Information on a S&W .38 SPL MOD 49


May 31, 2006, 06:14 AM
I have recently inherited this revolver and have little to no information on this Pistol. From what I can find it looks like it is MOD 49 Bodyguard and it is hammerless. My questions are.. Are all the MOD 49 .38 SPL called the Bodyguard? Are they all hammerless? When where they manufactured? With a barrel this short how is it accuracy? What type of ammo is recommended for this pistol?

Itís a nice gun and in good shape and would be a good size to carry. But I would like to know more about this. If anyone has any information on this or can point me in the direction as to where to find information it would be greatly appreciated.


If you enjoyed reading about "Information on a S&W .38 SPL MOD 49" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 31, 2006, 07:59 AM
I have one that I have carried off and on for years, great revolvers in my opinion!

They are not truely hammerless, as they incorperate a shroud for the hammer, allowing single action should it be desired.

To the best of my knoweledge, all Mod. 49s were designated Bodyguard, but I could be wrong.

I think that with practice you will learn to love this little piece! They are as accurate as the shooter using them.

As to ammo,you might want too look into some of the offerings for snubbies now out there. They will handle a mild diet of +P when in good condition, something you might want a good smith to verify, I use standard loads at the range, and stock it with +P HP rounds for carry.

You also may have grip issues, I found That a Tyler T grip resolved this for me, but there are a lot of fine grips out there for the J frames.

Hope this has helped, enjoy your new gun!


May 31, 2006, 08:04 AM
First of all, it is not hammerless. The hammer is shrouded so that it will not catch on the clothing when drawing from cover. But it is easy to cock the hammer and fire in single action. If the hammer is completely enclosed, you have a Centennial series gun, not a Bodyguard.

I have a model 38 which is identical to the model 49 except that it has an aluminum frame and is much lighter. The 49 is all carbon steel and notably heavier, making it easier to shoot comfortably but more cumbersome for carry.

I personally like the bodyguard style. The 49 should serve you well as a carry revolver as long as the weight is acceptable to you. It takes some practice to shoot the short barreled snubbies well, but you will enjoy it once you get some range time in with it.

At the range, use any 38 spl load that appeals to you. For carry, I reccommend a +P hollow point. The gun isn't rated for +P but if you shoot the +Ps only occasionly there should be no problem.

I think you have a very nice gun.


May 31, 2006, 01:18 PM
...of all the S&W J frames I own I think the Model 49 , called the "Bodyguard", is the most practical; the hump in the back of the frame shrouds the hammer for snag-free carry yet leaves just the hammer tip exposed to allow for single action firing if is also the most accurate of all the J frame models I own. I often hear this from others who shot the Bodyguard regularly....its probably a "mental thing" as the mind creates the reality for "outside conditions".

I have an older blue M49 from the 70's that I only use regular pressure 38 Special wad cutters in at the range. When I carry the revolver concealed for protection I use either the now discontinued regular pressure Federal "nyclad"
125 gr. or the +p 158 gr.SWCLHP from Winchester or Remington......but lately I have switched to the much heralded Speer +p 135 gr. Gold Dot designed for snubbies. I have been told by S&W this revolver, manufactured in the 70's, can shoot the higher +p 38 Special ammunition occasionally without threat to shooter or handgun. I also own a nickel M49 made in the 1980' can take a steady diet of +p fodder with aplomb. far as I know all S&W Bodyguards were/are manufactured in the good old US of A in Springfield Mass..

For more than you want to know about this model do a search here on the "High Road" for "M49" and "Bodyguard"....and over on the S&W Forum here:


June 1, 2006, 05:05 PM
I really appreciate your comments this helps and gets me started on the research. From what I have heard the consensus is that at the range shoot a Std 38 load and use the +P for carry.

Diamondback. Thanks for the photos, the MOD 49 that I have is blued and still has the wood grip. Iím thinking about maybe changing the grip and keep the Wood ones in my safe. Iím assuming that the Wood grips are the factory grip.

Again thanks for your input. If anyone knows more please let me know.


June 1, 2006, 05:51 PM
I carry a Model 38 on a daily basis, and use either a Model 49 or 649 (stainless version) as back-ups. I consider the M38 to be the best pocket gun ever designed. The humpback frame really carries well without tipping over. I use 110 gr Hyrashoks for carry, and practice with Winchester White Box in one of the back-up guns. I like a Uncle Mike's #3 Pocket Holster, but there are many other types out there. Uncle Mike's #3 is sweat proof, important for my climate. Carried in a pocket, you can have your hand on a gun while the other guy is unaware that there is even a gun in the equation. That is no small matter in self defense.

S&W snubbies can be quite accurate. The difficulty is in tapping into that accuracy. The short barrel radius makes for difficult aiming at long shots. Most defensive shooting, however, will be at distances under 15 feet. This, or in a ground tussle, is where the snubbie works well. The short barrel does not give your enemy much to grab, and you can get it unholstered and into a rib cage while on your back with someone on top of you. Try that with a 5 inch barreled gun. S&W snubs are defensive weapons, not target guns. 25 yard shots with snubbies just show others you are unaware of this gun's purpose. A good man with a snub can put two holes in two paper plates at 15 feet while on the move. That is more than sufficient for this pistol's purpose in life.

As far as learning about carrying the gun, I would advise you to research ( in regards to your state. Laws vary from state to state.

Cocked & Locked
June 1, 2006, 06:22 PM
I have one S&W Bodyguard, this 49-no dash. It's my favorite J-frame.

deputy tom
June 1, 2006, 06:58 PM
My first J-frame was a 49 (no dash) which I wore out shooting Super-Vel ammo.I've had dozens of J-frames since and currently use a 642 for EDC and a 649 for occaisional carry.I would buy another 49 in an instant.Great guns.tom.:D

If you enjoyed reading about "Information on a S&W .38 SPL MOD 49" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!