Way back when they first came out, i picked up a Sig P238 and thought it was a great combination of size, weight, and ease of shooting for discreet carry, and carried one for a while.  At some point, something shiny came by, so I  started carrying something else, and the P238 went into the safe. The P238 eventually got sold/traded for yet another latest and greatest thing I had to have. 

But now I  am thinking that the all metal, micro 1911 style pistol was really the better choice after all. The combination of trigger,  size, and shootability are all superior to what followed, even though the successors had some positive aspect that made me want to trade. None have been as enjoyable to shoot/practice with. 

So now as I start to look, there are a LOT more options in this style: Sig, Kimber, and Springfield Armory are the obvious ones, each with endless variations on the theme.  Kimber seems to have the edge on what can be done with a CNC machine, while SA seems intent on making the little guns look as tough as possible.  Sig has had problems recently with QA, but haven't heard of problems with this size, and the littlest Legion is certainly interesting.  The prices seem fairly similar for similar products, so not much to set any one apart on price.

So, does anyone have any words of wisdom or experience with these? Any comments, suggestions, or insights about things that are good or that should be avoided? Or should I avoid them all and go on a quest for the "new" PPK/S?

Original Post

It's been quite a while since I looked at them.  I seem to remember that they can be somewhat finicky when made that short.  I'm sure there will be others that will chime in with better information.  My personal criteria for a carry piece has changed over the years, now I look for reliability, capacity and ease of shoot.

The 1911 uses the Browning locking system of course.  The tilting barrel with a recoil spring underneath is probably the most common semi-automatic pistol design in use.  However, it has been modified over the years.  The 1911 had a removable slide bushing, a tilting link and multiple locking lugs on the top of the barrel that lock into matching recesses in the slide forward of the ejection port. 

If you keep those design elements and the .45acp cartridge, they become progressively more finicky once your barrel gets shorter than about 4 1/4".  You need enough slide travel for the locking lugs to unlock from the slide, the slide to recoil far enough to eject the spent casing and feed a new round, the slide bushing to not impact anything, the barrel be able to tilt to a greater angle because the barrel is shorter, and the rounds to feed properly because the angle into the chamber has steepened.

You can trace the evolution of the mini guns through changes in the length of the slide bushing, to include eliminating it completely and using a bull barrel that indexes directly on the slide, eliminating a locking lug, dual recoil springs, and changes to the chamber mouth and link.  These only work so well and you still have to deal with magazine springs because the gun cycles faster.  Because the recoil spring is so short, it compresses and unloads very quickly so the range of ammo that has the right burn rate and pressure also narrows.  Some bullet shapes will work with the steeper feed angle, some won't.  So when you shorten the barrel from 5" to 3.5", your tolerance window for different loads gets smaller.

What I have seen in a lot of the smaller 1911 designs is that they are in 9mm or .380, the chamber portion of the barrel locks in the ejection port like a Glock, etc., no tilting link (camming lug like the Browning HP) and no barrel bushing, recoil spring plug.  Essentially, they've made the barrel, recoil spring and lock up as Glock-like  as possible while retaining a 1911ish slide look, single stack magazine, and 1911ish fire control. 

Shortening the cartridge lets you shorten the slide cycle, as does changing the lockup and no barrel bushing.  In principle, you can get pretty small and retain reliability and ammo flexibility (in 9mm and .380).  I haven't heard a lot of reliable information on any of the manufacturers.  For the most part, most of these guns don't see a lot of shooting.  People buy them, stick them in a pocket or drawer and they don't get shot.  I haven't seen any testing by the group of YouTube shooters that I consider worthwhile.    What I would consider doing if you have them in your area, is go to the ranges that have them as rental guns and talk to them about what they've seen so far as reliability, durability and "shootability".  Keep in mind though, they are using their range ammo so the fact that they may run well on those isn't a green light for any ammo.  Find out what they use (probably the stuff they get for the lowest cost in bulk) for reference.  Go to different ranges because odds are, they aren't using the same ammo.  Try to get a feel from their experience.  How often do they clean them?  Lube?  Look at their guns for wear (look for unusual wear).  Unfortunately, very few ranges keep accurate records on round counts through individual guns, how often they clean, parts replacement, etc.

