Sig Sauer P238 SAS vs HD Review/Comparison

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Sig Sauer P238 SAS vs HD Review/Comparison

Post Number:#1  Postby Midwest Troubleshoot » Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:27 am

A friend loaned me his Sig Sauer P238 SAS so that we could test its reliability with reloaded ammunition from Freedom Munitions (Official). We have a Sig Sauer P238 HD that we noticed was not digesting the .380 100gr RNFP - FMJ Remanufactured rounds. Today we put both guns to the test out in the cold. For reference in the pictures, the SAS is wearing wood grips and the HD is wearing black grips.

At previous range days we had a significant reliability issue with the P238 HD of ours with these particular rounds. While the gun shot nearly 100% reliable with factory ammunition, it would have 1-2 malfunctions per magazine (6 or 7 rounds) with the reloads. Often it would be a failure to extract. We noticed the rims of the casings even being ripped off by the extractor, yet after a few seconds, gravity would be enough to get the spent casing to fall out of the chamber. Our theory was the used casings were expanding at discharge but contracting quickly as the chamber cooled after the shot.

Last time we went to the range we shot both guns with factory ammunition only. Each gun had about 50 rounds shot through it. Both guns shot 100% reliable. We shot indoors that day.

Today we shot both guns with the Freedom Munitions 380 100gr RNFP - FMJ Reman loads only. Again we shot about 50 rounds through each gun. Today we shot outside. The temperature was less than 20 degrees. With the reloads, both guns experienced malfunctions, but only 2-3 each over the 50 rounds. Looking at the theory above, it would make sense that the very cold temperatures would reduce the frequency of malfunctions since the barrel would be cold to start with and would cool down faster.

At this point I have to rule this is an issue with the ammunition, not the gun. That being said, not all guns are made to handle reloaded ammunition. I've shot thousands of rounds of Freedom Munitions reloads through my Glock 22 in .40 S&W and I've had no issues. I would still recommend Freedom Munitions reloads to people looking to save money on ammunition. Just test your gun with reloads in a small batch before ordering a large case of them.

Shooting both guns side by side I started noticing differences between them. The SAS is lighter due to some aluminum parts that are steel in the HD. This made a big difference when shooting them. The SAS actually bites a bit since the frame is so light. It was much more difficult to manage the recoil than the HD.

I also noticed much more difficulty hitting steel plates at 50 yards with the SAS than then HD. I decided to test accuracy between the two at 5 yards. In the pictures you can see the results. These are 5 shot groups from 5 yards. While the SAS is plenty accurate for a pocket gun, there is a significant difference in group size between them.

If I were in the market for one of these guns, knowing what I do now about them, I would definitely go with the HD. It is a bit more expensive, but it is more comfortable to shoot and has better hit capability at distance. Just know going into this purchase that shooting reloaded ammunition is probably not going work well for you.

Justin Mahan-Strupp
Owner Midwest Troubleshooters, LLC
Side by side both guns
Sig SAS.jpg
Picture of gun and group shot mentioned in review
Sig HD.jpg
Picture of gun and group shot mentioned in review
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Sig Sauer P238 SAS vs HD Review/Comparison



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