The moment the SIG SAUER P238 disappears into your hand you know it’s a beautiful piece, a diamond that’s not even slightly rough. The Colt Mustang clone has all the solidity and precision that’s typified the Swiss-born company’s products since SIGARMS set up shop stateside in 1985. That’s quite a feat, given the the P238 weighs just 15.2 ounces unloaded. The gun’s light enough to stash in a pocket, yet heavy enough to make it a perfectly controllable pistol.

Lest we forget that is the point—despite the gun’s intrinsic appeal as a ballistic bauble. On the hitting stuff front, the .380 caliber P238 is good to go. Wayne from American Firearms School was kind enough to let me watch him break his mini-SIG’s cherry. (I know that sounds kinky, but watching Wayne shoot a gun as it’s meant to be shot is a thrilling experience for any gun nut.) At first, Wayne pronounced, “that’s not a bad group.” After I stopped making the above video, he proceeded to put all the bullets in the little circle.

My local gunsmith had an almost brand new Smith & Wesson Airweight for sale. “What was wrong with it?” I asked. “Nothing,” he replied. “Why’s the owner selling it?” “He shot it.” There are no such recoil-related problems with the SIG SAUER P238. While shooting the best-selling Ruger LCP is about as painful as an extremely vigorous high five, the more expensive SIG is one of the softest-shooting smallest .380 pistols made. The all-metal pocket rocket shoots as easily an all-stainless .38 revolver, with a “bonus” seventh round (if you keep an extra one in the pipe).

The SIG SAUER P238’s relatively gentle recoil makes it an extremely accurate little jewel and, well, fun. A P238 owner’s unlikely to treat his or her weapon like your average mouse gun (stick it in a secret cage and only pull it out when your life depends on it). The P238 is a range toy in the best sense of that term: a gun you’ll play with to the point where shooting it well will become second nature. And that means the gun may do you some good should you ever need to use it in a self-defense situation. IF you remember to switch off the safety.

We’ve been here before, Ruger SR9c fans. The SIG SAUER’s frame-mounted safety is not what I want from a combat gun. As I explained before, if your defensive gun has a frame-mounted safety, you have to train yourself to use it EVERY TIME you shoot. Between strings. The average shooter won’t think/know/remember to switch the safety on and off during practice (as demonstrated by a Walther .22 owner last night). They’ll only use the SIG’s safety when they’re done at the range, for holstering. When push comes to shove they may forget to switch the safety off. Oops.

In terms of size, shape, positioning and auditory feedback, the current SIG P238’s safety is an excellent design—considering that an over-sized switch would catch on clothing. But here’s another thing: even if you train with the safety, what happens when you  switch to a bigger gun for home carry or winter use?

Safety says you shouldn’t have two shooting systems—lest you get confused which one’s in your hand at zero hour. If you want to carry a 1911-style SIG SAUER P238—and why wouldn’t you?—it would be best to lose the combat-style sidearms (e.g. Glock, Springfield, M&P) in favor of a 1911, with a slide-mounted safety. Now that IS a painful realization.

Tactical considerations aside, ignoring a history of failure-to-feed issues (since resolved), the SIG SAUER P238 is the pocket pistol, available in a broad range of drop-dead sexy styles. Now would be an indelicate time to kvetch about the quality of the magazines (responsible for some of those early reliability problems). Or the difficulty of a speed reload—which is way easier than a revolver but still only gives you an additional six bullets.

And what of the “stopping power” of a .380 bullet? While debating the lethality of smaller caliber bullets is about as fruitful as trying to sort out that Miller Lite great taste / less filling thing, suffice it to say the rabbi recommends any caliber bullet you like—as long as its 9mm and up. It must be said: there are plenty of compact 9mm guns with bigger bullets and greater capacity. None of which are quite as small or anywhere near as deeply desirable as the SIG SAUER P238.

So, as always, it’s trade-off time. If you want a gun that’s lovely to hold and admire, dead nuts reliable and effortless to carry and use, buy a stainless steel revolver. I mean, sacrifice bullet size and buy a SIG SAUER P238.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber: .380 ACP (9mm short)
Action Type: Single Action Only
Trigger Pull: 7.5 – 8.5 lbs
Overall Height: 3.9″
Overall Width: 1.1″
Barrel Length: 2.7″
Weight: 15.2 oz
Mag Capacity: 6 Rounds
Grips: Fluted Polymer
Frame Finish: Black Hard Coat Anodized
Slide Finish: Natural Stainless
MSRP: $643.00

RATINGS (out of five)

Style * * * * *
Available in a wide range of finishes and grips, suiting everyone from the traditionalist (rosewood grips) to retro-futurists (two-tone). The basic proportions are tight, right and (literally) out-of-sight

Ergonomics (carry) * * * * *
The perfect summer gun.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * * *
Superb recoil control.

Reliability * * *
When the P238 was launched, failure to feed problems were legion. And there was the “mandatory upgrade” on the safety. Later owners have shot over a thousand rounds through their mini-me 1911s without an issue.

Customize This NA
Some people like lasers on their mouse guns, but I reckon it’s point and shoot at close distances, so no, leave it as is.

OVERALL RATING * * * *
Reliability concerns have faded, but this is a self-defense weapon. There’s no margin for error. That and the slide-mounted safety rob an outstanding gun of the coveted fifth star.

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81 Responses to Gun Review: SIG SAUER P238

      • Regrettably, I have no experience with the P238. Of semi-auto mouse guns in .380, I've only shot the Ruger LCP enough to have a good opinion. It's hard to fault the Ruger at its price point: simple to operate, decent ergonomically, mediocre trigger, painful on the palm after a good range session, no chance of hitting anything at 25 yds or beyond (not its intended purpose, obviously). But a good CCW choice.

