(As noted earlier in this blog I am not a *big* fan of the new S&W L-frames but that is only one man’s opinion. Good friend and well known gun writer Mike Boyle has a slightly different take on the subject and In the interest of fairness I thought the readers of this blog might care to read his thoughts.)
Over the years Smith & Wesson has offered a number of “super-size” snubs, typically built on either the firm’s large L-frames or its extra large N-frames. Some of these examples have been limited production runs marketed through some larger distributors while others have been catalogued in the Smith & Wesson Performance Center line. These “Modern Bulldogs” are indeed a departure from the small frame snubs typically selected for concealed carry and have often been chambered for powerful cartridges like the .357 Magnum and .45 ACP.
In 2008, Smith & Wesson introduced the Night Guard line of revolvers which has proved to be very popular. Night Guard revolvers feature abbreviated 2-1/2 inch barrels, scandium frames, stainless steel cylinders and soft rubber stocks. Sights are superior to those found on most snubs and consist of a XS 24/7 tritium front and Cylinder & Slide fixed rear. Several different chamberings are offered and the snubs with the most market appeal include the seven shot .357 Magnum Model 386 built on the large size L-frame and the six shot .45 ACP Model 325 built on the extra large size N-frame.
The Smith & Wesson Night Guard are best carried in a belt holster though their larger size will make them a little more challenging to conceal. On the whole, shooting qualities are very good although point of aim/point of impact may be an issue with certain loads. This is easily corrected by replacing the fixed factory rear sight with a V-notch Rough Country adjustable sight from Bowen Classic Arms.
Although the soft rubber stocks do significantly dampen felt recoil, they will prove too large for many users, particularly on the N-frame Night Guards. A well designed set of wooden stocks will fit the hand far better and enhance discreet concealment qualities as well.
Special Note – Text provided by Mike Boyle – Thank you Mike!