I remember when the 238s first came out, I thought I'd be one of the first to get one, I'm glad I didn't. Between the initial recall and some of the issues, not to mention the newer models that meed my wants I'm glad I waited.
What I've wanted all along is a steel framed 238 with a longer frame like that of my Colt Mustang +II, but that will have to wait till Sig makes one, if they make one. Until then I'll have to make due with the 238 as is. Having a couple of the Colt .380 pistols to compare the Sig to, my initial take on the 238 is pretty darn good. The materials used to make the gun are far better than that of my +II. I will do a comparison of the 238 and my Mustang and Government .380 at a later date, I will say that my +II is the roughest of the bunch as it is a later model Mustang. Sig had some time (10+ years) since the end of the manufacturing period of the Mustang and the release of the 238 and they made some vast improvements in my opinion.
The guide rod is steel, not plastic like the Mustang rods (the Government .380 used a plug and guide like a GI 1911, steel Mustang rods are available) and they use a single spring design unlike the dual springs of the Mustang (replacement springs from Wolff are single springs). The factory grip panels on all the Mustangs I've seen were plastic, the 238 comes with wood or G10, the 238 HD currently comes with G10 which is my preferred material these days. Some owners of 238s have experienced quick discoloration of the wood grips, the G10 is going to stay black. The 238 also came with hex head grip screws which seem to be the rage these days. You will note that my Mustang +II also has the hex screws, but I added those as well as the stainless steel guide rod.
The ejector on the 238 seems to be a little different, a detail strip later on will confirm this, but I can tell that something is different as it springs back to the up position instead of staying recessed in the mag area of the frame, this is a nice touch as it makes it harder to lodge the ejector, note I said harder, it can still be lodged and require that pain in the rear procedure to free the ejector, but it seems that the sear spring is the same and the procedure has not changed.
The sights, which are probably overkill on poodle shooter are MUCH better than the Mustang, if you shoot BUG matches @ your local IDPA league, you may like the 238. The magazine of the 238 seems to be well made, but then again so were the Colt mags. They are slightly different in the follower design and are stainless steel, I plan on trying out my blued and nickel mustang mags in the 238 and see how they perform.
I was a little skeptical of the redesign of the back strap of the 238 as the Mustang had a gentle slope to it while the 238 looks a little chunky as a result of the removable main spring housing that Sig threw in the mix. The front strap of the 238 has some vertical serrations that are cut a little deeper and wider than most serrations of that style, they should be adequate, but then again I've never had issues with a Mustang getting to slippery with a smooth front strap, there's just not that much oomph.
The 238 is a little more pricey than it's .380 competitors, but trust me if you shoot a P3AT/LCP and compare it to a Mustang, there's no competition. Out of the box the trigger on the 238 is heavier than those on my Colts, I may have to find some Mustang springs and re-spring the 238, or it may just might get better with age. I just picked up the 238 today and I haven't even done the initial cleaning or fired it yet, there's BUG match this weekend at one of the neighboring clubs that I might take the 238 to, but we'll see. One big difference between the 238 and the Mustang is that the Sig profiled slide makes it a tighter fit in my Mustang holster. Right now I'm "blocking" my HBE Com III with wax paper to see if it will loosen up enough to accommodate the 238, it not I may have to wait for a holster or two before really running the 238. I need to dig out my other Mustang holsters and see how they fit.
In the mean time, here's some pics. Excuse the dirty Mustang, it's summer and I've been carrying the Mustang on some really hot days.
Here you can see a casting mark in the frame
No casting marks here.
Left: Colt Mustang, Right: Sig 238 *Note removable mainspring housing (MSH)
Sig 238 Front strap serrations
Left: Colt barrel Right: 238 Barrel, the Sig barrel has a more even feed ramp.
Another barrel shot, note the absence of the lug surface on the Sig barrel
Colt front sight
Sig front sight
Colt rear sight
Sig rear sight.
All I can say is that this is a very well built pistol, I'll take a better look at the small parts later on and post some pics, it's exactly what I expected from Sig in the build quality, now I just gotta see how she shoots.