Smith & Wesson M&P .38 Hammerless Revolver w/Crimson Trace

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If you want to change the grip, it won't affect use of the laser. If this were my revolver, I'd likely choose something more slick. It is a J frame pistol, so there are hundreds of options.

If you want to change the grip, it won’t affect use of the laser. If this were my revolver, I’d likely choose something more slick. It is a J frame pistol, so there are hundreds of options.

Smith & Wesson is in a strange position in the market. The company was built on the success of its revolvers. That said, everyone who hasn’t been living in a monastery for the last 40 years knows that revolvers seem a bit anachronistic in light of the advances made in polymer pistol design (and S&W is making advances there, too). That isn’t to say that the revolver is outdated, necessarily, or obsolete. But it isn’t the height of tactical fashion. So what does an industry behemoth do to make sure the revolver remains relevant? The answer is easy enough to guess. First you perfect the platform, then you trick it out. The M&P Bodyguard is exactly that.

I’ll come clean here at the start of the review. I don’t carry a revolver for concealed carry. I do carry a 686 + when I’m hunting, or wandering around in the woods. The .357, with its long barrel, is an ideal compliment for situations that don’t require rapid fire, large capacity, etc. It is a tack driver, and has a tremendous range. And if all else fails, it can be used as a truncheon. But the diminutive .38 caliber 5 shot feather weight doesn’t share any of the qualities of the 686, except the manufacturer’s name and the fact that the cylinder rotates. So what’s the appeal?

The revolver is thin enough to conceal. The cylinder is right at an inch wide. And the length is typical for revolvers this size.

The revolver is thin enough to conceal. The cylinder is right at an inch wide. And the length is typical for revolvers this size.

Well, the cylinder rotates. That is enough for some people. I’ve never had a modern revolver fail. Yes, I’ve managed to break a Uberti Navy (by dropping it–not Uberti’s fault), and I’m having some issues with a Walker, but I’ve shot lots of modern revolvers, and even my Pop’s Iver Johnson (chambered in .38 short) still goes bang when you pull the trigger. I can’t say the same for all of the micro .380s I’ve carried. I’ve experienced all manner of malfunctions, from extractors that break off to double feeds and stovepipes. It has gotten to the point that I won’t carry some concealed carry guns off the range. You have to be picky when you’re protecting your life and the lives of those you love. So the revolver appeals to those who want unfailing reliability.

Smith & Wesson, though, has made hundreds of revolver models. What makes this one different? To their credit, S&W isn’t sitting back on its hands, regurgitating classics and hoping that the revolver somehow becomes retro-chic. Instead they’re innovating. The M&P Bodyguard is a composite gun. Look at the frame and you can see where advances in material science have allowed them to lighten the load. As the gun is a .38, and not a .357, there are more possibilities. The barrel is stainless, but much of the rest of the gun isn’t. The rest of the frame is an aluminum alloy. So the compact 5 shot is both small and light.

If there is one drawback to the revolver, it is loading. That said, you won't ever have magazine related feed issues, either.

If there is one drawback to the revolver, it is loading. That said, you won’t ever have magazine related feed issues, either.

And they’ve continued to work with the hammer-less design. The M&P BG has a double action only pull that isn’t exactly light. In fact, it is heavy–close to 9 pounds. And it is long. The grip is set back on these revolvers–this is hard to explain, but easy to feel. As the trigger finger reaches forward, you have more leverage to make the trigger pull. Some autos, with boxy grips especially, leave the trigger close to the grip, so as you pull you run out of room to finish the stroke. But not on this one. And the DAO pull is easily staged. You can feel the mechanics in action, and after a cylinder or two, I found that I could rock the trigger back and hold it at the breaking point for extended periods of time. It is a nine pound pull, but the break is clean, and there is no grit, no creep, and no slack. The trigger requires an intentional pull, but it is precise enough for surgical work.

Or as much surgical work as a snub-nosed .38 can accomplish. Accept these limitations. The .38 round is a solid performer, but there are countless variations. I guess someone could count them, if you could account for the countless variations in use by hand-loaders. Sounds like a project for a graduate student. Anyhow. The .38 is what it is. It can be highly effective for personal defense. It still has to leave the cylinder, cross the gap, negotiate the forcing cone’s violent reentry point, and then stabilize in a (very short) barrel. Despite the miraculous sequence of these events, the system works. The M&P’s gap would have to be measured in 1/100ths of an inch. And the accuracy is much better than I’d expected.

Five rounds form a DAO snubbie from 7 yards. Not bad S&W.

Five rounds form a DAO snubbie from 7 yards. Not bad S&W.

Shooting results

Here are some of the shooting results. We worked with the gun at ranges from contact to 25 yards. At 7 yards, which I consider the proving distance for a concealed carry gun’s accuracy, the M&P is a rock star. One hole. From a DAO snub-nosed revolver?

