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You know those T-shirts with really witty jokes on them? You read the shirt, you get the joke, you laugh (maybe) and then . . . the joke’s still there. The longer you look at the shirt, the less funny it seems. The best of the T-shirt humor breed have a zen-like quality; the humor lies deep within a philosophical conundrum. OK, I haven’t actually seen a T-shirt like that, but, like the sound of one hand clapping, I’m sure exists. Somewhere. On some level. Meanwhile, what are we to make of the $699 Sig Sauer P238 Liberty with its inlaid gold (yes gold) Liberty Bell? The ad copy gives us a clue . . .

Since its introduction in 2009 the P238 has redefined the role of a .380ACP caliber pistol for personal protection. The “Liberty” edition, available for a short time in limited quantities, pays tribute to our founding fathers’ vision of a society free from tyranny. The “Liberty” features a rendering of the Liberty Bell in 24K selective gold inlay. The text “We The People”, from the Preamble of the Constitution adorns the slide. Own the pistol our founding fathers would have been proud of – the P238 Liberty.

The P238 is a mini-me version of the 1911 pistol, a design created by [arguably] America’s greatest gun maker, John Moses Browning. Quite why you’d want a miniature 1911 cocked and locked in your pocket is a whole ‘nother question. Suffice it to say, the P238 is based on a classic design, not a classic in and of itself. Besides, the Colt Mustang got there first. And neither gun says Revolutionary War to me.

And while I’m kvetching, the Liberty Bell is cracked. As in defective. According to Wikipedia . . .

The following March, the bell was hung from temporary scaffolding in the square outside the State House. To the dismay of onlookers, the bell cracked during testing. Isaac Norris, speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, wrote, “I had the mortification to hear that it was cracked by a stroke of the clapper without any other viollence as it was hung up to try the sound.”

While a replacement from Whitechapel was ordered, the bell was recast by John Dock Pass and John Stow of Philadelphia, whose surnames appear inscribed on the bell. Pass and Stow added copper to the composition of the alloy used to cast the bell, and the tone of the bell proved unsatisfactory. The two recast the bell yet again, restoring the correct balance of metal, and this third bell was hung in the steeple of the State House in June 1753.

Of course, the crack is symbolic: something to do with “recasting” the role of government and human imperfection. I guess. Me, I like perfect bells and even more perfect [sic] guns.

Also, I’m not seeing a direct or artistic connection between the Liberty Bell and the “We the People” intro to the U.S. Constitution, especially in its overly ornate if original script. It’s a bit like peanut butter (an American invention) and Marmite (don’t ask, I won’t tell).

Botom line: gun tats are tacky. Some gun tats are tackier than others. Patriotic gun tats may stir the heart strings, but they run the risk of looking like something that belongs in a full page National Enquirer ad. And they conjure up strange scenarios. “Why did you shoot your wife’s lover with your P238 Liberty?” “In order to make a more perfect union.”

You know what? Screw it. It’s easy to snipe at people trying to celebrate America whilst making a buck or two (which is also an American tradition). I’m going to have a bash at this patriotic gun thing.

I’ve commissioned Lauer Weaponry to paint a [Croatian] Springfield XD-M with an American theme. When they’re done, I’ll have Americans pose with it and post the photos here.

After all, I am a proud American. I recognize that the right to bear arms is the foundation of our freedoms. OK, one of them. Brady Bunch and effete intellectual snobs (i.e. me) be damned. Watch this space.

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  1. I appreciate your thoughts Robert, but I like the gun and the tribute to America. In times when the gun-grabbers are busy trying to steal our money and liberty, it is nice to see recognition of our founding Father's and their ideals. The Second Amendment is an important part of our Nation, even if the current administration doesn't understand that.

    I bought a Liberty today in Florida and plan to target shoot it tomorrow. It is a nice complement to its bigger sisters in my collection, the Sig 9mm and .45.

  2. Sorry Robert, I really like the gun. You see, I actually own a full scale replica of the Liberty Bell. All 2080 lbs. of it! The sound when I ring it is simply wonderful and I have it on outdoor display as it goes with my business. The minute I would bring the P238 Liberty out of the holster my friends will understand why I have. You see, most of use have a bumper sticker that state, " It not me the president…. It's we the people." Long my the 2nd Amendment live.

  3. I picked up a Sig P238 yesterday and absolutely love it. It will be my ccw. Its not my only Sig but I can seeing it working it’s way into being my favorite. I think it looks great and after all it’s a Sig.

  4. Just bought my Liberty yesterday as they are no longer being made and the euros from sale of my Steyr M9 was burning a hole in my Burka. Steyr was a fine pistol, but like the xdm, porky compared to the Sig. The bell rings fine for me. I suppose you can talk Springfield into gold inlays of a diaper Change and Obummer likeness?

  5. Have owned one about a year now. It does as advertised, SHOOTS WELL. Incindentally, it’s a bit patriotic and thats a good thing.

  6. Gag – another silly marketing idea. Slap a “gold” sticker on it and laser etch “we the people” on the slide and voila…you now have an opportunity to upcharge by $150.

    No, I’m sorry, but the Founding Fathers would not be proud. It’s a cheap marketing ploy – nothing more, nothing less.

  7. I bought a Liberty Sig P238 about a month ago, I bought it with the Sig laser, Took it to the range last week, it’s one of the most accurate sweetest shooting little 380s I have ever fired. I shot my Interarms Walther PPKS the same day and my S&W Bodyguard 380, of the 3 the Sig was the best the Walther 2nd and the S&W third. I carry the Sig when a small gun will do and my Kimber Ultra Carry II in .45 when I feel the need for a larger caliber CCW.

  8. I did not get the Liberty though that is what I wanted! No longer sold! But I did get the P238 Semper Fi and I don’t care what is embossed on the P238, it is a awesome little beauty. I have target practiced with it against Bersa Thunder, KelTec 9mm and I have to say on the mark, no jams and delightful to shoot. Wouldn’t trade the Marine Bulldog inlay or the Semper Fi on the barrel for nothing! It is my CCW gun!

  9. Had my Sig P238 Liberty for about 2 years now. Love this gun just as much as my other Sigs. Guess what everyone that sees it comments on it being the Liberty model. I added the Sig laser and extended mag and love to carry it cocked and locked. I’m not sure what your qualifications are for writing this article, but you need spell check and grammar help. I’m also willing to bet you never held or shot the P238 Liberty. Maybe you should practice by reviewing items on Amazon next time and leave the gun reviews to someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

  10. I just got this to replace my bigger, bulkier weapon. I LOVE it so much I bought my 19 year old daughter the EXACT same gun. I got us both the extended clip. Soon I will buy my 12 year old the Semper Fi model. Her daddy is a Marine. I would have gotten the Marine Edition for me, had I known. I have shot several weapons in my time, this is BY FAR my favorite gun. Sorry you don’t like it, but I really do NOT care. I LOVE my new Sig Sauer P238 LIBERTY model. GLAD I didn’t read this first!

  11. Where do I go to get the past 2 minutes of my life back? What a pointless rant. Shyeeet up. I love my p238 liberty. Quit whining.


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