Range Review: The 9mm SIG Sauer P938

By CTD Suzanne published on in Firearms, Range Reports, Reviews, Safety and Training

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

Suzanne Wiley started shooting at a young age when her older brother bought a Marlin 60 and taught her to shoot. She took to shooting and developed a love for it when she realized she was a natural with a .22 LR rifle at summer camp. As an outdoor adventurer, she enjoys camping, fishing, and horseback riding. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter and the modern-day prepper, and is a staff writer at Cheaper Than Dirt!

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