So we moved back a bit. Similar results. I fired from concealment, and point shot from low-ready. I pushed the gun through timed sequences that didn’t allow for full extension, and I ran double taps. I put it through multiple target drills. In short, I didn’t find a single point at which the M&P didn’t meet or exceed my expectations. This is a solid wheel-gun, and one that I wouldn’t hesitate to carry.

Or, as is more likely, trust with a loved one. There’s an added benefit on this gun that makes it even more versatile. The Crimson Trace laser is mounted high on the frame, and not under the barrel or in the grip. This means it won’t be as effected by recoil, and won’t be easy to block with your grip. The switch is easy to find, easy to actuate. And point of aim? At 7 yards, I found POA to be just over an inch right. That margin of error may be because of my pull, or may be because it sits on the right side of the gun. Regardless. I could hand this gun to my wife, or my mother, no problem. Put the red dot on the threat, pull the trigger. In an emergency situation, it doesn’t get any easier than that.

The M&P Bodyguard is exactly that. Simple. It works every time. It is easy to conceal. Its ergonomics and design are mirrored by its intended purpose. It is a backup gun. It is a get-off-me gun. It is a bodyguard. And to the extent that it is meant for concealed carry, it is ideal. The only hesitation I have is with the limited round count in the 5 round cylinder. Is that enough? There is no answer to this question.

Specs

Model: BG38 – Crimson Trace®
Frame Size: Small
Caliber: .38 S&W Special +P
Action: Double Action Only
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Barrel Length: 1.9” (4.8 cm)
Front Sight: Black Ramp
Rear Sight: Integral
Overall Length: 6.6” (16.8 cm)
Grip: Synthetic
Weight: 14.36 oz. (407.2 g)
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Cylinder Material: Stainless Steel with PVD Coating
Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
Finish: Matte Black
$539

The black on black sights are difficult to see in the dark, but the laser makes up for that.

The black on black sights are difficult to see in the dark, but the laser makes up for that.

 

How much muzzle flip is generated by the Bodyguard?

How much muzzle flip is generated by the Bodyguard?

Not much. Recoil is tame, and nonexistent when compared to similarly sized guns in .357.

Not much. Recoil is tame, and nonexistent when compared to similarly sized guns in .357.

 

Accuracy with the laser is close enough. At 7 yards, this shooter put 5 rounds within two inches of point of aim.

Accuracy with the laser is close enough. At 7 yards, this shooter put 5 rounds within two inches of point of aim.

Here you can see point of aim. The laser here is seen in full daylight.

Here you can see point of aim. The laser here is seen in full daylight.

We're working from the sights on these shots, and the impacts are hitting even closer to point of aim.

We’re working from the sights on these shots, and the impacts are hitting even closer to point of aim.

The DAO pull allows for an easily staged pull. There is a plateau right before the break that is easy to find and hold.

The DAO pull allows for an easily staged pull. There is a plateau right before the break that is easy to find and hold.

The Bodyguard does solid work. Accuracy is easy to replicate.

The Bodyguard does solid work. Accuracy is easy to replicate.

All of these targets were shot by one of two shooters. Consistency. I keep coming back to it, but it is an important feature.

All of these targets were shot by one of two shooters. Consistency. I keep coming back to it, but it is an important feature.

The grip offers enough room for two fingers, but the pinky will float below.

The grip offers enough room for two fingers, but the pinky will float below.

The Bodyguard is a five shot, chamebered in .38.

The Bodyguard is a five shot, chambered in .38.

To release the cylinder, push the lever below the rear sight forward. It swings out to the left.

To release the cylinder, push the lever below the rear sight forward. It swings out to the left.

The trigger on the DAO Bodyguard is curved and radiused. The ergonomics help with the heavy pull.

The trigger on the DAO Bodyguard is curved and radiused. The ergonomics help with the heavy pull.

The front sight is pinned, so it could be replaced if you wanted. There are many options. Fiber optic sights are popular, but not as rugged as the blade.

The front sight is pinned, so it could be replaced if you wanted. There are many options. Fiber optic sights are popular, but not as rugged as the blade.

The top sight rail is a deep trench. Not adjustable, but is won't snag, either.

The top sight rail is a deep trench. Not adjustable, but it won’t snag, either.

In addition to protecting the gun, the case offers a more subtle way to transport or store the gun.

In addition to protecting the gun, the case offers a more subtle way to transport or store the gun.

The DAO trigger pull is heavy, but you'd never know it. It is very easy to manage.

The DAO trigger pull, at close to 9 pounds, is heavy, but you’d never know it. It is very easy to manage.

