S&W Bodyguard 38+P Review

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NOTE: This product review was made possible by GunsForSale.com.  To get up-to-date information on where to find revolvers for sale, please visit GunsForSale.com.

Of all the gun companies that we’ve experienced through firearm history S&W has to be one of the top two Iconic companies. Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson started their company in the early 1850’s. Because of financial problems related to the failure of the fist lever action pistol design they were forced to sell the company to Oliver Winchester.

In 1856 Smith & Wesson formed their second partnership to produce a small revolver designed to fire the Rimfire cartridge they patented in August of 1854. This revolver was the first successful fully self-contained cartridge revolver available in the world. Not only was this groundbreaking but it set the stage for the long history of pocket size revolvers and pistols.

In my humble opinion the most successful of these designs is the S&W “J” frame series that are still popular many decades later. S&W’s newest offering in the pocket revolver line is the “Bodyguard 38 Special +P”.

There are many shooters who believe this is just another “J” frame. This is far from the truth and be assured there is no relation to the “J” frame with the exception of the general look. Apart from that it has no interchangeable parts common to a standard “J” frame.

I received this sample of the Bodyguard and my first observation was how little it weighed. As it turns out the little revolver only weighs a bit over fourteen ounces. Now you may ask how could a revolver of this size fire a 38+P without durability problems? The designers did a great job in creating this small revolver that will indeed handle a good deal of +P ammo with no problem.

The “Bodyguard” has a two-piece frame, which differs from most in having dissimilar materials. The upper part of the frame is made from an aluminum alloy while the lower frame is a reinforced polymer with steel inserts in critical areas. The barrel is inserted into the barrel shroud and is made from standard barrel steel. The steel barrel probably adds more weight than any other component even though it’s only 1.9 inches in length. The cylinder release is ambidextrous having been placed on the top rear of the frame behind the rear notch sight. Pushing this rubber piece forward releases the cylinder. The cylinder itself is made from stainless steel with a PVD coating that makes the cylinder match the color of the rest of the revolver.

A unique feature of this revolver is the Insight Technology red laser. The laser is mounted on the side, top of the right side of the frame. On top of the laser housing is a small gray button which activates the laser. The first push of the button turns the laser on. This produces a constant beam. The second push creates a flashing pulse with the third push turning the laser off. In case the laser is accidentally activated a five minute timer turns the laser off. The camera type battery has a three hour useable life.

The above photo shows the laser as well as the two adjustments for windage and elevation using the included hex wrenches. You can also see the laser activation button.

The picture below shows the internals and just how different it is from a “J” frame. The hammer for instance is very small as is the rest of the action. This photo also does a good job of showing where the upper and lower frame fit together. The trigger by the way is polymer!

In order to change the laser battery the two screws holding the housing to the frame are removed allowing the user access to the battery. As a last note the hammer strut mates to the lower frame by placing the strut inside the spring in the grip.

Specifications
Model: BODYGUARD® 38
Caliber: .38 S&W Special +P
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Barrel Length: 1.9″ / 4.8 cm
Action: Double Action Only
Front Sight: Black Ramp
Rear Sight: Integral
Frame Size: Small – Internal Hammer
Grip: Synthetic
Overall Length: 6.6″ / 16.8 cm
Weight: 14.3 oz / 405.4 g
Upper Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
Lower Frame Material: Steel-Reinforced Polymer
Cylinder Material: Stainless Steel with PVD Coating
Finish: Matte Black
Purpose: Personal Protection
Professional / Duty
Integrated INSIGHT® laser
Operation: Push-button, ambidextrous (pistol), top-mount (revolver)
3 Modes: Constant-On, Pulse, Off. Plus 5 minute auto-off timer
Battery Life: 3 hours continuous on
User Adjustable: Windage and elevation, no disassembly required

Range Time

For this range session I used Remington 110 grain JHP, Hornady 125 XTP JHP and Cor-Bon 110 Grain +P JHP. As most people know these little guns are usually carried a lot and shot a little. In this case there’s a very good reason. When firing standard Remington loads the recoil wasn’t bad at all. When I moved up to the Hornady load it was not unpleasant but stout. When I used the Cor-Bon load it downright hurt. I’m not very recoil sensitive at all. However with 14 ounces of revolver and firing 110 grain Cor-Bon +P I was not having fun after twenty rounds! Even with the rubber grips after shooting all three loads for a total of forty rounds I’d broken the skin in the web of my hand. I decided it just might be a good idea to switch to my left hand for those last twenty rounds.

