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SIG Sauer P238 Review

We live in a world today where there are many of us that want to protect ourselves with a concealed carrier gun. And this world of concealed carriers seems to have been dominated by the 9mm and the .45 ACP types.

9mm is considered to be a more consistent ammo, with solid barrier penetrations, whilst the .45 ACP apparently will leave a larger wound, provided there are no barriers involved. All in all, they’ve been both popular choices in terms of concealed firearms.

But wait a minute…

There’s something else on the horizon, and it originates from the Colt brand! We’re talking about the Sig Sauer P238. The P238 is a compact single -action pistol with a .380 ACP caliber.

So what’s Colt got to do with all of this?

Well, delving into the history of it all, the widely known Colt M1911 pistol had been a top player since the year 1911. The M1911 was actually the standard issue pistol to be used by US forces up until the mid-80s. So a lot of guys have come to know this pistol well as the decades have passed.

Then one day Colt thought to themselves, let’s make a smaller version so guys can carry their gun hidden away. This led to the production of a smaller stripped down version which they called a Colt Mark IV Series Government Model, which was a .380 Automatic. The more standard name for this gun was the .380 Government Model (GM).

However, there was a demand for an even smaller model…

Gun owners wanted something even smaller and lighter for concealment. So Colt listened to the people, and they finally brought out the Colt Mustang in 1986. This gun was essentially made so you could carry it discreetly in your pocket.

So What’s All This Got To Do With The Sig Sauer P238?

Well, time went on, and a Swiss industrial company by the name of Sig Sauer decided to buy the rights for the Colt Mustang. In 2009 they announced their new Sig Sauer P238 at the SHOT Show.

Now we know about the history and evolution of how this compact came about. You might be wondering though how much of this gun retains the original Colt M1911. You also might be questioning how the P238 lives up against its 9mm and .45 ACP competitors.

So let’s get on with it and shoot through the top features, pros, and cons of this Colt inspired weapon…

SIG Sauer P238
Photo by John Ryder

Safety first

Let’s get any of the safety issues square out the way, before we run through all the other features.

Typically, you’re buying a compact weapon such as this Sig for personal protection. Of course, you’ll want to feel safe carrying this weapon on a regular basis.

Most of you guys we think would generally prefer the “cock and locked,” or Condition 1 approach as its known. Position carrying is obviously all up to your personal preference, and we don’t want to be advising you on the subject.

A heavy trigger pull…

However, we thought it’s worth a mention that the trigger pull on this can be quite heavy, usually around 7 Ib plus. So for some of you guys, you might be confident even carrying in Condition 0, with the knowledge that there’s quite a heavy trigger pull. This, of course, is for you to carefully learn and find out for yourselves.

Anyhow, there are a number of really good safety features built in with this gun. There is actually a manual safety, which some of you may not like with a compact gun. Though if you’re drawing in Condition 1, all it takes is a little practice to get that safety turned off in no time at all.

Won’t go off…

There are also some other safety aspects which include the safety switch on the hammer, and there’s a firing pin safety block. Plus if a slide isn’t locked in properly, there’s a disconnector to prevent it from going off!

With the P238 being a concealed weapon, we do think safety precautions should be a stronger issue than usual. If a concealed weapon was to go off, and you were carrying it loosely hidden away, we wouldn’t like to know the outcome.

How Does It Function?

Surprisingly for a compact model, this Sig functions pretty great, to be honest! Normally a compact gun can be quite awkward and annoying to use at times. The P238 does not seem to have any problems or malfunctions when used. Therefore it looks as though Sig Sauer has really focused on making a great quality product here.

SIG Sauer P238 review
Photo by Towert7

When it comes to shooting, the recoil isn’t harsh at all. Other smaller guns of a similar nature, can snap back quite a lot due to their short barrel. So ultimately, this gun has quite a stable shooting personality you could say! With this Sig, you’ll probably be able to get back into aim much quicker due to the softer recoil.

Starter kit included…

We do like the starter kit that usually accompanies this gun. You get a solid plastic and easily carryable case. Plus you get a magazine strip that can hold six rounds. Usually, it has a laser sight included in this set.

P238 vs. Other Popular Compacts

First off, let’s explore how this gun compares to other similar options on the market. In terms of build, this Sig Sauer is an all metal gun, but this doesn’t necessarily affect its weight when you compare it to other compacts.

Other compacts may have a combination of metal and polymer, or may even be full polymer builds. The weight of the P328 doesn’t seem to be noticeably heavier than say a full polymer build.

The thumb break on the Sig can be known to be a little stiff at times. Although when you want to disengage the thumb break, it is done fairly easily. Other compacts may have a slight advantage with a smoother thumb break. However, this isn’t a big issue, really. Many of you will be familiar with the style after using a 1911.

Is The P238 Upgradeable And Can You Get Accessories?

This gun can be upgraded and altered to your needs. If for example, the trigger is too heavy on the pull, this can be altered by a good gunsmith. The grips can be changed with little effort as well, with several options available.

However, due to the size of this pistol, the only real additions you can get are laser sights. Also, if you need a spare magazine or two, they are a little costly because of the compact nature of the gun. In the end, this is an out of the ordinary and specialized piece of kit.

P238’s Top Features

Here’s a summary of what we think are the P238’s top features…

Now that we’ve described the gun and ran through its heritage, let’s focus on its top features.

Basically, this is very high quality and a good choice for a compact, pocket-sized concealed weapon. And in all honesty, you’ll have to try it out to feel whether it suits your particular grip and shooting style.

sig p238 review
Photo by Cindy Lee

The soft recoil is a major feature that most concealed gun owners will like. Plus the fact that this is an all metal gun, but still very light, is a great feature to have on a modern firearm.

Additionally, we think the extensive safety features on the P238 are very important for a concealed weapon. The safety features are easily manipulated too with practice, for quick draw speeds.

And don’t forget, this gun’s design is based on some true classics – The Colt Government Model and then later the Colt Mustang. So anyone who’s familiar with the GM or even the Mustang, should have little trouble moving over to this concealed version.

So let’s summarize the pros and cons of what we’ve found out about the Sig Sauer P238 overall…

SIG Sauer P238 Pros & Cons


  • All metal gun but lightweight.
  • Soft recoil promotes quicker aiming ability.
  • Some excellent safety features.
  • Design is based on a true classic.
  • GM owners should naturally take to this compact version.
  • Doesn’t malfunction like other compacts are known too.
SIG Sauer P238 reviews
Photo by James Mauro


  • Slightly stiff thumb break, but not on release.
  • Extra magazines are costly.
  • Not many upgrade options.
  • Fairly heavy trigger pull.

SIG Sauer P238 Review Conclusion

In conclusion, this is a very nifty little compact model, which has some strong heritage. With it being based on the designs of a Colt GM, many people, especially the older generations, will be familiar with its mechanics and style.

In the end, you want to feel confident to carry a concealed weapon, and the familiarity of this design might help with this feeling. The size of this Sig is perfect for pocket carrying – it’s so small!

So thanks for reading our review. Plus we hope that our description is helpful enough for you in your choosing of a new concealed weapon. Remember that feeling comfortable, confident, and most importantly, safe with your firearm is what it’s all about. Then if ever that emergency situation arises, you’ll be ready!

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