Pocket pistols have been around since the days of the Old West, when riverboat gamblers carried vest pocket pistols for personal protection. In certain social circles, and on formal occasions, the practice was seen as more genteel than carrying a full-sized firearm for personal protection.

In terms of application, little has actually changed since the frontier days. Today, gentlemen still carry pocket pistols on occasions when carrying full-sized sidearms might be socially unacceptable. Ladies, on the other hand, actually prefer them, since pocket pistols are easier to carry and conceal.

Pocket pistols have also found a niche application in the role of back-up gun. Today’s incredible selection of pocket pistols is a result of the popular demand for smaller, lighter guns that are more carry-friendly than full-size handguns.

Personal Preference

My personal choice for pocket carry is the Sig Sauer P938.

I personally like this little 9mm pocket pistol, because its compact frame has a little heft to it, and helps with felt recoil.

I learned to shoot with a 1911, so the idea of carrying a sub-compact 1911 really appealed to me.

Those who are used to a 1911 will feel comfortable carrying the P938 cocked and locked. Just slip it into your pocket or carry it IWB, using quality holsters. It comes in the standard Sig case with 2 magazines—one 6-round and one 7-round—plus an OWB holster made of hard plastic.

Heft and Feel

The P938 is heavier than most sub-compacts I have shot.

I talked about felt recoil and it is, for me, easier to get back on target after each shot using the P938. The sights are three-dot SigLite, and were dead-on from the factory.

The steel slide and alloy frame contribute to the feel and balance of the gun. It feels good in my hand, and that is a deciding factor whenever I consider purchasing a new handgun.

I chose the Scorpion mainly because I have a Sig 1911 Scorpion Carry. That might sound a little vain on my part, but they do look good together!


The G10 grips are easy to hold on to when the 6-round mag is inserted. I have large hands, but the gun was easy to control with the 6-round magazine in place. The 7-round mag adds a pinky extension, and my hand fits without a problem. The mag release is typical of all Sigs: it is excellent.

My wife shot the Scorpion and liked everything but the grips, so I suppose they are not for everyone. I bought her the SAS version with rosewood grips, and that gun is now her EDC.

The trigger on my P938 is crisp, with very little take up. Again, those who use a 1911 will be right at home here.

Sight pick-up is quick, with minimal delay in re-acquiring the target. I believe this makes the P938 a good back up weapon, or even a primary EDC. Its size is ideal for those times when carrying a full-size is just too much, when you consider the occasion you will be attending.

Disassembly and Reassembly

Break down is similar to the 1911, but there is no barrel bushing to contend with. Care must be exercised when reassembling, as the ejector may be damaged and cause a malfunction.

It also pays to remember that Sigs like to run wet, so use the correct amount of lubricant. I have put around 1,000 rounds through my Scorpion with no malfunctions. The SAS has done over 500 rounds with no problems.


I have shot a good number of pocket pistols in my 45 years of experience, and the 938 is the best one I have found, so far. I am biased towards the 1911, of course, so I prefer a pocket gun whose controls are in the same familiar places.

I am also a hammer guy, and striker-fire does not appeal to me. Similarly, a DAO trigger seems to take forever to fire.

The 938 has all the features I look for in a pocket pistol—high bore axis and single-action-only trigger. For a subcompact, it is very easy to shoot and carry.

Sig offers several versions of the P938—eleven, to be exact. Anyone wanting a subcompact 9mm should check out their collection.

You might find something you like. After all, it’s a Sig!