Gun Review: SIG Sauer P938 Nightmare

One of the main benefits of living closerthanthis to the SIG SAUER Academy in Epping New Hampshire: the guys in the Pro Shop know me better than Daniela De Jesus Cosio knows Mexican food. Familiarity breeds contempt? Could be. I’ve been asking about the P938 pistol for months. And then it happened. While I was attending SIG’s Civilian Response to Terrorist Threats class one of the guys said they’d just received a shipment of ten P938s. I did the AMEX thing in reverse: I didn’t go home without it  . . .

I would have preferred an Equinox P938, but availability was a Nightmare. Which could be a dream come true for gun collectors. The Nightmare doesn’t appear on the official website nor was it one of the four P938′s models originally announced. The Nightmare is the first P938 out of the gate; ‘net buzz suggests SIG may be producing as few as 500 guns.

Aesthetically, the Nightmare is a bit of one. The model ditches wood grips for Hogue G-10 plastic handles, a tactical solution that looks slightly out of place for such a diminutive piece. SIG sells one six-round flush-fitting magazine, which is at least one too few (both in terms of rounds carried and magazines included).

I’m going to have to ding the Nightmare in terms of fit and finish however. Again, that trigger is a bit of a disappointment to me given my experience with SIG’s other guns. On top of this, the grip screws tend to loosen about every 50-75 rounds and frankly that just sucks. I put a drop of Locktite blue on them, which should take care of that problem, but that’s not something a new gun requires.

The Nightmare P938 ships with a standard Siglite night sight set. Even before I left the SIG Pro shop I had them swap out the front sight for a Tru-Glow fiber optic/tritium set-up. It’s the same sighting system that comes standard on SIG’s Equinox pistols and I’ve grown rather fond of them. Persistence has its privileges; the guys mounted the Tru-Glow on my P938 while I waited.

The P938 is based heavily on the popular P238 .380. Like the P238, the P938 operates like a miniature 1911: single action only with an external safety. Unlike the 238, the Nightmare ships with an ambidextrous safety.

The P938 specs on SIG’s website might lead you to believe the new gun is nothing more than a slightly stretched P238. It’s a bit heavier and 4/10 of inch longer, but otherwise they’re the same gun, right? Not exactly. Looking closely, a few of the differences pop up:

P238 P938
Empty weight w/o magazine 13.6 oz. 15.6 oz.
Weight with loaded 6 round mag 16.08 oz. 17.4 oz.
Width of the slide near the tip of the barrel .81” .88”
Front to back width of grip 1.764” 1.922”

As always, the devil’s in the details. In this case, ol’ Lucifer’s been playing with the slide width. The slightly wider slide means most—if not all—of the P238 Kydex holsters on the market won’t fit this gun.

On the other hand, holsters made of more pliable material may stretch just enough so the P938 will fit, provided they have an opening in the bottom to allow for the longer slide. The P938 fits into my P238′s Crossbreed Mini-Tuck perfectly. As the aftermarket is not up-to-speed on P938 holsters, a prospective owner should check existing holster options before plunking down their hard-earned cash.

I’d have preferred a SA/DA operating system to the 938′s SAO setup. My regular shooting irons are all SA/DA and as I found out recently in classes and in my speed draw range exercises, I’m just more successful when all I have to do is draw and pull the trigger. Go figure. The extra motion of disengaging a manual safety tripped me up on more than one occasion and if it happens in a real gunfight I’d be totally hosed (you can probably picture Farago nodding his head about now).

As with the P238, SIG went with a serrated trigger. I’m not a huge fan; it magnifies the feeling of the pull weight. Surprisingly for a 1911-style gun, the P938′s trigger pull clocks-in between 7.5 and 8 lbs. Worse, it had some grittiness to it. The reset was also sandy and a little long. This will remedy itself once I’ve put a few hundred rounds through the gun. In theory. It’s also possible that the go-pedal will improve as SIG gains production experience. Also in theory.

The P938′s safety protrudes far enough for rapid disengaging on the draw—but not so far that you’re likely to accidentally bump the safety while it’s holstered.

My biggest concern before taking delivery of the P938: the Nightmare would shoot like a LC9. Farago praised Ruger’s pocket nine for its minute-of-bad-guy accuracy but I can’t shoot the LC9 worth a damn. After fifty or so rounds my hand stung more than a paper cut dipped in rubbing alcohol.

I loaded my first P938 mag with trepidation (and 9mm FMJs). The kick was more noticeable than the smaller-calibered P238, obviously, but it was a pleasure to shoot.

When it comes to accuracy, SIG’s X38 guns share a common problem with all sub-compacts: shooters with average-sized hands will likely find the smaller grip means using a different portion of your trigger finger than you do on your larger guns. There’s a greater tendency for your shots to pull to the left as trigger jerk becomes harder to avoid.

As with any gun – but especially with a new sub-compact – you need to make sure you get in plenty of range time to develop the muscle memory necessary to properly grip and fire this gun. The good news: the P938′s slightly deeper grip gives it a small advantage over the smaller P238 in keeping your trigger finger from moving as far inside the trigger.

While I don’t have any seven-round P938 mags with the extended floor plate (they’re on order), my experience with seven-round mags on the P238 suggests that the gun will be easier to hold and shoot with a place to stick my pinkie finger. The seven-round magazine is an absolute necessity for anyone with average to large hands. But A SIG instructor’s wife with smaller hands felt that the pistol in its standard configuration fit her hands perfectly.

Over several shooting sessions, I have fed the 938 all kinds of ammo; both FMJ range stuff and a number of hollow-point rounds from various manufacturers. The P938 cycled everything that I could throw at it. I did have one failure to feed, though, shooting Winchester White Box 124 grain NATO ammo.

At 7 yards, the P938 put on a fine performance:

A bad guy at this distance would have some serious difficulty with his heart valves’ performance.

The red dot in the lower right portion of the target was my point of aim for this string. Whether it was an improperly aligned sight or that trigger jerk I mentioned earlier, I consistently shot high and to the left. I suspect the problem is a combination of both. Then again, it could just be me; I’m going to have a couple more experienced shooters give it a go and figure out what is happening.

