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In recent years there has certainly been no shortage of sub-compact, “pocket-sized” 9mm pistols to choose from. Market demand has spoken, and manufacturers have answered with available products. However, if you’re a “cocked & locked,” hammer-fired kind of a gal (or guy) you’ve been almost completely overlooked. Thankfully, one of the only options out there happens to be a pretty good one — the SIG SAUER P938 . . .

In The Box

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CLICK ANY PHOTO TO SEE FULL SIZE

SIG makes at least 10 variations of the P938, and my loaner is in the form of the P938 Rosewood flavor, which sports nice Hogue rosewood grips. In the lockable plastic case you’ll find the pistol, one stainless steel magazine, a chamber flag, gun lock (may vary depending on where the gun is shipped), owner’s manual, trial-sized tube of Mil-Comm TW25B grease & Mil-Comm promo flyer, and a minimalist Kydex holster with lanyard.

Holster

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NOT A NECK LANYARD

Let’s start with the “holster” just to avoid any confusion and ensuing accidental deaths. While the P938 is an attractive pistol, it is not jewelry and this lanyard is not designed to be a necklace. Wearing it as such positions the muzzle within a foot of your chin, pointing at…your chin. So, not high on the recommended list (okay, maybe as the last item on your bucket list). This is probably obvious to you, but as the intended function of this holster does not seem to be mentioned in the owner’s manual or on SIG’s website I figured we’d briefly cover it here.

This tiny kydex piece clicks solidly over the trigger guard and ensures that the trigger cannot be depressed by objects in your bag, purse, pocket, waistband, tackle box, glove compartment, desk drawer, etc. The lanyard allows you to anchor the holster — maybe it’s more of a sheath, really — in said bag or clothing or container, so when the gun is drawn the holster is pulled off and stays behind. Shove the little gat down your pants or into your pocket and tie the lanyard to your belt. Drop it in your “go bag” and affix the lanyard to a handle or other point. Options are limitless, really. Just…you know…maybe not around the neck.

Build

All configurations of the P938 feature a stainless steel slide on an aluminum alloy frame. All are single action only, hammer fired, and sport an ambidextrous thumb safety. While some of the mechanics are different, at a high level the pistol is a miniature 1911.

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Parts machining, fit, and finish are all good. Solid quality look and feel like you expect from most of SIG’s products.

A ball detent provides a tactile click when snicking the safety on or off. It requires specific intent to engage, but disengages easily and naturally with a downward sweep of your thumb. Very familiar to 1911 shooters.

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Same familiarity, then, with the magazine release button and the slide stop lever. Not all “microcompact” pistols have their controls in the normal or expected locations, but once again the P938’s are in the “right” relative places for those familiar with a 1911 or, for that matter, with the vast majority of pistols.

Takedown is accomplished by pulling the slide back until the disassembly notch lines up with the slide stop properly, and then pushing/pulling the slide stop out of the frame. The slide is now free to slide off the front. Some similarities and some differences from your traditional 1911 design can be seen in the photo below.

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One thing I found interesting is that there is no channel in the slide for the ejector — the ejector is actually spring-loaded and, to allow the slide back onto the frame, you must push and rotate the ejector forwards and down below the back of the slide. Once the slide is over it, the ejector springs back up into position.

A useful departure from the standard 1911 design is that an engaged safety does not lock the slide in place. This means you can rack the slide — thereby chambering or ejecting a round — with the safety on the entire time. The P938 also has a firing pin block safety. Some 1911s have both of these things as well, and an argument could be made that they’re desirable features in an everyday carry piece. Typical 1911s do have a grip safety, while the diminutive P938 does not.

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Finish

The P938 Rosewood sports a Nitron-coated slide and a black, hard coat anodized frame. Some versions have bare stainless or two-tone slides, and some have nickel accents (slide stop, mag release, safety, mainspring housing pin). The P938 Scorpion is the only model without a black frame, instead rocking a Flat Dark Earth coating on frame and slide. I think it’s also the only one with front slide serrations. Grip styles and materials vary across the P938 line.

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Sights

SIG’s P938 line comes with SIGLITE Tritium night sights dovetailed into the slide. A flat front ledge on the rear sight will allow tactical operator types to manipulate the slide one-handed (hook the rear sight on your belt or other object, and rack away). They’re actually the same, normal-sized sights you would find on a P226 and many other SIG models…

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…which is actually a small point of contention for me. Take sights designed for a full-size slide and put them on a pocket gun and the distance between them shrinks, which makes the front sight grow in comparison to the rear sight.

Basically, the notch in the P938’s rear sight needs to be wider, and if this were my gun I would open it up a bit. There isn’t much light on either side of the front blade in the close-up photo above, and when you’re actually holding the gun out at arm’s length those gaps no longer exist. I know my offhand accuracy suffered a bit because of this, and if it weren’t for the nice dot on that front blade I think I’d be all over the place to the left and right.

Magazines

Most P938 variants come with the flush-fitting, stainless steel, 6-round magazine with flat, stainless steel follower seen here. SIG does make a 7-round mag with extended baseplate, and it’s included with a few of the P938 models instead. They’re both available for about $36 at a retailer. I’m not actually sure if any of the P938 configurations ship with multiple magazines in the box.

Trigger

A curved, serrated trigger rests in the undercut trigger guard. Mechanically it deviates from a 1911’s in that it’s actually hinged at the top (see pin below slide stop), so it rocks or swings like most modern pistol triggers do rather than pulling straight backwards like a 1911 trigger.

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The trigger pull is quite good. Just a bit of slack (aka take-up or pretravel), basically no perceptible creep, and then a crisp break. Reset distance is a bit longer than a decent 1911 (possibly thanks to the firing pin block, which would explain the vast majority of the pretravel), but is still very short compared to the P938’s peers. There’s just a bit of grit in the trigger’s travel, which actually seemed to smooth out as I broke the gun in. The reset is a nice click that you can easily feel. I suppose it really isn’t fair to compare the P938’s trigger fundamentals to a quality 1911, so gauged against its microcompact peers I’d easily say it’s in the top tier.

With that said, a light pull weight doesn’t mean “good trigger” to me as it does to some folks, so SIG’s spec of 7.5-8.5 lbs sits just fine with me. Especially for a self defense pistol with a short trigger pull. My own testing with a Timney trigger pull gauge had this example coming in between 7 and 7.5 lbs each time, averaging out closer to 7.

