SIG Sauer P938 Legion No. 938-9-Legion 9mm Luger

Small, dehorned, fairly accurate and festooned with the Legion logo, this P938 would do well for the shooter who likes precision and panache.


For centuries, handguns were made of wood and metal — wood and brass, wood and iron, wood and steel, wood and stainless steel. Eventually, alloyed metals were substituted for steel, where possible, making things a bit lighter to carry. Then came polymer-framed pistols, which are ubiquitous today. Almost everyone makes one or more polymer models, so many of the shortcomings have been worked out. Why, then, are predominantly metal pistols still around? Because some of us still like the sculptured look that metal can provide, and some of us like the feel of metal in our hands. That “some of us” market seems to be large enough and vocal enough that manufacturers are starting to take notice once again. Springfield Armory introduced the updated SA-35 version of the classic Browning Hi-Power last year to great reviews and even better sales. Or just try to find a new SIG P210 Carry model at a real price.

In this metallic vein, we find it gratifying (and interesting) that sales of the traditional all-metal P938 still warrant production and upgrades. The latest top-of-the-line upgraded nameplate for most SIG pistols is called a Legion model. The Legions may have different sights, grips, or finishes to go along with other options more suitable for carry or competition. A pistol tested here, the SIG Sauer P938 Legion No. 938-9-Legion 9mm Luger, $699, is no exception. The standard P938 shows to have an overall height of 3.9 inches and weighs in at 16 ounces. This Legion model comes in with a height of 4.3 inches and weighs 17.8 ounces. Most of the difference is due to the magazine well added to the upgraded pistol. Attached to the mainspring housing via a single screw, it adds almost half an inch to the height. Couple that with the slightly extended base pad on the seven-round magazine, and the shooter stands a real chance of being able to place his pinky finger on the grip instead of below it.

Smith & Wesson brought out the Shield model sub-compact 9mm pistol in 2012 and upgraded it to the Shield 2.0 in 2019. Both of these thin concealment pistols have served the company and their buyers well. Some of our team have tested and carried various Shield models personally and were happy to do so. Then SIG Sauer came out with the P365 in a similar size, with a similar price and more bullets on board. S&W recently introduced the Shield Plus with a double-stack magazine as an answer to the P365. The pistols are great, but the size keeps growing. That can become a very real issue for those who live in warm-weather states and need to conceal what they carry. Tested here, the Smith & Wesson CSX 12615 9mm Luger, $549, may be some of the best of both worlds. The CSX is small, relatively lightweight and has great ergonomics, thanks to many of the modular options also available on the Shield. The CSX also has more magazine capacity.

We tested these two head to head at American Shooting Centers in Houston. We fired for accuracy at 15 yards by shooting multiple five-shot groups from a well-sandbagged Caldwell Pistolero shoot-ing rest. Practical capabilities were tested using multiple speed exercises fired at 5 and 7 yards. We tested using three different types of ammunition: 115-grain Remington Range ammo, Winchester Target & Practice FMJs, and SIG Sauer’s 115-grain V-Crown JHPs, which is a SIG-optimized load for short-barreled pistols. Here’s what we found:

Gun Tests Grade: A- (OUR PICK)


The form of this pistol closely mimics that of a 1911 and, as such, the early versions have nice crisp edges on the slide and frame. Instead, this Legion melts virtually every edge of the stainless-steel slide and most of those on the frame. This contouring makes the pistol much more comfortable to carry in a pocket or on a belt. Even the contact surfaces of the slide stop and the manual thumb safety seem to have been beveled. There are grasping grooves fore and aft on the slide. While they are not very deep or sharp, we had no trouble getting the traction needed to operate the slide for loading or press checks.

Action TypeSemi auto, hammer fired
Overall Length6.0 in.
Overall Height4.3 in.
Maximum Width1.17 in.
Weight Unloaded17.8 oz.
Weight Loaded23.1 oz.
Slide MaterialCarbon steel
Slide-Retraction Effort14.6 lbs.
ReceiverLegion-gray aluminum alloy
Front Strap Height1.9 in.
Back Strap Height2.5 in.
Barrel Length3.0 in.
Grip Thickness (Maximum)1.04 in.
Grip Circumference4.9 in.
Magazines(3) 7 round, stainless bodies
Rear SightX-Ray 3 2-dot night sight
Front SightX-Ray 3 1-dot night sight
Sight Radius4.1 in.
Trigger Pull Weight4.9 lbs.
Trigger Span2.25 in.
WarrantyLimited lifetime
Telephone(603) 610-3000
Made InU.S.
The SIG’s mainspring housing (arrow), grip panels, and front strap (below, arrow) all provide checkering needed to hold onto this pocket rocket. There’s even a bit of texture on the bottom side of the trigger guard.