Moving back to fifty feet, things opened up a good deal more:

Not great, but not terrible either. All six shots would have done some damage but I can probably just forget about nailing the head shot with any reliability. Once again, I had to hold lower right to center the group on the target and with the target so far down range, that probably contributed to the spread.

All thing considered, not bad for a metal-frame pocket 9 that’s a hair smaller than the Ruger LC9 in length and height and an ounce lighter (plus I could never have produced these results with the LC9).

I can’t help feeling this pistol was rushed. Why, after all, would the first 938 that SIG shipped be a configuration previously unannounced? One could conclude that SIG was feeling some pressure to get some 938s out the door before the end of the 3rd quarter and this is the result. I can, however, hope that if the 938 becomes a success and if the Nighmare is indeed a limited model, it may gain some value in a few years to a determined collector.

All that said, I’m not about to trade this baby in. The P938 represents a nearly ideal convergence of size, capability, and shootability. It weighs only an ounce or so more than my Smith & Wesson 642, yet it packs six or seven rounds to the Smith’s five (slightly more powerful .38) rounds. Plus, as it uses magazines, it’s much faster to reload and bring back into the fight.

Compared to the P938, it’s hard to see the value of the P238 any longer. Sure, the P238 is a slightly smaller and a little lighter, but not enough for me to want to give up the more powerful parabellum cartridge. I just can’t see too many situations where the P238 would be of any benefit when compared to the P938.

All-in-all, this is not a bad gun, though not perfect. It’s the closest I’ve come so far to my “holy grail” convergence of size, accuracy, comfort, and power.

If you want a P938, this is the only game in town – assuming you can find one at all. That said, even when the other models come out, I probably won’t be getting rid of this one. I can always pick up some alternate grips when they hit the market and let’s face it, I plan to use this gun for defensive purposes, not to display in a showcase.

Specifications:

Length                          5.9 in
Height                          3.9 in
Width                           1.1 in
Weight w/o mag      16 oz.
Capacity                      6 or 7 +1
Trigger                         SA
MSRP                           $829

Ratings (out of five stars)
Overall rating is not a sum of the individual ratings

Style * *
Relatively unimpressive. If this gun were a teen-aged girl, she would likely develop an eating disorder from the taunts she would get from her better looking BFFs. The other models of the P938 are a lot better looking – they’re just not shipping yet.

Ergonomics  * * *
To put it bluntly, the trigger sucks. It may get better with use…and it may not. The safety is ambidextrous, though, and easy to disengage on the draw stroke. Being a small pistol, it doesn’t fit the hand as well as a full-sized gun, but no points off for this since after all, size is why you buy one of these.

Reliability * * * 1/2
It ate almost everything I threw at it…so maybe it’ll avoid the aforementioned eating disorder after all.

Customize This  * *
For now, don’t hold your breath. A few holsters made for the P238 may fit, but most won’t. Then again, it’s a new gun so we need to cut it some slack in this category.

OVERALL RATING * * * *
This was a hard one. The reliability is pretty decent, but fit and finish is not.   The customization isn’t great, but again, it’s a new gun. Ergonomics is a mixed bag, some of which is a function of the form factor.  Style sucks, but better looking models are on the horizon. All that said, however, if you’re looking for the ultimate convergence in sub-compact guns, you’d be hard pressed to find much better. And heck, it’s a friggin’ SIG – you know this gun is going to be rock solid or Sig will make it so.

103 Responses to Gun Review: SIG Sauer P938 Nightmare

  1. avatarFarmerbill says:

    How would you compare this to the Kimber Solo. I have a p238 and a Solo and love them both.

    • avatarmarty says:

      The gun is bigger than a solo, but feels better in the hand. Who cares about looks? If its a carry gun it’s going to get beat up anyway! I you have complaints about the trigger, just like any other gun, get a trigger job! I’m sorry i am a little miffed the writer, or anybody, complains like a girl over a common thing any factory gun. Some have good triggers, some not so good. Back to the guns. The Solo is smaller, but harder to get a hold of. The internals of the Solo don’t operate like any other gun. It’s single action trigger has more movement than the 938. Therefore a trigger job requires a lot more work to make it feel nice. Also the solo is must use 124gr or heavier bullets or it jams, not the 938. So once again size can be a factor, smaller gun flips more and must shoot heavier loads. My experience shooting both was skiewed because the when i shot the solo it was 147gr defense loads and the 938 was 100gr LE range ammo. The Solo felt like a fire cracker in my hand and the 938 was a pleasant suprise at how light the recoil was.

  2. avatarOldLawman says:

    Given the listed “issues” (why, oh why does Sig always seem to use the first purchasers of a new model as the beta testers ?), I will stick with my S&W Shield. With the installation of the Apex Shield carry kit, and Novak sights (mostly to get a wider notch, plain black rear sight), any complaints about the grittiness of the trigger are long gone. IMHO, a much more complete package for an EDC gun. My full-size carry is one of several Colt 1911s, so it is not a concern over Condition One carry.

  3. avatarRoger says:

    Some dyslexia going on the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs where you couldnt decide if its a 938 or a 398.

  4. avatarLeftShooter says:

    As a B-school prof, I question the wisdom of naming any product the “Nightmare.”

    As they say, ‘just sayin!”

    • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

      I’ve had my Sig P938 Extreme for several months now, with the extended magazines. Love this shooter.

      • avatarJim Barrett says:

        You are quite lucky to have both. I ordered the 7 round mags directly from Sig a couple of weeks ago and still don’t have them yet. Not sure if they are shipping in great quantities. I was also not aware that they had any production quantities of anything other than the Nightmare out as of yet.

    • avatarcarrymagnum says:

      Dude a gun called the nightmare will appeal to many people. The lack of wisdom is giving a gun of limited production that name. I’d imagine the sales would be through the roof for that model.

      • avatarpocketdrummer says:

        Except a name like nightmare is going to be used repeatedly if the gun every develops problems.

        “This gun has been an absolute nightmare to use… pun intended.”

        You know it’ll happen.

