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Old March 7, 2010, 12:01 AM   #1
Ballenxj
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SIG P238 vs Colt Mustang (.380)

Got a call from a friend today that told me he had a new SIG P238 in .380. He used to own a now discontinued Colt Mustang, and he knows that I still do. He told me that the SIG P238 is basically a clone of the old time honored Mustang, knowing that I would take the bait and bring my Mustang over for comparison.
I did.
He further stated tha Colt allowed the patent on their Colt Mustang design expire, and SIG picked it up.
Here are the findings;
They are both the same size.
The magazines are interchangeable, and function check was good.
Now this is where it gets interesting. He further stripped the slide and barrel off both guns and switched them. Not only did they fit, but a quick function check shows that they will work with the others slide and barrel. WOW! I was impressed at what we had just discovered.
OK, I guess I should include a photo of them both together so you folks can see the obvious similarities.
-Bruce
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Old March 7, 2010, 12:51 AM   #2
earlthegoat2
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I have heard that Sig has the old tooling and machines from Colt for the Mustang. I dont know if they are using them for the P238 but it shows they can make an EXACT clone of the Mustang if they want to if they havnt already with the 238
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Old March 7, 2010, 12:59 AM   #3
BKScripto
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A couple of nice pieces there I'm a P238 owner myself. Sweet little gun it is...
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Old March 7, 2010, 01:20 AM   #4
Ballenxj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earlthegoat2
I have heard that Sig has the old tooling and machines from Colt for the Mustang. I dont know if they are using them for the P238 but it shows they can make an EXACT clone of the Mustang if they want to if they havnt already with the 238
Earl, Thanks for your input. After examining both pieces side by side, I think the frame could well have been turned out on original Colt tooling, Look carefully at the frames on the two I posted. They look very close to identical.
To go a step further, I'm starting to think that the only difference may be the more squared off features of the Sig slide, vs the more rounded features of the Colt's slide. That, and I think the Sig has better options for sights.
@ BKScripto, They're great aren't they?
-Bruce
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Old March 7, 2010, 04:58 AM   #5
stormyone
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How about a detail strip of both guns? That would be nice to see.

How interchangeable are the interior parts? The springs, nuts and bolts.
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Old March 7, 2010, 11:14 AM   #6
Ballenxj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormyone
How about a detail strip of both guns? That would be nice to see.

How interchangeable are the interior parts? The springs, nuts and bolts.
Sorry stormy, That will have to wait until time permits. Not likely real soon.
-Bruce
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Old March 7, 2010, 11:33 AM   #7
zonamo
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Actually, the frame is not the same on the new pistol. Sig made a major redesign of the Mustang by replacing the Mustang's mainspring retainer clip with a removable mainspring housing held in place by a retaining pin. If you look at the photo of the two pistols above you can see the grip is relieved for the pin.

Also, while the slides may be interchangeable, barrels are not. Sig made changes to the barrel/slide lockup. The Mustang uses a barrel lug, which on some pistols were problematic. The P238 uses hood lockup on the ejection port.

Nice comparison including pics of the difference in barrel and backstrap at this site:

Unblinking Eye P238/Mustang Comparison

From the schematics, most of the rest of the internals appear to be identical:

P238 Manual, Schematic on page 52

Colt .380 Manual, Schematic on page 52

All in all, I'd say Sig did a good job addressing most of the issues with the Colts. Still, it's a shame Colt quit making theirs.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg MacMustang.jpg (208.1 KB, 3995 views)
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Old March 7, 2010, 11:51 AM   #8
Ballenxj
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Thanks for this info zonamo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamo
Also, while the slides may be interchangeable, barrels are not. Sig made changes to the barrel/slide lockup. The Mustang uses a barrel lug, which on some pistols were problematic. The P238 uses hood lockup on the ejection port.
While this may be true, I saw the slides with barrels as units interchange and function. Are you referring to swapping barrels into each others slides? I can see where that might not be a good idea.
DISCLAIMER; I would "NOT", nor would I recommend doing this swap, and firing live ammo. This post is for comparison only.
PS, Thanks for the links.
-Bruce
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Old March 7, 2010, 12:07 PM   #9
zonamo
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Was just pointing out that while the slide to frame rail dimensions on the pistols appear to be identical from your top end swap test, the Sig and Colt use very different mechanisms for barrel to slide lockup.

