Previous Post
Next Post


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.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Dan Z got to shoot mine a little when we tested the G42 back in Feb.

    Only thing I don’t like is it is SAO without a decocker. But as a BUG (I have a kangaroo shoulder holster), it fits the bill

  2. My wife loves hers. Fits her hand perfectly. And she’s a better shot with it than I am with my Ruger 9mm with a laser.

  3. I had one once upon a time. It would stove pipe all the time. I liked the sights but decided 380 was inadequate for primary concealed carry.

    • That’s ashamed, you what usually causes stovepipes, loose grip, aka, limp wrist. I have ran1200 to 1500 rds through mine and no issues at all. I did, however buy the 938 and after 500-600 rds, the recoil spring guide end completely broke off!!! Sadly, I am shopping for another 9mm carry, maybe Glock??

      • Seriously? A Glock. It’s like going from a Harley (a real motorcycle) to a Honda (a Harley wantabe). Glocks are a piece of crap.

  4. If they haven’t installed a firing-pin safety in it (ala Series ’80), then it wouldn’t be anything I would carry.

  5. Vindication!


    Well, since I’m the one keeping score, I’m calling it a win.

    I know that it will never satisfy the caliber fanatics, but I don’t care. Since ever having to actually use it is a black swan event that I will (given my lifestyle) likely (hopefully) never have to experience, I’m happy to trade caliber for concealment. The fact that I can, and do, conceal it every day under a tucked-in polo, and not just parked behind a desk, but in an active job that has me constantly walking, bending, and sitting, makes the trade-off infinitely worth it to me. If the gun you have on you is better than the one left at home, and discovery of my gun would most likely get me fired, then I’m going to carry what I can get away with, so I can best meet both of those criteria.

      • I wear a Crossbreed SuperTuck. It’s on the “highest” position, which means the top of the kydex is right even with the top of the waistband of my pants. It could sit lower, but that wasn’t comfortable for me.

        • Dude. Holy overkill. I use the same holster for my sig 1911. Because to carry that behemoth comfortably I need a super tuck. They provide killer weight distribution. The 238 is a featherweight. Not bashing your choice I’m just really surprised.

          • You’re not necessarily wrong, it probably is overkill. But I already had a SuperTuck for my XDm 3.8, so it was a known quantity.

            I know they also make a MiniTuck for it (which only has one clip, instead of two) and I’ve been thinking of trying that because it would be even less obtrusive. On the other hand, I’m using the J-clips that are lower profile than the standard ones, but that means the weight of the gun is riding only on my pants, not my belt, so I’m leery of putting the weight on one clip.

            Another option is to get V-clips (with velcro) to put some weight back on the belt, but that means picking up the one of their velcro-backed belts, too.

            Decisions, decisions.

        • Matt, you don’t necessarily need to get a new belt. Just buy the heavy-duty velcro from Home Depot and attach it to the inside of the belt. Works well for me; if/when the velcro wears out, I can replace it. Works well for my carry gun (M&P Shield in a Comp-Tac Minotaur.)

    • I use a leather wallet most of the time holster made by Talon Training here in Tallahassee. The P238 is the largest pistol I can get away with in a back pocket. It still won’t fit in all back pockets in which case I use an IWB.

    • Actual exposure to a thing changing your preconceived notions of that thing….. Who’d have thunk it?

  6. When I was a kid, I had an old metal water pistol. It was stamped aluminum, and held half a cup of water.

    The 238 I played with at Gander felt the same in my hand. I’ve never fired one, because being all metal, and that light, gave me worries. Not about recoil, cause, it’s 380.. I was just not used to an all metal gun weight what I expect a poly gun to weigh… if that makes sense.

  7. I compared my p238 against a friends Glock 42 and my p238 was far more accurate. I don’t think .380 is enough to be the only carry gun.

    • Why? If the going argument is that when there is bad if there is any resistance, the bad guy turns tail and runs. A 380ACP may not have knock down punch but anyone who gets a few defensive rounds in them is not going to stick around to look for more. We have seen plenty of stories where a simple 380ACP was all that was needed to thwart the bad guys.

      Remember in a defensive scenario, it is about getting out of harms way. If the bad guy goes down with a thump that is purely a bonus.

      Your never going to be prepared for every single possible situation. Your tactics may have to change depending on what you carry, but better a 380ACP than nothing at all and not everyone can carry a larger gun for many reasons.