    • avatarSparky says:

      Exactly. That’s like naming your dog killer. Do you really want to have to stand in front of a judge and explain that your sweet little dog is really a nice dog. “What’s the name of your dog?” “Ah, your honor, um, KILLER…”

      Heaven help you if you ever have to shoot somebody with your nightmare gun. Justified or not, if you stick around, you’re gonna have to explain to a whole bunch of people that there’s nothing in a name. The prosecutor will milk it for what it’s worth.

    • avatarwinshio says:

      The professor knows his stuff, b-school or not.

  5. avatarjwm says:

    By choice, i have minimal experience with the 1911 style of handgun. Sig makes a great gun, but i prefer the double action type.

  6. avatarOddux says:

    I don’t think I could ever bring myself to carry anything that horribly ugly.

    • avatarJim Barrett says:

      Well, fortunately, it stays in the pocket most of the time. If it ever has to come up, I suspect that its looks (or lack thereof) will be the last thing on the prospective BG’s mind.

    • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

      Talk about if you don’t have anything nice to say…

    • avatarLow Budget Dave says:

      Considering the huge range of choices in the 238, you can count on bright pink, camo, titanium watercolors, and zombie green within the next 12 months. Enjoy.

  7. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    keeping the Sig 238 as my backup for the G26 main weapon for now . . .

  8. avatarMatt in FL says:

    I know what you mean about the serrated trigger. That’s the only thing I really dislike about my P238. “Aggressive” would be a polite word for the texture on front of that thing.

    • avatarstu in texas says:

      hey Matt,
      I didnt like the agressive nature of the trigger either. But it is plastic not metal. Get some 1000 grit automotive paint polishing wet sand paper and carefully smoothe the surface it will almost not be visible that you did anything, use a toothbrush will oil to remove the lighter color after polishing and youlle see nothing. Your trigger finger will thank you immensley!!!!

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        stu: Wow, look at that. It is plastic. The texture matched the frame so closely that I just assumed it was aluminum. I’ll defintely knock the edges off of it now that I know I won’t leave shiny silver behind. Thanks!

  9. avatarGreg Camp says:

    A trigger that heavy on a single-action gun? Myeh. My take on pocket guns is that they should be double-action, require no safeties–even if they have one, and should be cheap–reliable, but cheap.

    • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

      Have you shot a Colt Mustang, Sig P238 or P938? I went from hoping to hit a 6″ target at 7 yards with my previous pocket .380′s to surprised when missing a 6″ target at 7 yards with the 3 aforementioned weapons. My hand doesn’t hurt either.

      • avatarGreg Camp says:

        No, but I have shot a .38 snubby, a Radom P-64, and a Kel-Tec P-11 regularly. Soda bottles of varying sizes must beware when I’m within twenty yards of ‘em. I do have large hands, so mine don’t feel bad after a day at the range.

        My belt guns are all single-action–so far. For a pocket gun, I want a stiffer trigger as a measure of safety, but I don’t want a safety lever, since a pocket gun is likely to be used at short distance in a hurry.

        As always, go with what fits you.

    • avatarCaligula says:

      Amen.

  10. avatarMark N. says:

    Out here in California, we are still wainting on the 238. It made the “safe gun”
    roster a year ago, but not a single model, to my knowledge, has yet been spotted. I have to assume that the wait on the 938 will be as long or longer as everyone trades in their 380s for the new 9s.

    • avatarDave says:

      They are out there, but rare. A friend carries one in her purse and loves it.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        Hers was probably a “single shot exemption” conversion. An oddity of California law that allows nonrostr firearms to be sold to non-LEOs if converted into a single shot configuration (which requires a special barrel and a magazine “sled”). After transfer, the firearm may then be legally converted back to its original configuration. Adds about a C-note to the cost. Weird, huh?

    • avatarjim says:

      Don’t know about out there but here in missouri 238 are easy to find. Went to gun store today he had at least a dozen 238, just started looking for the 938 about three days and picked up my p938 extreme, and the extended 7 round mag makes it a perfect grip. I am from California and the gun laws there are horrible, loven the Missouri avalibility and quanity of guns. A same day purchase and range time is great. I must say I’m lovin the p938 so far, just bought a hundred more rounds for tomorrow.

  11. avatarRalph says:

    I’m a big fan of SIG’s DA/SA pistols, but I do not like their SAO offerings. And the appearance? It looks to me like SIG hired a few unemployed Glock stylists to do the industrial design of this baby. Still, it’s a SIG, so it will be effortlessly tapping out bullseyes long after our coastal cities are reclaimed by the sea.

  12. avatarRight! says:

    Finially, a gun that’s fuglier (and less functional) than my 30YO Glock!

  13. avatarJon R. says:

    This seems like a decent CCW for a 1911 guy that wants a smaller carry gun, I’d personally would opt for a Kimber Ultra carry. If your a SIG guy though, I don’t know why you would want to buy one, a P239 seems like a much better option.

    • avatarRight! says:

      An CCW option for a 1911 guy would be a smaller 1911, in 45 of course!

      • avatarMark N. says:

        Didn’t we have a post here in the recent past warning of the dire unreliability of short barrelled (3″) 1911s? Something about how the link binds when the barrel is that short. Further, the lightest of these small 1911s are about 27 oz, yes? A bit too heavy for pocket carry, which is what the 238 and 938 are intended for.

  14. avatarJay says:

    How does this heater get four stars when it got at most 3 1/2 stars in each sub category? The Kahr PM9 has been on the block longer and mine is accurate and reliable.

    • avatarThomas Paine says:

      Simpson’s Paradox. :-)

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        I think that was tongue in cheek, but just to be clear, the answer to Jay’s question is in this line: “Overall rating is not a sum of the individual ratings.”

        I didn’t actually read the star ratings at the end of the article until now, but I’m curious how a single failure to feed resulted in a 1.5 star deduction. If a bunch of different ammunition from a wide variety of manufacturers was fed successfully through this gun, I’d be likely to assume that a single FTF was an ammo problem, so a 30% penalty seems a bit steep.

  15. avatarLC Judas says:

    Take the gun into a competent smith. My issue with my 238 was the trigger and it turned into cake and happiness right at 5lbs. Any lighter and the seer could’ve experienced a part failure but any lighter without a grip safety and the travel the trigger has is too close to an AD if the safety disengages on accident.

