Comparing the Sig Sauer P238 and Ruger LCP
Actually, the title only tells half the story. It’s true that the Sig P238 and the Ruger LCP are great guns for girls, but they’re also great for guys. In fact, I carry one regularly, and I’m not a girl. They both make an excellent choice for concealed carry in your everyday carry bag, your bugout bag, your purse, or even your front pocket.
Before you read further, understand that I didn’t set out to review comparable guns. A fair comparison for the Ruger would have been the Taurus TCP (which comes optionally in pink!) or the Kel-Tec P3-AT. The purpose of this article is to show two completely different options for ultra-compact concealment.
Sig Sauer P238 SAS Overview
The Sig Sauer P238 is a mini 1911. The model we see here is the SAS, which has been dehorned, rounded, and smoothed all around for an easy draw from your purse or pocket without snagging. It’s very precisely engineered for smooth, flawless operation. It feels substantial but not heavy, and because it has a heavier slide than the Ruger, it features a lighter spring, so it’s easier for a lady to rack the slide without breaking a fingernail. As all 1911s, it is single-action only, which means that pulling the trigger will not cock the hammer. Because it has a manual safety, you can carry it cocked and locked, but I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re going to have it in a pocket or your purse — I’d be worried about accidentally tripping the safety. In fact, I personally don’t carry cocked and locked even in a holster. Scares me.
The trigger is crisp, and recoil is lighter than the LCP, as you would expect given that it’s 55% heavier. Target acquisition is as good as it gets on such a little gun, and the fact that it comes with night sights is a game-changer at dusk or in nighttime urban environments.
Sig Sauer P238 SAS Specifications
- Caliber: .380 Auto (9mm short)
- Action type: Single action only
- Trigger pull: 8.0 lbs
- Length: 5.5 in
- Height: 3.9 in
- Width: 1.1 in
- Barrel length: 2.7 in
- Weight with mag: 15.2 oz
- Mag Capacity: 6 rounds
- Sights: SIGLITE Night Sights
- Frame finish: Black Hard Anodized
- Slide finish: Natural stainless
- MSRP: $775
Ruger LCP Overview
The Ruger LCP is about six ounces lighter than the P238, has a composite frame, and costs about half as much as the Sig. The grip is thinner and the length of pull is so short that if you have big hands, your thumb will tend to get in the way of your trigger finger while firing. This takes a little adjustment in your thumb position, but it’s certainly doable. The Sig’s grip is a little thicker, and the length of pull is slighter longer, which makes for a better firing experience, but I carry the Ruger and have gotten used to it, so it’s not a big deal. The Ruger comes with a finger grip extension for the magazine. It doesn’t give you a pinky rest, but it does make a nice rest for the ring finger.
There’s nothing special about the trigger. It’s precisely what I expected for a pocket gun in this price range. It works without fuss. Recoil is substantial. It doesn’t bother me, but if recoil makes you flinch, you’ll prefer the heavier (but still light) Sig p238. Target acquisition isn’t completely arbitrary, but I knew going into this gun that I’d want a grip-activated laser. Neither one of these guns is a competition pistol, of course, but it’s nice to know where your bullet is going to land without having to struggle with the slide-integrated sights on the LCP.
Ruger LCP Specifications
- Caliber: .380 Auto
- Capacity: 6 rounds
- Length: 5.16 in
- Height: 3.60 in
- Width: 0.82 in
- Weight with mag: 9.4 oz
- Sights: Fixed, integral to the slide
- Slide finish: Blued
- Frame: Black, Glass-filled Nylon
- MSRP: $330
As I indicated at the beginning of this article, we’re not comparing comparable guns — we’re looking at two very different approaches to concealed carry. Your wife, sister, or mom is going to prefer the Sig… and you will too. It’s better built, it has less recoil, it’s easier to rack, it has a better grip, it has a manual safety. Basically, it’s better in every way than the Ruger, as you’d expect for double the price.
The ladies I spoke to reported several reasons why they prefer the Sig:
- More fun to shoot. This has to do with the extra weight of the gun — less felt recoil. The lighter Ruger LCP is a real cracker, popping in your hand with every shot. Again, this is the gun I carry and the recoil doesn’t bother me, but I do admit that the Sig is a much more pleasant shooter.
- Easier to rack the slide. The Sig has a lighter recoil spring, which makes it easier to load a round in the chamber.
- Prettier. The Ruger is just ugly, like a Honda Element or a Boxer. It doesn’t figure in my calculus (if it did, I would never have bought a Glock), but this factor is definitely on the radar when the girls are checking out the guns.
- More comfortable. I mentioned the better grip on the Sig, and the girls also noticed.
So the Sig gets the recommendation, but the Ruger also has a crucial function: You can carry the Ruger and give your wife the Sig, and she’ll know you love her more than your guns. Try that the other way around and you’ll appreciate the phenomenal utility of the Ruger.