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SCCY DVG-1 Sub-Compact Striker-Fired Pistol: Full Review

High-praise customer service, an excellent warranty, branding features and a low-cost price point make the new DVG-1 a must-see for first-time gun buyers.

SCCY DVG-1 Sub-Compact Striker-Fired Pistol: Full Review

SCCY’s DVG series is based on a new lightweight, sub-compact, striker-fired design. It is available with standard sights for $300 (Glock 42/43-pattern), or with Riton Optics’  second-generation MPRD 2 for $400. Riton Optics’ red-dot sight features “Shake Awake” instant-on technology for critical-situation dependability while preserving battery life. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

During the mid-­1990s, states began enacting legislation that allowed “shall-issue” concealed-­carry permits for law-­abiding citizens. This created a resurgence in demand for pocket pistols throughout the U.S., which resulted in lengthy backorders for guns such as double-­action-­only autos, as well as the rise of lightweight subcompacts, some with polymer ­frames. AMT, Beretta, Colt, Glock, Kahr, Kel-Tec, Rohrbaugh, Ruger, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Taurus and Walther are just some of the brands that responded to that demand with products that advanced today’s concept of an “everyday carry” gun.

In 1998, Joe Roebuck was one of the innovators who anticipated the need for a safe, simple-to-use and affordable firearm intended for concealed carry. Meanwhile, larger companies raced to scale down the size of existing platforms. Roebuck already had the requisite skills from working for 40 years in manufacturing. He was a tool-­and-­die maker and a mechanical design engineer when he developed what would become the CPX series of 9mm (and later .380 ACP) handguns. Roebuck founded Skyy Industries in September 2003, which is now known as "SCCY." (Both are pronounced “sky.”)

SCCY DVG-1 02
SCCY pistols are offered with either a black-nitride steel slide or a stainless slide finished matte. New for the DVG series are front slide serrations. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Always located near Daytona Beach, Florida, now just a half-­mile from the Daytona speedway, SCCY is home to numerous state-­of-­the-­art CNC machine centers that use custom tooling and programs designed by Roebuck. What’s unique about SCCY is that everything — the barrel, receiver, slide and all other metal components — are made at their expansive facility. Most firearm factories rely on outsourced and imported components or services to assemble and finish their products, but not SCCY. This is a rare achievement that gives them flexibility to react to market demands.

All About Safety

I’ve owned two SCCY pistols, both the CPX-­2 model. Nearly 10 years ago, I was introduced to the company at a media event and won my first sample in a winner-­take-­all elimination contest. After becoming Guns & Ammo’s editor in 2013, I was presented with another CPX-­2 that featured a super-bright orange polymer frame as a nod to G&A’s recognizable nameplate color. (Though SCCY has long offered its pistols with various colored frames and black nitride or stainless-steel slide finishes, I’ve always preferred the all-­black, all-­FDE and all-gray models.


Because SCCY doesn’t offer a long list of types, the model name indicates a pistol’s configuration. For example, the “CPX-­1” is a hammer-­fired 9mm given a manual safety lever. The “CPX-­2” is a hammer-­fired 9mm pistol without a manual safety. SCCY introduced the “CPX-­3” in 2017, which is a hammer-­fired pistol without a manual safety chambered in .380 ACP. Besides caliber, the CPX-­3 is almost identical to the CPX-­2, and within a year the “CPX-­4” arrived; you guessed it, almost the same .380 pistol as the CPX-­3, but with a manual safety lever.


SCCY’s CPX models fire from a double-­action hammer system. The trigger stroke to manipulate it requires an average of 9 pounds of pressure. That’s akin to a decent carry revolver. Why a 9-­pound trigger pull? You know, “safety.” I’m not exactly Eric Bana’s character “Hoot” in the movie “Black Hawk Down” telling the shooter next to me at the range, “This is my safety,” as I gesture a trigger pull with my index finger, but I prefer SCCY pistols without the manual safety lever with one exception: appendix carry. A manual safety lever is added confidence that I’m not going to shatter my pelvic girdle and cut sensitive arteries when quickly drawing from concealment. Unfortunately, because I don’t tend to carry guns with triggers heavier than 5 to 6 pounds, my CPX pistols often stay locked up.

SCCY DVG-1 04
To disassemble an unloaded DVG-1, remove the 10-round magazine and lock back the slide. Use a small, flat-blade screwdriver tip to engage the slot on top of the takedown pin, then pry outward until it is removed. Apply slight rearward pressure to the slide, press the trigger, and pull the slide off the front of the frame. Then, remove the recoil spring and guiderod and the barrel. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Despite having a brace of SCCY pistols, I never shot or carried them much. If you’ll allow me to reflect: In 2017, Guns & Ammo ran an endurance test of double stack, 9mm, compact pistols. Rather than order another sample, I donated mine. After some 400 rounds of shooting steel and accuracy testing, the small hammer snapped in half, fell inside the fire-­control assembly and prevented its test from continuing. Rather than getting mad, I decided to test SCCY’s customer service and alleged “no-­hassle warranty.” So, I returned the pistol.

