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Sig P238 Nitron • Best Concealed Carry Pistol • Custom Sig P238 Grips

Sig P238 Nitron • Best Concealed Carry Pistol • Custom Sig P238 Grips

What is the best concealed carry pistol? This is a question that every gun owner has asked themselves at one point. Below is a detailed review of my Sig P238. In this Sig P238 review you will find high-res photos, specifications, and a full text review. I’ll also discuss some of the upgrades that I’ve done to the pistol.

Sig P238 Photos

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Sig P238 Specifications:

Make: Sig Sauer
Model: P238
Caliber: .380
Type: Sub-Compact
Trigger: Single Action
Finish: Nitron Two-Tone (Stainless Slide)
Sights: Fixed Night Sights
Magazine Capacity: 6+1 (Single-Stack)
Retail Price: $599
Purchase Sig P238 Holster: Blackhawk 01
Purchase Sig P238 Grips: Hogue

My New Sig P238 Nitron

I just bought what is looking to be my favorite sub-compact pistol I have ever owned, and I have owned quite a few. View Sig P238 Review for complete details. Some of the sub-compact pistols in my arsenal include the Glock 26 Gen 4, Beretta Tomcat INOX, North American Arms (NAA) .380 & the NAA .32. The Sig Sauer P238 Nitron is the newest addition to my sub-compact collection. It fancies a stainless slide and a black nitron finish, which is much sharper looking that you’re typical blueing. It also sports night sights, which come standard on this pistol. It is chambered in .380, which isn’t the ideal self-defense round, but it allows for a higher carry percentage, which is far more important than the round you’re carrying. It is better to have a BB gun on you 100% of the time, than it is to have a shotgun on you 10% of the time.

Key Factors For Your Carry Pistol

People will argue all day long about what the best concealed carry pistol is, and what the most effective round might be. Some people swear by the .45, and some think that a 9mm is ideal, while others are fine with a .380 or .32. In my opinion, the caliber is one of the least important things to consider when choosing your carry pistol, and training for self-defense. Some of the more important factors are is the pistol easy to carry? If so, then you are more likely to have it on you in time of need (high carry percentage). Consider that you may be carrying it for many hours at a time, and weight and comfort will come into play. Also consider the type of clothing that you will be wearing, and which positions/locations to like to carry in.

Also consider how the pistol feels in your hand. Everyone’s hands are different, and especially when it comes to sub-compact pistols, the way a gun feels in your hand can make it or break it. People with larger hands tend to catch the slide “biting” them, in which case a beaver tail (like featured on the Sig P238) comes into hand.

Another more important factor than caliber is shot placement. Shooting an attacker in the eye with a .22 will be more effective than shooting an attacker in the hand with a .45. Because we know that small caliber typically are easier to control in sub-compact pistols, it’s easy to understand that shot placement will be better with a smaller caliber. Same goes for follow-up shots. Another important factor to consider is the type of ammo. Each gun is different, so make sure you train with what you’re going to carry to make sure that your gun likes it, eats it properly, and ejects it properly. More details on this list can be found in my article “Important Factors To Consider When Carrying A Concealed Weapon.”

Sig P238 & The Colt Mustang

The new Sig P238 is a licensed remake of the old Colt Mustang, which for unknown reasons, has been discontinued. The P238 is a 1911 style, single action sub-compact pistol that literally fits in your pocket. This is why it offers a higher carry percentage than larger carry pistols. You can have this on you and not even know it, and it fits comfortably in all carry positions.

Ergonomics & Dimensions

My favorite thing about this gun is that despite its small dimensions, it actually feels like a real gun. It is very comfortable, and there is nothing awkward about it. The NAA .380 was extremely uncomfortable to shoot, and the long pull on the double-action trigger made it a pain to produce well placed groups on the target. The Beretta Tomcat shot nice, but had a history of issues, and was chambered a the even smaller .32 caliber. The Glock 26 is too wide to carry in light, or summer clothing. Its bulkiness made it a gun more often left at home that carried. The Sig P238 has solved all of these problems.

