Thanks to the enormous surge in concealed carry weapon licenses, the Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD series is a major league hit. Springfield’s diminutive .38 caliber revolver and .380 semi-automatic pistol have been selling like ballistic hotcakes. With Smith’s factories running full out, supplies of both guns are finally easing. You can now head down to your local gun dealer confident that you can get a BODYGUARD faster than a freshly-minted Republican presidential candidate. Ah, but should you?
I started my career when the .38 Special revolver was found in 90% or more of American law enforcement officer’s holsters. There were 50 of us in my police academy class. Out of those 50 officers —representing law enforcement agencies across Ohio—only one carried a semi-auto. The rest of us, with one exception, carried .38 Special revolvers. The exception’s agency issued the .41 Magnum Smith and Wesson Model 58. We were all quite jealous of that.
S&W is the company that gave us—among other things—the .38 Spl., the .357 Mag. (both the revolver and the cartridge), the Combat Masterpiece, stainless steel as a gun material, Scandium as a gun material, as well as the .44, .460 and .500 Magnum revolvers. Clearly the company and its succession of leaders is of the “thrive-on-competition” ilk. A few years ago, I had the honor and pleasure of taking a plant tour of Smith & Wesson, and I came away amazed and awed at its ability to seamlessly meld 19th, 20th and 21st century technology into a remarkably efficient manufacturing process.