shoot in competition. But… if I were to replace it with something else, it would require a shootout between the full-size SPHINX with steel frame and a version of the CZ Accu-Shadow.

21
SP-01 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

Specifications: SPHINX SDP Compact Alpha

Caliber: 9×19 mm
Capacity: 15+1
Barrel Length: 3.75 inches
Overall Length: 7.4 inches
Height: 5.35 inches
Width: 1.37 inches
Weight: 27.5 ounces empty
MSRP: $1,295 (street price from $995 up)

Specifications: CZ P-07

Caliber: 9×19 mm
Capacity: 15+1
Barrel Length: 3.8 inches
Overall Length: 7.2 inches
Height: 5.3 inches
Width: 1.46 inches
Weight: 24.5 ounces empty
MSRP: $510 (street price from $439 up)

26
P-07 LEFT, SPHINX RIGHT

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
(I’m only rating the SPHINX here, as the P-07 was already reviewed by TTAG. I’ll just add that the new version of the P-07 is unquestionably even better than the previous version.)

Accuracy: * * * * *
From a compact pistol, this thing is a tack driver for sure.

Ergonomics: * * * * * 
Amazing. Grip ergos are [adjustable] perfection. Controls placement is great for me.

Reliability: (not rated)
I don’t feel that I put enough rounds through this pistol (about 250) to really vet reliability personally. Although I had zero issues or hangups whatsoever and I’m fully confident in the CZ 75 design and SPHINX’s excellent reputation, I just don’t have enough personal experience here to feel comfortable rating it for reliability.

Customization: * * 
Obviously the swappable backstraps are great, but I don’t know of any aftermarket support for SPHINX in the U.S. yet. Replacement sights (not sure about possible compatibility w/ any CZ models), trigger components, custom work, holsters, etc. They’re all going to be hard to find.

Overall Rating: * * * *
Really freakin’ nice gun. Great shooter. Feels amazing in the hand. Very good looking. Costs a lot.

Recommended For You

85 Responses to Gun Review: SPHINX SDP Compact VS. CZ P-07

  1. The only thing I ask for in a self-defense gun is it reliable, maintainable, durable and combat accurate. I will normally buy the most cost effective alternative that means these criteria. That is why my 1911s are a Springfield MIlspec and a recently purchased RIA Commander in 10mm. I have the money to buy a Springfield from their custom shop or a Wilson Combat but I have no interest in spending that kind of money for pistol that I will be carrying around. I can spend the difference on ammo, more guns or gas to go to the great outdoors. So, knowing that that CZ makes excellent firearms, I would choose the CZ 07 over the Sphinx any day of the week without any review.

    • I think a lot of gun owners are like that, but plenty of us do pay for “luxury.” Whether it means a nice watch instead of a Casio, despite the fact that both tell time equally well, or a BMW instead of an econobox even if the econobox is more reliable and more efficient, or a really nice gun vs. a more utilitarian piece.

      …and the SPHINX most definitely is really nice. If you put both of these pistols on a table and asked random people which was the nicer, more expensive gun, they would all point at the SPHINX. Wouldn’t matter if they had never seen a pistol in real life before or if they’re a professional shooter, you can tell by the appearance and ‘presence’ that the SPHINX is a high-end piece. And many people WILL want to pay for that and in this case they’ll get what they pay for. It’s a nice gun.

      • True enough but I wasn’t making a recommendation or saying buying the high price spread was stupid. I was simply stating a preference. Your mileage and wallet may vary. There is also a pratical aspect to owning the less expensive pistol. If you are involved in a DGU you are probably never going to see the gun again. Would you rather surrender your $3K Wilson Combat or a $750 Springfield or a $400 RIA? (tip of the had to DG for this thought)

        • I’ve heard that plenty of times but the truth is that if a pistol saves my life then losing it afterwards is a small price to pay whether the gun cost me $300 or $2,000. I want to be protected by the best pistol for the job. That is, of course, a personal thing but for me it comes down to reliability and how well/easily I shoot it. I’m not going to sacrifice my ability to defend myself for fear of being out a little bit of extra money (and if it saves your life, $600, $1,500, $2,200 isn’t very much IMHO) in the off, off, off chance that I 1) have to actually fire a gun in a DGU and 2) there’s enough of a legal question around the validity of the shooting that the gun is confiscated and lost to me forever.