    Honestly, I find the 290RS to be a vastly superior backup from the same company if only because of the recently incorporated restrike function. But if you are strictly cocked and locked it fits a nice niche if you work with the trigger. Even my first gen 238 with the safety recall shot like a champ and I doubt this is any different.

    The 238 is the nail driver of the pocket gun market and I see no reason for the 938 to be any different. It came out sort of rough like its predecessor, who got recalled, but offers something new compared to current offerings in the type of function. A little trigger work and it has potential. Most other pocket autos are not even the sort of thing that modifying a trigger comes to mind for me personally.

    This strikes me as more an EDC for CCW less a backup or off duty given it is unique in its shape and would require a fair bit more muscle memory to manipulate it effectively. I never felt natural with my 238 as a secondary. It just seems to be a stand alone system more than the hideout last resort weapon most pocket guns are designed to be.

  16. avatarLC Judas says:

    Honestly, I don’t find this gun to be a pocket carry wonder pistol. It and the 238 that it followed are wonderful guns in their own right but really don’t lend themselves well to general use.

    Now for what it is worth, I think both of these guns are very likely some of the easiest to handle pocket guns in their classes. That with a trigger job they are nail drivers that handle like a sports car at the defense range it’s intended for and passably at further pistol ranges. My 238 shot fine in my left hand after bringing the trigger to 5lbs (lighter is both scary and not good for the life of the seer) and I’m willing to bet the sandiness that was described in the review would be sewn right up with a quick trigger job. I had new shooters driving tacks with my 238 after my trigger touchup and in my area my dealer (who is a Sig dealer) sells the things pretty well to every demographic but I think the market for this gun isn’t the same as the folks on this forum. New shooters can appreciate the gun for both the way it looks and shoots then carry it after learning it. I know I appreciated how my 238 looked and shot (in my hands and others) but seldom carried it as it never felt natural. It isn’t like any of the other guns of its size class given the experience I’ve had and familiar is what I like in my defense gun. The reviewer even says that it’s very awkward in his hands, even if he did better with it than he did with the Ruger LC9. A new shooter would appreciate the results more while he is more interested in finding something that suits him better, as best I could gather from the tone of the review and his reference to finding new grip panels.

    Tiny 9mm pistols are supposed to take function over form and really the 238/938 take form and originality over function and fit (not by much but when being an individual is the game, this pistol is the winner) you get one of these instead of the 290RS. Same company, same size class and capacity but a platform that is defensively better all around as it functions more simply with less user input. Unless you plan on lightening the 938 trigger for target shooting I don’t see where the defense first approach lends itself to picking this over a 290RS.

  17. avataraldac says:

    I think your lower point of aim @ 7 yards is very close to what I normally point at , but mine (point of aim) is directly 3-4 inches below the bullseye. I am not sure if it is you or the gun when it tend to go a bit to the left….???

  18. avataraldac says:

    To those who said this gun is fugly, I think you need to see and hold this in person.

    I would say, it is one of the most beautiful gun I ever hold…

    My Sig P938 EXTREME below…

    http://i48.tinypic.com/30d8nz5.jpg

  19. avatarMatt in FL says:

    So, I was at WalMart last night, and saw some Tula .380 on sale. I’d never tried it before, so I picked up a box. At the range today, loaded it up into my P238, and the slide would not go all the way into battery. I racked my way through the magazine, and tried another half dozen rounds at random from the box, and had the same problem on every one.

    I stripped the gun and dropped a round into the loose barrel and found that they weren’t going all the way into the chamber. Later, at home, I stripped it again, took a few pictures and measured it.

    Two photos:
    Three test cartridges (L-R: Winchester White Box, Hornady Critical Defense, and the Tula) and Cartridges seated in chamber. I measured from the rear of the cartridge to the flat face of the “saddle” on the side facing you. The Tula is .034″ over. The measurements L-R are WWB (.168) , Hornady (.168), and the Tula (.202).

    I realize it’s cheap Russian ammo, but I’ve used it in my XD(M) .40 on a couple occasions and never had an issue. This is also the first failure of any kind I’ve experienced with my P238. Any ideas? Was it just made on a day they’d been hitting the vodka a little too hard? I filled out the web form on their support page; I’ve heard Tula’s actually pretty good with customer service, so I guess we’ll see.

  20. avatarJohn Sprague says:

    Just a heads up….UBG Holsters just posted on their FB page that Sig directly told them that the 938 will fit 238 holsters that don’t have retention. The added barrel length is rearward not forward. UBG makes leather holsters, so I imagine the additional width is absorbed by the flex in the leather.

    • avatarChad Haire says:

      when is someone going to “get it?” POCKET PISTOLS AND SINGLE-ACTION TRIGGERS DO NOT MATCH!!!! If you carry in a pocket, you dont want a holster. If you dont use a holster, you need a DOUBLE-ACTION TRIGGER!! A cocked-and locked safety bouncing around in your pocket (or purse) is an accident waiting to happen.

      • avatarMj says:

        NONE of u guys ever heard of half-cock? MAN the arrogance on here is way too thick….

      • avatarBill says:

        Please. Any gun carried in a pocket or purse should always be in a holster. I don’t know your background, mine is prior SF and 45 years of shooting experience. Only 2 years combat. Always do yourself and anyone near you a favor and use a holster. The Sticky Holster works great in pocket or purse. I have found kydex holsters don’t do well for me for mini pistols. My wife also switched.

