Sig Sauer P938 Review [2021]: Single Action, Single Stack

by Justin Fields

January 9, 2021

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4.5
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The Sig P938 looks like either a scaled-down 1911 or a scaled-up P238.

Does it perform like either? Read our review of the Sig P938 and find out!

Sig P938 Specs

  • Capacity 6+1
  • Caliber 9mm
  • Sights Steel 3-Dot Contrast
  • Action Single Action
  • Overall Length 5.9’’
  • Barrel Length 3″

Sig P938 Background

The Sig P938 is a single-action, single-stack, 9mm pistol. It bears a striking resemblance to both the Sig P238 from whence it came, and the 1911-pattern pistol from which both are direct descendants. Since the P938 is based on the P238, and since I have a good deal of experience with both, some comparison in this article is inevitable.

Introduced just a couple years after the P238, the P938 (are you tongue tied with the nomenclature yet?) has a steel slide and an aluminum frame. Sig elected to sharply checker the front strap of the P938, a most welcome upgrade. The controls are 1911-familiar: slide stop/slide release lever, magazine release, and of course, a thumb safety. The safety on the P938 is ambidextrous, and the P238 and P938 both lack the 1911’s grip safety.

The P938 has an exposed, skeletonized hammer. The trigger may look like a traditional 1911, straight-to-the-rear pull, but it’s not. It is hinged at the top like most pistols. The trigger’s motion is very short, as is reset. Somewhat disappointingly, this particular P938 (which I purchased new) has a rough, gritty trigger that isn’t terribly crisp.

The P938 has the option of feeding from two factory magazines: a flush-fit 6-round magazine and an extended 7-round magazine. Personally, I only shoot this gun with the longer 7-round magazines. While the P238 is comfortable to me without the extended grip surface, I find the more powerful 9mm P938 to be too much without it.

Sig P938 Features

1 External Extractor

Allows for increased reliability.

2 Good Stock Sights

Steel, high-profile Siglite sights.

3 Lightweight and Easy to Hold

Lightweight aluminum frame with checked front strap.

4 Ambi Safety

Ambidextrous, 1911-styled thumb safety.

Sig P938 – Our Take

So, what do I think about the Sig P938? Let’s get into it!

Reliability

I have had zero reliability issues with the Sig P938. I have fired over 500 rounds through this gun with zero malfunctions, jams, or stoppages of any kind. I have fired a good variety of ammunition. Roughly 400 rounds of this has been FMJ, with about 100 of Hornady Critical Duty 9mm and Sig’s own 124-grain +P V-Crown JHP. All have function flawlessly.

One caveat: I have kept this gun studiously clean. I am a gun cleaning guy and I wouldn’t really carry a dirty gun regardless of what I carried. But with all-metal, 1911-esque designs, cleaning is probably pretty important. In any case, I haven’t had a malfunction, so it definitely hasn’t hurt anything. I would be absolutely confident recommending the P938 on the basis of reliability.

Accuracy

The P938 is capable of some very good accuracy, especially for a handgun of its class. The excellent sights, something missing on some comparable guns, are huge contributor to this. While I found the P938’s accuracy good, I felt like it was on par with what should be expected of a handgun of this size. The one thing lacking in the P938’s accuracy category was in strings of rapid fire.

While I am able to lock the smaller P238 into an immovable grasp, I found myself unable to do so with the more powerful 9mm. I could lock the gun down but with the gun’s mere 16 ounces and very narrow grip, balancing speed and accuracy meant that speed to a big hit. That is the trade-off you make for a very small, lightweight gun, but it’s a pretty important one. This may be a personal thing so I won’t hit it too hard in the Report Card.

Ergonomics

The P938 loses me with ergonomics. The grip is a little too narrow for the 9mm cartridge the Sig fires. It’s a little too short with the flush-fit, 6-round magazine. And most importantly: the thumb safety. As I mentioned earlier, the thumb safety is an odd location. It sits very proximal on the thumb – almost at the second knuckle. This creates some problems.

First, it’s fairly easy for a dude like me to swipe off…but I am a 1911-guy and very accustomed to disengaging thumb safeties. For the novice or the shooters unused to manual, external safeties, it’s a little small and a little inconvenient. I would have some concerns about deploying the P938 as a defensive handgun without extensive practice at managing the safety.

Strike 2: unlike a 1911, the P938’s thumb safety isn’t wide enough to “ride” with the thumb, holding the safety down and using as a lever to control muzzle rise. It’s low profile and rear placement mean it just sort of sits under the thumb, somewhat awkwardly.

