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Old July 30, 2012, 04:16 PM   #1
plouffedaddy
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S&W Bodyguard 380 Review: Pocket Pistol Done Right


I picked this gun up in 2010, put 100 rounds through it, and it's been in my carry rotation ever since. I generally shoot one magazine through the gun every time I go to the range just to keep familiar with the gun but I don't particularly enjoy shooting it like I do my larger framed guns.

Before I go any further... using the 380ACP cartridge for self defense is controversial (Is it enough power? JHPs or FMJs? ect...) but in my opinion the old cliche' applies––-having 7 rounds of 380 in your pocket when you need it is better than having 9 rounds of 45ACP in your glove compartment...

To me, this is the ultimate back up gun. Fits in the pocket of most pants/shorts without printing much if at all, is extremely reliable, and has more than acceptable accuracy at 10m and in. If you're concerned about only having the little 380 with you than there's still room on your waist for your G19 or 1911 should you feel the need.

Pros:
-Reliable (over 800 rounds with 0 failures)
-Accurate for a pocket gun
-Usable sights and aftermarket night sight availability
-Built in Insight laser
-Good trigger for a pocket gun
-Lightweight (12oz)
-Durable melonite finish
-Great S&W customer support

Cons:
-External safety
-Laser is not very visible in bright sunlight (I generally don't use the laser however)
-Button on the laser is relatively hard to actuate; an instinctive Crimson Trace style activation would be a much better option in my opinion
-2.75'' barrel doesn't maximize the 380s potential

All in all, it's a great gun and I'd buy it again. Heres a video with some shooting, disassembly and assembly of the pistol, some size comparisons with other popular carry guns (Shield, CM9, G26) and some chronograph testing:

Bodyguard 380 Review Video Link

Chronograph data:

Speer Gold Dot 90gr JHPs: 911fps, 166ft/lbs energy
Dynamic Research Technologies 85gr frangible HP:1184fps, 265ft/lbs energy
Magtech 95gr FMJs: 797fps, 134ft/lbs energy


One thing I just have to say about these little guns––-people often ask me, "My wife/mom/girlfriend/ect... has never shot a gun before and she wants something small and cute. What gun should I get her?" A small and lightweight gun is the hardest type of gun to shoot well. So, the lightweight snub 38 or this BG380 are absolutely not ideal for new shooters or those who are recoil averse. The have (relatively) difficult sights to pick up and their triggers are more difficult to master than a typical striker, SAO, or DA/SA gun. That's my $.02 anyway...
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Old July 30, 2012, 04:18 PM   #2
Dragline45
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Great review, I have been contemplating picking one up for my next purchase since they are starting to become more available. It's good to see most of the con's on your list are related to the laser since I don't plan on using it anyway.
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Old July 30, 2012, 04:26 PM   #3
checkmyswag
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Id like it more without the laser. Nice gun though.

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Old July 30, 2012, 08:22 PM   #4
khegglie
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Nice gun, went with the cheaper LCP with the laser. The S&W set up looks sturdier vs the LCP bolt on.
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Old July 31, 2012, 11:06 AM   #5
plouffedaddy
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Quote:
The S&W set up looks sturdier vs the LCP bolt on.
It's probably sturdier but activating it is a fine motor skill for sure. Most people who've been on a two way range will tell you fine motor skills are tough to execute at the time so I think the bolt on CT laser is a better option for a defensive gun. Sure, it could be done but not as easily.
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Old July 31, 2012, 11:22 AM   #6
Willie Sutton
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Is it me, or... ??

Laser? On a contact-range pocket pistol?

I may be swimming upstream, but I see no utility in this model.

Remove the stupid laser and let's look at it again in context with it's competition from Ruger and Keltec.



Willie


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Old July 31, 2012, 11:42 AM   #7
Beentown71
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Great review. Is that you in the video? The video review was a good one also.
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Old July 31, 2012, 01:58 PM   #8
plouffedaddy
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Quote:
Is it me, or... ??

Laser? On a contact-range pocket pistol?

I may be swimming upstream, but I see no utility in this model.
I fully understand that and it's why I don't use it. But, the gun costs roughly the same as a LCP (maybe $40 difference) and I think the trigger, sights, and finish are much better so I just ignore the laser. If someone wants to use it--have at it.

Quote:
Great review. Is that you in the video? The video review was a good one also.
Thanks. Yes, I'm the sweaty b*stard in the video
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Old July 31, 2012, 02:54 PM   #9
RamItOne
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I was shocked how filthy mine got w/ pocket lint over a few months. Something I hadnt considered.
Its great, it fits in my pocket, no printing. Said it time and again, I prefer a gun in the pocket vs IWB etc, wont make the guy on edge if you reach for your pocket when they ask for your wallet vs trying an IWB draw.
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Old July 31, 2012, 05:06 PM   #10
plouffedaddy
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A member here, sturmgewehr, did a video doumenting how dirty his CM9 (maybe PM9...) got from 2 months of pocket carry. He disassembled it and there was a giant lint ball under the dust cover Point being--clean your pocket guns regularly...
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Old August 1, 2012, 04:32 PM   #11
SteveBonning
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Great review. It's for all those reasons that I came to the conclusion last year to get the BG 380 and have had no regrets. It's my primary carry gun when I carry outside of Maryland. As .380's go, it has the best sights of them in that price range and I consider both the laser and external safety as options--I use neither and train that way. Highly accurate, exceedingly reliable.
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Old August 1, 2012, 07:31 PM   #12
Kreyzhorse
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Very well done review. I'm a LCP guy, but I enjoy reading about other quality firearms.
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