I was drawn to the Smith &Wesson Bodyguard .38 +P revolver right away. Making its debut at the 2010 SHOT Show, the S&W Bodyguard is a double-action only, five-round revolver with a one-piece aluminum alloy upper frame, built around a polymer grip frame. It has a stainless steel barrel and cylinder, with an all-around matte black finish. The Bodyguard revolver has a built-in, integrated Insight Technology laser.
Sometimes snub-nosed revolvers feel unstable in my hand. I get uncomfortable with real teeny grips, but the Bodyguard did not give me that feeling. The rubber, non-slip, smooth grip felt secure and it filled out my hand nicely. The relatively light trigger pull surprised me when dry firing it in the shop.
To be honest, I was hesitant about the right-side mounted integrated Insight Technology laser. The Insight Technology laser on the gun has a push-button activation, one push for constant on, second push for momentary and third push for off. I tried one of the other S&W revolvers with a Crimson Trace lasergrip that has instinctive activation and it was quite clear to me that I did not like the automatic activation of the laser. I am a firm believer in learning to use your iron sights, as I do not want to become dependent on my laser.
What ultimately sold me was the final price, finish, feel, and that I trust S&W products immensely.
I used the iron sights on my first shot with my new revolver and hit dead-on bullseye. That was rad! Then things went downhill. That little guy kicked my butt! By the end of 45 rounds, I needed a band-aid. The ranger officer gave me some grip pointers, but they did not help.
Though we were getting good groupings, both CTD Mike and I were hitting low left with both the iron sights and the laser. We did not adjust the laser. With that said, this is not a target gun. It is a self-defense weapon and my groupings were good enough for me.
I will have to practice the laser at home, quickly turning it on and off, as I was discouraged at the amount of time it took me to find and depress the small on and off button.
Pros of shooting the gun are the relatively lightweight trigger pull, the ambidextrous top-mounted cylinder release, and the ejection rod. A swift slap with your palm and all shells quickly eject.
The gun comes with a black nylon zippered case with two molded-in stretchy pouches that fits reasonably well in my purse. If you were to see it, you could mistake it for a day planner.
The new S&W Bodyguard is not a traditional J-Frame, so parts are not compatible. I am a little bit disappointed with the fact that there will be no pink rubber grips for me until someone starts making them. (hint, hint)
My overall impression of the Bodyguard is quite favorable, but I am disappointed that it is not something I will take to the range all the time to empty a box of ammo, unless I am wearing gloves. You cannot fault the gun for that though; it is clearly designed for personal defense and concealed carry, not for competition or plinking.