S&W Bodyguard 380 Review: Pocket Gun Excellence


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plouffedaddy
July 30, 2012, 06:16 PM
http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l178/tiffani33/Guns/IMAG1357.jpg
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 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfM_XJjda7s&feature=g-upl)

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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Just One Shot
July 30, 2012, 08:10 PM
I have one in my pocket as I type this. If I were you I would call S&W and tell them about the laser activation and ask them if your ser.# should have the upgrade on the takedown lever spring done (Mine is an earlier model and it disassembled itself while shooting at the range :what:). They have an update to fix the laser activation as they fixed mine when it was in for the spring update. Mine was so hard you couldn't activate it without changing your hand position on the gun. Now I simply tap it with my finger and it cycles through the stages with no problem. Turn around was only 7 days out and back. You go online and fill out the repair request and they will even send you a call tag so you don't even have to pay shipping to them.

DAdams
July 30, 2012, 10:52 PM
Thanks for the review. I have been considering a sw or ruger LCP with laser on and off for some time. I have a Seecamp .380 which is my most carried semiauto. Being a laser believer/user it might be a nice pocket addition to the lineup.

kokapelli
July 31, 2012, 10:42 AM
If felt recoil is a factor the Sig P238 is definitely the way to go unless you do not like the single action trigger.

Believe me when I tell you that none and I mean none of the other pocket guns have as little felt recoil as the P238 does.

2wheels
July 31, 2012, 11:07 AM
If felt recoil is a factor the Sig P238 is definitely the way to go unless you do not like the single action trigger.

Believe me when I tell you that none and I mean none of the other pocket guns have as little felt recoil as the P238 does.
+1

The P238 is hard to say no to once you've taken it for a spin, unless you don't like cocked+locked or find the Sig a bit pricey. My buddy has a BG380, I can shoot circles around him with my little Sig. The better trigger, decent sights, and added weight to cut down on recoil all adds up!

While the BG380 is a decent all-around pocket .380 I didn't like the trigger (seen better DAO triggers), the manual safety (isn't needed and it's hidden in the frame so you can barely use it), or the laser activation method on the BG380.

plouffedaddy
July 31, 2012, 02:05 PM
The 238 is a good gun now that they've got the early reliability kinks worked out. I just didn't want the extra weight in my pocket and I also didn't like the relatively small safety---which you'd have to use on that gun due SA action.

Pros and cons I suppose...

Just One Shot
August 1, 2012, 11:49 AM
The 238 is a very good gun. I had one but parted with it as I figured that If I'm going to pocket carry a gun that heavy it's going to be at least a 9mm. As far as the trigger on the BG goes, it gets better the more you shoot it and anyone with experience with a DA revolver wont find it a problem. As to the BG's safety, I never use it. With the DA trigger I don't worry about it going bang unless I want it to. Besides, I keep it in a pocket that has nothing else in it and I keep it in a holster that completely covers the trigger. But that's what's so great about this Country, everyone has a variety of choices and we can say to each his own. :D

The_Armed_Therapist
August 1, 2012, 12:21 PM
I'm a big BG380 fan! It's my favorite of the pocket pistols, for sure. The ergonomics are great relative to the other options. The safety and the laser aren't ideal, but they don't have to be used. It's well-built and well-designed. However, just like any other pocket 380s, it should never be a primary carry weapon. It's the perfect back-up and a terrible primary.

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