The Sphinx SDP Compact Arrives

For several years now we’ve been told the Swiss made Sphinx would be imported into the USA. It’s finally happened after a long wait. Was it worth the wait? I think it was.

On first observation the quality of the fit and finish are excellent. The slide to frame fit is snug with perfectly even tolerances. Being Swiss made I suppose that’s to be expected. The stats on the Sphinx say it’s a polymer frame with a steel slide. Technically I imagine that’s true in one view. The way it’s actually constructed is a steel slide with the upper frame made of aluminum. Only the portion of the frame made from polymer is the frame portion from the top of the trigger guard downward. So you have three materials used in the Sphinx construction.

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Any shooter who is familiar with the CZ75 the Sphinx will look very familiar. Not only does the overall look resemble a CZ the controls are the same as well. Even the way it’s disassembled is the same. Additionally the slide to frame fit is the opposite of most semi autos in that the slide and frame rails are just reversed as the CZ is. The grip is very comfortable having a tacky rubber grip with finger grooves on the front of the grip. The rear of the grip has the option of using three supplied backstraps to fit the users hand size. While this is not an uncommon feature these days the way these backstraps are made and fit are different than others in that they wrap half way around the grip. This is much more effective than a simple small backstrap.

sdp-compact-datasheet (1)

The Sphinx has a match trigger. The trigger also has more curve than most. This extra curve feels good to the trigger finger and provides better control than the more common trigger with much less curve. The decocking lever is ambidextrous. The magazine release is reversible. Having the ambi controls this makes it ideal for a left-handed shooter. A unique sight setup is something I certainly appreciate since changing sights can be a real pain. The front sight fits in a notch and is secured by a hex screw. The sight itself is removable with little effort. Remove the hex screw lift the sight out and replace with the correct size for your needs. The rear sight is secured with two screws. These can be loosened and the sight can be adjusted or removed easily. The hammer has a ledge at the top allowing the shooter to manually cock the hammer.

Stats:

Untitled

As shipped the Sphinx comes in a larger black plastic case containing two magazines, loading tool, complete cleaning kit and small, medium and large grip inserts.

Range Time

I had perfect conditions for a range test today with temps in the upper 60’s with little wind. All of my shooting was from ranges of 10 to 25 yards. At ten yards the average group was consistently one-hole 1-¼ inches wide. The magazines were full and hold 15+1 rounds of 9mm. With this kind of result it’s no wonder the full size Sphinx is widely used as a competition pistol in Europe. At 25 yards the groups opened up to an average of 3 inches. To me this is above average accuracy for a duty type pistol. In a practical exercise it was relatively simple to place two rounds close together center torso with one in the head of the silhouette. The Sphinx is a natural pointer.The beavertail is larger than most pistols outside of the 1911. In fact the beavertail size allows for a high grip.

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I have to give a great deal of credit for this test to Black Hills ammunition. As we all know 9mm ammo is the hardest to find of any of the handgun rounds. In fact I had to delay the review while trying to locate 9mm ammo. I did something I’ve never done before and that’s call an ammunition Company and ask for a small amount of ammo so I could complete the review. Black Hills was more than generous in supplying me with four twenty round boxes of their 124 grn hollowpoint duty ammo. Without Black Hills help I wouldn’t have been able to write this review.

Conclusion:

The Sphinx SDP Compact is a very high quality pistol. The accuracy was impressive and due in no small part to the full-length rails and excellent fit of slide to frame. As I mentioned before the grip is very comfortable and helps reduce the already negligible recoil of the 9mm. You’ll also note in the stats the double action trigger pull is ten pounds with the single action trigger pull at three pounds. Double action trigger pull is long as usual for DA/SA but smooth with no stacking. Single action trigger pull is short and crisp. Cost is the only downside. The SDP has an MSRP of $1350 from what I could find out. Of course the cost in your gun shop will be less.

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The Sphinx SDP compact will be the only model imported at present. I’m sure we’ll see more at a later date. The approximate date of release to distributors will be sometime in April.

http://www.sphinxarms.com/





Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • Dave

    best I’ve ever heard someone describe a Sphinx was “1911’s have STI’s, CZ’s have Sphinx’s”

    • Actually the Sphinx series of pistols is now owned by KRISS.

      • totenglocke

        I’ve yet to hear a complaint about CZ’s – and like I said, the grip on this thing looks like the M&P, which has one of the ugliest grips out there. If you want to spend $1,200 on this, be my guest. But I’m willing to bet money you’d be just as accurate with a CZ-75 and the gun would be just as reliable.