Good luck!

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I'm in a similar boat. I've bobbled back and forth for the last 5 years or so between a full size 1911 and a compact Glock as my edc. The choice is completely dependent on whether I have to wear a suit on that particular day. If so, a Glock is less cumbersome, less to support with a 1.25" belt, and gets the nod. I'm going to pickup a DW ECO in the near future to see if it can replace the plastic when I'm forced to dress like a penguin. Planning to run a ton of ammo through it first. I'll report back if it craps the bed. 

I've had a SIG 238 for several years now.    It has been carried a lot but hasn't had a many rounds through it at one time.    So far it hasn't bobbled.

It is way more accurate than it has a right to be.   Good sights, trigger, recoil like a cap pistol, and   easy size for an always gun.

There are some things that I distinctly dislike, such as the plastic trigger and mainspring housing.  Obvious cost saving for the manufacturer without the savings going to the buyer.

My biggest complaint is the little crappy spring that retains the slide stop.  It looks like it was designed in the land of Misfit Toys and doesn't inspire confidence.    I would really like to drill and tap the post end of the slide stop for a flathead bolt which would require the spring to only hold the slide stop down and not play a part in retaining the slide stop.

I'd go Glock 42 but the SIG is just small enough to be a pocket gun for me but then again...

CDNN has been advertising the 238  at times for something like $350.  By far the cheapest I've seen. 

 

There is no left or right.

There is only tyranny or freedom. 

We used to shoot the p238 quite a bit,  partly because it was different,  partly because it was fun to shoot.  It was a great all around carry gun in a world where that wasn't popular or really legal. (Pre-CCW) 

After carrying a variety of plastic fantastics over the last decade and a half, I'm at a point where I want to get back to an all metal gun. I have an old PPKS that i inherited from a friend that just feels right--enough heft to feel like it will last forever, quality that just says something,  like it would be an honor to be shot by a gun like that. 

The Sig was much like that, too. A little more business than dressy, but unmistakably something different from the run of the mill, like a custom 1911 that shrunk. Fast forward to today, and there are a lot of offerings in this size,  from the same basic design I had, to full blown pieces of art that you can carry.  Given the breadth of the different styles,  and now companies,  I  guess my question boils down to this: is there a point where the "art"/form starts to get in the way of the function? While part of what I want is a weapon that gets nods of approval from those who know guns, I also have a real need for a gun that shoots well should things go sideways, that I can practice with regularly without fear of breaking it, all in a package that is easy to carry concealed.  

Some of the designs out there now are pretty interesting examples of what a computer can do with a machine.  I look and wonder if it was designed to be flashy in the display case to catch the eye, but with the idea that it would never really be carried or shot much, so costs could be saved where things aren't seen.  All hat, and no cattle, to crib a local saying.

I figured that folks around here might have some,  and if so, the chances are good they are being shot, and there is also probably going to be an opinion attached to it.  

 

If we are talking full power 45 micro 1911s, I have had a few and still have three in the safe. My Springfield micro is mag and ammo finicky to the point it’s dependability is sometimes suspect. However my other two run like HiLux. They are from the original “micro 1911”people Detonics. My Combat Master in 45 is way more accurate than it aught to be, eats everything I have thrown at it and hasn’t missed a beat. It prefers 180g. The other is even more fun to shoot-Detonics combat master factory 38 Super. 

if we are talking Micro 1911s in 380, then the wife and I have several. I have a couple of original Colt mustangs, one of which was reworked by McDoogal. I took the ideas from that one and had a pair of Colt 380 Governments gone though stem to stern, Novak sights, metal guide rods, triggers and such, everything rounded off and smoothed, then Robar for NP3+ inside and out. I spent too much on them but in the end the wife and I have a pair of matching , great to shoot dead nuts reliable 380s for when that is the carry choice.

 

ill throw picks up when I get back from my trip

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

Hears some pics of them from the rule 1 guns thread

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

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COM CAM GUY,

We both have excellent t taste in small pistols. I had a Detonic's .45, ran like a top, no fails, fed and ejected everything I put through it, basically Ball and Cor-Bom JHP.  Milt Sparks Summer Special and you were set. 