SCCY DVG-1 05
The DVG-1 flat trigger is standard, and an indication that SCCY is paying attention to market demands. More than aesthetic, the striker-fired system was engineered for a 5 ½ pound trigger pull. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

SCCY isn’t shy about inviting its customers to contact them for support, services or general questions. Of course, if you go through sccy.com, you’ll find an online form to fill out, which helps them sort your need, but if you just want to speak to a human, SCCY lists their number: 386-­322-­6336. Unlike the number on the wall at truckstop, if you call SCCY, people actually answer to address your concerns. I was impressed by that. Even more impressive, I received the pistol back — fixed — with a kind note about two weeks later. They never made me feel like I was the idiot.

SCCY DVG-1 06
The molded polymer frame features more tactile sur face texture on the sides of the grip and the backstrap. Finger grooves offer the hand control of the frontstrap. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Old vs. New 

SCCY engineers have been busy refining its first all-­new entry for the last few years, but we started seeing advertisements in G&A teasing the pistol in 2020; now it’s here. Our offices have received four samples for testing and evaluation, two DVG-­1 models with standard sights and two DVG-­1RD models equipped with Riton Optics’ latest MPRD 2 mini-red-dot sight. And there’s a lot to talk about.




The DVG-­1 features a striker-­fired system, which means that the trigger press only requires about 5½ pounds of effort. Not only is it faster to shoot than the CPX, the DVG-­1 feels better due to SCCY’s new flat trigger featuring a slight hook at the bottom. (The CPX has a 9-­pound curved trigger.) But being “flat” is not the only reason it feels better.

SCCY DVG-1 07
The DVG-1 (standard model) is a cost-competitive double-stack 9mm pistol featuring the same positive controls, serrations and texturing as the red-dot upgrade model. However, the slide wears three-dot sights that utilize the Glock 42/43-pattern rear dovetail. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

For lack of a better analogy, the image of a bar of soap always came to mind when I handled SCCY’s CPX models. Not a fresh bar with square corners (that would be too uncomfortable), but one that had been used a few days having beveled edges and finger grooves. The DVG-­1 and -­1RD are different. The grip now features a narrower and tapered profile with more of a high-grip undercut and reduced circumference. Further, the texture has been improved with a more abrasive surface. Now it feels like a well-­used soap bar loaded with pumice. Even the finger grooves are more comfortable, and the molded seam down the middle that irritated some CPX shooters is less pronounced.

SCCY DVG-1 13
In the 1990s, beveled edges and a “bull-nose” treatment of the muzzle were considered custom touches applied by gunsmiths. They smooth holstering and prevent snags when drawing. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

The DVG-­1 and -­1RD models are easy to manage while shooting, which includes manipulating its controls. The straight trigger is within reach and offers more leverage to press it straight and to the rear. The slide-­lock lever is positive to engage, and the magazine release is smartly positioned, too. (Sorry lefties, it’s not ambidextrous or reversible.)

Recommended


New to the DVG1 are front and rear slide serrations. Why the big deal? Some of us like to perform a press check. After I’ve inserted a live round into the chamber, I pull the slide slightly to be sure that I’m holstering a gun that’s ready to defend me. The CPX only features rear serrations.

SCCY DVG-1 09
The slide-lock lever was also designed to be a slide release, which is indicated by the comfortable scallop on top. It is long enough to serve as a thumb rest to improve recoil control, too. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Also on top of the slide are the sights. If you’re familiar with the CPX, one drawback was that it featured a proprietary rear sight cut that never received broad aftermarket support. The DVG-­1, however, has what SCCY calls a “Common Sight Cut.” (Ahem, “Glock’s dovetail.”) The front and rear three-­dot sight setup of the standard DVG-­1 ($300) are all you need, but if you can afford the upcharge, opt for the DVG-­1RD ($400) that comes with a new Riton Optics MPRD 2 red dot. These optics are installed by SCCY, but require zeroing. During G&A’s testing, one DVG-­1RD pistol required us chasing hits at 25 yards, but more on that later. (There’s a lesson we learned.)

Let’s say that you like heavier, hammer-­fired curved triggers for their inherent safety. Or, you have large hands and don’t mind the longer circumference of the CPX grip; and you think front slide serrations only encourage shooters to put their support hand too close to the muzzle. Let’s say you’re one of those tens of thousands who will purchase a CPX-­1, -2, -3 or -4 despite my overt favoritism of the DVG-­1 series. Well, SCCY is also offering its CPX series with the same red-­dot option installed on new-­manufacture pistols. (Soon, the CPX will get the texture, too.

