Survival Gear Review: Sphinx Arms SDP Compact

Never heard of Sphinx Arms?  You are not the only one.  Despite the fact that they can trace their engineering roots back to 1876, they cz75 pistol cloneare relatively unknown in the firearms world to most. Located in Interlaken, Switzerland, they came out with a pistol in the early 2000’s called the Sphinx 3000 which was based on the proven CZ 75 frame.  The early Sphinx pistols were not cheap, at $3,000 a pop and a long waiting period to get your hands on one, not many people could either afford or find one of these pistols.  The Sphinx 3000 was mostly a secret among elite Special Forces groups around the world and competitive shooters with a keen eye for handmade, highly accurate pistols.  For example, Cindi Thomas who is a member of the 2014 USPSA Women’s Team uses the Sphinx 3000 exclusively in national competition shooting.

The Best Or Nothing

In 2010, Sphinx Arms teamed up with KRISS, a company known for producing high qualitykriss usa review sphinx sub-machine guns, and together last year they launched a new more affordable pistol called the SDP Compact.  When I first held this pistol at the 2013 SHOT show, it felt like a nice new Sig or an updated CZ 75 pistol – in fact, many consider the SDP Compact to be an evolution of the CZ.  The ergonomics were fantastic. Weighing in at 28 ounces and with the factory supplied medium grip (a large and small backstrap is also provided) the gun felt well-balanced and comfortable in my hand.  When I learned about the heritage of the Sphinx pistol, the Mercedes Benz slogan came to mind, “The best or nothing.” And that is how it felt in my hand.

The ambidextrous de-cocker and magazine release (which is reversible) are both easily sphinx pistol review 9mmoperated with one hand. The serrated bobbed hammer for SA operation was also easy to operate.  The finish on the gun looked like it was all made from the same type of material, belying the fact that the slide was made of steel, the top of the frame aluminum, and the grip polymer.  I worked the action a few times and pulled the trigger and it felt like it was manufactured with all of the precision of a Swiss watch.  I was hoping that I would have a chance someday to break this gun down and look and inspect it further.  I thought to myself that this is a nice looking pistol but I will never have the time or the money to check one out.  I barely have enough time to shoot the pistols I currently have, let alone the ones that I want.  One of my friends recently bought one of the Sphinx SDP Compacts and agreed to shoot it for the first time with me.  I killed two birds with one stone: I got to try the Sphinx and then write a review on it. I didn’t tell my friend, but I was expecting to be pretty brutal on this $1000 pistol.

The Sphinx At The Range

When we got to the range, I had a chance to inspect the Sphinx even closer and further admire its fit and finish.  It felt great in my hand kriss pistol reviewwith the factory supplied medium grips although it was somewhat heavier than similar pistols that I have shot.  The Sphinx has a large beavertail and a no-snag hammer giving the whole back end of the gun the feel of a 1911. The double action trigger pull (@10#) was long, as expected, but smooth. Single action trigger pull (@3#) was short and crisp.  The trigger reset is extremely short, which helps with accuracy because you don’t need to shift your grip nearly as much to get the trigger back. I worked the slide using both the forward and rear slide serrations and found that the action on the gun’s full length rails was extremely smooth.  I also took note of the fact that the magazine followers are bright red, which makes it easy to see when the magazine is empty.  This is a nice feature as it allows you to see that the magazine is empty with one quick look.

I decided that I wanted to shoot it right out of the box without breaking it down to lube and clean it.  I wanted to see this gun fail.  We kriss pistol reviewwere shooting Federal American Eagle ammo, which is mid-range pistol ammo in my opinion. We walked off 20 paces and fired at steel pistol targets.  We blew through 300 rounds without so much as a hiccup.  We shot it slow, we shot it fast, it didn’t matter.  We could not get the Sphinx to fail. And it was accurate.  No adjustments, I hit steel 13/15 on my first mag.  My friend had similar results after he made a slight sighting adjustment.  These are not competition target sights – but they are solid and worked well for each of us, allowing for quick target acquisition and solid accuracy which is what you want in a compact carry gun.

Technical Specs (From Manufacturer)

Magazine catch – left / right – reversible
Caliber -9×19 mm
Overall Length – 7.4 in / 188 mm
Overall Height – 5.35 in / 136 mm
Overall Width – 1.37 in / 35 mm
Weight – 28.18 oz / 799 g
Barrel Length – 3.7 in / 95 mm
Sight Radius – 5.7 in / 148 mm
Front Sight – Iron blade with white dot
Rear Sight – Serrated fixed sight
Action – DA/SA with ambidextrous decocking lever
Trigger Pull Weight – SA: 4.0+ lb / 1.8+ kg
DA: 10.0+ lb / 4.5+ kg
Slide material – Steel
Slide finish – Black with TIAIN coating
Frame upper – Hard anodized aluminum
Frame lower – Polymer
Grip – Polymer incl. finger molds
Magazine capacity – 15+1

Also Read: Review of the CZ 75 Pistol

Disassembly and reassembly of the Sphinx, as you might expect, is similar to the CZ and is kriss usa sphinx pistolrelatively easy.  Just pull back the slide until the guide lines on the slide and frame line up and push the pin out.  It was a little awkward at first but I soon got the hang of it.  Reassembly was even easier.  Once apart, the hand-fitting of this gun was very evident.  The barrel-to-slide fit was perfect with the feed ramp and chamber being polished to a mirror finish.  The slide to frame fit is tight and precise as evidenced by the smooth operation of the slide when removing and replacing it.  I found myself working the action several times just to experience the feel of the quality of workmanship of this gun.  The attention to detail that went into this firearm is very apparent as you inspect this firearm.  Combine excellent workmanship with metal parts that are forged or machined from billet as with the Sphinx SDP and you have a weapon of the highest quality which traces its heritage to a world class competition pistol.


