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Sig P238

Sig Sauer P238 Review – Updated 1/26/11

Highlights:

The P238 .380ACP handgun from Sig Sauer is a slick little carry gun. This gun is designed after the Colt Mustang and looks very similar to it in many ways. It has excellent style, carries extremely well, feels very solid, and shoots very accurately. Aside from some bugs associated with it being a new production gun, the Sig P238 is an impressive small sized carry gun.

Specifications (from manufacturer):

Caliber: .380 ACP (9mm short)
Action Type: SAO
Trigger Pull SA: 7.5 – 8.5 lbs
Overall Length: 5.5 in
Overall Height: 3.9 in
Overall Width: 1.1 in
Barrel Length: 2.7 in
Sight Radius: 3.8 in
Weight w/out Mag: 15.2 oz
Mag Capacity: 6 Rounds
Sights: Contrast or SIGLITE Night Sights
Grips: Fluted Grips (available in rosewood and blackwood variants)
Frame Finish: Black Hard Coat Anodized
Slide Finish: Natural Stainless or Black Nitron (also available in Rainbow Titanium finish)
Accessory Rail: No
Features: Beavertail style frame, fluted grips
MSRP: $543.00 – $751.00
CA Compliant: No
MA Compliant: No
Manufacturer Web Site: http://www.sigsauer.com/Products/ShowCatalogProduct.aspx?categoryid=67

Pictures:

The Good:

  • Excellent style
  • Carries and conceals extremely well
  • Light and small
  • Solid metal construction (aside from grips and trigger)
  • Smooth trigger (SAO)
  • Low recoil
  • Accurate

The Bad:

  • Several reported problems with early production guns including: magazine follower problems, failure to feed, failure to eject, failure to fire. Most of these issues seem to be attributed to the steep feed ramp, a bad run of magazines, insufficient recoil spring tension, and miss-aligned extractors. Some of these may lessen after break in period. Depending on the gun you get, you may need to send the gun back to the sig service department for it to be repaired (seems to be especially true of early production units).
  • Customer Service Issues – Update 1/26/11 – Sig seems to have made dramatic improvements in its customer service over the last couple of months. You no longer have to wait on hold for long times to get through on the phone, they’re very knowledgeable and helpful when talking to them, they have been quickly responding to email requests, and now send email shipping confirmations for all orders. Sig had always been know for its rock solid reputation, I am very glad to see them returning in the right direction!
  • As with many guns in this size and caliber it can be sensitive to loading various brands of JHP, especially ones with a wide cavity opening as they can catch on the steep feed ramp and jam the slide open. It may take some testing to find JHP ammo that will feed properly into your gun. I also recommend sticking with standard pressure loads for this gun.
  • Some guns appear to have been mistakenly fitted with a size 8 rear sight instead of the designated size 6. This can cause the gun to be inaccurate and require a trip back to the sig factory for replacement.
  • The grips and trigger are made of plastic (instead of aluminum as originally planned).
  • Update 1/26/11 – Crimson Trace now offers a laserguard for the Sig P238.
  • Sig has already issued a recall “safety upgrade” on percentage of these guns. http://www.sigsauer.com/customerservice/p238upgrade.aspx. In all fairness, almost every manufacturer has had problems with their early release guns.

Summary:

The P238 ranks at the top of the list for sub-compact sized carry pistols. Sig appears to have worked the early bugs out of this gun. Additionally, Sig has made positive strides in its customer service experience so all its customers will enjoy the quality experience they have come to know and expect from Sig.

Category: Handguns, Reviews
  • Flint Ridge says:

    Wait before you buy. Let somebody else be Sig Quality Control. I have had nothing but trouble and even have problems after a trip to the factory. They are still trying to help. Seems Sig does not really care. I was on hold 1:27 and gave up. Did get an email reply from my first contact person who obviously is trying despite whatever Sig is doing. They no longer take messages. No longer can find email unless you are lucky enough to have an individual. Love the look and feel, trigger has really improved after 750 rounds, but I am at a 3% failure rate and that is NOT acceptable.

  • Super Stinger says:

    Nice write up Mike M.

    I’ve been thinking about a P238, but with all the bad press I’m going to pass.

    Thanks for putting up a honest review instead of the typical fanboy stuff.