  21. avatarWinchester21 says:

    Received my Extreme 938 last week. Horrible trigger in every aspect including 8 lb pull , creep and sharp edges. I have been working it in with tetra grease before I go to the range and it is much better after a week of snap cap dry fire. i sold my 238 .380 which shot like a demon. I hope that I have made the right choice going to the 9mm. None of my 238 holsters fit the 938. More info to follow. 689.00 off gun broker. Northern firearms/ reeds sporting goods. Good source-no issues

  22. avatarbrian says:

    Well I got wind they were at a local shop at $750..went to the competition, and grabbed it for $639..wonder how the first shop will feel about me bringing it in for a trigger job?..with the savings I can just about afford the p238 laser

  23. avatarJim Kramer says:

    I got the first p938 Equinox I saw a tlist, and I’ve put clos to a thousand rounds through it already. The ‘rough trigger’ smoothed out and became reallly nice after the first 100 rounds and keeps getting better since. IMHO the extremely agressive checkering on the front strap is the most endearing and effective feature on this gun. It makes shooting it easy, accurate and pleasant. No struggle to keep your grip at all! the larger grip is especially nice for larger hands, but my smaller fisted pals love it also. Mine is darn near point of aim as far as accuracy goes, and sub-2 inch groups at 35 feet are the norm for relatively fast conscutive rounds fired whith just recovering sight alignment between shots at 1-2 seconds intervals. That, to me, is effective self-defense accuracy! I won more handguns than I could justify to my wife (if she only knew), and while I typically pack 4 or 5 guns for my weekly Friday range session with my old USMC pals, I always pack the p938 as it is a favorite and affordable to shoot – not a .22LR , but still affordable and fun – plus, it’s my #2 carry choice in Florida here behind only my NAA Wasp (which is #1 during the majority of the year when its too hot to carry anyting larger due to clothing restrictions). If I livedback further Norrth, I’m sure I’d be carrying my p226 or p229 again primarily, but those, for me, require a jacket and an owb holster. For pocket carry here, the p938 is damn near perfect. It has totally replaced my p238s, my Kahr .380, and the only reason I still carry my KelTec p3AT is becasue of the legal but very close to wallet carry ‘holster’ I have for it that makes back pocket carry in jeans so practical and workable. At 60 years of age, this p938 is the best I’ve seen yet packing size, power, accuracy and shootability into one package that no other manufacturer has even come close to – and its in a metla frame gun with Sig quality and reliability. What more coould one ask for except availability? If you see one of these, snap it up and you’ll have no regrets.

    • avatarJoatmon says:

      Absolutely spot on Jim. I bought the Extreme 938 and love it. I did check the sights when I first got it and they looked lined up. Took it to the range and I was impressed. I was thinking recoil might be an issue but it wasn’t. The trigger doesn’t bother me at all and after a few magazines, I was used to it. Dead on at 12 yards. I didn’t try it any further than that because that’s not what its purpose is and I have other weapons intended for longer range. This is my 4th Sig and all of them have been free of malfunctions and the quality has been great.

  24. avatarkatiesue says:

    I just picked up my P938 Extreme yesterday….I haven’t got to shoot it yet but I am sure it will perform well as my 2 P238′S the Lady and the Rainbow are awesome! I am extremely disappointed in the grips on my 938…..after waiting for 4 months for this specific model….I thought the dealer had ordered the wrong gun…..barely can you see a snake skin design in the grips….they are almost completely BLACK. The look is NOTHING near the pic Sig advertises for this model. I could have bought a nightmare 4 months ago if I wanted a black gun! I am going to call and tell Sig about it……for the price I paid I should get what the picture showed. I will probably buy different grips for it now….I really do not like them.

  25. avatarJ H says:

    Just got this gun for my wife as her carry. Took it to the range and had one FTF out of the first 50 rounds and was a little concerned. Took it home, broke it down, then cleaned and lubed everything.

    Next trip out, no issues, although, not a big fan of the trigger (wife said her finger was raw after she shot 100 rounds), but the gun is the perfect size for carry and has minimal pop vs some of the other 9s she tried. Still love my xdm 40, but as a carry gun, I think this will be tough to beat and make the 238 fade away.

    After 100 rounds (Winchester NATO) broke it down an it was really dirty, which is likely the cause of some of the other issues I have read about in other pots/blogs. Overall – pleased, but need to spend more time with it @ the range. Considering it for my carry (another one) as well.

  26. avatarJ H says:

    In response to katiesue, my wife’s gun is the extreme also and the grips do look like the picture ans she loves them. I would contact Sig or your dealer where it was purchased.

  27. avatarStephen Meson says:

    Thanks for an informative article. I was rolling right along, enjoying your down to earth tone, until I got to your jokes about eating disorders. I’ve seen girls and women in my private practice whose lives are derailed by them, and I wonder if you can find a way to protect others with your language just like you protect your loved ones with your shooting skills. Can you keep being funny while still being respectful of others?

  28. avatarl says:

    Sig leaves the grip screws loose because they know the gun will be coming back for repair. I have the 238 and it is not reliable unless it is cleaned after every 50 rounds and perfectly lubed. With that said, the gun is accurate, feels great in the hand and would be the” holy grail” if it was reliable. And yes, I have all of the spring / mag upgrades and have sent back once already. These guns are very finicky. Can’t have your cake and eat it to.

  29. avatarFangStang says:

    I just picked up the Extreme 938. First 150 rounds fed without an issue (115 and 124 gr). Trigger is gritty and seems like a long pull. Accuracy was good. I’ve owned the 238 for about a year. It took 300+ rounds to break in and now functions fine. I suspect the 938 will take some additional breaking in. Overall thumbs up. I carry a Ruger SR9c which is great; very accurate; feeds any ammo; conceals well in a Crossbreed IWB; and very reasonable cost. May use the 938 for carry in the future though the Ruger has 10 and 17 round mags which are nice!

  30. avatarSteveInTulsa says:

    I recently purchased my P938 have ran 200 rounds through it with only 1 jam which I think was my fault for lack of grip which caused the recoil not to eject the spent bullet correctly. I have a new 7 round clip which extends the grip to accommodate the pinky, much better while shooting over the stock grip.

  31. avatarPm Zesch says:

    I purchased the P 938 second round out jammed. After the first mag we changed out the ammo. 24 bullets in disassembly pin flew out! We recleaned gun and reassembled. 2 teachers shot gun it jammed at least once per mag. Gunsmith looked at gun and said major problem. After 5 days trying to get ahold of Sig and sitting on hold and being put through to the customer service vm the gun is headed back. Glad I spent the extra money for a great brand (NOT)!!