          …Additionally, if I’m actually on trial because for whatever reason the shooting is questionable (think George Zimmerman), you think I’m concerned about losing my $1,200 gun? No freakin way. …Plus, remember GZ’s Kel-Tec all over the news? Talk about embarrassing. I’d damn sure rather my H&K P7, which I do carry semi-often, was in those photos.

        • Not a Glock fan but how much more reliable do you think your really expensive pistol is than the $600 Glock? The cheap $hit AK gets you as dead as a really expensive AR and is probably more reliable under a wider range of environments. Judging functional quality by price isn’t always the best MOE.

        • I don’t have a strong association between price and reliability. Just trying to say that price isn’t going to prevent me from carrying a gun for fear that I may lose it. Irrespective of price, I’m going to carry what works best for me. My EDC is a Beretta Nano. $380. I’ve shot nearly all of the 9mm micro guns and chose this one because I shoot it the best, it conceals the best, and I trust its reliability. If the Kimber solo were the top in those categories I’d be carrying it instead. My “the Nano is too big for this situation” carry piece is a $199 Taurus TCP. I do have some expensive guns as well. BUT.. for the record… I paid exactly $600 for my H&K P7 so don’t tell me what’s “really expensive” compared to a $600 GLOCK 😉 …and a G20SF is my bear gun for hikes in the woods so let’s not pretend like I’m anti-GLOCK either haha…

        • I bought the RIA VZ for the back country gun. Full length guide rod and a bull barrel for $600. Are there tool marks, yep. Does shoot well, yep. Will it win me any style points down at the range, nope. But if I run into an angri Yogi he is going to die.

        • Dude, way more style points than my G20! I think those are great looking guns. Especially w/ the full accessory rail that’s flush with the muzzle. Love that look.

        • CZ (in its Dan Wesson line) has brought back the Razorback 1911 style 10mm this year. As much as I don’t trust any 1911 out of the box. that one tempted me for about three seconds.

        • Steve, if I had money growing out my ears I would already own a DW Titan: http://cz-usa.com/product/dw-elite-series-titan-10mm-black-adj-tritium-sights-rail-13-rd-mags/

          I’ve actually been shooting a Valor for a few months now and it’s an amazing pistol. Absolutely love it. I owned a Springfield Professional (the legit, Custom Shop guns they make for FBI HRT and others. Mine had the Nowlin barrel, etc) for a while and it’s a sweet pistol but if I were making that buying decision today I’d go with the Valor for every reason other than prestige. Valor review due out mid-late August.

      • High end watches are more accurate (Seiko automatics are really good for the price).

        BMWs are simply awesome (shop smart and you can get them for little money).

        Honestly I don’t use plastic fantastics (stick to M57s and CZ75s) but I am positively surprised that they used a metal trigger for once.

        • But Seiko Automatics aren’t at the “high end” of the watch market. They’re at the start of the quality watch range. Luxury watches start at around a thousand at the very low end and can cost as much as a house. I’m skeptical that a $200,000 Rolex is 1,000 times more accurate than a $200 Seiko. Or 1,000 times better in any other measure.

        • Carlos, that $200,000 Rolex is absolutely does one thing 1000 times better than the Seiko. Both owners might be insufferable douchebags, but the Rolex broadcasts that information at least a thousand times louder and more clearly.

        • wrt the watch thing – does that accuracy and precision really make a difference when you’re just trying to get to your dining reservation?

          A battle accurate handgun can DRT a BG just as well as a 1/2 MOA bbl.

        • I know someone who carries a Glock 19 routinely. He’s an immigrant from Europe so he knows about CZs. I may have influenced him some, since after seeing me use a bone-stock CZ full size and a compact, he apparently bought a stainless matte-finish 75. But he won’t carry it; to him it’s going to be a range queen. (Well, I tried…)

          (BTW although there are a few CZ reviews here, there doesn’t seem to be one for regular CZ-75s or CZ-75 compacts at all I don’t think anyone has reviewed the RAMI either [though memory could be failing me there].)

