Following the success of the P238 in .380 ACP, SIG scaled the design up for a more potent cartridge. The result is the SIG P938 — a pocket-size semi-automatic pistol based on the M1911 pattern and chambered in 9mm Luger. Find out more about SIG’s 9mm carry gun and whether it’s optimal for your self-defense needs.
SIG Sauer P938
The SIG P938 is a semi-automatic, locked-breech, hammer-fired concealed-carry handgun. The pistol takes a few design and layout cues from the classic M1911 design, especially the .380 Mustang, which should appeal to fans of the pistol platform. The successor to the .380-caliber P238, the P938 is a lightweight firearm at only 16 oz. unloaded. That’s almost ¼ oz. less than the similarly sized Glock 43.
SIG achieved this weight with an aluminum-alloy frame, providing an all-metal alternative to the polymer-framed handguns that dominate the market. The carbon steel barrel is 3.0”, and the overall length is 5.9”.The result, however, of this compact design is a height of only 3.9” — increasing concealability compared with many of its competitors. This is the perfect size for an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster, as the gun is small and flat.
In a sea of DAO and striker-fired concealed-carry handguns, the P938 offers a single-action-only (SAO), hammer-fired alternative. SAO triggers tend to be relatively light and crisp. It’s one of the main advantages of the M1911 pattern and why the design has endured for so many years among competitive target shooters. While the M1911 trigger slides linearly to the rear, the P938’s trigger pivots.
Inspired by the M1911 pattern, the P238 and P938 have an ambidextrous manual safety catch that falls under the dominant thumb. To render the weapon safe to carry, press the safety catch up. When you’re ready to fire, press the safety catch downward. One of the advantages of this design, when compared with the M1911, is that you can cycle the slide, clearing the chamber, with the manual safety engaged. This adds another layer of security when unloading the weapon.
In SAO handguns with manual safeties, carrying the piece with the hammer cocked and the safety on is customary. This is known as “cocked and locked” or Condition One. During the draw stroke, you should practice disengaging the safety as you raise the pistol to eye level and your index finger enters the trigger guard.
SIG Sauer P938 ergonomics
As a pocket-size handgun, the P938 has minimal front and backstrap surface area to grip. The frame has a trigger guard undercut, which allows you to place your hand higher on the frame, but your little finger will still rest underneath the magazine floor plate unless you add an extension.
This may not be an issue for some shooters, especially if you have small hands. Others will need extra surface space for increased comfort and controllability.
The back strap has checkering to create a non-slip surface, and SIG offers several textured grip panels for a positive hold. While the pistol does not have grip safety, the frame has a beavertail to protect the hand against the slide. The skeletonized hammer is compact, reducing the possibility of its snagging on clothing and won’t bite your hand.
If you’re fond of the M1911 pistol’s controls and placement (slide stop, magazine catch, and safety catch), you will probably appreciate the P938’s layout. However, depending on your hands, you may find that you can feel the opposite-side safety against the inside of your hand when it’s disengaged
As a 16 oz. 9mm pistol with a relatively short frame, some shooters may find the P938 harder to control than its less powerful counterpart. This requires practice and training to master, but the gun’s recoil is manageable, even with defensive loads. Some variants feature a hard-rubber Hogue grip, softening the recoil forces and improving the texture.
However, the lightweight construction magnifies the effects of limp wristing and can contribute to malfunctions. As a result, you must maintain a firm grip on the pistol when firing.
Sights and visibility
Pocket-size handguns, as close-range weapons, aren’t always known for having the best sights. If you’re forced to draw your firearm in self-defense, you probably won’t need pinpoint accuracy. However, you should still be able to see your front sight, especially under low-light conditions. The standard P938 has three-dot high-contrast steel sights, providing a high-visibility sight picture without compromising your draw stroke.
The standard P938 magazine holds six rounds of 9mm ammunition in a single feeding column, the same as other weapons in its class, and fits flush with the bottom of the magazine well. This allows the P938 to have a frame width of 1.1”.
If you want to extend the front strap and the capacity, there’s also a 7-round magazine with a baseplate that protrudes past the frame.
The standard P938 is a capable handgun featuring a Nitron finish on the slide and a hard-coat anodized finish on the frame. However, SIG offers several variants of the P938, optimized for comfort, concealability, or style to suit different tastes and applications. These include:
The P938 Legion features the company signature Cerakote Elite Legion Gray finish, precision machined aluminum trigger, trigger guard checkering, and front slide serrations.
The Legion has the same sights as the P365 Micro-Compact (the company’s X-RAY3 Day/Night sights), and the grips are black G10 with a Legion medallion. In addition, the Legion has an extended magazine well as part of the frame, increasing the length of the front and backstraps for a fuller grip and more rapid magazine changes.
This increases the height from 3.9” to 4.3” and the weight by one ounce.
The SAS or SIG Anti-Snag pistol does not have traditional iron sights. Instead, the SAS substitutes a Meprolight FT Bullseye Sight, which combines fiber optics and tritium for day/night functionality. The low profile design and lack of a front sight eliminate two potential snagging points in a compact handgun for concealed carry.
Find the Best Holster for Your P938
If you’re interested in carrying a pocket-size firearm, you must find a suitable concealed carry holster.
At We The People Holsters, we take concealed carry seriously. Our Kydex IWB (inside-the-waistband) holsters are concealable, durable, and retain your weapon securely, so you can forget it’s there until you need it.
Browse our Kydex and leather holster collections to find the best option for your self-defense needs.