Accuracy

Comfort is pointless in a concealed weapon if you can’t hit anything, right? Don’t worry. The Sig did not let us down when it came to accuracy, easy follow-up shots, reloading, or comfort. At 25 yards, it shot very nice groups with Winchester FMJ, and at 7 yards, we were able to consistently shoot 1″ groups. The trigger-pull on the Sig P238 is very smooth, and very short. The short trigger pull contributes to the accuracy and comfort found in the Sig P238.

Reliability

In the first 100 rounds of shooting, there was only one problem. We had a round mis-fire, which we contributed to a bad primer. On inspection of the round, it was very obvious that the round had been struck by the firing pin, but the round did not fire.

Sig P238 Extended Magazine | Sig P238 X-Mag

I have been on the hunt high and low for additional magazines for my Sig P238. I have especially been looking for the Sig P238 extended magazine, also know as the P238 X-Mag. It has a capacity of holding 7 rounds, which gives you a total of 8 rounds (7+1). For a while, you could not purchase the Sig P238 extended X-Mags. They were only sold with the upgraded pistol model, so in order to get them… you had to buy a new gun.

Recently, I discovered that you could buy the Sig P238 extended magazine (X-Mag) for sale via phone only through Sig Sauer. Below is the promotion that Sig released. I just ordered on, so I will update this as soon as they come in to let you know how the experience went.

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Sig P238 X-Mag | Sig P238 Extended Magazine | 7 Rounds

Sig P238 Disassembly & Cleaning

No tools required. One of the innovative loves found in the Glock was its simplicity in use, take-down, and clean-up. The Sig P238 offers a very easy, no-tools-required take-down. Simply unload and clear the pistol, remove the safety, cock the hammer, pull the slide back until the dent in the slide lines up the the slide release pin, remove the pin, and push the slide forward off the frame of the pistol.

Sig P238 Hogue Grips

I also just ordered the Sig P238 Hogue grips. These are the real deal, not the slide-on style grips that you typically get from Hogue. The Sig P238 Hogue grips replace the current grips and include the finger grooves. I will update my photos as soon as everything arrives.

Sig P238 Grips: The Factory Grips Needed Some Work | How To Properly Custom Paint Pistol Grips

The Sig P238 grips that came with the Sig P238 were not to my liking. They had a light blue tint to them, and just did not fit the elegance of the Sig P238. I searched high and low for some Sig P238 custom grips, but I did not want to spend the $60 to $100 on them. I decided to take a different route. I painted them… for $5.00.

Sig P238 Video: My First Time Shooting My Sig P238

The pictures below were taken in different light, and I will replace them as soon as I get time, but you should get a good idea of the upgrade.

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Sig P238 Custom Painted Grips | Before & After

They turned out perfect, and far better than I was expecting. I used Krylon Fusion Charcoal Hammered Finish paint. It is specifically designed to bond to plastics. It is a very durable finish, and guarantees a chip free, scratch free toughness after 7 days. To paint, simple remove the grips from the pistol, clean the surface of the factory Sig grips, then apply 2-3 extremely light coats of paint to the grips. Do not spray them directly. Spray over them, and let the paint fall to the grip’s surface. It only takes 15 minutes to dry, you can handle after 1 hour. For best results, let them sit for the recommended 7 day bonding process. For additional protection use a clear coat finish after paint 15 minutes.

Sig P238 With Custom Grips

BEFORE: Sig P238 With Factory Grips

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AFTER: Sig P238 With Custom Grips

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Sig P238 Custom Grips Getting Painted

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Sig P238 With Custom Grips

The Best Concealed Carry Pistol

The Sig P238 is, in my opinion, the best concealed carry pistol currently on the market. I’m saying this considering ALL aspects of carrying, not just caliber choice, feel, concealing, price, etc. It’s biggest negative is the price. It is a bit pricey, but when it comes to saving your life, you should not settle. The factors I have considered in calling this the best concealed carry pistol are size, weight, reliability, resale value, ergonomics, and buying from a company that stands behind their products. With all of these factors considered, the Sig P238 wins hands down.