        • We Seiko guys aren’t douchebags even though there are high end Seikos (check out Grand Seiko).

          By high end I usually mean more quality than price.

          Also, a eastern european guy who prefers Glocks to CZs? First time for everything I guess. Most cops that I met complained about Glocks (Balkans).

        • He’s not Eastern European, he’s German. When he finally realized my “See Zee” was what he thought of as a “See Tset” (that being the German pronounciation of the letters’ names) he was effusive in praise for the brand.

      • Most people buy guns because they WANT them. Anyone can buy a Hi Point and be done with it. And I could make the same argument, because a Hi Point is also reliable – is a $500-$600 Glock $400 more reliable than a Hi Point? I think some people need to cut the crap. If you want the CZ, you needn’t bash the Sphinx so you can feel good about your decision. Conversely, if you want the Sphinx, don’t go trying to turn it into Ubergun to justify your decision to the crowd.

        Putting the two side-by-side for me was a no-brainer. The CZ feels cheaply made to me. So I bought the Spinx. I bought it a year ago, and shoot it nearly every week. Is it better than the CZ? I don’t care, actually. Is it more accurate? Actually, I believe it is. I don’t use this gun for defense, and that extra accuracy is important to me when I calculate my accuracy scores.

        • Right on. I own both and would buy them again. I am proud of both the Sphinx and the CZ and would purchase the CZ if I could only have one gun, for budget reasons. I also like my G19. If you like firearms and shooting nothing wrong with your decision on either.
          The Sphinx is a piece of art and the most accurate pistol OFTBox I have ever owned AND the has the best hold and grip too.

  2. P-07 at the LGS definitely has warping in the dust cover/locking block area on the right hand side. Turned me off to plastic CZ pistols as a whole.

    • Weird. I’ve had six different P-07/P-09’s through my hands — actually here in my safe, shooting them — in the last 18 or so months and all were flawless in this regard.

  3. Great write-up! I have CZ rifles and love the fact that they are extremely well made with close tolerances and also set triggers….they are tack drivers!

    I used to be a fan of DA handguns and owned a variety in a number of calibers. When Glocks first hit the market, I didn’t like the looks and yet now I am hooked! I don’t own a 9×19 any longer, the .40 and .45 are much better stoppers than the 9.

    If I were to consider either the Sphinx or the CZ and because I am price consious, I would go with the CZ. Proven, tested time and time again and for me for $1,295…there should absolutely be NO tool marks on the front of the slide…I am one who if buying perfection believes the Sphinx falls short of that on that merit alone.

    Thanks again for the professional comparison between the two.

    Bob

    • I’d have to say “OMG, oh no” to your caliber wars baiting. (and you can get the P-07 in fotay)

      …and just add that SPHINX should be considered proven and time-tested. They aren’t well-known in the U.S. but have been at the very top of the list for reliable, well-made pistols in Europe for 4 decades and are even used by some special forces teams.

  4. Nice writeup. I appreciate the “it’s a tossup” because in many cases, it truly is just a matter of individual preferences and tradeoffs.

    Given how lately there’s been a huge influx of new gun owners (Thanks Obama!) who probably don’t know the innards of a handgun, it might be worth considering using red arrows to point out particular structures of interest that are mentioned in text (e.g. the lug) and, where needed, identify which part comes from which handgun. Sometimes, it gets a little confusing when pictures shift orientation when the handguns look pretty similar. On some devices, the screensize makes it very difficult to see the details to figure out which is which. Anyway, this is good stuff.

    • I’ve owned one. No issues w/ the GLOCK 19. But it’s not the only functional pistol in the compact size range. These two pistols are very different from a GLOCK in their operation, controls, trigger, feel, etc. The pistol market isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of a thing.

