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S&W Bodyguard .380 Review

The Bodyguard 380 from Smith & Wesson is the latest in the ever popular class of .380 ACP semi-auto “pocket pistols”. The Bodyguard 380 comes with an integrated laser from Insight Technology making it a relatively complete and affordable personal defense handgun.

Specifications From Manufacturer:

Model: BODYGUARD® 380
Caliber: .380 Auto
Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
Barrel Length: 2.75″ / 7.0 cm
Frame Size: Compact
Action: Double Action Only (Hammer Fired)
Front Sight: Stainless Steel
Rear Sight: Drift Adjustable
Grip: Polymer
Overall Length: 5.25″ / 13.3 cm
Weight: 11.85 oz / 335.9 g
Frame Material: Polymer
Material: Stainless Steel w/Melonite® Finish
Finish: Matte Black
Purpose: Personal Protection
Law Enforcement
MSRP: $399.00 (lowered from original MSRP of 575.00)
Manufacturers Website: S&W
MADE IN THE USA

The Good:

  • Relatively accurate straight out of the box.
  • Easily concealable – compact and lightweight design allows for comfortable all day carry using any carry style (pocket, ankle, IWB, OWB).
  • Integrated laser from Insight Technology.
  • Fits the hand surprisingly well for such a small gun.
  • The Bodyguard is MADE IN THE USA.

The Bad:

  • The trigger has a very long travel and is a bit heavy – I found myself having to stage the trigger to shoot it accurately. Potential buyer’s should be sure to dry fire this gun before purchasing as the trigger won’t be for everyone.
  • The laser activation button on the Bodyguard isn’t always easily turned on/off while pointing the gun. this takes some practice to get consistent at operating the laser. In some instances a home modification to the activation button needs to be made in order to make it function properly.
  • Out of the box the gun was rather difficult to field strip. The slide is very tight and requires some force to remove. This is easily remedied by good lubrication and firing of the gun.
  • We did experience a couple of failure to fire’s (light primer strike) in our testing at the range. These happened inside of the 200 rnd recommended break in period associated with this category of guns so it’s something we will keep an eye on as more rounds are put through the gun.
  • The Bodyguard only ships with one magazine, we would like to see an extra mag included.
  • Update 01/17/11 – there is a serious issue with early production Bodyguard 380′s (EAA serial number range) where the takedown lever/pin can come loose and fall out while firing. We experienced this problem at the range yesterday. It appears that the retention wire that holds the takedown lever in place is either too thin or mis-aligned. S&W has been replacing frames with a thicker retention wire and deeper groove in the takedown pin to resolve this problem.

Pictures:

Summary:

The Bodyguard 380 was one of my favorite products to handle at the SHOT show in January 2010, I was very excited to see it hit the shelves. I have to say though that after shooting the Bodyguard 380, I am a bit disappointed in the trigger. I’m just not a big fan of the trigger pull at all. Additionally, while I’m excited to see a laser integrated into the gun, the operation of the laser should work better. There is clearly an issue with the soft rubber activation buttons that needs to be addressed by S&W. In my opinion, this design is not as efficient or intuitive as guns with Crimson Trace laser grips installed. All in all, the S&W Bodyguard 380 offers an affordable personal defense package for those looking for an ultra-small .380ACP “pocket pistol”. I would make sure you test the trigger, be aware of the issues with the EAA series frames, and understand the laser activation issues before purchasing.

You can get a look at the Bodyguard 380 compared to other popular .380ACP pistols HERE.

Category: Handguns, Reviews
  • Flint Ridge says:

    How was the accuracy? In the attached link, the sights – are they all black? Might benefit from the XS big dot sights.

    Recoil compared to the others?

    Thanks Mike!

    • Mike M. - ArmsTalk.com says:

      Yes, the sights are black and could certainly be improved upon by adding contrast and tritium inserts. I’m sure the inclusion of the laser is probably why they didn’t include better sights.

      The accuracy was reasonably good out of the box for such a small gun (shooting at 10yds). It all comes down to how well you are able to manage the trigger on the Bodyguard.

    • Mike M. - ArmsTalk.com says:

      The recoil is very similar to other .380 semi-auto’s. It may be slightly better as the form/fit of the Bodyguard is pretty nice. Then again, I find the recoil from all of these to be pretty negligible.