Beretta Tomcat

The Beretta Tomcat is a borderline recall pistol, with the frame on many of them cracking where the slide connects. Though it did seem that the INOX version fixed this problem, when a brand makes a negative name for itself regarding a specific product… it is hard to forget. It’s also only chambered in .32 auto.

North American Arms (NAA)

The NAA .32 and .380 are very reliable carry pistols, and very compact. The two biggest negatives to them are weight, and complete discomfort when shooting. Weight that leads to potentially leaving it home more often than not, and discomfort in shooting that leads to lower accuracy, and less ambition to practice with the pistol. The Sig P238 .380 chambered and loaded actually weighs less than my wife’s NAA .32 chambered and loaded.

Sig P238 Review By NutNFancy on YouTube

U.S. Justice Department surveys showed 57 percent of convicts were “more worried about their victims being armed than being caught by the police,” and 40 percent said they “decided at least once not to commit a crime because a victim might be armed.”

About Kevin Webb

I am passionate about life and the idea of the American dream – that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the essence of the American idea. I have a passion for presenting conservative analysis and exposing any agenda that threatens the Constitutional ideology of the United States of America (sarcasm sometimes included). I am a United States Marine, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, and most importantly, a God-fearing Christian. I love basketball, camping, fitness, family, working in the community, and I confess to being a responsible Bible-toting, gun-clinging American patriot.

19 comments

  1. You are kidding about the shooting somone in the eye with a .22, right? Ever try to shoot someone in the head in the heat of battle when you are both moving and the adrenalin is pumping? Probably never fired a shot in anger or you would know better about real gunfights and calibers. There is a reason why they teach you to shoot COM (center of mass) rather than the head. An icepick to the eye is better than a .45 to the hand but for some reason you are not carrying an icepick. Someday join the military and see the difference when real bodies are shot with different calibers. Yes placement is king but caliber is queen and if you are a healthy male and cannot handle anything more than a .380 it is because you do not want to spend the time to practice and learn. My PM9 is lighter than the P238 and yet heads and shoulders as far as stopping power goes. There are those who like to feel safe and carry small caliber guns because they have some fantasy of what their gunfight will be like and there are does that are really safe and carry guns that will protect them in all situations and not just the one where they have the time and opportuity to shoot someone in the eye.

    Got to love how the internet has produced so many people with opinions based on beliefs instead of facts and experience. Funny.

  2. Johnny Boy,

    I would like to politely ask you to stick your foot in your mouth, as you have impulsively made flawed, over-excited accusations about my level of experience and/or knowledge.

    I am a United States Marine and I am qualified EXPERT with both a pistol and a rifle. Maybe you should have poked around my site a bit before posting such nonsense about my qualifications or ability to defend myself or take someone’s life in the fog of battle.

    Now, to answer your arrogant, amateurish questions.

    I don’t carry an ice pick because they’re too big, they don’t conceal well, and I’m too active to want to worry about carrying around a blunt object all day long… otherwise, an ice pick would be a viable option.

    I’ve addressed several reasons why the .380 plenty sufficient of a round, though I still carry my Glock 26 as my primary.

    Regards,

    Kevin

  3. Hey,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the idea of painting the grips. I too did not care for the grey grips. I looked high and low for an affordable replacement. Read your review and problem solved. I used rust-oleum multicolor textured. The color is “Aged Iron”. They look amazing and feel like grip tape/sandpaper. Quick question though….You say your gun is Nitron Two Tone but I don’t see that particular model on the Sig website. My looks exactly like your but it’s called Two Tone (Black Hard Coat Anodized Frame w/ Natural Stainless Slide). Thanks again…

  4. You tell him brother, I agree in your point, most of the time accuracy is better than blunt force… I still prefer my old p226…fmf hm3 vue

  5. Atlamont makes some real nice grips for this gun, also “partsproduction” on the 1911forum.com sells stainless triggers to replace the plastic junk.