      If you like the 238 but not the 380ACP, then give the 938 in 9mm a try

  8. If you like the 238, then you’ll love the 938. Only slightly larger and in 9 mm. I bought the 938 when it came out, sold my 238 and never regretted it.

    • My wife tried my bosses 238 and liked it more then any other CCW gun she had shot before. We just got her the 938 and she loves it, way more accurate then you think to would be, managable recoil and, most importanly reliable.

    • I like the P938 but it is too big for the back pocket. Interestingly, they now have the 938 available with a threaded barrel.

  9. I love my Sigp238 ( I have the SAS style) – It’s the perfect chick gun, easy to carry but solid, low recoil especially for a small gun, perfect size for concealed in hot South Florida with thin clothes – Strong enough for a man but made for a woman –

  10. I have both the p238 & the p938. I initially got the p938 to get rid of the p238 as .380acp is more pricier than 9mm, and it would have allowed me to consolidate on calibers (p238 is my only firearm in .380acp).

    In the end I ended up keeping both of them. I loooove my p238 and my p938. They’re way accurate than I’m capable of, p238 recoils like a 22 and the p938 recoils a tad more but always on paper in tight groups at any sensible distance. While the p238 won’t even chamber Tula, the p938 eats anything I throw at it flawlessly. And like the person above me they’re so easy to carry in our sticky South Florida weather.

        • It’s worth noting that I sent Tula Customer Service an email with measurements and a link to that photo. They sent me a refund immediately. Didn’t want the ammo back or proof of purchase or anything. They just asked me how much I’d paid, and I got a check for that amount + 50%. I don’t know why that ammo doesn’t work, but at least they backed it up.

          • Oh wow – that’s good customer service. I’ll definitely do the same. I only have 2 boxes which I snatched at the last West Palm Beach gun show, but if I can’t use them, no point in hanging on to them. Thanks for the heads up!

        • Hey Matt, what do you know – I’ve sent an inquiry to Tula, and they immediately responded asking my name/address to issue me a refund check. Guess this means I owe you a 6-pack 🙂

  11. you had an opinion that changed with some actual experience 🙂 Nice! My P238 is the most expensive handgun I own…

  12. I’ve also got both the P238 and P938. I love them both; I’ll never get rid of either of ’em.

    • Yep, that’s what I thought. I have put at least 1500 rds through my 238, and liked it so well, I purchased the 938, and began the break in. I reached 500-600 rds and the recoil spring guide rod end broke off at the end, at the base, below the threads. I found one other person that had this happen. His pictures were identical. Sig has had problems with the guide rod coming apart at the threads and recommended loctite. Now, after this kind of failure at only 500 rds, or any amount of usage, is unsat. I have one of the newer 938’s, with a box date of Aug 2015. I carry the 238 now, and may keep it as my carry, but I just purchased a large amount of Remington 147 gr Golden Sabre. I just don’t know if I can rely on the 938 after this. I realize this may never happen again. I am currently looking at other 9mm’s, i.e., the Shield????

  13. My wife loves the P938 and she carries it where ever she goes. She had been carrying a Px4 Sub Compact but not everywhere nor all the time. For concealment purposes these Sigs are hard to beat.

  14. My wife carries one every day. We love it and do not knock the caliber, it will still knock down the bad guys in 2-3 bullets (same as a 9mm or a 45ACP).

  15. Anyone have experience with subcompact Sig .357? Ammo brutal to get, and price is awful, but have heard/read good things about the caliber.

    • smallest gun I know of to handle .357 sig is something in the P239 class. It’s just too brutal in a pocket-gun and you need some bulk to handle the pressure.

      • I owned a KeltTec P11 with the ‘special’ P40 barrel slide as an add on, along with a KelTec branded 357 sig barrel to fit that slide. The gun was bought used, and came with 1 frame, 2 slides, 3 barrells, and 8 magazines. It had been a backup gun that got sold after a local sheriffs dept made new policy that disallowed KelTecs as backup guns for officers.

        I carried with a +1 extension made of aluminum on the magazine, and carried in the small of my back with an IWB holster from Wild Bill, specifically one of

        In 9mm a P11 is a great gun, fun to shoot, the only complaint is that the trigger is long and hard. I polished my gun up, the classic KelTec ‘Fluff n Buff’, and kept the trigger assembly lubed with very light machine grease, vs using gun oil. In 40 the gun transformed into a fire breathing monster that hurt to shoot, especial when testing self defense loads to make sure they would feed ok. This gun did NOT like cheap bulk box ball ammo in 40, probably due to the VERY heavy recoil spring needed in such a short package. I always carried it with the P357 barrel installed, with 10+1 rounds of 357 sig gold dot in the gun, and a flat bottom 9 round magazine in a pocket sleeve.

