I never really considered SIG SAUER’s P238 to be a contender in the concealed carry arena. I reviewed the Colt Mustang XSP about a year ago and that experience confirmed my distaste for the general design of the Mustang-style .380 handgun. Then again, I had never really spent much time with SIG’s take on the Colt creation their petite P238. This past week I was up at SIG’s stomping grounds and found myself on a range with a P238 and some ammo, and after getting some trigger time with the gun I realized that it might not be so terrible.
Don’t get me wrong — there are some things I still don’t like about the gun. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as Colt’s version.
Let’s start with fit and finish. Colt’s XSP felt like something you would get out of a fifty cent vending machine, but the SIG gun is an all metal beast with some real solid construction. I felt like I was going to break the XSP, but that wasn’t the case with the P238. The metal frame and the craftsmanship that went into designing and building the P238 definitely made it a more enjoyable experience on all fronts.
Recoil was another big improvement. With the XSP I could never get a good grip on the gun, so the recoil impulse tended to be a surprise and I could never quite control it. With the P238, I was able to get a solid grip and everything just seemed to work better. There was less muzzle flip than I remembered, and the dimensions of the beavertail on the back of the grip allowed me to have better control over the gun without worrying about slide bite.
I’m still not a fan of the caliber choice, and I definitely think the safety is to small. But where before I had completely written the P238 off for a concealed carry choice, my time on the range made me reconsider that. SIG is sending one for testing, and I’ll have to put it through the wringer for a full review. For now, though, it definitely seemed to be an improvement over what Colt is producing.