Trigger Work 

The best step forward for SCCY is found in the new DVG-­1 trigger. It really left a lasting positive impression with every evaluator. Of the 5½-pound trigger pull (pull or press, whatever), about 4 pounds, 13 ounces, is used to draw the trigger to its perceived wall. After that, a little more than a half-­pound of pressure is required to fire the shot. That’s why, despite measuring 5 pounds, 8 ounces, on a Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge, the DVG-­1 trigger feels much lighter than it actually is.

According to the manual, “When the trigger moves to the rear, the trigger-­cam moves forward, which pulls the trigger bar forward. The trigger bar links the trigger-­cam to the fire-­control system (FCS). The FCS contains the sear, which engages the striker assembly at its short leg. When the pistol is cocked, the pre-­loaded striker rests on the sear. When the trigger bar moves forward, it pulls the sear down and allows the pre-­loaded striker assembly to spring forward to impact the primer” and initiate the firing sequence.

The key is that the striker is preloaded. Less pressure on the trigger is necessary to draw the sear out of the way to fire the pistol.

At The Range One DVG-­1RD pistol gave me a fit during my accuracy test session. Early on, the magazine release button abandoned the frame and effectively turned the gun into a single-­shot. This wasn’t that serious of an issue at the time because I was only testing accuracy at 25 yards, which required one shot at a time. Outside of the magazine release incident, there were no other malfunctions to report. However, this experience gives me an excuse to call up and reacquaint myself with SCCY’s friendly customer service.

On the bench, the pistol struggled to group Fiocchi’s Range Dynamics 115-­grain FMJ load. About halfway through a 50-­round box, I determined that the red dot had come loose. (Thank you SCCY and Riton Optics for including the necessary Allen wrenches to re-tighten the screws and adjust zero.) Before I secured the optic, I inspected the screws’ threads and noted that Loctite hadn’t been applied. I offered this suggestion to SCCY and they now apply blue Loctite to the threads!

Group shooting at 25 yards was just OK for what I’m used to. The pistol is capable of smacking a silhouette target’s 18-­inch chest area with reliable regularity, but it is not useful for A-­zone precision target practice at that distance, even with a red dot. The DVG-­1RD produced more consistent hits when fired inside of 15 yards.

I also noted that it groups best with heavier loads such as SIG Sauer’s 124-­grain V-­Crown and Speer’s 147-­grain Gold Dot G2. If I decide to carry this pistol for personal defense, these are the two loads I’ll stuff in each 10-­round magazine.

SCCY DVG-1 11
Each DVG-series pistol include a clam-shell trigger lock that encompasses the triggerguard and prevents trigger movement. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

SCCY has guts because it knows that the DVG-­1 will be compared to the industry’s giants in the highly competitive red-­dot-­ready subcompact category. What SCCY has going for it is that it’s offering a standard model as well as the DVG-1RD to cover both options and price points. Competing pistols (without red dots attached) include the Ruger Max-­9 ($559); SIG Sauer P365X ($600); Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP ($599); and others. The DVG-­1 ($300) and DVG-­1RD ($400) are worthy American-­made challengers on price alone. SCCY has always offered good value for the money, and their excellent customer service has been too long underrated. 

SCCY DVG-1RD

  • Type: Recoil operated, striker fired, semiautomatic
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1 rds.
  • Barrel: Quadlock, 3-in., 1:16 in. twist
  • Overall Length: 6.01 in.
  • Height: 5.06 in.
  • Width: 1 in.
  • Weight:  15.5 oz.
  • Finish: Matte stainless steel (slide tested)
  • Sights: White dot (front); Riton Optics MPRD 2 (rear)
  • Trigger: 5 lbs., 8 oz. (tested)
  • MSRP: $400 (with Riton Optics MPRD 2)
  • Manufacturer: SCCY Industries
SCCY DVG-1 12

RITON OPTICS MPRD 2

SCCY DVG-1 010
(Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Guns & Ammo received two samples of the DVG-1RD equipped with Riton Optics’ new MPRD 2 sight for micro-compact pistols. “MPRD” stands for “Micro Pistol Red Dot” sight. This is Riton’s second version. Like the original MPRD, the MPRD 2 remains versatile for use across platforms that accept a Shield-type footprint. After 90 seconds, the MPRD 2 shuts off the emitter to preserve the battery. Once the optic senses movement, it instantly turns on. Changing the CR2032 battery does require removal of the optic from the slide and rezeroing. There are no external brightness adjustments. Instead, Riton added a sensor at the rear to automatically tune the dot’s intensity to compensate for ambient light conditions. Simple. If you purchase a DVG-1RD and the optic is not installed, visit sccy.com where you’ll find a video on how to install Riton Optics’ MPRD 2. For more information, visit ritonoptics.com.

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