I have seen my friend a few times since we shot the Sphinx SPD Compact at the range.  He now carries the Sphinx SPD as his CCWkriss usa sphinx pistol review Each time I see him, I have asked to check out his pistol again.  I rarely ask someone to handle their pistol, especially if they are carrying a common pistol such as a Glock.  But this is a good friend of mine and this pistol keeps drawing me back.  The gun is really tight.  If you get a chance, I highly recommend that you shoot this pistol to see what I am talking about.  It is really well made.

If you are a pistol aficionado or someone looking for a 9mm with 15+1 capacity, reasonable concealability, match-grade accuracy, precision machining and field tested reliability, then you should consider the Sphinx SDP Compact.  Plenty of these pistols sold for $1,300, so getting this beauty for under $1,000 would be considered by many folks as a steal.  It is now on my Christmas list.  On a side note, after shooting the Sphinx SPD, now I really want to shoot one of the full size Sphinx competition pistols.  Let me know if you have shot one below in the comments.

All Photos by the Survival Cache & SHTFBlog Team

Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

18 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: Sphinx Arms SDP Compact”

  1. I watched some videos on youtube. It looks like a solid pistol. Slightly out of my price range but looks like a good one to shoot. Like they say – Pistols are used to fight your way to a long gun.

    • Agreed. Why pay $1300 for a gun thats just as dependable as a Glock or M&P? I'm sure its a wonderful gun, but not for prepping.

  2. I own the Sphinx SDP Compact and it is a fantastic gun. Worth every $$$ I paid for it. I cannot afford to carry it as my CCW gun (Glock 30S for that works). This gun is my favorite range gun.

    • I own one and carry it. I've owned countless pistols over the years, but this is my favorite carry gun out of the box.


  4. Too much money for a Glock/CZ 75 clone, especially in 9mm. Buy American! Revolvers rule, almost never jam, and more accurate! IMHO! Six well placed large-caliber rounds (.357mag.) are better than 15+1 hope-he's-not-wearing-a-vest rounds. Seriously, short of a Zombie herd attacking when was the last time you were attacked by 6 or more people at once, and if they're armed with firearms, then duck and cover is more important than how many rounds you spray in their general direction! Tis more important to survive than to cut lots of notches in your gun grip! Good Luck!

  5. Of all the places on the planet, I wonder why the neutral country is CH and its neighbor Austria, both microscopic by Montana standards, seem to produce earth shattering auto pistol designs? Add CZ to the north and D to the northwest, and most of this planet's best high end pistols are named.

    I suggest everyone read the book "Glock" to understand why many other gun companies are so late on the draw.

  6. I own one of these babies with Halo night sights for just under $900. These guns are amazing! They're nothing like the P-07 clones they're accused of being. They are a gun manufactured of the finest Swiss craftsmanship. If you can appreciate the enhanced experience of having this tight reliable rugged gun and are willing to pay for it, then look no further. Is it twice s good as a Glock? To me it is. I dislike the Glock grip, sights, trigger and it's flimsy plastic frame. So for me it's a no-brainer. As Mr. Colton Noir so eloquently put it, [paraphrased] a CZ P-09 is fun to shoot. Shooting the Sphinx SDP Compact is pleasurable.

  7. Great review! I started out shooting with striker fire polymers. I never was a big fan of Glocks, so I turned to M&Ps. however the triggers on those things sucks too. So i turned to more imported pistols, like HKs and Walthers. For awhile, I carried my PPQ and most recently my VP9. I then, was very curious about the hammer fire and full metal guns. I looked around for two months and researched and came across something that I loved; the CZs and that drew my curiosity more into the high-frame-low slide combos. I bought a CZ-p09, carried it for a month. However, I wanted something with more quality and more fit to it. Then I ran into this article. It spiked a high interest in the Sphinx. I search on Gunbroker and happened to run across a Sphinx SDP Tan that was also sitting on the shelf of a local ammo shop. I called the ammo shop to see if they still had it; and they did. So I went in and held it and went home…I fell in love with it. The following week I saved up some money from a contracting job and while still working on that same job, I asked for an advance payment and went back and did the paper work for the Sphinx SDP tan. To my surprise, while doing the paper work, the clerk presented me with two holsters that came with it, IWB and OWB. It was a consignment item that someone had dropped off three weeks before and had bought a G-code IWB holster and a Bravo Concealment OWB with it. All this cost me under $1000. I think I have gotten the greatest deal for this type of great quality and package. I just put 200 rounds through it, but still need a lot more practice with the pistol. It will be my carry and my range gun. Probably the only pistol that I will only brag about to my friends.

  8. As long as it suits you and a person has put the rounds through it to torture test it why not but have a second
    arm as a backup in the same caliber.

  9. great review!! it sounds like the sphinx 9mm compact is a great gun!! it looks pretty,very pretty!! but looks are second to reliability,i will continue to carry my flimsy polymer frame,ugly as hell glock 17,that i have owned for 13 years and has proven very reliable,with thousands of rounds through it,can'remember a single malfunction!! if the sphinx is what you like than that is wonderful!! i will keep my glock 17 because as we all know it has been to hell and back!! has any body done one of those ridiculous "mud" "sand" "water" torture test on the new supposedly super high quality sphinx?? like they have done to my ugly as "hell" but reliable glock pistol?? remember reliability comes before beauty and tightness .


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