  6. Hey I have 2 Sig 238′s one the Marine version the other with laser .I love them I always carry one along with my full size 1911. Much better then the most of the other 380cal.on the market.

  7. Kevin,
    When I first found this pistol on the web I thought NICE! I appreciate the review and look forward to locating one. Thank you for taking the time to help the rest of us on decisions. On another note: Yes “I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy”. In regards to Johnny the DB, everyone has an opinion and the facts are about the pistol. Yes most of us were or are active duty, vets, or retired you’re boring us kid. Thanks again, all the best,.

  8. Kevin, I recently got my P238, certainly a great pistol, I tried it at the range last weekend and I simply love the pistol. Accurate, simple, realiable, no issues after 100 rounds. The only downside is that .380 rounds are twice as expensive as the 9mm.

    I use it on an ankle holster and although it is not easy to draw a pistol this way I am not really concerned as it is a back up.

    I bought the xmag and it has a better grip now. I carry a XDm 3.8″ .40 caliber as a primary weapon but this P238 has certainly brings a higher level of confidence in case my XDm is not available. I was looking at replacing my xdm with a P938, which seems to be similiar in size to the P238 but in a bigger caliber, I carry my xdm on a fanny pack when I drive, but when i get out of the car and use my inside the pants holster it is quite unconfortable, I need something smaller, the P938 seems like the way to solve this issue.

    I’m a big fan of 9mm so I will see how soon I can get my hands on a P938, where I live, weapons are hard to get and very expensive, just for you to imagine, I ended up paying $950 for my P238 and $1,300 for the xdm.

    Great write up, it helped with the desicion.

    Best Regards,

    Mariano

  9. I traded in a S&W bodyguard .380 which I didn’t like for my P-238. The Smith was the first doa I had ever owned, and I hated it. I’ve used 1911′s all my life, and the P-238 fits me to a “T”. It’s small, light weight, fits in a pocket and is absoulutly reliable. Smartest deal I ever made. I think I’ll keep it. I just need to find some aftermarket wood checkerd grips for it, don’t like the feel of the “stock” grips. It is also much easier to Field Strip and re-assemble than the Bodyguard was. (too many small and delicate parts on the Smith).

  10. Loved your review of the P238. Thank you for taking the time and for being so in-depth!

  11. I’m looking at the P238 vs. Glock 26 Gen4 for a CCW. Since I’m a slender guy in Texas where cold weather is rare, I think a P238 would be easier to conceal, and therefore be more likely to be carried. I may end up buying both.

    What questions should I be asking myself to help me decide?

    P.S. thank you for your service to our country.

  12. Too bad they don’t make a true souuthpaw version. I bet a gazillion lefties would buy it. The wife’s a lefty, got burned the other day from her 22 popping a case down her sweater. She wasn’t too happy about that – a 38 would have been a lot hotter. She’s considering this gun and I’m going to have her look this site over. Anyway, thanks for your service and I all enjoyed the information herein – excepting johnny’s ignorant outburst. I’ve watched a couple other vids of yours, from time to time, and I say good job, keep it up!

  13. I hope you can help me! I have looked high and low for instructions for how to take down the magazines for the P238. I just bought an Equinox, and my dear husband got me 2 7-round magazines for it. They are dripping in oil and I need to clean them but the owner’s manual is no help; my magazines are not like the ones in the manual. Is there a trick to it, or do you know where I might find a video?

  14. Just bought the 238 last week, and cannot wait to try it out. I have been busy
    buying all the after market toys. I highly recommend the sticky IWB holster.

    How many of us have been searching for the perfect CCW for max concealment,
    looks like we have a winner here. Thanks for the Post, Front Sight guys – stay safe all.

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