Possibly S&W's ugliest gun ever?


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WardenWolf
September 19, 2012, 07:03 AM
I present to you my family's S&W Model 38 Airweight Bodyguard. This is one of the original aluminum-framed Airweights, before they started adding scandium to them to make them stronger. That big hump on the back of it is a shroud for the hammer to ensure it won't get caught on clothes and the like, because I guess a bobbed hammer was a little beyond them.

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s279/WardenWolf_1982/SW38_zps6a0e6f9b.jpg

As for the grips, well, in order to not have it break your hand, a set of Hogue rubber grips was needed. Fear not, we still have the original S&W grips laying around.

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Radagast
September 19, 2012, 07:19 AM
If you want ugly the Model of 1940 Light Rifle Mk1 takes the cake.

Of the more modern designs I'm of the opinion the Governor looks like its had a few too many high fructose corn sugar based drinks.

I've always thought the Bodyguard was effectively utilitarian in its looks. Those grips on the other hand are just plain ugly. Have a look at the Bantam grips. Much more concealable, although prone to leaving the stippling and backstrap grooves imprinted in your hand....

bannockburn
September 19, 2012, 07:31 AM
WardenWolf

On the contrary; I have always liked the hump on the Model 38, as well as on the Model 49, 638, and 649. Back in the day my coveted S&W J frame snubbies were the Model 40 Centennial and the Model 42 Airweight Centennial. Unfortunately they were few and far between and cost a premium on the off chance you even found one. But the Model 38 and 49 were available and at an affordable price.

One of the primary reasons I liked the design of the Model 40 (and the Model 38 and 49), was that little hump on the back of the frame seemed to reduce muzzle flip when you were shooting. On recoil the gun felt like it came straight back into your hand instead of rising up so much at the muzzle.

So since Model 40's were so hard to come by, for me getting a Model 38 was the next best thing. The other benefit to the hump was that with the hammer shrouded, it was possible (though assuredly not preferable), to fire the gun while it was in your coat pocket. The shroud did a nice job of keeping the hammer from snagging on the pocket lining.

My vote for S&W's ugliest revolver would probably be the Governor.

skt239
September 19, 2012, 07:46 AM
S&W only adds scandium to certain models. Not all current production light weight models of S&W have scandium in them.

The only ugly thing about that revolver are the grips. Get rid of those things and you have a great looking revolver.

Paladin38-40
September 19, 2012, 07:59 AM
The S&W humpbacks have personality unlike any other that also contributes to functionality.

Their ugliest and most impractical IMO is the Governor.

batmann
September 19, 2012, 08:08 AM
Beauty is as beauty does. Not the 'prettest' of the Smith's, but it was designed as a small, non snag 'pocket' carry piece.
S&W has sold many thousands of these types so ugly is an opinion, not function term.

bikerdoc
September 19, 2012, 08:22 AM
this gets the most pocket time.

The S&W humpbacks have personality unlike any other that also contributes to functionality

Agreed.

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg134/bikerdoc1948/IMG_1260.jpg

WardenWolf
September 19, 2012, 09:33 AM
I know the grips are ugly, but they work well at taming the recoil, and they're no wider than the cylinder so they don't hurt concealment. The gun's even uglier with the stock J-Frame wooden grips, though; they really show off its hunchback shape.

weblance
September 19, 2012, 09:43 AM
The hump also keeps the gun functional if someone grabs the back of the gun in a close struggle, to keep the hammer from moving. You can render a revolver inoperable that way. You can also stop a revolver from firing by grabbing the cylinder, but thats harder to shroud.

bigtubby
September 19, 2012, 09:57 AM
I love the Humpback guns but to each his own. S&W doesn't have any "ugly" guns some are just sexier than others!!

forindooruseonly
September 19, 2012, 10:05 AM
Gun looks great. Grips look terrible. It's not the guns fault you dressed her up like that....

Old Fuff
September 19, 2012, 11:51 AM
Smith & Wesson was well aware of bobbed hammers, but the model 38 was designed at the request of the U.S. Secret Service/Presidential Protection Detail. They wanted a revolver that could be fired from within a coat (not pants) pocket, and yet have a single as well as double action system. They didn't give a hoot about how it looked, just how it worked.

bannockburn
September 19, 2012, 11:57 AM
I have a pair of Rogers grips that while they are great at keeping the J frame snubbies under control, they are a bit large for concealed carry. Most of the time my Model 649 has the factory stocks with a Tyler T-Grip adapter. My Model 638 wears the factory Uncle Mikes type boot grips. Both have worked very well for me over the years.

Certaindeaf
September 19, 2012, 12:10 PM
These thing are ooogly!

http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=i.4922986708271130&pid=1.9

But shoot great in any barrel length.

