Sphinx SDP Subcompact Review

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

The Spinx pistols imported from Switzerland have been on the market for a while now, but this new model has been put on a diet for the concealed carry market. Does this Swiss wonder-pistol bring anything remarkable to the table? Well, in this episode of TFBTV we find out!

Thanks to our sponsor Ventura Munitions. Without them TFBTV Would not be possible.

The full transcript is below …

– Hey guys, it’s Alex C.

– And Patrick R.

– We’re at the range today with a pretty cool pistol, this is actually the Sphinx SDP subcompact.

– And, this is the SDP compact.

– So Sphinx has just re– or imported the subcompact version of the SDP compact.

This is obviously a more carrier-oriented pistol, it’s a smaller pistol.

– Yup, and this would be more of a duty-oriented pistol..

– It would. We both have a lot of experience with the compact because we’ve tested it, – Yeah, we tested it about a year and a half ago, and immediately after, I ordered one because I liked it so much.

– Yeah, Almost every time we come to the range, Patrick brings it out and shoots a couple rounds through it, so it’s fair to say that we like these.

We actually have a lot of experience with these.

– Yeah, and It quickly became my favorite gun– – Favorite handgun.

– I mean yeah, they were one of my favorite guns.

– Wow, there you go.

OK, so let’s talk a little bit about the new subcompact.

First of all, it comes packaged in a freaking awesome box. – Yes.

Just like the STP compact, it comes packaged in a really nice plastic case with lots of accessories.

– Yeah, it felt like I was opening a wedding invitation because it even had tissue paper in there and a little Swiss tag on the trigger (unint.) which was cool.

– I mean, it’s great that they have so much pride in their product that they take that much care in packaging it.

– They do. Now the MSRP’s are a little high on these, however what you are getting is the Swiss cost of labor with Swiss precision. – Right.

– Everything we’ve tested from Switzerland is awesome, like our video on the 510 SAN amti.

– Yes, that was a good gun.

– Yup. So I’d like to review again on the compact in the description, but as for this video I say we get to shooting the sub-compact.

– Yeah. – Let’s do it.

– Alright, so I’ve got about 1500 rounds down range through my SDP compact over the last year and a half or so, something like that.

And I love the gun a lot, it’s got a pretty good trigger.

It seems like the trigger quality is kind of fallen off a little bit over the time period I’ve had the gun.

So let’s go ahead and get the subcompact to try.

It’s got a 13 round magazine.

All the controls are laid out just like the other one.

It’s got a nice decocker which is (unintelligible).

So let’s take a shot.

Not bad. The trigger’s pretty good on double action.

(click) – That’s cool.

– [Voiceover] Alright, so in the first round the gun actually completely seized up and we had to clear the malfunction by placing the slide on the table and whacking the frame really hard.

So that didn’t start the review off too well.

– Alright guys, now it’s my turn to give the SDP subcompact a try.

To be real honest with you, I’m not much of a pistol guy.

I really prefer shooting rifles, they’re just more enjoyable to me.

Obviously I’ve shot some that I’ve really enjoyed, like the Strike One we did a while back.

But I’m gonna see if this is up to par.

(clicking) (gunshots) I will say, the trigger is really nice, it points really nice for a subcompact.

I’ve got very large hands and it fits my hands pretty well.

One thing I really don’t like is the slide release.

It’s very hard to activate, even with me with my big hands.

I really have to reach up high, and it’s tough.

(gunshots) The trigger’s nice, the gun fits my hand well.

I will say I prefer the compact just because it’s a bigger gun and it’s more fun to shoot, however, as a carrying piece or something, this wouldn’t be a bad option.

(gunshot) – I’ll tell you what, that’s probably a nice solid 9 pound smooth double action, it’s fantastic.

(gunshots) – A thirteen round capacity is pretty nice on a gun this small.

Something else I really like about it is you can run the contact magazines– (gunshots) and, you can run center CZ75 mags.

This is a 19 round mag from I think it’s Bergara, maybe.

(gunshots) But, you know honestly, I think I’ll be hard-pressed not to buy one of these.

I think It’d make a really good little carry gun.

– [Voiceover] Alright, so here again we tried to get a really nice glamour shot of the pistol.

Like we do in most of our pistol videos, we try and get a nice close-up.

So Patrick decocked it and fired it and then it locked up again and we had to do the same thing and bang it on the table to basically get so we could keep shooting it.

– Alright, so I’m gonna shoot the compact and that way we can go ahead and get direct comparisons.

(click) (gunshots) – You know, for shooting at the range, I really like this one.

But If I’m gonna carry it, It’s just a little too big for me and I think that the compact might be a better option.

All in all, I think they did a really great job of scaling this down to a manageable size for a concealed-carry.

– Sir, I believe you requested a sub-compact.

– Why yes.

Thanks (unintelligible) butler.

(clicking) (gunshots) You know, I think it’s weird, it shoots exactly the same, just about.

You know, it’s like they’re equally controllable.

I think they did a fantastic job.

This is an awesome gun.

Honestly, I’m a little bit sad that I bought the compact instead of the subcompact because– Well, you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that (unint.) I guess.

– Alright, so I’ve got a hostage ringer set up at about 10 yards. I’m gonna see if I can hit the little disk on top.

(clicking) One thing I’d like to note is that pulling back the slide on this is pretty tough, even for me.

It is noteworthy though that I’ve broken my left wrist a couple of times.