  32. avatarGil Hale says:

    My wife went through several handguns for her EDC before landing on the Sig P238 Lady .380. She LOVES the easy-to-rack slide (it has a bolt that locks, it is not a “blowback” design, hence no need for an heavy recoil spring). Yet, we did not like her carrying a light .380 round, despite having hollow points in the magazine. Other than that she felt it was the perfect handgun for her.

    After a while the P938 model began to gain some major kudos in the wild, and the FTE/FTF issues began to go away for newer purchasers. So we got a P938 Rosewood on 4/1/2013. We had read all about allegedly needing to use 115 or higher grain ammo through it, but we have a ton of 95 grain 9mm, as well as several different brands of 115 and 124 grain ammo. So we took 6 different kinds of ammo to the range, from 95 to 124 grain. Short story, after going through several 50 round boxes we found the P938 ate every ammo type and grain weight we ran through it without a single issue (we started with 95 grain). The 124 grain had noticeably heavier recoil as compared to 95 and 115, but that was expected. All grains and brands worked absolutely perfectly.

    She kept going back and forth, firing a magazine or two between the P238 and P938, and finally declared that the P938 slide was not quite as easy to rack as her P238, but she expected that due to it being a 9mm unit. But, it is still far easier to rack than the DiamondBack DB9 and Glock 26 9mm units she also has. I concur with her observations, the DB9 and G26 are harder to rack, again due to the P938′s locking bolt vs DB9 and G26 blowback designs involved between the different units.

    Bottom line, we not only loved the P938, but I enjoyed it enough to decide to buy a 2nd one as soon as we got back from the range (the Extreme model), and paid a $100 over retail premium just to get one without waiting for a back-order to come in. They are hard to find! We also ordered 8 more 6 round magazines, and 6 extended magazines – they are also hard to find, I had to go to 4 separate sources. I can hardly wait to get the Extreme model. It is very likely I may begin to use it for my EDC as opposed to my beloved G27 .40 in warmer weather (I prefer a .40 in winter when heavier clothing may impede 9mm performance in the event I must respond to a deadly threat).

    For a holster our Sig P290 (yeah, we have one of those also) Sneaky Pete holster fits the P938 perfectly, and the P290 (DAO) is going to be relegated to being placed in a GunVault biometric safe in our server room for personal protection in our basement (we run a data processing center from our home). We already have a G26 in the living room (GunVault there also), and the rest of the house’s bedrooms have 12 gauge shotguns with 00 buckshot in their magazines, and ready to rack. Back to Sneaky Pete holsters, if you have not seen one please do yourself a favor and Google them. And further back to Sig P938s. If you even think you are interested in one, get it. You will love it – and this is coming from an avid Glock fan.

  33. avatarDon Loughran says:

    Just got back from the range…took two Wilson’s and my “nightmare”. What an apropos name! First round from the Sig went downrange just fine…a bit high and to the right…second…”squib”…barely scratched the primer…third round fired…fourth…”squib”…fifth fired and the firing pin retainer popped out (D shaped with a hole in it). I looked at the back of the retainer and it looked as though the firing pin would occasionally find it’s way through the hole…but more often would strike the back of the retainer. Made in the USA…wish it had “DE” on it!

  34. avatarJJ says:

    So everything sucked but it got an overall rating of 4 stars?? Might want to slow down on that hi-octane chronic, bro.

  35. avatarBilly Nogueras says:

    I love my SIG P938!!! It’s a great conceal weapon, I believe it will fit perfectly in any type of body with a great holster, you can even carry it in a “not to small” evening purse, less bulky and lighter in weight than my Glock26. My hands are small, but for a firmer grip I use a 7-round mag with extended floor plate. I concur with Jim that you need to get plenty of range time in order to develop muscle memory necessary to properly grip and fire this gun, I’m doing it, because my shots tends to pull to the right (I’m a leftie).

  36. avatarReverend says:

    I own (along with other firearms) a Sig Sauer P238M Special Edition-Sports12 Model that came with 2 magazines (6/7 rounds), Nitron finish, Rear Sig Night Sight and Fiber Optic Front Sight. It also came with my choice of either a OTW Holster or a leather pocket holster (which I choose). This Sig is an uncatalogued Limited Edition. My High Noon Horsehide IWB Holster for my P232 (stainless) fits it great. I really enjoy this for Concealed Carry or range fun.
    If the P938 ever becomes available as a MA State Compliant Firearm…..I will not hesitate to buy it, based on the 3 other Sig Sauers I now own.

  37. avatardan says:

    How safe is it to leave safty off and just lower hammer over round in chamber. I would feel a lot better about not having accidental discharge.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      Define safe. It’s probably safe that way, because the chances of catching the hammer on something and tripping it are approaching zero. But this gun is SAO. It’s designed to be carried cocked with the safety on. It’s perfectly safe that way. If that’s an issue for you, perhaps this isn’t the right gun for you.

      On the flip side, if you carry it with a round in the chamber and the hammer down, it’s not only safe for you, it’s safe for the bad guy, because now you’re having to go through a manual operation (thumbing the hammer back, or worse, racking the slide and ejecting the chambered live round) before you’re ready to defend yourself.

      If you’re that concerned about carrying with the hammer back, perhaps you should look into something without a safety that’s DA/SA, that way you can carry with one in the chamber and the hammer down, but the gun will still go bang when you pull the trigger without requiring any interim manipulation.

  38. avatardan says:

    Waiting for a light weight micro compact 9mm Sig or other to come out with DA/SA. Sig shows one this summer. (I have called 3 times to customer service) Gun does weigh more though P224

  39. avatarChuck Allison says:

    The word “sucks” is an obscenity and is not used by gentlemen. You may not be aware of this.

  40. Horrible trigger. Mediocre accuracy, but better than the misureable performance of my 238. Will probably keep the 938 after a trigger job. DON’T BELIEVE REVIEWS. SHOOT ONE BEFORE YOU BUY ONE!

  41. avatarC.R. says:

    The author is incompetent in handling guns–and as an author–really pathetic!

  42. avatarC.R. says:

    The accuracy of this gun is excellent, the stock trigger is not perfect–but good! This gun needs to be run ‘wet’ with oil {yes I mean wet} otherwise it will fail to fire, fail to feed and fail to extract! No problem finding high quality holsters for this gun.

