Our Pick for the Perfect Concealed Carry Gun

When it comes time to choose the best concealed carry handgun, most people decide based on the wrong criteria.

Consider this:

Obviously, you’re looking for something small enough that you can carry it comfortably in its holster, so concealability is important.

From there, the next item on most people’s concealed carry handgun checklist is stopping power. Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you need your gun…though we all hope that never happens…you want a gun powerful enough to do its job quickly.

Right?

Well, sure, stopping power is important.

But that doesn’t mean you have to pick the biggest gun you can carry. There’s more to it than that, and choosing a gun that’s too powerful is an all too common mistake.

Don’t fall into that trap! Choose a pistol that’s right for you, not just a gun that impresses those macho jerks you run into at the shooting range. Unless those guys are your personal body guards, their opinion has no bearing on your personal protection choices.

What’s our recommendation?

We’re glad you asked!

Sig Sauer P238 Rainbow
Sig Sauer P238 Rainbow

The Sig Sauer P238 and its big brother, the P938, are our picks for the ideal carry pistol, especially when discussing handguns for women.

Here’s why:

These are high quality firearms, coming standard with metal frames (instead of polymer), night sights that would cost you upwards of $100 if you wanted to purchase them separately, firing pin safeties and thumb safeties that make them even more suitable for carry, and grips that are easily replaced should you want to customize.

This Sig is ready to carry straight out of the box…or straight out of the box and after you take it to the range and put a couple boxes of ammunition through it, anyway.

When you’re picking a gun for personal defense, especially for concealed carry, you really want too look at the following factors:

1) Can you carry it comfortably?

2) Is it reliable?

3) Can you shoot it accurately?

4) Are you going to practice with it regularly?

5) Should you ever need to use it in an emergency, is it simple enough to operate that you won’t fumble?

You’ll notice that stopping power isn’t even on that list. Yes, it’s important, and yes, part of the reason you carry a weapon is in case you need to stop an attack…

…but an accurate shot with a .22 has much more stopping power than a missed shot with a .45, doesn’t it?

Let’s look at the Sig Sauer P238 and see how it measures up to  those criteria.

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It’s Comfortable to Carry

Sig Sauer P238 Spartan
Sig Sauer P238 Spartan

The P238 is a .380, a compact little pistol with a snappy feel and superb concealability. Especially for the curvier figures of women, it’s much more comfortable to carry than something like a Glock 19 – which we still love, by the way…just not necessarily for carry.

Check out this photo of the P238 in its holster (click here for more information on the holster pictured) compared to a Glock carried in the same position.

glock sig comparison

You can see how the Sig rests comfortably against my side and doesn’t bulge too much, while the Glock presses against my ribs, pushing up my shirt and causing my jeans to stretch uncomfortably.

Holsters 13For the first point of consideration, whether or not it can be carried comfortably, the Sig Sauer P238 definitely passes.

This is about more than just comfort.

Take another look at that picture. The Sig is in a position where I can get to it easily if I need to, but I’m not going to snag or bang it on anything as I move around.

The Glock?

Not so much.

Because of the way the Glock (which I still like, don’t get me wrong) sits on my hip, I have to bend my body away from it to draw the gun, and it sticks out much farther than I’m used to, so I run the risk of bumping it into things as I walk past.

A comfortable carry position is as much about safety as it is about the way it feels.

If you’d rather move up to the 9mm P938, keep in mind that it’s slightly bigger than the Sig Sauer you see in the picture above. As long as it’s comfortable for YOU to carry, though, go for it!

Sig Sauer P938 Nightmare
Sig Sauer P938 Nightmare

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Now let’s look at the second point:

It’s Reliable

Some gun manufacturers are known for putting out solid, dependable guns, while others are more hit-or-miss.

As for Gadsden Guns, we stand by Sig Sauer because their products are consistently high quality, and their customer service is magnificent.

Let me tell you a story:

That P238 Rainbow you see in these pictures is my own personal pistol. When I say it’s an ideal carry gun, I’m not saying it because somebody is paying me to sell it to you. It really is my carry gun.

When I first got my P238, it occasionally had feed issues. After having the same malfunction with several brands of ammunition, and confirming that it happened even when other shooters were handling it (so I wasn’t limp-wristing it), I contacted Sig Sauer.

Sig took back the pistol and found that it needed a new extractor. The repair was fast and painless, and I’ve not had a single malfunction since then.

