Payton's Daily Carry

J-Frame, 3-inch Barrel

Mine started off life...

…as a dead-stock, pinned-barrel S&W Model 49 Bodyguard .38 Special. I like J-Frames, so it was an easy choice. I got the gun new back in the late 1970’s. Over the years I’ve messed with it some. First off, I replaced the original 2” barrel with a 3” (and had to get another ejector rod as well). I’ve found the “extra barrel” is a lot more forgiving—plus it bumps the velocity up some.

Other things?

Replaced those original skimpy service grip panels with a set of contoured Nill stocks (after first making sure they didn’t interfere with an HKS speed loader). Then I put in a lighter trigger return spring—which makes double-action shooting a lot easier. Next I stuck in a broader, smooth-faced trigger. The carry rig is either a Blackhawk inside-the-pocket holster or a DeSantis Nemesis.


A 3” J-Frame can be a bit tough to find a pocket holster for, but Blackhawk’s got one. The DeSantis is open-ended (just watch the pocket lint). I try to shoot this thing on a regular basis, and even though it’s got a steel frame, I use pretty light loads for practice. It’s dead on with most +P 125’s, but the good thing is, it shoots those bulk-pack 130-grain FMJ’s to just about the same place at 50 feet.