I shot my groups from seven yards. The average group size was right at four inches. This may sound like a large group but for a revolver meant for protection at close range it does the job.

Normally when doing a gun review I’ll shoot a few hundred rounds. With this revolver there is no way so sixty rounds will have to do☺ In the group above I simply brought the gun up where I was looking over the top of the revolver not using the sights. Counting the one round off to the left this is a four-inch group. If not for the flyer the group size would be closer to three inches.

I gave the laser a try from seven yards and found I could see the dot but it wasn’t very bright. I’m sure the laser would be very helpful in a dark home but you’ll be better off staying with the iron sights during daylight.

For those used to shooting the “J” frame you’ll need to adjust to the grip angle on the “Bodyguard”. The grip on this revolver is more upright than the model 642 for instance. This will make you shoot high unless the sights are used. I know some may say you should always use the sights. The way I was taught many years ago when using a revolver at contact range back to a few yards is to bring the gun up to the waist at contact distance and aiming over the revolver up to five yards away. When firing farther than five yards the sights are used. I’ve become so used to this instinctive method of shooting a revolver at close range I still use it with good results. If you learned a different method by all means use it!

Conclusion

The S&W Bodyguard as well as the “J” frame series are great little guns for backup or on hot summer days when you don’t feel confident concealing anything larger. This revolver is so light it’s easy to carry in a front pocket holster and not even feel the weight. I’ve carried this one all day without discomfort of any kind

Another method of carry is to use the included nylon case which has a holster pocket inside with room for extra ammunition using stripper clips.

If a person likes the idea of having a laser to assist them in targeting this may be the revolver for you. I’ve decided to stick with the model 642 for a few reasons. The 642 only weighs 1.5 ounces more with a retail of approximately $75.00 less than the “Bodyguard”. Also, the grip angle makes the felt recoil a good deal less. When I fire +P rounds in my 642 it’s not going to break the skin on the web of my hand like this revolver did. Of course the 642 is also available with a laser but the retail is almost $600.00!

These are extremely handy guns to have. In fact the small revolvers S&W makes are the top sellers of all the guns the company makes. As I usually advise go to a gun shop with a range that rents guns. Try a few models and see what suits you best before you spend your hard earned money.




Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • JMD

    Ah…I see S&W has found a variety of exciting new ways to complicate a revolver.

    The only improvements I see here are those in mass manufacturing techniques, utilizing multiple sub-assemblies to lower unit production cost.

    Excuse my skepticism. Don’t “revolver people” usually prefer revolvers over pistols due to their extreme simplicity of design, including rugged, solid construction?

    • Woodroez

      I’m not intimately familiar with either the original J frame or the Bodyguard, but it’s not like the J frame has a true one-piece frame. In order to access the guts of the revolver you still had a side-plate to remove. To me, they just moved the screws. I’m certain you don’t have to disassemble the gun the way the reviewer did for regular maintenance.

      I will say that experienced J-frame users might go crazy every time they try to thumb the cylinder release and find nothing but that damned keyhole. I don’t know, I think the LCR still sounds a bit more attractive to me, especially having dry-fired one and loving the trigger.

      • Phil White

        Woodroez,

        No-there is no need to take it down this much. I just wanted you all to see what was inside:-) Really normal care is removing the cylinder and cleaning that’s about it. As far as a 65, 29, 642 etc the only time I remove the sideplate is about once a year to clean it out. Normal cleaning is removing the cylinder like this revolver. Pretty simple really.
        As far as the cylinder release I know what they intended and that is to make it an ambi release. Well it’s awkward and that’s that. The LCR doesn’t appeal to me being so much different in appearance to what I feel a revolver should look and feel like. As far as how good it is I’m sure it works well. With all respect fire that LCR and see if it has the recoil this one has!