  43. avatarTC says:

    SIG is bring run by an Israeli J E W named Cohen.
    QC is down the drain/Shitter.

    Do you expect anything more from SIG as in 2 magazines and a decent box to ship in, or decent groups…? Money, Money, Money.
    Same as he did to Kimber.

  44. avatarLisa says:

    I just bought this gun. I am a 115 pound blonde chick. Shot it from 10 yards for the very first time and nailed a four inch round all seven times. I have the extended clip. The trigger was fine to me, you whiners. Great gun for me to carry if I ever have a problem…I love the gun.

  45. avatarChris says:

    So what is wrong with the fit and finish exactly? Is it just the looks you are talking about or is the Nitron finish not very good or what?

  46. avatarDan Ess says:

    Been looking at the P938 for about a year now. Really like the look & feel of the Black Rubber Grip version with the extended mag. Rarely see them and when I have they were around $700 to $750. Saw one at a gun show a month ago for $679, still couldn’t push myself to buy it. Today at a show the price is now $650. I figured I’d go check one of the local stores that always has some of the lowest prices around. They only had an Equinox or an SAS, bummer. I’ll tell you this, I am not sure how they arrive at their prices, but I picked up the SAS for $5.50 more than the rubber grip model at the show (+ tax). While I was there I picked up an extended mag. Personally I think it is much better looking than the Solo and even with the Goncalo wood grips, it feels more comfortable than the LC9 I tried about 9 months ago. It ‘s size and feel remind me of my LCP with Hogue grip sleeve on it. Eventually I will put the rubber Hogue wrap around grip on this. The P938 is very close in size to the Kahr MK9 (I have an MK40). The P938 is longer, but it is the beavertail that adds the length. In general there is less mass to the P938 and I also like the carry melt treatment on the SAS; the only thing I don’t like about my MK40 is the massive look and feel of the slide. It is a very solid, reliable and accurate firearm though. I hope the Sig can live up to the Kahr impression I have.

  47. avatarJohn K Johnson says:

    I own a Beretta PX4 Storm compact and an M&P Shield, both in 9mm. Both are a joy to shoot (I have the Apex kit installed on the Shield and it improved it 100%. The Storm has always been incredible right out of the box–over 2000 rounds so far and not one failure of any type).
    After evaluating a number of options, I chose the P938. Yesterday was my first opportunity to get some range time with it. I started with some American Eagle 124 gr, since it is widely reported that there are issues feeding the 938 115 gr. I put about 30 rounds of the Eagle through the gun with no issues, then tried 115 gr Winchester WB. Immediate FTE. I shifted back to the 124 gr. No problems.
    Following about 50 rounds I tried a number of different SD rounds…various Hormady, Federal and Remington ranging from 124 gr to 147. All fed and ejected perfectly. I then tried Hormady Critical Defense 115 gr and had no issues. Perhaps the nickel casing helps?

    In any event the gun feels good in the hand and is extremely easy to point and shoot. Recoil is no different than my Shield, as far as I can tell. My preferred SD ammo will be 135 and 147, just because it feels the best and had the best accuracy out to 7 yards.

    Dis-assembly is easy. Re-assembly a bit of a hassle but with practice I got the hang of it. I prefer the Beretta and Shield procedures and design but have no real issues with the Sig.

    The workmanship of the P938 is really nice and tight…very high quality. The biggest surprise was how easy it was to shoot well. I think because it’s not a polymer frame, the extra weight just makes it perform and feel better. I only have the 6 round magazine now, and have average size hands. I had no issues getting a good grip.

    I’m really pleased with the purchase after the first outing.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      Glad you’re pleased with it. I felt similarly about my P238. As you said, having the steel frame makes a big difference over polymer in a small pistol, whether it be a .380 or a “tiny niney.” The reassembly will get to be second nature after you’ve done it a few times.

    • avatarDan Ess says:

      The main reason I didn’t seriously consider the Kimber Solo was due to the issues regarding 115gr 9mm ammo not feeding. Have not read any reviews saying the P938 had that problem at all. My first trip to the range I shot 38 rounds of 115gr FMJ by Fiocchi, not one problem. Next I shot 37 rounds of 124gr Amercan Eagle FMJ, zero malfunctions. So I have 75 flawless rounds fired, something I never experienced with my P232 or P290 Sigs. I like the P938 a lot, I was quite impressed with it and I feel confident that I will only get better with it. I’ll post an update in the near future; after I shoot another couple hundred rounds. I bought the extended mag when I bought the gun and I like it much better with the finger rest pad than the standard 6 round flush bottom. I am also going to order the Hogue replacement grip, not that the recoil is bad, as it really isn’t; I just like rubber grips.

  48. Pingback: Thinking of the p938 - Page 3 - SIG Talk

  49. avatarMichael says:

    I just purchased a P938 Blackwood, and have yet to get any range time with it (still sitting in my closet in the box), but if the quality and reliability matches that of the P239 I have carried over the years, I will be pleased as punch.
    Comp-tac now provides a 2 oclock IWB tuckable holster for the P938, mine is due to arrive today.

  50. avatarMichael says:

    The 2 problems I have encountered so far;
    Replacing the slide rod and return spring after cleaning, what a pain.
    Loading the magazine, bruised my thumb pretty bad, time to by a maglula, I guess.

  51. avatarDan Ess says:

    P938 Round Two: another 75 rounds fired without a hiccup. Half of them were Sellier & Bellot 115gr FMJ and the other half Blazer Brass 124gr FMJ. Regarding recoil spring installation, it’s not a breeze like those that lock in, but it isn’t that bad; I wear goggles in case of accident and wearing nitrile gloves seemed to help in my opinion. Took me three attempts the first time, a minute and a half or less. Loading the magazine, just requires technique more than anything. I felt the same about my first 9mm that held 17 rounds. After about 13 it seemed it was going to be impossible. Bought an Uplula, used it a half dozen times, haven’t needed it but once since. That was on my P290 that would not accept 6 rounds as it was intended to. Ended up sending the mag back to Sig and they replaced it Free of Charge; it was defective, the new one works fine, but it’s tight.

