[Review] Sig Sauer P938: Tiny 9mm 1911 Goodness?

With dozens of compact or sub-compact semi-auto pistols on the market, its hard for any of them to stand out.

Some manufacturers try to throw add-ons or gimmicks on their guns to try and catch your eye when you’re looking over the sea of normality at the gun counter.

Others, like Sig Sauer, just focus on making an amazing product and letting their work speak for itself.

Sig Sauer P938 Scorpion
Sig Sauer P938 Scorpion

Let’s see if Sig’s 9mm P938 is the right micro-gun for you!

Table of Contents

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Background

The Sig Sauer P938 was introduced at the 2011 Shot Show.  For shooters who gravitate toward 1911 pattern handguns, the P938 offers a sub-compact, easily concealable handgun that will be an easy transition from a full-size 1911 handgun.  

If you cruise over to the Sig Sauer website you’ll find a nearly endless list of selections on the handgun pages.  The P938 alone is currently offered in 15 variations.  This particular review will focus on the Scorpion version of the 938.  

Sig P938 from Sig Sauer
Sig P938 from Sig Sauer

This little handgun found its way home to our gun safe when it pulled my wife to the gun counter at Cabela’s like a Star Trek tractor beam.  

While there were numerous models to choose from the Scorpion’s good looks and the Sig Sauer logo on the grips pretty well made the decision for us.  You have to understand though, my wife’s first handgun and primary carry gun for many years was a Sig P220.

Best go-to-town CCW
700
at Brownell's

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The first thing to note is this gun is small.  With the supplied 6-round, flush fit magazine you could easily carry this in a pocket or purse and never even know it’s there.  However, if you have big hands or long fingers you may find that the grip is too small for you. 

While comfortable in my hand, I found my trigger finger position was a bit different than on bigger guns and pretty consistently pulled my shots a bit low and left at the 5-yard range.  

For my wife, her shots were consistently centered on her point of aim.

The gun is finished in a Flat Dark Earth color with Hogue G-10 grips that are a handsome laminate with green, tan and light brown.  

Sights are the awesome Siglite Tritium Night sights in a 3-dot configuration that are easy to pick up in full daylight and are super bright and sharp in low light.

Controls are predictably where you would expect them to be on a 1911.  The slide stop is on the left side as is the magazine release.  The Scorpion comes standard with an ambidextrous safety that allows for safe, confident Condition One carry.  There is no grip safety on the P938.

Controls are very similar to a 1911
Controls are very similar to a 1911

With regards to manipulating the controls on the P938, I did find that with my larger hands sometimes the magazine would hang up on the bottom of my palm.  If I adjusted my grip, the magazine ejected smartly. 

I also found that a couple of times I was riding my support hand thumb on the slide stop and caused the slide not to lock open on the last round.  Again, a bit of grip adjustment and the slide locked open every time on the last round.

Range Time

I have spent a couple of days with the gun at the range and probably run about 300-400 rounds of 9mm total through it so far.  

The majority of my shooting has been with handloads consisting of 115 gr Berry’s Plated Round Nose bullets.  I experienced no failures to feed, fire, and eject, other than the above mentioned issued of riding the slide stop and not having the slide lock open.  

With the handloads I found it easy to keep my 5-yard off-hand groups at about 1 1/2”.

I tended to pull groups a little low and to the left at 5 yards
I tended to pull groups a little low and to the left at 5 yards

For a very small gun with very little mass, I expected a fair amount of recoil…

Surprisingly the little gun is very well behaved and easy to control, enough so that my 12-year-old nephew had no problem shooting it.  Firing quickly with 5 rounds loaded in the magazine I tended to string my shots vertically.  As the day went on, my rapid-fire groups began to shrink as I continued to work on my grip position.

Rapid Fire vertical stringing
Rapid Fire vertical stringing

Most of my shooting was at the 5-yard mark.  However, I did run a couple of magazines downrange at a 12”x12” plate at 35 yards and hit the plate every time.  Likewise, we have an 8” round plate at 65 yards and I hit it 2 out of 10 tries.  At both 35 yards and 65 yards, I held on the top right edge of the targets at about the 2 o’clock position.

Reloads were quick and easy once I adjusted my grip to allow the magazine to eject and fall free.  A quick rack of the slide and the gun was ready to run again.

