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I've been looking into a handgun for self defence. Smith and wesson claim to be american made which I perfer. I've found a smith and wesson body guard 38 revolver, so my question is has anyone ever owned own or shot one? Is it a good handgun for protecting yourself? Anyone have a better suggestion? I've never owned a handgun before either.
 

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We all have to start somewhere, and you could do a lot worse than a Smith & Wesson revolver. i'm sure someone will be along shortly insisting that ONLY a Glock would be the best choice, but it won't be me.
My only S&W's are two 40+ year old 38 Special revolvers, a Model 10, and a Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. Both are well worn, and still fine shooters.
My suggestion for a newcomer would be to find a local range that rents guns and try some different ones. While you are there, get yourself some instruction. Basic instruction, especially safety instruction, is essential for a new comer.
Good luck.
If you live anywhere near Jacksonville, I can help you.
 

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I have one and use it as a backup gun for concealed carry.

It is a snub-nose revolver that can handle +P loads in .38 Special, so it is a snappy gun, meaning it has sharp recoil that makes it not a lot of fun to shoot after about 50 rounds or so.

The integrated Insight Technologies laser is great - you can switch it on with your thumb, and clicking it twice gives you a pulsating laser which is easier to see (it "blinks" very rapidly).

It will fit in your front pocket of your pants, and with a pocket holster, it does not "print" out that you are carrying a handgun.

Five rounds, so buy a couple of speed loaders or some bullet strips to reload.

For a backup gun, it is pretty hard to beat.

It is also capable of ambidextrous reloading, so if you hurt your dominant hand, you can still reload the gun with your support hand.

Pretty accurate up close, but after 25 feet you will need the laser to help make the shot. That laser is also great in the dark.

It is a small gun, I only can grip the handle with my ring and middle finger, so your pinkie grabs air. It does not matter for what the gun is for.

I really like mine, especially in the role I use it for, as a backup gun.

They sell like hotcakes at a Shriners' breakfast, so if you want one and can buy it, you might want to do so.

With the right defensive ammo, it can get the job done, unless your adversary is wearing body armor or is amped up on drugs, etc.
 

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Smith and Wesson is the last gun I would ever pay for - not the older ones and not all but the lightweight and airweight guns are "throw away guns at the cost of a well built gun. They have had problems with their 44 specials, 357 magnums, and their 38 specials in the last year. The "airweight" is the worst as it comes apart not only where the top stap and barrel meet but the cylinders have cracked as well. For a little less money you can get a Ruger (made in the USA) that will last a lifetime shooting the most powerful ammo made for the gun. My wife just bought a model 5718 lightweight Ruger and it is as well built as my old Security-Six. My gun has fired over 30,000 rounds through it of what is now considered (thanks to S&W) overloaded ammo. I still fire ammo (reloads) that use the original 40,000 CUP pressures rather than the SAAMI reduced pressures of 30,000 CUP that are used today. That 25% reduction in pressure was because the S&W, and copies of it, would not stay together using the original loads. Rather than making stronger guns they petitioned to have the standard lowered and got it.
OK, rant is now off - please, carry on.
 

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S&W Body Guard it is a light weight CC type weapon not the most accurate but fine for personal CC or home defense I happen to own a couple. It take some range time to shoot it well most small frame weapons do.
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If I were only to have one handgun I might look at a mid to full size 9mm .
 

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I have owned many revolvers over the years and still like them. You really can't go wrong with a decent revolver and S&W are among the best IMHO.

Semi-auto's do have a higher capacity but they require more range time. With a revolver you don't have failure to load, failure to eject. With a revolver you don't have to learn to clear a jam.

A revolver would be a really good place to start.
 

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Bought one for my wife for CC. Nice and lite weight. Grip fits her hand very nicely. To small for me, no place for my pinky finger. Just as accurate as any other J-frame Smith I've owned.
The bad and what I don't like about it. The cylinder revolves backwards. If your trained on all other revolvers you can load one or two and index the first shot. The cylinder rotates counter clock for the next shot. But on the Body guard it rotates clockwise. Which means your loading to an empty cylinder if you don't remember you have a Body guard.
The laser is really a pain in the rear. The small button is hard to activate and you have to cycle through laser on, flashing and then off. Tiny button is almost impossible for me to activate. Will never happen in an emergency.
Cylinder latch for me is hard to get used to being on top of the frame. I'm always hunting for the latch on the side of the frame.
Bottom line is the Body guard is a great gun as long as it's the only Smith or revolver you use. Getting used to the quirks isn't a big deal unless you own several "NORMAL" Smiths.
 

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While I'm not fond of small revolvers like the Bodyguard I do like S&W. Sadly they aren't what they use to be but then not much is.

Dear OP in a survival forum if you ask about a gun you will get a lot of answers. Few of them would be wrong answers, and I dare say the only wrong answer is not to have a gun at all. Then again some people shouldn't if they can't bear to use them. So even then no answer is wrong. If I were reccommendind a first gun it'd probably be a Ruger P95. Cheap, hi cap, a tank of a gun that will out live us all.
 

