Small, lightweight and concealable are attributes that make for an ideal carry gun. Adequate sights, and a good trigger don’t hurt either. You might think I’m talking about the next great semi-auto pistol but you’d be wrong. Instead I’m talking about a revolver. Is it even possible for a revolver to be a legitimate carry weapon anymore? I think so.

While I’m no huge closet fan of wheel guns, I do respect what they bring to the table in the way of simplicity and reliability. It doesn’t get much easier than aiming and pressing a trigger. It is also nice not having to worry about a slide moving back and forth and the potential for malfunctions.

Once you put in quality time with a revolver, you’ll quickly find out how easy it is to be consistent with the trigger. You tend not to flinch. I think it’s because as you focus on making that trigger press as smooth as possible, you’re not thinking about the discharge. At least this has been my experience. With semi-auto pistols, a short travel is going to result in a discharge. And as you time the trigger break, you anticipate the recoil. Somehow this lessens with revolvers, especially if you don’t cock the hammer and fire single action.

The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38

Single action; however, isn’t an option with the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38. The revolver has no external hammer. The long, smooth, double-action pull of the Bodyguard 38 is actually quite easy to become accustomed.

The Bodyguard 38 features a one-piece, aluminum-alloy upper frame. This makes it very lightweight. Of course, this can be scary in a little revolver, but even with 38 +P loads it’s not bad. A 1.875-inch, stainless-steel barrel spins up the slug. The gun contains five in total in the cylinder.

In fact, if there is one negative about a revolver for concealed carry, it’s capacity. We look at concealed carry from a defensive standpoint, but more often discuss it from an offensive position, and typically train that way. Sure, 25- to 50-yard shots are great, but trying to sell that for personal defense could be tough. A gun like the Bodyguard 38 excels at 10 yards and closer. Also, speed loaders provide extra ammo if needed.

Other features include a PVD-coated, stainless-steel cylinder and ambidextrous cylinder release that is easy to reach and operate. It is made of polymer and seems a bit inadequate, but time will tell.

Powerful, But Manageable

Shooters shouldn’t be afraid to shoot +P ammo through the Bodyguard 38. The grip is comfortable and does a relatively good job of soaking up the punishment. I’ve got thin hands, free of excessive meat. So, anything with lots of recoil transmits immediately to my bones. But I found no issue dumping cylinder after cylinder of +P ammo from the tiny Smith. It was fun and I couldn’t stop.

It was also easy to aim. The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 features a pinned front sight and integral rear sight. Both are typically of what shooters might expect to find on a revolver. Pair these features with the lack of a hammer and you get a snag-free option to tote in a pocket without worry about accidental discharge.

Would I carry a revolver? Yes, as a backup to a larger primary, or even as a primary when my choice of dress doesn’t allow for a larger defensive tool. Of course, many shooters prefer a snub-nosed revolver, as it is easy to carry every day. A snub in the pocket is much better than any full-size left at home.

For more information about the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38, please visit

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38 Specs

  • Action: Double action only
  • Caliber: 38 Special +P
  • Barrel Length: 1.875”
  • Overall Length: 6.6”
  • Front Sight: Front ramp
  • Rear Sight: Integral
  • Grip: Gray polymer
  • Weight: 14.2 ozs.
  • Cylinder Material: Stainless steel
  • Barrel Material: Stainless steel
  • Frame Material: Aluminum alloy
  • MSRP: $385

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