        For me, the Rohrbaugh R9S is as good as it gets in a DAO subcompact. Haven't tried the .380, but the 9mm is snag-free to draw, as accurate as can be expected, and oozes quality. A bit snappy recoil-wise. Only drawbacks are the price, and that the recoil spring in the 9mm has had some premature wear issues. From what I've heard the .380 version is a dream to shoot.

        I've never been a fan of 1911-style actions for CCW. Cocked-and-locked mouse gun? Not for me.

  1. I don’t have a problem with the .380 as a defensive caliber (else I wouldn’t sometimes carry one) but the little SIG does have a problem: how does one carry it? 238-specific bolsters are rare, and they’re your only option since you absolutely need a contouf-fitting holster for a cocked-and-locked single action, and I’d personally want a thumb break.

    All of the other carry notions that you could use with a DAO snubnose or a double-action subcompact (pocket carry, pocket holsters, fanny pack, etc) are nonstarters with a 1911 design.

  2. I have had my 238 for about a year and it has been absolutely reliable…..no failures of any kind. To a 1911 fan it is the ideal piece. I have several holsters for it but my favorite is an inside the waistband I made by wet molding with leather cut high enough to cover the safety. No problems in daily cary and use. I use a flap hoster of my own make for yard work and woods bumming.
    The safety is not slide mounted but as with the 1911 frame mounted.
    I love it as I abhor plastic guns(have owned 2 glocks and a kel-tec) and will not have another. Something for everyone….if only they would make a 22 conversion kit for the 238!

    • I agree need 22 conversion kit big time more so than the 9mm. Hopefully they will make I think Sig is smarter enough to make one,They could make bank.I got the purple one so sexy.

  3. Interested in the piece but with one question. The trigger pull seems to be high for a DA pistol. Can this be adddressed economically?

    • It’s not dual action. Single only, like a 1911.
      And the trigger pull on mine is certainly stiffer than my Springfield 1911, but I like that in a carry gun.

  4. Felt it, loved it, bought it that day, got 2 more clips (carry them both together in a leatherman holster), excellent CCW, plenty of holsters (I have pocket, belt, IWB all by Don Hume and an excellent ankle holster). Now that I am short on cash the old standby CCW Glock 27 with all 5 clips, ammo and holsters is out the door to keep the Sig. I have to note I have a Browning Hi Power and replaced my Springfield XD 45 with an HK 45 so I would definitely agree with the 1911 or Glock style comment, makes sense about preferences.

        • Carping about the misuse of the term clip, when a magazine is referred to, may seem nit picking and pedantic to some, but accuracy in describing nomenclature is critical. Failure to demand it leads to errors or misconception. Think “Assault weapon,” when misapplied by lazy, or disingenuous media people (Or politicians with an anti-gun agenda) who are actually referring to civilian semi-automatic clones of military assault weapons. Words have meaning, use them properly, use them accurately. And don’t be simplistic while pandering to the the mentally lazy or uninformed.

      • Clips,mags,bullet holder, It’s all good long as u have them lol,I have one came with and one of the extended mags/clips.I love the extended with the Pearce grip on it,pretty cool.I love Sigs,Glocks,& Springfield any of XD’s. Yes of course I like more but those were my first and very glad I went with my heart.XDM WAS PRICEY CAUSE I LIVE IN MA,I KNOW I NEED TO MOVE SOON.
        Ma is good for a hernia,That’s about it.

  5. Great site. I enjoy all your reviews.

    Can someone please clarify something for me? Between the Sig P238 and a S&W bodyguard 380, do they have similar felt recoil?

    I’m looking for a pocket carry that isn’t going to kill my hand after 25 rounds at the range. I like to practice with what I carry and can carry with what I practice with.

    • “Can someone please clarify something for me? Between the Sig P238 and a S&W bodyguard 380, do they have similar felt recoil?”

      I’ve never shot the bodyguard, but as I’ve had hands on several, as well as several Ruger LCPs, and a few Sig P238s, both of which I have shot. If I had to guess, I’d wager that the Bodyguard .380 is more in line with the LCP than the P238.

      As for comfort, I used to issues shooting the LCP comfortably; it took a little while for me to realize that the issue was mostly that I was gripping it wrong; My improper grip caused the recoil to go directly into the bottom joint of my thumb (uncomfortable as hell) instead of half an inch to the right into the web of my hand. Once I realized this, I went from being unable to put a full mag through it comfortably to being able to put 50-100 rounds through it before it became uncomfortable.

      I’d recommend watching the following video to familiarize yourself with the proper way to grip a semi-auto pistol: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4584332856867071363

      • My wife owned a sig 238. She is a small woman with small hands. The weapon is perfect for her and she can easily pull back the slide. I tried her gun and liked it. While at my local gun range I purchased a S&W Bodyguard. What a mistake that was. I couldn’t hit anything, the slide was hard to pull, the trigger pull was terrible and the recoil was almost as bad as my lock 9mm. I walked out of the range and over to the counter and immediately sold it back to the dealer and bought another sig 380. After adding Hogue grips to better fit my hand, and some extended mags, I found this sig to be wonderful. I carry it everywhere. It is by far my favorite concealed carry piece.

