Sphinx, the Swiss manufacturer of premium military and law enforcement arms, unveiled their avant-garde SDP Compact a little over two years ago at a Parisian arms expo. They officially announced it at SHOT Show last year, and availability since then has been… not available.
It has been a wait, but Sphinx has begun importation of these pistols and will start distribution the first quarter of this year. We think it’s been worth it.
The SDP Compact, like the SDP, is both familiar and radical. It is a descendant of the CZ 75 design, but with added features and a new take on construction that make it a wholly new pistol unto itself.
Most notably, the SDP has a two-piece frame, with the receiver cut from a lightweight alloy and the grip molded from an even lighter-weight polymer. The full-length rails are milled into the frame giving this gun a level of precision not met by most polymer pistols. The receiver’s precision carries over to the fire control group; the SDP has a great trigger.
And not just a great trigger for a service pistol. A great trigger, period. The DA trigger pull weighs in at 8.2 pounds, and it’s smooth and short. The SA trigger is an exact 3.3 pounds.
The grip isn’t without a trick or two, either. The SDP Compact comes with three interchangeable rubber-overmolded backstraps in small, medium and large sizes. The frontstrap is richly textured and has subtle and not-annoying finger grooves. This is not a slippery gun in the slightest, but it’s not irritating either. The SDP Compact can be fitted with your choice of safety or decocker.
The lower isn’t the only thing to see advances over the basic CZ 75 design. It has wider, more open and much faster sights, with a white dot front blade and a flat U-notch rear. But it’s not just about looks; the SDP Compact also has a loaded chamber indicator and an out-of-battery safety.
As the name indicates, this is a smaller version of the full-size SDP. It’s a service-size handgun, with a 3.7-inch barrel and a 15+1 capacity. The SDP is only available in 9mm, not that we have a problem with that, not with the CZ pattern.
It weighs in at 27.5 ounces with a magazine and measures 1.3 inches wide. It’s just on the bigger side for concealed-carry but it’s doable. More the point, it will do just fine as an all-around shooter, especially for anyone looking for a pistol with a slender grip that’s still got a nice capacity.
You do have to make it rain if you want a Sphinx, sadly. The MSRP for the SDP compact is $1,295. We don’t expect to see it for sale for under a grand. Sphinx is also working on bringing their “Kryptonight” version with Defiance HALO (H3 Adaptive Luminescent Optic) green sights. The front sight is a fiber-optic/tritium night sight, and the rear sight has two night sight inserts as well. These are some of the nicest night sights we’ve ever seen. The Kryptonight has an extended grip and a 17+1-round capacity. Sphinx is still quiet about the Kryptonight’s pricing and availability.
That being said, Sphinx pistols aren’t just popular with soldiers and officers. They’re solid competition guns and long overdue here in the U.S. Their price shouldn’t put people off; if you’re looking for a premium DA/SA 9mm, put it on your wish list and start saving.
Lastly, expect to see them with and without threaded barrels to pair with their Defiance line of suppressors.