The rubber frame has texture where your fingertips touch, but the grip is less aggressive where it might contact clothing.

The rubber frame has texture where your fingertips touch, but the grip is less aggressive where it might contact clothing.

The pistol comes in well made case.

The pistol comes in well made case.

The laser control is operated with the thumb. It is easy to operate--but awkward if your finger isn't on the trigger. Still, I like it better than pressure pad on a grip.

The laser control is operated with the thumb. It is easy to operate–but awkward if your finger isn’t on the trigger. Still, I like it better than pressure pad on a grip.

All of the controls are easily accessible with one hand, though reloading one handed isn't easy.

All of the controls are easily accessible with one hand, though reloading one handed isn’t easy.

 

{ 57 comments… add one }
  • TDR May 1, 2017, 9:22 am

    Exactly… I also bought this for my wife . I originally purchased a Glock 43 for her but she had a hard time pulling the slide back (not enough strength ) so I installed a “T” attachment to it thinking that would help . Nope still can’t safely rack it . So , my uncle being in LE he said look at this M&P . TaTa ..wife loves it and it’s her CCW . I’m also impressed on how it shots . My only complaint is the grip.

  • Darrin October 6, 2016, 3:34 pm

    The BG38 shares no parts with a J frame. There aren’t many aftermarket grips available. It fits my hand well and absorbs recoil well for me. I like the laser for helping me refine my trigger stroke. I’m more accurate with my 640 J frame. I’ve put about 300 rounds through my bodyguard 38 and probably 1000 through my 640.

  • OnTarget September 1, 2016, 12:08 pm

    All the whinning. OMG. I looked at this gun the other day and really liked it. Actually my wife was looking at it as she cannot rack most slides and other revolvers do not fit her hands well (larger grips & length). Downside? – having to maybe carry some speed loaders. Otherwise this +P snubby felt great to her. And that is what counts! She has to be fully comfortable with the firearm. I have and have shot many revolvers and semi’s. If you are not comfortable with the firearm in any caliber, then it is useless. It doesn’t matter if you have the best sights or lasers in the world. You need to be comfortable, understand breathing, trigger pull, and aiming. Bang! You’re in! If you have ever had to look down a barrel aimed at you, it doesn’t matter what size hole it is. It is going to hurt and in most cases, may kill you. It is better to have than not have in any situation. Carry for the right reasons. That is what this gun is meant for. If you want a target gun, look elsewhere. Not that this will not hit paper or metal. This gun seems to be designed with all I could hope for. Small, easy to carry, light weight, good and versatile caliber, perfect for a 2″ barrel, option to quickly thumb laser on or not, DAO with no exposed hammer to snag, ambidexturous cyl. release. What more do you want? My only complaint would be to paint a small portion of the sight ramp white for easier sight alignment. Trigger pull felt good – not heavy, not hair. I have an old S&W 36 Chief and it does everything I could want for its intended purpose. This M&P BG is the answer for my wife. In fact, after she looked at so many choices, she emphatically said “I want this one.” Believe me, she knows what she wants.

    • Mark October 1, 2016, 10:44 am

      I carry a czp09 19+1 but it’s big and if we are just out to dinner and a movie in the early evening this is a comfortable easy way to stay safe. 5 shots on you is better the 20 at home or in your truck

  • bill August 27, 2016, 9:43 am

    question? what does M&P mean in this article?

    • Robert Bobson April 6, 2017, 9:23 pm

      M&P = Military & Police.

  • Gerald Mucci June 16, 2016, 6:10 pm

    This review is a heck of a lot more positive than the one given at “The Truth About Guns Dot Com.” They didn’t like it – said that it will kill your hand from recoil if you practiced much with it, it seldom returns to target after a shot is fired, and they dislike the accuracy beyond 7 yards. What else is to be expected from a very light weight, short barreled revolver. I’m glad I read more than one review. They seemed to have a built in bias against this gun.

  • nunya business February 5, 2016, 9:36 pm

    Didn’t like it, to small for my hand. Gave it to my wife.

  • Martin B August 16, 2015, 5:16 pm

    I feel the need to interject here. Nobody thus far has commented on the quality of the article. I understand the need to get copy out to meet schedules and ensure a paycheck, but really, errors in every paragraph? Are you truly happy with that? Nearly all the commentators have taken the time to check their entries before posting, surely the author could have done the same? I won’t list them all, but all readers will have noticed. It does a disservice to your publication. Otherwise a good article, but perhaps comment could have been made on the operating differences from all other revolver types. S & W have gone out on a limb with a new cylinder opening function which requires familiarization and training for no obvious benefit to the shooter. Also the novel laser button which requires similar learning. Different should mean better, but an opinion on this should at least have been offered. But I only write because I care, and this is one of the better gun sites on the web. Keep up the good work. And don’t mind grammar Nazis like me.

