9mm SIG Sauer P938 Review

By Suzanne Wiley published on in Range Reports

On a recent trip to the shooting range, one of the female range officers brought me a SIG P938 and said, “Here girl, try this.” She proceeded to tell me it was her preferred carry gun and that she can conceal it anywhere on her body successfully. “It hides under anything!” she exclaimed as she pointed toward her chest.

After comparing it side-by-side to the Beretta Nano, I nodded my head and said, “oh, yeah.” It is considerably smaller and flatter than the Nano. Lisa Looper’s bra holsters, the Flashbang and Marilyn, along with Looper Law Enforcement’s Ava and The Betty belt holsters, are available for the SIG P938. For the guys, a few commercial pocket and IWB holsters fit the P938. After showing me the basic functions of the SIG P938, she turned me loose with it.

SIG P938 subcompact 9mm semiautomatic handgun with steel slide, black grip frame and wood grips

The P938 looks like the baby of the classic and traditional 1911 family.

I picked up the P938 and my first impression was, “It looks like a baby 1911.” From the positioning of the controls—magazine release, ambidextrous thumb safety and slide stop, to its exposed, rounded hammer and Beavertail-style frame—the P938 looks like the baby of the classic and traditional 1911 family. I love almost everything about the 1911, so a 1911-like gun in such a small package was exciting. If you shoot a 1911, operating the P938 will come naturally to you.

Chambered in 9mm, SIG’s P938 is a locked breech, tilting barrel, single-action only semi-automatic sub-compact handgun. I really like the fact the gun is all metal and aluminum, except for the grips. It’s a refreshing change from all the polymer-framed concealed carry guns on the market. The frame is aluminum alloy and the slide is 416 stainless steel. Weighing in at 16 ounces unloaded, it is difficult to compare the P938 to other guns, as there are not many metal-framed sub-compacts to compare it against. The Kel-Tec P11 is lighter at 14 ounces, while the Bersa Thunder 9 and Kahr MK9 are considerably heavier at 23 and 22.1 ounces respectively. I shot the model SIG Nightmare—an all-black version—minus the matte nickel controls. The Nightmare’s finish is matte black hard anodized, with no immediately noticeable flaws or machine marks on the outside or inside. Internally, she’s as clean as a whistle.

Along with the Nightmare, the P938 is available in:

  • Blackwood—natural-finished stainless steel slide, matte black hard-coat anodized frame and Hogue Blackwood grips
  • Extreme—black Nitron-coated stainless steel slide, matte black hard-coat anodized frame and Hogue G-10 Piranha grips in black and gray
  • Rosewood—black Nitron-coated stainless steel slide, matte black hard-coat anodized frame and Hogue Rosewood grips
  • Equinox—polished Nitron two-toned slide, black anodized frame, Tru-Glo front and SIG night sight rear sights and Hogue black Diamondwood grips
  • Black Rubber—black rubber wraparound grips
  • AG—natural stainless steel slide, matte black hard-coat anodized frame and black checkered aluminum grips
  • SAS—natural stainless steel slide, matte black hard-coat anodized frame and custom Goncalo wood grips
  • Scorpion—Flat dark earth (FDE) frame, slide and mainspring cover and Hogue Extreme G-10 grips

After shooting for quite awhile, the SIG’s magazine took me a bit longer to load than I like. Either the spring is quite stiff, or my thumbs were just wearing out from repeatedly loading six-round magazines. In the case you find the P938’s magazine having a stiff spring, you can remedy this by purchasing a Butler Creek UpLULA mag loader. I inserted the flush-fit magazine—extended mags are also available—and flipped off the safety. The ambidextrous thumb safety is accessible on either side of the gun. Even though it feels a bit stiff, reaching it with my thumb causes me no problems. For safety’s sake, this stiff safety means you know it will not accidentally engage if it were to snag on clothing. The slide on the P938 is so silky smooth, it’s almost as if it racked itself. It required hardly any effort on my part, and I’m pretty sure I could do it with two fingers if I had to. Knowing that many women feel they have issues with racking a slide on a semi-auto, the slide on the SIG P938 is by far one of the easiest I’ve experienced in this caliber.