Accuracy

Five-shot accuracy groups from a sandbag rest at 15 yards:

accuracy

On The Range

With only one, 6-round magazine it was a bit of a slow process to really put a lot of lead on target, but I went through over 250 rounds of 115 grain reloads and 50 rounds of various factory ammo ranging in weight from the 92.6 grain Magtech to the 147 grain Federal American Eagle that were both also used in the accuracy testing above. I had no malfunctions of any sort.

The closest thing I could consider even approaching a malfunction is that the bottom of the slide seems to drag particularly hard on the top round in the magazine (and/or the feed lips are particularly slippery). For example, insert a fully-loaded magazine and chamber a round. Pop the magazine out in order to top it off so you can carry the P938 at full 6+1 capacity. Well, when you eject the magazine — and it may not drop free in this case for the following reason — the top round is going to be pulled forwards toward the front of the feed lips. It will need to be put back in place before you can load that final round. My H&K P7 does this also, as do a decent number of other unquestionably high quality pistols, but they don’t all do it. The workaround would be loading a single round or at least some amount less than 6 into the mag, chambering your one-in-the-hole, then filling the mag the rest of the way. For the record, chambering from the magazine is suggested over dropping a round into the chamber and releasing the slide for safety’s sake as well as for extractor preservation. Pistol extractors, with very rare exception, don’t actually pop over the rim of the rounds, rather the rim slides up the breech face and under the extractor as the round is moving up into the chamber. The front of the extractor is almost certainly beveled so it’s capable of popping over the case rim, but it usually isn’t intended to and this can shorten its life or break it outright. 

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Considering the lilliputian SIG’s extremely light weight and the fact that one’s pinky finger has no home on it, I found its felt recoil to be pretty comfortable. Even the Magtech +P fireball monsters were surprisingly pleasant to shoot. At first, the safety was drilling me on the strong hand thumb but wrapping it a bit more to the side of my weak hand thumb rather than right over the top cured this. A larger beavertail would prevent the touch of hammer bite I got a couple or few times, but would obviously make the pistol longer as well and potentially less comfortable to carry.

Trigger pull was very nice. Consistent and repeatable with a clean break is always appreciated. My only gripe here would be slight discomfort in recoil. Despite otherwise softer-than-expected felt recoil as described above, there is some movement and muzzle flip that’s hard to avoid with such a light gun, and the bottom of the curved trigger gnawed away at my finger over time. Some combination of the muzzle going up, the trigger curving forwards at the bottom, and the trigger’s fairly square edges plus the gap at the front, bottom above the trigger guard. Only a minor annoyance.

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On the range, SIG’s P938 was combat accurate for me. I don’t think I ever missed the hit zone of a torso target at 5 yards, but at 7 or farther when trying to shoot about as quickly as I could get a legitimate sight picture I would wander left or right towards the edges or totally off at longer ranges. Usually left, as the very slim grip and short reach to the trigger tend to slightly screw with my grip and trigger pull fundamentals until I get used to it. However, I’m blaming my just slightly-disappointing left/right accuracy on the sights. Again, I’d open up that rear notch a bit if it were mine.

Conclusions

Overall, the SIG Sauer P938 is more pleasant to shoot than you’d likely expect. I’m sure it would be even better with an extended mag that allows all five fingers to join in on the fun. It’s super light, feels like a “real gun,” runs reliably, and is one of the easiest-to-conceal 9mms available.

The cost of entry is on the high side, but the quality is commensurate. Where I really think the P938 is worth it is when you’re used to shooting a hammer-fired pistol with manual safety — especially and particularly a 1911. If you compete with a 1911, target shoot with one, carry one when your attire affords it, etc etc, then the P938 is a no-brainer. Same manual of arms in a carry piece or backup gun as your primary or as what you’re most used to and trained on? Yes, please.

Specifications: SIG SAUER P938

Caliber: 9×19 (there is a .22 LR variant as well as two 9mm-to-.22 LR conversion kits)
Capacity: 6+1 or 7+1 with extended magazine
Barrel Length: 3.0″
Overall Length: 5.9″
Height: 3.9″
Width: 1.1″
Weight: 16 oz with unloaded magazine
Sights: SIGLITE Night Sights
Grips: Hogue Rosewood (varies by P938 sub-model)
Trigger: Single Action Only. 7.5-8.5 lbs pull weight (7 lbs as tested)
MSRP: $805 for Rosewood (varies by sub-model. Most are $836. Scorpion is $893). Street price for Rosewood: ~$589+

Ratings (Out of Five Stars): 

Accuracy: * * * 
It’s there mechanically, and the rear sight thing is an easy enough fix.

Ergonomics: * * * 
I’d say it’s par for the course for tiny nines. If you’re a huge 1911 fan you’ll probably feel more generous here, but it definitely isn’t as ergonomic in the grip as, say, an S&W M&P Shield. Also the trigger nitpick.

Reliability: * * * * *
Works out of the box. Fed a variety of ammo including three brands of hollow points and cheap reloads. Zero stoppages. High quality.

Trigger: * * * * 1/2
Very good among pocket pistols.

Customize This: * * * * 
Lots of holster options. Some sight, grip, and laser options as well. Swappable grip panels alone put it above the norm. No accessory rail, though.

Overall: * * * * 
Okay here’s the deal. I personally like some other options a little better, especially for the price. The P938 isn’t going to replace my Beretta Nano, which is still my choice in this size category and my EDC. BUT…if my primary were SAO, cocked-and-locked, hammer-fired, and especially if it was a 1911 and/or my experience, training, etc. was on this manual of arms, I’d CCW a P938 in a heartbeat. It would be the choice without question, and it will be my recommendation for anyone who falls into this category (e.g. Nick Leghorn, who CCWs a commander-sized 1911 IIRC).

 

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106 Responses to Gun Review: SIG SAUER P938

  1. Yet another pistol from Sig that I cannot even consider.
    Sig is one company that pretends everyone is right handed.
    Thankfully there are an increasing number of ambidextrous pistols out there for people like me. FNH, H&K both think of southpaws. We have one of each in the house.
    If Sig does an ambi, then I would consider one.

