Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Sig-Sauer P938-22

I had high hopes for the Sig-Sauer P938-22. A parallel development of the P938 9mm subcompact pistol, it was reportedly intended to first be a conversion kit for the 9mm pistol but was actually introduced prior to the conversion. I suppose that Sig-Sauer rightly saw that the market for dedicated .22 Longrifle pistols was larger than the market for conversions. With all the lip-service given to the idea of training with the .22 rimfire that duplicates the full-caliber gun most owners of these guns devote minimal time (and ammunition) to practice and many simply load and carry the guns right out of the box. Certainly not wise but it is the likely reality.

I had been pondering the little P938 but couldn't bring myself to "drop the hammer" on one. However, when given the opportunity to purchase a P938-22 pistol at a good price I impulsively leaped at the opportunity. I should have given it more thought.

The P938-22 arrived at my dealer and I completed the transfer. I took the pistol home. It sat in the box, in the safe, for two weeks. I then had an opportunity to shoot the gun. I pulled some ammo that was available and loaded the single magazine that came with the gun with the first ammo to be tried. That was the old CIL .22 LRN which must have come from the early 1960's that is it is now 40-50 years old and has been stored in unknown conditions. Every round went downrange and produced a group at 33 feet (10 yards) of about 4-5 inches centered about 3 inches to the left of target center. Ok, so the ammo works fine in 3 rifles and 2 other pistols/revolvers producing squirrel killing usable groups but maybe this ammo just doesn't go with this ammo. Well neither did R-50, 30-year old (and carefully stored, tried and true) Winchester 40 gr LRN High-velocity, or Winchester Power Points. Nor did the point of impact change much, if at all. I thought that this would be the time to adjust the "adjustable" sights.

I suppose that age hasn't lessened my naivete. I fully expected the adjustable sights to adjust. No go. Neither right nor left more than one "click". That is, the sight would adjust one click right from the original setting and then one click left from that. Not much adjustment when you need to move it about 3-inches at 10 yards. Nor could I decrease or increase elevation, not at all and I mean, not at all. The elevation screw refused to turn. There are no locking screws, just the elevation screw dead center top of the sight and a windage screw on the right of the leaf. I must be missing something... UPDATE: I finally got the sights to adjust. I am still not certain why the sight's adjustment screws resisted adjustment but after soaking several weeks in Kroil something broke loose and they now seem to work properly.

Ok, when all else fails, read the instructions. Another fail. The instruction manual is not for the P938-22 but for the 9mm version, the P938. Oh, but there's a P938-22 card insert! All is well, right? No. The card insert is concerned with the peculiarities, compared to the parent P938, of dis-assembly and assembly. No help with the sights.

I mentioned that I loaded the one magazine. That's all they ship with this .22 pistol. That's all they ship with all their pistols. Pistols are around because the advantage they have over revolvers is that one can rapidly reload via the box magazine so it would seem apropos that the pistol would come with at least 2. No. Sig-Sauer apparently can't clear enough profit unless they charge you a minimum of $38 and change (plus shipping because no firearms distributor has these in stock) per plastic magazine. Irritating but it seems to be an industry standard as Browning ships the 1911-22 with just one lonely magazine as well as do other manufacturers. As things stand now, I'm not all that sure I want to invest in my usual minimum of 6 magazines per pistol.

This is a good time to note that you might need more magazines than usual. The pistol slide does remain open on an empty magazine, but only because the bottom of the slide is stopped by the follower. The follower does not push the slide lock/slide release up as the slide lock/slide release's "tab" is made for the 9mm magazines and too short to reach the .22 follower which is in the middle of the magazine and magazine well. Indeed, the wall of the magazine would prevent even a lengthened tab from touching the magazine follower as they are made now. This has to accelerate wear on the follower. However, further wear is caused if one simply removes an empty magazine as the rear of the follower then drags across the bottom of the slide face until there is insufficient contact to retain the slide and it slides forward to close.

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