So, that’s not unusual, however it is something to point out that it’s a little stiffer on this gun than most guns of it’s size.

(gunshot) Got it.

(gunshot) Got it again.

(gunshots) I missed one.

(gunshot) again.

(gunshot) Got it.

(gunshot) Got it.

(gunshots) – I only missed the dang thing one time.

So it’s definitely an accurate pistol.

It’s got that nice CZ75 style internal set of frame rails.

It’s got a low bore axis.

Pretty easy to shoot, very accurate.

– [Voiceover] Alright so here we do glamour shot take 2.

Remember what I said earlier about the slide release being hard to press.

Patrick just straight up abandoned that and pulled the slide back.

But, here we go.

(gunshots) – Alright, now it’s time for the patented TFBTV limp wrist test.

The reason we do this is because maybe in a high-stress situation you might not have the grip you need to if you drew really fast.

We’re gonna make sure your gun functions regardless of whether or not you have it in the (unint.) position in your hand.

And it looks (unint.) as a bonus, so here we go.

(gunshots) – Oh, I got one jam.

(clicking) (gunshots) So one. We’ve had guns never fail.

That’s not the worst I’ve ever seen, but it’s not the best.

To be honest I’ve done it with a Glock 17 and it locked at about every other round.

Maybe it was just a bad lock, everyone’s gonna grill me in the comments, saying Glocks never fail, but it is what it is.

So, all in all, not too bad that it only did it one time.

– Alright guys, so we’ve put about 250 rounds through the Sphinx SDP sub-compact and I’ve gotta say, I was really pleased with it and honestly I’m kinda sad I can’t buy this one.

– You know, I’m on the flip side of this one.

I Like the Sphinx compact and I like the Sphinx full-size, especially as a competition gun for a full size.

However, this gun didn’t do it for me.

Even though I’ve got massive hands, I had a lot of trouble working the slide release, as did you.

– I had a little bit of trouble, yes.

But generally I don’t use the slide release, Normally I– – Power stroke. – Yeah, power stroke, or whatever the heck you wanna call it.

– Yeah. Also it’s worth noting, we had two failures where the gun completely locked up.

– Yeah. I had to go ahead and actually set the front site on the table and hit my wrist downwards in order to go ahead and get it to unlock.

It was a pretty significant failure and it wouldn’t be able to be cleared if you were using this in a self-defense sitauation.

– In a gun fight it would’ve got you killed, – basically. – Yes, absolutely.

– Now we shot 250 rounds through it, so two out of 250 is, to me, not acceptable.

However, I would like to shoot about 1000, 2000 more rounds than that through it.

Maybe it’s got a breaking period and maybe if it’s reliable after that.

Maybe we used bad ammo or something, but it’s working fine and everything else.

We shot a Beretta 92 today, a CZ75, it worked fine in the regular compact.

So I would not be comfortable carrying this gun, based on what we saw today.

– As of right now, no, I wouldn’t.

It does shoot really well.

I’ve got to admit, the trigger on this one is better than the one that’s on my compact.

It makes me a little bit sad about my compact.

But, it’s got a fabulous trigger, it points really naturally.

I was able to shoot pretty quickly and accurately with it.

If it were reliable I’m pretty certain I’d carry it.

– You know, another problem is, it’s got a street price of $900 and that’s going to send a lot of people running for the fences because that is a very high MSRP when you have MP’s and Glocks right now selling for $500.

– Right, you know, the Glock 43 that I carry everyday, I paid less than half that.

– Yeah. So, take it as you will.

It’s a premium pistol and it had two failures that locked it up completely today.

So I personally don’t see the value of $900 in it.

– No, I don’t, but– – We don’t like to say this kind of stuff in a review, but we’re honest and upfront with you guys and that’s what happened.

– If it were reliable, I can see spending $700 on something like this. Maybe.

– At $700 I’d be a buyer, personally.

– Yeah. Me as well. But $900 and this particular example not being reliable, I don’t think I can go for it.

– I don’t think so. However, it’s very well made, all the parts are nice, it’s got very tight tolerances, the trigger is fantastic.

But the two malfunctions and the fact that I personally had trouble working it and manipulating the controls. Not for me.

– You know– – On the inverse side, just like you said, you could see yourself carrying it if you had some time and wanted it ran just like you wanted it to.

– Yeah. It ran like I wanted it to, I definitely would carry this.

I don’t think it’s overly heavy, I think it’s about the right size and it’s got a nice 13 round capacity.

– Yeah. Anyways, also I’d like to thank Vature ammunitions for providing the ammunition for this test.

– Yup, and I’d like to thank Grizzly Targets for providing the steel that we got to shoot at.

– Absolutely guys. I’m Alex C.

– I’m Patrick R.

– Thanks for watching this episode of TFBTV.

If you liked it, maybe if you have a subcompact and you’ve experienced issues, or if you haven’t, drop a comment.

Also, maybe hit that subscribe button if you wanna see us be jackasses on camera a little bit more.

– Yeah, or even give us a thumbs up or thumbs down.

– Yeah. Anyways, we’ll see you next time guys.

– See ya.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 20 comments
  • Shayne J Shayne J on Dec 12, 2015

    Useless slide release, useless pistol. I'll hang with my XDs! DA also ruins it for me.

  • Phauxtoe Phauxtoe on Dec 14, 2015

    Patrick, two things...
    1. When you are in a shot with Alex, use an Apple Box!
    2. Please exercise Muzzle awareness. you could have a real bad day with a hang fire!