    • Phil White

      JMD,

      I think they are just trying to follow the trend toward smaller and lighter. I guess you could count me as a revolver person as well as 1911, XDm and on and on. I started on revolvers at the PD so I have a lot of time with them. I don’t prefer a revolver over a pistol these days since semi autos are now reliable. I do like to carry one as a backup and occasionally as a primary, very seldom though.
      The design simplicity—well the normal revolver has a good number of internals parts but they are rugged and usually bar stock instead of MIM. This one sure looks like MIM parts inside. To call the Bodyguard rugged well yes it hasn’t had a problem in the time I’ve used it. That doesn’t mean over a number of years it would keep up with a 642.

  • SpudGun

    A very concise, yet equally thorough review. Comparisons were made between the Bodyguard and the 642, so based on the parallels between the two revolvers, I have a few questions –

    1. How does the cylinder release compare with the 642? Does the Bodyguard cylinder swing free? Basically, can you open it one handed like you can with a normal S&W revolver?

    2. Does the grip angle / grip size on the Bodyguard have any advantages in terms of concealability compared to the 642?

    3. I couldn’t see a suggested retail price for the Bodyguard in the review. How much cheaper is it then a 642 with a factory equipped laser?

    4. How does it compare against it’s biggest rival, the Ruger LCR?

    Other then these questions, a very good review, keep them coming.

    • Phil White

      SpudGun,

      Thank you sir:-) To answer those questions:
      !. I’m not that sold on the cylinder release. The Bodyguard cylinder does swing free easily. My problem is being so familiar with the side release on “J: frames it feels strange to me. You can open it one handed but I have to tilt the barrel up to get a good purchase on the release and use the ol middle finger to pop the cylinder out.
      2. The grip is a bit smaller on the Bodyguard so concealment wise it’s a bit better. Not by much though.
      3. The price is about $100 less on the MSRP between the Bodyguard and laser equipped 642 with the 642 at $600 MSRP.
      4. How it compares to a LCR–well we sure get into personal preference here. For myself the Bodyguard would be my choice between the two. I’ve heard people say the trigger on the LCR is very good but then the Bodyguard is pretty good as well. Most rental shops have both and I’m big on shooting a gun if possible before buying. That’s where the rubber meets the road:-)

      I’ll keep at it sir!

  • Pete Sheppard

    I carry a Model 49 (a *real*-ahem- Bodyguard), and the only the newbie offers is the laser. The problem I see with the gun reviewed is that the laser is either ‘on’ or ‘off'; I didn’t see any mention of a pressure switch allowing the shooter to ‘blink’ the laser only when bringing the gun on target.
    If I choose to go with a laser, it will be a Crimson Trace-type with an easily-reached finger button to ‘flash’ the beam only when I want it to.

    • Phil White

      Pete,
      Yep you do have the real deal:-) No it’s on or off. The only option is on steady beam, blinking beam and off. You have to go through all settings to turn it off.

  • Sian

    I can see the appeal, but these super-light, super small guns lately (The Bodyguards, Ruger LCP, etc) seem to be following a trend of weight reduction over everything else. Am I alone in wanting to have a little heft with my pocket pistol, to soak up some of the recoil of snappy defensive ammo?

    Gimme a steel frame SP101 or such over this any day.

    • Woodroez

      There have been numerous reports that the LCR probably soaks up recoil more effectively than a J-frame. The polymer frame flexes in recoil, soaking up a bit of it rather than passing it along to you. It also has a really grip with a recoil pad built in.

      I’ve not looked into the Bodyguard the same way I have the LCR, so I can’t really comment for it much, though I’d think it’s frame would flex like that too.

