S&W .38 caliber "Bodyguard"


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MMA1991
May 31, 2014, 12:13 AM
Just bought one for $460 out the door. Haven't shot it yet.

Curious to know what others think of 'em.

Bought it for CC and home defense.

Any recommendations on defensive loads for this light frame snubbie would also be a appreciated.

Thx

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ArchAngelCD
May 31, 2014, 12:24 AM
The recoil is serious. It's a good handgun. You might want to buy something that is heavier and with a longer barrel for for HD. Just because it's a light revolver doesn't mean you have to use special ammo. Any quality name brand SD ammo will serve you well, look for accuracy. I like Speer Gold Dot short barrel .38 Special +P ammo because it's very accurate in my S&W M442. I shoot the FBI Load in my S&W M36 because it's accurate in that revolver.

Good luck with your new revolver.

Nakanokalronin
May 31, 2014, 02:19 AM
I'd suggest the Hogue Tamer grip for it: http://www.hoguestore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=7868

tuna
May 31, 2014, 12:40 PM
Which one are we talking about? The Model 38, or the new one?

I hate that S&W keeps reusing names like "Bodyguard" and "M&P".

Old Fuff
May 31, 2014, 01:15 PM
I hate that S&W keeps reusing names like "Bodyguard" and "M&P".

I agree. We had another thread where the name “Bodyguard” caused considerable confusion. It is absolutely stupid for manufacturers to recycle names.

The “new” .38 Bodyguard is part of the current Military & Police series, and assigned the model number BG38. It has an enclosed hammer and is DAO. Also a built in laser sight and the cylinder latch is on the top, not the frame’s left side. The internal design is entirely new, and not related to any other previous S&W revolver.

While it appears to be fully functional and reliable, buyers (or potential ones) should be aware that most – if not all - J-frame accessories won’t work, and that includes stocks. In addition the sideplate screws (and probably others if they’re any) require a special screwdriver bit to remove or tighten these screws. The owner’s manual makes it clear that if any work or adjustment is needed the company wants it returned to them or a factory approved service center.

All of this isn’t necessarily bad, and I suppose many won’t give a rip. But my attitude toward truth in advertise says that buyers should know these things before they make a purchase. :uhoh:

shockwave
May 31, 2014, 01:20 PM
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r136/southerneditor/the638rg.jpg

Loving my 638 - now with rosewood grips. Some more modifications ahead but it's getting there. Even with .38+P it's a pleasure to shoot.

One thing that tends to get overlooked when looking at an M638 is that the humpback design lets you get the web of your hand up higher on the gun, bringing the barrel more in line with your forearm, which aids in accuracy and shooting comfort.

MMA1991
May 31, 2014, 07:05 PM
"The “new” .38 Bodyguard is part of the current Military & Police series, and assigned the model number BG38. It has an enclosed hammer and is DAO. Also a built in laser sight and the cylinder latch is on the top, not the frame’s left side."

Yup...this is the one I am talking about...

Jim Watson
May 31, 2014, 07:07 PM
It doesn't LOOK like a Military & Police. More like a J frame in size but an oddball action unlike anything else I have seen.

rondog
May 31, 2014, 07:23 PM
I'd look into different grips, or at least keep that in mind. I have an older Model 49 .38 snubby, and if it still had the original tiny wood grips on it I couldn't shoot it.

When I bought it it came equipped with some shaped rubber grips that make it far easier to handle, along with box and the original stocks. I put those on one day out of curiosity, and took 'em right back off.

rodinal220
May 31, 2014, 08:19 PM
My first one was a lemon,NIB.It experienced misfires and poor accuracy. Sent it back to S&W with their provided FedEx pre-paid label. About two weeks later a S&W tech called me and said it was doing everything I stated in my letter. He said they could not repair it and S&W was willing to give me a new gun,I accepted.

The new gun has been 100% reliable. Accuracy:my gun seems to favor 110/125gr jacketed ammo. It does not like any of my old FBI 158gr +P LSWC,prints high and left(3-4").Hornady Critical Defense and XTP bullets shoot to point of aim. Speer Gold Dots shoot about 1" left and 1" high.

Industry response to the BG38 has been slow,it is not a traditional J-frame,if one at all. Normal J-frame grips will not fit the BG38. Hogue now makes grips for it.

http://www.hoguestore.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=22_35

http://www.hoguestore.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=22_35_729

The INSIGHT laser is ok,not in the same class as Crimson Trace IMHO. It is very small and compact.The laser button is small and can be difficult to activate,with practice it is usable. You cannot see the laser dot in daylight. It has held its zero and has been reliable.

The new cylinder release has not been an issue for me. At first I thought it would pose a transitional problem,not the case,at least for me.

Since the BG38 is a wee bit longer than a true J-frame the longer ejector rod is nice to punch out the empty cases.

