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P238/P938 Slide Stop Issues

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Hopefully this post will help other P238/P938 owners that experience these issues.

Slide Stop Walking out or Falling Out
I believe that there are 3 factors that contribute to the Slide Stop "Walking/Falling Out" issue:
1. The Slide Stop Spring - If not properly formed, fitted and fully seated and "staked" into its pocket,
it will bulge, which places lateral pressure on the slide stop, simulating pressing on the "release button" on the right side.
2. The half moon tab on the slide stop - If it has sharp edges, these edges can catch on the corresponding notch opening on the slide as it flies past, which can cause it to "jiggle" out the opening.
3. Tolerance Stacking - i.e.; The slide stop pin is on the lower limits of tolerance, and the hole is on the upper limits of tolerance. This results in a loose fit.
If you are unlucky enough to receive a P238/P938 with 2, or all 3 of these factors, you will most likely experience the Slide Stop Walking Out/Falling Out issue.
Having only one of these factors may, or may not cause the issue.

Slide Stop Spring
Slide Stop

I was able to resolve the above issue (on the one of my two P238's that had the problem) by:
1. Replacing the Slide Stop Spring AND reshaping, hand fitting, and staking the spring in it's cavity. (This improved the issue immensely, but not 100%)
(If the SS Spring continues to re-position itself after staking, it may help to apply a small dab of Gorilla Glue or Epoxy)
2. I took a fine jewelers file and emery cloth and smoothed out the sharp edges of the "half-moon" portion on the Slide Stop. I also put a small dab of grease on it.
(This seems to have resolved the issue completely)
I've put about 500 rounds through it since, and have not experienced the issue again.

Slide Locking Open "Mid-Mag" or with "No Mag inserted"
1. Slide Stop Spring not properly formed, fitted and seated allowing it to move in its cavity, which in turn causes the long side "tang" of the spring to angle up.
2. Slide Stop Spring not sufficiently "staked" or secured in the hole in the frame, causing it to move in its cavity, misaligning the long side "tang" upward.
3. The long side "tang" bent upward allowing the Slide Stop to engage the slide since there is insufficient spring tension to hold the slide lock in a downward position.

Thanks to all on this forum that provided guidance, opinions, thoughts and advice that led to these "fixes".

I have to say, I find it disappointing that Sig Sauer's Customer Service seems unable, or unwilling to address these issues.

Please see this thread for background discussion and more photos: http://sigtalk.com/p238-p938-pistol/120386-p238-take-down-lever.html
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I have both a P238 and a P938. Never had any problems with either with the slide stop coming out.
Out of curiosity I disassembled both to compare to the various pictures on this subject.
It seems everyone attributed the cause to the spring.
On mine the spring lays flat at both the top of the cavity and the bottom.
In the pictures of the units where the spring is not properly seated there is a difference between my gun and the ones in the pictures.
The hole where the spring end is inserted into the frame appears to be slightly out of position compared to mine. There is also a half round area machined out so there obviously was a different process used during machining of the frame.
If the spring mounting hole is in the proper position the spring lays flat on both the upper (short side of the spring) and the lower side.
I guess without pictures it's difficult to understand the difference.
I'll follow this up with a picture. I think that will clarify my interpretation.
 

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Side-by-side

My 938 on top, yours on the bottom:

Gun Firearm Trigger Gun accessory Airsoft gun


Clearly a difference. Can't say I've seen one with a straight cut over the spring hole.

I will say that the way mine is cut, the corner of the cutout does seem to push the spring out of position. And the position of the staking on the lower right of the spring pushes it into the edge of the cutout.

What's the build date on yours? Mine is MAR2015
 

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My 938 on top, yours on the bottom:

View attachment 117634

Clearly a difference. Can't say I've seen one with a straight cut over the spring hole.

I will say that the way mine is cut, the corner of the cutout does seem to push the spring out of position.

What's the build date on yours? Mine is MAR2015
It looks to me like they changed the spring too. On the spring that's laying flat (gun w/ red trigger) and has its long leg with a small bend in it, the wire diameter looks to be thinner than the spring that tends to not lie flat.

So are there two changes? One the little moon crescent relief cutout and a change in the spring as well?

Another fix might be to cut a flat on the right side of the TDL shaft, center drill on lathe for a small retaining screw. This would complicate an in-field field strip, but would eliminate the lever drop out problem.

Not sure if I have an extra TDL in spare parts to experiment, I know i have some springs. Will have to look later.
 

