There exists a continuing debate about the effectiveness of the .380 ACP cartridge in self defense scenarios. Because I possess, and exercise, my concealed carry permit, I’ve also put a great deal of thought into the caliber of pistol I choose for CCW. My limitations to what I can effectively carry vary depending on my location and dress. As such, I have adopted more than one option for carry. There are occasions where it simply isn’t feasible to carry anything larger than a slim subcompact. While there are exceptions, it is generally easier to find small, highly concealable options in .380 ACP. In my decision of whether or not to include a .380 pistol as a concealed carry option, I considered elements of shooting in self defense scenarios, such as shot placement and “stopping power.” I don’t have a background in ballistics, however, as a student of human biology and a tutor in anatomy and physiology, I do have a background in how the human body functions from what my professors have taught me. From that standpoint, “stopping power” has two definitions: 1. Disabled nervous system. As the central nervous system directly controls a person’s ability to command their muscles, disabling it would effectively “stop” an attack. The application in self defense is that shots to an attacker’s brain, brain stem, or spinal cord would render the assailant physically incapable of continuing their attack. 2. Catastrophic blood pressure loss. In the event of a catastrophic blood pressure drop, the vital blood supply to the brain is decreased so significantly that it causes unconsciousness. Rendering an attacker unconscious “stops” their ability to continue an attack. Shots to the aorta, the heart itself, the thoracic or abdominal aorta, or the femoral artery could cause a blood pressure drop considerable enough to incapacitate an assailant. With these principals of human anatomy and physiology in mind, I took to the range to see how effective, if at all, my shots would be with a .380 pistol. I affixed an anatomical overlay over a silhouette target and fired my first shots through the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 and evaluated the target afterward. You can see how the range experience turned out by watching the video with this post. After 6 shots, three grouped at the head (the goal being stopping an attacker through ceasing the central nervous system’s communication with the assailant’s body) and three grouped near the heart (the goal being stopping the attacker through causing a catastrophic loss in blood pressure), I came to a conclusion. While I am not implying that .380 (or any caliber, for that matter) is the best caliber for self defense, I do think it can be used effectively. However, as .380 ACP is not regarded for its penetration, I would want to put as many rounds as possible at my attacker, targeting the heart and major arteries in the area to maximize my odds of disabling their assault. It was less challenging to place shots effectively in the chest cavity, and the concern of under-penetrating the target was lessened when not attempting to cause catastrophic blood pressure loss rather than CNS deactivation. This exercise was to closer simulate shooting in a self defense scenario and does not constitute a training exercise for my self defense shooting practice. I am also not recommending a caliber for self defense. However, as a result of this shooting “experiment,” I determined that if I feel my choice is either no firearm, or a pocket pistol like the S&W Bodyguard, I’d rather have that than nothing.
Slingshots(or wrist rockets) are a very effective survival weapon and can be used for many things. They can be very accurate and are easy to use. There are literally hundreds of slingshots on the market today so finding one that’s right for your needs can be a little like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. In order to simplify things for you we’ve done the footwork and winnowed the list down to 10 that we feel set the standard for slingshot effectiveness, durability and overall value. 1. MoreFarther Professional Foldable Metal Hunting Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The MoreFarther Foldable Hunting Slingshot packs a considerable punch even at a distance. This particular model has a sight holder attachment at the bottom of the handle in case you want to get serious about targeting. There’s also a magnetized wrist band for holding ammo and steadying the shot that folds up to virtually nothing for easy storage. The painted surface is textured to ensure a solid grip even when extending the bands to the max, while assembly is intuitive and takes only a few minutes. 2. The Scout Hunting Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon There are those who take exception to the look of the Scout but very few who take issue with its performance. The handle sports a unique design that is both comfortable and effective and enables a firm grip in all types of weather. There’s no forearm brace with the Scout but its compact size and excellent balance means you don’t really need one. The pouch is built to last and the wide flat band delivers pellets with accuracy out to 30+ yards. 