  • jay November 4, 2014, 12:14 am

    I’m curious, besides the laser, how is this different from the bodyguard .38 that came before? I’m in the market for a snobby for the very purpose of being a “get off me” “belly” gun. I recall a year or two ago the prior version not being so widely regarded, is this a ‘new gun’? Does she take +P’s? Is there going to be a laser-less version (I truly have no want or need for a laser).

  • Tony P. October 14, 2014, 3:28 pm

    While lasers are great for training, and are a tremendous help to those who may have vision and/or acuity issues, the most effective ones I found by several purchases, trials, and errors have been the Crimson Trace instinctive activation laser-sights. After having been in The Army, and having been raised up behind “The Blue Wall” ( Mom was a 26 year veteran LT. 43rd Precinct NYPD + 1 uncle with a Dec. gold shield & 2 others as a patrolmen.), I can certainly see, understand, and fully appreciate the benefits to the good old fashion 686 S&W with no laser, & iron-sights. That was how I learn to shoot. And it was a whole new world of suck when I had to re-learn how to shoot in the Army on a ratty 1911A1, which usually jammed-up twice every magazine. But even after switching to my semi-autos, Glock 21-SF, 30-SF 19, and S&W M&P9 as my daily carry PD weapons, I still carry a .38 stubby as my last ditch effort back-up. But I have no laser on it. On the CCW defense training range here in NW FL, I’m still able to put all 5 shots in a 4″ disk from 2-4 yards way in at least 2 prone, 1 kneeling, and off the hip draws. This did take some time & training, but an investment well worth it. The single most important factor, which is seldom mentioned, is the need to practice, practice, and practice some more WITH THE GUN YOU WILL BE CARRYING! Remember, shot placement stops bad guys, not lasers! I know of at 2 incidents where the perp still advanced upon the vic, INSPITE OF THE LASER! So, as much as is possible for you, know your gun, be well practiced with it, and maintain the right mind-set while you carry it. Let’s be safe out there. Fidelis ad Mortem!

  • Sharon October 9, 2014, 7:44 am

    Hi, I’m a GIRL and I love the Crimson Trace laser!!!!! I own two Rugers a .357 and a .22 Mag that I love dearly. I have the problem of dominate arm, right and dominate eye, left. The laser helps me put my target in sight, CORRECTLY. And, I really do not want to shoot someone, if my laser can scare them away, Hurray.

  • willowa October 6, 2014, 11:49 pm

    Call me whatever, but I like revolvers! I just carry two! They are Ruger SP 101’s, .357’s. I know, there are all the reasons anyone may have for taking exception to this, but… I carry one in a belly holster, one in the pocket of a heavy vest, the two revolvers and two speed loaders (yeah, not as quick as a loaded mag, but…) I have never had a revolver malfunction (misfire, et al), the double action trigger pull on these two (yes they have hammer spurs) is quit good, though I don’t know the actual poundage. It is better than two of the auto .45’s I have. I shoot the revolvers better, better choice of load, including .38 specials when over penetration might be an issue, and they don’t, in my experience, malfunction. It’s just a thought, it works for me, do what works for you, there are lots of choices.

  • Rick Purdy October 6, 2014, 11:14 pm

    I like this gun. Having a hammer, or not, having laser sights, or not; all I can do is to speak from personal experience. Neither one matters. I shot my left hand with my right hand, years ago. Stupidity, even from a Mensa member, can show up at any time. Yelling about hammers or lasers is silly.

  • Norman October 6, 2014, 10:08 pm

    Al this text, and not a word about .38 plusP ammo. I use it in hollow point for max protection, as do many others.

  • Bill Higgins October 6, 2014, 3:50 pm

    My first incentive to use laser sights was mentioned, that is, there is strong evidence that holding up a gun in the dark does little to discourage your basic brain-dead thug /group, while a little red dot showing up on their face (or crotch) has been documented to communicate volumes, instantly, that this isn’t the good idea they thought it was before they knew the victim is ready to do what it takes to get home safe tonight.

    My second image is how well do you shoot after somebody has put a zip tie as handcuffs around your wrist, behind your back? That image made me really think about it. I mean, it’s swell to have an ankle holster. You need only to kneel down to use it, but pulling the sights up to eye level isn’t going to happen. You will at best be like shooting around a corner, behind your back, so a little light on the subject seems like something I could really benefit from.

    My first reason for NOT commenting, originally, was the troll-like comment that got the responses going. It is because I read so many good, reasonably structured answers, I wanted to be sure I am supporting that group. I frequently don’t see this kind of classy response. So often you can see discussions spiral right into the toilet, and what good are these tantrums? I thank you all for your good sense, good attitude, and good example. I think of it like the bumper sticker from the 70’s, “If there is to be peace, let it start with me.” I’m not usually a “joiner,” so much, but I am happy to be able to participate with this crowd. If you are into shining a good light we can all benefit from, count me in, too. Thanks for the refreshing light.