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It looks to me like they changed the spring too. On the spring that's laying flat (gun w/ red trigger) and has its long leg with a small bend in it, the wire diameter looks to be thinner than the spring that tends to not lie flat.

So are there two changes? One the little moon crescent relief cutout and a change in the spring as well?

Another fix might be to cut a flat on the right side of the TDL shaft, center drill on lathe for a small retaining screw. This would complicate an in-field field strip, but would eliminate the lever drop out problem.

Not sure if I have an extra TDL in spare parts to experiment, I know i have some springs. Will have to look later.
My idea was to have a machinist cut a very small and shallow groove into the slide stop lever just inside the left side of the frame between the frame and the barrel lug (but tight to the frame) to accept a small o-ring. I found some extremely tiny o-rings that I think would do the trick. The cut into the slide stop lever would just be the barest hint of a channel. Just enough for the o-ring to have something to grab onto yet offer resistance to keep the lever from coming out at an inopportune time.

I am definitely going to try this when I can find a machinist who has the time and desire to get it done for me.
 

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My 938 on top, yours on the bottom:

View attachment 117634

Clearly a difference. Can't say I've seen one with a straight cut over the spring hole.

I will say that the way mine is cut, the corner of the cutout does seem to push the spring out of position. And the position of the staking on the lower right of the spring pushes it into the edge of the cutout.

What's the build date on yours? Mine is MAR2015
My 238 is dated Oct 2009. The 938 is May 2012.
Guess newer isn't always better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I have both a P238 and a P938. Never had any problems with either with the slide stop coming out.
Out of curiosity I disassembled both to compare to the various pictures on this subject.
It seems everyone attributed the cause to the spring.
On mine the spring lays flat at both the top of the cavity and the bottom.
In the pictures of the units where the spring is not properly seated there is a difference between my gun and the ones in the pictures.
The hole where the spring end is inserted into the frame appears to be slightly out of position compared to mine. There is also a half round area machined out so there obviously was a different process used during machining of the frame.
If the spring mounting hole is in the proper position the spring lays flat on both the upper (short side of the spring) and the lower side.
I guess without pictures it's difficult to understand the difference.
I'll follow this up with a picture. I think that will clarify my interpretation.
The photos I had posted were not of my P238, but photos I pulled from the Internet.
However, both of my P238's have the half-moon cutout.
One P238 (had) the "Walking Out/Falling Out" issue, the other didn't...???
One was bulit in October, 2016, the other in November, 2016.
They look exactly alike, except the one that had the issue had the spring slightly out-of-pocket, and slightly bulging.
 

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I am surprised that there have not been any subsequent inputs to this condition.
It seems if the process of positioning the hole location for the spring end contributed to the problem there would be a lot of recurrences of the spring coming out.

Also curious about the "half moon cutout" as opposed to the straight cut over the spring hole. Seems like owners would take a look and report if they were also curious.
 

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My idea was to have a machinist cut a very small and shallow groove into the slide stop lever just inside the left side of the frame between the frame and the barrel lug (but tight to the frame) to accept a small o-ring. I found some extremely tiny o-rings that I think would do the trick. The cut into the slide stop lever would just be the barest hint of a channel. Just enough for the o-ring to have something to grab onto yet offer resistance to keep the lever from coming out at an inopportune time.

I am definitely going to try this when I can find a machinist who has the time and desire to get it done for me.
Sandaholic,

I'm a "hobby machinist and gunsmith", and sometime inventor type with the requisite tools. Using an O-ring as a retainer, but with only a shallow O-ring groove, is a "why didn't I think of that" inspiration kind of thought . . . but unfortunately, won't work for several reasons.

There's no way to position an O-ring on the inside of the frame during assembly so the take down lever (TDL) would fit into and through the O-ring.

There's no room inside the frame for the O-ring even if positioning and installation could be solved. Once the barrel lug is in position inside the frame, it's a loose fit, but the slop is not adequate for an O-ring. Also, the TDL shaft goes through the barrel lug and becomes the camming surface for lock and unlock for the barrel to slide - more on that in a second.

The last few statements can be easily confirmed. Field strip and the barrel lug into the frame and then insert the TDL shaft through the frame and barrel lug - note the amount of space available for a retainer of any kind within the frame. Also note that any such retainer might easily cause a failure of the gun to go into battery if it migrates or intrudes upon the inside surfaces of the barrel lug - even if fitted somehow, an O-ring here would add a failure mode.