    • avatarjug says:

      just purchased the P938.
      First SA, going to take some getting used to.
      One FTF in the first magazine,
      none since.Federal FMJ and Hornady Critical Defense, 115 gr only

      Think I’ma gonna love it!

  52. avatarTom Droz says:

    After only six rounds fired, 85 more never failed. The slide made it through quality control in manufacturing, and was taking some chafing from the barrel. But after a trip to Sig who covered the shipping also, the gun came back as nicely fitted as you would want a battle peice like this to be. Their accuracy tests proved only one to one and a half groups at an extented range; 30 yds. plus. I just added a 7 shot magazine and got same results without a a single misfire or failure of any kind. (most important when in a gun to gun battle). 9 mm muzzle blast is enough to let them know your not going to take any bull, also. As a combat veteran I know how imortant reliability is. For Home defense, I’d recomend a triger point crimson laser. A bg at night is a “nightmare.” accuracy & speed COUNT! So far, So good & Sigs service was great. Thanks Steve. I ordered 3 seven shot clips. Only issue, the price. Also, they are about a sliver of paper too long, showing some metal but we will see how they break in. Thank you Sig Sauer. I finally found a decent carry gun too that reminds me of the service ones we were issued. By the way, It was Binladen who met his day in hell by a Sig Sauer. Ya, the “nightmare” deserves credibilty as the first civilian power issue. Don’t forget – NRA = 2nd amendment rights!

  53. avatarjug says:

    Just bought one.
    Cycles Fed fmj and Hornady critical defence 115 gr just fine.
    think I’ma gonna like it!

  54. avatarBecky Spangler says:

    Just shot my Nightmare for the first time. Loved it but sure hope trigger will improve with use. It was terrible. No malfunctions with 25 Fiocchi 92 grs.expansion mono-blocks.

  55. avatarDan Ess says:

    Got the Hogue Grip for the P938, it feels great, especially with the extended mag inserted. Been to the range 4x’s since my last writing and have had ZERO issues with any ammo tired: 115 & 124 FMJ and 135g +P Hornady Critical Duty. When I got home to clean this last outing something seemed unusual. I couldn’t place it right off the bat and then as I looked through the sight line toward the darkness of night I realized what it was. The front Night Sight has gone totally dead (it was fine till now)! The rear sight is fine, but the front GLOW is ALL gone. Called Sig and the slide is going back tomorrow to get a new sight installed. This is actually the 2nd time I’ve had a factory installed night sight that was dead. I had a Kahr K9 that came new with a dead front night sight. It was replaced 3 years ago and is going strong. As for the P938, with roughly 450 rounds through it without an ammo malfunction, it is a welcome cc addition.

    • avatarJug says:

      Got a few rounds through mine now, but have one complaint, one I have heard/read before.

      It shoots low and left by quite a bit.
      Already put a CTC laser on it and got it shooting to laser point just fine.

      At ten yards, that’s 8 to 10 inches low and left.

      Really looks nasty when the laser and POI match, but the sites are way off.

      Going to check with the dealer this week, about what to do.

      • avatarDan Ess says:

        I’ve read comments about gun accuracy in the past with many weapons, I always wonder: are these guns being shot off-hand standing, or sitting using a bench rest bag or gun mount? If it’s using a rest, then I can see the gun likely being the issue, if shooting off hand, I’d want to shoot it with a rest before I passed judgement. Out of 10 or so handguns I have owned including S&W M&P’s 9 & 40, Springfield 1911 & EMP 40, Kahr K9, Ruger LCP, RIA 1911, Sig P232, Browning BDA 380, CZ 75B, only one seemed a problem, it was about 4 inches just about due left (every time); that was the EMP 40. Never shot it on a rest yet, but wouldn’t be surprised if the 4 inches is my error. My P938 seems quite reasonable off hand to me; my bottom line, if I aim for the Bullseye and hit within 2-3 inches either way, I am good to go. The more I shoot it, the more accurate I get; it’s an impressive little firearm.

  56. avatarJug says:

    Well, the sites and the laser are now both set to POI.

    The rear site sits to the right of slide center by a good 3/32″ and the front site sits 1/8″ to the left of center of the slide. Looks like crap!

    Then the front site dot must be level with the top of the rear site, or at least half way up out of the notch.

    The height doesn’t bother me, but the horizontal offset bugs the hell out of me!

    • avatarDan Ess says:

      Hmmm . . . sounds to me like there is more wrong here than meets the eye 00 Like maybe the barrel is distorted? Sounds like a factory lemon to me. I’d complain astutely and high up in the food chain at Sig about that. I had a S&W BG380 bought back by the manufacturer due to irreparability. The $700 to $800 paid for these is too much to have something not as near perfect as possible.

      • avatarJug says:

        If I were to move the sights any farther in the direction that they had to go, the bases would start to stick out into the open air above the slide.
        They are virtually at their max travel without starting to hang outside the dove tail cut.

        I hate to complain, but you are 100 percent right at the price paid!
        Guess I will have to have a talk with them.
        Thanks.

  57. avatarJug says:

    Thanks Dan.
    As I said that I was going to do, I took it back to the dealer and they said something like, “Well it isn’t perfect, but it isn’t too bad.”

    Basically, the sights are virtually at the end of the flats cut into the slide, just the opposite side for each sight.

  58. avatarSckarekrow says:

    Sack up and carry a full size 1911 like a man. These little mouse guns are little more than toys, and fashion accessories for whiners than don’t take being armed seriously.

    • avatarMothaLova says:

      I’d never carry a girly 1911 instead of my S&W 500 Mag, ’cause I’m a real man with a massive hairy chest.

      • avatarDan Ess says:

        Thanks MothaLova, you took the words right outta my mouth, though I was going to say S&W460V, that or my 44 Mag w/3″ barrel. Seriously though, whether you are shot by a 22LR close range to the head 380, 9, 40 or 45, you are going to know you were shot. If you carry, you take being armed seriously, it’s as simple as that. You go to jail for failure to follow rules of engagement no matter what caliber you use.

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