  • wabiker October 6, 2014, 3:32 pm

    …Im still waiting for them to catch up on the backlog of 640’s…!?

  • Michael October 6, 2014, 2:51 pm

    Solid review, thanks. I’m a noob in WI who got my CCL last year, and after a handful of trips to the range I’m pretty sure my starter will be a wheelgun. Pretty much narrowed it down to either the Ruger LCR or a S&W j-frame, so this addition to their line-up is right up my alley. Integral laser just sweetens the pot – frankly I’m baffled by the anti-laser people, cuz if you don’t like it just don’t turn it on!

  • Gman63 October 6, 2014, 1:30 pm

    HMMM push a laser button or pull back a hammer. IMO if you need a hammer to pull back to shoot a revolver then you need find another gun. Hearing that statement makes me think the persons have not pulled the trigger on the newer revolvers. The biggest reason I didn’t like revolvers in the past was because of the heavy pull double action trigger. I now have an LCR 357 which I can stage and hold at the trigger break trip point. Sounds like this new Body Guard has a great trigger also.

    Anyone that thinks they are so gun proficient and fully trained that they don’t see a possible need for another advantage over a shooter shooting at them definitely needs to quit thinking punching holes in paper is in any way realistic shooting training.
    If a shooter is poised for a shot at you then you better be able to pull your trigger as soon as possible which means out of holster point gun on target perp and shoot. Or with a laser advantage it is out of holster red dot center mass and pull trigger. This will be faster than pulling from holster then raise gun to see sights then sight on center mass of perp. IMO in many scenarios the latter will possibly not even be able to raise their gun before being shot.
    IMO it is best to be ducking and dodging watching perps eyes while pulling my gun. If when I see his gun in front of his eyes pointed at me then I better be moving a lot. I will laser him and pull trigger as soon as possible. You don’t want to be like a standing target the perp like many people have used for shooting practice. You think cops are the only ones missing their targets in a shoot out? Guaranteed the bad guy misses probably even more than the cops do.
    If I can have any advantage over a shooter I will gladly use it.

  • Michael October 6, 2014, 11:56 am

    Like any small revolver they work well but like any handgun platform they have downsides. They are effective at close range and suffer from the low profile sights like all small revolvers, night shooting will be difficult unless your close, which most self defense shootings are.

  • Russ October 6, 2014, 11:22 am

    Over $500.00 for a baby gun?
    Enjoy!
    I love firearms, but I wouldn’t even want that little thing if you gave it to me.

    • Michael October 6, 2014, 2:43 pm

      A .38 revolver is a baby gun?! I’m a new shooter, have only been to a couple ranges a few times, and done some online research, but. . .it seems to me a baby gun would be a pocket pistol chambered in .380, not this beauty. Do you have really big hands, or what? I can see not being comfortable with having your pinky hang, but that doesn’t really justify your outright dismissal of this gun.
      As for the price, well, S&W doesn’t make crap. You can probably get a bigger revolver with a “smaller” name on it (i.e. less reputable brand) for $150 less, but then you’ll be getting what you paid for, and best of luck!

      • Russ October 6, 2014, 9:04 pm

        Ya, Michael my hands are big, but it’s not a comfort thing, or the cash.
        It’s just that when it comes to revolvers I like a Ruger .44 magnum or an old fashioned cattleman in .45 long colt like Uberti has.
        I just don’t have a use for that thing, seriously.
        For CC I like more rounds and extra mags.
        10 rounders is all CA lets me have, so a Glock 29 10mm. is my small gun.
        I don’t mind heavy or a big bang, I kind of like it. It’s fun and thorough.
        I’m sorry, it’s probably good for someone or they wouldn’t make it.

  • M. Johnson October 6, 2014, 10:30 am

    For what it’s worth, I very much favor a grip with a place for ALL my fingers. I handled a 5-shot S&W snubbie in a store and just could not get comfortable with holding it in my hand. The same gun with a half inch longer Crimson Trace grip, feels 100% better in my hands. Recoil disturbs me less, it is never too uncomfortable and I am sure my next aimed shot can come quicker.

    I would never give up the Crimson Trace laser sight. It is intimidating, and makes it harder for me to be so stupid as to miss.