3. Cg Adjustable Stainless Hunting Laser Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The Cg Adjustable Laser Slingshot sports an aggressively high-tech look yet none of its features are superfluous. There’s a laser sight and a wrist support that both stabilizes the shot and doubles as a magnetized ammo holder. The bands produce as much tension as you’re able to invest them with and when the ball leaves the sling you wouldn’t want to be the target. If you are the type of person that likes to get lost in the woods you’ll want to have this in your pack along with a good compass . 4. Everydlife Steel Hunting Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon Don’t let the understated looks of the Everydlife "Steel Hunting Slingshot" fool you. It’s serious outdoor kit fashioned from high-quality steel and aluminum alloy. The finish features durable porcelain enameling, the handle is perfectly contoured and the forearm support doesn’t dig into the skin the way it can on lesser slingshots. The bands themselves produce a ridiculous amount of force so pity whatever is on the receiving end of one of the 1/4 inch stainless steel balls. 5. Homee Stainless Steel Outdoor Hunting Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon From an ergonomic standpoint the "Homee Stainless Steel" "Outdoor Hunting Slingshot" may be the most comfortable slingshot we tested with precise balance and rock-solid stability even when the bands are fully ramped. The body is fashioned from 304 stainless steel ( 1 ) that resists corrosion so you never have to worry about hunting in the rain. The triple band design works here to perfection, generating scary power behind your 1/4 inch steel ammo. 6. YZXLI Professional Outdoor Hunting Stainless Steel Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon At first glance you may be tempted to think the design of the YZXLI Professional Outdoor Hunting Slingshot is a bit of a stunt. But once you grasp the YZXLI firmly in hand and fire off a shot or two you’ll understand. This is one of those rare pieces of equipment that looks as good as it works. It’s compact and lightweight and provides a variety of sighting options in the handle. Speaking of the handle, the seven core rope weaving is the next best thing to contouring. 7. CyberDyer Professional "Stainless Steel Slingshot" Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The appearance of the CyberDyer Professional Outdoor Slingshot is a bit jarring at first, with stainless steel, real wood and the broad yellow band all competing for attention. Use it a few times though and you’ll soon come to appreciate its practical virtues. With multiple sighting options along with plenty of power and accuracy it puts your ammo where you want it. You’ll also appreciate that this slingshot comes with a handsome and convenient carrying case. 8. Top Hunt Professional Adjustable Hunting Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The "Top Hunt Professional" "Adjustable Hunting Slingshot" sports an innovative design that maximizes leverage and delivers impressive power by way of the thick, taut tubular band. The contoured handle is comfortable and reminiscent of a large handgun but it’s small enough not to need a forearm brace. The real selling point here is the ability to adjust your firing position by way of the sliding forks. 9. The R*Lucky Wooden Handle Hunting Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The R*Lucky Hunting Slingshot is a handsome survival instrument that is remarkably comfortable and powerful considering its fairly small size. The handle, while not contoured like most other hunting slingshots, is nonetheless a joy to hold due to the texture of the natural wood and the forearm roller is a great idea that allows you to really pull back and get some energy into your shot. The latex bands are robust and durable and there’s the option to go with a 3 band system. 10. ZQQ Hunting Slingshot Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The ZQQ has a generous, contoured handle, a hinged forearm support and useful, if simple, sights in both the left and right wings of the V. That wrist support features magnetizes buttons to hold ammo and copper tips that look great and won’t create problems in wet weather. If you take a look down the side of the handle you’ll see a beautifully carved dragon motif. But when you pull back on the triple tube bands and release your first shot you’ll realize the ZQQ is much more than just a pretty face. – Slingshot Buyer’s Guide Slingshots are no longer used to fell giants but that doesn’t mean they’re devoid of purpose. Here are some of the reasons slingshots make excellent survival gear: They’re lightweight and won’t hog room in your backpack. Even if you run out of stainless steel balls just about any stone can be turned into a lethal projectile with a slingshot. Which means