We typically associate the Swiss with some pretty peaceful stuff. Maybe a warm cup of cocoa or perhaps a cute little pocketknife for a kid’s first camping trip. While this is certainly accurate it should not go unnoticed that the Swiss are actually pretty badass. For starters, their gun laws are in many ways less restrictive than the concrete prisons of New York and California. Not to mention that the guns they call their own are built to run, well, like a Swiss watch. Take the Sphinx SDP Compact, this firearm is built in Switzerland and imported by Kriss Inc., home of the Kriss-Vector submachinegun. The Sphinx is built with some obvious European influence; however, its all-metal construction makes it as American as apple pie.
Upon first handling, you will likely notice that the slide sits inside of the frame, sorta like a CZ-75. This makes it a little bit of a pain to rack, but man does it get that barrel down close to your fist. This puts you closer to the recoil and gives you better control. Controllability is the main goal in all Sphinx pistols and all-metal construction is actually part of this idea. All of that extra mass means less felt recoil and less muzzle flip, keeping you on target through ferocious mag dumps. The slide is built of 4140 pre-hardened steel and the frame from aircraft-grade aluminum. Together these make the gun a little too beefy to carry in warm dress, but a good sweatshirt will have no problem covering it up. Also helping you to keep a grip are the rubberized back-straps, which are also interchangeable to achieve your best fit.
Range day gave us decent conditions except for a 15 MPH wind that was blowing right in our faces. As the range was mostly sand the internal rail system proved beneficial, because it kept out all the flying debris. To get a feel for the accuracy we ran HSM’s 115-grain hollow point ammo through it as well as Winchester’s Super Suppressed subsonic 147-grain loads. From a 15-yard bench rested position I was able to slide every five-shot group well within the three-inch threshold that I like to see on a compact pistol. All rounds fed, fired, and ejected just fine and the best group of the day went to HSM, measuring just 1.59 inches center to center. We included the Winchester because a threaded version is available to accept a can. These produced the best group of 2.18 inches which is still more than adequate to cave somebody’s chest in without blowing out your eardrums. We gave the load bonus points because it cycled reliably without a suppressor installed, which isn’t always the case with most subsonic ammunition.
The Sphinx SDP operates on a DA/SA trigger system. In lieu of a safety, you will find a decocker that safely drops the hammer. This allows you to draw and fire without having to manipulate any additional controls, just like a revolver. Also like a revolver, you can expect a heavy trigger pull, at least for the first round. In our test sample, this measured well over ten pounds and was very gritty through its path. Although the double action was rough, the single action was actually pretty sweet. It broke at just over five pounds and very clean at that. The good news is that as a target pistol most shooters are never going to deal with that heavy double-action shot. If you are planning on carrying this or competing in USPSA or IDPA with it you are going to need to practice that or get used to missing your first shot…..hopefully it doesn’t hit someone with a good lawyer.
Disassembly is exactly as you would expect, but it is not for the weak. If you are getting this for your grandmother tell her to double up on her arthritis medication for cleaning day. To take the gun down you must align the slide and the frame and hold it there as you remove the slide stop. After that, the rest is effortless. Reassembly is as simple as watching the YouTube video in reverse, just don’t go too far otherwise you’ll watch the guy bring the SDP back to the gun store and maybe even return to his mom’s basement.
Overall, we thought it was a great little pistol for the range and maybe even a practical shooting competition. The sturdy construction makes us feel comfortable landing on it in a rough altercation, and the hand-fit parts usually always make for a reliable platform. Consider the Sphinx SDP compact should you need a good gun to turn paper or bad guys into Swiss cheese.
For more information visit: kriss-usa.com