      • Phil White

        Woodroez,

        It probably does flex some but it does have steel reinforcements inside the polymer part of the frame so that’s a big maybe. Make no mistake with the grips of the Bodyguard there is no built in pad like Taurus, Ruger etc to tame the recoil a bit more. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a .44 snubby but it gets you attention with that first shot of +P.
        As far as comparing recoil between a real “J” frame and LCR I have to disagree with those reports. The grip angle of the “J” frame mitigates recoil as do the rubber grips that come on a 642. I just never felt the “J” frame was unpleasant to shoot even with +P rounds.
        At the PD if you were issued or carried a “J” frame qualification was with a Remington 158 grain JHP +P. You fired 50 rounds in the qualification course. The recoil just wasn’t a big deal. Also, the model 36 we had was a better natural pointer with that grip angle. Certainly more so than the newer lightweight revolvers that have less grip angle. I suspect the reduced grip angle is to make these a bit more concealable.

      • mosinman

        i see, kinda noticed the .38 cartriges sticking in the cylinder after extensive shooting, cleaned it out and it worked fine again. thanks for the info phil

        • Phil White

          mosinman,

          You bet:-) The worst buildup is with lead bullets but even jacketed build up over time.

    • Phil White

      Sian,

      I empathize with you. This is only a personal opinion and not to knock the trend but for this old revolver guy I want a steel lightweight frame like the “J” frame and the Bodyguard is not a “J” frame in dimensions or weight. The SP 101 is a great gun but it’s a little to heavy for me. As far as recoil I mentioned it will smart some with a heavier bullet standard load or a +P. I mentioned I broke the skin with +P loads. I’m not recoil sensitive but nobody likes to bleed when they shoot 60 rounds or so!

      • mosinman

        wouldnt a 357 load be better than a .38+p? im just wondering because there are .357 revolvers that can also chamber .38, so wouldnt you be better off buying a .357/.38 revolver?

        • Phil White

          mosinman,

          Pure power wise yes it would. The only problem you have firing 38’s through a 357 cylinder is buildup of residue that can cause over pressure unless you clean the cylinder with a brass weave circle with a jag attachment. This doesn’t happen overnight but with extensive firing of 38’s it’s needed every few months. The studies show a 125 grain 357 to be the best man stopper at 97% one shot stop provided the placement is center mass.

      • fw226

        That said, if you want brutal recoil, put a box of 357 through a M&P 340. You may also set your assailant on fire, and you lose some potential when you’re burning that much up after it leaves the barrel. It a great little gun, but without some larger grips (which hurt concealment and don’t fit as well as a backup attached to a vest) it can definitely bruise and bite. Perfect for 38+P though. It does have a more standard shape as well, and it’s hard to find withOUT the CT laser grips.

        • Phil White

          fw226,

          That I believe! Those weigh very little more than the Bodyguard. A 340 wouldn’t be bad with 38+P. Heck you could use the .357 fireball as a signaling device:-)

  • SteveW

    Am I the only one amused by a sticker on the side of a revolver warning about the _laser beam_ that comes out the front?

    • Phil White

      SteveW,

      Well that’s our government at work again. They say it must have that warning and you aren’t supposed to remove it. I would take it off though:-) You remember the mattress tags about being prosecuted for removing the label–LOL! That’s the same thing.

  • Ken

    Great review!

    This is why I come here.

    • Phil White

      Ken,

      Thanks very much Ken I’m very glad you enjoyed it!

  • 2Wheels

    I considered the BG, bought a much cheaper slightly used 442 instead. The laser is an afterthought on this gun, kinda a silly place to put the on/off button IMHO. Does Crimson Trace have a patent on grip activated lasers or something?

    Unless you really really think the factory laser is cool… Buy a 442/642.

    • Phil White

      2Wheels,

      I don’t see how they could have a patent like that if the design is different. To activate this one you do have to tilt the barrel up to activate it unless you have very large hands. Yes the 442 cost is $330 here in the midwest which is considerably less expensive in real gun shop prices. I do kinda like the laser but more so on an AR than a handgun. They can be handy but you weigh the price against utility. I can’t knock lasers if it makes a shooter more confident and or shoot better in a dark home, building etc.

