Since the introduction of the popular P238, Sig Sauer has significantly expanded the line to include a wide range of variants to meet people’s needs. Numerous special editions and limited runs have been available from time to time, but the regular stable of P238 pistols is quite impressive in its own right.

Recently, I had the chance to spend some time with one of the regular production models called the Spartan. I was impressed by the quality of construction and finishing, and further excited by the gun’s performance on the range.

Enhanced .380

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Like the rest of the P238 line, the Spartan is a single-action pistol that was inspired by the revered 1911 design. The gun has a manual thumb safety mounted on the left side of the frame and is intended to be carried “cocked and locked.” Chambered for the .380 ACP, the gun is at the lower end of the self-defense power spectrum, but with 7+1 rounds, it is probably good enough for most lethal-force encounters. The gun is small enough with a holster to slip into a pocket or onto an ankle. For times when nothing larger is reasonable, this pistol is a credible choice.

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Further improving this gun’s ability to perform in a self-defense role is the use of reasonably large night sights. Too many compact pistols have sights that are barely useable under the best of circumstances. Not so with the P238 Spartan. This gun ships with large night sights that make precision shooting much easier than one might otherwise suspect. Additionally, the sights are dovetailed, giving you the option of swapping them out if needed.

What really sets this gun apart from the other P238 variants is the Spartan theme. Sig used an oil-rubbed bronze finish on the slide and frame that looks good in photos and absolutely fantastic in person. Black grip panels and controls offer a pleasing contrast to the bronze finish. In the center of both panels is a bronze-colored helmet reminiscent of those worn by actual Spartan warriors more than two millennia ago.

Live Fire

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If you like shooting single-action pistols, you will like shooting the P238. Although much smaller in the hand than a full-sized 1911, the gun feels good nonetheless. Recoil is light and muzzle jump is minimal with a good two-handed grip. This gun has a relatively crisp trigger with a small amount of take-up and no overtravel. The reset is obvious.

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I had this pistol on the range with 10 different factory loads. The Sig fed all of them and was completely reliable. Accuracy was very good with most loads. I had a chance to shoot the .380 ACP Hornady American Gunner load and found it to be extremely accurate with this Sig. Unsupported, I managed five-shot groups of less than 2 inches, with the best being a hair over 1.3 inches. The same day I had this gun on the range I was also testing two other .380 pistols from different manufacturers. Without question, the Sig was more accurate and more pleasurable to shoot.

The P238 Spartan is a great little gun. It runs very reliably, has an excellent trigger and good sights. Even though it ships with a belt holster, I see this pistol as more of a pocket gun or riding on the ankle of a cop to back up his or her duty gun.

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