SIG P938 with rainbow slide finish and black grip frame and grips

The frame is aluminum alloy and the slide is 416 stainless steel.

Before I shot, the range officer warned me it might be a bit snappy. I did experience some muzzle rise, but it was mild and controllable. However, the textured Hogue G-10 plastic grips on the back and sides of the frame made sure I kept a firm, secure grip on the handgun, while remaining comfortable through a half-box of ammo. The evenness of the stippling relieved the pressure of the recoil from a single spot and created no soreness. The slight beavertail frame sat nicely and high in my palm.

When I raised the gun to aim, I quickly noticed how bright, big and round the front sight dot was. I’m used to a smaller dot, but that’s because the SIG P938 comes with night sights. I am almost immediately on target with these upgraded sights. It shot nearly point of aim, just slightly high above center. From seven feet away, I shot quickly and achieved groups of less than one inch.

True to the range officer’s advice, I kept my pinky under the baseplate for more support. The grip is short and there is no room but for a full two-finger grip. Despite this grip, compensating for muzzle rise was not an issue. Follow-up shots were remarkably spot on.

Reaching the controls, the thumb safety and the magazine release were perfect for my finger spread and if you are used to having to manipulate a thumb safety, you will have no issues operating the SIG quickly. The trigger reach is about two and a half inches. With bigger hands, you might have to be more conscience of where your finger hits the trigger.

The P938 has no magazine safety. You can rack the slide and load a round into the chamber with the safety on. If you forget to count your rounds while shooting, the bolt holds open after firing the last round.

According to SIG, the trigger pull measures 7.5 to 8.5 pounds. The trigger had no catch, click or resistance. The action was smooth with an instinctive break and a solid reset. The P938 didn’t leave me guessing. This longer trigger pull will comfort those of you who have concerns about carrying the traditional 1911-way of “cocked and locked.” Furthermore, there is an internal firing pin block safety in case you drop the gun. I’m not worried about carrying this gun safely. With the right training and a good holster, you shouldn’t have any issues either.

All black SIG P938 9mm subcompact handgun

The slide on the P938 is so silky smooth, it’s almost as if it racked itself.

I had two failures to fire, but I recovered quickly with tap, rack, bang! It is important to practice and train clearing malfunctions. I have since read that early model P938s had feeding issues. However, SIG Sauer has sorted out the issue. SIG Sauer builds an incredibly reliable gun. My malfunctions could have been due to either it being an older model P938 or cheap target ammo—Federal practice 115-grain full metal jacket.

Before shooting the P938, I told the R.O. I had tried the P238 and didn’t like it. I figured the P938 would be about the same, but no way. SIG P938 for the win! The SIG Sauer P938 and I had a torrid love affair, as I only shot 25 rounds through it. It was just enough to know I want more time spent behind its trigger. We definitely need a second date.

Specifications and Features

Caliber: 9mm

Action: Single-action only

Capacity: 6 rounds

Barrel length: 3 inches

Trigger pull: 8.5 to 8.5 pounds

Safety: Ambidextrous thumb

Sights: Night sights

Sight radius: 4.2 inches

Overall length: 5.9 inches

Height: 3.9 inches

Width: 1.1 inches

Weight: 16 ounces, unloaded

Do you own a SIG Sauer P938? Tell us how much you love it in the comment section.


Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (24)

  • kalonb


    I own a p938 with hogue grips andlaser grip. I have 300 plus rounds of 115 gr brass cased ammo with no malfunctions. I like the full size Sig night sights. Any semi auto can and will malfunction at some point due to an array of possibilities. This p938 has been flawless so far. I am planning on this lil Sig to be my edc


  • G.A. Smith


    Hi Suzanne,
    Can you explain further why you did NOT like the
    p238, but then DID like the P938???


    • Suzanne Wiley


      Hi G.A.,
      I know you are probably looking for a further explanation, but it’s simply that I am not a huge fan of the .380 ACP. The only one I have found that I would invest my money in is the Beretta 84.


