August 10, 2021
The new DVG-1 at first glance resembles SCCY’s previous offerings, but unlike those pistols, which were all DAO hammer-fired guns, the DVG-1 is a departure for SCCY—it is a striker-fired pistol. Polymer-framed striker-fired 9mm pistols are all the rage, and these days if your pistol isn’t optics ready (at a minimum) and doesn’t offer double-digit capacity it just won’t get any attention. The SCCY DVG-1 checks all those boxes … at a price lower than the competition.
By one of those strange coincidences of life, the week before I got in the SCCY DVG-1 pistol for review I was across the country at Gunsite for a media event. There I ran into Scott McGregor, who, until recently, had been VP of Sales at SCCY. One of the other writers had never heard of SCCY (pronounced ‘sky’) pistols, and McGregor perfectly explained them like this: “They’re concealed carry pistols. Well made, but built for a price point.”
SCCY calls the DVG-1 a sub-compact—and now it’s time for a brief aside. There is no universal firearms standard or definition for “sub-compact” or “compact”. Magnum Research could call the Desert Eagle a “sub-compact” pistol and they would not be in violation of any US laws or UN treaties. Heck, I do this for a living, and I won’t venture to give any exacting specs as to what I think should qualify a pistol for one of the above labels. However, to my mind, a “sub-compact” pistol should easily fit inside a standard pocket. The DVG-1 will not fit inside any but oversize cargo pockets, but it is easily concealable in any kind of holster, underneath just about any covering garment. It is perfectly sized for concealed carry, just not in a pocket.
The DVG-1 is chambered in 9mm with a 10+1 capacity. It sports a 3.1-inch barrel, and is 6.01 inches overall. Width is 1.1-inches, not including the slide release, which adds another 3/16 of an inch to that width. As for height and weight … well, that depends.
SCCY is offering two versions of the DVG-1, one with factory iron (plastic) sights, and one with a factory-mounted red dot. Every pistol ships with two magazines, and the magazines from the factory come equipped with extended finger-hook base plates, but SCCY does provide flat basepads if you want to swap them out. With iron sights and a flat magazine basepad installed the pistol is just 4.6-inches tall and weighs 15.5 ounces with an empty magazine in place.
Wearing a red dot, and stuffed with a magazine sporting a fingerhook basepad, the pistol is 5.7-inches tall and weighs 17.5 ounces.
Every pistol SCCY makes comes with a stainless-steel slide and barrel, the only question is whether you want your slide displaying a natural brushed stainless finish for that two-tone look or if you want an all-black gun, in which case your slide will have a black nitride finish. There’s no price difference between two-tone and all-black models. I secured a sample of the two-tone red dot-equipped DVG-1 for testing, which technically makes it the DVG-1RD.
The stainless-steel slide rides on an anodized 7075 T-6 aluminum frame inside the polymer grip. The frame is visible at the rear of the pistol, and it’s there you’ll see the serial number etched. The aluminum frame is easily removable if you pop out a few pins, but SCCY does not recommend this as it’s not required for cleaning. But it is this modular design that helps keep the manufacturing costs down.
While it resembles the hammer-fired DAO CPX models, this new DVG-1 sports some changes which I like. At the front of the slide you’ll see, for the first time, forward cocking serrations. They are flat-bottomed and curved and very functional. As this is a somewhat small pistol chambered in 9mm it is equipped with a strong dual recoil spring system, so more slide serrations=more betterer, at least in my opinion. And in case you’re feeling judgmental, ‘betterer’ self-identifies as a real word.
Traditionally, SCCY pistols have proprietary sight cuts. The DVG-1 instead has what SCCY calls the “common sight cut” as they hate to use the name of a competing design, but I will—the DVG-1 uses Glock 43 sight cuts. The iron sights on the non-red-dot model of the DVG-1 are plastic. Glock puts plastic sights on their guns because…well, I’m not sure why Glock does it. Because they can. SCCY does it because plastic is less expensive than steel, and their pistols are aimed at a certain price point, but if at some point you want to upgrade, aftermarket sights built for the G43 sight cuts are widely available.
For the red dot-sighted version SCCY initially was equipping them with Crimson Trace optics, but going forward the optics on these pistols will be what you see here, the Riton X3 Tactix MPRD V2 (Miniature Pistol Red Dot Version 2). This optic is so new that as I write this it hasn’t even been announced, and isn’t listed on the Riton Optics website, but I presume it’ll be there by the time you’re reading this.