you’re never really out of ammo. Slingshots are virtually silent so your prey won’t be startled by the shot. Like all truly great survival tech slingshots are not dependent on an outside power source. Things to Look for in a High Quality Hunting and Survival Slingshot If you don’t have any experience with slingshots it’s tough to know what to look for when it comes time to purchase one. Here’s an overview of the most important features: The frame material – One of the great things about survival slingshots is that they’re so light carrying them deep into the woods in your backpack isn’t an issue. But not all lightweight frame materials are created equal and you want something that is both light and strong . Typically that means aircraft grade aluminum or glass filled nylon. Both are incredibly tough and light and won’t warp, crack or break the way wood can or crack and be rendered useless like plastic slingshots sometimes are. The handle – When it comes to slingshots the handle is perhaps the most important factor in determining whether your shot travels straight and true or winds up in the dirt 10 yards out. Most (though not all) of the best handles are contoured and have either a rough or rubberized surface that allows you to maintain a firm hold without having to assume a white knuckle death grip. And that’s important because, while your grip needs to be solid, your arm will need to be somewhat relaxed if you are to target effectively. The sight – In a survival situation you’re going to need to take down a bird or a small surface dweller like a rabbit. And you’ll likely have to do so at some distance. The only way you’ll have a fighting chance is if your slingshot either has an effective sight built into it or has a sight ring that can be added to the handle to hold your laser targeting device. Even the best sight won’t be able to compensate for an unsteady hand, but if all other things are as they should be the sight can be the difference between eating and going to sleep hungry. The forearm or wrist brace – The larger you get with a slingshot the greater the potential instability. As such, something is needed to restore order to the proceedings and that something is the wrist, or forearm brace. This is typically attached to the bottom of the handle and rotates down to meet your forearm. The best ones prevent the slingshot from tilting back toward you as you draw the pellet and this helps ensure that your projectile stays on target. This type of brace also reduces stress buildup in your wrist, which can be considerable if it’s taking you quite a few shots to bag your dinner. Survival Slingshot FAQs Are slingshots good survival tools? – Yes. The best survival tools are simple in concept, easy to use, do not rely on outside power sources and don’t require ideal weather conditions. The hunting/survival slingshot meets all of these criteria and is also affordable, low maintenance and extremely portable. Which is better; flat bands or tubes? – In the past it was generally believed that flat bands provided more raw power than tubes. However, the advent of the triple tube system has largely negated any advantage flat strips used to enjoy. Today the difference is mostly in wear time. With flat bands typically wearing out faster than tubes. Do I really need a forearm brace? – The forearm brace is there to provide additional stability. So the short answer is “Yes. If you want to increase the odds that your shot will find its target.” With smaller, less powerful slingshots no wrist/forearm band is necessary because they’re more naturally stable. How do I hold the slingshot steady while I aim and draw? – If you’re finding it difficult to home in on the target the best thing to do is add a bit of movement deliberately. This way you can undermine the movement caused by the static tension and even time your shot to when you know the ball will be in the right position. How do I prevent hand slaps? – Having the band snap back and “slap” your hand can be very unpleasant. The best way to avoid it is by shooting through the forks. This is known as “TFF shooting”. Is there a way to avoid the shots coming back at me? – Return to sender shots as they’re called happen when the pouch flips over and recoils before it releases the ammo. The best way to avoid this phenomenon is, again, by shooting through the forks. The TFF setup sends both pouch and band between the forks cleanly and ensures an even distribution of energy, which in turn ensures the ammo will be released before the pouch has flipped. Is there any maintenance involved with a slingshot? – Not anything you’d typically think of as maintenance. All you really need to do is keep an eye on the bands, make sure the pouch is in good shape at all times and don’t store your slingshot in direct sunlight (this could damage the latex bands). Also, if the pouch looks like it’s weakened be sure to replace it. Summary If you are a hunter or dedicated outdoor enthusiast who spends a lot of time in the deep woods you should always have one of the above slingshots at the ready. In survival situations they can be the difference between making it out and not making it.