  • “Dr.”Dave

    I would beg to differ with this somewhat favorable review. The S&W Bodyguard is a horrible weapon. The fit and finish suck compared to most other S&W firearms. The ‘innovative’ cylinder latch on the back of the gun wobbles, the cylinders lock up is many things, and re-assuring is not one of them. The gun is ugly, and I can stand that, but only if it works well. And I don’t think it does.

    It is horribly unpleasant to shoot. And I don’t care who you are…If you don’t practice with the firearm you carry, you’re wrong. Guns like this that are awful to shoot lead to shooters developing bad habit’s or not shooting the damn thing at all. And that makes you a liability.

    I seriously question the practicality of the laser sight mounted on the side. For one, the button is TINY and you must depress it very, very firmly. I can not imagine successfully activating that laser under stress unless you practice doing so a lot. Even then, by having to fumble and flip a switch, you’re playing around with some electronics when you should probably be fighting, or running.

    Further, with the terrible recoil from this ugly hunk of plastic, several of my customers report the zero on the attached laser shaking lose.

    The iron sights on it, like on many small revolvers, are garbage. They’re practically useless unless you’re standing still in perfect light. Its more of a vestigial fin than it is any sort of utilitarian alignment tool.

    That leaves you with a 5 shot .38 with a horrible trigger pull, punishing recoil, and sights that are more or less worthless for anything but conducting ‘accuracy testing’ on a sunny day at the range.

    But it comes with a laser and is tactical black, so people who don’t know any better buy them up in droves.

    I would feel more confident carrying a sock with a rock in it than this particular revolver.

    • Phil White

      “Dr.”Dave,

      Dave I can’t really take issue with any of the points you made. I might perhaps be somewhat less unkind but in general terms you are correct. It does go bang every time though:-) I am a bit concerned about longevity with what I believe are MIM internal parts such as the hammer. The recoil is the most disturbing thing not so much for myself but those unaccustomed to shooting. It would be very unsettling for a new shooter. One thing I should add is when the laser battery is changed you need to tighten the housing very snug or it will shake loose over time. I didn’t find the trigger that bad but not up to the other S&W models.
      I’m curious as to how many of your customers have traded these in after a recent purchase?
      I don’t think I’d rather have a rock in a sock though:-)

      • “Dr.”Dave

        I sent one back to the factory for warranty, because something inside snapped and the trigger went slack (I didn’t have time to take it apart.) And that was just from it being toyed around with in the shop.

        One customer traded his in, and I don’t know about the others. The level of pleasure they have with their purchase seems directly related to how much they shot it.

        • Phil White

          “Dr.”Dave,

          Hum , if you look at that photo of the internals I believe there is a fairly small spring. That may have let go causing that problem. I can see how the more they shot it the more likely they would be to trade for a bit heavier revolver. Thanks for the info.

  • drewogatory

    I’m not sure what advantages this offers over an LCR. I can shoot full power .357 out of my LCR all day without any discomfort, the XS front sight is more than decent, the trigger pull is very nice and the street price is very reasonable. Can’t comment on the laser ’cause I don’t use them, I’d rather spend that money on ammo and range time.

    • Phil White

      drewogatory,

      I can’t really address the trigger pull between the two guns not having shot 357’s in an LCR. That is encouraging that you have no discomfort from shooting full power loads.

  • Lance

    Only thing I do replace the laser sight with Crimson trace laser grips. Another great review Mr Phil White.

    • Phil White

      Lance,

      Thanks very much Lance I’m certainly glad you got some good information from the review! My personal preference is the 642/442 and if I wanted a laser I would follow with the grips you mentioned from Crimson Trace. They are very easy to operate. You tend to tighten the major muscles in a high stress confrontation so having the laser activation button on the grip would be much more reliable/desirable. As Doc said the button on this one is rather small and best operated with the left hand rather than change your grip to use your right hand. You either do that or leave the laser on all the time which is less than acceptable for my use in a dark home.

  • Griffin

    These reviews would seem much more professional and unbiased if they didn’t start with sentences like “Of all the gun companies that we’ve experienced through firearm history S&W has to be one of the top two Iconic companies.”