Only time will tell how well it holds up.

bannockburn
June 1, 2014, 08:17 AM
I tried the Bodyguard .38 and still prefer my old Bodyguards, a Model 649 and a Model 638, over this new offering.

Anmut
June 1, 2014, 10:09 PM
I've got the all black bodyguard 38sp I purchased from my dad who purchased it about 4 years ago. I used it for my "light shorts or swimming pants carry." The finish is ugly enough not to worry about it getting marked up or wet yet it's light enough to carry comfortably. Accuracy is minute-of-chest and well within spec for a self defense gun.

Old Fuff
June 1, 2014, 10:15 PM
Yes, but which "Bodyguard" do you have. Is it the new model BG38 with a built-in laser sight, or an older one?: confused:

Snubshooter
June 1, 2014, 10:21 PM
My favorite grips for my J frames are the Crimson Trace 405s. They fit my hands the best. My best load is Federal Premium. I think all Smith people have affection for the ol' HUMPBACK.

Cooldill
June 1, 2014, 10:30 PM
Because the gun is more "tactical" than the average J-frame, I like it much better than the other old style guns. To me, the Bodyguard 38 is a J-frame built for the modern operator, and I have no problem with that. It's a good gun.

bannockburn
June 3, 2014, 10:01 AM
When someone mentions a S&W Bodyguard this is what I think of:
http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z334/TailoAltera/guns2016_zps0c79530e.jpg (http://s1184.photobucket.com/user/TailoAltera/media/guns2016_zps0c79530e.jpg.html)
http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z334/TailoAltera/guns2023_zps62f3c2af.jpg (http://s1184.photobucket.com/user/TailoAltera/media/guns2023_zps62f3c2af.jpg.html)

Old Fuff
June 3, 2014, 12:19 PM
When someone mentions a S&W Bodyguard this is what I think of:

And you are far from alone. This is the reason you get undesireable confusion when a manufacturer (In this case Smith & Wesson) recycle a name and asign it to an unrelated product. In no way is the new BG38 Bodyguard the same as the original revolvers with that name. It's going to be interesting when owners of the BG38 try to order parts or accessories and just specify the Bodyguard name. :confused: :cuss:

Waveski
June 4, 2014, 07:43 PM
Confusion - then there is the S&W Body Guard 380 auto...

MMA1991
June 4, 2014, 11:11 PM
Yes there is.

Monac
June 4, 2014, 11:39 PM
Bannockburn, if you don't mind a petty question, what kind of screws hold on the grips on the lower (newer) Bodyguard? I recently got a vintage pistol with replacement grips, and it looks like that. It seems to be a Torx, but no Torx bit I have will fit it.

Both those guns are top-nocth, BTW. Thanks for putting up the pictures.

Old Fuff
June 5, 2014, 12:57 AM
what kind of screws hold on the grips on the lower (newer) Bodyguard? I recently got a vintage pistol with replacement grips, and it looks like that. It seems to be a Torx, but no Torx bit I have will fit it.

I think you will find that this is true of all the screws in the new BG38. :uhoh:

Monac
June 5, 2014, 02:39 AM
I think you will find that this is true of all the screws in the new BG38. :uhoh:
Really?! That's something I was completely unaware of. What are they using, and why?

Old Fuff
June 5, 2014, 12:52 PM
Really?! That's something I was completely unaware of. What are they using, and why?

You and apparently everyone else... :eek:

I have only examined one BG38, so it may, or may not represent others now "out in the wild."

They are supposed to include a tool (actually two) in the box that allows one to remove the screw on that holds the cover on the laser sight so that the batteries can be changed, but the example I examined didn't have anything that meets this description.

I have no idea whay the screws are the way they are, but I did notice the owner's manual did not include an exploded view drawing with a parts list to facilitate buying parts. Neither Brownells or Numrich/The Parts Corporation list parts, tools or accessories for this model.

They make a strong point in the manual that if the owner has ANY problem(s) they are supposed to return the revolver to them.

Until someone else comes up with a different answer (that may very well happen) my view will be that the screws require a special driver to insure that only the factory, or an approved service center can pop the sideplate. :uhoh:

Monac
June 5, 2014, 06:21 PM
Wow. Thanks, Old Fuff. That is startling. I would have understood if they just wanted screws less prone to buggering up, but this sounds more like an effort to prevent tinkering in general.

Old Fuff
June 5, 2014, 10:15 PM
Keep in mind that I’m speculating, based on examining only one example. But the model BG38 is the only Smith & Wesson I’ve examined that hadn’t been tinkered with that didn’t have conventional slotted screw heads. My observation spans revolvers made as early as 1860 to present. Anyway, any new owner who decides to “pop the sideplate” is going to find they have a problem right off. :cuss:

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