Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Review: SIG Sauer P238

SIG Sauer P238 Review and Range Report

Gotta love marketing, especially when combined with exceptional quality and manufacturing. I don't buy Swiss watches, but I recently took the plunge on a SIG Sauer P238 that just spoke to me from the display case of a LGS. This was totally out of character for me, as my main interest is in small calibers (.32ACP and rimfire). In fact I had just sold off a .380ACP pistol that I had for more than 25 years - a Beretta 84B - too big for carry or even the bedside table drawer.

At one time long ago I also owned an Iver Johnson Pony 1911. It would only reliably eat Federal FMJ, and it was a handful to shoot. But there were a few things about this P238 that I liked right off the bat:

- lightweight - less than a pound
- great ergonomics - feels good in the hand
- nice daytime sights
- price (got a nice discount from the dealer)
- SIG's reputation - this is a quality piece of tooling
- simple break down - single tool-less lever
- came with two 7-round magazines
- apparently a popular model - lots of 'em out there - more parts, etc.

Range Time

So it was off to the range after an initial take down and cleaning. Taking down this pistol for the first time wasn't a lot of fun, but then again, either was my Beretta 84B. After removing the magazine and taking off the safety, I finally figured the correct point to line up the slide with the lever. Cleaned up the pistol, remembering this caveat:


(Apparently some very bad thing will happen. I need to read up on this one.)

Reassembly also comes with a caveat:


Oops! How to Fix a Fallen Ejector

If you push the ejector down too far, it will fall into the frame. You now have some work to do.


Here's one version of the fix:

Ejector pushed too far

If the linky fails to work, here are the basic steps, according to 'bumper' in cited thread (note he does not mention turning the pistol upside down while pressing the sear spring):

1. Remove slide. Remove grips. Lower hammer gently.

2. Remove pin at bottom rear of grip frame (this retains mainspring housing) push mainspring housing down about 1/4" or so (this step may not be necessary but'll make the next step easier.

3. The left side of the sear/ejector spring is for the ejector, it's the side with the small 90 degree forward bend or "hook" at the top. The front edge of that hook is supposed to be in the little notch at the bottom backside of the ejector. This rounded notch is facing upwards now as the ejector has rotated forward too far.

4. To get things back right you will need to use a small screwdriver or similar tool to push the ejector side (left side) of the spring aft far enough that it will allow the top of the ejector to be rotated back - this will swing the bottom of the ejector forward so that releasing the ejector spring will have the top of the spring behind the bottom of the ejector. You may have to hold the top of the ejector spring back while you push the mainspring housing back up.

5. Replace mainspring housing retaining pin. When using screwdriver or similar to push ejector side of spring back, you may want to wrap tip of driver to avoid scratching spring.

If this sounds too complicated, watch a video. Here's a link to a 'tube vid on the fix:

ejector fix

Interestingly, the original Colt Mustang's (the P238's older twin) manual has a short section on this problem, and a short description of an easy fix with two pictures:

So there you go. Gravity is your friend in this fix!

Anyhow, after checking the P238's function, I was ready to go.

I still had a box of 13-year-old Winchester 95-grain FMJ FN (flat nose), but also bought a box of Federal FMJ from Wally World (great place to shop for ammo late at night!). My first 12 rounds looked like this:
The first six rounds were me getting used to the recoil and retort of the pistol. But note the last five rounds: All on the bullseye. This pistol needs absolutely no sight adjustment! It shoots point of aim! Lining up the dots under the bull resulted in a nice 1.5" group! Wowzers!

Here are few other targets:
 Looks like I got my money's worth 13 years ago with this .380ACP. I then did a 'round robin' (clockwise from upper left) with smaller targets using 5 rounds per magazine. I guess I was a little tired by the time I got to the tiny center bull, but this pistol worked for me:

There were no malfunctions whatsoever with the old ammo or several magazines of the new ammo.

I'm a happy camper. I like this pistol.

And here's a companion knife for this pistol - I like my Sebenzas:

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