The MPRD V2 is 24mm wide, 23.8mm tall, and 40.7 mm long and weighs 19 grams without the battery. To put that in American, it’s just under an inch wide and tall, 1.5-inches long, and weighs 0.67 ounces. The sight is powered by one CR2032 battery (provided) which will deliver approximately 50,000 hours of runtime. It has a low power indicator. It has been waterproof tested at 1 meter for 30 minutes. The optic was mounted on the slide when the pistol arrived, but the screws were not tightened down, as the battery was not installed. You have to remove the optic to install the battery. This optic uses a Shield RMSc footprint.
The MPRD V2 has a 3 MOA red dot which auto-adjusts brightness depending on the ambient lighting, and will power down after three minutes of inactivity. The housing of this micro red dot is CNC-machined 6061 anodized aluminum and the lens is glass. Allen wrenches are provided to both mount the optic and adjust windage/elevation.
There is a rear sight built into the housing of the MPRD 2. The notch is shallow, and only allows you to see the top third of the front sight, but having that notch there is a valuable reference point.
The MSRP on the MPRD V2 will be $299.99. Considering the MSRP of the DVG-1RD with the MPRD 2 is just $399.99, that is an incredible price for performance. FYI the DVG takes the same magazines as their CPX 1 and 2 pistols, so magazine availability isn’t an issue. Additional magazines are available from SCCY and start at $21 a piece, depending on the baseplate.
Red dot optics on pistols have a lot of features to recommend them. Red dot reticles are on the same focal plane as the target, which means you can focus on the target (or the bad guy) when you’re shooting, something that people naturally want to do. Most people can shoot more accurately with them … but most people also shoot slower with them as well. They also add cost and complexity, and like all electronics can break. But red dots on handguns are the future, and nowhere will you see a pistol/red dot package for this price.
Back to the pistol. You’ll see “ROEBUCK QUAD-LOCK” laser-etched on the left side of the slide. This is SCCY’s name for their design which puts four points of contact on the barrel to improve accuracy—in two places underneath the muzzle where it mates with the slide, at the top rear of the barrel where it fits to the breech face, and at the link underneath the barrel where it snugs to the disassembly pin. It is named after SCCY founder and CEO Joe Roebuck.
It was Roebuck, a former tool and die maker, who in 1998 looked at pistols on the market and believed that he could make a $200 pistol with the performance of a $500 gun if he did all the work under his own roof, using the latest tools and technology. I’ve been to the SCCY plant in Florida—it is wall-to-wall with CNC machines and other computer-aided manufacturing tools, and they use them as efficiently as possible. For example, they machine slides twenty-four at a time from bar stock. The longer they’ve been in business the more work they do in-house, and now SCCY is making their own magazines as well.
You’ll see the caliber etched on the right side of the chamber. If you’re wondering what the round cutout is on the right side of the slide, forward of the ejection port, that is so you can more easily eject loaded cartridges from the pistol.
The grip frame is Zytel polymer with finger grooves and made by SCCY in-house in their injection molding machines. SCCY knows what kind of pistols they make—these guns are meant for concealed carry. They’re sized just as big as they need to be to hold ten rounds in the magazine (the capacity of every pistol they make, regardless of caliber). There are absolutely no sharp edges on this pistol, every corner is rounded. The polymer magazine release button only protrudes as far as it needs to. The takedown pin sits flush with the frame and must be removed using a screwdriver. The only exception to this rule is the slide release, which is rather big for the pistol. I’m almost surprised SCCY didn’t go with an internal slide stop to keep from “ruining” the smooth lines of this pistol, but then again it actually works as a slide release, not just a slide stop.
After over a decade of daily carry of a 1911, for good or bad, I shoot everything with a thumb-high hold. I feel it gives me better control over the pistol while shooting, but it also can lead to problems—in this case, my thumb rests on top of the slide stop, so the slide of the DVG-1 doesn’t lock back for me. As this is a somewhat small gun, depending on your grip, you might have the same issue. It’s a good reminder that everyone needs to put sufficient rounds downrange through their carry gun in practice so that there are no surprises when things get serious.
The front of the grip frame is smooth. The sides and back of the frame have fine texturing that digs in when you have a firm grip, and between the texturing and the finger grooves, the pistol stays in place while shooting.
Compared to SCCY’s original hammer-fired CPX 1-2 pistols, the grip of the DVG-1 has been slimmed down a bit. The profile is still the same, but the circumference is closer to that of the .380-chambered CPX 3. You’ll note there are prominent finger grooves on the front of the frame. I like them, as they help to control recoil, but not everyone does.
