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Sig P238 New Owner Looking for Best Ammo

This is a discussion on Sig P238 New Owner Looking for Best Ammo within the SIG Sauer Pistols forums, part of the SIG Sauer Forum category; Hi everyone, I took the plunge and bought a Sig P238 because I need a small pistol for CCW purposes. Can you advise me on ...


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Old 01-28-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
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Sig P238 New Owner Looking for Best Ammo

Hi everyone, I took the plunge and bought a Sig P238 because I need a small pistol for CCW purposes.

Can you advise me on the best self-defense ammo that works well in the Sig P238?

I'm not asking about the best .380 self-defense ammo, but what .380 ACP works best in the Sig P238.

Thanks.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
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IMO you should buy several brands and see what shoots best in YOUR pistol.
Generally ball ammo should give you no problems but HP will vary due to the size and shape of the front cavity. Those are the ones you will want to thoroughly test if you plan on using JHP as CCW ammo. Unfortunately they are also the most expensive and fewest number in a box.

Also some guns need a couple hundred rounds thru them to break them in, reliability may improve after that so use cheap ball for your break in period.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:57 AM   #3
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I have around 500 rounds through my P238. I carry Hornady Critical Defensive for my daily carry. I have purchased 300 round of Winchester white box and found that the tip is a little to square for consistency in performance. It is also "dirty" compared to the other ammo I have used. I purchased PMC and HPR to see which I like better. I found the PMC to be great. In speaking with a few others at the range who also carry it was a common statement that PMC was perferred for the range. I think all of us at the range with a P238 carry the Hornady Critical Defense for daily carry.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:00 PM   #4
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Not to hijack the thread but to ask a quickie...
I'm curious LitleCowgirl, how you and your range associates arrived at the decision to carry critical defense...
I myself don't know, but I have read in several other threads that it doesn't expand as advertised and penetration is inadequate. Not trying to start a bullet war just looking for more info as I too am searching for a decent round to load in my magazines.
So far the contenders consistently recommended are Gold Dot short barrel, Buffalo bore and Cor-Bon DPX. (all of which are really pricey to just try blasting at the range)
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:09 PM   #5
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Where I shoot there are several women who carry a P238 and all of us happen to carry the Critical Defense. Speaking for myself at the time when I purchased my P238 the Critical Defense was the best option available.

Since then I have spent time reading reviews and talking to other .380 owners to get a feel for what the "best" is for my gun. Also, I have a few people who have a .380 and spent time trying a variety of ammo to find that they prefer the critical defense. So based on the reviews, friends' experiences, and price point is how I got to the critical defense.

In my readings one thing that was commonly mentioned is the difference between civilian self defense in a situation with a bad guy versus the shooting through glass or metal. The penetration and expansion in the critical defense has been show to be consistent which is a plus for me. I look at the reason why I would ever have to shoot in daily life it would be in a close distance between me and the bad guy and how the performance is said to be in that distance is consistent. I do not plan on shooting someone through a metal door or window but hey you never know what could happen.

One review I look at is here. hi-powers--handguns: Informal Tests: Hornady Critical Defense .380 & .38 Special He looks at the ammo through all aspects and questions.

It is in my near future to be going out to the desert to shoot at contains of water (ballistic gel is not in my budget). I will be looking at the damage done and the defenses between the ammo I have.

Sorry I went on and on. Hopefully it answered your questions.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:03 PM   #6
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That was a great reply, sounds like you are well informed and have done your homework.
Thanks for the link and for your thoughts.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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I also use the Hornady Critical Defense. As the previous post said the Winchester white box tip is a little to square for my p238. At the range Federal American Eagle works great for me. That is also what Sig Sauer uses at their shops.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:35 PM   #8
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I like the Winchester Ranger SXT's for self defense ammo. Whatever round you decide on, make sure you shoot enough rounds through your P238 to insure functionality and to know shot groupings/location. It is likely that it will be slightly different than the shot groupings/location of your practice rounds.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:52 AM   #9
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critical defense here as well. good stuff and has proven to be scary accurate in my 238. sub 1" 5 shot groups at 10 yards.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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I used to carry Hornady Critical Defense in my P238, but now I carry Buffalo Bore 100 gr. hardcast (27A/20)for defense. It will blow a hole through anybody, bones, car doors and all. It penetrates 32" of gelatin. Standard .380 ammo penetrates 8" to 12".

I tested some .380 ammo by shooting it through a stack of 2 X 4's. The Critical defense went 3/4 the way through 1 board. The round nose FMJ went through 1 board and barely touched the 2nd board. The Buffalo Bore blasted clear through 2 boards and 3/4 the way through the 3rd one. Critical Defense is OK if your attacker is standing still, squarely facing you, with his arms at his sides and wearing a t-shirt, but I wouldn't stake my life on it.

SIG advises that excessive use of +P ammo in the P238 can cause excessive "need for repair," and that P238 owners should carry the +P ammo for defense and practice with regular FMJ ammo. I personally practice with Speer Lawman. Never had a failure with it. PMC Bronze is good also, but shoots pretty dirty. Same with Monarch. The Winchester white box flat-tip has horrific quality control, and gives me 1 or 2 failures per box.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:19 PM   #11
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I alternate Hornady Critical Defense and Winchester Ranger SXT. I like these tow rounds and I don't want over penetration.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:59 PM   #12
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ammo for my 238

i also am looking for the best ammo for my wifes 238. she had a bersa thunder and the speer gold dots worked great. i put the same ammo in her 238 and it jammed immediatly. this ammo has way to square of a tip to feed correctly. everything i find about this issue seems to lead toward polymer tipped jhp being the fix. whether its hornady critical defence or another brand.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:17 PM   #13
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I found this defence ammo to work in my wifes P238 and my P238. Some people on some forums said it was geat for this gun. I bought two boxes and found it to feed great tru this gun. Hard to find, out of stock on many sites.
CorBon Pow'rBall 380 ACP, 70Gr Pow'rBall, 20 Rounds per box
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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I bought a P238 all stainless HDW and same day quickly grabbed up a box of .380 Winchester white box 95GR FMJ at Walmart while leaving town to go up to my mountain property for a fun filled weekend shoot. I too am now one of those who has come away disappointed not being sure which is at fault-the gun or the ammo as I had four FTFs in eighty rounds.
I just received a 500 round order of new (they also sell reloads) 100GR FMJ from FREEDOM*MUNITIONS and in comparing both rounds, the Winchester flat nose measures 1/4" in diameter and the 5GRN heavier F*M flat nose measures 3/16" in diameter so I'm thinking the F*M ammo will feed better due to the more streamlined rounded head with a smaller flat nose. I'll have that answer in about a week when I return to my range.
This is my second purchase from F*M, the first was for my SO's .357 Lady Smith and all went well there with no misfires albeit it was a wheel gun.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:30 AM   #15
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Just a thought - I get the "why" behind the inquiry, however I am convinced whether I am packing FMJ's or JHP's, in the event I am forced to pull the trigger, the person on the receiving end will really not know the difference, nor will they care.

I would spend more time on aim, breathing, and crisis crosshairs alignment. :/ #keepingitreal
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