Gun Review: SCCY CPX-4 .380 ACP Pistol

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

Dan Z. for TTAG

There are an awful lot of very good choices these days in sub-compact and micro-compact pistols. We’re living in a golden age of concealed carry options designed to appeal to the millions of Americans who now have concealed carry permits or live in constitutional carry states.

The fact is, not everyone can or wants to spend $300 or more on a concealed carry gun. And thanks to companies like SCCY (pronounced ‘sky’) they don’t have to. The question is, can those looking for an affordable personal defense gun find something that’s reliable?

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

Dan Z. for TTAG

Another issue is not everyone wants to carry a 9mm pistol. Recoil sensitivity can be an issue for some, as can hand strength. Racking the slide on a small 9mm handgun can be a chore if your grip is weaker than most.

And while some have derided the effectiveness of .380 ammunition, improvements in self-defense loads in recent years mean carrying a personal defense pistol chambered in .380 ACP (AKA 9mm short) is a very viable option.

SCCY makes ultra-affordable have developed a following. They’re small, affordable options with decent capacity. You can read Nick’s review of the SCCY CPX-2 9mm pistol here. he found it an inexpensive, reliable option for personal defense.

After producing two popular 9mm options, SCCY came out with the CPX-3 a doppleganger of their Parabellum guns, but chambered in .380. Now, in a logical evolution, SCCY’s new CPX-4 adds ambidextrous manual safeties to the safety-less SCCY CPX-3.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

The CPX-4’s frame-mounted safety lever. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

The CPX-4 is a polymer-framed double action only semi-automatic pistol. It comes packed with three 10-round double stack magazines, two with flush-fit baseplates and one with a pinky extension.

The SCCY CPX-4 ships with three 10-round capacity magazines, two with flat bases and one with a pinky extension. (Dan Z for TTAG)

The CPX-4 also ships with a trigger lock and two keys.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

The SCCY CPX-4 has ambidextrous frame mounted manual safety levers. Its deep rear slide serrations make for a sure grip when racking the slide. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

Again, the only difference between the CPX-3 and the new CPX-4 is the addition of a frame safety. The double-action SCCY CPX-3 relied on a long, relatively heavy trigger pull to prevent accidental discharges.

But that’s not enough for many concealed carriers who simply don’t feel comfortable packing a pistol that doesn’t have a manually-actuated safety. Hence the CPX-4’s ambidextrous manual safety levers.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

The CPX-4’s trigger guard has a slight undercut for a higher grip. Ergonomic finger grooves provide a good grip on the gun. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

As for the trigger, it’s virtually the same as the one on the CPX-3. It’s a looong, relatively heavy, consistent 9 pound trigger pull, though it’s notably smooth. As with most double-action triggers, you’ll have to let the trigger all the way out to reset it for a second shot.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

The SCCY CPX-4’s molded stippling and finger extension base magazine. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

The CPX-4 has a slight undercut in the trigger guard and molded texturing in the grip. That texturing could be more aggressive. While sufficient if your hand is dry, if it’s sweaty or otherwise wet, the grip can feel slick.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

The SCCY CPX-4 comes with two flush fit magazines and one with a polymer extension for your pinky. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

The molded finger grooves mitigate slickness in the grip, but they come with their own level of controversy. Some gun people are downright militant in their opposition to molded finger grooves. I don’t count myself amongst ’em.

I haven’t run into a grooved gun that I couldn’t accommodate (or that couldn’t accommodate me). The SCCY CPX-4 feels perfectly comfortable in my (small) hand.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

The .380 ACP CPX-4 is an internal hammer-fired double action only semi-automatic pistol. It’s polymer grip is built on an aluminum alloy receiver. The barrel and receiver are machined from bar stock. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

SCCY offers the CPX-4 with two slide options; either a black Nitride finish like our review gun or a natural stainless steel finish. The CPX-3 .380 is offered in a variety of grip colors that aren’t black, but not so with the new CPX-4. At least not yet.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

Dan Z. for TTAG

The CPX-4 has standard 3-dot sight system. The front sight is fixed and the rear is dovetailed for windage adjustment.

