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 (46)

  • Robert Seddon


    I have what must be a newer version of the all dull black anodized Sig Sauer 938, and I have NEVER had any of the horror show nightmares that so many have reported. I also have a Sig 226 40 cal Legion, snd I have not had ANY problems with either of them. I have found that both require a full cover with the front blade (tritium night sights on both firearms) for accurate fire. I have put over 500 rounds of Hornady Duty and Critical Duty 185 Gr ammunition through both of these firearms, as far as I am concerned, I LOVE both of these handguns. I am, however, a die-hard Colt 1911 .45 ACP monster otherwise. Do not believe all of the naysayers out there, as if you DO happen to find a difficulty with a 938, just send it back for a full factory re-fit and set up!


  • Jim


    Purchased a pair of these for my wife and I and completely fell in love with them… seems a few others here had a falling out with the Kimber Solo, we were also disappointed with it and traded it in on these. Best decision ever!


  • lasttoknow


    Agree !!

    I hang around my LGS, persuading people to buy the 938 or 238. The LGS gets the sale, and the person who rings-up the sale gets the commission, I get the satisfaction of knowing another person will be a happy camper with SIG.


  • Greg 101


    Been carrying a ruger lc9 for 3 yrs nice gun but wanted a single action 9mm compact. Just bought a sig p938 nightmare 2 days ago shoots to poa at 15 steps with 3 brands of ammo I have.Really like the night sights and ambi safety I shoot left handed very nice pistol


  • george from fort worth


    associate changed mainspring/hammerspring and installed a flat-face trigger. reduced pull to ~6lb, flat-face seems to “feel” better/lighter. says it may be all perception, but likes the trigger much better now.


  • Kevin Buchanan


    I carried 9mm SW M&P Shield and recently bought P938 BRG. Now the Shield stays home! Really like the feel and I don’t even notice I am wearing the Sig. I use a N82 tuck carry holster, and it is super comfortable. Shoots great, considering the size, but I highly recommend it. Slide is smooth as butter! Trigger is a little heavy, but that’s my only complaint.


  • george from fort worth


    the mag springs were stiff at the beginning. loosened after 600rds. did you get the mags from sig, or elsewhere? you might look as adjusting the follower, file the base down., or consider cutting a half coil off the spring. once you get that 7th in there, leave it for a week or two, then exercise the mag once a week for awhile. should see improvement.

    btw, i have seen aftermarket 238 mags with the finger rest, that are not sig OEM replacements. be cautious.


  • Lee


    I have a P938 with the 7 round mag. Love it. Never had a feed problem or fail to fire. The only trouble I have is the fact that I cannot get that 7th
    round in the mag. I bought another such magazine and can’t get No 7 in that one either. I have a P238 which I also love. I’ll transfer that one to my daughter when she becomes more proficient. I have 3 Kimber 1911s
    which I am very partial to also.


  • Roger


    I have a 938 with Rosewood grips which I finally replaced with Hogue overmolded. Galloway precision did an action enhancement on it and I had it magnaported. The six-round magazine is a pain. I find that I can’t load it without an Uplula. Usually if I am going to practice with it I try to mix in a seven-round magazine. For carry I usually have the six-round in it though. I have found that mine likes 124 gr. loads. Since it was magnaported I can shoot 147 gr. without too much recoil. But now I almost exclusively shoot 124 gr. I found out it didn’t like Hornady Critical Defense much to my great sadness because I really like the round. The P938 is kind of like a BMW and your wife–you learn to love the quirks. I bought my daughter a P238 and shot it yesterday and like it almost better.


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