Gun Review: Sphinx SDP Compact Alpha

    I don’t shoot pistols as much as I should. Sure, I carry one for self defense and have quite a few, but my range trips are almost always centered around long guns. To me pistols exist simply because a rifle would be too large or impractical to haul around town and into the shops. After all, wiser men that me have declared that a pistol is a tool to fight your way to a rifle and I have always understood and take into account the limitations of handguns. That said, since a pistol is your only option (for all intents and purposes) to carry around practically and concealed you should definitely choose one that you shoot well and know your way around. Many people have been carrying compact CZ-75 variants for a long time, and the Ferrari of them may well be the Swiss made Sphinx SDP Compact Alpha. The Sphinx borrows very heavily from the CZ-75 but has several bonus features including three changeable grips, excellent sights, incredibly tight tolerances, and a remarkable trigger. Everything comes together in nearly perfect harmony and provides a unique shooting experience that is meant to be savored.

    To put the pistol to the test, my friend Patrick and I went to the range with the Sphinx. Patrick was recently involved in an accident and had a major operation on his wrist (that included screws into the area) but insisted that he could still fire a pistol. We headed to an indoor range with about 250 rounds of 9mm that included hollow points, steel cased Wolf, brass cased stuff, and various bullet weights.

    We set the target out at about 10 yards and got to it. Patrick drilled the target well despite his injury (thank goodness his dominant hand was not damaged):



    The target got carved up pretty badly:


    All in all I thought Patrick did well for having so little support with his left hand.

    However after that it was my turn to give the Sphinx a whirl. I set up a new target and took aim:



    The gun handles recoil well and I genuinely enjoyed shooting this pistol:


    As I mentioned, I do not shoot handguns often so I was very surprised that the gun produced this group:


    I was very happy to have landed all shots in the 9 ring with a pistol touted as “compact”. I generally dismiss compacts as carry pistols rather than plinkers or match guns, but this thing can shoot.

    Taking the gun apart for cleaning is also very simple, and is like any other CZ-75 variant or Hi-Power:


    Now for the bullet points:

    The Good:

    • Accurate
    • Ate 250 rounds of various ammo without a hitch
    • Easy to clean/disassemble
    • Extremely good trigger in single action
    • Changeable backstrap
    • Excellent sights
    • Small enough to be carried

    The Bad:

    • A bit heavier than other options
    • Double action pull is very tough

    The Ugly:

    • MSRP of $1,295

    So the gun is expensive and it performs very well but at a high price point. $1,295 is a lot of money for any firearm, much less a handgun, so anyone could be forgiven for overlooking this pistol as a result. That said, I enjoyed the hell out of shooting it.

    Update: I have been looking around, it it looks like these can be had for under $1,000 making this a very good gun for the money. Still priced like a premium pistol, but it is a premium pistol!

    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.