        • John

          I’ve heard the CZ’s slide stops are brittle

        • Having a CZ and testing this Sphinx the Sphinx is a good deal more accurate. Same Black Hills ammo with the CZ and Sphinx. The Sphinx turned in about 25% smaller groups.

          • FourString

            Who tested the gun? Phil or totenglocke? The comments on these blogs, and their upvotes, get a little bit stupid and unscientific. Again, I like CZ as much as any one else, but dismissing a pistol without even testing it firsthand is just juvenile.

    • FourString

      The three-material design is really intriguing to me. I’ve never seen that before. Just that alone makes me want to own one eventually.

  • Yogie

    I own 2 Sphinx competition guns, wouldn’t want to trade them in for any gun in the world…

    • From my experience shooting this one over the last month it is indeed a fine pistol. It’s one of if not the most popular competition pistols in Europe. Would you agree with that statement?

      • that’s not a claim I would support.

        • I was asking Yogie since he has a lot of experience with them as well as competing with them.

          • and I, Sir, was saying that I cannot support the implied claim for those pistols being “one if not the most popular competition pistols in Europe”. talking as a Swiss shooter. and one, obviously who will never support an overprized gun from a company that goes out to their government and proposes gun-registration schemes, then lies about it. Sphinx can go and pound sand!

          • We each have our own opinion:-) It would be boring if we didn’t.

      • Yogie

        Alas, they are becoming more and more popular, but i don’t see many around as of yet. Internationally they are on the rise, both the Swiss and Slovenian champs shoot Sphinx, but the downside for most is still the cost of the competition models. Most of the shooters in production class shoot CZ or Tanfoglio, some STI. In open it’s mostly the 2011 that dominate the class. On the other hand, promoting them makes them more popular. I’m not a great shooter, but i’ve turned some others to the Sphinx side already… Once you’ve shot them, you want one…

        • Yogie it will take some time before Sphinx will have quantity built up in the US. The one I have now is one of the first around. This month is when they should get things rolling.

          • Yogie

            i am so freaking jealous…. I’ll be sure to get one next year (this year i already spent my allowance… 😉 )

    • sean

      Do they take regular CZ parts? If not, are parts hard to get? I shudder to think of the cost!

      • I seriously doubt it. The cost will most likely be around $1200–$1400 full retail. On dealers shelves probably closer to $1050—$1150.

      • The parts shouldn’t be a problem. They have committed to service and distribution in the US.

      • Yogie

        No. the 3000 is one evolutionary step away from the original CZ75 copy, but if something breaks, Sphinx/KRISS reacts pretty quick (in Europe, that is). Can’t imagine they will risk building a new top end brand in the US by delivering crappy service…

  • sean

    So three times the price of the CZ P-07 it copies? Does anyone need that? A P-07 is just fine, and extremely accurate on its own. Mine shoots sub 4 inch 25 yrd groups…off hand. And I am not that great of a shot at distance. At 15 yrds, it shoots less than half dollar size groups. My mostly stock regular CZ is even more accurate. And the most reliable gun I have ever owned. 50000+ rounds through it over the years. With one ammo related failure in all that time. I have less than $800 in both guns.

    • This pistol is actually smaller than the CZ P-07. This one is made in Switzerland while the CZ P-07 is from the Czech Republic. The CZ is mass produced while the Sphinx is hand fitted to tight tolerances which accounts for the higher price point. The Sphinx has actually been around for awhile. The importation has been held up until the KRISS group of companies purchased them. The Sphinx is not really close to being a clone of the P-07 rather based on the CZ-75 in the beginning. Sphinx updated the CZ-75 a great deal. They modernized it with much better materials used in addition to the semi custom assembly. Internally it’s not the same anymore. In about 2000 the Sphinx looked like a CZ-75 and was closer to a pistol parts could be interchanged with.

      • CZ Fan

        To state that his pistol is based on the original CZ-75 rather the P-07 is disingenuous at best and pure nonsense. If one were to hold the the three guns up side by side, it would be obvious which guns were similar. The operating mechanism may not be the same Omega trigger system, so in that sense it is more similar to the CZ-75, but design wise, it is purely based on the P-07. I was also disappointed that you did not put more research into your comments. When comparing the specifications listed in your article with the specifications on CZ’s website, the only dimension the Sphinx is smaller in is width. I expect more from The Firearm Blog and this article and the comments posted by its author left me very disappointed.

        • david

          Yep. It’s not a CZ 75, but it certainly is a CZ P07. I hope CZ gets some kind of compensation from Sphinx because that gun is the spitting image. Yeah, the construction method is different with the frame, but the silhouette, beaver tail, slider serrations, trigger guard, are all so close, it’s silly. I actually thought the P07 was in the review based on the title picture. I bet a P07 mag clicks right in.