CraigC
September 19, 2012, 12:14 PM
I think the X-frames are much uglier.


I guess a bobbed hammer was a little beyond them.
Nope, these guns could still be thumb-cocked single action. Not so with a bobbed hammer.

fastbolt
September 19, 2012, 12:24 PM
That big hump on the back of it is a shroud for the hammer to ensure it won't get caught on clothes and the like, because I guess a bobbed hammer was a little beyond them.

I'd not think the machining of a bobbed hammer was beyond the machinists who made old-style S&W revolver hammers (considering it took 7 machines to make the old-style hammers, if I remember correctly), but consider the advantages of the shrouded design itself.

The shroud not only allowed drawing from concealment (including a pocket) without the hammer spur snagging on clothing as easily, but it also allowed a full-size hammer spur that could be accessed in the event a single action mode shot was desired, and it helped prevent clothing from coming getting between the hammer's firing pin and the frame during shooting. A bobbed hammer offers neither of these last two potential advantages.

The little Bodyguard J's may not have the "clean lines" of the regular revolvers, but they were well respected and admired by a number of folks who had need to carry a "pocketable" 5-shot snub. ;)

I still have my stainless 649 Bodyguard .38 Spl I bought as a young cop. I often wish I'd bought one of the Airweight 638 models when they first made them rated for a diet of +P loads, as the all-steel model doesn't carry quite as easily (meaning being light enough to forget it's there) as my assorted 642-1's, 37-2 and M&P 340's. ;)

SASS#23149
September 19, 2012, 12:48 PM
Ugly you say ? Balderdash,says I !!
I luv my litle shrouded hammer baby,and the smaller grips make it all but disappear in a jeans pocket.
To each his own,but you'll nver hear me call a shrouded-hammer 'Smith,ugly.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v30/Throckmorton/Gun%20pictures/DSCN0214.jpg

aHFo3
September 19, 2012, 03:05 PM
The Hogue's make it less than attractive. Try the originals with a shiny aluminum Tyler T-grip. The t-grip fills the void behind the trigger guard nicely.

Fotno
September 19, 2012, 05:25 PM
The humpback S&W's are some of my favorite revolvers. Handsome too IMO.

W.E.G.
September 19, 2012, 05:32 PM
Come on.

EVERYBODY knows the SIGMA is the "stigma."

Just when we thought it wasn't possible to make a gun uglier than a Glock.

Oh well.
Pretty guns are the ones you show to your friends.
Ugly guns are the ones you show to your enemies.

jad0110
September 19, 2012, 09:25 PM
Given a good set of wood stocks, I don't think the humpbacks are ugly. Not as pretty as a 5" pencil barrel K Frame, but not bad. Ugliest? Maybe this one...

http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson/upload/images/firearms/170245_large.jpg

Looks like it needs a little blue pill :evil: .

No offense to those that might own one, I guess as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

CH47gunner
September 19, 2012, 09:31 PM
In the eye of the beholder I believe - The goodyear grips are truly hideous tho, they will also snag & print thru clothing. Not good in a hide-out gun.
Add a set of pearls & T-Grip adapter and she turns into a swan.
Just sayin'.

Bruce

S&W M649
http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f232/ch47gunner/66and649/649pearl002.jpg

ArchAngelCD
September 20, 2012, 03:37 AM
I don't think the Bodyguard frame is ugly at all. I like the current M638 and the M438 even better. If they would only release a M438 without a lock I would be carrying that instead of a M442.

A bobbed hammer was not beyond them, the Bodyguard frame gives us the option of both SA and DA operation.

S&W Airweight J frame, Aluminum Alloy frame which weighs 15oz. chambered in .38 Special.
S&W Airlite J frame, Aluminum Alloy frame w/Scandium which weighs 12oz. chambered in .357 Magnum. :rolleyes:

ugaarguy
September 20, 2012, 06:43 AM
This is one of the original aluminum-framed Airweights, before they started adding scandium to them to make them stronger.
Most of the Sc framed revolvers are in magnum chamberings. The stronger, non Sc, aluminum frame airweights are built on the beefed up J Magnum frame.

And if you want to get technical the vast majority of the Sc frame guns got a name change to AirLite to distinguish them from the less expensive non-Sc Airweight lines.

ArchAngelCD
September 20, 2012, 07:12 AM
Most of the Sc framed revolvers are in magnum chamberings. The stronger, non Sc, aluminum frame airweights are built on the beefed up J Magnum frame.

And if you want to get technical the vast majority of the Sc frame guns got a name change to AirLite to distinguish them from the less expensive non-Sc Airweight lines.
Didn't I already say that? LOL

ArchAngelCD
September 20, 2012, 07:26 AM
In the eye of the beholder I believe - The goodyear grips are truly hideous tho, they will also snag & print thru clothing. Not good in a hide-out gun.
Add a set of pearls & T-Grip adapter and she turns into a swan.
Just sayin'.