    • I had s&w bodygaurd .380 terrible gun sights suck couldn’t hit the side of a barn with it hard to pull slide back I now have a glock 27 murder try to pull slide back on it as well I tryed the p238 it is the gun for me slide pulls back smooth and easy and the sights are great

    • Four year old review and still going strong. I expect Tony has long since gotten an answer to his question, but for those who may come along later, the answer is an emphatic NO, the recoil is in no way comparable. I shot virtually every .380 on the market before buying my P238. In fact, the Bodyguard .380 was “the gun I was gonna buy” right up until I shot it and it beat me up. See, I want my guns to be enjoyable to take to the range, because if I don’t practice, well, I won’t practice. The backstrap on the Bodyguard has a square profile that is unforgiving under recoil, and that recoil is enhanced by the gun’s ultra light weight. The P238 on the other hand has a comfortably curved backstrap and weighs easily double what the Bodyguard does, both of which help it to be comfortable, even fun, for several hundred rounds. Plus, it has a better trigger. 🙂

    • I own both, the S&W and Sig. The recoil of the S&W is more than the Sig. Firing a +P round through Sig is comparable to the S&W firing a normal 380 round.

    • I own both & both are great guns. Smooth firing on either gun. Very little recoil on either weapon. If I could only own one, the P238 would be my choice, but the Bodyguard would be a great choice too. If money is a problem, you have to stay with the S/W. Either way, just holding either, you can feel the quality.

  6. I pushed 138 rounds of white box and green box through my p238 last weekend, and did not have the slightest discomfort when I was finished. Recoil is minimal.

  7. Purchased a S&W 380 Bodyguard with Laser prior to ever firing it. After firing it 15 rounds, gave it to my daughter who has been threatened by two thugs near her farm. She liked it over the 38 Spcl of same company and the Taurus Judge had too much kick for her. She liked the 380, esp its external safety, because she DOES plan to carry it.
    I didn’t like the trigger pull. It felt like 2 days before the thing fired. Went to store yesterday and “dry fired” the P238. Shortest pull in my VERY LIMITED experience. Loved it. Plan to mow yards to earn bucks to buy one. As to Laser, may not be practical in face to face confrontation, but does offer the alternative when some Miscreant approaches at a distance and you can draw and put the red dot on his chest. Unless a direct descendent of “Dumb & Dumber”, he should turn and walk away eliminating to need for a close encounter of the unwanted kind. If he doesn’t, then you don’t have to use the laser to aim up close if you don’t want to. Just seems like a nice extra tool to prevent having to shoot in some cases. This is based on ZERO knowledge and experience; which is how I formulate most of my advice.
    The S&W 38 Spcl Bodyguard Revolver is just fine. My wife carries it. It too has lazer. Both caliber’s lazers are activated by special button on barrel rather than a button on grip. Takes extra step to turn it on. Crimson Trace add on lazer offers grip button which makes activation automatic. Wish Bodyguard came that way from factory.
    Yes, I know that I should shoot the P238 prior to buying, but that requires finding one to borrow and makes too much sense for me to actually follow.

    • Just buy it u will have no regrets,It’s beautiful gun in every manor,Sig sites are the best.Nice weight for 380.Ya u can buy 2-3 380 but nothing like this.

  8. I just bought the P238 for my wife and one for me for carry purposes. We shot at the range with no problems. My wife shoots a 9mm XDM and really liked the P238. If I can find someone to lighten the trigger on mine, I will do so since I am used to lighter triggers. The trigger pull on the P238 was about 8 lbs. on my Lyman digital scale. Great little gun. If you buy one with the A in front of the Serial number it has already been corrected and doesn’t need to go back for the recall. The Sig is not cheap. I paid more for the P238 than I did my XDM 40 caliber with the 4.5″ barrel. I really like the night sights and the dots for shooting at the range.

  9. I own a P-238DP (Diamond Plate Slide) and honestly LOVE IT! Mine was Mfr. 1/23/11 and seems not to have none of the problematic issues as found in the older 238s. Out of the box, it would not feed defense rounds, so I polished the feed ramp LIGHTLY, and BING, feeds every time. My “lil mouse” has G10 grips, but I did ad a Hogue Slip -on Jr. and gave it a better feel in my hands. The holster I recommend is a Cross Breed Mini-Tuck. At $75.00 was a little steep, But VERY comfy, and custom-made exclusively for this gun. I own several firearms, and served In the Military where I worked with weapons everyday, and I love this gun. Of course, I am not saying it is the greatest ( Not one to bash another, The Ruger LCP is a great Firearm, at a Great price) but if you like a Small 1911 style Micro compact pistol, and want a gun, that you are not ashamed to pull out in a crowd of friends, this is the gun for you.

    • Mine wouldn’t manually cycle the Winchester white box’s semi-wadcutter shape at all. It also had issues feeding a normal ball round by dropping the slide from lock back. I polished the $h!t out of the feed ramp with my dremel, and it will cycle the WWB like butter now.

  10. Just purchased the P238. Went out back to my personal range to break it in. I was using Winchester white box ammo. I had 1 feed problem in the first magazine, on the third round. I had to force it into battery. It didn’t surprise me not all semi auto feed properly at first. After the 1st mag the gun ran smoother after each mag there after. After I ran 100 rounds through it, I got serious about accuracy.
    5 Yard line 6 rounds covered by a quarter,
    7 Yard line 6 rounds again covered by a quater.
    10 Yard line 6 rounds about 2 inch group
    15 yard line 6 rounds just over 3 inch group
    I didn’t move back any further as this is a self defense weapon and I felt confident that I could hit my target back to the 25 if I had to.
    From the hunt position at 7 yards, I could place a double tap in the head every time.
    This is a fine weapon, very comfortable to shoot, really didn’t notice recoil. I’m a retired Police officer and I would trust my life to this weapon at close range. Now I just need to find a decent holster. Oh and the safety issue I’m a 1911 fan so I’m used to dropping the safety before I shoot. It’s second nature to me. I’m using Remington Golden Sabre rounds for personal use. no problems feeding noticed.