Finally, the thumb safety is very difficult to engage with one hand. I don’t think this is as important as disengagement, but it is important, especially considering the P938’s short, light trigger. I had some other, minor ergonomics issues – like the very narrow grip – but the safety is my main concern with this gun.

Closing Thoughts

I am a big fan of the 1911 and the Sig P238 was my first “real,” full-time carry gun. I should really, really like the P938. It’s just slightly larger, which should make it more shootable. On top of that, it’s chambered in 9mm which means ammo is cheaper, more commonly available, and more powerful than the marginal .380 ACP.

I don’t think the Sig P938 a terrible gun; it does meet the overriding reliability requirement and it is fairly accurate. Additionally, some of my complaints (safety placement) might have been peculiar to me. Still, I’d have a hard time recommending the P938, even though I understand how weird it is that I fully endorse the P238. The whole just doesn’t seem to add up to the sum of its parts.

Sig P938 Pros and Cons

  • Common, effective, and powerful 9x19mm chambering
  • Familiar manual-of-arms to those familiar with the 1911.
  • Excellent reliability and acceptable accuracy.
  • Awkward thumb safety very difficult to engage from a firing grip.
  • Snappy recoil coupled with lightweight and narrow grip frame

Report Card

Reliability

Reliability with this gun was 100%.

A+
Accuracy

Slow-fire accuracy is very good.

A
Shootability

Lightweight and narrow grip make rapid strings challenging.

B
Ergonomics

The difficult-to-engage safety and the short, awkward frame are big marks against the P938.

D
Value

$700 for a 6+1 9mm? Let me introduce to you my buddy, the M&P Shield…

B

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Justin Fields

Reader’s Grade

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Sig Sauer P938 Starter Pack

Well, you decided that you’re going to go ahead and pick up a Sig Sauer P938, huh? That’s all fine and good until you realized you’ve forgotten some of the bare essentials. Browse through our quick checklist of necessities to ensure that you’ve got everything you need for a safe and efficient 

Sig P938 Gun Deals

Looking for the best deal on the Sig P938? It can be difficult if you don’t have any idea where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a shortlist of online sellers that you should check first.

Disclaimer: These are priced at time of writing. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Upgrades and Accessories for the Sig P938

Along with the aforementioned essentials, there’s a bunch of other things you can pick up to upgrade your pistol’s performance or improve your shooting experience. 

Best Accessories for the Sig P938
AccessoryDetailsCheck Price
Hornady One-Shot Dry Lube
  • Features DynaGlide Plus
  • Non Tacky Formula
  • Cleaner and Lubricant
Check Price
Crimson Trace Laserguard for the Sig P938
  • Powerful Green Laser
  • Activated in Normal Firing Grip
  • No Gunsmithing Required
Check Price
Streamlight TLR-6
  • Laser/Light Combo
  • Ambidextrous Switch
  • Batteries Can Be Replaced without Removal from Gun
Check Price

Holsters

If you plan on using this as a carry gun, you’re going to need a holster. Fortunately, there are tons of great options available. Here are some of our favorites.

Best Holsters for the Sig P938
HolsterDetailsCheck Price
Concealment Express Kydex IWB
  • Made with High Quality Kydex
  • Undercut Trigger Guard
  • Adjustable Posi-Click Cant and Retention
Check Price
Desantis Nemesis Pocket Holster
  • Provides Low Friction Draw
  • Will Stay in Front Pocket
  • Minimal Gun Printing
Check Price
Desantis Apache Ankle Rig
  • Black Leather
  • Right Hand Use
  • Comfortable to Wear
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Sig P938

Even though you’re only shooting 6-7 rounds at a time, those rounds can quickly add up over just day at the range. And the more ammo spent, the more your wallet’s going to feel the pain. That’s why you should always have some designated range rounds. When you’re not actively practicing with your working ammunition, firing cheap ball ammo downrange is an excellent option.

Range Rounds

MagTech-9mm-Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Working Ammunition

Barnes 9mm 115 GR Ammo

How to Care for Your Sig P938

In order to properly care for your Sig P938, you’re going to need to learn how to properly disassemble, clean, and reassemble your weapon. And there’s no better instruction on how to do just that than the one Colleene from KeepingPiece2010 put together.

Important Links and Manuals for Your Sig P938

Be sure to check out the following list of resources for this pistol. They’ll provide some more insight into the operation, specifications, and performance of this firearm.

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About Justin Fields

Justin is a former MARSOC Marine, former government contractor, former special operations instructor, current student of paramedicine, author of digital security books, and blogger at SwiftSilentDeadly.com. Justin prides himself on being a generalist with a heavy emphasis in firearms and their employment.

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