SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Review

For over 150 years, SIG (which in the 1970’s became ‘SIG Sauer’) has been one of the world’s leading manufacturers of firearms. This is a company known for its loyalty to metal, its attention to detail, and its high quality. The P239 concealed carry, single-stack pistol is no different, and maybe even a little better. We’ve been covering SIG’s recently, highlighting gems like the P938, MPX, P220, M400, and P250, but the P239 might take the cake.

SIG [Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft (Swiss Industrial Company)] was first approached by the Ministry of Defense in 1860, and since then it has been providing Switzerland with firearms of all kinds. Before that time, they were a factory which manufactured wagons and railway cars.
The various branches of Swiss military, as well as Federal Swiss agencies and departments of law enforecement, have all taken advantage of their local talent, and have looked to SIG as a source of service firearms for many years. The P239 is available in 9mm, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W. Here are some of the specs for the P239 Nitron in 9mm.

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SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Specs

Caliber – 9X19 Parabellum.
Action – semi-automatic, DA/SA.
Length – 6.6 inches.
Height – 5.1 inches.
Width – 1.2 inches.
Weight – 39.5 oz.
Barrel length – 3.6 inches.
Trigger pull – DA/SA, 10/4.4 lbs.
Capacity– 8 rounds (standard), 10 rounds (extension).
MSRP – $1006.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Build

This weapon was SIG’s answer to police and federal agents’ request for a back-up pistol which could also be carried off-duty, as a concealed carry weapon. The Nitron Compact is so named due to the Nitron finish on its stainless steel slide, and its rather small dimensions. The P239’s frame is made of a steel alloy, with a hard coat anodized finish. It features a polymer grip, and a barrel which has been heat-treated for ruggedness and durability.

The P239 is a little smaller than other SIG compacts, and is considered to be ‘slim’, yet easy to handle. Ideal for concealed carriers who don’t want to compromise on caliber, grip, or firepower. The feeling of a gun is so very important, as any gun owner knows, and this gun feels right. You need to be able to count on it at a time of need; you need that one shot to neutralize your target; and that means being able to grip it tight so you can squeeze that trigger with confidence.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Shooting

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SIG Sauer P239 Pistol Shooting

I like how this gun looks, feels, and shoots right of out of the box. It reminded me of a Glock 19 or 26, striker-fire mechanism aside, but with a shorter barrel and a more welcoming grip. I have nothing against Glock, of course, just sharing my initial feelings on the P239. It is a lot of fun to shoot, and it has a very manageable recoil. Like other slim designs, it will probably not feel good in a hand which is too big. This is not a drawback, though. As far as I am concerned, it is supposed to be that small. It is meant to be a back-up gun, a quick shot from the hip kind of gun, so I accept that the gun’s dimensions are designed to facilitate that particular need or use.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Magazine

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SIG Sauer P239 Pistol Magazine

When you order this gun new from SIG, you get a couple of 8-round steel magazines. That is the standard capacity. For a single-stack gun, it is indeed standard. There is a SIG magazine extension available for 9mm, which adds 2 rounds to your count and provides you with 10 rounds. 2 rounds may make a difference for some, but as one blogger wrote (I am paraphrasing): if you can’t neutralize your target in eight shots – you better run.

The man’s got a point. Some people are used to the idea of more firepower. They may be accustomed to 30-round magazines, which the ever-popular AR-platform has standardized. They may be more acquainted with the full size and compact size of pistols, which offer significantly more rounds per mag. But still, the man’s got a point. If you are going to carry a ‘close encounter’ kind of gun, in concealment, you have the element of surprise on your side. So I tend to agree that if you can’t bring your close-proximity target down in 8 rounds of 9mm power, you probably won’t be able to do it in 30 rounds of 5.56mm either.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Holster, Grips and Accessories

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SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol With Holster

A holster is the first accessory which many people buy. Obviously, it is essential. It frees your hands, secures the gun, and – in the case of concealed carry – makes sure that it won’t reveal the presence of your firearm.

With the P239, there are a few holsters which are designed to fit that specific model. SIGTac have a paddle holster, Badger Concealment have an IWB kydex holster, and DeSantis have a high-riding OWB holster. Many other multi-purpose holsters exist, which fit the SIG P239. A holster is also a personal item, and you may check out a few before settling on one which fits your needs.

The SIG P239 has a two-and-a-half-fingers kind of a grip. Like I said, those with larger hands will probably not be fond of it. A grip extension could help, yes, but that invites the question of why you would even bother to purchase such a small handgun, if you intend to enlarge it by adding a grip extension. For those who are interested in leaving the grip size alone, but who find a change in texture to be beneficial, there are different grips (Hogue immediately comes to mind) which can tighten your hold. And let’s face it – when you are faced with an emergency situation, your hands could be sweaty or shaking. Those who feel like their grip needs more traction should definitely consider an addition, whether solid, checkered, or/and finger-grooved.