    • I really prefer the Cross Breed Micro Tuck. It is made just for your gun (p-238) and is VERY comfy! Plus, being retired LE, you get a 10% disount, shipped to your door for @$70.00. Love mine, Plus, they are lifetime warrenty!!

  11. Purchased a Sig P238 with rosewood grips about 10 days ago. Great conceal size and feel. Fits the same pocket holster as my LCP. Fired 100 rounds ( Remington) with 1 jam on second mag – probably limp-wrist issue with my shooting hold. Never jammed again. Recoil is great, much easier to hold on target than the LCP The night sights really helped with the targeting as the range had several shadowy areas. I’m really satisfied with my P238. Ordered 4 of the 7 roung mags from Sig. Looking for a good IWB holster for summer carry.

  12. Bought a Sig 238 last week, finally got it out to the range today. Fired 100 rounds through it (single magazine).

    Couple of observations:

    1. On the positive side, this is the most accurate pocket pistol that I have shot. I was hitting black at five yards, no issues. Backed it up to 10 yards, still in the black. Tried 15 yards, was outside the black, but still within the 8 ring on an NRA 25-yard target. Most impressive, and definitely much easier to shoot than my Glock 26. I can definitely mirror the comments of Daniel West regarding accuracy.

    2. Sig-Lite Night Sights are great and easy to use.

    3. I had several first round failure to feed problems whenever I would push in a new magazine. Gun is definitely a bit finicky when inserting new magazines, you have to tap it pretty hard on the base of the magazine to get the first round to chamber properly. If I am gentle with the magazine insertion, I end up having to clear out the bullet in the action and try again. But if I tap it really good, I never have a feed issue. Also, no issues with feeding in any subsequent rounds fired out of the magazine, just round one if I baby the mag insertion.

    4. Not a functional issue, but this gun gets dirty pretty quickly. Was using the Winchester White Box ammo, and after firing 100 rounds, there was a significant amount of residue in the action and all over the magazine. The fingers of my left hand were pretty black from handling the magazine after 6 round reloads. Haven’t inspected the barrel yet, but I would personally feel uncomfortable firing another 100 rounds without giving the gun a once over. I didn’t clean it before I tested it, so that may have something to do with it, but just something I haven’t readily seen in other guns that I have fired.

    Overall, I am still very pleased with with the purchase and look forward to more range testing in the future. I plan on using the gun as a summer-type carry, and for that purpose it is near perfect.

    Todd Price

  13. Just picked up a P238 to replace my Taurus PT-22 [spit]. Just amazing. Very light recoil, fairly lightweight in spite of being a steel body, and ridiculously accurate (I’d put it against my Springfield XD-9 any day of the week). Now if I can just find a high-capacity magazine…

  14. I have owned the Sig P238 for about 6 months and it is now my EDC. The guns shoots very accurately and runs like a sewing machine without the first hiccup. It has fired and fed any type of ammo I have tried including the Winchester PDX which has the wides hollow point I have ever seen. I have tried Corbon also. I am saving my pennies to try the buffalo bore. I personally like the Remington GS but may end up carrying the BB due to higher power rounds in the 380. Over all I love the gun and plan to buy both of my daughters one and likely the wife. She currently has a 642 but if she ever shoots the Sig I am certain she will confiscate it. I pocket carry in a Mika or Remora. The Mika covers the safety a little better giving me a little more comfort.

  15. I just bought the P238 HD. I love it. I’ve never liked a gun this much. Weird.
    I put 200 round thru it the first day with zero failures. I selected the 20 oz HD for less recoil and more comfortable range shooting, which it is. My daughter’s Ruger LCP is painful to shoot and the trigger pull is way, way too long. I wanted a carry pistol I could enjoy shooting. Is the standard 15 oz P238 comfortable to shoot too? These are sure pretty guns.

  16. I bought a P238 yesterday. We took it out in the back yard and put 50 rounds though it. Out of those 50 half of the spent casings came straight back and hit us in the head and face. I am returning it tomorrow.

  17. I bought my all-stainless version in June and love it. I took it (with permission from the range safety officer) with me while qualifying in the Guard with an M9. I could have qualified with it if I had more magazines. It’s very accurate. No FTFs or FTEs ever. The only problem I have with it is pocket lint. I have holsters but carry it a lot just in my pocket. But I carry it, which is the point. Before getting it there were times I just didn’t want to carry a larger pistol.
    BTW, the Colt Mustang mags work great.

  18. I own a P238 HD, which I purchased a few months ago as a summer carry gun (my XDs don’t like to get sweaty). So far, I have somewhat over 300 round through it, and the only issue I have experienced with it is the occasional stovepiped live round — it came with a 3rd revision mag and a 1st revision mag; the 3rd revision mag functions flawlessly, the 1st revision mag (basically a Colt Mustang magazine) has a tendency to stovepipe rather than chamber the last round.

    Eventually I’ll replace the mag, but until then it doesn’t really worry me — if I’m ever in a situation where I experience the issue in public, then I’ll have already had to reload, and plainly will have brought too little gun with me in the first place.

  19. I took a long look and did lengthy research on pocket semi automatics before settling on one. The Sig 238 is a pistol that combines the most desirable traits that you have in a pocket weapon but sacrifices the two things that most people in the defense market are placing high on the priority list.

