By Trampas Swanson

This week’s article features another addition to the SIG SAUER elite LEGION series with an upgraded version of their vastly popular pocket pistol, the model P938. Previously, we discussed the new Legion P238 and its origins based on the Colt Mustang design. Next we will cover how the P938 design came to be and why both men and women around the country are choosing it as one of the most popular concealed carry pistols on the market today.

In 2009, three years after SIG’s initial success with the P238’s release, they followed up on customer demand for a 9mm version by releasing the P938. While the design was the same, it varied in overall specs by being slightly longer, wider and heavier to facilitate the longer and more powerful 9mm cartridge. The sales were so strong, SIG included it in a number of following specialized series such as the P938 Nitron, Nightmare, and Scorpion. There is even a premium P938 Rose Gold Edition. Now, SIG follows up all their success with inclusion in their most elite series to date, the Legion program.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with SIG’s Legion line of products, here is a quick recap. Basically, the Legion program is SIG’s new series of proven designs in their catalog that have been reworked and upgraded based on years of feedback from shooters. This program is just as much about the lifestyle as it is the high-quality firearms within it. When you purchase a Legion product, you are eligible for Legion membership perks such as exclusive branded holsters, knives, shirts, hats and other gear from some of the industry’s top manufacturers all sporting the iconic Legion chevron.

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First Impressions

During last year’s SHOT SHOW, I first saw a sample of the Legion version of the P938. The grey Cerakote finish and attractive G-10 grips with inlaid signature chevron emblem made a clean, professional looking package. I was interested in seeing firsthand how the new series had upgraded the gun inside and out, so I arranged to have a sample sent for testing once production began. Finally, in December the Legion P938 arrived at our FFL holder, Legion Defense Industries for review.

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When I first opened the iconic plastic SIG SAUER hard case, the 938 was nested in the upper left side while the three magazines were stacked on top of each other on the lower right side along with the obligatory paperwork and propaganda all firearms ship with. As I removed the pistol from the case, I was reminded the difference between an all metal constructed firearm such as the SIG versus my daily carry polymer framed Glock 42. The grip filled my hand fully unlike the smaller P238 and felt well balanced overall.

I was pleased to see the addition of SIG’s X-ray day / night sights on this pistol. As I have reviewed many handguns in this category over the years, sights have often been lacking to say the least. The X-ray sights have been a proven duty capable option on many of SIG’s full-size guns including my personal Legion model 226. Compare them to the standard white plastic “U” shaped sights of a Glock Model 43, the P938 sights win hands down straight out of the box.

 

The addition of a true ambidextrous safety was also a huge plus. With small pistols such as the P938, they are often used in the role of back up guns for law enforcement and well-prepared citizens alike. Having the ability to disengage the safety from the weak side as well as strong side could mean the difference between life and death to someone having to deploy it. I often incorporate weak hand shooting drills into to my regular shooting routine and really appreciated SIG’s consideration for adding this feature.

The more I inspected the pistol after unboxing it, the more anxious I was to get started on the range. As I scheduled my first range day for testing, I field stripped the P938 and wiped the excess packing oil out of the barrel and from the action to protect against any factory obstructions or debris. After reassembly and function testing the pistol, I gathered a few boxes of Winchester, Remington, Hornady and SIG branded ammo as I prepared for my trip.

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LEGION P938 SPECS

  • CALIBER: 9mm Luger
  • ACTION TYPE: Semi-Auto
  • FRAME SIZE: Micro-Compact
  • GRIP TYPE: Custom
  • FRAME FINISH: Legion Gray
  • FRAME MATERIAL: Alloy
  • SLIDE FINISH: Legion Gray
  • SLIDE MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
  • BARREL MATERIAL: Carbon Steel
  • MAGAZINE CAPACITY 7 Rounds
  • TRIGGER: SAO
  • TRIGGER TYPE: Flat
  • BARREL LENGTH: 3 in
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 5.9 in
  • OVERALL WIDTH: 1.1 in
  • HEIGHT: 4.3 in
  • WEIGHT: 17oz

Range Time

During my first range session, I had fellow Swanson Media Group writer, Jerry Moody and his wife, Stephanie join me in the test session. Jerry being a firearms instructor and often training with his wife as well as her own extensive background would offer more unbiased thoughts on the P938. As I loaded up the magazines, we each took turns shooting a series of three magazines equally 21 rounds before switching shooters. Since having recently completed testing on the Legion 238 in .380 ACP, our combined learning curve for the P938’s trigger pull and trigger reset was very minimal.

