Range Review: The 9mm SIG Sauer P938

By CTD Suzanne 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.

Picture shows the left side of SIG P938 handgun with black frame, stainless steel slide and wood grips.

Aw! It’s a baby 1911!

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.

The picture shows a SIG P938 at an angle to see the top slide and the left side of the handgun.

The SIG P938 SAS with custom Goncalo wood grips.

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.

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.

SLRule

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 (12)

  • Debbie

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    I have a Sig 938 and there is no love affair. It’s not my first gun; I’ve had a Kimber and now also have a PX4 Storm. The PX4 is a dear friend. The trigger pull on the 938 is like finessing a brick and I’m not terribly accurate as a result. I’m reluctant to monkey with it by backing off trigger pull. I will say, it cycles flawlessly. I don’t have small hands, the 938 single stack seems too small for me to hold comfortably. I’ve got a rubber sleeve on the grip. It does rack easily and I like the ambi safety. But overall, at this point, I’m disappointed. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    Reply

    • ed

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      want to sell it?

      Reply

    • ed

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      Ill trade you my Kimber Solo for it.

      Reply

  • Bryan

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    Purchased my P938 about 2 months ago. As an owner of the P238, I was expecting the 938 to be a great shooting gun. Boy, was I ever wrong! Out of the box, reliability was typical Sig- it ate everything I fed it without a hiccup. However, the trigger pull registered 11.6 lb., and was somewhat gritty as well. The heavy pull caused me to pull most of my shots to the left. If I sighted it pointed right, I could get it to fire straight. Upshot, took it to my gunsmith who installed a lighter hammer spring. Trigger pull went down to a manageable 5.7lb. However, now I was getting failure to fires due to light strikes, as much as 26 out of 50 shots. Took it back to the gunsmith, and he is going to install a recommended firing pin spring to alleviate the light strike problem. If this works, and the reliability is brought back to original, I will be delirious with the gun. If not, Sig has some ‘splainin’ to do. To pay as much as these little rascals cost, and to have to spend another $100 to get the trigger pull to a reasonable level, seems to be a little out of line to me. Would I buy one again? Yes, if I could test it out before purchase. Otherwise, no.

    Reply

    • Andy

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      I just bought the Scorpion P938 and am having the exact same issue. Did the spring take care of the problem? Needless to say I will be talking to SIG first thing Monday morning.

      Reply

  • CathyD

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    I have only been carrying since last November. I started with a S&W 38 Special Airweight. I really like that gun but I was ready to graduate to a semi-automatic. I like shooting my husband’s Glock 19 but it is too big for me to carry. A friend of mine at the gun range recommended the Sig P938. I bought the Extreme at the gun show and don’t regret it a bit. After the revolver, it is a breeze to shoot and it’s very accurate. I love the sights and the way it feels in my hand. I have no problem operating the slide or breaking it down to clean. I love this gun. It was worth every penny I paid for it. The one thing I would like to see is a pinky extension for the 6 round mags.

    Reply

  • Scott

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    My P938 is a high serial number pistol, and it seems that SIG addressed the issues some early pistols had. I have about 250 rounds through it without any issue. S&B and old Norinco ammo so far, both 115 grain bullets. It is a small pistol, so you have to work to figure out how best to control it, but that effort is worth it. It conceals well, and is very easy to control during recoil. Hand loading the magazine is a chore; I recommend one of the devices that aid loading. This is a great pistol!

    Reply

  • Roch

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    Im a big S&W fan and usually carry my .40 Shield or my M&P .380 in the summer as it is easily held in my shorts pocket, I saw the P938 and thought it was a real Purdy pistol, I like Purdy pistols and I wanted a little more fire power so I bought a P938 SAS. Finally took it to the range a couple days ago and ran about 110 rounds through it and found it to be quite pleasant to shoot compared to several of my other smaller pistols, it is the most accurate pocket cannon I have ever shot, it shoots far better than I do, I LOVE IT !! Its my favorite new carry, 9mm power, good looks, SIG quality, it has it all, I am extremely pleased that I purchased the P938. I also bought his big brother, the SIG 1911 C3 another equally handsome pistol. I HIGHLY recommended the P938.

    Reply

  • The Fett

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    I own and rely on my Sig 938 everyday. It is my Every Day Carry pistol and I choose a Galco Pocket holster to do it. The pistol is small enough for me to carry everyday in any attire. Believe me when I tell you that it is capable of making routine hits on an 18″x12″ plate at 75 yards. I couldn’t ask for a better shooter than this Sig 938. I prefer wooden grips because they snag less against clothing when presenting the firearm. The SA only makes for clean sharp shots that allow me to shoot with precision. I carry the 6 round mag in the gun and the 7 round on my belt. The standard night sights are a comfort to have on the nightstand or in my dark vehicle at night. I also installed a clip to carry on my belt line with out a holster. I enjoy this on walks in the woods. I love being able to carry a 9mm firearm on me at all times. The wife even likes it. I’m glad that Sig has LE/Military pricing as well; I got my Extreme for $606 last year.

    Reply

  • Commonwealth109

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    I have the Extreme P938, in addition to the G10 Piranah grips it also comes with both the standard and extended magazines. This gun is small, tough, and dependable. The mags to need to be worked a bit to loosen them up a bit, as in store them full for a couple days and then empty for a couple days, repeat this a few times. I have about 500 rounds through my P938 and I really like it. I am used to metal guns and 1911 style controls, so this is the first & only subcompact I considered. Only caveat, it s a subcompact so it isn’t as fun to shoot at the range all day as a full size gun – and it isn’t meant to be, it’s meant to save your life!

    Reply

  • Don

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    I purchased this Sig a few weeks ago for the wife. She likes it and is comfortable shooting it. I have few Sigs, S&W, Beretta, Walther, Ruger but am wanting to try her out with the Glock 26 9mm as she won’t have to mess with a safety and will be much more versatile in Mag choices.
    In Oklahoma we have open carry, but the Sig 938 would be a great purse carry for the wife.

    Reply

  • Boomer

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    The Nightmare with a rubber Hogue grip with finger grooves is definitely on my ‘want list’. Like all things Sig though; the price is a hurdle for many of us. Still, if someone can’t afford it as their first CC pistol, maybe they can save up for a while and get one later on and keep the first one as a back up.

    I wish something like this were available in the CZ family but this will definitely do. You can see a picture of the one I like at the link below if the forum will allow it.

    http://www.kygunco.com/prodimages/37872-DEFAULT-L.jpg

    Reply

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