By Virgil Caldwell
There is some precedent in re-designing a double action first shot pistol to a striker fired design. SIG morphed the P250 to the P320 and HK created the VP9 in a similar fashion. SCCY has taken their affordably-priced 9mm design, a double-action-only hammer-fired pistol, and made it into a striker fired handgun.
The result is the DVG-1, a pistol with impressive handling and firing characteristics for the price. I have tried quite a few of the SCCY pistols over the years and have seen them in classes I’ve taught. They’re known for being feed- and function-reliable. Some of the early models with a manual safety had a habit of moving to the safe position during a firing string, but that problem has long since been resolved.
The SCCY 9mm pistol originally retailed for a very affordable two hundred dollars or so. The price has crept up some over the years, like everything else, but in the DVG-1, SCCY is still able to offer a very reasonably priced EDC option.
The pistol is intended for easy carry, simple operation, and close range personal defense. You probably won’t be using a DVG-1 for bowling pin matches, but it works perfectly well in its intended use, as a self-defense carry or home defense gun. It is what it is and arming good folks on a budget with a reliable pistol is a praiseworthy thing to do.
In addition to the standard model reviewed here, there’s an optics-ready version (the DVG-1RD) as well that ships with a pre-installed Crimson Trace red dot sight. That model’s priced $100 more than the standard DVG-1.
Unlike SCCY’s earlier hammer-fired pistols, the DVG-1 is striker-fired. The pistol is billed as a sub-compact and size-wise, it’s pretty much in Smith & Wesson Shield Plus range. It isn’t a pocket pistol, save for winter carry in an outside coat pocket. However, a Galco Stow-N-Go IWB holster easily accomodates this handgun for comfortable concealed carry.
Another feature that makes the DVG-1 different from SCCY’s earlier pistols are the forward slide serrations. Otherwise the pistol is dimensionally and aesthetically virtually the same as earlier SCCY pistols.
The barrel is 3.1 inches long and the pistol is 6 inches from end to end. The slide at its widest point is 1.1 inches wide. The slide release adds a piddling amount of width. The pistol comes with the usual gun lock, a manual, and two 10-round magazines.
The height of the pistol varies slightly. Both mags ship with extended baseplates for four-finger operation. SCCY also includes two flush-fit plates should you want the smallest possible package for carry. I don’t think the slightly higher baseplate makes much practical difference carrying the pistol IWB behind the hip under a light T shirt, but your mileage may vary.
The pistol weighs 15.5 ounces unloaded, about the same as an aluminum frame .38 Special snub nose revolver. It isn’t the smallest 9mm pistol you can buy, but it’s probably the smallest and lightest 9mm the occasional shooter will handle well. The DVG-1 is easier to rack than some 9mm striker fired guns, even though it incorporates a dual recoil spring into the design.
You’ll notice SCCY’s prominent Roebuck Quad Lock inscription on the slide. That’s a description of the locking design that SCCY says improves accuracy and reduces wear.
It’s named for SCCY’s founder Joe Roebuck and the design locks the barrel at four areas. Locking it in four places ensures that the barrel returns to the same location every time the pistol cycles and returns to battery. The idea is to eliminate any play or movement in the system.
Takedown is simple enough. Bump out the takedown pin with a screwdriver. This releases the slide to run forward and the rest comes apart easy as pie.
The grip frame is comfortable with adequate stippling to give the shooter a good balance of adhesion and abrasion when gripping the pistol.
Another notable feature of the DVG-1 is a flat trigger shoe. Takeup is long, but isn’t particularly tight…you meet a wall, and the trigger breaks at pretty consistent 6.1 pounds compression on the Lyman digital scale. This is an improvement over the DAO SCCY triggers.
I used a variety of ammunition during testing. I have learned during the last almost two years of scarce ammunition that ‘cheap’ brands tend to go bang and are reliable, too. They’re fine for practice and drills. I used Red Army and Armscor FMJ loads primarily during the test.
Where you don’t want to cut corners, however, is in your personal defense ammunition choice. Many makers with names I have never heard of before claim velocities that are two hundred fps or more less than actually chronographed results. Some of the JHP loads will not expand unless they hit a brick wall. If you’re asked to pay more than the price of Hornady Critical Defense 9mm, be certain of what you’re getting.
I loaded both magazines and began shooting at targets at 5 and 7 yards. Results were good. Some polymer frame pistols are slide heavy. The DVG-1 is remarkably well balanced. Control isn’t difficult. Fire, allow the trigger to reset during recoil, and fire again when the sights are lined up again.
Rounds stayed in the X ring at 7 yards…for the most part. Moving to 10 yards I fired a 10-shot group as quickly as I could regain the sights. All ten shots were within six inches of each other. The DVG-1 is controllable for its weight class and I never found it uncomfortable to fire, whatever load I used.
As for absolute accuracy in firing from a solid bench rest, I fired three five-shot groups at 15 yards. Here are the results . . .
I also fired a single 25-yard group with the Armscor ammo. Seven inches was the grouping size. That’s a long distance with a sub-compact personal defense pistol, but the good news is, you wouldn’t be helpless at that range if you know how to shoot.
Specifications: SCCY DVG-1
Type: striker-fired semi-auto
Barrel: 3.1 inches stainless
Overall length: 6.0 inches
Height: 4.5 inches
Weight: 15.5 oz.
Slide: stainless steel
Sights: Fixed, sight notch is GLOCK 43 compatible
MSRP: $299 (about $260 retail)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ergonomics * * * * ½
While there are no replaceable panels for the grip, the DVG-1 is sized right to accommodate most hand sizes. That results in easy concealment and comfortable shooting.
Accuracy * * *
This is a 7 yard gun. It isn’t as accurate as the Taurus GRX, as an example, or many other guns that cost more. But the affordable DVG-1 is more than accurate enough for its intended use as a personal defense gun.
Reliability * * * * *
No failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject. At all. I would rely on it for everyday carry.
Value * * * *
An inexpensive — some would say downright cheap — handgun that works and performs well.
Concealed Carry * * * * *
Only the smallest 9mm slim line guns are smaller and even then, not by much. The DVG-1 is an excellent, easy-to-carry 9mm pistol.
Overall * * * * ½
There’s a lot to be said for turning out reliable, reasonably-priced guns that people who can’t or don’t want to spend a lot of money can afford. SCCY’s been doing that since its inception. SCCY’s striker-fired DVG-1 continues that legacy of selling reliable carry guns at a very affordable price.