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I like the Ruger revolvers. My backup is a SP101 in .357 You can save on ammo and shoot .38's at the range and and load .357 JHP for home defense. Its considered a heavy small frame .357 Well made here in the U.S.

punch
 

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Go to a handgun safety course and get started on learning the right & safe way to do things first. Then figure out your use cases for the gun. Once that is settled, try firing a pile at a range that rents guns to see what fits YOU well.

A small concealed carry piece will be unpleasant to shoot. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you have a big heavy gun, it's mass soaks up recoil. With a small light easily concealed one, the shooter soaks it up.

Ironically I found I liked my now S&W M&P .40 better than a 9mm when I compared a pile of guns pre-purchase. Despite being A heavier & more powerfully load. Different recoil impulse I guess.

A lot of people have religions around various makes & models, no different than cars I guess. Most good brands produce good guns. Stick with something on the market for a bit & that is somewhat popular. Better repair, upgrade & resale options that way.

Go research & get proper training first no matter what you get though.
 

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Smith & Wesson make a fine revolver. My favorite in fact with Ruger coming in a close 2nd. I have my Great Grandfather's 4th model top break .32 in a shadow box over my desk. I'm not a huge fan of their automatic offerings but you made a great choice!
 

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I like the Ruger SP101 I have two. I also have a Smith J frame on lay away. Advantages Autoloader number of shots speed of reload 9mm is the most common centerfire pistol round in the world.Advantages Revolver reliability autoloaders have made great strides and the difference isn't what it used to be.Simplicity failure drill on a revolver pull the trigger no magazine no problem you got bullets you can shoot. Contact shots automatics may be knocked out of battery and jam, revolvers he's going to have propellent debris and pieces of shirt in the wound. I know somebody's going to say "Nobody would ever get that close to me!" I'm sure many of the people who ended up taking contact shots had said that to.
 

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I would suggest a S&W M&P9 Shield pistol. Its in 9mm and is highly accurate and has an 18 degree cant on the grip which makes the ergonomics great. The recoil is not bad at all. I had a Ruger LC9 and dropped it to carry the M&P. This is just my suggestion because it comes with a 7rd mag and a 8 rd mag which to me is a real bonus. Its up to you for sure as to what will work best for you so take your time and get what you think that you will be most comfortable with.
 

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S&W makes some great revolvers, I own 2 and want several more. I have no experience with the new bodyguard but if it's made anywhere near as well as my S&W M36 (built in the 60's) it should be a great gun. As for the snubnosed S&W's not being accurate, mine doesn't seem to suffer from that affliction. My 2" M36 will keep rounds within about a 6" circle at 15yds, granted it doesn't shoot as well as my 1911 but more than accurate enough for any use I could come up with for it.

-Infidel
 

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If I cannot keep my 357 shooting groups under 2" at 25 yards it needs to be fixed!
OK, I tend to be a bit anal about accuracy but that is important. If some dirtbag is holding your favorite girl (in my case that would be my wife) and threatening to kill her if I don't drop my gun, I will drop him and I don't want to hurt my wife in the process. At 15 yards I keep my rounds inside a 1" square, shooting one handed off-hand (no rest). I practice constantly for speed and accuracy. It is part of who I am.
 

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I traded my LC9 for a Kahr CW9, and couldn't be happier. Neither would be good for a first gun though.
 

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If I cannot keep my 357 shooting groups under 2" at 25 yards it needs to be fixed!
OK, I tend to be a bit anal about accuracy but that is important. If some dirtbag is holding your favorite girl (in my case that would be my wife) and threatening to kill her if I don't drop my gun, I will drop him and I don't want to hurt my wife in the process. At 15 yards I keep my rounds inside a 1" square, shooting one handed off-hand (no rest). I practice constantly for speed and accuracy. It is part of who I am.
WOW, 2" group at 75 feet. Are you using a rifle? Goldfinger would be proud.
 

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I agree with Punch......The SP101 in .357 would be a fine choice. I don't own an SP101 yet, it is on my list. I opted to buy a Ruger Blackhawk first just because I had always wanted a nice single action revolver. I carry a Ruger SR9c which is a pleasure to shoot. I am a big fan of Ruger as they generally offer a nice balance of quality and price and are made in the USA.
 

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S&W makes a fine pistol. I'm a big Ruger fan though...if you're looking for a CC in .38 or .357, and you think the SP-101 is still a bit "heavy" for a comfortable daily carry...try the Ruger LCR's...they're great little CC revolvers!
 

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WOW, 2" group at 75 feet. Are you using a rifle? Goldfinger would be proud.
That is with a revolver. I have had it since 1971, fired over 30000 rounds through it, used to compete in hunter's pistol silhouette (5 targets each @ 25, 50, 75, 100 yards) with it, but then it's only a Ruger Security-Six.
 
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