So yes, the pistol might function with top ends swapped, but you could never swap barrels.

Last edited by zonamo; March 7, 2010 at 12:13 PM.
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Old March 7, 2010, 12:08 PM   #10
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That is just crazy. Why would colt let the pattent expire? Sell the dies & tooling to the competitor
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Old March 7, 2010, 12:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
That is just crazy. Why would colt let the pattent expire? Sell the dies & tooling to the competitor
Why did colt quit making snubbies just when they were becoming popular?
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Old March 7, 2010, 02:46 PM   #12
HisSoldier
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I don't know what patents Colt had that could expire. The Colt Government is based on the Star D model, the entire gun is a pretty close copy and internally there are few differences.
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Old March 7, 2010, 04:14 PM   #13
Peter M. Eick
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It costs money to maintain patents every year. Right now spending money on something you don't make, most likely will never make again, don't even have parts for is probably not a good business decision.

I am just waiting for the P238 buzz to settle down and SIG to get the bugs worked out and I will buy one. I have a gov 380 that I love, it just is not one of colts better efforts so I want to replace it with better metal and nicer workmanship.
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Old March 7, 2010, 08:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter M. Eick
I am just waiting for the P238 buzz to settle down and SIG to get the bugs worked out and I will buy one.
Hi Peter, My friend is also reading this article, and is wondering what "BUGS" in the Sig you are referring to? He said he has run 500 rounds through his so far, and the little P238 has functioned flawlessly.
-Bruce
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Old March 7, 2010, 10:08 PM   #15
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back then, colt didn't see any future in a subcompact .380. one of many poor decisions by management.


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Old March 7, 2010, 10:36 PM   #16
Bill DeShivs
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Colt didn't have any patents on the Mustang. SIG does not use the old Colt machinery. As Hissoldier pointed out the Colt was a copy of the Star design from the 1940s. The original Colt "Pony" .380 was made by Star. Colt dropped the "Pony" idea after only a few were made. Years later, Colt came out with their own version of the gun.
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Old March 7, 2010, 10:37 PM   #17
Ballenxj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamweaver
back then, colt didn't see any future in a subcompact .380. one of many poor decisions by management.
Unfortunately the bean counters at Colt made a poor decision that we must all live with now.
BTW, I note you have posted a fine looking pair as well.
Question, Where did you get those grips that are on your Mustang?
-Bruce
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Old March 8, 2010, 07:54 PM   #18
Peter M. Eick
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Question to me on the bugs.

Read the forums for a while and you will see that some 238s have issues that don't seem to be easily resolvable. Mostly failures to load and eject. My shooting buddies works great, but I have decided to hang back maybe 6 months and just see what develops.

I will get one, just not right away.
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Old March 9, 2010, 10:35 AM   #19
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Are the grips interchangeable? Planning on buying the Sig but due to finances, I'll be getting the low end plain jane model (with the ugly grips). Sig P238 grips are kinda difficult to find, but aftermarket Colt Mustang grips are easy to find.
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Old March 9, 2010, 01:12 PM   #20
RickB
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American Rifleman reported feeding issues on their test gun. Strange to see something other than a glowing review.
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Old March 10, 2010, 07:45 PM   #21
tonelar
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Sig had a safety recall of their earliest P238s and I still hear the occasional FTF story but much less often.

For the record, I get my 238 in a few days and cannot wait. I have 2 Colt .380s. One is a Gov't Model the other a Mustang Pocketlite. Figure the Sig would fit squarely between the two. Heavier than my Mustang, more compact than the Gov't Model.

My Mustang fills the carry a lot /shoot a little role, while the Gov't fills the shoot a lot /carry a little role.
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