Functional Cool at a Great Price
; .

The new SCCY CPX-3 .380 ACP is a quality yet affordable handgun. Packing 10+1 into a package,
Will calls it “the Volkswagen of defensive pistols.”

SCCY is a remarkable gun company with a strange name. Their defensive handguns are pacesetters in the modern firearms market and the newest SCCY CPX-3 .380 represents the company’s first departure from their traditional 9mm CPX line. This efficient little pistol is itself the culmination of a most fascinating tale.


The SCCY CPX-3 makes a nice addition to your daily load-out.

Begin At The Beginning

Once upon a time there was a little boy who really liked electric trains. An only child, Joe Roebuck occupied himself alone for long periods. At age four, he imagined a coal chute to compliment his Lionel train set. He sketched out what he had in mind and gave it to his parents.

Joe came from a family of engineers, doctors, toolmakers and successful businessmen. Impressed with their son’s mechanical proclivities, his parents built him a machine shop when he was 8. Joe’s Dad — an immigrant from Malta — was no stranger to hard work and he expected the same of his son. Each day Joe came home from school, did his homework, took a regimented dinner with his family and spent the evening in the machine shop. Every Saturday was spent in the shop as well. He had Sundays off.

By age 13 Joe was getting good at being a machinist and his parents sought out work. His mother formed a small company to keep things organized while his father solicited and prioritized his projects. Joe didn’t see a dime of the proceeds.


Joe learned to fly an airplane at 15. At 17 he finished high school a year early and moved out on his own as a self-taught toolmaker. At his high school graduation, his parents presented him with a check for nearly a quarter of a million dollars, the proceeds of his many years of toil in his little machine shop.

By age 19 Joe was head die-maker at Schrade Cutlery. Using the seed money from his childhood business, he opened his first private company to exploit his own medical inventions. If you’ve ever had a pair of eyeglasses ground while you waited, Joe’s machine did it.

After several companies birthed, built, and later sold, Joe turned his knack for invention towards firearms. He felt the market was saturated with expensive name-brand combat handguns. The void he saw was for a mid-range offering — a gun of impeccable quality, basic features, and reasonable price. He designed the weapon from the outset to be functional, reliable, and easily manufactured. Now thoroughly evolved, the SCCY CPX is a refined design still within the financial reach of the common man.

Despite the CPX-3’s utilitarian features, the gun remains quite accurate.
It printed these teacup-sized groups at 10 meters from a simple rest.

SCCY’s the Limit

I recently had the opportunity to tour the SCCY manufacturing facility in Daytona Beach, Florida. Joe told me quality is a culture and it starts at the top. While a solid design is a necessary starting point, keeping the plant busy requires a passion. Joe surrounds himself with people who share his.

SCCY makes everything metal on the gun in-house. Barrels, frames, incidentals, and magazines all spawn from a single facility. This allows Joe and his team to keep close tabs on every step of the process. If something isn’t up to spec, it’s on them and nobody else.

Joe maintains an extensive toolroom and designs and builds all the fixtures used to make his guns. Rotating towers grab bits of bar stock and allow slides and receivers to be cut in rapid succession. These towers rotate into and out of the mill so one can be reloaded while the other is cut. This keeps the machines running constantly.

The slide starts as a piece of 1.25" steel bar stock and it takes 17 minutes to build a finished one. In addition to function and aesthetics, SCCY CPX pistols are designed to be mass-produced. This aspect of the design is a major factor in keeping a quality handgun affordable.

The barrels start off as long sticks of ordnance steel. The lathes cutting the barrels feed stock in from one end, turn them to contour, cut the newborn barrels free, and index to the next iteration. SCCY does their own chambering and rifling as well as laser engraving. Wandering about the plant is like visiting Santa’s workshop.

The only tool required to disassemble a CPX pistol is a fingernail or case rim.

A .380 Addition

The SCCY standby is the CPX 9mm series. The CPX-1 has a manual external safety while the CPX-2 is the same pistol without the manual safety. The CPX-3 is a new .380 ACP version likewise without a manual safety. All three of these guns are double action only. As expected, the CPX-3 is a bit tamer on the range.

All the CPX triggers are monotonously predictable from start to break. The long-but-smooth revolver-style trigger is the gun’s primary safety system. The chances of the gun being jostled and going off accidentally are essentially zero. The CPX remains an accurate and shootable gun on the range.

While the basic layout is the same throughout, what you get to choose is the color scheme. Slides come in black or stainless, and the frames can be had in 10 different hues. If desert tan, olive drab, or basic black trip your trigger, SCCY has it. If your personality wanders more toward pink, white, gray, teal, or orange, they can do these colors too.

The newest SCCY Gen 3 guns incorporate lessons learned from hundreds of thousands of copies produced thus far and have a slightly different flavor. The frame has been substantially thinned down and the skeletonized backstrap was deleted. The resulting trim architecture keeps the gun carry-friendly. The action incorporates the patented Quad-Lock system optimizing mechanical performance of the weapon. Each SCCY pistol comes with a pair of 10-round double-stack magazines with both flat and finger-rest base plates.


A robot sorts and packs barrels.

Trigger time

The newest .380 ACP CPX-3 fills the hand comfortably. The polymer finger-groove frame is roughened on the sides and back, and the left-sided slide release is over-molded in Zytel for easy access. The sights sport three white dots and the rear is drift-adjustable for windage.

The slide is sufficiently ample for easy purchase, though the frame remains plenty thin for comfortable carry. Generous finger grooves on the sides make charging the gun easy even if you are sweaty or rushed. The left-sided magazine release button protrudes just enough and drops magazines away cleanly. The whole gun is adequately portly to be comfortable on the range, while remaining svelte enough for easy concealment.

Recoil is painless given the gun’s double-stack girth and modest chambering. After the first magazine, the CPX-3 was completely reliable with everything I fed it. The long 9-lb. trigger pull is an acquired taste, but the CPX-3 is, after all, a rugged defensive tool, not an elegant target pistol. No matter. At reasonable defensive ranges the CPX-3 produced nice tight clusters regardless of the ammo.

CPX slides start out at precut lengths of steel bar stock. Custom fixtures keep the mills running constantly.

What’s In A Name?

The word “SCCY” doesn’t mean anything. Joe told me. It started it out as “SKYY,” but the vodka people complained. Joe picked SCCY because he’s a pilot and he liked the ring of it. At the end of the day, however, SCCY is really Joe Roebuck.

In a way Joe is still the little 4-year-old who really likes trains. He grew up in a machine shop and has an obvious gift for making stuff. The same attitude and mindset that figured out how to grind eyeglass lenses while you wait now makes exceptionally nice, reasonably priced defensive handguns.

If you’re on a budget, the SCCY CPX-3 represents a great value. Even if money is not so tight, the CPX-3 offers reliability on par with the Other Guys, along with American-made pride of ownership and the capacity to color coordinate your defensive weaponry. Joe Roebuck picked a single concept and polished it to perfection. This company is his baby, and he is a proud dad indeed. MSRP of the SCCY CPX-3 is $305.

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