Shopping for a great compact carry gun? This SIG might be for you.
Searching for the perfect concealed carry gun is the one target few of us—even the better shots—will ever truly hit. But the SIG P938 comes very close to encompassing the ideal combination of size versus power. I would consider it to be “Best in Class” for a small pocket pistol.
Now, don’t let me confuse you; I am not saying that it is the best defensive pistol on the market. But I tend to look at handguns as implements that aid in one’s self defense so in terms of a go anywhere, always with you, actually fits in your pocket and greater than a .380, the P938 is the best I have handled, and I have handled most of them. There are pistols that are smaller but there is a point of diminishing returns on how small you can make a handgun.
That point is crossed when:
- You cannot functionally grasp the pistol because the grip is too short;
- You cannot maintain a secure hold because the grip is too thin;
- The sights are too small as to be practical.
When I think of the pistols that I wish a manufacturer would reintroduce, the Colt Pocket Hammerless Model M tops my list. Chances of someone remaking this pistol are slim and chances of a manufacturer making it to my preferred specifications, which would be in 9mm with usable night sights, make it even less likely to happen. But this little SIG is nearly identical to what I am looking for and is probably about as close as I am going to get to a 9mm Pocket Hammerless. The P938 is proof positive that it would be possible to make one.
So, how does the 938 stack up against two other pistols with which it would most easily be compared: the new Springfield XDs 9mm and the gold standard of pocket guns, the Smith & Wesson J frame, in this instance the model 640 Pro in .38 Special/.357 Magnum.
With 7 + 1 rounds available the P938 is on par with the XDs and three rounds ahead of the Smith & Wesson J frame. The sights on all three handguns are good, but the Smith and the SIG sport night sights. The SIG is also the smallest of the pistols in terms of overall length, overall height and overall weight (5.9 inches, 3.9 inches and 16 ounces respectively). The MSRP on the P938 is $823 dollars, but you should be able to pick one up for just under $700 if you shop around.
Other goodies on the pistol include:
Sights: We already talked about the night sights, but I love the fact that SIG recognized their importance since most defensive shootings take place in subdued lighting.
Safety: The 938 has ambidextrous safeties, which normally I am not in love with but they make sense on this pistol since many Law Enforcement Officers will employ the 938 as a back-up pistol and place it in their weak-hand pocket. If they are serving in uniform, their duty holster usually covers or obstructs access to the right hand pocket and many want it in the offhand pocket in case their strong hand sustains an injury. The safety set-up on the P938 also allows you to manipulate the slide when it is engaged and being able to unload the pistol with the safety on is a great enhancement.
Trigger Guard: The guard is slightly undercut to allow the shooter to get as high a hold on the grip as possible.
Magazine: On this model, the magazine has a finger extension on it to just barely allow you to get three fingers on the grip instead of two. It also provides an additional round over the normal 6-round capacity of the standard flush fitting magazines on the P938’s sister models.
Grips: The grips are Hogue’s G-10 Extreme pattern that exhibit a nice blue/gray hue, provide a secure grip and are nearly indestructible.
Grip Safety: There is none. However, the backstrap does sweep up into a nice spur that protects the hand from being abraded as the slide retracts.
Trigger: This is the one small fly in the ointment. Although the P938 looks like it is utilizing a standard sliding style 1911 trigger, it is actually hinged at the top. The trigger pulls on my specimen breaks at a very consistent 7.5 pounds. This is a lot heavier than most any 1911 pistols, and it’s heavier than most pistols period! However it has not become bothersome or a detriment to accuracy as there is very little take-up, which only requires about 2 pounds of pressure to get through, before getting to the 7.5-pound release, which breaks very cleanly.
The P938 breaks down into its six major components and is easier to disassemble than most 1911s. There is no barrel bushing to worry about and the guide rod is easy to put back in place when reassembling the pistol.
In terms of accuracy, this is not a target pistol nor is it a long-range firearm. Between 0 to 45 feet you will have all the accuracy you will need for most self-protection contingencies.
The first 25 rounds of the box were fired at 21 feet using Federal 115 grain ammunition.
Most of the rounds clustered just to the left of the bullseye with all shots staying inside the 8 inch Caldwell Orange Peel target.
As I spent more time with the pistol the groups began to tighten up at realistic distances. 50 rounds fired at 30 feet put a 3 inch gaping cluster just left of center with just a few flyers that always seem to tag along.
Moving out to 50 feet became more of a challenge. I don’t know if it was challenging for the SIG but it was certainly more challenging for me. 1 round missed the silhouette target while the other 49 rounds scattered across the torso.
The trigger reset on the P938 is amazingly quick. I could empty 7 rounds in just over 2 seconds and at 21 feet. I fired 50 rounds as fast as I could, putting them just left of center mass. This would have been very effective in a defensive shooting scenario.
The lighter 105 grain Federal Guard Dog ammo seemed to spread even at 21 feet and helped show me that the P938 preferred heavier bullets. 10 rounds of the Guard Dog ammo at 7 yards punctured entire circumference of the silhouette.
The recoil of +P ammo is stout but not difficult at all to manage.
At 21 feet with the hotter defensive loads 10 rounds of Hornady TAP 124 grain + P JHP landed in the left two quadrants of the 8 inch Caldwell Orange Peel target while my remaining four rounds of Magtech 124 grain Guardian Gold ammo produced a nicely centered group with the first three rounds while the fourth round took an unscheduled flight south of the border.
I find the Remora holster system to be both comfortable and versatile as you can use it both as an inside-the-waistband or pocket holster. Rummaging through my Remora drawer found a perfect fit with the size 3B.
If you’re shopping for a concealed carry pistol, the SIG P938 is one you can take with you just about anywhere you go. The micro .380s are the last decade’s fad. Manufacturers can now provide you with the power of a 9mm in a .380 platform and, as I said earlier, the P938 from SIG is best in class.
Lastly…to the good people at SIG: could you make me one a half inch longer in the barrel and in the grip with a shroud over the hammer? Please, please…just for me? I really want my 9mm Colt Model M Pocket Hammerless clone.
Capacity: 7+1 in the Extreme model
Action: Single Action Only
Magazines: 2 are included
Barrel: 3 inches
Sights: SIGLITE night sights
Frame: Black hard anodized alloy
Slide: Nitron finished steel
Grips: Hogue G-10 Extreme Pattern
Length: 5.9 inches
Height: 3.9 inches
Weight: 16.0 ounces
Width: 1.1 inch
Options: Various models with different grips, slide finishes, and sight options available
Suggested Retail Price: $823.00
By Randy Ferris
About the Author:
Randy Ferris has been a life-long shooter with a strong interest in defensive handguns. He has worked in the proprietary security industry since 1981 and recently co-founded Violence Prevention Strategies (www.violencepreventionstrategies.org), a company that teaches businesses and other institutions how to assess and manage threats. Randy also writes the popular blog Average Joe’s Handgun Reviews (www.averagejoeshandgunreviews.blogspot.com), is an ongoing contributor to the Gun Nation podcast (www.gunnation.us) and writes the “Gun of the Month” reviews for Bill’s Gun Shop and Range in the Twin Cities.