Breaking the gun down for cleaning is simple and easy: 

  • Drop the magazine. 
  • Retract the slide and inspect the breach to be sure the gun is unloaded.  
  • Line up the takedown notch with the slide stop, push the slide stop out of the frame and ease the slide off the frame.  
  • The recoil spring and guide rod lift out easily. 
  • The barrel is then easily removed for cleaning. 

To reassemble the gun after cleaning, reverse the takedown procedure.  Just be sure to press the ejector down and forward before moving the slide all the way to the rear.

Ready for cleaning. Depress the ejector before reinstalling the slide
Ready for cleaning.  Depress the ejector before reinstalling the slide

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

I experienced no issues with the Sig as far as feeding, firing, ejecting.  No stoppages, no failures. Like all Sig products, I believe this gun will serve you reliably for many years.

Accuracy: 4/5

The gun grouped well at the 5-yard range I tested it at.  Though my groups were a little low and left, I feel my grip and hand size were more to blame than the gun or sights.   Hitting steel out to 35 yards was not a problem.

Ergonomics: 4/5

The controls are easy to manipulate and reach.  This gun is a sub-compact model and as such it is small.  Those with bigger hands may find like I did, that they need to modify their grip somewhat.  Practice makes perfect and training with your carry gun so you are confident and consistent will be important with the little P938.

Looks: 5/5

This gun drew my wife to the gun counter like a magnet.  I’m a fan of the Flat Dark Earth color and the grips.  The Sig really stands out from the blued steel and stainless crowd. Sig also seems to make the P938 in almost every flavor and color.

P938 in Rose Gold
Sig Sauer P938 in Rose Gold, One of Many Options

Customization: 2/5

I give the P938 a low mark here only because there is not much that can be or needs to be done to it to provide a quality concealed carry option for you.  There is a .22 LR conversion kit that used to be available from Sig Sauer that will allow you to train with cheaper ammo, sadly it seems to have been discontinued. If you’re interested in trying to find a used one, Lucky Gunner took it for a spin and reviewed it before it was discontinued.

Bang For The Buck: 4/5

There are no cheap Sigs.  The P938 is no exception.  With a suggested retail price of around $700, you need to be sure this is the gun for you.  The Sig reputation for quality and reliability justify the price for this gun.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Closing Thoughts

Make no mistake; I am a fan of Sig Sauer handguns.  The P938 is just the latest model to find its way to our safe.  

Best go-to-town CCW
700
at Brownell's

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

I find that I reach for the P938 more and more frequently when I am getting ready to head out the door.  Tucked away discreetly in a Simply Rugged Cumberland holster I feel confident the Sig is up to any task I ask of it.

If you’re interested in more CCW holsters, you’ll want to see our review of the Best Concealed Carry Holsters [2018]

Until next time, Aim Small…Miss Small.

Got a Sig P938? How do you like it? Do you carry a different 9mm CCW? Let us know all about it in the comments!

23 Leave a Reply

  • Charles Little

    I have the same little 938 in FDE. It performs like a champ. I have experienced a few FTF's but quickly found that this was due to a follower in one of sig's 7-round mags(much more comfortable for my larger hand purchase) was hanging upon the last two rounds loaded.

    11 months ago
  • Tim

    I have the BRG version with the 7 round mags. This makes the grip big enough for my average size hands. The SAO trigger is great for me and the size is very concealable under a t-shirt with the supplied OWB holster. I use this as my EDC.

    1 year ago
  • Craig

    Please do not carry this in a pocket in condition one- it is single action(without a grip safety) and the small thumb safety can easily switch to fire without you knowing it. Do not buy a used one unless it has the updated extractor. The original extractor was a thin piece of wire, and mine broke the sixth time I shot the pistol. Sig fixed it, but they put the same thin wire extractor as a replacement so I expect I will be sending it back some time in the future. Not a good situation to have in a carry pistol that my life might depend on. Gun Tests magazine gave the original 938 an 'F' rating for this reason.

