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I made the decision to get my CCW two years ago and wanted to carry as much as possible. In retrospect it almost seems crazy I didn’t come to that conclusion sooner as a husband and father of two young children. While a 30-year-old male is far from the most vulnerable member of society, adding in said wife and two kids to the equation changes the vulnerability level drastically . . .

I decided to pocket carry, the advantages being obvious for a new CCW’er, small handgun, easily concealable, and confidence of being in the familiar front pocket. The tradeoff of low capacity and a low power .380 seeming minimal considering coming from carrying nothing.

After some research I started out with a Tuarus TCP based on positive reviews (including here at TTAG) and the low cost of entry. While the TCP provided me the opportunity to get over the initial fear of carrying a gun, reliability issues and lack of features I considered essential insured it didn’t last long. After a 100 rounds or so it began to eject at least one spent case per magazine directly back at my head, cutting me once. That led to subconscious flinching when firing.

I couldn’t convince myself to carry with one in the pipe without an external safety. As a father of two, I have kids crawling on me, especially wrestling with my five-year old son. The risk just seemed too high, even with a pocket holster.

That led me to purchase a S&W Bodyguard 380 (no laser) with a manual safety. I appreciated the “real” sights compared to the TCP, the fact that it didn’t throw brass at my head, and the comfort of having an external safety. With practice I was confident in my ability to manipulate the small nub of a safety when drawing and gained the confidence to begin carrying with one in the pipe. I also upgraded to a DeSantis sticky pocket holster which was a big improvement over the old Galco I had originally purchased with the TCP. This gun performed well for me for over a year until cleaning it one day before a weeklong trip when the end of a spring popped out the side between the “chassis” and the plastic body. Still not exactly sure how it happened as I’d cleaned this gun many a time, but looking at it closer, all that plastic body flex wasn’t confidence inspiring.

That’s how I got to the pocket 380 I always wanted, but was too cheap to buy initially —  a SIG P238. Compared to the TCP or the S&W Bodyguard the SIG just exudes the feeling of quality and confidence. The weight of the all metal gun along with the perfectly executed factory seven-round extended mag makes this feel like a “real” gun. With the extended magazine I can get all three fingers on the gun with little if any additional printing. The SIG also has probably one of the best manual (1911 style) thumb safeties  available on a pocket .380, a huge improvement from the S&W Bodyguard’s little nub.

The Sig has been reliable. I settled on carrying HPR XTP based on watching the majority of shootingbull410’s .380 Ammo Quest videos.


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  1. I carry the same gun. I recommend you look at the Lehigh extreme penetrator either from Lehigh themselves or from Underwood arms.

    Its a great bullet out of a 380 and it will feed in the sig P238 flawlessly.

    • Another alternative: Inceptor ARX. Shoots beautifully out of my LCP and G42. Sometimes it’s in stock when Lehigh isn’t.

    • I’ve seen them, but always thought the finger groove looked really stupid! Not that that’s a great reason, but for the price maybe I’ll give it a try. Thanks.

    • Yep. My P238 came from Palmetto State Armory 3 years ago. I bought it at a righteous price and with the Hogue grips. I also have a second series LCP. Both are excellent carry guns. Of the two, (both have Hogue grips) the P238 is a far more enjoyable gun to shoot. When I go to the range to shoot my carry guns, I usually shoot the LCP just enough to maintain proficiency, then I switch to the P238 for some serious and far more enjoyable target shooting. Both the LCP and P238 are robust designs and, with modern ammo, make excellent carry guns.

    • Now the Sig P938 with rosewood grips is a real looker! But I was too cheap to pony up the extra $150+ they wanted for one at the gun shop…

  2. 238/239 are fantastic guns. Great trigger and they shoot well. The metal frame is not a hindrance in a gun so small, in fact it’s an advantage. You want a LITTLE heft in a pocket 380 and it makes all the difference in shooting it quickly and comfortably.

  3. Excellent choice. My wife carries the P238, I carry the BG380. I would also recommend Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defense for your ammo choice. My experiments with Xtreme Penetrator indicate a wound channel similar to FMJ. Lehigh Defense claims that Xtreme Penetrator wound channels of 1″ while their Xtreme Defense will create wound channels of 2.5″. I find, with clear ballistic gelatin, their Xtreme Defense creates wound channels similar to most other hollow points. It still penetrates effectively, without over penetration.

    Lehigh Defense claims that their Xtreme line is better illustrated by normal collagen gelatin. I prefer to use a level playing field and judge all ammo types accordingly.