    • hi,
      there is an ambi option. indeed, most every place online I have visited, that is the default option. there are a bunch of left-side only guns in the pipeline at gun stores (current inventory) I reckon, but you can get the ambi from the net.

      cheers,

      • All of the P938s have ambi safeties, but I don’t think any allow for the magazine release or the slide stop lever to be moved to the other side of the pistol. It would likely meet fishydude’s requirements were just the mag release button ambi as well — seems like most southpaws concede a left-side-only slide stop.

        If I could play devil’s advocate to the requirement here just for fun, I’d say that in the case of the 938, the safety is by far and away the most important control to have ambi for lefties. As this tiny pistol is meant for CCW use while the CCW’er is out-and-about, the likelihood of actually requiring a magazine swap during a DGU is extremely small, and a lot of lefties have become pretty adept at using their strong (left) hand middle finger to push the mag release button anyway. Playing the odds, which I know everyone on here hates to do, in the off chance you have to draw your firearm to defend yourself, we all know that the vast majority of DGUs do not require a single shot to be fired. Those that do average like 1.1 shots fired. You’ve got 7 in the P938 before you need a second magazine. And again, even if that situation came up as a lefty with a non-ambi mag release you can still easily swap the magazine faster than you’d likely be able to reload a revolver, and 5- or 6-shot revolvers have served police and armed citizens quite well for much more than a century.

        Also I basically reject your FNH and HK alternatives, as neither company makes any pistol whatsoever in this size or weight category.

        • hi,
          isn’t being handy with a mag swap critical….for those times when the darn thing jams? being a left thrower and right shooter, I can see the value in at least a dual safety and a swaped mag release (slide release can be overcome by slingshot battery engagement).

          cheers,

    • Sigs are extremely lefty friendly if you don’t try and mirror right handed shooting. It’s the same as the AR platform, once you adjust for the different motions you are on par with righties for the majority of actions and even can beat them on some.

      • +1 to this. I’m a lefty, and my EDC is a 938 Sport. I have ZERO problems working this pistol. I’ve also accepted that this is a righty world, and I’m just livin’ in it. That being said, I haven’t found a righty control that I couldn’t master with a little practice.

    • As mentioned above “All configurations of the P938 feature a stainless steel slide on an aluminum alloy frame. All are single action only, hammer fired, and sport an ambidextrous thumb safety.”

      • a pocket pistol with ambi safety, ambi slide release, ambi (not switchable) mag release, might not be small enough to be a pocket pistol any more ?

  2. What other purpose, besides placing it around your neck, would a holster with a lanyard be used for? Never, ever have I seen a holster with a rope.

    • I thought Jeremy did a good job explaining that in the article. If you’re doing something like a purse carry, you can tie the lanyard to the bottom of the bag so that as you pull the gun out to use it, the lanyard yanks the holster off the gun and you’re ready to go. Interesting concept.

      • Hell, yeah!

        I can see using that with cargo shorts and looping the lanyard through the drain holes at the bottom of the pocket. Then just grab it and pull…

        • Yes there are quite a few trigger-guard-only “holsters” with lanyards (and/or clips) on the market. The options really are pretty much limitless as long as there’s something to anchor the lanyard to. You could anchor to your belt, whether the gun is stuffed into your waistband (“Mexican carry”) or into a pocket, or put the pistol in a tackle box, glove compartment, center console, desk or nightstand drawer, golf bag, duffel bag, backpack, purse, dead Tauntaun, whatever.

        • Before or after you slice the Tauntaun open to keep warm? And does the slide/holster/whatever-it-is have a belt clip?

        • Negative on the belt clip. I’ve seen P938’s ship with a more traditional kydex holster, though. One that goes over the slide also and has a clip on the back. I really don’t know if this is a change across the board or just for this model or what. The laser-cut foam in the case is certainly cut for this lanyard job though.

        • “Negative on the belt clip. I’ve seen P938’s ship with a more traditional kydex holster, though.”

          One of these came with my 938. It’s very difficult to remove the gun from it unless you hold it by the clip or the edges though, as the slightest gripping pressure makes the catch for the trigger guard bear down. Unfortunately it’s not adjustable either, as it isn’t the soft kydex material you can use a hair dryer to alter.

  3. Very nice-shooting little gun, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that locked-&-cocked in an IWB hoster, though. P290RS or a Kahr would better fill that role.

    • I find that funny considering neither of those have any sort of safety and have comparable trigger pull weights. Either way you’re going to need to apply 7.5 lbs of force to the trigger, but on the P938 you have to release a manual safety first. All of these still seem safer than carrying a chambered GLOCK, which has a lighter trigger with a pretty short travel and no safety, but tens or hundreds of thousands of people do that daily. A cocked hammer looks a bit daunting but isn’t very different from a mostly-cocked striker. Of course, people have also carried cocked & locked 1911’s and other guns (Hi-Power, CZ, etc etc etc) with 3 to 5 lb extremely short single action pulls for many decades. I basically think the P938 is extremely safe considering the trigger pull weight and manual safety with solid detent.

      • I wouldn’t say it’s “funny”, Jeremy. Thumb safeties can easily be rubbed or bumped down, to the ‘fire’ position, leaving you with a hot weapon on hair trigger.

        The P290, or any other DA only weapon, with ~7lb trigger covered in a holster is infinitely safer with one in the pipe.

        • I call BS on “easily rubbed down.” Given a good holster it is very difficult to unintentionally disengage the safety (or impossible while holstered).

          On top of that the P938 has a pretty heavy trigger pull, putting it closer to that of a DA. If you’re talking about 1911s in general, the newer ones have so many varieties of safety’s on them it’s nearly impossible to fire unintentionally while still holstered.

          Considering having the trigger exposed in a holster is a very bad idea anyway, I don’t see why trigger pull weight is an issue at all. Ever.

        • I also call BS on the “easily rubbed or bumped down.” I have a P238, which is identical but for size, and the safety moves in both directions with an firm and audible click.

