Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The design of the P238 is the resurrected version of Colt’s Mustang. (see previous review)
This little .380 ACP hits the market when concealed carry guns are in high demand and it fits the bill nicely. The gun has a utilitarian look with minimal ornamentation but resembling a small 1911. Its lines are all square and it looks more like plastic than metal and even weighs less than its predecessor by 5.3 oz. The ejector port is cut over the top of the slide, unlike the Mustang’s single side opening. The grip feels full and comfortable and yet a bit boxy. The P238 is a SAO (Single Action Only) with a thumb safety that was easy to manipulate but could also be bumped while shooting (as was reported by a few on the internet). The biggest appearance issue for me was the complete lack of “OOOh” and “AAAh” that I got with the Mustang.
Disassembly was fast and easy without problems. The recoil spring is a single coiled version here. The guide pin was redesigned from a round head to one with two “ears” against the barrel.
The sear and trigger return spring were redesigned to prevent the Mustang’s spring over-ride of the ejector during assembly.
Shooting it was also fun. Sharon liked it very much. In the target examples below, you can see that she did much better than I did with this gun. The gun didn’t jump, was very controllable, and all rounds fired flawlessly. The trigger felt smooth and the reset seemed very short. There was no problem with the safety getting bumped, either. We even let Angela shoot this. She controlled it well, although it was her first time with a caliber larger than a .22 and commented that it tried to jump out of her hand. It didn’t, of course, but we understand.
The BAD. That trigger. OUCH! Although the trigger looks identical to the Mustang’s, it comes to a point that would continuously hurt the lower ¼ of my trigger finger. There would HAVE to be some kind of mod here before this became a range gun. Sharon noticed it but it didn’t bother her nearly as much as it did me.
Overall impression: I seriously see us owning one of these, although I would prefer the solid black (Nitron) version over the two-tone. It is small, accurate and, except for the bottom of the trigger, comfortable. There are other small guns for concealed carry, but this is the best .380 (currently in production) that we have seen. It’s like a dependable car without the pricey paint job, I guess.