by Juliet One My next series of articles are going to be covering the topic of building a precision sniper rifle . I will be covering everything from putting together a relatively low-cost budget build to having a high dollar custom rig built. There are many misconceptions in regards to precision shooting. One of the biggest errors I see is the idea of having to have a $6000.00 dollar large-caliber rifle to be able to shoot long distances effectively and accurately. I’m here to tell you that is simply false. One of the most enjoyable things I like to see is a new shooter getting into the sport of precision marksmanship. It is disheartening to see a new shooter with the will and desire to learn but be derailed because of the misconception of the cost it takes to participate. Yes, we all want to have the sexiest rifle on the range but the bottom line is a rifle is only as good as the marksman driving it. The most important part of precision marksmanship isn’t the rifle or the optic attached to it. It’s the marksman and his knowledge of the fundamentals and how he applies them that will allow his equipment to shine. If a shooter was to ask me what caliber he should choose to start learning the art of long-range precision marksmanship I would tell him without a reasonable doubt a 308. There are many reasons I would select that caliber. The first would be that the Match grade 308 is an inherently accurate round out to 1000 yards which can be purchased off the shelf at a relatively low-cost. The second reason is the 308 in my opinion is the best round for learning the effects of weather and how they affect the projectile in flight. This is also known as “external ballistics”. There is no cheating with the 308. The shooter must know all of the environmental conditions and be able to correctly judge range to target, wind direction and speed to be effective. This caliber is the perfect learning tool. The third reason is the 308 has relatively minor recoil. This is important because if a shooter is getting beat up behind the rifle he is less likely to concentrate on the correct fundamentals of placing a well-aimed shot and more likely to buck, flinch or jerk knowing he is about to feel some pain. Remember it’s not how sexy or expensive the sniper rifle is. The important thing is the marksman and what he can do with the rifle. I always have to laugh when I am competing against another shooter who’s wielding some high dollar big bore rifle that costs him $2.50 every time he pulls the trigger. Then there’s me with my little old 308 ringing the same steel he is and spending half the money. Now I’m not saying there aren’t advantages to shooting a custom rifle launching 220 grain pills down range. What I am saying is that a sniper rifle is just a tool and the product it produces is only as good as the craftsman that uses it. The most important aspect to precision marksmanship is learning the art. After the fundamentals are mastered the shooter can make small gains by upgrading his equipment. The investment that will always yield the most returns for a shooter is learning the proper fundamentals of marksmanship. In a nutshell that means your money is better spent on training and ammo first before all the bling of a sexy sniper rifle. The first rifle I will introduce is what I like to call a budget rifle . It isn’t the sexiest rifle in the world but it is still very capable of delivering precision rifle fire. It is also an affordable investment in comparison to some of the other rifles and equipment that I will talk about in part 2 and 3 of this article. If a shooter has a limited budget and is looking to break into the game I would recommend a Remington 700 SPS Varmint. This rifle sells retail for $700.00. If you put forth the effort and do some digging you can find these rifles being sold used for as little as $450.00. Most of them are in like new condition and some are even outfitted with a decent optic. I recommend the Remington 700 SPS for a number of reasons. First out of the box the SPS Varmint is very accurate without any modifications. It’s outfitted with a decent stock and a heavy barrel. This rifle is capable of shooting sub “MOA” groups with factory match ammo right off the store-room shelf. The next reason is the Remington 700 action is a strong and reliable action. It is also very easy to true and modify. I don’t know of a custom rifle builder that does not work on Remington 700 actions. This is important because down the road if a shooter wants to start upgrading his rifle with custom parts like a new match grade barrel, stock, trigger etc… the parts are readily available and there are loads of gunsmiths that will be happy to do the work. Now there are rifles and actions on the market that some custom rifle builders will refuse to work on. The Remington 700 is typically not one of them. It is a solid investment that will grow with the shooter