        The ONLY issue I ever ran into with this gun, shooting carry ammo, was that some folks tended to limp wrist it, esp in the face of the fireballs it produces at the muzzle in 40 and 357 sig. I carried this gun for so long because it was small, narrower, and lighter than my Springfield XD subcompact, and was comfortable to carry all day at the small of my back.

        This gun, sadly, got traded away in a ‘this pile of guns for that pile of guns’ deal after my Wife and I got married, as I wanted to buy a few guns that she would be more comfortable shooting. No point in having a gun that she cannot rack the slide on and fire.

  16. I love mine. Yes, the caliber is small. But I can conceal it in anything I wear, and it’s light enough that I almost forget I have it on me. Plus, I’m accurate enough with it to make up for the small caliber size.

    And it’s a damn pretty piece.

  17. after i saw an amt ‘backup’ i thought, good idea…
    my first ‘mexican carry’ was a davis p380 as i couldn’t swing a mustang back then. at $85 i paid too much for that zinc paperweight. long gone.
    colt discontinued and then sig began making the .380. but shore galleries wouldn’t sell one to a non- leo so i found ghost industries. he informed me that he had some p238’s but that a 9mm version was in the works. i waited and got an early (wet dream) of a p938 nightmare.
    recluse holster in the front pants pocket, cargo pocket in shorts weather.
    frame mounted safety that goes down to fire, external hammer, single action and mag release on the left grip frame, all just like a hi- power. already familiar muscle memory. pretty much done as far as light edc goes.
    plenty accurate, recoil not an issue. handles better with 7rd mags especially if you have sz10 hands or bigger. the stock grips are ok and grippy but i might like some more ‘swell’ at the expense of almost not quite printing…
    there is a company with the dorky name ‘leather and stuff’ that makes some nice iwb thumb snap holsters for these.

  18. I nearly got the SIG as my .380 carry piece but opted instead for the Ruger LCP, I was a bit leery of a cocked and locked pocket pistol (which is what I was looking for) and liked the trigger on the LCP as it was more like my Glock’s.
    Not to mention less than half the price.

    • I made the same choice for the same reasons. I like the LCP because it’s so small it literally disappears in a pocket. But it’s not a fun gun to shoot. Carry, yes. Shoot, no. The P238 is a real gem in the shooting department in that it’s a lot more accurate that you’d think it would be due to its size. SIG quality is no joke, either. Everything about my P238 shows quality design and manufacture. I can get .380 locally but the cost differential between it and 9mm is annoying. I’m keeping my eyes open for a good deal on a 938.

  19. My wife and I each have a SIG P238 for concealed carry. Hers is the HDW model and mine is the Blackwood. The HDW is a definitely heavier (20.1oz) than the Blackwood (15.2oz), but she prefers it better because it doesn’t kick quite as much as the Blackwood. She cut her teeth on a Ruger LCR .38 Special, and she absolutely hated it because of the nasty kick and double-action. We rented a P238 HDW to try at a local range, and she liked it MUCH better than the LCR.

    We purchased both at the height of the recent gun-scarcity period, so we did fork over basically full retail for each, but we felt then and feel now that it was worth it.

    The P238 is a very solid handgun, is very easily concealed, and is surprisingly accurate at typical “self defence” range. Could I/we be carrying larger caliber handguns for personal protection? Sure. But I/we feel this is an excellent compromise of weight, power, capacity, concealability, and ease of shooting.

    Our only current problem is the lack of bulk/cheap .380 ammo.

  20. The extended magazine really helps the “grip sense” for me. I, too, carry all the time everywhere it’s legal. I am in dress clothes (tucked shirt) all day. I carry the 238 with a Crimson Trace grip laser in a pocket holster and nobody knows it’s on me. I have put approx 1,000 rounds through this gun without any hiccups. Hey! What’s the most important thing to have on your carry piece?

    Answer: Pocket fuzz!

  21. P238s come in a lot of different “flavors,” and some of them are among the prettiest guns made today. Yes, they are even prettier than Glocks. But then again, what isn’t?