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The three of us commented on a couple of different occasions throughout the day about how visible the sights were despite how bright the Florida sun light was. The gun naturally pointed on target for a very quick sight alignment and sight picture. The gun was comfortable to shoot despite the recoil being noticeably increased from its .380 counterpart in the P238. Stephanie was the first of many to comment how easy the slide racked a live round into chamber. This is a huge selling point for a lot of women on the market today giving them the confidence needed to keep the gun up and running under duress.

The pistol experienced two stoppages during the first day’s testing. It appeared the slide would not lock back after the last shot in the magazine was fired each time Stephanie shot. Upon further inspection, it was discovered to be user error by having the thumb of her support hand under the slide stop when shooting. This accidently pushed up on stop and caused it to stop the slide in place. By changing her grip and placing her support thump on top of the slide stop, the gun continued to run flawlessly without any further trouble. This is a very common mistake due to the hands being much larger in proportion to the smaller frame gun than compared to a full-size pistol like Stephanie’s daily carry 1911 chambered in 10mm.

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The next range session would come later in the week as my wife, Candace and I would teach a class for The Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapter. The night was broken into two educational parts. The first being an hour in the classroom discussing the history and function of both the P238 and P938 models before moving on the second part of the evening on the range running drills with both pistols. As the ladies moved from one shooting lane running rounds through the P238 and then on to the P938, I surveyed their opinions on the guns. Firearm experience among the ladies varied from relatively new shooters to weekend competition shooters with the average age of the group being around 50 years old.

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Some of the initial comments focused on two features. The first being the crisp, clear X-ray day / night sights and how easy they were to acquire quickly for follow up shots. Most shooters in the group wore some sort of glasses for corrected vision and everyone had only positive things to say about the sights overall. The second common remark regarded the ease in which the slide was to rack a round into the chamber. During our time as instructors, Candace and I have often seen new shooters with either a lack of overall strength or some medical issue such as arthritis prevent them from being able to charge their brand-new firearm into battery. Everyone in the class could cycle the slide with no problems at all and post impressive shot groups afterwards.

Later in the test period, I returned to the range with another fellow Swanson Media Group writer, Clint Steele. Upon our meeting at the range, Clint introduced me to a neat little multi-purpose Kydex holster from a local company named Panther Concealment built specifically for the P938 pistol with a reversible belt clip. The holster was constructed to allow the clip to be switched for right- or left-handed use for inside the waistband carry with a straight drop / zero cant. Due to the short 3 inch barrel, the P938 allowed for comfortable carry practically 360 degrees around the body.

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What separates this combo from others on the market is the size allows for the gun to almost disappear from detection while still being large enough to provide a full master grip and speedy draw onto target. From the draw to shots fired, the gun and holster covered all three “must haves” in a carry gun package. It was very controllable, accurate and comfortable carrying in all positions for extended periods of time. Both Clint and I agreed the Legion P938 was a formidable consideration for the dedicated concealed carry enthusiast.

Final Thoughts

My initial concerns based on appearances alone about the P938 were it would possibly be too heavy, too small and not very controllable thus affecting accuracy on the range due to its size and caliber. Much to my delight, I was wrong on all points. Shooting the P938 wasn’t even remotely close to the experience of shooting most guns in the pocket pistol category. Usually, the frames are undersized, even for small to medium hands, and this causes unwanted movement and constant regripping. This pistol felt more like shooting a compact frame pistol with just the over hanging grip and the last inch of its barrel shortened. As with all the SIG products I have tested in the past, the P928 proved to live up to company’s reputation for top notch accuracy.

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With a MSRP of around $900, this may seem steep for a small pistol, but consider several factors first. Most micro-sized 9mm pistols on the market retail for around the $400 – $500 price point, before shooters commonly spend another $500 on average to enhance their gun. Common upgrades include smoothing out the trigger, adding better sights (if applicable), purchasing a third magazine, adding a mag well and changing the boring factory black finish. After spending quality time with the Legion 938 pistol, customers may initially spend a couple hundred dollars more than a base model, but they end up with custom shop quality for far less than custom prices. Right out of the box, the Legion pistol is the complete package. Other than adding more magazines in the package, I could not think how SIG could further improve the gun.

As I’ve often said, pistols specifically designed for CCW are typically built to be carried often but not shot regularly due to heavy recoil, but this is not the case for the P938. It is a true shooter and proven performer. The SIG Sauer Legion P938 is a highly capable and recommended handgun for everyday personal defense carry. Till next week, Train Hard and Continue the Fight!