as he grows. The shooter can then tweak the rifle to his liking as he becomes more proficient and learns what he wants in a precision sniper rifle. The next item that needs to be addresses is optics or “glass”. The optic on a precision sniper rifle is every bit as important as the rifle itself. There is nothing that disappoints me more than a shooter who drops big money on a rifle and then attaches a low quality pellet rifle scope to it. The bottom line is Glass is worth its weight in gold. You have to be able to see what you are shooting at to hit it. When you are looking at engaging targets at distances a half a mile or more, poor glass is not going to cut it. You will have a hard time identifying targets if your glass is of poor quality. Furthermore the adjustments that you dial on your scope with your turrets have to be precise. A poorly made scope will eventually not track true when you are dialing your turrets up and down and back and forth time and time again. If the internal parts of the optic are made of substandard parts they will wear out fast and fail. When you add recoil into the mix the problems get even bigger. There are enough variables that precision shooters have to take into consideration when engaging targets. An optic that doesn’t perform correctly should not be one of them. The optics I’m going to suggest for our budget rifle are quality optics that will perform and be reasonably affordable for the task at hand. Make no mistake optics are every bit as expensive as a rifle. The optics our military snipers are running on their precision rigs are of the highest quality. These optics are in the price range of $2500.00 or more. With that being said they are built with the best components in the industry. They are extremely rugged and capable of taking a lot of abuse for obvious reasons. These will not be the type of optics I will be suggesting for our budget rifle. I will talk about these optics more in part 2 and 3 of this article. There are a couple different scope options that I would suggest for our budget rifle. The optic should be at least a 10 power. It should have adjustable turrets for adding elevation and windage adjustments to the rifle. This is important because the precision shooter will need to be able to raise and lower his elevation when engaging targets at different ranges. The shooter will also need to be able to adjust for the different wind conditions he will surely be facing at the time of the shot. The first optic that fits this bill is the Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 4.5-14X40mm. This optic is durable and has good quality glass for the intended purpose. It is also outfitted with a duplex reticle. This scope can be purchased brand new for around $700.00. I’ve seen these purchased used for as little as $450.00. Once again if you do some digging you can find some reasonable prices on used equipment. The second optic I would suggest is the Vortex Viper PST 2.5-10x44mm. Vortex Optics is a fairly new company to break onto the scene recently. I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands on this scope and I have to say that for the money this piece of glass is hard to beat. It has good clear glass, exposed turrets that make dialing elevation and wind adjustments very easy. It is also outfitted with an MRAD or MOA reticle which aids in ranging unknown distance targets as well as using the holdover method for engaging targets. The “holdover method” is nothing more than using your reticle to add elevation and windage to the rifle instead of dialing your adjustments with your turrets. It is a more efficient way to engage targets when time is of the essence. I will discuss this topic more in-depth in future articles. This scope is also outfitted with an illuminated reticle for engaging targets in low to no light situations. The bottom line is, for the price this scope is hard to beat. The Vortex Viper retails new for around $700.00 and I’ve seen it as low as $600.00. There are different variants of this scope that are higher powered but they will run you a little more money. The final two items that will be needed to make your build complete is a scope base and rings. There are a ton of manufactures out there that produce quality rings and bases. When it comes to rings the price ranges vary from $15.00 to $300.00. Rings are important because they are what keep your scope firmly in place without damaging it. You want a set of rings that will keep your optic in its place even if you accidentally drop or bump your rifle. You don’t need a set of rings that will prevent Godzilla from ripping it off your rifle but you need good solid rings. I would recommend a set of GG&G Aluminum Sniper Grade rings for our budget build. They are a decent set of affordable rings retailing for $85.00. If you want to go a little higher end I would look at the Vortex Precision Matched rifle Scope Rings which retail for $114.00. When selecting a base for our rifle I would recommend a 20 MOA base for added elevation. I would look