Ease of disassembly is good, though you’ll need an empty case or tool to pull the takedown pin. (Dan Z for TTAG)

While takedown is simple, you’ll need to use an empty case or other tool to pry the takedown pin out. Reassembly couldn’t be easier.

CPX-4 Accuracy and Reliability

The CPX-4 features what SCCY calls a Roebuck Quad Lock system. They bill it as a way to fix the barrel to the slide by bracing it at four points when the pistol is in battery, effectively forming one solid piece. The idea is to minimize any slop or play, improving accuracy.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

The Roebuck Quadlock barrel Dan Z. for TTAG

In practice, it’s hard to see the effect of this feature. It may well do exactly what SCCY claims. But in a pistol as small as the CPX-4 with a combination of a short sight radius (barrel length is a fraction under three inches) and a long, heavy trigger pull, the CPX-4’s accuracy is comparable to other subcompact .380 pistols.

We fed the gun a variety of range and personal defense loads from Armscor, Winchester, Remington and American Eagle, among others. Of the more than 750 rounds we fed the gun, we experienced only one failure to go fully back into battery. That appeared to be the fault of a bad round.

We’ve read about SCCY pistols not performing well with come brands of ammo. We didn’t find one in the brands we tested, though you should thoroughly test any concealed carry gun with the personal defense ammunition you intend to use. We’ve seen more expensive guns than the CPX-4 balk at certain rounds while being perfectly reliable with others.

As for group size, I was able to get consistent 2.75 to 3-inch groups at 15 feet. That’s more than accurate enough for the CPX-4’s self defense intended use.

SCCY CPX-4 .380 concealed carry pistol manual safety

Dan Z. for TTAG

SCCY Firearms gives gun buyers some incredibly affordable options in concealed carry pistols. Both their 9mm and .380 pistols are widely available for about $150 retail. That’s exceptionally affordable.

With its easy-shooting, ease of operation, and 10+1 round capacity, the CPX-4 gives anyone looking for a .380 ACP CCW pistol with a frame safety a good option to consider.

Specifications: SCCY CPX-4 .380 ACP Pistol

Caliber: .380 ACP
Capacity: 10+1
Barrel Length: 2.96″ (1:16 right-hand twist)
Overall Length: 5.70″
Width: 1.26″
Height: 4.9″
Weight: 15 oz (empty)
Slide Finish: Natural stainless or black nitride
MSRP: $305 (about $150 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish: * * * *
Like their earlier pistols, SCCY makes a gun with better build quality than you’d expect in a handgun in this price range. Metal parts are nicely finished and there were no sharp molding edges on the zytel polymer parts.

Ergonomics: * * * *
With a .380 auto pistol‘s lighter recoil spring, the CPX-4 is easy to rack and comfortable to shoot. The molded grip texture could be grippier. While it’s comfortable in the hand, it can get slick when wet.

Accuracy: * * *
Accurate enough for its intended use. It produces very reasonable group sizes at personal defense range, which is what the CPX-4 is designed for.

Concealability: * * * *
It’s small and light enough. The CPX-4 is a tad on the wide side (compared to similar .380 concealed carry pistols), but not enough to be a problem.

Customize This: * * *
There’s no accessory rail for a light or laser, but there’s at least one aftermarket laser available I’ve found. The rear sight is dovetailed and there are some aftermarket options out there, too.

Overall: * * * *
The CPX-4 is an incredible value in an easy-to-shoot concealed carry pistol. If you’re someone for whom racking a 9mm concealed carry gun might be a problem, the CPX-4’s easier-racking slide may be just what you’re looking for. And if you feel better carrying a pistol with a manual safety, the SCCY CPX-4 will put your mind at ease.

