While the affordable price point at first made me skeptical of the SCCY, two magazines at 22 yards showed me that it’s one of the best values in personal defense. Adding an ArmaLaser unit to the SCCY CPX-2 suddenly made it irresistible. I shot until I ran out of ammunition. Then I played with the laser until after dark. It was a great day.
SCCY has done a tremendous job getting its pistols on dealer tables at gun shows and in stores, as I see them just about everywhere. The polymer-framed, steel slide defensive guns are reasonably compact and light, with 10+1 capacity and very nice three-dot sights (the rear is drift adjustable but came perfectly aligned). Intended for concealed carry and perfectly fine for stashing any safe place you stash a home-defense handgun, they compete at a price point ($339 MSRP) that makes them accessible to just about any budget.
At the range they compete favorably against any similarly priced defensive handguns, and I’m chagrined to admit that our test unit performed as well as some of my much more expensive defensive handguns. Perhaps that’s the other part of the reason that they’re everywhere: They work.
Modern Double Action
SCCY’s basic models are the CPX-1 (with a frame-mounted manual safety) and the CPX-2 (without such safety), the latter of which I took to the range several times for extended testing. With its double-action-only (DAO) trigger, you have a consistent (if long) trigger pull from shot to shot. Police departments have traditionally favored DA pistols for their perceived safety against accidental discharges, and for the way each shot has an identical trigger pull (rather than a long first pull and short subsequent pulls with DA/SA designs). And with just a little practice, this DAO trigger pull is easily mastered.
The hammer in the CPX-2, while visible, is completely bobbed—you can’t manually manipulate it, and it returns to the forward position after each shot. While the trigger pull is long and heavy, it’s not unduly so.
Where the CPX-2 really shined was in accuracy—for a DAO defensive pistol with only a 3.1-inch barrel, it returned impressive results on 6-inch-diameter steel plates and modern silhouette targets alike. The three-dot sights provided easily acquired, precise service, and the tight lockup helped us hit 6-inch plates consistently at 22 yards.
While the CPX-2 provided fine accuracy, ergonomics and defensive utility out of the box, it really shined with the addition of an ArmaLaser TR10 laser unit. This laser is designed to clamp over the triggerguard to allow it to work with the CPX-2 despite its lack of accessory rail. The result is a snug-fitting, intuitively pointing laser that requires a special holster to accomodate its installation and only a few minutes of training and practice to gain familiarity with its operation.
The TR10 uses a refreshingly simple means of activation, which consists of a cleverly engineered master override switch and a simple on/off switch that uses the natural conductivity of skin to complete a circuit. The override switch, mounted on the laser’s underside, slides forward to activate—exactly the direction it would slide if its recessed slider snags on your holster or clothes as you draw. To turn the laser on, you merely grip the CPX-2 and touch the underside of the clamshell laser housing. Your finger completes the circuit and the laser projects a daylight-visible dot onto your attacker. There’s nothing else to worry about—no buttons, no switches, no hassles. It’s a breakthrough in intuitive operation.
The benefits of adding a laser to your defensive pistol are huge, but all center around this core concept: In a struggle for your life, you probably won’t be able to acquire proper sight picture and sight alignment. Rather, you may well be on your back, struggling with your other hand or otherwise occupied with matters more pressing than precision marksmanship. That’s where the bright red dot comes in—grip the pistol, point it at your attacker and move it so the dot dances right where you want the round to impact.
I sighted in the laser on a dimly lit indoor range, then took it outside in the middle of a bright day for accuracy testing. Using only the laser—not the sights—my groups opened up slightly, but I was able to score hits from the hip, with the CPX-2 in a high-retention hold and with the gun at certain obtuse angles.
While the dot is harder to pick up in the daylight than indoors or at night, I was still able to put it on plates at 10 yards, making quick work of them without using the metallic sights. My middle finger took a beating from the recoil of personal defense rounds, as the laser adds slight bulk under the triggerguard, but the laser’s tactical utility far outweighed the inconvenience of bumping the middle finger under recoil and requiring a new holster.
Back indoors, I cleared a few rooms with the laser and appreciated the fact that it helped me focus on downrange concerns—like differentiating between combatants and noncombatants—rather than on the sights. While form is still important, the TR10 laser helps you score hits when proper form is impossible, like in the defense of your life. That’s also where the SCCY CPX-2 might really shine for you.
The CPX-2 digested all of the defensive and practice ammunition we gave it, returning results that included some very surprising accuracy. Coupled with the TR10 laser, which increases hit probability in low-light and high-stress conditions, this pistol and laser combination could be a very effective tool for ensuring your personal security, and their combined cost is still far less than you might be expecting to pay for a pistol alone.
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