S&W had developed the .38 S&W Special in 1902, and in 1949, company president Carl Hellstrom requested a new small-frame revolver to fire the more powerful cartridge. The result was the famous M36, or Chiefs Special. It was offered in square- and round-butt models, as well as an Airweight version with an aluminum frame. But the exposed hammer snagged on clothing and was less than optimum for pocket carry.
2014 was the last year that the humble j-frame was a legitimate contender at the IDPA BUG Nationals. In early 2015, the rules were changed in order to make Back Up Gun a full on division, and to do that meant making it a mandatory six shot division. The justification for this was that classifying with a five shooter would have been a nightmare, and while that’s true, it’s sad that IDPA killed the only place where the old-school king of carry guns could play. With the rise of the 9mm pocket gun, what is to become of the humble Airweight?
The object of lightweight snubbies is to afford an effective level of firepower in a package that is reliable, simple to operate, and easy to carry. The Bodyguard has been around for ages it would seem, and was one of the earliest successful attempts at taking the inevitable snagging of clothing by the hammer out of the equation.