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 (37)

  • Dennis puckett


    Great compact 9mm carry gun. Typical Sig quality. Slightly on the expensive side but it is a Sauer.
    Highly recommended as a carry gun.


  • James seales


    On sig talk it seems to be common for the top round to fall out if you hold mag. Release button all the way in till mag. Is out then top round stays think top round is hitting mag. Release inside. Sig 938


  • James seales


    Is it common when you drop a loaded mag. From the 938 for the top round to fall out?


    • Melinda


      Mine doesn’t usually fall out, but it almost always is halfway out of the mag.


  • Dan


    Which Bear Creek Mag Loader do you recommend? I didn’t see one for the 9mm on the link attached to the article. Also, for Mike who purchased the Crimson Trace laser, I did that also, but had to remove it because I couldn’t find a holster that would accommodate the laser site. Have you found one?

    Thank you!


  • Richard


    Sig Sauer, that’s all I can say! I own a SP 2022 a P 320 and a P 938. Sig makes the best all around pistols of anybody! 9mm is my round of choice with all three pistols. I’ll be a Sig Sauer fan for life!


  • melindabelle


    I recently found myself in a bad situation and decided it was time to concealed carry. I was set on a P238 because of it’s size, but then I discovered this little jewel. It’s only about 0.4″ longer and about an ounce heavier, packs a bigger punch, and the ammo is tremendously cheaper, which means I can afford to practice more! I could not have made a better decision!!! It’s easy to function, doesn’t have a lot of recoil (for me anyway, but I’m a woman who hunts with a .300 Win Mag so recoil isn’t a huge problem for me), and it is extremely accurate. I’m fairly new to shooting (handguns) and I can group 7 shots in 3″ from 20 yards. My husband can do better than that as he’s much more experienced.
    I did a lot of my own research before purchasing this gun and tried out at least 15-20 other compact and subcompact handguns in several stores. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

    I would strongly suggest ordering the extended mag, which gives you that 7th round and a little extra pinky support. That definitely helped my accuracy and I feel like I have a more secure grip now.

    The only issue I did notice, which isn’t much of an issue at all, is that it was a little heavily oiled out of the box. I’ve read some reviews that said the gun came almost dry, so it may vary.

    Oh, and I also strongly suggest the UpLULA mag loader the writer mentioned! I bought it (in pink, of course) and these new, stiff mags are a breeze to load for me! All the ladies at the range Saturday fell in love with it too! It’s the best $30 accessory I’ve got!


  • Lew


    I walked into a local pawn shop my son had told me about a little over a year ago and fell in love with this little pistol. After going around and around with the salesman he took my $600 offer. It has fired over 1000 rounds of 115gr and 124gr ammo without any problems. My carry load is Speer 124 gr Gold Dot +P a little warm but very accurate.
    I have 5 or 6 midsize to small hand guns but this little sig has became my everyday carry gun ITWB at 5:00


  • natasha


    I’m a total beginner. after I’ve completed the gun safety course I tried a lot of small guns at our range. I rented out a lot of them: Sig 938, Shield, Ruger, Beretta storm, Keltek, springfield XDS, Walter, SW..you name it (sorry I don’t even spell the names correctly). I’ve decided that if I’m going to carry the gun and practice I need to love the gun- and it was Sig p938. First , it was very pleasant to hold- just fit my hand perfectly (I finally bought BRG-ambi- all black with rubber finish). My Sig accuracy was much higher than with any other gun and (miracle!!) I can shoot Sig with right hand or left hand or both with the same easiness (it’s doesn’t matter to me which hand to use- but it’s not the case with the other pistols.). I didn’t know there were ammos of different quality- I always shoot Federal (I had no idea abouty it quality)-and I shoot a lot- Sig never gets stuck!!! I have so much fun with it, that now I’m a member of action pistol club . Sig 938 totally worth every dollar I paid for it (close to 800 with taxes). I didn’t even like the guns until I shot Sig (my husband asked me to go to gun safety course – we have a couple of rifles at home)


  • Mike enzor


    I’ve got roughly 5000 or so rounds through my 938, have several full size Sigs (227 & 229) as well as the Bersa BP9CC (also a great shooting carry gun)
    Can’t say enough good things about the 938, I recently put a Crimson Trace laser on it.
    Buy yourself one, if you like the feel of a 1911 and a 9 MM you can easily conceal do yourself a favour and grab the 938!!


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