  • Nate Jaeger October 6, 2014, 9:31 am

    The laser is good for a woman handed a gun and told to hold it firm with a two handed hold, point the red dot and squeeze straight back. Somehow it makes the thought of self defense more acceptable and produces confidence.
    Now, for big boys I don’t think the laser is necessary. I train people with the Leveler approach. You attach the tiny leveler, with Velcro to the center of the back strap of the revolver, practice drawing the weapon and bringing it to the center of your body waist high, bring your other hand into a two handed support grip,check that the weapon is level and squeeze straight back smoothly. When your weapon is braced with your forearms against your sides you use your body to pivot right or left as if it were a pointer until you are face to face with the target. To fire higher or lower you must use the leveler to learn when you are head high or crouch high. Now you have control of every shot. If you can not shoot from the hip and hit center mass and your assailant already is in a pointing stance on you then your going to be shot first. The shoulder high two handed hold, point and shoot used by Police is a losing tactic. I have never had a Police Officer draw and fire before me and 70% of the time after I have beat them their shot misses the target anyway. Your shot must be from the hip and dead on the first time. We all hear about Police today blasting away with 14 shots in a panic. One shot, one kill.

    • dink winkerson October 6, 2014, 12:33 pm

      “Woman”. Some of the best shooters I know are women. They are killin it with .45, .40, 9mm. Take sex out of the conversation.

      • b bb October 2, 2015, 9:37 pm

        Take sex out of the conversation!!!??? no way I like sex!
        Take gender out, I agree.

    • Ron December 30, 2016, 10:00 pm

      If there is a YouTube link that demonstrates the “leveler approach” to drawing a gun, please post it. Otherwise, thanks for the good article, much appreciated!

  • Nate Jaeger October 6, 2014, 9:30 am

    The laser is good for a woman handed a gun and told to hold it firm with a two handed hold, point the red dot and squeeze straight back. Somehow it makes the thought of self defense more acceptable and produces confidence.
    Now, for big boys I don’t think the laser is necessary. I train people with the Leveler approach. You attach the tiny leveler, with Velcro to the center of the back strap of the revolver, practice drawing the weapon and bringing it to the center of your body waist high, bring your other hand into a two handed support grip,check that the weapon is level and squeeze straight back smoothly. When your weapon is braced with your forearms against your sides you use your body to pivot right or left as if it were a pointer until you are face to face with the target. To fire higher or lower you must use the leveler to learn when you are head high or crouch high. Now you have control of every shot. If you can not shoot from the hip and hit center mass and your assailant already is in a pointing stance on you then your going to be shot first. The shoulder high two handed hold, point and shoot used by Police is a losing tactic. I have never had a Police Officer draw and fire before me and 70% of the time after I have beat them their shot misses the target anyway. Your shot must be from the hip and dead on the first time. We all hear about Police today blasting away with 14 shots in a panic. One shot, one kill.

  • Rightway 1208 October 6, 2014, 9:15 am

    Diego, often times these guns (snubbies) are used by older folks who don’t have the same eyesight younger people do. and in a fight or flight situation, show the shooter where the gun is pointed. 6-10′ seems like a short, no miss distance but that is not a given certainty. also, as the author stated, the sights all but disappear in low light situations. it also helps visually show the shooter where the POA is in a shooting situation where the shooter doesn’t have enough time or distance to fully extend their arms. it won’t make a shot for you, but if you train with it repeatedly, it is a functional enhancement tool to aid in more accurate shot placement. and studies have shown it helps do just that.

  • Rightway 1208 October 6, 2014, 9:14 am

    Diego, often times these guns (snubbies) are used by older folks who don’t have the same eyesight younger people do. and in a fight or flight situation, show the shooter where the gun is pointed. 6-10′ seems like a short, no miss distance but that is not a given certainty. also, as the author stated, the sights all but disappear in low light situations. it also helps visually show the shooter where the POA is in a shooting situation where the shooter doesn’t have enough time or distance to fully extend their arms. it won’t make a shot for you, but if you train with it repeatedly, it is a functional enhancement tool to aid in more accurate shot placement. and studies have shown it helps do just that.

  • Thomas Gaffey October 6, 2014, 8:53 am

    My wife doesn’t like semi’s, thinks they look too ‘gang banger’, however she pounds tacks with her wheelguns. I bought one of these for her 2 yrs ago for her ‘upstairs gun’. Two things the article didn’t mention, recoil is significant, duh, and the gun is .38 +P, I load light for practice and 158gr sjhp for effect. Hammerless is a matter of taste and not getting hung up in pants or purse, as far as the laser is concerned a lot of our guns have them, both her M&P and our daughter’s XD9, my opinion is that I would rather have someone run away with a red dot on them than deal with any DA here in CA. That red dot is a lot like the sound of the rack on a shottie or my 1911. Think what you like, but it does speed up target acquisition in a hairy situation, besides you can halfway blind them with it

  • Diego Blanchard October 6, 2014, 7:35 am

    OK, First off I hate hammer less revolvers. I think they suck. second, Anyone who needs a laser on a revolver shouldn’t handle a gun PERIOD! WTF do you need a laser on a snub nose revolver that most times will be used at about 6-10 feet from your target? If someone can give me a rational answer without being an ass I will listen and maybe even change my mind.