 

comments

  1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Funny thing…

    Everyone I know who had a .380 (both LEOs and non-sworn) has sold them in favor up “upgrading” to mini Glocks, Sigs, or Shields. Nobody in my entire circle of friends and range buddies has .380 anymore.

    Even I don’t. I still have a bag of 150 rds in my inventory, and nobody wants them, not even for free. I’ve even tried to pawn them off for free to strangers at the range, because it would be a shame to dispose of good ammo.

    .380 seems to be yesterday’s mini. 9mm is today’s mini. At least in my corner of the world.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Haz,

      I have been planning on purchasing a S&W M&P 380 Shield EZ as a pocket gun for those times that I will carry on client premisis or other situations where a high-level of concealment is necessary.

      Should I be reconsidering?

      I do not understand why the 380 has become so unpopular.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Just guessing here. But 9×19 is about the cheapest center fire pistol ammo out there.

        1. avatar SoCalJack says:

          It’s the main reason, I stopped shooting my LC380, ammo was rarely on sale. But 9mm, there was aways a deal somewhere.

      2. avatar ColoradoKid says:

        The Shield 380 EZ is a great little pistol, if 380 is your thing. My wife loves it because she can rack it easily. I like it because it’s fun to shoot. My CC is a Shield 9mm. The 380 is not dead, but the target market seems to be narrowing.

      3. avatar tdiinva says:

        The 380 EZ is not a pocket gun. It is a compact with a 3.67″ barrel. That is the appropriate size for the .380 round. The popular pocket pistols are too small to make effective use of the round and have a limited choice for suitable ammunition. Should you be unfortunate enough to actually use your gun in anger any round can be lethal but it is better to be using more effective ammunition than not.

        I am not big fan of .380 but it was effective enough to start the First World War.

      4. avatar Knobbytire says:

        It pays to try handling different guns. My daughter handled a .380EZ, a Glock 9mm and a Walther PPS LE (9mm) before settling in on the Walther. The EZ didn’t feel right to her, the Glock was too hard to rack, but the Walther was just easy enough to rack and felt right. It pays to just try it out at the gun store, if you can.

        I reload ammo and have found oodles of spent 9mm brass at the range, so even lower operating costs of 9mm is a bonus.

      5. avatar enuf says:

        Giving up .380 mouse guns? Why ever for? Has there been a sudden drop in mouses attacking folks?

        I still carry my Kel-Tec P3AT .380 every day. It is a pocket pistol for the shortest range self defense, and I get that loud and clear. For that purpose the gun and the cartridge fit the bill.

        When I can carry larger, less easy to conceal or carry openly it is a Ruger SR9, full size 9mm on my belt. If I am carrying the SR9 the Kel-Tec is still in my pocket.

        I’ve no plans to give up carrying either gun or both.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          There are now 9mm for that. My Beretta Nano is 5.6″ x 4.17″ x 0.9″ . It fits nicely in my pocket.

      6. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        @LifeSavor,

        My preference is 9mm, but some may still prefer .380 ACP. Get what you’ll use, and train to use it proficiently. As one of my LEO friends once said when a group of us started getting into the 9mm vs. .380 argument:

        “Hey, I don’t want to ever by shot by either caliber.”

        1. avatar LazrBeam says:

          If I’m not mistaken, same caliber just different projectile weights and amounts of propellant.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Yes, you’re correct, of course. He probably said something more like “I wouldn’t want to get shot by either one”.

      7. avatar Russian Bot #5 says:

        The Shield .380 EZ is a nice gun, I just ordered one without the thumb safety for my wife ($290 shipped – $50 Rebate). It really isn’t a pocket gun though. In fact unless you are going to carry it in a cargo pocket I really don’t think it’s even possible.

        Compared to traditional .380 pocket pistols like the Ruger LCPII, the S&W .380 EZ is much bigger. Believe it or not, the 9mm Shield is actually smaller than the .380 EZ and to me the only reason to buy one is if the person shooting it either lacks the hand strength to run a 9mm or if they are a new shooter that is recoil shy. There are a lot of excellent guns like the Glock 43, Walther PPS M2 and the Kahr CM-9 that are smaller.