    1 year ago
    • Fransiscp

      I have carried my 938 pocket carry in a bulldog holster for the past year in condition one in a very physically active environment and I am confident in the safety status of this weapon as such

      9 months ago
    • Steve F

      I respectfully disagree. In addition to the manual safety, there's a firing pin block attached to the trigger mechanism, as well. Take the safety off, there's still one in place. The gun is not going off unless the safety is off AND the trigger is pulled. Even taking the safety off and snapping the hammer down will not fire the gun (I know, we did this on the range). Nicest of all, you can rack the slide (with the hammer back) with the safety ON, something I could not do on Grandpa's 1911... Same for the P238, by the way. Oh, and NO pistol should be carried in a pocket without a proper holster that covers the trigger, and preferably the safety, as well. I rarely pocket carry, (prefer IWB), but when I do, I use a pocket holster. Also stops the gun from printing.

      1 year ago
    • Bobo

      You know they make these things called "Pocket Holsters" that you can put a gun in right? Perfectly safe to carry in a pocket

      1 year ago
      • Hammer

        Yeah, of course I'm familiar with pocket holsters. But given the description above, it doesn't sound like it's "perfectly safe" to carry that way, does it? Maybe I'm narrow-minded, but I believe a well-designed holster should protect the safety from being unintentionally disengaged.

        1 year ago
    • Hammer

      I carry my P928 in a proper holster, not in my pocket. Regardless, the safety takes a pretty positive push to engage (more so than some striker-fired triggers these days...) - not something I'm going to do easily on accident. Still, I've made sure that the holster I use covers the safety. Also, I wouldn't describe the extractor on mine as a "thin piece of wire" - it's a perfectly adequate size that doesn't seem like it sacrifices any durability to do its job. As for the Gun Tests review (from 2013...) it seems clear they got a lemon, which can happen with any manufacturer, though I think most would agree it happens far less with Sigs than a number of others. I've never read any other review of the 938 remotely as terrible as that one - most have a great deal of praise for this firearm and never experienced any of the problems Gun Tests mentions. If I had to guess, the author was ignorant of the need to depress the extractor prior to putting the slide on, and slammed it until he broke it instead.

      1 year ago
      • Roger Dodger

        I have zero concerns carrying my P938 chambered with safety on in a pocket holster. The safety on mine requires a very firm snap. Extractor is great, never had a FTF and the little thing is UNBELIEVABLY accurate for any size pistol. It’s the very best in class IMO.

        1 month ago
  • Hammer

    Just replaced my Shield 2.0 (which I've carried for the last 7 months) with a P938 Blackwood. They're obviously quite different guns with different platforms and I don't think it's really worth comparing/contrasting them. Instead, for me, a lot of of it came down to preferring a heavier trigger for my daily concealed carry. I could never shake the feeling that I had to be overly careful when holstering/de-holstering the Shield. There is a mentality these days that lighter triggers are inherently preferable and what any "serious" shooter should desire, but like a lot of the tacticool thinking, I don't think that's necessarily true at all. In addition, there is the undeniable long-term quality of the Sig. The Shield 2.0 is no doubt a well-made option, and I still think that for a striker-fired, polymer gun it's one of the best you can buy, especially for the price. But you only have to handle the Sig for a minute to understand that they are worlds apart. Part of it for me is just that I'm not that enamored with polymer striker-fired guns anymore. I also have to say that I think it's pretty funny how many people don't think twice about carrying a striker-fired gun with a sub 5lb trigger and no safety, but get freaked out about carrying a 1911 platform "cocked and locked." A sign of the times, I suppose...

    1 year ago
  • Jack H.

    They say that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but ugly is to the bone!” -Yikes, that thing is ugly and there seem to be quite a few more functional & better-engineered 1911-style choices as well. I’ll take the Springfield EMP4 Carry Contour over the Sig any day of the week. More rounds, comfie grip, highly accurate, just as concealable and pure undeniable beauty. Great for southpaws too!

    1 year ago
    • Debbie Holt

      I love my Springfield EMP4 CCC in 9mm. It's awesome but at 5'3" it's hard to conceal and makes me feel like I am carrying a brick when I put it in my cc purse. My 938 is just my EDC gun. When I am at the range it's all about my EMP4

      11 months ago
    • Bobo

      As nice as it is, the springer is also a larger pistol....

      1 year ago
  • Infidel762x51

    Carrying a cocked and locked 1911 style pistol in your pocket would be pretty stupid. If you want a micro SIG 9 for pocked carry go with the P290 DAO.

