Every once in a while, when I meet someone new, and they find out what I did for a living, they’ll start asking me about guns. More often than not, the conversation will turn to concealed carry, and they’ll ask me what kind of gun I carry. I’ll tell them, “I carry a Sig Sauer P938”. They’ll realize this is a tiny gun if they know their firearms. Not comically small or anything, and for some reason, they think I’d carry a larger weapon.

“You mean you don’t carry a 226 (referring to a larger model of Sig Sauer) or a Glock?”.

“Nope,” I’ll tell them, “The 938 is all I carry.”

“Why?” they’ll ask. Then I explain the reasons to them like I’m about to explain them to you now.


Guess when the 1911 pistol was developed and came onto the market. That’s right, well over 100 years ago, back in 1911. Its history dates back to the 1890s when the US military used several revolvers as sidearms. The Army had just put into service two new rifles (the M1895 and M192), and they wanted a self-loading pistol to go along with them. The service said the new pistol should be chambered in no less than .45 caliber.

Bids went out, and six weapons manufacturers sent designs for the new sidearm (DWM, Savage, Colt, Knoble, Webley White-Merrill, and Colt). After being put through a series of punishing tests, some models showed their weak points and were eliminated from consideration. One stood out; during one set of tests, six thousand rounds were fired from the Colt Firearms prototype. The weapon was dunked into water as it heated up to bring the temperature down. Not once did it jam. Colt got the nod, and the rest is history.

It went into service with the Army in 1911 and was adopted by the Navy and Marines in 1913. It remained the pistol of choice until officially replaced in 1986 by the Baretta 92F. However, US Special Operations Command was less than enthusiastic (to put it mildly) about the new Beretta as it was chambered in 9mm and lacked the stopping power of a .45. SOCOM demanded another weapon for SOF use, and the Heckler & Koch Mk 23 Mod 0 was born.

Why I Like the 1911 Design

It was the first pistol that I learned to shoot. My dad would take me out into the woods around our house, and I’d plink away on cans and paper targets. So the 1911 has a certain nostalgia for me. But, of course, nostalgia isn’t enough to make me decide to carry one every day. The trigger design is unmatched. It pulls straight back in a linear fashion with no play or wiggle. This allows you to keep your sights square on the target, where they’re supposed to be.

The frame is steel. Cold, hard steel. It provides enough heft to help absorb the recoil of the firearm. Have you ever shot a polymer pistol and had it feel like it was going to jump right out of your hands? Not good. And the ergonomics are top-notch. It feels like a natural extension of your body. It feels like a gun should.

photo of pistol
The author’s Sig Sauer P 938


Why I Chose the Sig Sauer P938

It looks and feels and fires like a miniature 1911. I always use the extended 7-round magazine, as shown in the photo above. It has a pinky extension which I find essential in getting a firm grip on the gun. Plus, with it, you get another round. The basic magazine holds six rounds and is flat. Without the extension, the gun wants to jump out of your hand.

There is an ambidextrous thumb safety and magazine release. Some people don’t like the thumb safety, and if you’re not into that, you won’t like this gun.

The overall length of the piece is just 5.9,” and it sports a 3″ barrel. Yeah, not big at all, but that’s why I chose it. I live in Florida. It’s hot in Florida, well, most of the time anyway. Three hundred sixty-four days out of the year, I wear shorts and a t-shirt or polo. There’s not much real estate to comfortably conceal a firearm without printing. I’ve mastered the art with my small Sig, but I’m not sure I could do that with a bigger gun.

photo of Sig in hand
Looking down the rear sights of the P938. Ready to kill a bougainvillea. Photo by the author.

Looking down the sights of the Sig, you can see that it is only 1.1 inches wide. The weight; one pound. Mine features black rubber Hogue grips. I originally bought it with rosewood grips because they really set off the gun. Then I realized that was a foolish choice. If I ever got into a confrontation with a bad guy, he likely wouldn’t be complimenting me on my fancy grips.

What about accuracy? No problem there. It is built to be a short-range weapon and is exceptionally accurate within 10 meters in the hands of an experienced shooter. The vast majority of self-defense shootings will take place over a distance not greater than 30 feet and usually much closer than that.

The real deal closer for me was reliability. All that other stuff doesn’t matter if it doesn’t go “bang” when I pull the trigger. Sig Sauer’s are incredibly reliable firearms. I trust that it will take care of me if I take care of it.