Bruce

S&W M649
http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f232/ch47gunner/66and649/649pearl002.jpg
You are correct Sir, rubber grips do nothing for a good revolver like the Bodyguard...

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN2054.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN2208.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN2203.jpg

Although Pachmayr grips aren't all that bad looking:

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN1988.jpg

And the original Uncle Mike's grips are very concealable:

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/DSCN2082.jpg

clang
September 20, 2012, 08:26 AM
The humpbacks S&Ws always remind my of the Flying Guppy for some reason:
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_eUMFAYLIfOI/S-l60VvFncI/AAAAAAAAAz0/NbmAZeRLLj8/s1600/super-guppy.jpg&imgrefurl=http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3090647/all/Airbus_A380_at_Manchester.html&h=400&w=500&sz=41&tbnid=HYyuNcgg9kaM3M:&tbnh=98&tbnw=122&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dflying%2Bguppy%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=flying+guppy&usg=__9A1SFYdNSDXT314kTFgw8fNgrFM=&docid=30wWUoaD3maQ-M&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_fxaUMPpK8eNyAH-uoGQDg&sqi=2&ved=0CC4Q9QEwAw&dur=0

ugaarguy
September 20, 2012, 08:46 AM
Didn't I already say that? LOL
LOL - Not exactly. There were some Sc frame J frames chambered in .38 Spl that were marked Airweight. You also left out that the stronger non-Sc J Frame is properly known as the J Magnum frame.

j1
September 20, 2012, 08:53 AM
Beauty is in the eye and hand of the beholder. Can you cock those guns with the hammer shroud by hand. Perhaps I should get out to gunstores more often but back in the day being weak willed pretty little guns sometimes followed me home.

Stainz
September 20, 2012, 09:00 AM
"Wow... what color lipstick did you put on tht pig?"

Yeah, grips don't help... witness the Hogue/S&W .500 Magnum monogrips on my Governor:

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_4645.jpg

Still an ugo... but it has a loving home!

Stainz

gopguy
September 20, 2012, 09:53 AM
I like the 49, you can still cock it and fire single action. I have a sixties vintage one still in the box with all the goodies. Dead on accurate, I see nothing to criticize... So I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

http://i51.tinypic.com/29qcm5y.jpg

Thaddeus Jones
September 20, 2012, 10:09 AM
No. I don't find the old bodyguard style to be ugly.

Ugliest S&W? Hmm...... There are so many choices! ;)

I'd vote for that hideous 8 shot scandium 357 N-frame. The one with all the rails on it.

That or the so called "governor". Hard to choose since S&W has not made a good looking revolver in over a decade. :)

friscolatchi
September 20, 2012, 10:42 PM
GOPGUY - What a beaut. I'm in love. Remember the song from the 60's - If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.

PRM
September 21, 2012, 07:43 PM
Smith & Wesson was well aware of bobbed hammers, but the model 38 was designed at the request of the U.S. Secret Service/Presidential Protection Detail. They wanted a revolver that could be fired from within a coat (not pants) pocket, and yet have a single as well as double action system. They didn't give a hoot about how it looked, just how it worked. - Old Fuff

Now that's interesting. I always figured the modern "humpbacks" were just the natural evolution of the .38 S&W "Lemon Squeezers."

ApacheCoTodd
September 21, 2012, 09:13 PM
While it's undeniably unattractive - in a Boston Terrier sort of way - I think there are several current offerings which are unattractive with no redeeming qualifiers... To wit..

Cocked & Locked
September 21, 2012, 09:45 PM
I like the Bodyguards...the original ones. I thought it was way strange that S&W decided to use that name again on some really ugly guns and call them Bodyguards. Blasphemy I say. :cuss:

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6486409/399682928.jpg

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6486409/390236102.jpg

Of course those model 40's ain't too bad either.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6486409/399676001.jpg

JFrame
September 22, 2012, 06:39 PM
"Wow... what color lipstick did you put on tht pig?"

Yeah, grips don't help... witness the Hogue/S&W .500 Magnum monogrips on my Governor:

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_4645.jpg

Still an ugo... but it has a loving home!

Stainz


I dunno -- maybe I'm just into weird sci-fi mutations...But I just don't think the Governor photographs that badly... http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/artists/just_cuz/JC_cheesy.gif

http://i737.photobucket.com/albums/xx12/Dennva/Governor01_1024x768.jpg


.

henry-ctc
September 22, 2012, 06:41 PM
I like them all. I wish I had one sample of each and every SW model ever made.
But, to be honest, the Governor... ummmm, well... not for me. I think itīs a shame for a reputed manufacturer, sorry, the most reputed one (maybe), to....

kgpcr
September 23, 2012, 10:35 AM
Not pretty at all but a pretty good carry gun! Easy to pocket carry

k_dawg
September 25, 2012, 10:07 PM
The 'new' Bodyguard 38 is horrid.