    Price and convenience.

    Out of the pocket pistol market it is an easy statement to say that the plastic competitors led by Kel-Tec and their ancient by comparison pocket .380 have a much larger share. At the expense of a trigger that is abysmal for anything but muzzle touching target shooting you get a pistol that is lighter and cheaper without the frame mounted safety. However, having owned a Kel-Tec in the past that I sold for the dislike of this long DAO trigger that is used in substitution for a manual safety. The Sig exchanges this with a crisp but rather long for SA trigger pull.

    In short the Sig 238 is the opposite of the combat pocket gun trend. That is good as being the only company in a niche market can net you all profits of said niche. It is bad because said niche can be a dead-end as there is no guarantee of what will catch on next.

    My personal experience with the 238 was before the cycling issue and safety issues were addressed. This means that I was not as happy as I could have been as I had a few minor fail to eject instances at the last round with no more in the mag and after the second or third stripping the safety would engage and the weapon would function but WOULD NOT make the slide immobile, meaning the weapon could be charged after the safety was engaged. The weapon did NOT do that when I bought it and I imagine the safety upgrade addressed this failure but it removed my faith in it as a carry piece for the time I owned it.

    To the perks of the piece though, the 238 must be addressed aesthetically and functionally. I have not in all my life seen a more attractive mini semi automatic. In simple two-tone I drooled for hours. I nearly got a Copperhead version as I am a big fan of the Dark Earth finish color and the matching Equinox version would have been mine if costs were not so prohibitive. In the hand it is a joy, even though it reeks of “too small” for those who buy guns for masculine effect. It will feel like a pansy piece no matter which way you look and it appeals to women for the same reason. I had a girlfriend call it a “bitch” gun, amused me to no end. My gram then asked to keep it because it was cute. Once again amusing.

    The weapon shoots just like a 1911. Natural pointer. I say this because at 25 feet and less without using the sights I packed in tight rapid fire groups left or right handed. The gun is a tad too small for me to two-hand with my palm size but there is no need for it. It feels smooth in the hand while cycling and I had my gunsmith tune the trigger down to 5 pounds and it was a very well spent $40. I let others shoot the gun and it is a very easy, not intimidating weapon for novice shooters. As an introduction gun it earned its keep alone.

    However, the 238 is not a true pocket gun in the sense that you must have a holster for it. Other DAO weapons with heavy triggers can float in a pocket till you ham handedly fish it out in a life or death situation and simply could not afford a holster. With the safety catch on a single action weapon you cannot have it bounce around and deactivate in your pocket and something like a pen or ill timed grab for it actuate a trigger with such short travel distance. I was comfortable putting my Kel-Tec in a pocket for a quick errand and am comfortable now with my Ruger LCR but every time I even thought of it with the 238 alarm bells went off. My primary carry rig was a wallet style molded open top holster meant for a back pocket specially designed for it. A clumsy, never natural draw in all honesty. My secondary carry was an ankle holster, a cheap velco and nylon affair that I used for the Kel-Tec that led to my main hang up with this weapon.

    It requires a reflex to disengage the safety under pressure. No matter how much I drilled and did draw practice I could not manipulate the weapon fluidly under even pretend duress -consistently-. I attribute this to my preference for Glock and other weapons without manually engaged safeties. My conclusion there would be if you do not carry weapons cocked and locked as a lifestyle that this weapon does not fit your defense need as it failed to meet mine. I have and love my 1911 and for the times I have carried it I bought dummy rounds and did many draw and dry fire drills to accustom myself to it before attempting to do so on duty. That training did not transfer as this weapon does not sit in the same position on my body or in my hand. Backup and defense primary weapons should not require special training to utilize. They need to be simple and just holstering this in a rear pocket and not pulling the rig up with it on a draw took practice.

    I relegated my 238 to the range bag before it was stolen. I think for me it was a good but sad decision. It spawned my purchase of my LCR, both cheaper and simpler as well as more reliable for me. However, anyone born with a 1911 in his hand will love this weapon and for good reason. It is a dead on, low recoil, and fun little showpiece. If the recalls did address the bugs in the weapon that I experienced then the reliability should be top notch as the ammo and breaking it in could cause two cycling issues and the safety definitely was officially addressed.

    My reason for not buying another was re-evaluating my defense needs and the prohibitive cost of another 238. I also like .38 Special better than .380ACP for close range defense. If you like the round and SAO semi auto style there is not a better choice for you and if you have a nice toy budget there’s not a better .380 that would be fun to plink with than this one but I would carefully evaluate it from a defensive stand point before a purchase. A somewhat niche weapon that serves its purpose well but does not fit the needs of the general defense populace. Well-designed and unique but less than practical.

    • Enjoyed your critique of the Sig 238. What do you recommend in it’s place? Youdidn’t say. Defensive carry weapon is the goal. I thought it was the Sig.

      • I have been carrying weapons for over 40 years and I use my Sig 380 as a defensive weapon. I have no trouble with dropping the safety and pulling back the hammer on quick draw. Because the weapon has virtually no recoil, its easy to place all 7 rounds within the body target at 15 to 25 yards. I have tried other 380 guns and much prefer the Sig Sauer. However, each to his own. A handgun is like having an automobile, there are many choices to chose from, and the weapon must be right for you.

    • The little P238 may not be to your taste but every handgun I’ve ever owned has been in the 1911 “style”. Thumb operated safety, magazine and slide release in the same general location and except the Buckmark .22 with an external hammer. When teaching my wife to shoot several years ago she only had to learn one method that transferred easily from one gun to another.

