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Old March 26, 2008, 05:59 PM   #1
Adrian
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New baby Sphinx (AT 380 M)

Well... it's not 100% new, I think, but new to me and close enough that I don't mind, especially considering that the California List makes it nearly impossible to get anything interesting. From all signs, this particular was sitting in a box for about the past ten years - when I bought it from the seller, the box still had a healthy cake of dust on it.

<<note to Son Of Vlad Tepes - a couple days after the last Sphinx thread, my car blew a couple gaskets (!#@!@!!!!) and ate my gun budget. No review forthcoming on the 3000 until I recover from that one.>>

First impressions:
1 - For being so small, this thing is a brick. At 25 oz empty, it's a couple ounces more than a Glock 19 or Springfield EMP, both of which shoot 9mm. To compare closer guns, it's five ounces heavier than the Walther PPK, not even counting the four more bullets the Sphinx carries.

2 - That said, it's a wonderfully well-made brick. If the ramp were much smoother, I could probably shave in it. I'm trying to take a picture for you, but it's not being cooperative. See that weird white smear on the ramp? That's my window, ten feet away. If you look closely you can see the reflection of the inch-wide crossbar. The fitting is pretty tight, too. I don't have a macro lens handy like the one for Sturmgewehre back-end-of-Kimbers-and-Springfields pictures, but I can say that trying to stick the corner of a business card in there just results in, well, bent-up business card corners.

3 - The general hand-feel very enjoyable. I grab it and it just naturally wants to settle with the axis going straight back up my wrist. The trigger uses Sphinx's proprietary double-action remake, which makes for a very long, honey-smooth pull, a little on the heavy side. Unfortunately, it has a turn-up safety that doesn't emerge much from the slide, so it's annoyingly hard to work. If I can find a slide from a non-M model I might change it out, but it's not that big a deal right now. I don't have a carry license anyways.

4 - Whatever oil the last owner used gets pretty gummy after too much time in the box. WeaponShield took good care of that, though.

I'll write up a range report after my next trip, probably tomorrow or this weekend.
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Last edited by Adrian; March 26, 2008 at 06:01 PM. Reason: Pictures didn't pick up that time...
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Old March 26, 2008, 07:39 PM   #2
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My Sphinx came with an amended note for the manual that warned Do Not Use Hot Ammo... Hydra Shok in particular.

Like you say it's heavy, surprisingly so and also feels good in the hand, and looks like it was made by a jeweler. It has a much more polished and finished character than the CZ82 it's based on. I've seen wood grips available but never owned them. Enjoy your "new" Sphinx.

Last edited by PSP; March 26, 2008 at 08:27 PM.
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Old March 27, 2008, 12:08 AM   #3
Adrian
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Hi PSP, if you have that note handy, could you transcribe that note here? I was under the impression that it liked ammo a little bit hot, at least early on. Mine has a box sticker that says

Quote:
Originally Posted by Box Sticker
In order to assure the proper functioning of your Sphinx AT-380, we DO NOT recomend the use of Federal Hydro-Shock Ammunition
Sic on the misspellings, but I assumed it was a feeding problem. The HydraShok box reports fewer foot-pounds of energy than the Fiocchi one, at least.

I'll email Sphinx and see what they have to say about it.
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Old March 27, 2008, 02:32 PM   #4
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Link to discussion by another Sphinx owner.
http://www.seecamp.com/cgi-bin/yabb2...66720075/16#16

Hello Stafford Just recieved a e mail from SPHINX SYSTEMS LTD Mr Manuel Wipf said do not use hadra shock safety issue rounds are to strong .

I've communicated with Mr. Wipf myself. I believe he will confirm use of standard ammo. The reason I contacted him was for replacement parts because my gun had a part failure possibly due to over pressure. FWIW, parts are not stocked by anyone, but Mr. Wipf was very helpful and quickly responded to my needs. He asks for cash however, a little odd, but he delivered.
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Old March 27, 2008, 03:58 PM   #5
Adrian
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I just got an email from him myself; thanks!

He says to avoid +P, but most standard-pressure ammunition should be fine (with, apparently, the exception of HydraShok). Their technicians recommend the 102-grain Golden Saber as an alternative, which is no slouch itself, so I'm guessing it's an eccentricity in the HydraShok load that goes outside their safety margin.
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Old March 30, 2008, 12:33 AM   #6
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Adrian sorry to hear about the car problems. Congratulations on the nice new pistol. Can you post a side shot picture, since I don't think I've ever seen this gun. Thanks.
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Old March 30, 2008, 02:20 PM   #7
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Old March 30, 2008, 11:53 PM   #8
vox rationis
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I dig it, it has a really quirky design in a cool way! And it looks super solid!
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Old March 31, 2008, 12:49 AM   #9
Samuel2001
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WOW! I remember handling one in the early 90s and wishing I could afford one at the time. Those things are built like little tanks.

Adrian, like you said here in Cali that darn list almost makes it imposible to buy any cool gun, unless its a consignment or a PPT. Unfortunately most people don't want to part with their cool stuff, just the odds and ends (Average junk).
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Old April 7, 2008, 09:35 PM   #10
Adrian
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So!

Range report. I promised one. I'm a little late (the range was out of .380 for a while and I didn't have any on hand), but that's life for you.

The little Sphinx kicks surprisingly hard - I found it a little harder to control than the CZ-75 that I usually go play with, but not much. It's still quite comfortable to shoot, and I put in about 200 rounds today without feeling sore afterwards. I haven't been shooting in... almost two months now, so I gave myself fifty rounds to walk it in before I started playing for keeps. You can see two of my ten-yard groups in the attachments. Group1 starts around round 75-80, I think, and Group2 is in the low-mid 100s. It's not a match gun, but I think with a little practice it'll be more than accurate enough for its intended purposes (God forbid they ever come up).

It feeds just about everything, so far as I can tell. I shot 50-odd Fiocchis, 100 of the range's house reloads, and 50 Golden Sabers through it. One of the reloads didn't quite kick the slide back enough to feed the next round, but given the results with other ammunition I think it's safe to chalk that up to a bad cartridge.

I should say that it's an attention-getter; everyone who came into the next lane over wanted to see what I was shooting, and I was more than happy to let them fire off a clip (or most of one, near the end, when I was running out of ammo). They all commented on how wonderfully smooth the trigger is.

I do have one small complaint; the magazine seems to rattle a bit if you load up ten rounds of hollowpoint. Putting in two rounds of FMJ first cleared up the problem, so my guess is that the magazine is just a little too open at the bottom. The plastic-bottomed magazine is a little more persnickety; nothing I did made it want to keep it quiet. I think it needs a slightly stiffer spring; even a little pressure on the top cartridge shuts it up nicely.

So, there you are, my first range report here. If anyone has any questions I'm happy to answer them.
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