        • Yes in addition to what the guys said above, I don’t understand the disconnect here and where you are getting this “hair trigger” theory. The 938 has a 7.5-lb trigger. A Glock has a 5-lb trigger. The 938 with safety off still requires a much stronger pull on the trigger to fire the gun vs. a Glock. So it’s harder, not easier, to unintentionally fire given no safety PLUS it has a safety. Your entire theory is nonsensical. Not that it even matters at all anyway. If you don’t like hammers, don’t like safeties, and/or don’t like single action pistols, then don’t get a dang P938. There are dozens of other quality options that function differently. Heck, the Nano I carry has a magazine release as the only external control — no safety, no slide stop lever. It has a long, fairly heavy trigger pull. It is my choice and my preference for CCW. This does not make the P938 unsafe or worse. It’s just a different manual of arms.

          You should never carry a chambered pistol without a holster that completely covers the trigger guard anyway. Preferably one that cannot slide off of the gun easily and is stiff enough that you can’t simply push the holster itself into the trigger guard. Kydex ones are great for this, as they click on and retain themselves on the pistol and they’re hard so they are absolute blocks against any foreign object getting into the trigger area.

  4. I have a 938 SAS model that is my EDC. I agree 100% on the sight issue. Used the pistol during an 8hr defensive pistol class. Up close I was able to shoot better than all in the class except one. At distance the accuracy suffered and shots on target were much harder.

    My 938 is an ambi and I shoot it left handed so fishydude you are in luck.

  5. Thanks for the review. I’ll definitely consider this for my next handgun purchase, but I’m currently leaning towards an M&P Shield 9mm. I like the Kahr CW9 quite a bit, also.

    • The CW9 has a very loooong 8 lb. trigger pull, and you have to pull it all the way back before it fires. I had to modify my grip to get used to it. The P938 has a very short, crisp trigger. The CW9 is slightly larger, sporting a 3.5″ barrel and a 7 round magazine that allows a full grip (and thus a 4.5″ height, compared to 3.9 for the Sig), but is fractionally thinner. Weight is essentially the same. The CW does not have night sights. I found the Kahr to have very aggressive checkering on the front and back straps (I have soft office hands), which a I remedied with a Hogue HandAll Jr. (which also adds palms swells that really fill out the skinny grip nicely). My daughter thought the recoil was a bit sharp, preferring a 4″ Springfield XD the last time we were together, but I have comfortably shot 200 rounds in one session. Mine has been almost entirely reliable (two magazine misfeeds in 500 rounds).

      P.S.: the Kahr is readily available in California and for under $400, while P938 is not on the roster, and thus must be obtained via the SSE exception, and only until the first of next year, when the exception is revoked.

  6. Great Review! I have had some experience with the P238 and the P938 makes a lot of sense.

    I’d love to see a similarly detailed review of the P290RS from you, especially since you are a Beretta Nano guy (The P290 review here on TTAG is outdated).

  7. My 938 Equinox came with a small Kydex holster with a belt clip,and I ordered a Leather wallet type pocket holster from SIG,that I carry a lot. Fits well in cargo type pants or shorts pockets.
    I also have the 238 Equinox with all the same gear,just to break it up a little.
    They are great guns ,just like the bigger ones.

  8. a ‘bigger’ p-238 (of which we have two). snappier (duh) than the .380, but fun to shoot, so versatile to carry. have learned to shoot targets comfortably with pinky curled under the grip, but the extended (7rd) mag makes it a whole ‘nuther country. drop the piece in a cargo pocket (with a flat sided holster to mask), and you can be happy that you have something other than the .380 (although STB demonstrated very effective .380 ballistics). must admit I did not even notice the sight radius/growth mentioned in the article. guess now I’ll screw up my shooting trying to overcome the problem. rapid fire seemed about at good as with the p-238 (which does not produce a single hole), with the left creep the author noted. don’t have the coin to buy the 938, so I rent it at the club just to keep me wanting to save up for my own.

    cheers ya’ll

  9. I recently shot this gun and did like it better than a number of other mouse nines on many points. Decent trigger, easy recoil, pretty good accuracy, nice feel. My only gripe was the manual safety was set too far back on the frame: it consistently cut into the base knuckle of my thumb in the web of my hand. Smoothing some edges might fix this, but it’s probably just an issue for folks with stumpy hands like mine.

    • I had the exact same issue at first, and resolved it by wrapping my strong hand thumb over the side of my weak hand thumb instead of running it along the top like I usually do. Basically, just moving it away from the slide instead of having it right up next to the slide.

  10. It’s just a little 1911. Which means it sucks and is unsafe to carry.

    There hasn’t been a valid reason to carry a single-action pistol since DA and striker-fired guns became available. Don’t buy into the 1911 hype.

      • I don’t either. There’s something about the sight of a hammer that freaks people out, though. Hide the hammer inside like on a P22 or whatever and all of a sudden it’s safe again. Have it on the back where you can see it’s cocked and then it’s a big, scary problem. For some reason a GLOCK is safer than the P938 even though it has a lighter trigger pull that’s only barely longer and it lacks a manual safety entirely. But put a functional, solid manual safety on a hammer-fired gun with a 7.5-lb trigger pull and it’s unsafe? Okay. Good talk.

        • It’s never going to be a “good talk” when it begins with someone stating irrationally based fears and opinions as facts….. Almost like talking to an MDA’er.

          ::Fingers in ears:: We don’t need your evil LOGIC or stupid FACTS!

    • Care to elaborate on why this pistol is less safe than any other pistol when carried in a quality holster with good ammunition?

      Lemme guess, you hate safeties. That’s just like, your opinion, man.

    • And how many cops and “professionals” have red-legged themselves, had negligent discharges and unintentionally shot people with striker pistols?

      And how many have done the same thing with 1911’s?

      • Is that a rhetorical question?
        Hey, I don’t have data to answer it. Of course, you would also need data on total man-hours each gun was carried, by the same population base, over the same time period, to arrive at a useful statistic.

      • By my count NDs with 1911s and GLOCKs are roughly equal, but I have a small sample size. And some of those are just rumors. My agency doesn’t use either platform and the only NDs we have had in our office, since 2001, have been with Tasers. (We had a guy shoot the trunk and spotlight of a cruiser during a Code 3 range training exercise. That wasn’t an ND, just really, really bad shooting. He got remedial training and all sorts of attention after that).

        Come to think of it, the GLOCKs have more NDs. I think the 1911 is actually more safe than the GLOCK. That may be because the owners are more knowledgeable or due to the safeties.

