Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sig Sauer P938 Review and Range Time

Last Thursday I picked up my Sig P938 and did my initial unboxing video and blog report.  I didn't have the chance to get out to the range on Friday, but things worked out this morning and I did have the opportunity to spend an hour or so with the pistol.

I pocket carried the 938 cocked and locked on an empty chamber all day Friday and up to my range visit on Saturday morning.  This was a preliminary test to see if the 938 could be carried in this condition without fear of the safety being flipped off through normal daily activities.  From the limited test period, the safety remained fully engaged.  This method of carry isn't new to me since my first pocket pistol was a Colt Mustang Pocketlite back in the 90's.

I got lucky and received my order of spare magazines from Top Gun Supply in the mail on Friday.  Instead of the two magazines that come with the pistol, I now had two additional magazines to use in my review video.  This allowed me to pre-load 25 rounds of ammo ahead of every new test target.  The magazine springs are really stiff and I found it necessary to use the Uplula in order to save my thumbs from getting sore with the rapid reloading of the magazines.  You don't need the Uplula, but it just makes reloading easier.  Normally, the single stack mags for the pocket 9s load pretty easily.

Not knowing anything about the ammo preferences of the pistol, I picked 6 random boxes of 9mm I had on hand.  I ended up with a nice assortment of cheap, domestic and foreign, JHP and FMJ loads.  I also covered 115, 124, and 147 grain weights.  The plan was to run 25 rounds of all six varieties through the pistol as an initial range report.

Prior to leaving for the range, I decided not to clean or lubricate the pistol.  When I had it apart on Thursday during the unboxing part of the review, I could see that it was fully lubricated by the factory prior to shipment.  Rather than clean off their oil to apply my own, I decided to just shoot the pistol as it was shipped.

Heading out onto the range, I had the pistol side of the range to myself this morning so I quickly shot an introduction and then got down to the shooting.  I was really excited to finally be shooting the pistol I had been wanting since first learning about it in January.

The video below captures all the action as I ran the pistol through it's paces.  Having 4 magazines allowed me to get through 25 rounds of ammo in about 1 to 2 minutes.  If you watch the video you will see that the trip was not uneventful.  I only got through 137 of the 150 rounds before I was forced to stop due to a bad case of trigger pinch that had me bleeding all over the trigger and trigger guard.  It was also very painful to the point of impacting my ability to pull the trigger properly.

I also experienced 5 failures to extract and 1 failure to fire.  I also had 1 failure to return to battery, but I'm going to take the blame for that one.  The one round that failed to detonate was reloaded and fired fine the second time through.  I'll place the blame on the cartridge for the failure to detonate since it occurred with the foreign Sellier and Bellot 115 grain FMJ ammo.

The failures to extract are a puzzling problem since they do not follow any pattern except the Winchester load that failed to extract the last round fired from the magazine twice.  I had FTE problems with the following ammo:
1 FTE Remington UMC 115 Grain JHP
2 FTE Federal American Eagle 124 Grain FMJ
2 FTE Winchester Personal Protection 147 Grain JHP

No failures of any kind were experienced with Federal 115 Grain FMJ and Blazer Aluminum 115 Grain FMJ.  So the headline is the 938 is a cheap date.  From testing so far, she seems to like the cheapest ammos.

Another observation is that I'm not at all fond of the trigger.  As a frequent shooter of pocket pistols, I've developed a significant callous on the underside of my trigger finger.  This area is frequently pinched or slapped by the trigger or trigger guard as these tiny powerhouses flip during recoil.  I've become accustomed to the discomfort and normally it does not affect my shooting.  When shooting the 938 today, the sharp edge on the bottom left of the trigger completely removed the callous from my finger and left me bloody.  I initially though it was the deeply grooved surface of the trigger, but the longer I shot the worse the pain became and I realized the sharp point in the red circle below was causing the problem.  

Overall, I found the pistol very easy to shoot.  Recoil was not unpleasant and generally I had no problems holding the majority of my shots within the 8" center of the IDPA targets I was using at 7 yards.  I didn't rush through each 25 round sample, but I did shoot as quickly as I could get the pistol back on target.  In the video you will see that most 25 round samples were shot in 1 to 2 minutes.  I have no doubt that group size would shrink if I took more time for each shot.

At 7 yards I tended to shoot a bit high and left of the point of aim.  This didn't vary significantly as the bullet weights changed.  I did find the pistol was much easier to control with the 7 round extended magazine than the 6 round flush fit magazine.  I've been reading feedback on this pistol from other folks now that my initial review is done.  Most folks are complaining about the pistol shooting low.  Go figure that I'm the exact opposite.  I'm not going to complain because slightly high is much better than too low.

