Gun Report

S&W Model 442 Centennial Airweight 38 Special, $400

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You can still get the Centennial Airweight with either carbon-steel or stainless-steel barrel and cylinder, but we liked everything about this older gun, with very few exceptions. It handled the hottest loads well, but was not quite as fast as the old square-grip gun in extreme rapid fire. It fits in our coat pocket very well, and has nothing to snag on the fabric. The old-style latch worked perfectly and was out of the way during heavy recoil.

S&W Model 442 Centennial Airweight 38 Special, $400

Gun Details

Manufacturer
Model Name
Home Defense
Law Enforcement
Concealed Carry
Recreational
Price
Caliber/Gauge
Caliber Plus Cartridge
Capacity
Weight Unloaded
Overall Length
Barrel Length
Sight Radius
Overall Height
Front Strap Height
Back Strap Height
Maximum Width
Grip Thickness Max
Grip Circumference Max
Frame Material
Barrel Material
Grip Material
Trigger Pull Double
Trigger Span Double

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The new Bodyguard has a lot more travel to its thin ejector rod, and that helps get the empties out. It has about a quarter-inch more travel.
Some people don't like the limited amount of ejection provided by the short-stroke rod in the Centennial. However, if you shake the gun as you work the ejector, empties generally clear.
The Centennial was pretty tight at the crane when we pressed the cylinder sideways.
So was the old square-grip Chiefs Special.
The new Bodyguard, with no front latch, showed huge gape at the front with moderate pressure on the cylinder.

Read Gun Tests Rating and Recommendation