A Tale of Two Bodyguards
My first Model 38 was a Michigan police supply gun, easily recognizable by the blued frame and stainless cylinder. It is not a pretty gun, it is entirely functional, with a custom grip given to me by a retired State Trooper. It has ridden in my pants pocket for several years.
There is a decided advantage to a J-frame in a pants pocket. You can have your hand on your weapon, in a firing grip, before your adversary even knows it is there. The snubby revolver will fire time and again with the muzzle pressed into a rib cage. If a fight goes to the ground (as most end up doing) this little lightweight power house is the gun to have.
The Model 38 has an aluminum frame, making it substantially lighter than it's steel framed brethren, the Model 49 and 649. The humpback configuration of the Bodyguard frame assists the revolver in staying positioned in a front pants pocket. The exposed nubbin of the hammer allows a single action shot if desired, while the concealed hammer prevents snagging on the draw.
Thus, when I found a pristine nickel Model 38 in a pawn shop, I jumped on it immediately. For $225, it was a steal. Along with the nickel finish, it has a smooth trigger face. Five years ago, there was a line drawn between pinned and unpinned revolvers among collectors. This revolver does not have a pinned barrel. Now, though it seems the dividing line is drawn between Smith & Wesson revolvers with and without locks. This revolver is a lock free dedicated carry gun. That it is a Model 38 is just gravy on the cake.