The Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 38 is a new “hammerless” revolver like those found in the Centennial line. Â Unlike those guns, the new Bodyguard 38 has a polymer frame and integral laser. Â It is one of two new compact handguns called Bodyguard introduced by S&W at the 2010 SHOT Show.
First, the basics, it is a five-shot, 38 Special revolver that is rated for +P ammunition.Â The hammer is fully concealed, and the gun is double action only.Â The gun is black with a grip.Â At first glance, it looks a lot like a model 442.Â But, this revolver is actually very different.
The Bodyguard 38 is a polymer-framed revolver, the first-ever by Smith & Wesson.Â This means that Smith had to go back to the drawing board to design this firearm.Â The lower frame (roughly from the rear of the cylinder back), is polymer, while the upper frame (surrounding the cylinder and housing the barrel) is aluminum.Â As you might expect, the revolver is very light, weighing only 14.3 ounces.
A significant change on the Bodyguard 38 is the relocation of the cylinder release.Â Instead of being mounted on the side of the frame, the release has been moved to the top of the frame, where an exposed hammer would normally be.Â Since the cylinder release is along the midline of the revolver, it is now ambidextrous.
Speaking of the cylinder, one of the problems sometimes cited by owners of Smith & Wesson J-frames is the extractor rod is too short to reliably eject fired brass.Â This is an annoyance at the range, but a possible deadly problem in a self-defense shooting.Â While not full length, the rod on the Bodyguard 38 is noticeably longer to provide a more sure ejection of spent cartridges.
Smith and Wesson lists the barrel length as 1.9″.Â Traditionally, S&W has listed the barrel length of their “snubbies” at either 1 7/8″ (1.875″) or 2″.Â I assumed that Smith was rounding up the 1.875″, but the company rep insisted the barrel length was exactly 1.9″.
Sights are fixed and black.Â The rear notch seems wider than the notch on the 442/642, but that is my impression only.Â I didn’t measure them, and the Smith rep was not sure.
Significantly, the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 38 ships with an integrated laser from Insight Technology.Â The red laser mounts high and back on the right side of the frame.Â The laser is adjustable for drift and elevation.Â Two laser modes are offered: steady and pulse.Â To activate the laser, the shooter may turn the unit on by pressing a button on the unit.
Smith & Wesson introduced the limited edition model 627 in .38 Super.Â This competition-caliber revolver features red, white and blue grips and a glass bead finish that give it a very distinctive look for both the range and the Sunday BBQ.
Designed and built by the Smith & Wesson Performance Center, the model 627 has a 5 1/2″ barrel with compensator, a Patridge front sight and adjustable rear sight.Â And yes, it has an internal lock.
The S&W 627 comes with full-moon clips and a spent case removal tool.
The standard S&W model 627 is an eight-shot .357 Magnum.Â This version is in .38 Super, a cartridge frequently associated with competition shooting in the United States.Â Combined with the styling of this handgun, it would appear S&W is gearing this firearm for the competition market.
The model 627 is available to your dealer only through Birmingham-based Bangers distributor.Â Pricing is set by the dealer, and no MSRP is given by Smith & Wesson.
Caliber: .38 Super
Capacity: 8 Rounds
Action: Single/Double Action
Barrel Length: 5 1/2″ Angled
Front Sight: Patridge
Rear Sight: S&W Adjustable
Overall Length: 11″
Weight: 45.5 oz.
Grip: Red, White, & Blue Wood
Material: Stainless Steel Frame and Cylinder
At this time, the S&W model 627 in .38 Super is no longer available through any normal channels. Â The limited production gun was made only as a short run for the Bangers distributor, and no more were made. Â The revolver is not listed in the Smith & Wesson catalog or on the company’s website.
Occasionally, a model 627 in .38 Super will come up for sale or auction on one of the internet gun sales sites, and a collector can find the guns there. Â However, one can expect to pay a premium over the original price because of the relative rarity of the gun. Â Do not expect to pick up a pristine, unfired gun on the cheap.