          • I’ve related where my information came from. Now that I’ve explained lets not forget we are talking about the Sphinx review not the CZ line.

          • FourString

            Lol there’s a bunch of myopic haters here. Holy crap. That’s hilarious. Those guys need to take a friggin’ chill pill. They’re making an ass of themselves by getting their panties bunched up over what should be relaxing and fun. Heck, I like CZ as any other man out there, but this vitriol from some posters here is too much.

        • Marc

          The Sphinx 3000 is several years older than the P-07, so CZ apparently took some inspirations from Sphinx in return. Don’t hate just because you’re a CZ fan.

          • CZ Fan

            The 3000 IS based on the 75. The pistol in the article is NOT 3000. It is the Sphinx SDP, which does not predate the P-07. I am not hating on the gun, I am sure it is a great firearm. I am hating on the obvious shilling and inaccuracies on this article, which I have come to not expect from this site.

          • Marc

            The SDP is an evolution of the 3000, which in turn obviously inspired the P-07.

          • shill

            A person engaged in covert advertising. The shill attempts to spread buzz by personally endorsing the product in public forums with the pretense of sincerity, when in fact he is being paid for his services.

            I assure you I’m not being compensated by KRISS for this review. Anyone is welcome to their opinion as long as it’s civil and hopefully not insulting. As far as calling me a Shill that’s insulting.

            Steve posted our policy here: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/03/04/tfb-policy-on-paid-reviews-we-dont-do-them/

          • Yogie

            I think you confuse the Sphinx 2000 with the 3000. The 2000 was a improved copy of the CZ75. The look and feel of the 3000 is completely different, although the configuration is still the same (location of safety etc…)

        • For the life of me I’ll never understand why someone likes one gun so much they think all others are junk. There are a lot of fine guns out there in addition to the CZ75.

          The statement about it being based on the CZ 75 is accurate. I do my research. Some emails to both companies as well as some phone calls here in the US I got the same answer in the end from both companies. The CZ-75 was licensed to Sphinx with the orignal Sphinx being a clone. Over the years they parted ways as far as design direction. The P-07 has nothing to do with the Sphinx. It’s heritage is strictly the 75. That research is from both companies not in appearances or Internet rumors. If I have a question or feel my information may be wrong I always go to the company that makes the product. It doesn’t get more accurate than that.

          It just makes for a civil conversation if you ask where my research comes from instead of dismissing it out of hand.

          • yogie

            compare the CZ75 to the Sphinx 2000, and put a pic of the 3000 next to it.
            The 2000 is a copy of the 75, the 3000 looks and feels completely different.

          • provided the company has a long record of telling the truth. not the case with Sphinx. a POS company if ever there was one

          • why is it a lying POS company?

    • Ben Miller

      Sphinx started out by tweaking the design of an existing CZ clone in 2000 and turning it into a race gun. The fact that their new model appears similar to the P-07 is simply convergent evolution.

  • totenglocke

    Sorry, I see no reason to spend more than twice as much for a CZ-75 with the ugly grip from a M&P.

    • Marc

      Some people care about quality and not just looks.

      • totenglocke

        I’m sorry, show me the long list of complaints about CZ’s quality. Yea, that’s what I thought.

        • Both the CZ and Sphinx are quality guns. Neither have any significant complaints I’m aware of. Never have and I doubt they ever will.
          The difference between the two is the CZ is mass produced while the Sphinx is hand fitted.

    • Honestly to me the grip feels different than the M&P. I like both grips so it’s a matter of personal choice.

  • well, I guess this comes with the nano technology that Sphinx is so proud of. to support them is to support a company that’s promoting gun registration.

  • mannys9130

    Uh oh! It has the trigger guard of a Glock! Next we’ll hear about the lawsuit filed by Glock. :/

  • Ben 10

    Boo!!! Boycott Sphinx!!! This is the company that produced those nano-tech serial number devices that allows the govt to track guns by satellite and drones. This company is a threat to our God-given right to keep and bear arms.

    • It was a project for the Swiss military by another of the companies Sphinx is part of.

      • that is only partially true. Sphinx went to our government’s safety commission, PROPOSING their own solution (nano technology) as the do all, end all solution for Switzerland-wide gun registration. that’s much more than a (non-existing) military contract. that’s selling our cause and then lying about it. not more, not less!

  • Nicks87

    It looks and sounds like the real deal but (like others have stated) I will avoid it because of political reasons. Nowdays we vote more with the pocket book and less at the voting booth. I refuse to support any company that even so much as looks twice at gun control or the people that promote it.