        Anyways, If I had to choose between the two for duty use, I’m not sure if I’d go with the G41 or a Dan Wesson Professional. Maybe a Sig 226 Tac Ops. Thankfully I work for the government and they’ll make the choice for me – probably an M&P .40.

        If the safety between the ears doesn’t work, the ones on the gun probably won’t matter.

    • You have to be kidding. You can’t get any safer than the 1911 design. Two independent safeties one which is always on until you grip the pistol. Anybody who thinks a Glock style pistol is safer than the 1911 does not understand how it works and why it isn’t a safety. You can argue that double action is safer but whatever advantage it has is often offset by a tendency to register your finger on the trigger. (Remember Robert’s post on that when was doing room clearing drills?) As is often the case safety feature often lead to unsafe behavior since the user believes he has more slack.

    • “There hasn’t been a valid reason to carry a single-action pistol…..”

      Because I damn well feel like it is valid enough for me. I also count familiarity of arms, peace of mind and THOUSANDS of rounds downrange personally with proven reliability and accuracy to be pretty valid reasons as well.

    • I would bet dollars to donuts that, over the same time period, more people have accidentally shot themselves with Glocks than 1911s. I can think of three Glock accidents just in the past few years, one fatal, one resulting in permanent paraplegia. No matter how drop safe the Glock is, it still can be fired if anything gets inside the trigger guard. A safed 1911, not at all.

    • I think its not longer “hype” after widespread use over 100 years. If I read right, a little outfit known as the US Marines just ordered a fresh round of 1911s.

  11. I purchased a 938 a couple of months ago. Have only put around 150 pills through it. As Jeromy said, if you like the 1911 platform, this is a great carry gun.
    Of course the 40 and the 45 folks are going to say your under powered, but you got to give up something to get the small size and weight the 938 offers.
    Before this gun, I had purchased a S&W Shield, but I found the much stiffer slide was too much for my old arthritic hands to rack with certainly
    I’m surprised, the fact that there is a 7 round mag, with pinky extension available, wasn’t mentioned in the video. I did notice that it was mentioned in the write up. The 7 rounder is certainly an asset. It makes the recoil and the serrations on the front of the grip much more tolerable.
    All in all I really like this gun. I fabricated a OWB holster using black styrene for a “paddle” and a leather holster. I also fabricated a projection on the holster so that when the gun is inserted, the bottom of the safety comes in contact with it, which keeps it from being accidentally disengaged.

  12. Nice review – thank you.

    One suggestion on the aesthetics – limit the number of pictures with bullets as a background.

    One picture of the gun on a background of rounds is neat.

    Every picture of the gun on that background, however, gets distracting … especially if the intent is to show off the internals or highlight a particular feature.

    Other than that not – great review. My next purchase might be a pocket pistol so this is timely. (I’m actually leaning towards a Boberg .45 … But that is another discussion.)

      • OK, you win the interwebz for the day. Enjoy your torrent of kittens delivered through a series of tubes. 😉

    • Nit, not not – darned smell-checking tablet. Thanks Gurgle.

      Re operating … not really. I’m just an OFWG with a poorly trimmed goatee.

      Or at least that’s what I want you to perceive until my Evil Plans for World Domination ™ come to fruition. Mwahahahaha cough cough splutter where’s my inhaler dammit?!

  13. Picked one up last week, has around 250 rounds through. Feels good in hand, positive safety that won’t click off accidentally . Very easy to rack slide. Sig sends them out with some variation in trigger pull, mine is closer to 10lbs with a touch of grit, reviewer got lucky with a smooth 7. Shoots left and low, due to trigger likely, front sights need a tap left too. No problem dbl tap kill zones at 10-15 yards. Likes heavier bullets more. Extended mag has nice pinky rest. Sights nice, but short radius. Mine also came with different holster with belt loop for OWB. Pocket carry no problem in a Desantis Superfly. Sig 938 is a winner, but have to be comfortable cocked and locked and willing to lay out $150-200 more than other micro 9s.

  14. “…the top round is going to be pulled forwards toward the front of the feed lips.”

    Both my P225 and P226R do the same thing. Never been a problem. I guess I’m just used to it.

    My P238 does not, however.

    I love my P238, even it is a bit heavy. I’d like to get my hands on a 938 to try out, but no one I know owns one and none of the ranges here rent them.

    • Yeah I wouldn’t really call it a problem so much as a minor annoyance. Lots of people load and unload their carry gun a lot — even every single day. So you’d deal with it every day. Plenty of guns do it and plenty don’t. Seemed worth mentioning although I probably spent too much time on such a small detail.

  15. “However, if you’re a “cocked & locked,” hammer-fired kind of a gal (or guy) you’ve been almost completely overlooked.”

    Reminds me of my Star M-43 “Firestar”. Single action, single stack, 9mm. Cocked and locked carry, just like the 1911 guys like.

    And, all steel, so it’s like twice the weight of that Sig.

    • A friend of mine owned a Firestar in .40. It was stolen in a vehicle break-in like 8 years ago. He was just notified by the police a couple months ago that it has been recovered. We’re quite curious to see what it looks like after all of this time. No idea yet how long it will take before it’s released to him though, as I believe it’s evidence in a trial since it was in the possession of someone not allowed to possess such things. Which, of course, sucks horribly and he feels like absolute crap that it may have been used in the commission of crimes. He no longer goes places while carrying that do not allow him to carry (IIRC a carry restriction at some establishment or location is what led him to remove it from concealment on his person and lock it in the glove compartment).

      • Yes, this is why I blame the “stolen guns” source for illegal firearms on the antis… Every day I have to leave my 938 in the car while I work, and breathe a sigh of relief whenever I see my car is undisturbed. It would be interesting to see the stats on guns stolen from cars of people with carry permits. The vast majority are likely due to gunbuster signs.

  16. I have the P238 its was a night mare back to Sig CS 4 times its now sits in my safe. I wont trade it in and stick someone else with an unreliable gun.
    I bought the P938 2 years after it came out. It too had some growing pains.
    Mine is the Redwood as shown here and has been flawless.
    The holster that came with my gun has no rope on it.
    It is a belt model.
    Only problem with it is. You cant withdraw the pistol without pulling the whole thing off your belt!!!
    All in all Id recommend this gun for EDC.
    As to the sights size.
    Who uses sights in a defensive shooting??
    I doubt you’d have the time to line them up.
    For me its a pretty natural point shooter.