    Well respective reviewers of other products do not typically start off with accolades for the manufacturer. They don’t ever start with “Apple computer is one of the most important computer and software companies in the world” or “MGM Studios has a long and respected history”. Reviews are about the product and discussion about the company should only be mentione as it directly relates to the product. For example “the 2012 BMW 3 series is a stark departure from BMW’s long history of producing a 3 series lineup of quality entry level luxury brand vehicles” is appropriate but “BMW is one of the most iconic car manufacturers in the world” is not an appropriate opening line.

    I only mention it because several reviews on this site have now done similar opening lines.

    • Phil White

      Griffin,

      Well sir as I’ve said before I’m a history buff in several areas guns being one of them. I do have some history of the company in the beginning of some of the reviews such as the S&W model 19 review. I can’t see a reason not to do this since it’s a small portion of the review. I believe that enough readers appreciate a little history of the company and or product that preceded the reviewed gun to be worth including.
      S&W as well as Colt are the two of the best known gun companies. The historic contribution they have made can’t be understated for either company.
      Call it a reference point in some cases to what follows. I won’t do it all the time but when I think it relates to the reviewed gun I will in all likelihood continue to do so unless a good number of readers object. I’ve had a few readers who commented that they appreciated the history portion.
      I appreciate your opinion but I want to let you know my reasons for including this information. As far as the quoted sentence I see nothing there to indicate bias. I hope this explains my reasons for inclusion of this information.

      • Ramsey

        I just want to chime in that I don’t mind opening sentences that gush over a manufacturer as long as they are honest. There are lots of firearm publications that share similar style guides, and it is a breath of fresh air to break away from them. If anything, I would like to see reviews that push the style conversation even further, throw in some profanity and have some fun!

        • Phil White

          Ramsey,

          Well I don’t know about the profanity but nobody minds a bit of fun:-)

    • Matt G.

      Griffin, I felt the same way in the sig review, but in this one he was perfectly right to say that S&W is one of the most iconic names in guns. I mean, they ARE one of the oldest companies still running today, saying they are iconic doesnt really imply an overt affection or approval for something, just that it is important. For instance, Hitler was an iconic figure, as was Stalin or Gahndi or Mother Theresa(sp?).

  • JW

    I had one of these bodyguards and hated it. I agree with the comments, didn’t like the small grip, it felt cheap, didn’t like the laser button, and most of all the unique button to open the cylinder felt like it would break quickly. I sold it and bought a ruger LCR and have been happy with it. I also carry a Springfield XD subcompact 40, but wanted something for my wife since she can’t pull the slide on that or handle the recoil

    • Phil White

      JW,

      Sounds like you did the right thing JW—-

  • mosinman

    i love revolvers but a plastic one just seems … wierd…. guess i just like the old fashioned stuff

    • Phil White

      mosinman,

      Well, I have to say that would be my first choice as well. I just spent to many years carrying traditional S&W, Colt revolvers on duty. They still feel like an extension of my arm:-)

    • mosinman

      yeah, cant put my finger on it but something just feels right about a revolver : D what was your favorite revolver that you carried?

      • Phil White

        mosinman,

        We were issued model 64’s which was a very good revolver especially with Pachmyer grips. I have to say my favorite was the model 19 4 inch and the 2 1/2 inch I carried working on our Street Crime unit. That assignment could get rough in a hurry so the 125 grain Federal 357 load was very comforting:-)

      • mosinman

        and im sure you probably never felt outgunned by someone ! :)

        • Phil White

          mosinman,

          No we really didn’t feel outgunned at all. It was a different time for sure. Then again nobody was running around with AK’s at that early stage of gang activity.

  • J.T.

    A friend of mine that has one has had a similar experience. In addition to all that, the iron sights are horribly off as well.

  • Matt G.

    Great review Phil! I’ve always thought the bodygaurd lasers were not well executed, both models are awkward to activate and the “strobe” laser thing is just stupid. Seem like gimmicks to me. But the bodyguard .380 is definitely the best looking .380 pocket gun besides the sig 1911ish one. I just wish I could FIND my little .380, I’m Pretty sure it’s stuck in a cushion or something, maybe it got stolen IDK.

