Examining the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 as a CCW Revolver
Small, lightweight and concealable are attributes that make for an ideal carry gun. Adequate sights, and a good trigger don’t hurt either. You might think I’m talking about the next great semi-auto pistol but you’d be wrong. Instead I’m talking about a revolver. Is it even possible for a revolver to be a legitimate carry weapon anymore? I think so.
While I’m no huge closet fan of wheel guns, I do respect what they bring to the table in the way of simplicity and reliability. It doesn’t get much easier than aiming and pressing a trigger. It is also nice not having to worry about a slide moving back and forth and the potential for malfunctions.
Once you put in quality time with a revolver, you’ll quickly find out how easy it is to be consistent with the trigger. You tend not to flinch. I think it’s because as you focus on making that trigger press as smooth as possible, you’re not thinking about the discharge. At least this has been my experience. With semi-auto pistols, a short travel is going to result in a discharge. And as you time the trigger break, you anticipate the recoil. Somehow this lessens with revolvers, especially if you don’t cock the hammer and fire single action.
The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38
Single action; however, isn’t an option with the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38. The revolver has no external hammer. The long, smooth, double-action pull of the Bodyguard 38 is actually quite easy to become accustomed.
The Bodyguard 38 features a one-piece, aluminum-alloy upper frame. This makes it very lightweight. Of course, this can be scary in a little revolver, but even with 38 +P loads it’s not bad. A 1.875-inch, stainless-steel barrel spins up the slug. The gun contains five in total in the cylinder.
In fact, if there is one negative about a revolver for concealed carry, it’s capacity. We look at concealed carry from a defensive standpoint, but more often discuss it from an offensive position, and typically train that way. Sure, 25- to 50-yard shots are great, but trying to sell that for personal defense could be tough. A gun like the Bodyguard 38 excels at 10 yards and closer. Also, speed loaders provide extra ammo if needed.
Other features include a PVD-coated, stainless-steel cylinder and ambidextrous cylinder release that is easy to reach and operate. It is made of polymer and seems a bit inadequate, but time will tell.
Powerful, But Manageable
Shooters shouldn’t be afraid to shoot +P ammo through the Bodyguard 38. The grip is comfortable and does a relatively good job of soaking up the punishment. I’ve got thin hands, free of excessive meat. So, anything with lots of recoil transmits immediately to my bones. But I found no issue dumping cylinder after cylinder of +P ammo from the tiny Smith. It was fun and I couldn’t stop.
It was also easy to aim. The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 features a pinned front sight and integral rear sight. Both are typically of what shooters might expect to find on a revolver. Pair these features with the lack of a hammer and you get a snag-free option to tote in a pocket without worry about accidental discharge.
Would I carry a revolver? Yes, as a backup to a larger primary, or even as a primary when my choice of dress doesn’t allow for a larger defensive tool. Of course, many shooters prefer a snub-nosed revolver, as it is easy to carry every day. A snub in the pocket is much better than any full-size left at home.
For more information about the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38, please visit smith-wesson.com.
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 Specs
- Action: Double action only
- Caliber: 38 Special +P
- Barrel Length: 1.875”
- Overall Length: 6.6”
- Front Sight: Front ramp
- Rear Sight: Integral
- Grip: Gray polymer
- Weight: 14.2 ozs.
- Cylinder Material: Stainless steel
- Barrel Material: Stainless steel
- Frame Material: Aluminum alloy
- MSRP: $385
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