        For pocket carry I’d recommend the Kahr CM-9. It’s what I usually pocket carry and I think it’s the smallest 9mm that is both reasonably priced and able to be shot accurately. I also recommend using a DeSantis Mag-Packer in your other pocket with a factory 7 round magazine.

        If you just want a good single column 9mm I think the PPS M2 LE is the best of the bunch, but you can’t go wrong with the Shield (which currently has a $50 rebate) or the G43.

        1. avatar Dani in WA says:

          After handing a Kahr PM9 my son opted for the Wolfie in .23Max for his EDC. It’s a revolver that has a 13-round punch in both magazines and is easy to rack the slide when having to use both fingers.

        2. avatar joel says:

          wow Dani… just wow…

        3. avatar Dani in WA says:

          @joel, Robot test!
          There is also a movie reference, a little obscure, but there.

      8. avatar BusyBeef says:

        9mm costs less, has the same capacity, and has substantially better performance, even out of short barreled pistols.

        https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/self-defense-ammo-ballistic-tests/

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      It’s true that 9mms have shrunk almost to the size of yesterday’s .380s but when you want an underwear gun (i.e. deep concealment) nothing quite beats the size and weight of the latter.

      I tend to carry my P365 now when I don’t want something bigger but there’s a place in my safe (and on my ankle, at times) for a .380.

      1. avatar BusyBeef says:

        .32 ACP > .380 ACP for an underwear gun.

    3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Haz, not a fan of .380 ACP/ 9mm Kurz, but I am a fan of the Walther PP series of pistols. Sometimes it’s just the firearm.

    4. avatar duroSIG556R says:

      I’ll take your .380 ammo. I love shooting my Sig P238, it’s an accurate and small BUG. With proper shot placement, .380 will get the job done.

    5. avatar Whoopie says:

      Yup, Paul Harrell convincingly demonstrated that the .380 works just fine in longer barrel mid-size guns like the Bersa Thunder but it falls way short when fired in tiny pocket pistols like the Ruger LCP. Any barrel shorter than 2.5″ and the bullets lack penetration or expansion.

    6. avatar L says:

      bclynn96[at]gmail.com

      if you still need to get rid of those pills

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Sure…if you’re located near me in SoCal, you can pick them up for free. Shipping them requires costly ORMD designation, unfortunately.

  2. avatar James Campbell says:

    A current active thread on Walther Forums is titled “Why no Love for the .380acp”. Even the values of top quality German Walther are in the dump due to .380acp disinterest. This is from someone who has two Walther P5s with 7.65×21 (30 Luger) barrels. Zero .380s in my firearm collection.

    1. avatar Prndll says:

      I used to own a PK380 and ended up getting rid of it for not ever getting through a single magazine without malfunction. It was truly heartbreaking because it’s something I always wanted. But after getting it, I felt like it simply had design issues. I know that many PK380 owners never have any problems but the one I got just wasn’t any good.

      1. avatar VicRattlehead says:

        My wife has a PK380 and loves it; shoots DARN GOOD with it too.
        We started having feeding issues with it and I tried everything to get it to work right. We finally replaced the magazine and BAM, back to functioning perfectly. It just seems like it’s going to be finicky about magazine condition so we’ll just keep new spares on hand and swap the out periodically.

        1. avatar Prndll says:

          Replacing the mags might have helped. I have my doubts but I am glad you guys can be satisfied with yours. I just wasn’t. I even ran snap caps through both of the mags I had and it really looked like the malfunctions I had were more about the extractor. But it’s ok. There are plenty of good firearms out there just waiting for me.

  3. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    What does that offer that the Ruger LCP doesn’t?

    1. Four more rounds in the double stack magazine, though the CPX-4 is, of course, wider. And a safety for those who won’t carry without one.

      The SCCY is also about $50 less retail.