    1 year ago
  • Damien

    My wife has the BRG, which molded rubber grip makes it much more comfortable to handle. Like the others who have commented, it pulls a little low & left for me; wife is a dead eye with it. I've put a few hundred rounds through it, Mary has pushed several hundred more. Very reasonable shooting piece, tho my CZ-PCR is much more comfortable for a long day at the range. I recently bought a J-frame thinking the .38 spl would be no more difficult to handle than the 938: Wrong! I'll take the 938 as the more easily handled, but prefer the inherent reliability of a revolver for a carry gun. I eventually found a high, hard grip (here at Pew Pew: center axis relock), which allows me to shoot a box at the range without tearing the heck out of my trigger finger. I am probably breaking a few other rules in the effort, but I can shoot comfortably with reasonable accuracy at 7 yards. Anyway, I do like the 938 with BRG grip.

    1 year ago
  • Eric M

    We literally just bought my wife this gun. She’s a nightmare before Christmas fan so naturally we got the “nightmare” edition. We also got the extended magazine which I think will allow for a slightly better grip. I’ve also got the we the people edition which I really like also.

    1 year ago
  • Paladin

    I've had my P938 for just over two years now. In that time, I have put approximately 1,500 rounds thru it, primarily 124 grain medium power reloads. After each range trip, I field strip it, and clean it thoroughly. The p938 is my first Sig, and I love it! It has become my daily carry weapon. As far as accuracy goes, I routinely practice at 7 yards. Firing in combat mode, 7 rounds in a 2" circle. I'll put my life on the line with this one any day!

    1 year ago
  • Bingo Boy

    I bought a P938 a few months ago but eventually replaced it with a Kimber Micro 9. I found the manual safety had too much friction and was too unreliable for me. My tactical instructor told me to not carry that gun for personal protection, since maybe 20% of the time when drawing the gun I would fumble trying to get the safety off. The Kimber is a very similar gun, looks very nice (I got the Stainless Raptor model) and, most importantly, getting the safety off is not a problem. Try before you buy.

    1 year ago
  • Ed Kopp

    Seems right on-target to me. I think very underrated by most reviewers - other than you. Mine pulled a bit left and low. Very reliable. Nice weight distribution. Used the extended mag. improved the grip a lot. Sights were OK, nothing extremely fantastic. Excellent carry gun! Extremely nice gun.

    1 year ago
  • Bill Woods

    great carry.. the only tough daily decision is flush mag vs. extended.

    1 year ago
  • Capital Tide

    Ironic that I came across this review. I’m on the Pew site everyday and I just sent my P938 SAS in last week. It’s a 2013 make with over 1000 rds thru. I admit I’m not a religious cleaner - but I clean it thoroughly bc it’s many moving parts require maintenance to keep it reliable. All that to say, I’m done with the 938. At the range last Tuesday, it starting firing 3 rounds per trigger pull. After it happened, I shook the empty gun and could hear a slight rattle in the grip. The SWAT instructor and Dept armorer who I was with said, “I’ve never in all my years seen a gun spontaneously do that.” I’ve searched forums and it seems to be a broken mainspring housing in the grip. We’ll see once Sig inspects. All in all, it’s the perfect size. Shoots great. Has nice sights and is good lookin. But for my taste it has too many moving tedious parts to be reliable - see in depth reviews of trigger bar maintenance, delicate ejector mechanism, now this main spring housing, and the unrepairable aluminum body (be careful with grip screws and takedown). IMO, there are too many other good options with higher capacity, lower price and a quality, reliable build. Put it this way, when I went to FedEx to send off, the FedEx worker (leaning on her elbow) said, “Oh honey, we send tons of packages to Sig, we do this all the time.” Take it for what it’s worth, I really do enjoy the gun. I enjoy shooting it, I’m accurate with it, carried it daily, but I can’t bet my life or my families life on it. Seems to be a recurring theme with Sig nowadays.

    1 year ago
    • Frodo

      When you find a pistol (any pistol) that has had Zero reports of problems at some point, please report back to us.

      1 year ago
      • Robert Goodrich

        Agree. I’ve had my 938 for several years. Other than failing to feed IMI hollowpoints, it has been flawless. My CCW is a Kimber Aegis Custom 1911, with the 938 as backup. When my back goes out, like this week, it moves to first place.

        11 months ago
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