I saved my targets and reviewed them when I got home and found the groups drifted more to the left the longer I shot.  The typical cause of shooting left is "too little trigger finger" and that would make sense because the trigger finger pain continued to get worse the longer I shot.  You can really see it show up when trying the last sets of 2 an 1's before I ended the day.  I'll hold off on drifting the rear sight for now.  Once the trigger finger feels better I'll try it again and see if I'm still shooting left.

When I got back home, I cleaned up my trigger finger and the 938.  Both are now going to take a day off to rest tomorrow and head back out to the range on Monday for some additional testing.  I'm going to do a little dry fire practice before Monday and see if I can alleviate the trigger bite issue by changing from a finger tip trigger press to one that is closer to the first knuckle.  After a very thorough cleaning of the extractor and chamber, I hope the FTE problems go away.

So that's all for now.  On my next trip out, I'll be doing some chronographing and will probably break out the Recoil-Cam again.  I will also be running 50 round boxes of 115 and 124 grain Gold Dots through the pistol to see if it behaves differently with full power defense loads.  Just took the bandage off my finger and the old trigger finger looks pretty sad.  I hope it's feeling better by Monday.


  1. New to your blog. Can you compare the Sig 938 to the Kimber Solo? How about the Sig 290?

    I've shot the latter and found it to be accurate and easily controlled. No recoil problems and the trigger was decent.

    I really liked the smooth trigger on the Kahr MK9.

    Can you compare to these other pocket 9's?

    1. Normally my reviews have size comparisons with similar pistols of the same caliber. Since the 938 is a single action, it's not really fair to compare it to the striker and hammer fired pocket 9's, but I will add some size comparisons during Review Part 3 for you. As far as trigger systems go, the 938 stands alone with it's short travel, short reset, and fairly heavy trigger pull weight.

      This is my first Sig so I don't have the 290 and every Solo shipped into this area has been pre-sold before it arrives. I have not been able to get my hands on one yet.

  2. Great review. Thank you. I know. How much work it is to do these videos. I love my Extreme.

  3. Replies
    1. Nothing in the manual specifically states anything about +P ammo. It does say, "Always use ammunition that complies with the industry performance standards established by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute, Inc. (SAAMI) of the United States or ammunition manufactured to military specifications."

      It also tells you that reloaded or "remanufactured" ammo voids all warranties.

      9mm +P is a SAAMI spec ammo, but I'm not going to use it unless it's specifically called out as OK to use in the manual.

    2. Since I've been spending so much time talking with Sig CS, I did ask about the use of +P ammo today and was told that it's fine to use in the 938. That was a surprise for me.

  4. Thanks for the review Bruce! I can't wait to get my hands on an Equinox model. That's a nice hole you got in your finger there, that's going to take a few days to heal.

    It sounds like you need to tune/adjust the extractor to fix those little issues you had right out of the box. I do it to every 1911 I've owned before I go to the range no matter what just in case.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Hey Steve. Me + Roll pins = Disaster or I may have tried an adjustment. Better to let Sig sort it out.

    2. Or just complain about the awesome P938 problem you found...

  5. Got my P938 extreme and Love it so far
    Shot approx 100 rounds thru it so far, but I did also have 2 FTE on Federal FMJ bullets

    I have to try the better Hornady, Corbon, Speer Golddots next

  6. The stock trigger will pinch your trigger finger as you have experienced. I replaced mine with an aftermarket stainless trigger from It's a sightly longer trigger and doesn't pinch. The problem is now gone. I can shoot without hurting my trigger finger. There is no need to remove the slide release pin to replace the trigger.


    1. I may have to check into one of those triggers. I've been reading some posts about the triggers on the 1911 forum. Folks that get them seem to like them.

  7. I picked up a p938 yesterday. I was on line to see if there were any tune up tips for it and ran accross your review. Do you know if Sig is manning up and recalling this piece to correct the issue with the trigger?

    1. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you. Mine returned from the 3rd trip to Sig Service in April 2013 with comments that it was inspected and found to be within specification. It was also test fired with ammunition that I have yet to find available so it's been sitting in the box. Their assessment was the pistol was perfect and my failure to extract issues were caused by ammunition or shooter induced. If Sig says it's perfect then I can trade it off with a clear conscience, which is probably what I will end up doing with it.

    2. A Sig pro shooter gave this tip for improving accuracy and it solved the trigger bite: use the tip of the finger and keep it up against the frame. That makes the trigger squeeze smooth and prevents bite.

  8. just bought me a p938 equonix today and was wondering if i change the trigger to a stainless one does it affect the warranty

    1. Your best bet is to call Sig Customer Service and ask them this question.