  • Marie


    I bought a Springfield XDs as my first carry gun, and while I love it, I found that it was still a touch too big to conceal with certain clothing. I had gone with a friend who was shopping for her first gun after a break-in at her home, and I was eyeing the .380s they had. The guy behind the counter asked why I was interested in a .380, and I told him I was just looking for something smaller. He showed me the P938, then allowed me to shoot his on the range. I was instantly hooked! I saved up for about 3 months and bought one. I got the rainbow titanium finish on it with the rosewood grips, and it is beautiful and a sweet shooter. I did buy the extended mags and find them more comfortable to shoot, though I do still practice with the regular mag. Great little gun and much easier to carry everyday. My Springfield was a bit heavy for all day and had a tendency to print at times, no matter how careful I was. It has become primarily my home gun, and I carry the P938 every day.


  • george from fort worth


    it will take a little time; quite little, in fact. eventually, the slide will release with a sharp slam of the magazine into the grip. in the early hours of use, simply push the slide slightly aft, and use your thumb to activate the release switch. after about 200 rounds, you will likely find you can easily release the slide with just your thumb. to hasten the event, i walked around the house with the pistol (magazine removed, chamber empty) racking the slide. probably went thru about a thousand cycles (which are not of/with the same effect of actually having the slide cycled by multiple ammunition discharges). the “dry racking” also limbered up whichever springs control the slide cycle, making it so much easier to manually rack the slide quickly and easily.


  • RDM


    Just purchased P938. I have yet to fire a round thru the gun. The slide stop is almost impossible to disengage with my thumb. I can’t imagine this is normal. Anyone else have this issue? Suggested fix?


  • Craig


    This is my 6th Sig pistol, and they have outdone themselves with this CC model. So easy to conceal, so easy to shoot, and sharp looking gun. I paid $600.oo for mine and I put the extra money into 2 extended magazines. The mag from Sig was fine, but the extensions on the two additional mags make this firearm even more comfortable to shoot. Do not hesitate in buying this firearm.


  • Rick


    Looked for a CC pistol for a long time and found that looking at these is nice but for me, shooting them was what I needed. I tried the LCR in 9mm, the FNX 9, the XD, and the Sig P938, and a baby Glock. I didn’t like the Sig at all after the first time but liked the looks of it enough to give it another try. Much better second date. It took a while to find one but when the SAS model came in a few weeks ago, I gave it a workout with over 300 rounds and have had no problems. Took some time to get used to the size but it shoots great for me and is a great carry option in my opinion. I highly recommend it and the extended mag which came with mine.


  • Will


    I had waited a year for the pre-paid Solo to show up. When Kimber finally delivered I was disappointed with the silver paint job and general ugliness of the weapon. But it was a Kimber 9 in a very small package- which I wanted. One trip to the range made me regret the purchase. The gun stove piped good ammo with every clip. This resulted in a quick trip to the dealer and a swap that was made it heaven. In an effort to appease my disappointment over the Kimber a P938 Nightmare was offered. I took the
    SIG and fell in love with the flawless lines, kick ass machining and shear “I have a 1911 in my hands” feel of the gun. And it shot lights out, breaking paper in one inch groups at 21 feet. The gun feels heavy, which I liked, yet is obviously small enough to easily carry concealed. The night sights have big dots which are quick to acquire and create a horizontal plain that easily centers your target. I am a public figure, and in this crazy world it is a major comfort for me to carry this gem when I am exposed at speaking engagements and other events. I have no doubt that it could stop a threat, and in the end, isn’t the confidence we all are looking for?


    • John


      Interesting comment by Will because, I just returned from the range with my Kimber Solo 9mm with laser grips and my Sig P229. I love the 229. It’s dependable and likes a variety of ammo. The Kimber I’ve had for about a year. I’ve never gotten comfortable enough to use it as my concealed carry, opting instead for the larger Sig. After multiple failure to feeds, today at the range, I’m ready to chuck the Kimber and looked at the P938. It’s a beautiful gun, feels good in my hands, and if it’s as dependable as my Sig P229, I hope to bring one home. I’ve heard the rear sights are a little narrow, possibly affecting left/right accuracy. Anyone who has shot the 938 have problems with this?


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