    • Phil White

      Matt,

      I don’t see the point in the strobing laser. It’s not going to help with aiming or confusing an assailant. That and you have to push the button one more time to turn it off. Now the 380 Bodyguard is a handy comfortable little pistol to carry and shoot. At least with that laser you can activate it with your trigger finger. I probably wouldn’t use it except to make our cat chase it.
      Geez I hope you find yours!

      Thanks Matt!

    • Andy

      I got the bodyguard for my girlfriend who has never owned a gun. The first time we went to the range I was a little disappointed. The gun seemed to be pretty innacurate with mag tech ammo and when using the hornady critical defense ammo the revolver kept getting stuck! By that I mean I couldn’t pull the trigger to make the revolver turn. It seemed like the ammo was to large for the gun or something. I thought revolvers hardly ever got stuck. Anyway, she didn’t notice too much and I thought next time at the range I’ll try different ammo. The second time I took Independent FMJ and COR BON defense ammo. The gun performed much better this time and was much more accurate. Overall I would say this is a good gun but caution anyone who buys it to check the ammo performance before settling on one brand. The hornady critical defense was horrible in this gun, around 1 in 5 rounds would not let the revolver rotate. Imagine that happening during a home invasion…

  • A real bodyguard

    I’ve used this gun with great effect. I’m a revolver guy, (Colt Peacemaker)and I’ve outgunned people with assault rifles with this bodyguard pistol. In my line of work, I have to shoot at people often, and I’ve been using revolvers since I was 8 years old, I’m hitting 40 nowadays. This bad boy is freaking awesome. I used to carry around my desert eagle, but now I have replaced it with 2 of these bodyguards. I use hollowpoint remington, and I’ve been able to blast all sorts of things(hehe). I’m used to conflict, and this gun puts people’s dicks in the dirt very easily. As long as you have moderately strong forearms, you shouldn’t miss. Plus, I can hide my pistols anywhere, and there is no hammer I need to saw off, so there is no problem with it catching while I pull them out. BUY THIS GUN. If you are a master with a revolver, this is the one to use, man. I never miss.

  • Burningreviews

    Great gun got one for my wife. Check out the vid below

  • Burningreviews

  • Burningreviews

    Great gun

  • Brandon

    Phil,

    Awesome review! I just wished I would have read it before buying the gun. The grip on the gun is horrible, the small diameter of the grip with the straight down slant where the web between your fingers is, combined with the recoil, is not a pleasant combo. The laser is probably more of a selling factor than a usefulness “in the moment” factor. “In the moment,” I won’t be thinking about turning on the laser when I could be shooting or running. I am left-handed so the button for the laser is in a good spot to be thumb activated. The ambidextrous cylinder release is nice being left-handed, however doesn’t matter since the cylinder releases to the left and I have to switch hands to reload anyways. The ambidextrous release is just another selling factor I believe. I bought the gun as a backup, in which I do believe will definitely do it’s job. I just think I would be happier with a 642 or the LCR hence the grips.

    • Phil White

      Brandon,

      Thanks Brandon! Yep, if I had a choice I would stick with the 642 just because of the grip issue your having. It does kick even with standard loads.However it will do the job well as a backup if you just forget activating the laser and use good tactics instead.

  • Savannah

    I bought this gun one day going to a range with my father. but neither of us had ever handled any of the newer lightweight models, so all we could go by was the general feel of it since the dealer would not alow either of us to fire it in any sense. later when I fired it the accuracy was terrible, even for the more experienced shooter with me! it is lightweight and not too large for my hand, but that is it. I’ve been in contact with Hogue Grips and they are making rubber grips for this modle, hopefully that will help tame the recoil and let me gain some acuracy since I can’t afford to buy another gun right now. I wish more gun dealers would let you try a gun, blank rounds or dryfire would be better than nothing.
    Still, it beats having nothing when the sh*t hits the fan.