I never set out to buy a SIG Sauer P938 Nightmare. I was pretty happy with my sub-compact 9mm handgun (a Heckler and Koch P2000SK). However, it was a bit large for real concealed carry. As a firearms technician for a national sporting goods chain (big deal, right?), I see a lot of pistols. Anytime a gun comes in for trade-in, I clean and inspect it before it goes out onto the floor.

So, I was in the back, examining the recent trade-ins. Among them was a barely-used SIG P938 Nightmare. The thing was in pristine condition. Now, I like the 1911 style, but hadn’t considered it for a carry gun. Upon examining the the Nightmare and was impressed with the fit, finish and crisp trigger. Then I raised it up and aimed down the sights. I blinked and lowered the weapon. I raised it again.

It came up beautifully, pointing naturally as very few handguns do. I repeated the process several more times, and then gazed down at my the Nightmare in my hand in pseudo-frustration. “Well crap, now I have to buy the thing.”

And I’d been fighting my gun addiction so successfully up until then.

Falling off the wagon and buying yet another gun proved to be worth it. The single-action trigger is a thing of beauty, especially for me – a guy who’s never gotten used to striker-fired handguns. The tritium SIGLITE night sights glow faintly and comfortingly in the dark, just like they do on my full-sized P226.

My Nightmare came with two six-round, flush-fit magazines. Though I can’t get my pinky finger onto the handle (it’s a micro, after all), an extended magazine, sold by SIG, fixes that. Upon selling a P938 SAS to a customer, he proclaimed that he’d rather have the flush-fit magazine than the extended one that came with his SAS model. I proposed a trade, since I had my spare magazine with me. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up with an extended mag for my Nightmare.

Concealability – Thy Name is P938

SIG P938 Nightmare

The P938 Nightmare on top of the P226 shows their size difference

I don’t really see the need though, as the 9x19mm cartridge is controllable. All it takes is a firm hold on the gun to keep it on target during repeat fire. An extended magazine increases the overall size, thus negating the size advantage offered by the P938. Therefore, I tend to use the flush-fit mag when I’m doing more deep-carry.

Recently, I was able to conceal my P938 in the inside pocket of my suit jacket. The extended magazine went into my right inside pocket, more to try to balance weight than any real consideration for a reload. The pistol did not print, nor did anyone notice during the service or the party afterwards. As this was a funeral, I had to be careful about how I hugged family members, but I managed to avoid ruffling any feathers.

Accuracy

P938 SIG sights

The tritium of the SIG sights is easily visible at night.

I’ve never considered accuracy of paramount importance in a concealed-carry handgun. Contrary to what many in the gun world will have you believe, you’re not going to have to shoot a bad guy out from behind a hostage with your sub-compact. Statistically, not gonna happen. But you may need to rapidly engage an attacker at less than 10 yards, which is why I like shooting steel plates. The range I most frequently use has a minimum safe distance established of 11 yards when shooting steel. Though paper targets are better for showing how tight your groups are, steel has the benefit of giving you immediate feedback.

I have no problem ringing steel with the P938 at 11 yards. Twenty yards is pushing it. That said, I’m not the best pistol shot, even with my P226.

Cost

The P938 is expensive, there’s no getting around that. My store sells them for $730, plus tax, which is significantly more than a Glock 43. Even a basic Kimber Micro 9 costs nearly $100 less. Neither the Kimber, nor the Glock come with tritium night sights, though. Good night sights, such as those offered by Trijicon, will add another $100 on to your bill rather quickly. The Kimber is also a hair longer than the SIG.

I recognize that SIGs are going to cost more than most other companies. Part of that is due to the brand name, but the other part is due to the quality of the firearm. When choosing a self-defense handgun, you should be prepared to spend a bit of money. I have a manager who swears by his Taurus PT111 Gen 2. He claims to never have had a malfunction in it, to fire it often and achieve excellent accuracy with it.

This doesn’t change the fact that I have Taurus’ Return and Repair department on speed dial on my cell phone, and for good reason.

Conclusion

Part of my decision came down to personal preference, as is the case with most firearm purchases. I don’t like striker-fired guns. I’m not a Glock guy, though friends are working to convert me. I like hammer-fired guns and the combination of SIG and a 1911-style gun triggered nostalgic super-cool fun points for me. It also didn’t hurt that the gun was “used” and I therefore got it at the pre-owned price.

But coolness will only take me so far in my journey with a gun. We’ve all had the firearm that’s all kinds of neat, but then turns out to have very little practical value and stays in the gun safe at home. This is not one of those guns. I carry it every day and love it.

-By Allen Cosby

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53GR is an avid shooter, hiker and tinkerer. Introduced to guns at an early age, the hobby became a passion in his early twenties. After two years in Iraq as a contractor for a defense company, he developed an unhealthy addiction to military surplus gear. Though he's currently in treatment, the prognosis is that the condition is chronic.

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