at the Brownells Remington 700 Heavy Duty 20 MOA scope base . It retails for around $50.00. One more option but a little more costly would be the Nightforce Remington 700 scope Base which retails for $114.00. There are many different options to take a look at when putting together a precision sniper rifle on a budget. All of us have a different ideas of what a budget build is. This is my version and if you play your cards right you could put together a competitive rifle for around $1200.00 I hope you all gained something from my first of 3 articles on building a precision sniper rifle. Be on the lookout for part 2 of this series of articles where I will be getting into upgrading our budget rifle with higher end components. I look forward to fielding any questions you all might have and once again feel free to add your thoughts on the subject. This post first appeared on loadoutroom.com
While I wait for my Palmetto State Armory AR15 lower receiver I thought I might share something I have sitting in the safe. It’s is a Cavalry Arms (now Cavalry Manufacturing ) lower receiver.There are many AR15 lower receivers on the market but one quick glance will tell you why this one is different. It can be considered the first successful iteration of the “plastic” AR15 lower receiver. Bushmaster’s Carbon 15 series never really gained much steam and other plastic lowers on the market are often looked at with the hairy eyeball… but the Cavalry lower came out swinging and showed the community just how durable a plastic receiver can be. Despite its current pedigree over all other brands of plastic lowers I really don’t really know what to think of it yet. If you look closely you can see it is molded in two pieces and then welded together. Cav Arms claimed 75,000 rounds had been put through one of their demo models in an ad I saw online. That is pretty impressive for a “new” technology. The piece is solid, fairly attractive, and can be ordered in a variety ( rainbow like even ) of colors. One of the problems I encountered with this lower was how much hand fitting was required when installing certain components. One particular component was the buffer detente. When I inserted the buffer detente into the pre-drilled hole it pressed in with a friction fit and it wouldn’t come back out. It was one of those moments when I wanted to choke myself for not checking and looking for excess flashing. I had to remove the detente with need nose pliers and then drill into the hole to remove the excess plastic. Furthermore the magwell did not permit the magazines to drop free. Some file time was necessary here to lower the high points on the inside of the mag well. Nothing too difficult. The buttstock trap door assembly was a plasticy rubberized piece of flimsy worthlessness that I didn’t want on my rifle. I had to replace it with a A2 trapdoor assembly. The stock flimsy trap door assembly feels as though it would bulge or break and release the contents of my buttstock to the floor. One more problem I noted is that the loose molding of the bolt hold open recess allows the catch to tilt back and forth. Such a tilt allows the bolt catch to miss the follower as in the photo below. This occurred while manually cycling the weapon. The bolt chewed into the follower rather than stop via the bolt hold open. I will have to shim this to correct the issue. I don’t really have a use for this lower at the moment. It has various features that would suite the needs of my 20 inch rifle build, such as A1 stock length and the fact that it is ultra light weight… but I think I will reserve it for a secondary rifle project in the future if I can get comfortable with its performance. Eugene Stoner’s original M16 design weighed around 6.3 lbs. Today’s M16A4 weighs 7.4 lbs. What happened here? This Cavalry lower is screaming for a M16A1 upper with pencil barrel. Do I smell a side project? Share: Google Twitter Facebook Pinterest Reddit More Tumblr LinkedIn Pocket Email Print
Advertisment There’s just something about a small, good looking handgun that makes me happy and the SCCY is no different. Based on sales numbers, I’m not the only one who feels that way, and SCCY (Pronounced “sky”) has noticed. They released the CPX 1 and it’s almost identical twin the CPX 2 in an attempt to cash in on the gun-buying public’s desire for a cheap, good-looking pocket gun. Well, there’s no doubt the guns are cheap as they regularly sell for as low as $200, and they look better than about 90% of polymer-framed CCW guns, at least in my opinion. But are they worth it? That’s actually a question my Dad asked me a while back when he was looking for a “glovebox gun” that he could drop in a pocket to go in a store for a few minutes or something. Well, not wanting to tell him “I have no fu$&@%ng clue”, I set out to find out if these guns were worth it, or just a cash-grab from a fly-by-night new manufacturer. Contents The CCW Pocket Gun Craze SCCY CPX-1 + 2 First Impressions The Bad Shooting The SCCY CPX-2 Who’s it For? Parting Shots The CCW