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Possibly S&W's ugliest gun ever?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by WardenWolf, Sep 19, 2012.

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  1. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    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.

    SW38_zps6a0e6f9b.gif

    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.
     
  2. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator

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    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....
     
  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  4. skt239

    skt239 Member

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    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.
     
  5. Paladin38-40

    Paladin38-40 Member

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    Art critic

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

    Their ugliest and most impractical IMO is the Governor.
     
  6. batmann

    batmann Member

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    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.
     
  7. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    this gets the most pocket time.

    Agreed.

    IMG_1260.jpg
     
  8. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    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.
     
  9. weblance

    weblance Member

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    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.
     
  10. bigtubby

    bigtubby Member

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    I love the Humpback guns but to each his own. S&W doesn't have any "ugly" guns some are just sexier than others!!
     
  11. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Member

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    Gun looks great. Grips look terrible. It's not the guns fault you dressed her up like that....
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  13. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    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.
     
  14. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    These thing are ooogly!

    th?id=i.4922986708271130&pid=1.jpg

    But shoot great in any barrel length.
     
  15. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I think the X-frames are much uglier.


    Nope, these guns could still be thumb-cocked single action. Not so with a bobbed hammer.
     
  16. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    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. ;)
     
  17. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Member

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    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.

    DSCN0214.jpg
     
  18. aHFo3

    aHFo3 Member

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    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.
     
  19. Fotno

    Fotno Member

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    The humpback S&W's are some of my favorite revolvers. Handsome too IMO.
     
  20. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    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.
     
  21. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    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...

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  22. CH47gunner

    CH47gunner Member

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    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
    649pearl002.jpg
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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:
     
  24. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Didn't I already say that? LOL
     
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