The modern Smith & Wesson 632 revolvers are a pair of J-frame revolvers chambered for the high-pressure .327 Federal Magnum cartridge.Â One of the 632 revolvers was discontinued within two years of introduction, while the other has been in continuous production since 2009.
Both revolvers target the concealed carry market but from different angles.
S&W 632 PS
Officially introduced at the 2009 SHOT Show, details on the 632 PS leaked out in January 2008.Â It is a small-framed revolver that holds six rounds in the cylinder.
The 632 PS has a 3″ ported barrel using the Smith & Wesson PowerPort technology.Â The port is on the top side of the barrel, forward of the front sight ramp.Â Because of this, the sight radius on the gun is about 1/2″ shorter than one might expect on a 3″ barreled revolver.
Unlike some of the other J-frame revolvers, the 632 PS has a full-length extractor rod.Â The underlug is long enough to fully protect the extractor rod
Similar to the NightGuard line of revolvers, the S&W 632 PS has a matte black finish.Â The front sight is a pinned ramp.Â The rear sight is an adjustable, target-style sight.
This model 632 uses an exposed hammer, which allows the owner to shoot in double-action or single-action mode.
At the 2009 SHOT Show, I got a chance to handle this gun.Â I had been hoping to see a J-frame in .327 Magnum, but this was not the gun I envisioned.Â I was hoping for something more like the 642 revolvers, and this was not it.Â However, I found myself liking the gun more that I thought I would.
The first thing that struck me is the cylinder seemed much thinner than what I was expecting.Â I thought I would pick up the gun and see a cylinder roughly the same size as a Model 10 in .38 Special.Â Not so.Â The cylinder is definitely less bulky, and it still puts six of the magnum rounds at your disposal.
It had a decent trigger, good sight picture, and felt good in my hand.
However, I had a serious problem with this gun. Like most modern Smith and Wesson revolvers, it has the internal lock.Â There have been demonstrable problems with the internal locks, and I cannot recommend any of the company’s guns that have one installed.
I left the show thinking that if S&W made this revolver without the lock and with a non-ported plain 2″ to 2.5″ barrel with the internal hammer, they would not be able to keep up with demand.Â As it turned out, I had to wait until the 2010 SHOT Show to see the gun I wanted.
At the time I am writing this (September 2013,) this gun is still in the Smith & Wesson catalog.Â It is listed as the “632” though it is also referred to as “632 Pro Series – PowerPort.”
S&W 632 Pro Series – Night Sights
The 632 was a J-frame, “hammerless” revolver with a 2 1/8″ barrel.Â The cylinder held six rounds of the potent .327 Magnum.Â The frame was stainless steel and the guns weighed only 23 ounces (unloaded).
Unlike many other J-frames, the model 632 had tritium, three-dot sights which made for a good sight picture.Â Additionally, the sights were dovetailed, meaning adjustment or replacement was feasible.
This model 632Â did not have an internal lock.
Smith & Wesson literature alternately referred to this gun as 632, 632 Pro, 632 Pro Series and 632 Night Sights.Â These various names caused an unfortunate amount of confusion.Â When talking about the 632, no one knew which gun you meant.Â For an added layer of complexity, there was another Smith & Wesson 632 revolver that saw production in the early 1990’s.Â Those guns were chambered in .32 H&R Magnum, and marked “.32 Magnum.”
The 632 felt good in my hand, as do all of the 640/642 style revolvers Smith & Wesson makes.Â The three-dot sights are a vast improvement over the fixed ramp front and narrow rear notch that many of the J-frames wear.
A lot of people are skeptical of the .327 Magnum cartridge, but I think this round has a lot of possibilities as a defensive load.Â This model 632 is exactly what I hoped S&W would introduce in 2009.Â MSRP was $916.
Unfortunately, this gun is no longer in production.Â I do not have an exact date the gun was pulled from production, but it looks like it was pulled in 2012.