      The LCP is a pretty good pocket gun. The CPX-4 is probably too big. Two pretty different guns, really.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        A legitimate point…

  4. avatar David Deplorable says:

    With all the options out there for 380 pocket pistols, a 9 pound trigger it’s just something we don’t have to settle for anymore.

    Life’s too short for a crappy trigger.

    Of course if you’re constrained by a limited budget, I guess you make do with what you can get.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      9 pounds means it’s a deliberate action to fire the gun.

      Long, heavy triggers have a place, especially with appendix carry…

  5. avatar jwm says:

    It’s soon to be 2020. Not 1920. Who still makes a semi auto that needs a tool to take it down?

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Well, hi-point I believe… I guess if you think your customers are unlikely to ever actually do it, there’s no reason not to make it difficult.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I know I’ve never shot a Hi Point. But I can’t recall ever having one in my hands.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          You would remember it.

          It is so top-heavy your first instinct after picking it up is to think someone is playing a cruel joke on you.

          You would know why so many ‘bangers hold them sideways in crime videos, they naturally want to flop over on its side.

          Your first thought would be “Who the fuck designed this POS?”…

    2. avatar Moltar, plain simple Moltar says:

      Actually you can take em down with a fingernail, pocket knife, car key, corner of an ID card, and just about anything that’ll grip that lil slot in the pin.

      1. avatar VicRattlehead says:

        Yup.
        Used to have a SCCY and never once needed anything other than my fingernail to pull that pin. I always found the takedown on it to be extremely simple and straightforward.

  6. avatar WJW says:

    I sometimes carry a Beretta 84 or a Taurus 638 because of physical issues that flare up. Rather carry a .380 that I can hit with than a 9 or 45 that I’m less sure of hitting with. My preferred choice is a full size metal-frame 9mm but sometimes that doesn’t work.

    1. avatar Dani in WA says:

      Our old Beretta 84 just feels so nice in the hand.

  7. avatar Will Drider says:

    Roebuck Quad Lock: Roebuck IS SCCY! Owner, CEO, designer, tool and die maker. No metal tabs jammed in poly, it has a imbedded receiver from cut from bar stock. I went looking to see what type rifling method they use based on your muzzle photo, I still don’t know but they aren’t worried about “barrel crowns”.

  8. avatar WI Patriot says:

    SCCY make a nice little pistol, and for the price, it’s probably one of the nicest available…

  9. avatar FunGunner says:

    Restrike capable? Worth mentioning for a DAO, I think.

    1. avatar Kevin says:

      Great question. Looking on their site, it doesn’t seem to say. Just “Double-action only, internal hammer with inertial firing pin to prevent accidental discharge if dropped.”

      I’m guessing it probably does have restrike capability if it’s truly DAO.

    2. avatar Moltar, plain simple Moltar says:

      Yes it is double strike capable. It’s a straight DAO squeeze trigger and it’ll cock and drop the internal hammer.

      1. avatar FunGunner says:

        That’s a plus then. One slight disappointment I had with my LCP and original LC9 were that they had triggers that felt DAO but no restrike capability. At one point I considered a Sig P290RS for just that reason.

  10. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Best pistol I ever owned paid $20 for back in 1962, carried it for years. Sold it for 50 bucks, wish I hadn’t done that. It was a Italian Army officer’s Beretta .380 from WWll, had lanyard loop. Great shooter, rode real well in back pocket of tight fitting Levies with blue bandana on top. Now I want a baby rock Island Armory 1911 .380 for Christmas. My current edc is a Phoenix Arms .25acp. The philosophy behind that is that it will be more than sufficient at any range that qualifies unequivocally as self-defense. Farther away than that time to duck, run and pray.

  11. avatar Randy Jones says:

    I know two ladies who chose SCCYs for their personal defense guns. Both love them and have gotten pretty good with them. They have eaten every type of ammo without issue. They are too small for me, but to each their own.