      • Why does BMW even bother making cars? Everyone should just get a Honda Civic and be done with it. (sarc)

    • I have one and it’s a good, reliable gun. On the other hand, my CZ is just as reliable and more accurate. Feels better in my hand as well. If your happy with your G19, that’s great, but don’t tell others to be done with it. Some of us prefer other platforms.

      • Agreed, Jim. I’m new to Glock myself (just purchased a G30 Gen 4 about 6 months ago). Love the pistol, customized the way I want it, easy to shoot and maintain. BUT, I very much enjoy my SigSauer P228 and my S&W 686 just as much. Variety keeps this all very interesting.

        BTW, on the way out of the range tonight, I saw the Kriss Sphinx in the showcase and held it. Nice ergonomics. Fit my hand perfectly and had a nice balanced weight to it. $1,200 price tag is tough to swallow, and if I were to spend that much, would probably look at a SigSauer P229 Elite Compact (stainless) or H&K (anything) before making a final decision.

        Safe shooting…

  5. Nice write up of both guns. I laugh at the budget discussion though, as I ended up buying my first pistol recently, a clone of the CZ P01, a Turkish K2P by Sarsilmaz. Cost about $330 shipped, and it seems to be accurate and reliable for not much money. trigger seems pretty good, too, though I am far from an expert.

    • From what I’ve seen, the Sarsilmaz and Caniks are good guns. It is interesting that CZ replicas/copies/clones span the entire price gamut from less than a CZ to more than a CZ. …although I guess that’s the case with a lot of clones, like the entire market of 1911s that aren’t Colts…

      • I own two Caniks so far. One is a clone of the Jericho 941 semi-compact and the other is a lightweight version of the CZ75. Both are, after the break in period, dead-bang reliable and more accurate than I can shoot.

  6. Great review! This is exactly the kind of thing that we need more of: detailed side-by-side comparisons that actually show the difference (or lack thereof) rather than “everybody wins” with no technical substance whatsoever.

  7. Funny, moments before reading this post I literally just bought a Sphinx Alpha. No where near the $1200+ price… New, OTD was $950 at a LGS.

    I also own a CZ75 Compact worked up by Cajun Gun Works.

    Both platforms have been widely used for decades outside the U.S. So I have no doubts about reliability in either gun.

    I don’t get into the whole debate of brand-loyalty. I like to shoot and carry what works. My rotation changes between a 1911, Glock, M&P, XDS, CZ, etc.

    • Ditto Noah, I rotate between my G19, CZp07 and my Springfield LW champion. Depends on many factors, but trust them all when I walk out my door. Variety is the spice of life!!

    • Great comment, Noah. For me, this is about intangibles. I have a high appreciation for precision and fine craftsmanship. I also appreciate rugged reliability. In guns, the two rarely meet. So I have many different guns in my collection ranging from Sphinx, Beretta, to Sigs, to LionHeart and Glock.

      Is the Sphinx twice as reliable or accurate as these other guns? Do people really base their decisions on criteria like this? It’s silly.

      Is a Glock 3x more accurate than a Hi Point? No, then you’re wasting your money on the Glock! It just doesn’t make sense to base your decisions on stuff like that.

  8. They have changed a lot on the P07 since that first review. The slide, finish, trigger, hammer and polymer frame material were all revamped. Might be worth giving it another review? Personally I want to try it in .40 and see if those internal frame rails help to tame the recoil.

    • While I had both the new P-07 and previous gen P-07 here I also did a back-2-back comparison of them highlighting all of the differences. That’ll be a separate video (and MUCH shorter than this one haha) and write-up due out in a couple of weeks. It’s also just pointing out what the changes are and not really giving too much personal opinion on them.

      The really quick version of my personal opinion, though, is that I like the new sights better (metal and 3-dot vs. plastic and glock style U-outline rear), I like the new trigger shape better, and otherwise nothing really changed for my use. The size of the grip on the old version was just about perfect and the backstrap I prefer on the new version mimics the old gun almost exactly. The front cocking serrations aren’t something I typically use although I do like how they look. I do like the look of the metal finish a little bit better but like the old finish just fine. The new hammer looks cooler but isn’t better otherwise.