      I have the same Sig as the one in the video and living in the steamy South it is my EDC choice. I’m a little guy without the mass to conceal a full size pistol without a winter coat. It took a couple of tries to make a IWB holster that I like but I enjoy leather work so that wasn’t a problem. I could probably bought one that worked just as well but it wouldn’t be “mine”.

      The P238 is accurate for it’s size, easy to shoot and shoot well. It doesn’t have the sharp recoil of most other “pocket pistols”. It gets a workout on every range trip regardless of what else I take. Though I have several holsters for it I have no qualms about dropping it in a pocket for a quick trip out of the house. It carries well with the hammer down on one in the chamber and with the thumb covering the hammer on the draw it is easily cocked as it clears the pocket.

      After a short break in it has given me no problems with FTF, FTE or failure to go to battery in a couple of thousand rounds. It wasn’t cheap and Sig magazines cost too much (but Colt Mustang Mag’s work just fine in mine at half the price). If you can find someone with one to try or have a range where you can rent one I recommend you check it out.

  20. I will probably take a lot of heat for this but I never carry a round under the hammer, at least not without a button strap under the hammer. Thirty plus years of carry and I just can’t get my mind around it. I attribute my mindset to being a very active person. The thought of parts rubbing and giggling around all day could lead to soft parts getting shot off or a hole in the femoral artery. A trigger safety makes even less sense in my mind. With this in mind I practiced racking the slide while drawing from concealment. With many years of practice I feel that I am only the smallest little bit slower getting off the first round than a cocked & locked draw. With my style of carry this is where the P238 really shines. Round down range fastest is important but first shot on target is much more important. Not to mention second round on target. I have owned or shot the LCR, LCP and the Colt Body Guard. Not to mention all the old school pocket pistols available for the last 60+ years. The P238 beats them all on target acquisition and recoil. No matter your manner of carry these two factors are, in my mind, the most important.

  21. I just ordered mine, the desert model with Hogue grips, from my local gun shop. I am very much looking forward to this pistol after reading all of the positive comments from your readers. I am a 1911 style pistol fan as I own a SA1911 TRP Operator and carry that regularly. The 238 will be my EDC as a retired LEO since I plan to be wearing shorts most days. I will re-post after I pick it up and get a chance to shoot it.

  22. I love my Sig P238! I was introduced to this gun by another lady in the local shooting range and adored it from the very first round. Ladies, forget what your guy says about the Sig P238 being a “mouse gun” and try it for yourself. Little recoil / kick-back, great accuracy, easy to load and just fits perfect in my small hands. My first gun and I’m so glad that I “stuck to my guns” with wanting to purchase this pistol versus a revolver!

  23. I found the Sig P238 to be an absolute failure as a self defense handgun. As a 1911 style handgun aficionado I thought that the p238 would be a great firearm for warm weather concealed carry. The firearm fails in one respect, It is such a glaring error that there need be no further review- Racking the slide with the right side of the pistol facing up causes the slide release to fall out of the pistol. The result is that the firearm disassembles itself under normal conditions. As a former Marine, as a person who relies on their firearm, as a person who paid over $600 for a firearm that has no place being used as a tool to defend my family and I, it is sad for me to say that I will not recommend any Sig product until they repair or refund this abject failure of a product.

    • I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

      I am holding my P238 the way you described and I am shaking it up and down (unloaded with no magazine of course) and nothing is “falling out”.

    • There’s a spring set into the frame to put tension on, and hold the slide release in place. Perhaps yours was faulty, or missing? I pretty much always clear my weapons by holding it in my right hand, right side up, and have had no issues with the Sig.

    • I haven’t decided what I’m going to do about the problem you described, but the exact same thing happened to me yesterday 1 hr after I purchased my new P-238. I don’t remember how I was holding the weapon when I charged it, but the slide release lever came flying out and onto the range floor. I had to have the range master retrieve it and reinsert it for a normal operation after that.

      Thank you Justin for putting that comment out there. All of my previous firearms have been DAO versions and I’m not real sure I’m going to like (or remember) having to take the safety off before I fire it. I guess it will take a lot of practice before it becomes second nature as Daniel says in a previous comment.

      I love the gun otherwise and I traded my LCP for it at our local gun show.

  24. I just purchased my P238 I shot 60 rounds and it had feeding problems at least 10 times. Not happy to say the least. I am going to have to see if my gun was subject to the recall that is being mentioned above.

  25. I have owned my 238 Nitron w/laser for over a year now and I am impressed each time I shoot it. I bought it for my wife, but find that I carry it often myself. I use a D.M. Bullard dual conceal carry holster. The first shot fired out of it at 7 yds was a dead center bulls eye. I have fed it over 75o rounds of various ammo and it shoots very well. I have been lazy and limp wrist-ed it a couple of times and it jammed on me, but that was my fault late in the day at the range. I use Hornady Critical Defense rounds and the Sig made 7 round mags. I keep a round in the pipe, hammer down, with safety on. I have been shooting a 1911 since the mid 60s. I also own Sigs in 9mm and .40 cal and I love them as well.

  26. I have a P238 Scorpion and love the thing. I read some of the above complaints but I have to say I have had zero issues. As for the post about the weapon disassembling itself if held on the side while racking back…..well it stays put for me. In fact I have to use a cleaning rod or piece of wood to push out the release cant do it with finger pressure alone. As for rounds feeding. Again no problems. Used many different manufactures. Just run a couple of boxes of target ammo through before you try your defense loads and you should be good to go. I recently purchased a laserlyte trainer for .380 and noticed a significant improvement in accuracy even at longer distances. Very pleased with this gun.