Pocket Gun Craze A few years back, the “pocket gun” became the new hot thing in the gun world, and for a long time, a small, reliable gun that could fit in a pants pocket became something every manufacturer had to make. The Ruger LCR and LCP, the Glock 42 and 43 , and the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard have all carved out big segments of this market and are the most popular options, but other manufacturers like Kahr, NAA, Taurus, and SCCY have also grabbed substantial pieces of the market for themselves as well. Better or worse, the SCCY CPX line has exploded in popularity, so I was excited to get my hands on one and see how it did in our testing. SCCY CPX-1 + 2 First Impressions Right out of the gate, we have to talk about the difference in the CPX-1 and the CPX-2, that difference being the presence of a manual thumb safety. The CPX-1 has one, the CPX-2 doesn’t. Given the double-action-only nature of the gun, I opted for the CPX-2 and recommend you do as well, but if you want the thumb safety, the option is there. Both are available in 9mm only. The SCCY CPX-2 is available in a wide range of factory color combinations. You have the option of stainless or black for the slide, and nine different frame colors or black, white, red, tan, orange, pink, purple, teal, gray, and white. I don’t know of another manufacturer that has that many factory options on a handgun, so that’s a plus. Holding this $200, mostly-polymer gun, you’d expect it to feel cheap, but it actually feels really solid. There’s none of that Nerf gun type feel you get with a lot of similarly-priced firearms. This is in no small part due to the experience of SCCY owner Joe Roebuck. Joe is an engineer and a tool and die maker by trade, and he runs a tight ship on the shop floor. SCCY developed all their own tooling and machining processes for the CPX handguns , which is how they’re able to produce such a quality handgun at such a low price. Seriously, the CPX-2 has a total of 36 parts in it, the linkages are dead simple, and the slide and barrel are all machined out of bar stock. The grip is made from injection-molded Zytel which is plenty strong, but still lightweight and inexpensive enough to work with. The sights are a windage-adjustable 3-dot affair, and they’re alright. Nothing to write home about, but perfectly adequate for an inexpensive defensive gun. At self-defense distances, point shooting is going to be more important than perfect sight-alignment anyway. For your money you get two single-stack 10 round magazines with interchangeable base plates, two flush bases and two extended bases that give your pinky a little more to hold on to, which is perfect if you have bigger hands, or just want that extra grip. Reliability-wise, there are two things to be aware of. First, the magazines that shipped with this pistol don’t like steel-cased ammo. Given that this is a defensive handgun you shouldn’t be using cheap steel-cased ammo with it anyway, but it’s worth pointing out. Something about the texture inside the mag like to bind with steel cases. Second, I had two light primer strikes that I couldn’t get to go off in the SCCY but went off just fine in my GLOCK. Now, this was with the same cheap steel-cased surplus that you shouldn’t use anyway, and hard primers are common with that kind of stuff, so I wouldn’t really be concerned there either. For all practical purposes, with good ammo, the gun goes bang every time. I’d trust it enough to carry it for sure if I was on a tight budget. Now, you’re probably thinking “All that for $250? What’s the catch?” And of course, there is one because we live in an imperfect world. The Bad It’s the trigger. I dry fired this thing a little bit as soon as I got my hands on it, and oh my lord. I don’t want to say the trigger is badly designed or badly made because, for what is, it’s not. The gun uses a double-action-only internal hammer design so the trigger has to draw the hammer back until it trips the sear and then it comes down on the firing pin to ignite the round. That’s a lot of work it has to do, and that work is evident in the loooooong trigger pull on this thing. I’ve used caulk guns with triggers that weren’t as long. It’s also fairly heavy at a little under 9lbs of pull weight (The three I tested were 8.4-8.6lbs). That’s almost right up there with NYPD GLOCK triggers. The trigger is not great, in other words. For all that though, the trigger is relatively smooth with no real stacking. Just a mile long straight pull all the way back and then an equally lengthy reset. You can also get an aftermarket short-stroke trigger and hammer kit for about $70, but how many of us are going to spend that kind of money on modding a gun like this? Few, I’d imagine, and I can only evaluate this as it comes from the factory, and from the factory the trigger is damn difficult to use, and actively hinders accuracy. In short, a competition gun this ain’t. But that’s not really its purpose is it? This isn’t a target gun, and at a little over a third the cost