6 Reasons to Reach for the SCCY CPX-3RD .380 ACP

Take a closer look at this affordable and easy to operate pistol and optic package.

by posted on May 7, 2020

SCCY Industries, of Daytona Beach, Fla., offers a budget-friendly series of double-action only semi-automatic pistols designed for concealed carry. Of all the SCCY (pronounced “sky”) models I've tried, the optic outfitted CPX-3RD chambered in .380 ACP is among my favorites to work with. Here are six reasons to reach for the SCCY!

1. Lower Prices (The Right Way)
Manufacturing firearms is a challenging business of balancing costs in order to make firearms with prices folks are willing to pay. Some companies spend a lot of money to outsource challenging aspects of the work (design, tools, dies, certain components) and then recoup those costs by cutting production corners by using less expensive materials and employing overseas labor. Joe Robuck, the founder of SCCY Industries, has kept the company's pistol prices down by inverting the budget gun business formula. The pistols are wholly manufactured and assembled here in the United States using quality materials and an American labor force—that all costs more. But Joe is a tool-and-die maker and a mechanical design engineer, bringing all of that expensive work back in-house in order to reduce production costs. This results in pistols with suggested retail prices starting at $269.99.  

2. Thoughtful Features and Accessories
All too often less expensive pistols are roughly made and shipped with a stripped down feature set. But the SCCY CPX-3 series has more to offer than some similarly priced competitors. All of the slides are milled from stainless steel instead of carbon steel alloys. The 3-dot sight system is metallic instead of plastic. The controls and slide are smooth right out of the box and all of the edges are rounded or beveled for a sleek look and comfortable feel. Right now the CPX-3 pistols ship with a total of three magazines, instead of just one or two, and a custom trigger lock that completely wraps around the trigger guard. The company has performed 5,000-round endurance tests without any breakages. In fact, the company is confident enough in its product to offer a lifetime warranty that follows the pistol, not the owner. That’s impressive.

Iron sighted CPX-3 (left) with a purple frame and black nitride stainless steel slide next to the red dot optic CPX-3RD (right) with a SCCY Blue frame and a silver stainless steel slide. 

3. A Variety of Options
SCCY is a smaller manufacturer focused on two models at the moment, their CPX 9 mms and .380s. But the company is striving to give customers as many options as possible within those two lines. All models are available with either natural silver or black nitride finished stainless steel slides. The pistols are available with or without external thumb safeties. As of this year, customers have a choice of 3-dot iron sights or a factory installed red dot optic. And to make sure their guns stand out from the crowd, the Zytel polymer frames are available in a variety of colors. For the CPX-3, frame colors currently include (from left to right) Black, Sniper Gray, Flat-Dark Earth, Pink, SCCY Blue and Purple.

4. An Affordable and Intuitive Red Dot Option
Recognizing the increasing popularity of defensive pistols outfitted with micro red-dot optics, SCCY is now offering all of its CPX series in an optics-ready configuration that ships with a Crimson Trace CTS-1500 micro red-dot sight.

The CTS-1500 has a glass lens, windage and height adjustments, a polymer housing and a 3.5 MOA sized red dot for aiming. The On, Off and brightness settings are all engage automatically depending on the ambient light levels. A single CR2032 button cell battery provides over two years of  run time if the optic is stored with the provided protective cover in place. There's a square notch at the back end of the optic's housing which acts as a rear sight for the white-dot front sight should the optic become damaged or lose power at an inopportune time. Crimson Trace ships the CTS-1500 with a limited three-year warranty.

5. Compressed .380 ACP Grip Frame with Double-Stack Capacity
Although the grip frame's width is the same as the 9 mm models (1.10"), the front-to-back distance has been reduced by 0.25" to match the shorter length of the .380 ACP cartridge. That may not sound like much of a size difference but to those with smaller hands the reduction is immediately noticeable. This is especially true when reaching for the magazine release or slide catch. Like other SCCY offerings, the grip's sides and back strap have a light molded-in texturing with finger grooves gracing the front strap.

The CPX-3RD .380 ACP (left) compared to the slightly larger CPX-2RD 9 mm (right).

While some concealed carry .380s are outfitted with single-stack magazines, SCCY offers a double stack configuration for a 10+1 ammunition capacity instead of just seven or eight rounds. One of the three magazines has a finger rest while the other two are outfitted with flat base plates.

6. Enjoyable Practice Sessions
The SCCY CPX-3RD fits neatly into the compact size double-stack pistol category with an overall length of 5.70", a 1" wide slide and an unloaded weight of just 16.5 oz. The slide is easy to manually cycle, the controls have a light feel to them and the magazines are easy to load. As many concealed-carry practitioners have learned the hard way, not all pistols chambered in .380 ACP are low recoil options. Some of the narrow gripped, blow-back operated pocket models can be real bears in the recoil department. The SCCY's slightly wider grip and the slide delay provided by Quad-Lock action work together to keep felt recoil at modest levels, despite the pistol’s low weight.

At the shooting range, the double-action trigger was exceptionally smooth right out of the box. The trigger's arch of travel is similar to that of a double-action revolver but nowhere near as heavy. The trigger moves all the way to the rear of the trigger guard to fire and must be released all the way forward in order to reset. The CPX-3 was not fussy about which loads it was fed. It ran reliably with loads ranging from practice-grade full-metal-jacket rounds up to premium hollow points. The CTS-1500 optic provides quick target acquisition that’s easy to see in a variety of lighting conditions. From a bench rest, this pistol produced five 5-shot group averages that hovered between 1.53" to 1.89" at 7 yards. Moving the target out to 15 yards resulted in groups around 4" in size.     

The SCCY Industries CPX-3RD .380 ACP is a likable, optic-outfitted concealed carry pistol that's an ideal option for those who are looking to save money on an intuitive, easy to operate semi-auto. For more information, visit sccy.com.


Manufacturer: SCCY Industries
Model: CPX-3RD
Action: Locked-Breech Semi-Automatic, Double Action Only
Caliber: .380 ACP
Slide: Stainless Steel, Natural Satin or Black Nitride Finish
Frame: Zytel Polymer
Red Dot Optic: Crimson Trace CTS-1500, Polymer Housing
Dot Size: 3.5 MOA
Sights: Steel White-Dot Front, Notch Rear
Trigger Pull: 8 lbs. 9 oz. (As Tested)
Barrel Length: 2.96"
Overall Length: 5.70"
Height: 4.32”
Slide Width: 0.99"
Grip Width: 1.10"
Weight: 16.5 oz. with empty magazine
Capacity: 10+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:16” RH
Rifle Grooves: 7
Accessories: Optic kit, three magazines, trigger lock, owner's manual
MSRP: With Optic $339, Iron Sights Only $239


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