Also had a Scott, McDougall .380 Mustang.  Probably twice in custom work as in the purchase price of the gun, but worth it.  Again function was perfect, fed and ejected ball and JHP. 

Also had a Colt Officers Model, .45.  Quality, but didn't do it for me.  Didn't help that the front sight went down range along with the round one range session. Function was good, but the delta between the Officers Model and the solid Swenson tuned Combat Cammander I had, so sold the OM.  

Cheers

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

“Speak softly and carry a big stick;  you will go far. “

 Theodore Roosevelt

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Joined: 29 May 2008          Location: AZ

        BO308-“Also had a Scott, McDougall .380 Mustang.  Probably twice in             custom work as in the purchase price of the gun, but worth it.  Again function was perfect, fed and ejected ball and JHP.”

I got lucky on my second hand McDougall, paid much less than the purchase price of a base model Colt Mustang on the same table because it had been “modified” compared to the other Colt next to it.  It’s ok though, I fed the fun gods plenty of my wallet on the 380 Governments. The top pick is mine and the wife has the exact duplicate. I poured about three times what I paid for the base guns into them. The Novak sights were put on at Novak, Robar for the refinish, lots of money for the other internal upgrade parts that nobody made any more since the fun was long out of production, etc 

 

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

Com Cam Guy, I'm not sure what the top gun is in the pictures,  but I think I'm in love...

So, as I was studying options, videos, reviews, and stores, I was starting to narrow down to either a well-equipped Sig p238 or p938, or a similar Kimber. I was really liking the Legion models of the Sig, but they are pricey- usually $779 for 9mm and $729 for 380. When I pulled up Buds gun shop, they have the p238 Legion for $515 cash, which is $16 more than the best prices on the lower end models.  Given that I really enjoyed my previous p238,  i went ahead and pulled the trigger,  so to speak. 

Not sure how much I'll use the cool guy club, but this seems to fit my needs.  We'll report back on the results. 

Top pic I think is the NP3+ .380 Government.  I’ve always liked  those.  They just look classy.  

Mojo/Mark
__________________________
Yo homey, is that my briefcase...?
Vincent from "Collateral"
__________________________
You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck... Prong/Demon Hunter
__________________________

Because...I Can. 


Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

I have a Kimber micro 9. I love it. I have a belt holster and a couple out side the belt mag punches.  I have shot through full class days using it (3-400). And it fits in my jeans pockets.  I have found it easy to shoot, reliable, and accurate.  It was so popular at my house that my daughter got one too

MOJONIXON posted:

Top pic I think is the NP3+ .380 Government.  I’ve always liked  those.  They just look classy.  


Stainless Colt 380 government, Novak tritium combat sights installed at Novak,  dehorned, combat reliability tuned, Wolf springs, both in the pistol and in 5 factory mags, Spegle grips, anything plastic replaced with metal (can’t remember which ones), then down to Robar for full NP3+ inside and out, then over to a custom kydex guy for a V configured appendix holster for pistol and spare mag in custom colors.  I actually did this for two fully matching sets of pistols.

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

Have one on the 45 Detonics, under the alumagrips. I’ve tried a ton of different holsters, clips and everything else. It works when I carry it.

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

The Legion p238 is in hand. It appears to be a very well thought out and executed vey small pistol. Couldn't find a sharp corner or edge on it that might catch or snag on a covered draw.  All controls are where they ought to be,  requiring the right amount of force to actuate, reducing the risk of accidental activation.  While I have not been a fan of big green dots on the front sight, I see why they are becoming more popular,  and overall these are great in all light.(while wandering around the house in a variety of lighting situations at night, the transition between plain and night sights has been similar to the VTAC sights on my M&P, which are my gold standard.)

Grips are smooth,  yet the fine checkering is grippy. (At least when dry. Haven't tried wet or covered in blood yet.)  The slide is easy to manipulate either by hand or belt. Color is a nice business gray.  If this shoots like it feels, I can probably get rid of most of my other concealed carry pistols. There is not a thing here I would change, and checks all my boxes for a concealed and deeply concealed piece.

Glad you like your mini-blaster.

I'm wondering what everyone is using for carrying these little guns.

