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SIG Sauer P238: The Best 1911-Inspired Gun On the Planet?

SIG Sauer P238. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
SIG Sauer P238. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

If you’re looking for a lightweight, reliable pistol, check out this review of the SIG Sauer P238.

While not as well known as other SIG guns, this firearm is widely respected. 

Can it compete with the best from Glock or Smith & Wesson? 

SIG Sauer produces some of the most dependable firearms, but many SIG pistols are also relatively heavy or too large for concealed carry. The P238 is a more compact option that retains many of the company’s signature features, including precision engineering for superior reliability.

After getting a better look at the SIG Sauer P238, the size and weight are ideal for a carry pistol. It also offers accuracy and dependability that you can count on in almost any situation.

The SIG Sauer P238 has many advantages, but you should explore its features to ensure it covers your requirement. This review examines the specifications, real-world applications, and benefits of the P238. Keep reading to decide if the SIG Sauer P238 belongs in your firearm collection.

SIG Sauer P238 Overview

The SIG Sauer P238 is a compact single-action pistol chambered in .380 AUTO. SIG Sauer first released the handgun in 2009. It’s based on the design of the M1911, which was one of the most used sidearms during World War I.

The P238 is made with a stainless-steel slide and an aluminum frame. It’s a lightweight gun with an unloaded weight of just 15.2 ounces.

The gun is also relatively compact. It has an overall length of 5.5 inches, a barrel length of 2.7 inches, and a width of 1.1 inches. The height is 3.9 inches, giving the pistol a low profile. Yet, it also has a comfortable grip. 

SIG Sauer P238 Pros and Cons


  • Compact design for concealed carry
  • Offers increased reliability thanks to precision engineering
  • Comes with night sights standard
  • Offers a comfortable grip for those with normal-sized or small hands


  • People with large hands may not get a perfect grip

SIG Sauer P238 Features

The P238 is compact and reliable, but there’s more to consider. Here are a few of the most important features of the SIG Sauer P238.

Single Action Only (SAO) System

While some SIG Sauer pistols use a double-action/single-action system, the P238 uses a single action only (SAO) system. 

If you’re a new firearm owner, an SAO system means that you pull the trigger once for each shot. As the P238 is a semi-automatic pistol, the recoil from a fired round then cocks the hammer for subsequent shots. With the P238, the trigger action is smooth and doesn’t require too much force.

Toolless Disassembly

SIG Sauer pistols are typically made with as few parts as possible. You can disassemble the P238 quickly and without using any tools. The simple design makes cleaning and maintaining the pistol less of a chore.

Single Stack Magazine with .380 ACP Rounds

The P238 uses a single stack magazine with a capacity of 6+1 rounds. It’s chambered for .380 ACP rounds, which are also called 9mm Browning rounds. 

The .380 ACP cartridge has straight walls and no rims. While it’s the same diameter as the more common 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges, it’s shorter and easier to conceal. It also packs less punch, which means less recoil.

Social Proof

It didn’t take long to find positive customer reviews for the SIG Sauer P238. The first thing that people mention is the reliability of this pistol. Several people also pointed out that the P238 has a smooth trigger, making it useful for the elderly, women, and those with limited hand strength.

Alternatives to the SIG Sauer P238

If the SIG Sauer P238 fails to tick all the boxes in what you need in a handgun, you may want to consider one or two alternatives. The Glock 42 is a top alternative to the P238. Both options fire .380 ACP rounds and have compact designs. The Glock is also a more affordable option.

The Ruger LCP is another compact semi automatic pistol intended for concealed carry. It’s designed to fit a wide variety of holsters and features a comfortable textured grip. It’s one of the most affordable options but doesn’t match SIG Sauer pistols when it comes to reliability. 


The P238 is a semi-compact pistol with .380 ACP cartridges and a capacity of 6+1 rounds. It’s small and easy to conceal, making it great as a concealed carry piece or a backup weapon for law enforcement professionals. 

As with other SIG Sauer pistols, the P238 is reliable, easy to disassemble, and accurate. The gun is a little small for those with large hands and fires .380 ACP rounds instead of 9x19mm Parabellum rounds, but few other options match the dependability and ease of use of the SIG Sauer P238.

If you want a dependable backup or concealed carry pistol, consider getting the SIG Sauer P238.

Brady Kirkpatrick is the Editor of Gun Made. Brady is a passionate firearm owner from Omaha, Nebraska. Gun Made has been featured in various publications such as Forbes,, American Police Beat, and countless others.

Written By

Brady Kirkpatrick is the Editor of Gun Made. Brady is a passionate firearm owner from Omaha, Nebraska. Gun Made has been featured in various publications such as Forbes,, American Police Beat, and countless others.