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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.