Sig P238 vs. Walther PPK

This is a discussion on Sig P238 vs. Walther PPK within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've owned a Walther PPK in .380 caliber for about 15 years, buying it used at that time. I would shoot it periodically at the ...

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Thread: Sig P238 vs. Walther PPK

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Sig P238 vs. Walther PPK

    I've owned a Walther PPK in .380 caliber for about 15 years, buying it used at that time. I would shoot it periodically at the range and occasionally carry it, but never on a regular basis. I liked the small size and flat profile of the PPK, but was not overwhelmed with the ballistics of the .380 caliber, preferring something larger like 9mm, .40 or .45. I felt that .380 was fine for a backup gun to be used as a last resort, but not as the primary gun. And the Walther wasn't perfect as a backup, being heavy (21 ounces) and a little large for pocket carry.

    Recently I've been reading about the popularity of many new small, lightweight .380s coming onto the market, and was particularly impressed by the reviews of the Sig P238, an aluminum framed single action gun with thumb safety that looks like a miniature 1911. I often carry a single action 1911 in cocked and locked condition, so I was not put off by that mode of carry on the P238. I recently found a slightly used P238 at a fair price, so I bought it.

    I am very impressed with the P238 so far, and feel that it is greatly superior to my baseline, the Walther PPK. The big advantages I see with the P238 over the PPK are:

    1. Lighter weight, under 15 ounces for the P238 compared to 21 ounces for the PPK - easier to pocket carry.
    2. Shorter barrel than the PPK, again aiding pocket carry.
    3. Better trigger - The P238 has the same 8 pound crisp pull on all shots, while the PPK has a very heavy DA first pull, making it hard to hit with that first shot.
    4. Better sights - The P238 has large night sights (standard on gun) while the PPK has miniature sights that are hard to see.
    5. Less recoil - The PPK has a blowback design with the barrel fixed to the frame, so recoil is sharp and strong, while the P238 has an unlocking barrel like larger semiautos, which softens recoil.
    6. Lighter recoil spring - The PPK has a stiff recoil spring and is hard to rack, while the P238 spring is noticeably lighter and easier to manipulate.

    So I think my P238 has definitely replaced my PPK in the .380 role, and is even a contender with my S&W 642 revolver for the backup/pocket carry role because it is shorter, flatter and easier to conceal than the revolver. It also holds 2 more rounds than the revolver.





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    NCG
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    I own the P238 and the 642 also and find the P238 a better bug/pocket gun for the same reasons you mentioned. The 642 is still a fine little wheel gun and have no plans to get it rid of it.

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    VIP Member Array 1MoreGoodGuy's Avatar
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    You might want to consider getting the Sig P938...It's very similar to the P238 but the P938 is a 9mm.
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    Re: Sig P238 vs. Walther PPK

    The Sig P232 is also 380 but DA/SA. And expensive.
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    Senior Member Array DaGunny's Avatar
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    Right now I'm carrying my P238 (at work) in a D.M. Bullard leather IWB, locked & cocked, using Hornady Critical Defense, and a 2nd Mag in a D.M. Bullard all-leather. I have no problem depending on a .380. I hold a 2" group at 25yds with my little P238.
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    Distinguished Member Array Fitch's Avatar
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    OP:

    I have both a PPK/S and a P238. I agree with everything you said. If the PPK/S hadn't been a present from my wife, and such a nice gun (it is a West German made blued PPK that looks beautiful) I'd sell it. My wife and I each have our own P238. She got rid of her LCR in favor of the P238.

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    New Member Array Harley13's Avatar
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    I have a 238 and it's a great carry gun. I broke down and put CT laser on it (Old Eyes). I just got the laser dialed in it a ball at the range.

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    I have both also and prefer the P238 over the PPK, besides I do not need to carry band-aids when shooting the P238.
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    Member Array hfjeff's Avatar
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    Also take a look at the Colt Mustang. My brother brought one over the other night as a friend of his is selling it and he wanted my opinion. What a nice solid little .380! It really fits the hand well and is compact. I have not shot it, but the fit and finish is top notch.

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    I will still stick to my 642 for pocket carry, but my father carries two P238's on him. He likes them, and I love to shoot them when we go to the range. Great little pistols with great triggers.
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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    I owned a few Colt Mustangs, back in the day; the P238 is a design copy. I tried to get comfortable with Condition One carry, but just could not make it happen. The thumb safety on these tiny pistols is just too close to my hand, not in the natural arc of my thumb's path, as with true 1911 pistols. Of course, this will vary with individual hand size and dimensions; I have somewhat large hands, but quite short thumbs. To be clear, my fear was missing the thumb safety under stressful conditions. I was not worried about unintended discharges.

    For a while, I went with hammer-down carry, with Mustangs, as cocking the hammer was a more naturally-accomplished movement, but as that was/is not how I draw and fire full-sized 1911 pistols, I could not get comfortable with that, either.

    I reverted to double-action pocket guns; revolvers and my Seecamp LWS-32.

    My Mustangs became little-used range toys, and as .380 ammo was quite expensive in those days, they eventually went away.

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    I have both a Colt Mustang and a PPK. The Mustang has every advantage for concealed carry in terms of weight and size, but if one is not comfortable with Condition 1 carry, and personally it freaks me out, the weight and size of the Mustang become irrelevant. As a result I carry the Mustang hammer down on an empty chamber, but confidently carry my PPK charged and with the safety off (it is really just a decocker in practice like on a Sig). The very heavy first shot DA trigger pull suffices as a safety during carry. I do click the safety on if the gun is not on me at home or in my ofice. There are those who are totally comfortable with 911 style Condition 1 and those who are not. I suspect few who are not make the transition to those who are. It also depends a bit on the situation. If one is in the boonies or in LE it's one thing. But for the average citizen who carries, but is not a frequent shooter, that cocked and locked pistol can feel like a time bomb on one's waist.

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    Walther PPK - 1929. Sig Sauer P238 - 2009. I'd hope it's the better firearm in practical comparison.

    That much said I'd still take the Walther if I really felt I needed a .380 - just a tried and true firearm with great looks and a great place in history. If I was serious about carrying a .380 I might go for something else, but for occasional carry? I'm okay with it :)

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    I've owned and carried over the years a SIG P232, Sig P238, Walther PPK, Walther PPK/S, Ruger LCP, and I'm sure I've left out another 380 in their somewhere. Of all the pistols the PPK carried the best, the PPK/S and P238 shot the best, and the P232 and LCR were the most reliable.

    The PPK/S was the most comforting to carry of the bunch. None were ever 100 percent reliable or even close.

    These days I mostly carry a j frame.

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    Distinguished Member Array Wunderneun's Avatar
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    The French made, German finished and marked, PPK and PPK/S do not have the reliability problems of the American copies. In addition, the triggers are smoother, the whole action is smoother, and they are better finished.

    I would carry one of those examples any day of the week in 9mmk and frequently do.

    They will still bite though if you have huge paws. That's never happened to me in over 25 years of shooting them.
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