  22. P238 is easily my favorite .380 pistol. Shoots like a dream. I’d barely feel under-gunned carrying one.

    I still need to try a P938.

  23. My wife loves her P238. When looking for a concealed carry weapon for her, the biggest concern she had was size, she wanted a small gun. We looked at the Sig P238, Ruger LCP, S&W Bodyguard, and a few others. To be honest she liked them all and almost went with the Ruger as it was far cheaper. But since most small guns of similar style were copolymer frames, I advised her to hit the range and shoot each one to see how they reacted. Absolutely no comparison between the 3 models. Both the Ruger and S&W being double action had much long trigger pulls and much higher recoil than the Sig. She quickly chose the P238 over the others and couldn’t be happier.

  24. I’ll take my Colt MKIV Mustang over a P238 any day. As proof I sold the Sig and kept the Mustang. No regrets.

  25. Kinda funny how much flack the .380ACP gets, yet so many say, “my P238” or “my wife’s P238” without hesitation. Me thinks the .380ACP may be more popular than some let on.

    • You may be right. People choose not to mention it, not because they’re embarrassed, but because they’re just not interested in listening to yet another gun store cowboy or keyboard commando bloviate about the superiority of their 1911 or whatever else they define as a “real man’s gun.”

      • I know I’m replying to a year old comment but felt the need to mention this is a very American thing, this love for .45ACP and ‘belief’ that anything smaller leaves one under gunned. As a European, I can confirm the .380ACP is fairly popular in Europe as is 9mm. Larger calibres are simply not common or even particularly desirable. Although we are seeing more and more 10mm.

        Just thoughts.

  26. Your opinion on caliber aside, what do you think of the original Colt Mustang? Better construction and pretty much everything else you slammed the new production one for.

    • The original mustangs were criticized for poor quality construction, with some improvement in the second version before production ceased. Colt now makes two versions of the Mustang, one a re-introduction of the Pocketlite with an aluminum frame and the other polymer. The aluminum framed version was very well received as it is built with all new milling equipment, and perhaps Nick would like it better than the polymer one. To me, the Colt aluminum version is a better looking piece than the Sig, but there are a lot more options in finish and grips with Sig. I’ve haven’t seen side by side comparisons, which might be interesting. Available in California to regular citizens only through the (soon to be abolished) single shot exemption.

  27. Another shining example of why Mr. Leghorn’s reviews are not to be taken seriously.

      • Because earlier he didn’t know what he was talking about, and now that he’s been wined and dined by the manufacturer he is suddenly converted.

        • He’d never shot it, so he was speaking from ignorance before. He admitted that. Now he’s shot it and it changed his mind a bit. I don’t know if that’s a “song & dance,” but it sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  28. I’m a carpenter. I carry my P238 in wallet holster every day. It doesn’t get in the way of my toolbelt. I carry a larger pistol elsewhere, but the P238 is my work gun.

  29. If you dont like .380, get the p938 and its 9mm, problem solved.

    Then get the extended mag AND those bad ace Hogue Rubber grips, grip problem solved also.

  30. Several years ago, I bought a P238 with the Rainbow Titanium finish slide, and a Mitch Rosen pocket holster. It’s a great combination for the southern AZ desert heat. I wish it had an ambi safety (I’m lefthanded), but it’s super accurate and hasn’t had a glitch or hiccup yet.

  31. I have the P238 and the metal Colt Mustang. Slight differences (Sig is a little more square, slightly thicker) and they”re great summer carry guns.
    Use the same mags and Colt’s are cheaper. Holsters get stretched a smidge with the thicker Sig, but you can use one for both.

  32. I handled a new P238 and it had the worst trigger I’ve ever experienced. It felt as if the trigger mechanism had been glued and the glue hadn’t fully dried yet.

    Are they all like that?

  33. Hardly seems fair to compare the SIG-238 to the XSP version of the Colt Mustang… I have the all metal Colt Mustang Pocketlite and it shoots like a dream.

    • me too. I have the new model Mustang Pocketlite and it is really nice, except for the stock tiny sights which I replaced with XS Sights. I also have a Sig P938 9mm, and IMO, the Mustang Pocketlite is a better shooter. I like ’em both. Note that the Colt also takes Sig P238 extended mags.

      haven’t tried the P238 but expect it to be a good gun. it is a virtual clone of the Mustang Pocketlite.

      Never tried the Mustang XSP, and have no reason to do so.