  27. I just purchased the Sig/Sauer P238 and love it! I was looking for a gun that I could easily conceal and that would still provide my requirements for stopability. This is it. Enough said.

  28. Sent my P238 in to be fixed. Got it back and haven’t had a problem with the feeding since! Now I love it.

    • Thanks for your post. I hadn’t thought about the final recourse. I will try to break it in some more and change the rounds I use. Questions:
      1. Do you use a sig mag?
      2. What kind of rounds have worked the best (reliable) with your P238?
      3. Who/where did you talk to get your Sig repaired?
      4. How long did it take to get your Sig back?
      5. Did they charge you for the repair?
      Sorry about all these questions, I’m just new at this.

  29. Had the p238 for a few months but didn’t feel I could depend on it. After 350 rounds or so I felt that it had an unusually unacceptable amount of jams and feed problems. I thought it was ammo, but as I tried four types and traded ammo with a few other owners also. I gave up. I have four Glocks and have never ever had a problem with them, they just work. No wonder Glocks are and have been the number one choice for police and professionals. I bought a Glock 27 instead. It is a .40 S&W so I bought a 9mm barrel for it. Another plus for Glock owners is that you can buy anything, anywhere for it, and do a few caliber changes by buying a different caliber barrel. A hand gun that costs over $650.00 should: 1. work dependably. 2. Come with at least 2 magazines. 3. Have a good trigger so that it is able to shoot at least 30 yards. The Sig p238 doesn’t do that . The Glock although bigger, does it for $500. I have had other sigs and they worked as good as a Glock, but I was very disappointed in the Sig p238, especially for the price. I would go with a Kahr instead if I wanted a smaller hand gun than my Glock 27, but I have learned to conceal it with no problems at all. I use a stainless Baretta 32 Tomcat for a pocket gun if I absolutely need one. It is a great little pocket pistol that always works with anything I shoot in it.

  30. I purchased my P238 Sat. Jan. 25, and ran a box of 50 through it with no problems. Very light recoil, great feel, and darn accurate. I’m not a big guy so I couldn’t see me using my s&w model 59 as a carry gun, but the P238 feels just right.

  31. Purchased the Sig 238 a few months back as CC defense weapon. First trip to range, bummed to find out it was siting in about 2.5 inches to the right at 12 yards. Gunsmith fixed that $40. Very accurate now. Light recoil, easy to re-acquire target. Have put about 400 rounds through the gun. About 1 feed problem every 100 rounds or so. Raised with 1911, so am very comfortable with the 238, and love the look and feel.

  32. I have owned a P238 for about a year now and it is my concealed carry gun. I love it. It has over 1200 rounds through it so far. It eats every type of ammo you can imagine, functions flawlessly with non-sig branded mags, and yields consistent 3 inch groups at 5 to 10 yards. I have never had a bad time shooting it. It is small and light enough to disappear into a pocket holster in my cargo-style shorts in the summer. It carries great in a IWB or OWB holster with my shorts, jeans or slacks. It’s not a long distance gun, it’s not a home-defense gun. It’s a tool meant to be used up close and personal. I have never heard a story in the news where the thug or rapist stopped for a minute to ask his intended victim what caliber of weapon is being pointed at themselves. I think arguing over the the right/wrong caliber is fruitless. 99.9% of “bad guys” will turn and run if ANY gun is deployed against them. In a dark lonely parking lot, the thug is gonna take cover or run once I start throwing bullets his way. Save the caliber wars for home defense please. I LOVE 1911’s. I train with SAO and thumb safety, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

  33. I shot for the first time today with a SIG P238. I loved it! It felt comfortable and the recoil was not too bad. It is a perfect little gun for ladies. Now want a custom holster…

  34. I have a P238 rosewood grip. I have had it for about 2 years. GREAT gun. Easy to conceal but all the power you need. Very little recoil. Mine replaced a S&W 38 Special. The recoil on that one was awful. Won’t go back to carrying the 38.

  35. I have had a p238 for nearly 2yrs and love it. I also have a cross-breed holster, OTW, which I’ve used for class. Whenever I register in condition one it makes me uneasy that the slide is pushed back when I reholster. Would like some feedback from some of you more experienced shooters. Thankx!

    • In my experience, the slide on the Sig 302 is so easy to push back, that if the holster is too constricting, the slide will push back. I use the standard Sig holster that came with the gun, but have loosened the bolt and thus created less friction with the slide. For me, this has solved the problem. But, I made the choice, I wanted ease of pulling back the slide, so I have to be careful when holstering the weapon.

  36. I have the p238 model with the factory laser. I like it, when it works… Do any of you have this laser? How is it working for you? Mine shuts off after every shot, even with Winchester white box ammo. The laser will be going back to Sig for a swap.

  37. Got a p238 Scorpion a few months ago and love it .. I wear cargo shorts much of the year and it disappears in a Nemesis .. very accurate out to 15 yards, felt recoil is negligible, I can shoot 100-150 rounds in a session with no pain .. great gun for seniors, I’m 70 and it’s perfect for me .. agree with the point about the safety .. I use it before every mag at the range and a Springfield 1911 is my nightstand gun .. NO issues, can’t recommend it highly enough ..

  38. I have carried the original, a colt mustang pocketlite, for 20 years on my ccw. These type of guns are great, accurate enough for 10 yards and mine has been very reliable. The biggest problem has been very little sights. I just bought a sig 238 and the sight problem has been solved for me. By the way I have carried it with a round in the chamber hammer down, safety on, for 20 years. The firing pin block helps to protect against AD in case of a fall, and the safety is easy to remove and cock the hammer with one hand. I have practiced this for 20 years and it works for me.

