Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

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Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .38 Special

The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is a family of small J-frame revolvers with shrouded hammers manufactured by Smith & Wesson. They are available chambered in either .38 Special or .357 Magnum.[1]


Model 38[edit]

The Model 38 is aluminum-framed, has a carbon steel barrel, a carbon steel cylinder with a five-round capacity, and is chambered in .38 Special.[2]

Model 49[edit]

The Model 49 is an all-carbon-steel-framed revolver chambered in .38 Special.[2]

Model 638[edit]

The Model 638 is aluminum-framed with stainless steel cylinder and barrel. Chambered in .38 Special.[2]

Model 649[edit]

The Model 649 is an all stainless-steel framed revolver. Chambered in .357 Magnum or .38 Special.[2]

M&P Bodyguard 38[edit]

The M&P Bodyguard 38, introduced in 2014,[3] is the latest incarnation of a Smith & Wesson revolver using the Bodyguard moniker. It is a polymer framed revolver chambered in .38 Special, and is only available with a Crimson Trace laser sight integrated in to the grip. Like previous Bodyguard models, it has a five-round cylinder and a concealed hammer but unlike the previous models, the hammer cannot be cocked for single action fire.[4][5] The lockwork is different than any other Smith & Wesson revolver and the model has no parts interchangeable with the J-frame series.[6] Chambered in .38 special, it is only available with a Crimson Trace (previously Insight) red-dot laser sight integrated in to the grip.[7] In 2018, S&W announced a new version of the Bodyguard which lacks the integrated laser sight. It is most closely related to the Centennial models.[6]



Clyde A. Tolson, special assistant to FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, owned a Model 38 Airweight, serial number 512236, with his name engraved on the side.[8]

Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, South Vietnam's chief of National Police, was photographed using a Model 38 Bodyguard to execute a Viet Cong prisoner, Nguyễn Văn Lém, during the Tet Offensive of 1968.[9] The picture, which earned photographer Eddie Adams a Pulitzer Prize, is credited with increasing public antipathy towards the Vietnam War.[10]

Bernie Goetz used a Model 38 in a 1984 shooting on the New York City Subway.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boorman, Dean K. (1 December 2002). The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms. Globe Pequot. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-58574-721-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ahern, Jerry (2010). Armed for Personal Defense. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 47. ISBN 1-4402-1643-6. 
  3. ^ "First Look: Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard Handguns with Crimson Trace Lasers - Guns & Ammo". Guns & Ammo. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  4. ^ Shideler, Dan (20 August 2010). Guns Illustrated 2011: The Latest Guns, Specs & Prices. Iola: F+W Media, Inc. p. 58. ISBN 1-4402-1624-X. 
  5. ^ "Smith & Wesson(R) Introduces New BODYGUARD(R) Line. Company Launches New Compact Pistol and Revolver with Integrated Laser System" (Press release). Smith & Wesson. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  6. ^ a b Wiley Clapp. "S&W's New Bodyguards". American Rifleman. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  7. ^ "Smith & Wesson® Introduces New M&P® BODYGUARD® Handguns with Crimson Trace® Laser Sights" (PDF) (Press release). Smith & Wesson Corp. July 15, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  8. ^ Supica, Jim; Nahas, Richard (2007-01-03). Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson. F+W Media, Inc. ISBN 089689293X. 
  9. ^ Berryhill, Michael (2011). The Trials of Eroy Brown: The Murder Case That Shook the Texas Prison System. University of Texas Press. p. 34. ISBN 9780292742185. 
  10. ^ "Nguyen Ngoc Loan, 67, Dies; Executed Viet Cong Prisoner". New York Times. 16 July 1998. Retrieved 5 July 2009.