Mine is carried in an unknown make leather pocket holster that has a full flap to conceal the outline of the pistol.  It is OK but there is room for improvement.

There is no left or right.

There is only tyranny or freedom. 

Here’s an appendix rig I worked with the kydex maker to buildimage

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

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I picked up a Crossbreed mini-tuck to start, but my oldest kid uses a cheap Uncle Mikes universal clip holster for his p938. 

While haunting the local gun cases, I ran across the Rock Island Baby Rock, their version of the Colt 380 government.  Heavy, but a nice size and great feel.  Too big for my ccw needs, but very possibly a future project gun. I can see why COMCAMGUY put the money into his. 

Well I just got back in the 45acp game and got a 1911 CCO from Fusion.  7 rounds of so far it’s running well with 230 grainhardall and Remington 185 grain golden sabers.  It’s all steel just waiting on my jmck holster like I have for my p2000, Glock 19, Walther PPS, and glock 43x.

 

i like it uses the go guide system verse full length guide rod.  It’s easier to use.  Also when girly pal is carrying a Kimber CCO should carry t he same as her.

One of the things to remember with the officer and smaller 45s is the slide is traveling so fast it can sometimes induce stoppages due to the mag not having time to push the next round up in time to be stripped off. I have that problem with Springfield. I was able to remidy it by running 180gr in it. My Detonics isn't as sensitive, but the one my wife had was. If it starts choking , try newer mag springs and 180gr slugs and if it goes away, you know whats going on. There are several decent 45 ACP loads in 180gr.

 

YMMV

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

Aren’t the CCO’s Commander length slides on Officers ACP frames? The slides should reciprocate more slowly than a 3.5” version. 

I had a Springfield V-10 Ultra Compact.  Officers ACP size size slide and frame.  Ran like a sewing machine with 230 ball and lighter weight rounds until I got some excessive sear wear and it would give me 2 or 3 round bursts. That was pretty sporty the first time it happened. Nice that it was ported though.  

Mojo/Mark
__________________________
Yo homey, is that my briefcase...?
Vincent from "Collateral"
__________________________
You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck... Prong/Demon Hunter
__________________________

Because...I Can. 


Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

My Springfield is The micro compact, 3 vs 3.5, so it compounds the issue

here is my micro next to the wife’s custom fusion based 3.5 I had built for her image

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

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Photos (1)

The wife’s Detonics was also persnickety. She got rid of it years ago. My Detonics 45 will eat everything, but I keep all the springs up and lube appropriately.

i Was just posting if people were seeing a feed problem with the short 1911s, it may be the  weight

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

Commish posted:

While haunting the local gun cases, I ran across the Rock Island Baby Rock, their version of the Colt 380 government.  

I had missed those.   They really are a mini 1911 with a barrel bushing, grip safety, straight back operating trigger.   Cool.

 

There is no left or right.

There is only tyranny or freedom. 

stray round posted:
Commish posted:

While haunting the local gun cases, I ran across the Rock Island Baby Rock, their version of the Colt 380 government.  

I had missed those.   They really are a mini 1911 with a barrel bushing, grip safety, straight back operating trigger.   Cool.

 

I'm thinking about using as a training gun for the kids, as they move to center fire pistols. Nicely scaled for smaller hands.

What magazines are you using?  Found out my Fusion CCO cannot take 8 round Wilson’s but my Kimber TLE ii ultra can.  It’s the base plate in it.  Should I just stick with 7 round officer mags due to the issue with the Fusion CCO?  I’m am partial to checkmate mags since they have always worked for me.  

The wife is using mostly CMC match grade compact  in her Fusion-based custom. There is a mix of older Wilson and Kimber Compact mags as well she uses with no issues, but hers will eat darn near everything from anything. The only 1911 between the two of us (somewhere around 25+ of them) that will eat more reliably is my first gen Detonics Combat Master.  That fucker is a raccoon.

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

I'd have to check when I get back to the house, but I think they are all 7s

Location Texas.

 

"So what are you gonna do if we get hit on this trip?" "Me?, I'm going to shoot some good pics of you nuking their ass. You do your job, I'll do mine. If I have to do yours,(unless you're the medic) we're probably all screwed!" - Standard reply , from Desert Storm through Iraqi Freedom

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