Sig Sauer raised a few eyebrows back in 2009 when the legendary Swiss armsmaker unveiled the P238, a subcompact semi-auto chambered in the popular .380 ACP caliber. The innovative little .380 was a very familiar-looking gun to those with a sense of history, a modern iteration of the Colt Mustang Pocketlite with some notable Sig enhancements. Still, much of the P238’s design was firmly rooted in John Browning’s original Colt patents from the early 20th century. In fact, with the exception of its solid camming barrel lug and lock—the foundation of which dates back to Sig Sauer models built in the 1940s—the P238 is essentially a scaled-down variation of the M1911 without a grip safety. The P238 was Sig’s second compact .380 ACP. The first, the P232, was introduced back in 1997, when the only real competition was the Colt Mustang. Fast forward a dozen years and the market is booming with .380s, but few are as elegantly crafted as the Sig P238. This is the smallest .380 Sig has ever designed, and a near match for size with the polymer-framed Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec P-3AT. In fact, the LCP and P-3AT have dimensions almost identical to the P238’s, but after that these subcompact .380s part company. The P238 features all-metal construction, and it’s slim, compact and solid in the hand—with just enough heft to make its recoil manageable. What sets the P238 apart farther from the competition is Sig’s decision to use a stainless steel slide with an anodized alloy beavertail-style frame, rather than a polymer frame like those on the LCP and P-3AT, among others. Sig’s use of a skeletonized hammer adds a customized look to the gun’s chiseled appearance, as does the standard Nitron black corrosion-resistant finish. A two-tone version is also available with a matte stainless steel slide, thumb safety, slide stop and magazine release, which contrasts with the Nitron black frame, grips and backstrap.
With two years of success under its belt and 14 variations of the P238, Sig has added the new Extreme variant, which takes everything up another notch in versatility. With an overall length of just 5.5 inches, a height of 4.46 inches and weighing just 15.4 ounces unloaded, the Extreme capitalizes on the established features of the P238 Nitron, which uses a black Nitron-finished slide and a black hardcoat anodized, beavertail-style frame, with the addition of Hogue Extreme G10 grips for a more secure hold…
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