  39. I’ve packed my P238 daily for nearly six years. To date, not a single misfire or problem with well over a thousand regular rounds, and over a hundred +P rounds passing through it. I’m not easy on my Sig or its stainless steel mags. At the range I run the crummiest ammo through it, pull the trigger, it shoots. When I conceal and carry, I load it with Buffalo Bore +P rounds. With a 380 round, every little bit helps. On occasion I’ll fire some +P rounds through it. Even with these loads, the recoil is about like a typical 380 round fired from my S&W Bodyguard. The sights are the best for any pocket pistol. For me, I prefer the safety of the P238. When getting it out of the pocket fast, a safety on the trigger isn’t a safety. It’s accurate, fun to shoot, and its reliability is a source confidence should I need it in a bad situation. It’s nice knowing it can handle an occasional +P round, and I can use it when I carry. In my opinion, the Sig P238 is one of the best conceal and carry weapons out there.

    • I concur with this evaluation 100%! I have carried the P238 for only 3 years, and have had the same experience. My wife limp wrist’ed a couple of rounds, but when we corrected that, never another feed issue. Another well made and operationally exceptional, Sig Sauer pistol!

  40. The P238 does what it is intended for quite well with unyielding reliability. The key factor is you have to want a .45 that was left in the dryer too long and came out a .380 with its external hammer, frame mounted safety, and ergonomics matching a 1911 in a tiny package.

  41. As a retired Government employee, I have been carrying a weapon for over 40 years. I have fired S&W, Colt, Glock, etc. My weapon of choice has always ben Sig Sauer. They are relatively heavy, thus less recoil, and are in no way composite, like a Glock. The small 380 is a marvelous weapon, in my opinion. Its true that in the early years, the weapon did have some problems with chambering rounds, but that has been corrected. I carry this sidearm as a self defense weapon along with my 9mm Sig 239, and keep one in the chamber. I have had no problem with dropping the safety on quick draw and pulling back the hammer. With the much diminished recoil, it is fairly easy to place all 8 rounds in the center of the target in rapid fire. The sights are true from the factory and the gun is extremely accurate. When I hear people say the weapon isn’t much good after several yards, All I can think of is that they need more practice. I use this Sig 380 to complete range qualifications and can place 7 out of 7 rounds within the body mass of the silhouette target at both 15 and 25 yards. The Sig Sauer 380 is one of the finest small concealed handguns on the market today.

  42. I have owned the Scorpion version for about 4 months as my EDC and put 300 or so rounds through it. I never had a gun with Cerakote, but I think it is great. On the range the piece will get dirty after 15 rounds or so. I had one FTF one day after about 60 rounds, (I always shoot at least 100), and this FTF was due to fouling, IMO.
    My hands are largeish, but the pistol is easy to grip and fire and the Hogue® Piranha G-10 grips make it easier. As an EDC I carry it with one in the pipe with the hammer up and safety on. I dry practice pulling it out and droping the safety off and cocking. A lot of folks may think this is a bad way to carry, but it makes me feel safe, or safer. I asked my brother to act like the bad guy and try to shoot it as though he had just taken it away from me. He was baffled as how to make it operate. If the absolute worst happens and a bad guy gets it away from me I will have time to try to use any blunt object available on him as he tries to make the gun work.
    The pistol is also a very nice shooting gun. I used to carry a snub nose revolver and was terrible with it at 30 feet. The Sig gets me in at least the 8 ring. I am just not good with a long DA trigger pull. And I am faster with a magazine reload than a speed-loader.
    Great little gun. I would not go to war with it, but as an concealed carry gun I find it great.

  43. NEWBIE here (to a P238, anyway) — just bought mine yesterday (used). Had been alternating carry between a Taurus Mod 85 and an InterArms PPK/S. But I wanted to get out of the PPK and was actually looking for a used Mustang when the gun-shop guy drew my attention to a traded-in P238 in the case which earlier I had totally dismissed (assuming that Sig’s automatically = high dollar). It was in the same condition in which it had been traded – not even cleaned (i.e.: “ridden hard and put away wet”), but it functioned well. I immediately “fell in want” with it and after a little dickering I was out the door with my new beauty. Back in the day the USAF had issued me an ancient, and badly shot-out, 1911 so I was very familiar with the 238 right off the bat. I cleaned it up and since done a lot of on-line reading about it. I bought it based strictly on brand reputation and don’t really expect to be disappointed, especially after reading all the good stuff here. Looking forward to getting it to the range and will post later on my experience.

  44. I got introduced to guns via IPSC shooting so the manual safety is absolutely no problem with me at all. I’m a 1911 man and I shoot hundreds of rounds a month and carry the full size gun from time to time as well.

    My first pocket pistol was the Kel-Tec P3AT. It was amazing for carry. The belt clip let me boxer shorts carry it like a natural. It was so light I forgot it was in my pants a bunch of times.

    Too bad it was not as reliable as I wanted it to be. Sads. The whole “smiley” and FTF and FTE every three magazines was unacceptable. Maybe I got a lemon. Maybe I’m just unlucky. Well, I had to move on and get myself a SIG P238 Nitron.

    I just got it last week and I’ve put through nearly 200 rounds with it using Armscor ammo. So far so good!

    Loads more ammo is headed my way for testing and I don’t expect any trouble. Gonna be testing Cor-Bon, Hornady Critial Defense and Zombie Maxx too.

    I’m really happy about my purchase! This is definitely going to see a lot of shooting.

    Cheers,

    TZH

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