        • Small or medium. Can’t entirely decide. I wear size L gloves but like to have more ‘wrap’ around the grip in most cases. The exception is usually triggers with a short reach, where making the grip bigger can help me press the trigger more cleanly.

  9. P07 is a very high quality gun. I trust it more than my 92fs…and that’s saying something. Mine came with night sights and the extended barrel which was a surprise.

      • In short, it’s not more reliable or accurate than a Beretta 92fs. I sell guns and that’s just plain wrong. I own both pistols. If you like plastic guns, then the P-07 is “better”. If you like metal guns, you’ll prefer the Beretta. Comparing the two completely different guns and trying to make the case which one is better is a complete waste of time.

  10. Has some really sharp lines! I’ll give it that. Whether I’d spend 1G on it…. weeeell, I don’t know….

    Lot’s of reliable, accurate guns out there for half the price. Maybe they don’t have the looks, but do I really need to spend $500 more just for better looks?? Not like it comes with diamonds, gold, or mother-of-pearl.

  11. Tried some poly framed CZs, didn’t feel like a CZ. However, 75s keep following me home. Just got the CZ75B Omega. SWEET SHOOTER! Found a local gun shop with CZ mags cheaper than CZ, cheaper than Midway, even cheaper than Cheaper Than Dirt (See what I did there?). Got another 26 rounder “giggle stick” for range fun. Czechnology… I love it!

    • I hear you there. The P-07 I tried was certainly a capable gun, it just didn’t feel like a CZ to me. And 75s keep following me home too.

      • There are a couple of 26-round CZ mags. One is for the TS and I do believe it only fits in the TS due to its additional width. But, CZ part number 11109 is the 26-rounder that fits the 75 and 85 series.

        BTW, I’d highly suggest Mec-Gar mags for your CZs. Since Meg-Gar makes the factory one the quality is the same or better (I think the ‘zero friction’ follower in the nicer level MG ones is nicer than the CZ followers, and sometimes the finish is nicer than some of the CZ-branded ones) but the price is a lot lower. You can get them in 10-, 16-, 17-, and 19-round capacities. http://www.mec-gar.com/Magazines/CZ

        Also worth noting, the Mec-Gar branded .40 S&W mags are IDENTICAL to the 9mm mags except for the witness holes. Bodies are 100% identical including angle and gap between the feed lips, springs, followers, base plates, etc etc 100% identical. The reason I mention it is that you can often find the .40 S&W mags for even less, as they aren’t as popular. My pile of mags that I use with my SP-01 have a few .40 S&W ones mixed in there for that reason 😉

        The ProMag 30-round ones typically do not work. However, if you swap the follower out for a CZ or Mec-Gar follower they’re usually decently reliable.

        • The magazines I have for my Canik, also made by MG, is labeled both 9 and 40 and has the appropriate witness holes for both.

  12. “You see, in the 80′s SPHINX began producing pistols for the first time, and it did so by licensing the CZ 75 design.”

    Are you sure about that? From all I read, the commies forbid licensing of the CZ 75 design in the West, and apparently also forbid patenting thinking that they will be able to keep the design secret. It may have been different with all the Swiss drumming-up of neutrality (paid by laundering money stole from Jews for Nazis during WWII), but I think that it is more probable that Sphinx started making the clones with no consideration of licensing process, like Tanfoglio and others (and like Porsche with his VW vis-a-vis Tatra few decades before that – so nothing new for Czechs in this regard).

      • Thank you very much for the answer. I have read some time ago about the ITMs, but have completely forgotten about that party of CZ clones history.

        I wonder whether the covered hammer on Sphinx and uncovered on CZ has something to do with the mindset of its engineers regarding the guns’ use. I carry CZ 75D Compact (PCR) and I really like to have the option to manually cock the hammer if there is a time for it in self defense situation – mostly hoping that this would by itself take away the determination for any further malevolent intent of any crook, ultimately preventing the need to really fire the gun. While carry license is shall issue in the Czech Republic, there is next-to no possibility to get a carry permit in Switzerland, so showing a resolve to use the gun by cocking the hammer (without actually loosing the round in chamber) is something that has probably never been considered by the Swiss engineers.