of a GLOCK , we have to temper our expectations a little bit. One final quibble: the gun is rated for +P ammo but only for “limited use”. Now, +P ammo is most defensive ammo, so that’s a bit of a problem, but carry ammo is expensive anyway so you probably aren’t going to be shooting it much. A box or two every few months isn’t going to hurt it, and I’ve shot maybe 200 rounds of +P ammo through this thing at this point and the gun is still running just fine. And it’s worth noting that it’s not going to blow up or anything, you’re just going to wear the friction surfaces out faster So with that in mind, how well does the gun fulfill its role as a small, defensive-minded handgun? Well, that’s the real question, isn’t it? Shooting The SCCY CPX-2 The gun is mechanically fairly accurate but is massively held back by that trigger. For reference, my best group with six different types of ammo was about a dinner plate-sized monstrosity at 25 yards. At 7 yards, I was able to keep everything in the A-zone, but only just. With my Glock 48, I can get a 3” group at 25, and I can do about the same with my LC9s. And I can stack rounds touching at 7 yards. I’m no Jerry Miculek, but I don’t suck either, so when I say it’s not me, it’s the gun, I mean it. Granted, I’m new to shooting the SCCY and had only shot about 50 rounds through it before I tried to shoot for grouping, but frankly, I don’t think much more practice tightened my groups a whole lot. The trigger on this is just not at all helpful when trying to shoot accurately. But let’s think about this. This is a gun that’s designed to stop someone trying to do you harm, not win any accuracy competitions. How accurate does it need to be, really? That’s still a 4-inch group up there at ten yards, and at twenty yards I was still at about an 8-inch spread. That’s hits in the upper chest, as a distance that’s further than almost any justifiable self-defense shooting I can find record of outside of police/military incidents. In most defensive situations, you have an attacker at a distance of fewer than seven yards, and you’re going to be aiming for an adult human torso. This pistol is easily capable of that. With practice, I got a 10-yard Failure Drill (two quick shots to the heart/lung area, and one to the brain) down to a time only about a half-second longer than what I could do with the LC9S which I’m much more familiar with. I think with $40 in ammo and some practice anyone can be proficient enough with this gun to protect themselves with it, but for serious defensive use, I’d say there are better options out there if you have an extra $150 to spend. That said, for $200, it makes a fantastic backup gun, glovebox gun, or even a primary self-defense tool if you’re on a tight budget. I’m all about making gun ownership more inclusive, and something that can be for everyone, and a lot more people can afford a $200 SCCY, than a $500 GLOCK if they need to defend themselves. Who’s it For? That doesn’t mean the SCCY CPX-2 (or CPX-1 ) is necessarily for everyone though. In my mind, if you find yourself frequently leaving your gun at home because its too heavy or bulky ( I live in the South, I’ve done it many a time in the summer), then you may want to look at something smaller. If you have plenty of money, is an LC9s better? Or an S&W Shield or Bodyguard? Maybe. They’re certainly easier to shoot tight groups with because of the better triggers, and probably going to be a little bit more durable, and have a more reliable and well-known name behind them. Conversely, they’re also about $100-$150 more expensive, don’t look as good, and aren’t available in as many cool colors. Does cool matter? That’s for you to decide, but if you decide it does matter you could certainly do worse than the CPX line, and you can’t do better for the price. Parting Shots All in all, this is a good carry gun. For $200 or so and under $180 on sale, it’s maybe even a great one. If you want a backup gun or something to carry in a cargo pocket when it’s hot out, or you’re like my father and want a hideaway gun for a glovebox, tackle box or toolbox, $250 is hard to beat for ten rounds of 9mm on tap in a good-looking package. I think that’s where this gun really shines. It’s not a better gun than the $300 and up pocket gun crowd, but it’s a contender for the best gun under $300, and it’s definitely a big step up from the High Points and other “problem solva” guns that you can pickup for the same price. Finally, and most importantly, it is infinitely better than no gun at all. If you don’t have the cash to drop on a more expensive gun, or otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a backup gun for your car or to squirrel away somewhere in your home, it’s a great option. It’s also a solid option for anyone looking for a small, easy-to-conceal handgun that won’t break the bank or those who just want a good looking James Bond-esque handgun. What do you think of the SCCY? Is it good enough, or are you held back by the sub-par trigger? Let us know in the comments!