Cutting a deeper groove in the TDL shaft to allow the O-ring to pass through the left side of the frame is also, IMO, not an option. While the TDL shaft does not act to stop the slide in recoil (as I suspected at one time), it does have to deal with camming stress - so cutting a deeper groove is a non-starter. As an aside, the slide recoil stop is all handled by the large end of the recoil guide rod! (The exclamation point is because I had not considered that before.)

To prove the above to yourself, assemble the slide on the frame with only the guide rod (leave spring and barrel out). With slide back full, the guide rod "locks" stiff (note the exact position frame to slide with slide full aft). You can repeat this experiment with the barrel in place as well (leaving recoil spring out. or installing with spring as normal- same either way) and get the same exact slide position and recoil rod locks stiff as it's big end blocks the slide.

I think my initial suggestion of tapping the end of the TDL shaft for a small retainer screw would work. The shaft diameter is 4.12mm or .0162", so a 4-40 screw (with a major diameter of .112" only leaves a wall of .025". It'd work but a #3-48 (major diameter of .099) or smaller would be better.

This is all quite doable. The TDL won't chuck in the lathe conveniently due to the lever being in the way, but it's easy enough to make a concentric holder.

Little cap screws (Allen head) are available in SS for a bit over a buck each https://www.amazon.com/25pcs-Button-Socket-Screws-Stainless/dp/B0112QGA36/ref=sr_1_1?s=industrial&ie=UTF8&qid=1501455644&sr=8-1&keywords=3-48+X+1%2F8%22+hex+head

What do you think, is this worth messing with when I have time? Is there a market for modifying levers? Anyone? Bueller?:rolleyes:
 

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I'll take one.
Oops, let me rephrase that! Yup, I potentially screwed up with the tone of asking if there was interest.

I am not and cannot offer anything for sale here, neither product nor service. That's not allowed by our forum rules unless one a site sponsor. It's not an inconsequential cost and pretty much prohibitive for cottage industry stuff.

So, I'm mostly trying to determine if what I suggested is, in your opinion, worthwhile and generally sounds like a good idea. It would also be good to continue on with the "engineering" part of the discussion. Can anyone think of a better way and, more importantly, what are the flaws in my "fix"?

Whatever is done, if anything, it should not add friction to lever rotation, the magazine spring follower has to overcome the slide lock lever spring down force, as well as friction, to reliably lock the slide back with an empty mag.

SIG should really be the one to address this. Perhaps they haven't had enough complaints on this yet, not sure what it takes :(? They finally did fix the MSH/sear spring fiasco, but didn't breathe a word by way of of recall.
 

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Re: 'and "staked" into its pocket'.

I've not had the problem of the slide stop spring loosening with my P238, purchase early 2015. That spring is just fitted into its cavity, with no staking. Its position is maintained merely by its shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
My experience with ONE of our two P238's was that the Slide Stop fell out while shooting the gun. It would also walk out when "sling shotting" the slide, slow, medium, or fast.
[And No, I was not pressing on the right side pin with my trigger finger.
Honestly, I don't see how anyone with hands larger than a 3 year old could even do that. I have average sized hands and the pad of my trigger finger hits at least an inch in front of the pin.]

I believe this particular P238 had 3 contributing factors:
1. The Slide Stop spring was misshaped, not properly fitted, and not fully seated in its cavity from the factory. This caused it to "bulge" outside the cavity and place lateral tension on the Slide Stop, similar to pressing on the pin on the right side.
2. The "half-moon" tab on the Slide Stop had sharp edges that would catch on the "half-moon" notch as the slide flew past.
3. The Slide Stop hole on the right side of the frame is oversized, making for a very loose fit.
I was able to correct all three factors myself, and no longer experience the "Slide Stop falling/walking out" issue.
Corrections:
* 1. Replaced the Slide Stop spring - reshaped it, fitted it in cavity, fully seated and staked it. It no longer bulges or re-positions itself.
(If the SS Spring continues to re-position after staking, it may help to apply a small dab of Gorilla Glue or Epoxy)
* 2. Smoothed the rough edges off the "half-moon" tab.
* 3. Placed a very, very small dab of epoxy in the right side hole. Used a small jewelers file to size the hole so that it is a reasonably tight fit, but still easy to push the pin through for disassembly/reassembly.