The sights are the X-Ray3 style, which are suitable for day or night. Tritium capsules are embedded in both the front and rear sight. They glow as two soft green dots on the rear and a single dot on the front as viewed from your open safe at night. The small vial in the front sight is surrounded by a large bright-green circle, which we found to be visible even in Texas summertime sunshine. Lines on the rear sight are crisp (with the forward edges also melted). The notch on the rear sight is wide enough to catch a bit of light to either side of the front sight and deep enough to provide a good sight picture. The front ledge of the rear sight provides proper angles to allow the owner to tactically rack them on a shoe or belt. Both sights are in dovetails, making them adjustable for windage.

As with many other SIG pistols, the extractor is external. The ejection port is open across most of the top of the slide, allowing outstanding access for any necessary manipulations.

The magwell on the P938 made reloads very easy and provided a little extra room for larger hands.

Takedown is standard for similar 1911-style pistols that don’t have a barrel bushing. To break the pistol down, first check 27 times to make sure the pistol is not loaded, draw the slide to the rear until the notches line up on the left side of the frame, and push the slide stop out right to left. The top end can then be slid forward and off the rails.

The alloy frame adds more Legion features. The front strap, the mainspring housing, and the bottom of the trigger guard are all checkered sharply enough to provide a secure grip without being painful. Even the magazine release and the top of the slide stop are checkered. Grips are black G10 micarta panels with the Legion chevron logo embedded. The previously mentioned magwell was well-executed and long enough to provide a smoother reload. The magwell can easily be removed. Standard models deploy a curved trigger. The Legion P938 provides a mostly flat trigger that breaks just to the rear of 90 degrees. Also, there is a small hook at the bottom of the trigger blade that forces the finger slightly higher on the trigger. Required trigger compression on our sample was 4.8 pounds, though it felt a bit lighter. Take-up was only about one-eighth inch, and movement thereafter totaled about one-quarter inch. That trigger hook, after an extended firing session, left the tips of our trigger fingers very tender.

Overall, the P938 (left sights and target) was the clear accuracy winner. We also liked the SIG’s luminous green night sights.

This Legion is a small, very concealable pistol shooting a full-power cartridge. Is it snappy to shoot? Yes, but everything this cartridge and size is as well, so that was no surprise. Nor was it a problem. We shot the P938 a bit faster on both exercises. Split times (elapsed time between shots) on the speed drills were consistently in the mid 0.20-second range, showing this was a very controllable pistol. Part of that might have had something to do with the trigger, which we thought was easier to manipulate that than on the S&W. The Remington 115-grain range ammo was the favorite fodder for the SIG, providing groups averaging right at 1.5 inches at 15 yards.

Our Team Said: This pistol has all the Legion extras. There is even a fan club with extra swag for those who like the nameplate. Count us among the fans of the P938 Legion. We liked the P938 Legion a touch more than the S&W CSX, but you’ll have to decide if the extra money is worth it.

9mm Luger Range Data

Our shooters fired these pistols at American Shooting Centers in Houston. We shot them for accuracy at 15 yards by firing multiple five-shot groups from a well-sandbagged Caldwell Pistol Rest assisted by a Mini DRC Fortune Cookie from We used a LabRadar chronograph to measure velocities.

Remington Range 115-grain FMJ T9MM3BSIG Sauer P938 LegionSmith & Wesson CSX
Average Velocity1034 fps1023 fps
Muzzle Energy273 ft.-lbs.267 ft.-lbs.
Average Group1.54 in.2.55 in.
Best Group1.09 in.1.85 in.
Winchester Target & Practice 115-grain FMJ USA9MMVPSIG Sauer P938 LegionSmith & Wesson CSX
Average Velocity1094 fps1068 fps
Muzzle Energy306 ft.-lbs.291 ft.-lbs.
Average Group2.03 in.3.49 in.
Best Group0.99 in.2.79 in.
SIG Sauer V-Crown 115-grain JHP 9MMA1-365-20SIG Sauer P938 LegionSmith & Wesson CSX
Average Velocity1114 fps1080 fps
Muzzle Energy317 ft.-lbs.298 ft.-lbs.
Average Group2.36 in.2.45 in.
Best Group1.66 in.2.12 in.

DRILL DATA (5x5x5)

Process: Fire five shots from low ready at a 5-inch circle placed at 5 yards. Numbers are averages for four repetitions.
PistolTime to First Shot (seconds)Split Average (seconds)Total Time (seconds)
SIG Sauer P938 Legion0.8650.2351.805
Smith & Wesson CSX0.9650.2592.000

Drill Data (5x8x7)

Process: Fire five shots from low ready at an 8-inch circle at 7 yards. Numbers are averages for four repetitions.
PistolTime to First Shot (seconds)Split Average (seconds)Total Time (seconds)
SIG Sauer P938 Legion0.860.221.74
Smith & Wesson CSX1.1100.242.070


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