Both in looks and functionality.

huntershooter
September 25, 2012, 10:09 PM
"Pretty is as pretty does"...
It's a great gun.

msb45
September 26, 2012, 12:51 AM
Smith & Wesson was well aware of bobbed hammers, but the model 38 was designed at the request of the U.S. Secret Service/Presidential Protection Detail. They wanted a revolver that could be fired from within a coat (not pants) pocket, and yet have a single as well as double action system. They didn't give a hoot about how it looked, just how it worked.

I shoot the 638 better than my 642. It's my go to ankle gun. So +1 for function over form.

Frizzman
September 26, 2012, 12:57 AM
How about the S&W 296? I have one and its one of the oddest modern S&Ws. Its a .44 Spl, L Frame, five shot with a 2.5" barrel. The frame is aluminum and the cylinder is titanium. It has an enclosed hammer as found in the Centennials but the back of the frame is humpbacked...There is no exposed hammer spur as found in the Bodyguard revolvers. It's a very strange looking revolver but it's so ugly that it's cool...

ChefJeff1
September 26, 2012, 01:21 AM
Governor is the ugliest. I have a nickel model38 and it's great. The one in the pics just needs some smaller grips, like a boot grip or some wood

mdauben
September 26, 2012, 02:39 PM
I present to you my family's S&W Model 38 Airweight Bodyguard.
I've actually always liked the 38/638 guns with their shrouded hammers. Admittedly the grips on that gun are hideous. I like a nice set of wooden boot grips best for J-Frames.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y171/hipowersandhandguns/SWM638and642rock1.jpg

bannockburn
September 26, 2012, 03:13 PM
Nothing but love for my Model 649!
http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z334/TailoAltera/gunpix1032-1.jpg

Girodin
September 27, 2012, 05:58 AM
The governor is much, much, much uglier. Who'd have though that Smith would copy Taurus in making a very ugly and very silly gun. If people buy them I guess you can't blame them though. I don't mind the hump backs. I do find the grips on the OPs gun to be less than beautiful and not what I would put on a J frame for either looks or function.

JMACDONALD
September 27, 2012, 09:26 AM
Love my 649 pre lock .38 only

weblance
September 27, 2012, 10:36 AM
I love snubbies, I have a bunch of em. After reading this thread, I decided I needed a 638, so here is the one I picked up yesterday. Im very happy with it. It shoots to POA at 7 yards, and is comfortable to pocket carry. I prefer pocket carry and have an KLCR that is/was my EDC. Now this Smith will be my EDC. I like it that much, and shoot it better than the LCR. I have an Altamont wood boot grip on order for it. Cant wait for that. New in box, the 638 was $369+ tax

http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb97/weblance/CCWPics016Medium.jpg


http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb97/weblance/CopyofSJR-BF05-L01Medium.jpg

Creature
September 27, 2012, 11:15 AM
Personally, I think the 'humpback' has its own special kind of beauty.

Now the Chiappa Rhino....that's another story. Yeeesh.

Stainz
September 27, 2012, 11:40 AM
Here is an ugly 'humpback'... an S&W 296!

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_3867-1.jpg

It's ugly to shoot, too... the 19.7 oz L-frame AirLite Ti .44 Special says 'Howdy' with just those 200gr Gold Dots. Changing shoes doesn't help the looks, either:

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_0713.jpg

Okay, it helps with the recoil, even if it doesn't fit in the pocket anymore. I think it was Thaddeus who said they haven't made a handsome S&W in twenty years. I beg to differ:

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/007.jpg

I bought my .327 Federal Magnum S&W 632 Pro 9/11 - my last new purchase. I quickly added the 60 Pro grips - great look and feel, except for the hottest loads (Federal/American 100gr JSP & Speer 115gr GDJHPs) - which are a bit stout. Oddly, I once had a 7.5" SRH in .454 Casull - shot the stew out of it - now I seem to be a recoil softy... must be my age. In any case, it's a handsome package - IMHO. It's also an omnivore - it'll chamber and discharge .32 ACP, .32 S&W, .32 S&WL, and .32 H&RM, as well as .327 Fed Magnums.

Stainz

wlewisiii
September 27, 2012, 06:56 PM
That's utilitarian. Ugly is those X frame monstrosities that are mostly sold to people who don't know better and then ditch with a box of 44 rounds of ammo included... ;)

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