Working the gun show today for the NRA/CSSA one particular gun really caught my attention: the Sig Sauer P238 with 6+1 rounds of .380 shooting goodness. It’s actually a gun that caught my attention before, at the NRA convention in 2009, but I’m giving my rejection of it a rethink. My only problem with this gun … it’s a single action (SA) pistol, which means to have it ready to shoot you have to carry it cocked and locked (hammer back/thumb safety on) but there is no grip safety, like you’d find on a 1911.
I guess I’m kind of an old-timer by today’s standards, because even though I’ve VERY aware (please don’t email me or bother with comments questioning my gunnie cred) that no gun goes off unless the trigger is pulled I prefer another level of safety between me and the *bang*. Blame it on my own clumsiness if you want, I’m not asking everyone to take my position, but when I’m handling a gun almost every day I want a little extra protection from my own stupidity. So although my gun has to be ready to go in the highly unlikely event I ever need it, I also want to make sure that handling the gun isn’t bringing more risk into my life over a period of decades than less. So while some gunnie brethren will scoff, to put that into perspective: I probably carry 5 days a week or thereabouts, and if I do that for the next 30 years that’s 15,600 times I’ll handle my carry gun, figuring one time per carry day to strap it on and put it away. That’s a lot of chances to do something really, really clumsy or dumb.
So that’s my viewpoint. Share it, mock it, or quit reading.
But anyway … for semi-automatics, my preference is a frame mounted thumb safety that goes down for fire (such as on my favorite type of firearm, a 1911). So as much as I love Glocks, and as much as I’d probably carry one if I were a cop (like every cop I know), you won’t find one as my daily carry. At least as long as I’m a Suburbs dwelling computer guy and crime still at it’s current rather low level.
Basically, I want two levels of what I call “safety” barriers in a carry gun between me and the *bang*. A DA type trigger pull equals 1 and then I want another level of safety besides. So, surprisingly to some, who become scared at the sight of a hammer back, a cocked and locked 1911 meets that standard easily. For a cocked and locked 1911 you have the thumb safety, the grip safety, and the SA trigger. That’s a lot of things to have to go wrong to have a negligent misfire, and I’ve got no problem with one shoved into my belt while I’m hauling my kids around town or doing shopping.
My Bersa Ultra Compact 9mm (which I also love, BTW) also has two levels of safety, with one being the DA/SA trigger pull and the other the thumb safety. Labeled ultra compact or not, however, it’s a tad large to wear in my summer dress of blue jeans and T-shirt.
My normal carry is actually a revolver. And though I realize that with a revolver all you have is the trigger between you and *bang*, I still give it a pass. It’s a very hard trigger pull, and to fire in DA mode the cylinder has to turn and the hammer has to come back, so it’s not going to happen accidentally while carrying or handling.
But back to the Sig P238 … I’m going to give it some hard thought. It’s an awesome size for a carry gun, and I’ve got no problem with the .380 as a self defense round for my lifestyle (most CCW citizens I know carry .32′s). The problem is I don’t think I want to carry it cocked and locked. In all my years of carry and gun handling, I’ve never had a trigger accidentally get pulled in any fashion, but I have pulled a gun out of the holster and found the safety off.
So if I carried the P238 I’d probably carry it hammer down. Not only does hammer down mean I have to drop the hammer on a live round every time I load it, which I really only do once between every trip to the range (and I only shoot my carry gun once a year or so), it also means that if the unthinkable actually happens and I have to draw the weapon … at a time of great stress and possibly panic I have to successfully get the hammer back to turn my CCW rock into a gun. I feel pretty comfortable I can thumb a safety down — it’s something I do automatically at the range every time I raise my carry gun to fire, even if it’s already off, so it’s deep in my muscle memory. But having to pull the hammer back …
On the other hand, if I’m ever in what seems to be a bad situation, as it develops I can reach back and surreptitiously put the hammer back in advance.
I dunno. First I need to get the budget for a new gun and holster, then I need to decide what my priority is. The 5 shot snubby I currently carry most often may not be the most powerful handgun int he world, but it’s comfortable to carry/conceal and 5 rounds of .357 can really change a bad situation in my favor. Certainly better than no gun and a lot of pleading.
Below is a video if you’re really interested. It goes a bit slow but covers about everything about the gun, though the mag problem would seem to be fixed. Don’t bother watching it unless you seriously want some more info … because it’s a bit on the long side and he even responds to his cell phone while recording.