Finger grooves are often a love it or hate it issue. At that Gunsite event, I heard McGregor state that the SCCY pistols never really fit his hands due to the finger grooves on the frame. McGregor is a former college football player and physically massive, with hands to match. While not diminutive, I am sized more like a normal human being, and the finger grooves on the SCCY frames fit me perfectly. For reference, I wear size Medium gloves and also love the finger grooves on the Gen 3 Glock frames as they fit me exactly. With the magazine wearing an extended finger groove basepad, I can get my entire hand on the pistol, which greatly helps control when the shooting starts, but does make it a bit harder to conceal.
Every other pistol in SCCY’s lineup uses their very interesting DAO hammer-fired trigger mechanism. The trigger pull on their DAO guns is shockingly smooth—you’ll only feel the spring tension. However, trigger pulls on those guns are usually close to eight pounds, and long. The trigger pull on the DVG-1 is decidedly different.
First is the trigger itself—instead of the curved design found on other pistols, the trigger on the DVG-1 is flat, with a small angle at the bottom. It is aluminum, with a smooth face. Factory spec for the trigger pull is 5.5-pounds. Trigger pull on my sample, measured where the flat meets the angle near the bottom of the trigger, was six pounds. There was a bit of take-up, then a somewhat long break. Total trigger travel, including take-up, was 5/16 of an inch, compared to the full inch of travel that you’d get with SCCY’s DAO guns—with a full inch of reset.
The trigger itself sets further back when at rest, and that combined with the smaller circumference of the grip means the reach to the trigger is significantly less than with other SCCY models.
I mentioned you’ll need a screwdriver to take apart the pistol, but only because the takedown pin is flush with the frame. Lock the slide back, remove the magazine, ensure the pistol is unloaded, and use a flat-headed screwdriver (or other similar small pry bar) to pop the takedown pin out. Let the slide go forward, and you will have to pull the trigger to get the slide off the gun.
For its size the SCCY is a pretty darn light gun, and almost all that weight is in the top half, as there’s almost no weight in the frame. But that lightweight is offset by the control provided by being able to get your whole hand on the gun.
Red dots on handguns have their pros and cons. One of the pros is the increased practical accuracy. Most red dots are 3 MOA in width. In comparison, most front sights are about 15 MOA wide. While a pistol wearing a red dot isn’t any more accurate, you will often be able to shoot it more accurately due to the precision afforded by that red dot. I found that to be the case with the DVG-1RD.
After the requisite accuracy testing off sandbags I moved back to the 25-yard line and tried some off-hand shooting. The accompanying photo shows my results of my 10+1 group—if it wasn’t for one darn flyer I would have had a six-inch group, but the flyer opened it up to eight inches. Still, that’s pretty darn impressive for such a small pistol, and definitely better than I could have done with simple iron sights.
I’ve never been a fan of shooting slow, much less aiming, so after my 25-yard self-torture, I moved in and had some fun. Our club had a lot of steel targets set up in one bay and I entertained myself by hammering Pepper Poppers, a plate rack, and a Texas star. The DVG-1 recoiled a bit more than the competition pistol I normally use to terrorize steel targets, but the red dot helped when I was going after the smaller plates on the Texas star.
SCCY sells replacement grip modules for their other pistols in a variety of colors, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen with the DVG. FYI replacement grip modules for the CPX pistols are just $39 apiece, so if (when) they’re available expect to the ones for the DVG similarly priced.
The DVG-1RD is completely made in the US. The barrel and slide are stainless steel and the frame is polymer, making this pistol as corrosion resistant as anything out there, which is what you want in a compact pistol meant for concealed carry. Whether you prefer the option of a red dot or like traditional iron sights SCCY offers a model of the DVG-1 for you, with a price (and warranty) that are as good as any in the business.
SCCY DVG-1RD 9mm Pistol Specs:
- Type: striker-fired semi-auto
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 10+1
- Barrel: 3.1 inches stainless
- Overall length: 6.01 inches
- Height: 5.6 inches
- Weight: 17.5 oz.
- Slide: stainless steel
- Finish: brushed
- Frame: Zytel polymer
- Sights: Riton X3 Tactix MPRD V2 3 MOA red dot; White dot front, notch rear
- Trigger: 5.5 lbs spec (6.0 lbs as tested)
- Accessories: 2 10-round magazines, flush base pads, trigger lock
- Price: $339.99
- Manufacturer: SCCY Industries: SCCY.com