  13. Initially I was very keen on Sphinx SDP Compact. But I end up buying P239 SAS gen 2 for the following reasons :

    1. After market accessories such as laser light, holsters, sight etc is very hard to find.
    2. As the author pointed out it is rather big size for concealed carry.
    3. Not as value oriented as CZ P07, which is equally capable pistol.
    4. Most importantly, the design of the gun looks like a blocky robocop pistol. It is not as sleek and streamline as P239. It might be a good pistol but ugly in look compared to Sig pistol.
    5. The design of Sphinx is rather basic compared to more advance design like the lastest HK VP9 or PPQ M2

    • Nope. Exact same reason — ejector is in a slightly different place so it hits the back of the SP-01’s slide. I didn’t really see a reason (a demand for the answer) to attempt to swap the sear cages and such so I just stopped when the slides wouldn’t swap.

  14. I’m confused as to why you’re calling the barrel lockup methods “Glock-style” and “CZ 75-style”? AFAIK, what you call Glock-style is usually credited to SIG from the P220, and the CZ 75-style dates back to Browning. Why make up terms?

    • They aren’t “terms,” they’re easily understandable references / analogies. The reason I mention the CZ 75 is obvious, as this whole write-up is about how the SPHINX compares to the CZ. As most people feel it’s a fancy P-07, I specifically wanted to point out how much of it is actually CZ 75 in design, not P-07. You’ll note that I also compared both brands to the 1911 and the Browning Hi-Power, so you should be pretty well satisfied on the Browning front.

      Anyway the reason I used GLOCK for the example is because of how well-known the design is to everybody. That’s also why you suggested that this locking method should be credited to the P220, by the way. If it weren’t a matter of suggesting something that’s commonly known, what you would credit the design to was the first gun (AFAIK) that used it, Charles Petter’s French 1935S.

      • It’s true that Petter is properly credited for modifying the Browning design to lock up using the ejection port, but I don’t know that the 1935S is the best predicate design example since it uses a barrel link and the locking lug is small and rounded. The P220 in contrast uses the now common large, rectangular locking lug and linkless barrel.

        I’ve seen it called the Petter modification, Petter-Browning, Petter-Browning-SIG (and other variations), and many calling it a SIG lockup, but never called a GLOCK style lockup. I don’t see why a reader would be so unfamiliar with SIGs that it would be necessary to call it a GLOCK style lockup when the SIG beat GLOCK to the market by a few years.

        • It isn’t necessary. Just a choice I made. There’s a limit to how pedantic a review can be before it gets annoying.

          I also would have used GLOCK as the example for polygonal rifling, despite having an H&K P7 in my safe and knowing darn well that GLOCK wasn’t the first. The majority of modern, semi-automatic pistols use the barrel hood in ejection port locking design and I simply chose GLOCK as the example because they are the most prevalent pistols in the country. I’d also say that it’s something that defines the entire brand, whereas SIG makes plenty of pistols that do not lock up like this. So now by using SIG as the example you have to go further into specifying particular models.

          BTW hope I’m not being too much of a jackass here. I do appreciate your feedback and totally understand your point! I just know if I had said SIG-like than somebody would have commented about “why not GLOCK?” haha. Ultimately there’s no deep meaning in it and it’s just what I chose to write.

      • So, hope you see this because the comments wouldn’t let me reply to your latest comment:

        Thanks for the exchange! I can’t say you’ve won me over to your perspective, but it’s a reasonable one and a well-reasoned one. It’s clichéd to say “agree to disagree”, but I think that phrase is the right one to use here. I appreciate that you’ve shared your line of thinking.

        I didn’t see any jackassery anywhere in this exchange: just two gun enthusiasts discussing things on an intellectual plane elevated above any 2 year old or gun grabber.

        P.S., I think I forgot to thank you for writing a thorough comparison. It was especially apropos for me because I’m taking a close look at the P-07 as a non-summer carry piece. So, thanks!