  34. Talk about accuracy! And real sights. I can shoot 3 in targets at 20yds all day long with my p238. The only thing more accurate is a true 1911.

  35. The 238 shoots like a dream but the problems surfacing on the forums steered me toward the Mustang XSP. The Sig is definitely nicer to shoot and I still hope to pick one up some day. I’d rather have my .45 for concealment but .380 is better than nothing at all when larger firearms aren’t a practical option.

  36. Hello
    First, would you provide the second part to the silencer article for those of us wanting one using the Trust route? We have a trust and everything we own is in it. Now back to the p238. We have three of them and here is the skinny. They work out of the box perfectly. The manual safety is down to shoot and up for safe, just the way a person would want it as it is drawn from the pants pocket. It does not snap even with jeans. Not once did we get a misfire or stovepipe. With the lights off at the range, I was able to hit 9 and 10 rings at 10 feet by simply pointing at the target at Nadis range. Now, I want to compare that to the Ruger SR-22. Bought at Cabellas and using three different brand names ammo, we had 35 of 50 rounds jam, stove-pipe, or simply not fire at all. We sent it to Ruger who fixed the problem. Now, I want to compare the Sig to Marlin 60 Anniversary model with woodend stock. As I removed the rile from the box, with the rifle wrapped in plastic, the rifle slipped out of my hands into two pieces on the floor. The wood stock broke at the pistol grip of the 22 rifle. My summary is this: Sig is expensive, it works out of the box, and has never failed to work in the manner one wants a concealed pistol to work – perfectly. The two American made guns both failed out of the box. I am still waiting for Marlin to providfe me with a replacement stock and it has been three weeks. We sent it UPS with 2d day delivery. By the way, Remington makes the Marlin 60. So, I suggest you consider giving Sig a big thumbs up and two thumbs down for America’s finest, Ruger and Remington. Thank you for spending the time to read this. And I hope we can read something on the trust process to obtain the silencer.

  37. So passing judgement on guns you’ve never shot isn’t a good idea? Giving advice to others about things that you know nothing at all about leads to mistakes and BS?

  38. First, I read everything I could about carry pistols.
    I finally rented both the P238 and P938 and shot them at the range. I think I like the feel of the 938 a little better (1/4″ taller and longer), but decided it’s too snappy to shoot on a regular basis. I got the 238 because I could maintain proficiency (meaning it was easier to shoot regularly). Discounted the LCP for the opposite reason. Good size, but just too light for a 9 to maintain proficiency on (yeah, I ended a sentence with a preposition).
    Finally found some inexpensive ammo at Academy, and picked up 5 boxes, then more became available. so ammo’s not a problem now. I put off buying a .380 originally it because there was no ammo for it on the shelves. Light round? Well, I shoot defense loads and don’t expect it to go through walls or people, so I’m happy. I can put it in a palm-sized group at 20 yds, and much better up close. Any farther than that, I’ll be using distance as my motivator. If you aim for and hit what you shoot at, it’s a good round, and practice is always pleasant. As a Sig, it feeds pretty much everything you load into it.
    I read that Sigs like to run wet, at least the M400. I believe that. Any FTF on the AR was cured with a drop or two of CLP or Frog Lube. I’ll sometimes put a drop on the slide before shooting, but I don’t think that’s really an issue now that it’s broken in. Run them a little wet for break-in (couple of hundred rounds), and you won’t have any issues.
    I got the Equinox model. A very pretty gun, since the finish has to go through the Sig custom shop. One feature I love – with the safety on, you can clear the chamber. I feel really good about that one.
    1911’s are now available in the Equinox also. Even better! The finish stands up to being against my skin in summertime. Didn’t expect that. The grips haven’t even discolored. My Ph is fairly neutral, so maybe that’s why. People with acidic systems might not fare so well. Trombone and trumpet players with acidic systems eat through the lacquer on their horns regularly. Something to think about.
    I’ve carried it for over a year now. I picked up the extended mag for it, carry one or the other daily. Great carry gun. Never regretted this choice.

  39. It’s amazing how many people hate colts and have never shot one. Don’t listen to this fool, go out and shoot one, you won’t be disappointed.

  40. To small… or Too small.
    If you don’t know the difference go back to school and take English 101.

    For the record, and for those who poo-poo the caliber and say it doesn’t have stopping power… then I invite you to take 10 steps forward and let me unload a few rounds.

    No takers?… that’s what I thought.

Comments are closed.