  12. avatar Rubiconcrossed says:

    Double action only pistols that are that small that have 9lb trigger pulls are good for only across the bar room table gun battles because they are extremely hard to shoot accurately. If the bad guy is shooting at you from any distance away the the double action only pistol is about a useless as tits on a boar. I quite carrying a high quality Seecamp for that very reason.

  13. avatar former water walker says:

    Well my gorgeous wife now wants to have a little 380. Not a fan of the Taurus Spectrum even oh so cheap. Terrible reviews. I’ve held a SCCY and thought FAT. I had a Taurus which ran but hated HP ammo. I ran Pow’rBall,round nose & Critical Defense well. Out of production. Probably get an ubiquitous LCP. Honestly I’ve tried to steer her to 9mm with waaaaay cheaper ammo & availability. Mebbe I’ll rent a SCCY to see if it’s worth anything…

  14. avatar enuf says:

    I wish an American gun maker would bring out a double-stack .380 with an external hammer, decock lever, SA/DA trigger, built on a polymer frame to reduce the weight. This wouldn’t necessarily be a pocket gun, but still more concealable and more barrel length and more rounds in a double stack magazine to play with.

    1. avatar moreadventuresonotherplanets says:

      Beretta has made one for years only it has an aluminum frame. The weight difference is not that much compared to a plastic frame and you will not throw up looking at it.

      CZ used to make one as well.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        i’druther an 82 than an 83.
        and they ain’t plastic.

        1. avatar Someone says:

          That’s right. The CZ Vz. 82 was 9 Makarov, the civilian version CZ83 either 7.65 or 9mm short Browning (.32 ACP and .380 ACP). All steel. The CZ83 was my first carry pistol.

  15. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I like Sccy pistols and have thought buying one because……well, just because dammit.

    Haven’t tried the 380 but liked the 9 and I think it strikes me as slight better made ( or feeling) than the Keltec P11.

    My LGS tells me they generally sell 1 Sccy for every 4 guns sold in their store. Guns not just handguns. Lotta folks looking for an inexpensive pistol with a full grip and a decent capacity.

    The 380 works as a first gun for a lot of folks as they get used to shooting an auto.

    While more expensive than 9mm, it runs about 14 bucks for ball ammo around here.

    I won’t badmouth 380 as I carry an LCP everyday . If 7 rounds is comforting, then 11 rounds must be luxurious.

    Choice is good.

  16. avatar ",keep yur paws off my dead guu" possum says:

    Thank you for this article, I am n the market forva bew gunm and Im seeking information on value&price. While this gunm certainly fits the bill, Im not sure I could get the accuracy that was stated, its not quite accurate enuff for me. That many rounds. In a package that small is tempting

  17. avatar Prndll says:

    I would not mind at all adding a Beretta 84FS and a Walther PPK/S to the line up. But that’s about as far as my personal interest in 380 goes at this point. It has it’s place just like 22LR but my main focus really is 9mm and higher.

  18. avatar ronnie says:

    As far as pistols shooting certain brands better than others it may just be to manufacturing tolerances of both the pistols and the ammo manufacturer. A .001″ here and there can add up and then add in how metal expands at temp and problems can arise. For example if a certain pistol was made to the minimum tolerance and some ammo is at maximum tolerance there it can be a tight fit.

  19. avatar jstert says:

    i am mostly a revolver guy. i recently rented a s&w shield ez with safety and safety less sccy cpx3, along with a taurus spectrum and s&w bodyguard to try some sub $300 380acp pistols. i previously tried, and disliked, the ruger lcp. i also brought a favorite taurus 85 38sp along as a baseline comparison tool. i ended up getting the shield ez because it has a safety, and is easier to shoot, reload and handle. i liked the cpx3 alot but s&w’s $50 veterans rebate made the ez the better deal. the spectrum and bodyguard were rather ok to me and are more pocketable. if either came in 32acp i would scarf it up. the cpx4 could easily be a one and only semiauto pistol for folks on a budget who dislike a 9mm’s recoil. in fact i may be tempted to get a cpx4 anyway.

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