    • What’s wrong with your P238? I’m asking because complaints about that gun are few and far between, and are most frequently of the “I don’t like SAO” or the “.380s suck” variety, which are not gun problems, but people problems. My P238 is carried every day and has more than a thousand rounds through it with nary a whisper of a problem.

    • hi,

      if the 238 is worthless sitting in the safe, and you don’t want responsibility for someone else having that lemon, I would be glad to absorb the succession of responsibility for the price of shipping (presuming the pistol is truly now worthless)

      cheers

    • “Only problem with it is. You cant withdraw the pistol without pulling the whole thing off your belt!!!”

      I have this one too, I don’t think that clip is really meant for a belt clip as it doesn’t provide enough retention to the belt. It is probably meant more to pull off whatever you have it clipped on, and then slide the clip off.

      I have noticed you have to be very careful using it that way too, as the slightest squeeze will cause it to close on the trigger guard like a bear trap. You have to strip it off with your fingers, hold it by the edges and pull, or hold it by the clip while pulling.

  17. The P938 has been at the top of my lust list for quite some time now.

    Especially after handling, then later firing one.

    My current pocket carry is an ancient .25 ACP, and this would be a quantum leap forward, as well as being
    made in the town next door to the one I grew up in.

    Someday soon, my pretty…

    • “The P938 has been at the top of my lust list for quite some time now. Especially after handling, then later firing one.”

      Same. Exact. Boat.
      I have a rule…. I don’t buy what I can’t afford to save up for. I’m about $150 shy as of now.

  18. Love my P938. I made 2 changes, though: 1) Replaced the stock, serrated, plastic trigger with a smooth-faced, steel one, and 2) swapped out the ambi safety and hammer pivot pin with left-side-only parts from a P238. With those mods, it’s pretty much a perfect sub-compact for me. I usually carry a 1911, though.

    Very nice review.

  19. Can we get a little more detail on the takedown? I have a few micro pistols, including 9s and a .45 acp. Takedown is more difficult on the micros, and on my Sig P290, takedown is downright miserable. I believe it can literally lead to tendonitis, and had I known how tricky it is, I would not have purchased the 290.

    What say you about the difficulty factor of the 938 takedown?

    Thanks

    • For me, takedown is between the difficulty (or annoyance level) of a 1911 and a P226 style Sig. You don’t have to mess with bushings to release the recoil spring like on a 1911 as the slide, barrel, and spring all come off as one piece like a 226. The recoil spring is a bit long though, so once you remove it, it can be mildly annoying re-compressing to put it back in without it bending sideways.

      Re-inserting the slide stop can be a pain on a 1911, but is much easier on the 938 as it is easier to line up with the loop attached to the barrel.

    • The takedown is quite easy. I just did mine, to test, and it took me five seconds, literally, from a cleared gun. Reassembly took a second or two longer, because I had to pick up the takedown lever off the bed, and I dropped it once.

    • Yeah in this case I think it’s truly as simple as I described. You just have to pull the slide back until the half moon shaped notch on the slide is aligned with the matching part of the slide stop (it’s the part that’s pushed up by the follower), then pull the slide stop out. My example slid out very easily. I just pushed on the back (right) side with a finger to get it to lift off the frame on the left side and then pinched it and pulled it out. It slid without a fuss. Then the slide literally does just slide forwards right off the frame. At this point it’s like a Glock or most other semi-auto pistols. Push on the back of the guide rod and lift it off the barrel and then it comes out along with the spring. Then the barrel just lifts out. Done.

      As mentioned above, putting the recoil spring back in is the trickiest part because the spring is really long compared to the space in the slide that it fits into. So you just compress it into place and then push the guide rod back into its home and you’re done. It’s slightly trickier than most full-size guns but it’s still extremely easy.

    • hi,

      if you have ever field stripped a 1911, it is the same…only smaller. push the slide stop to the left (when slide detent is over the stop), pull from the right. slide the barrel housing (slide) to the left, remove the spring, remove the barrel. on re-assembly, take care to press the ejector forward and down enough to clear the slide. that’s it. watch a 1911 take-down video once and you know what to do. i judge any pistol by ease of field strip, and if more complicated than the 1911, not interested.

      cheers ya’ll

    • Thanks to all who responded to my question. I appreciate it!

      To George: I hear you about judging pistols by their field strip, especially since my experience with the P290. I have no problems with my 1911s, but the 290 is a little beast.

  20. My son just bought a P938 Sports 13. It has the Hogue rubber grips and comes with a 6 & 7rd mags. I really look forward to shooting it.

  21. I have used a P938 as EDC for over a year and a half now. Size is perfect. The tritium in my front sight was really, really dim from the factory, so I contacted Sig CS and asked for a new one…told them I had the Tritium Fiber Optic front sight on my P226 TACOPS and really liked it, so they supplied me one of those. 🙂

    DeSantis Superfly for pocket carry works great, and I cannot stress enough how much I like the IWB holster I have: the Garrett Industries Silent Thunder Solo. It is fully leather lined (smooth side contacting the gun), Kydex on the outboard side (where the clip attaches to your belt), and a composite material on the inboard side made up of (from the gun toward your hip: leather/neoprene/suede). If you have a 938, buy one, it’s awesome. http://www.giholsters.com/silent-thunder-solo/

    • Love my silent thunder SLIM II for my XD, one of the best holsters Ive ever owned. Its a great mix of comfort/retention, my other holster is a Crossbreed AIWB which is the most comfortable thing Ive worn to date. I DO NOT recommend the tuckable loops as they put too much weight on the pants behind the loops, GI has some great sturdy kydex clips in various flavors though.