Since doing the above three corrections, I have put several hundred rounds through it, can rack the slide slide slow, medium or fast, with the gun in any position, and the Slide Stop has not walked out.
Now the gun is as it *Should* be.
I don't buy the Sig Customer Service "BS" that "the Slide Stop is non-captured, it's normal operation, you shouldn't rack it left side down, you have load the chamber using only the Slide Stop Release, you have to rack it very fast, you're pressing on the right side pin with your trigger finger, etc., etc..."

I say this with confidence for three reasons:
1. Our other P238 since it was new, and now after several hundred rounds has NEVER had the Slide Stop walk/fall out. You can rack it fast, slow, hold it with left side down, stand on one foot, lay on your back - It doesn't matter.
That's how it should be if you want to rely on it for personal defense.
2. Our P238 that had the Slide Stop walk/fall out issue, since I made the corrections above, no longer experiences the issue. I can rack it fast or slow, even with the left side facing down.
3. The majority of P238/P938's don't (appear to) have this issue.
Therefore, if only a percentage have this issue, then I believe that these particular guns have a problem that can, and should be fixed.

BTW - If you look on the Colt Mustang and Kimber Micro forums, you will find that some of those guns have the same issue. That's because Sig and Kimber copied the design from Colt. Unfortunately, the Colt design of the Slide Stop retention is lacking. I wish that Sig had re-designed just that part.
The rest of the design is fantastic!
I love BOTH of my P238's now!
 

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My sister, new to shooting, bought a 238. During a couple range visits, the slide stop fell out twice. She brought it back to her LGS and they sent it back for her and replaced it with a new one!馃槼馃槼馃槼. I am flabbergasted! I wonder if the LGS knows someone. My sister said something about a new 30 day money back guarantee. I'm confused, but indeed she got a new gun!
 

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On my particular P238 (manufacture date of January 2017 on box), the slide stop falling out became an issue after I swapped out the original black slide stop out for a Sig factory stainless one that was bought from a third party vendor.

After examination, I've determined that the cause is because the shaft diameter on the stainless slide stop is too small. This allows a loose fit through the holes in the frame.The semi-circle key of the slide stop is then able to wiggle about, and more easily fit through the cutout hole on the slide.

As intended/designed, the slide stop has to almost perfectly align with the cutout hole to come loose. With play in the slide stop shaft, there is more range/distance along the slide travel for it to fall out. And so it does when we slowly (relative to firing a round) rack the slide.

When looking at the left side of the gun, if the semi-circle key rotates about the vertical Y-axis, this changes the profile of the semi-circle key. Basically this is tapering the key, allowing it to more easily fit through the slide cutout.

Play in the shaft also allows the semi-circle key to sit lower than where it should be. Therefore the smaller top edge of the semi-circle key is now free to pass through the lower section of the slide cutout, which is of course larger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
On my particular P238 (manufacture date of January 2017 on box), the slide stop falling out became an issue after I swapped out the original black slide stop out for a Sig factory stainless one that was bought from a third party vendor.

After examination, I've determined that the cause is because the shaft diameter on the stainless slide stop is too small. This allows a loose fit through the holes in the frame.The semi-circle key of the slide stop is then able to wiggle about, and more easily fit through the cutout hole on the slide.

As intended/designed, the slide stop has to almost perfectly align with the cutout hole to come loose. With play in the slide stop shaft, there is more range/distance along the slide travel for it to fall out. And so it does when we slowly (relative to firing a round) rack the slide.

When looking at the left side of the gun, if the semi-circle key rotates about the vertical Y-axis, this changes the profile of the semi-circle key. Basically this is tapering the key, allowing it to more easily fit through the slide cutout.

Play in the shaft also allows the semi-circle key to sit lower than where it should be. Therefore the smaller top edge of the semi-circle key is now free to pass through the lower section of the slide cutout, which is of course larger.
I believe this is a case of "Tolerance Stacking" which I discussed in a couple of other posts regarding Slide Stop Falling Out issues.
Both of my P238's came from the factory with Stainless Slide Locks.
One has the "Falling Out" problem, the other doesn't.
However, I tried swapping the Slide Stops between them and the issue stayed with the gun.
So in my case, perhaps it is the hole in the frame that is too large....(combined with other factors, i.e. Slide Stop spring, Rough Edges on Tab).

IMO, it's BS when Sig CS says "You can't tilt the gun to the left when racking the slide, or you have to rack it very fast.

I own several other handguns and I can rack them left side down, fast, medium, slow, very slow, laying on my back, standing on one foot, etc. without any problems.

Who knows what position or condition you may find yourself in a gunfight? (God Forbid)
 
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