While I experienced a few malfunctions at first, Sig Sauer stood by their product and fixed it, and today, my P238 is absolutely a gun on which I’d bet my life.

See, that’s what reliability in a firearm really is.

Would you bet your life that your pistol is going to work if you need it to?

Would you bet your life that you can hit your target if you absolutely must? That’s point 3:

It’s Accurate

As a general rule, guns with longer barrels tend to be easier to shoot accurately. With an overall length of only 5.5 inches, you’d think that the P238 might have some accuracy issues.

It doesn’t.

6-22 092In reality, the P238 is a joy to shoot. It’s easy to be accurate, even for those who haven’t shot much or who usually shoot much larger handguns.

We will note that when we tested the P938, the group shot a bit low as we increased distance, but it might have been the individual pistol we tested. Sig Sauer does offer multiple sight choices for the P938, too, and we believe that changing the sights would correct the problem.

Both the 238 and 938 come with a single 6-round magazine, but for both guns, extended mags are available to make room for an extra round and, more importantly, to improve your grip.

With both handguns, we liked shooting with the extended mags and we highly recommend that anyone who purchases one of these great little pistols purchase at least one extended magazine. The extra grip made it easier to control recoil and improve followthrough, which had a positive effect on accuracy.

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Which brings us to the 4th point:

It’s Fun To Practice Shooting

We as gun owners are responsible for our own safety, as we should be. Part of that responsibility is knowing how to use our firearms, ESPECIALLY if we’re going to carry them with us regularly.

Building your skill by spending time at the range is vital – you’re getting to know your gun to make sure it’s reliable and accurate while you practice.

Think about this:

If I hadn’t spent some time at the range with my P238 when I first got it, I might never have discovered that the extractor needed to be replaced. What if I had just started carrying it, only to discover at the worst possible time that it occasionally malfunctioned?

However, if I had chosen a gun that hurt my hands to shoot, or was too heavy and uncomfortable to practice with regularly, I would have found every reason NOT to take it to the firing line for practice.

This is exactly why we recommend that you choose practicality over power.

Range time is also the only surefire way to make sure you’ve got point 5 covered, as well.

It’s Intuitive

Your carry gun has to be like second nature to operate – if you’re not familiar with its safety features or action, your last line of defense could very possibly do more harm than good.

Fumbling with a firearm is never safe, but struggling to try to figure out how to disengage your safety in the midst of an emergency is beyond dangerous. Choose a gun that you can operate intuitively, and then spend some time shooting it until drawing and firing are second nature.

There’s no amount of firepower that can override practice, skill, and preparation.

The Sig Sauer P238 and P938 are modeled after the 1911 platform, which is one of the most intuitive firearm designs on the market.

In addition to that, the slide is easy enough to manipulate that even people with arthritis or limited hand strength shouldn’t struggle with it. (Note: if you can’t cycle the slide of a handgun, you have no business carrying it.)

Conclusions

With that in mind, our review of the P238 (and by extension, the P938) is basically this:

It’s essentially the best handgun for women, and it’s a practical carry option for new and experienced shooters alike.

It’s concealable.

It’s reliable.

It’s accurate.

It’s fun to shoot.

It’s intuitive.

AND…

It comes in cool designs like my Rainbow and the Spartan (pictured earlier in this post.)

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If you got to this post because you’re looking for a P238 for sale, click here or on one of the images in this post. Those links will take you to our website.

4 thoughts on “Our Pick for the Perfect Concealed Carry Gun

    • Thanks for the comment, mitchell3006. We weren’t paid by Sig or by anyone to write this post. In fact, we didn’t even get a free gun to review – the firearm you see in pictures belongs to the writer. We wrote this post about the Sig because it really, genuinely is our pick for the best concealed carry gun, especially for women. It’s a fantastic little pistol.

  1. My wife replaced her 3″ SP-101 with a P-238 for many of the reasons in your post. She also loved the color and tone of the weapon – Rainbow blued slide, pearlized violet grips, and I replaced the plastic trigger with an aftermarket CNC trigger with matching purple/iridescent tone. The kydex style holster is a nice add, as well as the extended magazine with rubber floor plate. It fits her hand perfectly, and conceals well. She still loves her Ruger but it is a brick in the purse, and extremely difficult to find holsters for. The P238 has a lot of options for holsters and after-market parts. I 100% concur that any projectile that can be readily fired at an assailant is 100% more effective than a larger caliber weapon sitting in the safe back home.

What do you think?

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