  22. I tried the Kahr CW9 (didn’t like the trigger), the XdM, and this 938 before settling on the Shield. With my hands, I just couldn’t get a good grip on the 938 to feel comfortable shooting it (didn’t have the extended mag available to try). I don’t remember why I didn’t like the XdM, I think mostly it was more expensive (was liking the idea of having its grip safety). I think it was a little hard to grip as well, though. The Shield just fits my hands well, and even with the flush mag, I can get my pinkie involved in the grip. I want to order an actual holster for it (this was a recommendation I found before on TTAG – http://www.theisholsters.com/index.php), but for now, I have a cheap pocket holster which is essentially a flap-style thing. With that, it fits in the front pocket of most of the pants I wear (it’s a little tight in a couple). I’ve been practicing drawing from that most evenings for a few minutes and I can get it out cleanly most every time now. Striving to get it out clean every time (although by the time I do that, I’ll probably buy the other holster!).

    • For lightweight, really small guns I’ve been using these holsters and am a huge fan: http://www.cooksholsters.com/iwb-holster-w-adjustable-belt-clip/ …I have one for my Nano and one for my TCP. I prefer a hybrid design like the Theis for a pistol that weighs more than the Nano. Perfect for my H&K P7, for example. That leather backing helps spread the weight out and provides some grip against my body, which supports the weight of the gun a little bit so my belt has to do less. For small and light guns, though, and I think your Shield qualifies, I’ve definitely taken to going with an extremely thin and minimalist holster like that one from Cook’s. It offers retention adjustment and a huge range of cant adjustment, adds only the tiniest bit of thickness to the gun, weighs nothing, is extremely easy to put on and take off, and adds the least amount possible to the side-to-side footprint of the pistol as well.

  23. I picked one up a few months ago back when they were running the promotion for a free pistol case and 2 extra magazines. It is a real pleasure to shoot.

  24. My Extreme came with front serrations and two magazines, 6 & 7. The OWB holster has a larger slot and needs a duty gun belt, it’s loose on “normal’ belts and can move. SIG later offered the IWB, which I carry under the belt and that works for me. SIG apparently can and will change up the options, open the case and see what you get. As pictured here, it’s rear serrations only. http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p938-extreme.aspx

    The clip holster with lanyard is apparently the newest offer, it’s been on the market for years, sorry some don’t seem to be in the loop. ; ) None of the holsters have ever slid out from under the belts I use, but they are heavier work belts rather than dress belts skived and sewn with a narrow edge. As with any piece of gear, if it’s not working right, check to see what it’s working with, too.

    As for it being cocked and locked, I found that after 22 years of working with the 1911 and M9 in the military, I had a much better set of skills in carry and use than with a gun with a live trigger and no safety at all.

    That stainless trigger used as an upgrade comes from Colt as a Mustang part. It’s not drop in, there’s some finesse needed installing the pin. And as for the slide pulling the top round out, yes, some 1911’s and M9’s I have been issued have done it. For all that, it happens with AR’s, HK’s and even LCP’s. My Glock did it some. Sold it and the LCP for the SIG. If you are going to carry, you need just one gun and most of your practice and use should be with it so it’s done without thinking as a natural fluid motion.

    If I want to play around with different styles, I do it with clip liner lock knives. And even those have narrowed down to just one type. Stick with what you know, it’s what you will need when you do. Life gets too short and there’s not all that much to waste relearning just for the newest Gun of the Month. Stick to one action type you like and you cut your risk.

  25. Just got a P938 Extreme last week. It does have front slide serrations. Haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet, but I have owned a P238 in the past that I loved, so my hopes are high.

  26. I pocket carry a 938 every day. The SA trigger works better for me than DAO. Also my accuracy is the same using either the 2 finger grip 6 round mag or or the 3 finger grip 7 rounder. No performance problems but using a pistol this size takes practice. I get the best accuracy by placing my trigger finger on the upper half of the trigger. I had planned to replace the plastic trigger but after a few hundred rounds the pistol and I are one.

  27. with the seven rd mag it really is very nice. in a recluse front pocket holster it does not print. that holster works pretty well in a cargo pocket too, but a squared off back pocket model might be better there.
    also look at the p938 page(!) of holsters from leather and stuff. his and stoner offer models with a thumb snap to block the hammer when cocked and locked.

  28. Jeremy,
    I have had a 938 for a little over a year, carry it all the time and really like it. I enjoyed your review and agreed with most of your observations, but am a bit confused by your comment that “an engaged safety does not lock the slide in place. This means you can rack the slide — thereby chambering or ejecting a round — with the safety on the entire time”. This is definitely not true with mine.
    I’m wondering if this was a design change that was made sometime in the last year or so. I would really prefer it if mine operated that way. Any thoughts?

    • Is the hammer already back on yours? It has to be for it to operate as Jeremy described. The engagement of the safety prevents the hammer from moving in either direction, but once the hammer is back, engagement of the safety does not prevent the slide from moving. Thus, you can chamber a round from the magazine or rack the slide to unload the chamber without taking the safety off, and the hammer stays cocked the whole time.

    • Safety off, pull hammer back (locked), engage safety, rack the slide.

      Hammer has to be back first… It won’t rack with the hammer forward and safety on.

  29. Ive been carrying a P938 extreme for 1.5yrs, over 3K rounds through it. I carry condition 1 in a stealth gear onyx. Have used a couple of other holsters but this is the most comfortable. I carry 2 spare mags in a g&g owb pouch. All mags are 7rd mags, I don’t bother with the 6 rd mags. The whole thing disappears under a t shirt. Summer winter whenever wherever. Best part is that because it’s a great package and easy to carry I always carry it. Always.

    I swapped out the plastic serrated trigger for a smooth faced aluminum one, and the grips for sig rubber grips.

    I’ve had minor issues with mine. I stripped the threads in the frame where one of the grip screws goes. Sig provided me with larger screws, no longer an issue. My front sight tritium died twice, and after the second time sig gave me a Truglo TFO and the contrast now between the siglite rear and TFO green front is fantastic. Highly recommend this set up. Sit customer service has been fast and free. Can’t say enough good things.

    One note, have to change your recoil spring every 1,200 rds or so. Luckily a 3 pack is cheap (ish) direct from sig.

    Other than that I’ve had no other issues. I’ve put all sorts of ammo through it, including +P. Very reliable, fun to shoot. Safe to carry condition 1.

  30. I’ve tried a number of micro-compacts, chambered in a number of calibers.

    The P938 is the gun I’m going to stick with for now. It feels really good in the hand – especially with the 7-round mag, and has been 100% reliable throughout the first couple hundred rounds (of all sorts of different ammo) that I’ve run through it. I like a SA trigger – always have.