    Thanks for the article!!

  4. I’m a carpenter, so there’s no way to wear a tool belt and a gun belt. The solution was a P238 in a wallet-style holster. It’s also my lightweight home carry gun. I tend to carry my SIG P228 in most other circumstances.

  5. Been carrying my two-tone P238 pocket carry (Desantis Superfly) during the summers here for a few years. Looks like a wallet in my front pocket. Very easy to draw with some dry practice. Love the little gun.

  6. I admit I’m a Sig/FN/Walther fan. I have pocket-carried a Sig Scorpion 238 with Crimson Trace grip laser for 6 years. My dress code and body build dictated pocket carry. I have done my own unscientific testing of different ammo of all types(approx 25) through my gun. Zero FTF, zero FTE. I guess I have put 2,000 rounds through that gun. We do all sorts of shooting; multiple targets, moving while shooting, rapid fire, slow fire, distance, close-up, Tannerite! Nice to have a private place to shoot! I recommend the 238/938 models unreservedly.

  7. My wife started out with a S&W Bodyguard. Nice gun, but that trigger…not my cup of tea. One day my father-in-law let her shoot his P238. Bye-bye S&W. She’s very happy with it, and carries it in a Remora IWB.

  8. I would not be concerned with the reliability of your 238. After my wife informed me I could stick the Glock 26 I bought her where the sun doesn’t shine, we got her a 238. We have 1,000 + rounds out that little gun with no problems. It is her range gun and carry gun. Feeds anything you run through it flawlessly.

  9. Now if we could get ol Crimson trace to make a stinking green laser for this little mousegun!

    I’ve emailed several times and its always.

    …nothing in the works at this time…. 🙁

  10. I wish my brother-in-law had the same attitude about my sister and nephews. Good for you for recognizing your responsibility as Protector of the Family.

    As for what you went through running up to your P238, I would have two comments: don’t skimp on safety equipment, and, buy once, cry once. But, I think you have that figured out. Carry on! (pun intended)

  11. Got one with night sights. Highly recommend. The accuracy is unbeatable by any other carry gun (except actual 1911s)! Accuracy is something that is rarely mentioned in carry guns, but I insist on a tack driver. How else are you going to get head shots at 25 yards?

  12. Ok, I understand the progression from the TCP but why not move on to the p938. There is very little size or weight difference between them and I think the performance difference of 9mm gives you a little extra margin if something goes south. In some situations I use a pocket holster (shorts and tee) but find I prefer the kangaroo holster because when seated it is easier to draw at the risk of a few shirt buttons and is the most concealable or the more traditional crossbreed iwb is the most comfortable, more obvious and fastest to draw.

    • I would have preferred the 938, but as I was in a hurry to purchase the gun shop I stopped at wanted an extra $150 for the 938… That and I already had a good stash of 380… My little sister just picked up a 938 on my recommendation, looking forward to shooting it at Christmas!

      • I shot the 238 & 938 at same range outing yesterday. The 238 shoots so natural and the 938 shakes all over the place. Not fun to shoot where the 238 felt great. Also had a jam on the 938. An instructor told me 9mm ammo isn’t designed for such a small gun. Who knows…. But I’m leaning towards buying the 238.

  13. The slide on the 238/938’s is butter smooth, an often overlooked feature that the Ladies also appreciate. I’ve got to recommend the N8 professional holster. Very comfortable.

    • I have a N82 Professional for my HK, hesitant to pick one up for my P238 cause pocket carry is just so easy… My wife signed up for CCW class next month, if she takes to the P238 a N82 holster is high on my list of recommendations for her.

  14. Another “me too” post. I’ve owned several pocket .380s. My Taurus TCP, S&W Bodyguard, and Kahr P380 all had their pros and cons, but I experienced reliability issues with each. My Sig P238– which is slightly bulkier & heavier than the other guns– has been trouble free. And with good sights, a good trigger, and manageable recoil, it’s easy and fun to shoot.

  15. Most people would be(and are) surprised how much of a difference there is between shooting the 238/938 and the other typical mouse guns in .380. Accuracy, recoil, follow-up shots and reliability all add up to make them almost an entirely different animal than the cheaper counterparts. I owned a few of the others and handled/fired quite a few more before I settled on the 938 in a simple Sticky(brand) holster for my EDC when I need to be truly concealed(work). Outside of work I prefer my GP100 OWB because it won’t cost me anything if I print or my shirt rides up. Customers can be a fickle bunch.

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