The Smith & Wesson Model 438
The Model 438 is the modern incarnation of my beloved Model 38. There are, of course differences that do not appeal to my old fogey sensibilities. The integrated locking mechanism is of course, one of the new features that I do not like. Beyond that, I was quick to note the MIM trigger and hammer, and the exposed nubbin of the hammer seemed to be smaller and less well finished than that of the Model 38. I also did not care for the rubber boot grip, but that is easily swapped out. If the revolver had come with the rubber grip that is on the Model 640, I would have no complaint. The matte black finish is a plus in my opinion.
It is my contention that the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is one of the best pocket guns ever devised. As a revolver, it will not be thrown out of battery and refuse to fire when jammed into an attacker's ribs or under his chin. It is the ultimate "get the hell off me" gun.
I am fortunate to have a collection of five Bodyguards in several variations. In the Airweight variation, the J framed revolver barely weighs more than the five rounds it carries. Once loaded, it can be stuffed into a pocket holster and carried in a front pants pocket all day and forgotten about. The hump on the back of the Bodyguard frame helps the gun stay put in the carrier's pocket.
Another often uncited advantage of the pocket revolver is that a citizen can have their strong hand on their concealed gun in a firing grip while assessing a potential threat. The gun remains concealed, and the element of surprise is maintained until de-escalation options are exhausted and the introduction of the weapon is deemed necessary.
The other benefits of a pocket revolver for a person new to firearms and concealed carry are many. A round is always chambered and ready when the gun is fully loaded. There is no safety to disengage when presenting the handgun. Pull the trigger, and it goes bang. Maintaining concealment is as simple as finding a pocket large enough to contain a holster that will obscure the shape.
It will need some dry firing to smooth out the trigger, but I am happy to see that Smith & Wesson is producing a modern version of the Model 38. I have long maintained that the S&W Model 38 is the ultimate pocket revolver. If a person wants a new Smith & Wesson, the Model 438 may well be the closet they can get. If I can find one used I might just add it to my Bodyguard collection.