    I will say that having the right holster is imperative for safety. I tried carrying in a DeSantis Nemesis, and more than once the gun came out of my pocket with the magazine disconnected. Obviously not a good thing, and one that got me looking around for a stiffer holster. I don’t like Kydex in the pocket, since it requires too much force to unholster the weapon. But the soft fabric of the Nemesis allowed the pressure from my leg muscle to push the mag button – not good.

    And when I took the gun out once to find that the safety selector had been swiped off, I put the the P938 away and went back to my Ruger LC380 until I could find the proper holster. The Nemesis didn’t cover the safety, and even though it takes a concerted effort to swipe it off, it somehow happened while the gun was holstered in my pocket – REALLY not good.

    I found a holster made of stiff leather that covered the safety, made by SwapRig Holsters, that works great after some modifications. The holster is designed for cargo pocket carry, with a wide base that fits across the entire width of the pocket. That means it wouldn’t fit in my front pocket. IT was a simple matter to cut some of the bottom extension off, and reposition the tensioning screws so that I now have a holster that covers the safety completely and is stiff enough so that I haven’t had an accidental mag disconnect. The holster is a bit bulkier (OK, a lot bulkier) than the Nemesis, but I can live with that.

  31. I recently purchased a P938 BRG. It will be the last made-in-the-USA Sig Sauer I ever buy. It is disappointing since I try to buy American every chance I get. I love my P220 (West German) and wanted to see how the locally produced stuff fared. Upon receipt, I field stripped it, inspected it and heavily re-oiled it. From the first mag to the last of 20 reloads it wouldn’t fire every round of each mag. The firing pin block wouldn’t disengage for every round and half the trigger pulls were answered with a click instead of a bang. Both front and rear sights were almost fully left in their dovetails and the pistol shot 8″ left at 15 yards. The trigger (which is plastic, BTW) had sharp enough corners at the bottom to dig a hole in my finger after 150 rounds. The final straw was when I called Sig Sauer to return the pistol for servicing. When I explained the malfunctions, the rep told me that the pistol sounded within spec to him and I should disassemble the slide, then clean and lube the firing pin and associated parts. (Really?!? On a brand new pistol?) He then expected me to use a punch and realign the sights myself, at the range. by trial and error of course. The trigger? Well that’s easy enough to file down to remove the burrs myself. My point is that, at no time during the first 10 minutes of the call was there any sense of “customer service”. It wasn’t until I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I expected them to service my intended daily concealed carry weapon to proper operation that he authorized the return. The whole exchange left me with a feeling that I would not expect them to stand behind their products should I have problems with this pistol in the future.

    • This is not cool. Always got great service. I can send you the email for the guy I always query. He has been responsive, every time (now watch that not be the case). At any rate, he is the person I would go to, even to discuss alternate parts.

  32. I own this firearm and I am left handed. So far my gun has operated flawlessly and for the south paws out there you can wait and find something else that suits left handers or you can learn to adapt and compensate, and still become efficient with an excellent firearm. I own several handguns and god forbid I ever need one I want to know i can perform left handed or not.

    • I shoot both left and right. When I use my left I sometimes pop the mag out. Have you had that problem?

  33. I carry a P938 Equinox daily and I love this gun for concealed carry. I live in Texas and the summers are too hot for anything more than a t-shirt – this gun easily hides under it. A spare mag fits in my pocket and I don’t even know its there. The accuracy on my gun seems significantly better than on the test gun. Shooting 147 gr. Federals, slow fire, I generally have all bullet holes touching at 15 yards. The gun points very well and if there is a more easily concealed 9mm I don’t know what it is. The holster provided is crap and I usually carry mine in a modified crossbreed although the shell for the comptac is on the way and it may get the nod over the CB. I honestly don’t know how anyone could carry a Nano after using the Sig but to each their own.

  34. Thank you for the review. I just purchased one of these for my wife who adores it. One thing I did note when taking it apart to clean was that there is a strange propensity for the barrel throat to engage something on the slide (perhaps the ejector arm?) if you push the barrel back in and rearward while you are putting the mainspring back in. It locks! And I mean, LOCKS. Just the slightest deviation to one side, and the barrel is hopelessly stuck – requires a firm twist from a punch inserted in the slide release guide to get it loose again.

    As you might imagine this is a REAL pain since the spring is so very tight as it is. You basically have to wedge something between the barrel and slide to prevent it from locking up. Took me 8 tries to get the pistol put back together again – not happy about that. Sig might take a note out of the Kimber 1911 book – use a small hole in the guide to enable hands-free manipulation of the slide release (since it’s small).

    Otherwise, this P938 shoots quite well – surprisingly so for a compact. Then again, it’s a Sig…

  35. The p938 was my edc for about 6 months; was not happy with it. There were some things I did like about it: small size, light weight, good looking (more style options than any model I’d seen), great night sights (standard), and with the 7 round extended mag (had to be purchased separately) I had 7 + 1 9mm rounds in essentially a pocket-able .380 sized gun. There were just too many things I didn’t like though. Did not like the odd pivoting trigger. While it was nice and light I had to make sure I positioned my finger pad on the upper part of the trigger for consistent shot placement; pull in the middle or lower portion and it just wasn’t happening.. Another significant issue came about when I took it out shooting for just the third time. Went out with a couple of friends to a rural property that one of them owned to do some plinking in the woods; the grip screws worked their way out, the grips pretty much fell off, and one of the tiny screws was hopelessly lost in the bramble. To Sig Sauer’s credit they sent me another grip screw free of charge. They suggested I put lock tight on the screws to keep this form happening. While I followed their advice I just don’t think that on a $750 pocket pistol this is something I should have to do. Also was not fond of a minor but annoying thing: when releasing a fully loaded magazine the top round would always pop out into the grip interior (at least with the 7 rounder) Pricy for a single stack 9 in my opinion.

  36. Looking at buying a 290 or the p938 for my kid and want something safe easy to use and quality so sig is my first choice, so question is does the 938 automatically engage the safety after racking a round? are all 938’s single action? I have several sigs, in p220, 226, 228s, 229, a few in ea but they are to big for my kid for a carry gun she needs something reliable, safe to carry racked and manageable recoil.
    Thanks

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