        • Nice. I hear the P-07 is very SIG-like in its barrel lockup design 😉

          …to reply to a sub-comment that doesn’t have its own reply button, just use the reply button on the most recent comment above it that does. In this case that would have been the reply link on your previous comment and your follow up would have gone under my previous comment in-line…

  15. Great, honest review. If I could get it in wack ass Cali, I would get the Sphinx. Looks like I’ll have to settle for the P-01. Not digging the P-07. Great review though! Thank you.

  16. I like how people compare a copy to an original in which the copy was a bit polished than the original and more expensive. Yet, the performance were the same in every respect with the occasional going back to the finish in which case the more expensive one was preferred. Either way, saying a gun that is more expensive is better somehow like that compared to a car or a watch is on the side of error. No one is tallking about bragging how expensive their gun is like that of Kimber or Sig owners(and did you see how many would still use their Kimber’s even if it fails)or how others look at someone passing by with their expensive cars. Frankly, CZ could care less if they make expensive copies of their own guns. Maybe it’s flattering to them. People will buy a more expensive Sphinx, but more people will buy CZ’s not because it is cheaper, but because it’s a CZ.

  17. Just purchased the Sphinx Sub-Compact and it is without a doubt, one of the finest ‘concealed-carry’ designs ever produced. People who weigh-in about price should remember that quality costs. So do importation fees.
    A Kia will get you to the market and a Cadillac will too … (assuming you don’t get hit on the way there.)

  18. Excellent review. I commend you on your objective comparisons and lack of bias. It’s refreshing. That said, it’s simply not possible to reason with all people in justifying higher price tags. There are a lot of intangibles. CZ is a high volume manufacturer. Sphinx is not. There are a lot of efficiencies struck in volume that Sphinx simply will never be able to compete with just like the excellent but expensive Rohrbaugh R9.

    What you didn’t seem to comment on was the difference in the barrel to slide fit on the two pistols. I’ll admit that I’ve not handled the Sphinx personally, but have so with several P-07s. I like the P-07 but they have generally sloppy barrel to slide fit when locked up in battery. I suspect the Sphinx is bank vault tight, or very near that in order to achieve it’s near match grade levels of accuracy. That takes time and money.

    Also, both magazines are true double stacks. The CZ simply uses a stepped down interior from a mag sized to accommodate double stack .40 cal. The Sphinx is clearly using a standard double stack 9mm mag. No material difference in internal dimensions.

    I am very drawn to the Sphinx. I think they picked up where SIG left off many years ago and are filling a niche that appeals to the finer tastes and those who appreciate paying extra for a near perfectly fit fighting gun. I appreciate Glocks. They are a tool, but they simply do not compare to my SIGs and HKs for precision and accuracy. That may not matter to 98% of consumers. I’m really looking forward to examining the Sphinx myself, but I think I’m more interested in their subcompact. That’s interesting, although I truly wish they put a solid 3.5″ barrel on the subcompact, less than that really starts to sap the steam out of any cartridge.

    Best,
    Tim

    • I agree! I see a lot of comments asking, is it twice as good as a Glock? Well, is a Glock 3x as good as a Hi Point? No, it’s not. It doesn’t shoot 3x better and it’s not 3x as accurate and it’s not 3x as reliable. So why doesn’t everyone who owns a Glock own a Hi Point?

      Now those who asked that question can now understand why some people prefer the Sphinx.

      I now own two of these guns and really like my Krypton Edition.

  19. “No, I don’t care but some people definitely do. As you can see above, SPHINX did polish out the underside of the slide where it drags along the top round in the magazine whereas CZ did not. ”

    This line betrays ignorance of how a hammer fired gun operates and is typical of the reason I don’t put much stock in TTAG reviews.

    That surface is polished because it slides across the hammer face during recoils.

  20. Jeremy,

    Great review, thanks. Very helpful insights on both pistols. I think that the P-01 would be a great gun to compare against the Sphinx since it has an aluminum lower and has a dedicated decocker.

  21. Gran comparativa,simplemente excelente.Debo decir que a todos nos gusta que el arma sea Precisa.Es una condición involuntaria de todos los tiradores.Grandes armas son CZ ! además son muy,muy lindas !
    Y en plastico la mas linda es CZ !