    • James October 6, 2014, 9:12 am

      I can see a laser come in handy if you couldn’t raise the gun up to aim , say if you have to get a shot off from the hip, or if you were in an awkward position. But on the flip side, if you were in a situation where you were on the ground and needed to fire, I doubt you will take the time to turn the laser on and use it anyways

    • Roger October 6, 2014, 9:23 am

      A laser on any hand gun just makes it have an added advantage for a quick and sure aim. Put that laser dot on your target and you will at least be sure to hit the target without having to line up a front and rear sight in a very tense situation.

    • Justin Kayatin October 6, 2014, 9:23 am

      OK, first off I’ve seen highly trained operators on the “two-way range” lose a great deal of capability under stress, including the ability to correctly align their site picture. Heck, I knew an active duty Federal Agent (and former SOC enlisted) who put a round into his desk after hours when clearing his weapon before heading home after work! Since my quiet-spoken and well intentioned spouse does not make a habit of scanning her surroundings for threat assessment at all times when going about her daily routine, should she ever need to pull her CCW from her hand bag to defend herself or a member of our family (or even you, John Q Citizen, if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time along with her) then I want her to have every tool she can use to make the outcome a successful one. That includes reliable revolver technology, a hammerless system for ease of extraction from a holster, and a bouncing red dot on a perp’s center of mass to tell her to pull the trigger NOW.

    • quallow October 6, 2014, 9:51 am

      dark alley and cant see the sights?

    • Bill October 6, 2014, 9:59 am

      Do what you want and is best for you BUT I have had some actual experience here:

      Since you asked:

      Laser 1 – I once stopped a threat coming at me by just lighting him up. From 30ft out.
      Funny how that can get ones attention. Plus yelling “Stop right there MF”
      Wont always work but – it can. Worked on him and his 4 buddies.
      It was really dark so he could not “see” I had a gun on him.
      Nor could I see the sights.
      “If you have not been there” – “The best gun fight you can be in is the one you avoid”.

      Laser 2 – Guess you have never been in a night fight. Its different. Especially with black on black target sights.

      Hammerless – My wife carries in a “gun purse”, hammerless = less chance of hanging-up on draw.
      Also – If you cant shoot DAO(ie hammerless) you “should not hadle a gun PERIOD!”.

      • Bobby Earl October 6, 2014, 12:28 pm

        Please suggest to your wife that she is safer if she conceals carry on her person and never ever in her purse or carry bag.
        There are a large variety of concealed carry garments and holsters for both men and women. Concealed carry should
        always be on the person.

        • Poffy October 8, 2014, 12:30 am

          This makes sense to me. Thanks.

    • Mike_d October 6, 2014, 10:30 am

      Diego,
      While I am certain there are about as many reasons why a person would want a laser on a gun as there are persons owning such guns, I’ll just give you a couple.
      My wife recently started learning to shoot after showing no interest for many years. As she did not feel confident in her ability to aim at first, she loved the idea of the laser. For her it was – see the dot, pull the trigger, hit the target. It helped her build confidence and provided invaluable feedback on how much her grip affected her aim, especially on the long DAO trigger pull as she watched the laser dance. Now that she has more experience under her belt, I have her working on a more instinctive style and we use the laser as a training aid for finding the natural point of aim.
      As a second point, I would note you specifically pointed out laser use at 6-10ft from which I assume you are talking about self defense range. From my experience shooting 3gun and in other matches where I move around, I can tell you that when your heart is hammering and the adrenaline is flowing you’re not Mr-steady-as-a-rock with your aim point. I’ve missed plenty of fairly short range shots in matches because I was breathing too hard or rushed the shot. I can only imagine that in a true fear for my life situation I’ll be at least that rattled. Will having the laser give me that tiny bit of feedback to tell me I’m off target? What if I don’t have time to get the pistol up to see the sites? We sometimes snap shoot from the hip for fun like you see in some of the cowboy action shooting videos. While it’s fun to do, I can tell you that for me its hard to aim from the hip. A laser here might be a literal life saver if I had to take a shot from an unusual position.
      While a laser might not be right for you, I would challenge you that if you want someone to have a rational discussion about the merits of a particular item, then starting off with an inflammatory statement that people who want lasers should not even handle a gun is maybe not the best way to start off your side of the discussion.
      Best Regards,
      Mike

    • Russ October 6, 2014, 11:17 am

      I’m with you Diego.
      Who the hells looking for a dot when being attacked, or even staring down your sights?
      Point and shoot, your lasers a joke.
      All lights are perfect for giving the bad guy a target.
      Stay the hell out of dark alleys.