Other popular accessories include optics, like lasers and red dots. Your choice of optic device will vary, depending on your natural inclination, and on your intended use (back-up, primary, self-defense, home-defense, etc.). One thing is clear: you do NOT want to start fumbling when that loud noise makes you jump up and reach for your weapon.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Safety and Sights

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SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Sights

The P239 has no external safety, and it follows in the footsteps of other DS/SA service guns. The idea behind a back-up service gun is the ability to use it in a pinch. In order for it to be as effective as possible, there is no safety button. It is designed to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer decocked. The DA/SA trigger itself acts as a safety, as does the gun’s de-cocking lever, which makes the gun safe to carry even with a round in its chamber.

The stock sights on the P239 are SIGlite tritium night sights. SIG have enjoyed a lot of success with these sights. Even though it raises the price of the gun, they are still worth it. Again, being a service gun, SIG had incorporated their SIGlite sights at the factory level. There are those who say that sights on such small handguns are unnecessary, but I disagree. I feel that sights is always better than no sights at all. I feel that even if it is designed to be a close-encounter point-and-shoot gun, sights are imperative. SIGlite sights have a mellow, visible green glow.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol Scorpion Variant Review

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SIG Sauer P239 Scorpion Variant

This variant is available in .40 S&W. It has the same dimensions as the P239 Compact, but comes with Hogue HG-10 Piranha grips, a flat dark earth (FDE) finish, and two 7-round single-stack magazines. Also includes SIGlite night sights. It is a beautiful gun, made with the same genius engineering and attention to detail which is the heart of SIG Sauer. This variant has been discontinued since 2016 (I think), but it is a popular variant, so there is always a chance it will make a comeback.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol 9mm vs. 40 Cal

As I said, the P239 is avilable in several calibers. The two most popular ones are 9mm and .40 S&W. In the 9mm category, there are two models available:

  • P239 Nitron Compact and P239 SAS Gen2 Compact.
  • In the .40 S&W category, there is only the Nitron Compact.

The debate on which of the two cartridges has more stopping power and is more fit for law-enforcement, is one which continues to rage in many gun forums and police departments all of the analog and digital worlds. I always liked the 9mm, and it is the most popular handgun round in the world. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with .40 S&W. As a standard, 9mm are heavier, with more grains. There are those who believe this makes them better. To each, his own. Both cartridges have proved themselves, as far as I am concerned.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol vs. P238

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SIG Sauer P238 Pistol

The P238 is a micro-compact, but unlike the P239, it takes heavily after the 1911. It has been produced and distributed since 2009, and is still being manufactured today. It comes in .380 ACP, and is also built for concealment. It is close in size to the P239, but goes a step further. Dimensions:

  • Length – 5.5 inches.
  • Height – 3.9 inches.
  • Width – 1.1 inches.
  • Weight – 15.2 oz.

The P238’s standard capacity is six rounds (seven, extended). It has a single-action only trigger, and is equipped with SIGlite night sights. The MSRP of the P238 is between $706 – $1013, depending on the variant. In 2009, certain P238 models were recalled for a safety upgrade, and returned to their owners. No malfunctions actually took place, but SIG wanted to be on the safe side. Good call, SIG.

SIG Sauer P239 Semi-Automatic Pistol: Price and Where to Buy

The price of most, if not all, of P239 models hovers around $1000.You have to remember that SIGs are state-of-the-art, and they have that reputation for a reason.

Buying SIGs can be tricky, since they usually have a higher MSRP to begin with. As with any weapon, the best place to look is at your local gun shop or nearest authorized SIG dealer. You can pick SIGs up at gun shows and other related events. Online, there is always a deal which you could find. It is mainly a question of whether or not you want a model which has been discontinued. That is where the prices can vary significantly.

Conclusion

Whether you are a police officer or an ordinary civilian, concealed carry is something every gun owner can appreciate. We carry weapons to stay aware and stay safe, and concealed carry is a big part of that. Like I said, the element of surprise can be a huge advantage. Like true martial arts combats, gunfights don’t last long. At all. Hollywood may have gotten us used to drawn out gunfights and exciting cinematography, but in truth – especially in civilian encounters – they barely last seconds.

If you are in the market for big calibers options in a slim frame, the P239 may be right up your alley. Try before you buy, do your research properly, and stay safe out there!

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