  22. Do you happen to know if the P07 and SDP will fit the same holsters? Really want a Gcode holster for my P07 and they have one for the SDP and I’m wondering if it would fit well or be too lose.

  23. “Yes, CZ 75 mags fit in the SDP. In fact, the SDP’s mags may be identical to CZ’s compact 75-series magazines (e.g. for the P-01) but I don’t have one handy to test at this time. The factory and Mec-Gar-branded full size mags from my SP-01 fit and functioned perfectly in the SPHINX.” i have a quick question. You mentioned that magazine for sp01 fits sphinx sdp compact. I check mec-gar’s website, they don’t have any 15 rd magazine for Sp01.i was told by some in the czforum that 16 rd is too long and 14 rd is too short. So i was womdering if you could clarify which model of CZ magazine works with sphinx sdp compact?
    Thankyou.
    Eddy

  24. i have a quick question. You mentioned that magazine for sp01 fits sphinx sdp compact. I check mec-gar’s website, they don’t have any 15 rd magazine for Sp01.i was told by some in the czforum that 16 rd is too long and 14 rd is too short. So i was womdering if you could clarify which model of CZ magazine works with sphinx sdp compact?
    Thankyou.)
    Eddy

  25. Have owned over a hundred pistols and revolvers in 45 years of carry. I learned a long time ago to stick on what you feel is working for you. I have gone back to the Glock 19/26 combo. They function better than guns I have owned that were 3 times the price. Also a Kahr PM9 goes in my pocket the past 5 years, it’s still accurate and shoots anything I run in it. And for around the house, I carry a couple extra mags, and feel just fine with it.
    I could see a SP01, or a new Commander just for kicks, but Glocks have been as reliable as my old revolvers were in the 70’s. And another new gun comes out every week, having had an expensive gun scratched to death by Law enforcement some 30 years ago, for breaking up a fight, I can tell you it sucks to loose a 2 thousand dollar gun.

  26. I don’t where you buy your guns at , but I bought a new Sphinx compact off Gunbroker for less than $800.00 including the shipping and FFL transfer. I handled both the P07 and the Sphinx in a local gun shop. I bought the Sphinx because I liked how it felt in my hand more than I did The P07.

  27. I know this review has some age on it, but as I have just found it, and I have a thought that is just gnawing at me, I had to post it. I see so many people on here buying this Sphinx because its “made like a Swiss watch”, or “higher quality cost more”, and “locks up like a bank vault”, and I am thinking CZ makes duty grade weapons foremost. They make carry gun models, yes and sell to everyone, but they have always been sellers to law enforcement, and military agents. CZ’s have been used in many military (whole armies) and police units (many elite) around the world for many years, and must function reliably in dirty, muddy, sandy, hot or freezing conditions. Anyone who knows military arms knows that a certain amount of loose tolerance must be built into a design to function in very harsh conditions, and I am wondering if the Sphinx has been exposed to anywhere near the same amount of hard use as the CZ firearms, not a small handful of highly disciplined special teams, but thousands of GI Joe’s and street cops. I looked up the Sphinx on wiki, but most of the (few) agencies it said used the pistol when looked up separate, shows FN, Glock, and others, never the Sphinx, so it must not be very common issue. CZ on the other hand is legion, even US Delta force uses a CZ. If your gun is a range/safe queen, paper puncher, or night stand gun that is going to be forever spotless clean and fair weather used, It won’t matter, and a super tight gun will be more accurate, But if I am buying a gun that may one day be needed to save my life after I have been kicked down the street and thrown into a mud hole, or after a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood, etc., I will take the “Mil-Spec” proven every time. I just don’t think “Swiss watch” tolerance is needed or wanted, especially from a country that has never fought a war at all since the invention of smokeless powder. Yes the design is basically the same and is proven, but these are two very different manufacturing ideologies at work here. I’ll take the CZ, FN, Glock, or Beretta for unknown and hard use, and I don’t have 800-1000 extra dollars to spend on the luxury. Maybe some of you do. Thank you for the great article BTW.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *