Sig P238

I currently have 2 P238’s in my shop right now. The customer reports fantastic accuracy with the tiny pistols. That is to be expected with Sig. However, I have some problems with it. I did some research to see if other owners had problems with them. YEP. I was not let down on that one. There are a ton of people reporting jamming and other issues. One I thought was interesting.

They did a very good job diagnosing the problem. If the barrel can contact the magazine you will at least slow down the action. The damage to the feeding ramp is causing other to report jams with some ammo, something that is not the ammo’s fault.

Here are some of the issues I see with it. All of which I see as a design flaw.

  1. The slide release lever has a ramp that contacts the magazine follower allowing it to lock the slide open on the last round fired. Everything is normal so far. However, being Sig it is a cast part that, at the bottom of said ramp, has a nasty bur. This bur is in a perfect position to snag on the bullet next in line to chamber. The result is the slide locking back intermittently with rounds still in the magazine. What a huge pain in the butt.  Removal of the bur makes the old style magazines work beautifully. The downside is, it makes the new style mags a pain. You see the new magazines have  a redesigned follower that is Sig’s fix for for the nasty bur but doesn’t fix the problem. That’s right the problem is still there. With the removal of the bur the new mags work fine if they are loaded with the slide locked back. If you don’t…well that leads me to our next issue.
  2. The magazine wells are too wide allowing the magazines room to slop around. Once the bur is removed there is enough slop room to allow the magazine to be pushed by the mag release far enough for the slide release to no longer contact the mag follower. That is simply not acceptable to me and really leaves me with one piece of advise for the customer. Send them back to the factory or sell them. I can fix most things but factory design flaws are something that they need to correct.
  3. This is a lesser thing and won’t be counted later on. On the back of the slide is a plate that retains the firing pin and extractor. This plate doesn’t mate up with the bottom side of the slide. The result, when the slide travels rearward it cocks the hammer as usual but you feel the large gap in a series of bumps. It shouldn’t slow the slide down enough to make a difference but still is something that never should have been allowed out of the engineers workshop. Where’s the craftmanship?

Here’s what I see needs to be done. The slide release ramp needs to be rounded smooth so the sharp bur doesn’t snag on the next round. That’s just common sense. The other thing is the mag well needs to be a little tighter on the mags. There really is a lot of wiggle room in that mag well. Some is needed to ensure the mag drops when the release button is depressed. That’s all fine and good but when there is so much that it can be pushed off of the slide release. That too is just common sense. If those two things were fixed there would be no need for a redesigned magazine follower. With those two things fixed the pistol would function flawlessly.

One thing I should note is that there were as many happy customer reviews as i found people reporting big problems. Sounds like a quality control issue. Half are happy…half have nothing but problems. Having a 50% chance at a good carry gun doesn’t look good for Sig…and I’m a Sig fan. My advise to solve the problem entirely…buy a Kahr.

2 thoughts on “Sig P238

  1. Oh, I hope this isn’t a trend for Sig, their guns are supposed to be as reliable as Glocks. Hopefully they won’t dink around with their larger sized, traditional guns, like 239, 229, 226 220. Because I would like to buy more sigs in my lifetime.

  2. Many people were having problems with not being able to insert a full 6 round magazine. They had to remove one round in order to fully insert the mag. It is my understanding that the follower redesign addressed this issue. The sig customer support person I spoke with today told me the updated magazine will cure this problem.

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