    • dink winkerson October 6, 2014, 12:26 pm

      Funny, you wanted it explained to you without someone being a ass, because that is EXACTLY the way you came across.

    • Al Soto October 6, 2014, 1:57 pm

      Phsycological Intimidation…
      Won’t find it any more rational than that, I guess…

    • RJD October 7, 2014, 7:45 am

      Diego,

      I’m retired LEO from CA. Obviously you are not LEO or ever been in a firefight. During a firefight, you have smuch adrenaline pumping
      through you, aiming is nearly impossible, which is why we were taught hip firing, out of the holster, pulled and aimed were necessary and double tapped. Having a laser back then would have been a godsend during a firefight!

    • Wayne Clemon January 20, 2015, 1:29 pm

      so don’t buy one and stop being an ass yourself!

    • Scott September 28, 2015, 5:01 pm

      The laser can act as a deterrent, no one feels comfortable with a red dot on their chest.

    • Gerald Mucci June 16, 2016, 6:26 pm

      This reviewer believes everyone is just like him. We are not. We have various needs, various issues, and various capabilities. It is narrow minded to believe that just because someone shoots better or has an advantage using a laser shouldn’t handle a gun. I hope Diego is never in charge of legislating gun laws.

    • Mark January 20, 2017, 11:44 am

      I’m an avid fan of cow/ccl. My wife is not a fan of my firearms at all, however she supports MY decision to carry. Last month I took a fall from 15′ up and shattered my strong arm elbow and knee making it impossible for me to even use my firearm yet alone stand up. My wife proceeded to purchase me this .38 and handed it to me the day after my surgery. None of my firearms have lasers on them, none of them were revolvers. At the range I can put all five rounds inside of a 3″ group at 7 yards with my week hand right out of the box. The laser helps. Inside the range the black on black sights are difficult to see, but not useless. The laser is impossible to miss on the target. Is this my first choice for every day carry? Of course not. Is my new carry gun until I heal? Absolutely. This firearm even did one more impossible task. It got my gun hating wife to take the ccw class and start carrying one herself. If these are not some very practical reasons to have a lame crutch inhibiting laser on a firearm, then I challenge you to do the same with every scenario a feeble mind can think of.

    • Scott March 16, 2017, 10:54 am

      Noticing your comment about hammer less & lasers. What makes you an expert? lets see if this will change your mind.
      I am a senior with a disability. I drive a very nice car and dress well so this makes me a bit of a target. in some areas where I need to go at times. Also my wife ( a senior) has arturitus in her hands.. Being a woman she caries a purse. The hammer less does not snag in her purse or my belt or shirt. Also being senors the laser helps if your not in a good position to fire or your eyesite isn’t great. . Just follow the little red dot and squeeze. Please don’t give me a lecture about the laser. If you practice you can turn it on as you draw, just like an old cowboy colt. They do help in many circumstances. Not all of course just like iron sights don’t work in all situations.

    • Kristina Bacon July 21, 2017, 9:07 am

      Diego – I picked this weapon after handling a couple dozen because it felt good. I was in the Army for 7 years but I only handled a hand gun once the rest of the time it was M16s and 50 cals, so not a lot of experience with hand guns. I picked a revolver because I want the weapon for protection and I am a lot more confidant that this isn’t going to jam than a glock or any other semi-automatic (which I will purchase later for “fun”). I did NOT care about the laser – in fact I asked the guy if it came without it – it doesn’t – but then he painted a picture of an intruder in the home at night – a lot easier to A) scare the intruder away when that laser hits their face B) Aim in the dark.
      Pretty rational reason for the laser I think – so I picked this one for the fit, the feel, the grip, the pull, the smoothness….and the laser. =)

  • Six String October 6, 2014, 3:16 am

    No mention of lock. No lock visible in photos.

    Conclusion: lock free?

    Reading on a portable device so may have missed text windows. It does odd things at times and I am not a programmer. Please answer if so. It looks for sale in a California, which is excellent. Hopefully the roster goes away and we can get Walther PPS’ and PPQs here, as SSE is gone next year. But with SSE comes full retail, so when it was available (until dec2014) it was a wallet eater. As not a free market. So prices a premium.

    All you in free states get much better values on all firearms. Kentucky Gun co website makes me bananas as so many good choices at great prices. But a no go here in CA unless bullet buttons, SSE, neutered magazines.

  • Six String October 6, 2014, 3:09 am

    Is this the same one as on the roster for CA?

    BodyGuard 38 (Crimson Trace) SKU 10062 / Alloy; Stainless; Polymer Revolver 2″ .38 Special 9/25/2015

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