S&W Bodyguard 380 Review: Pocket Gun Excellence

Discussion in 'Modern Handguns' started by plouffedaddy, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. plouffedaddy

    plouffedaddy New Member

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    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...
     
  2. Predecessor

    Predecessor New Member

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    Good review and well said regarding pocket pistols in general plouffedaddy!

    I still haven't gotten around to testing one of these (not normally a big S&W modern auto fan). I've noticed the con of the laser being difficult to actuate from handling personally. I wonder if the laser isn't a "more is less" addition to the frame as turning it on might just end up a skipped action in a heated self defense situation anyway. Another con is that customers who have had malfunctions with the laser have had to send the entire firearm for the laser repair which is kind of a drag.

    Have you had a chance to shoot many of the other pocket .380's in it's class? If so, how would you compare it in regards to accuracy, control-ability and reliability?
     

  3. okie67

    okie67 Member

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    I havent got to shoot the Bodyguard yet but my local gun shop sells them.Seem to be a decent little pistol,great review and video!
     
  4. plouffedaddy

    plouffedaddy New Member

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    Yes, pretty much all of them. The 938 has a better trigger but everything else about the BG is superior IMO. The DB380 isn't reliable

    I've owned the TCP and LCP and both are good guns but the BG is much more refined and actually has usable sights paired with the best trigger of the 3.
     
  5. Predecessor

    Predecessor New Member

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    Good info. It's nice that there are several options in the class now so we can find one we like best! Someday I will have to shoot that S&W to see for myself.

    Interestingly enough, I ended up settling down with the Magnum Research Micro Desert Eagle for my .380 pocket carry. When it originally came out I shied away from it for some reason and eventually tried it when none of the common options wowed me. :lol:
     
  6. Auguste Capone

    Auguste Capone New Member

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    Great review. My nephew uses that exact gun as his pocket carry. I have had the chance to shoot it on occasion and it was OK for what it is. It wasn't necessarily an "enjoyable" shooter, but that's not really the point of that class.


    Going along with plouffedaddy's observation:
    My sister was looking into a small frame auto to carry and she tested multiple models at the local range with multiple misfires with multiple models (all of them stove pipe). There was a range instructor there that pointed out that a lot of women don't have the hand strength for the recoil to cycle the action properly. Especially one that is not used to shooting and tends to flinch from it.
     
  7. Predecessor

    Predecessor New Member

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    Excellent point Auguste Capone. Proper grip is a huge component to accurate and reliable results from a firearm that a lot of people overlook. Even reliability on a Walther P22 can be effected by grip use.
     
  8. plouffedaddy

    plouffedaddy New Member

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    I teach a basic pistol class and I'm always amazed (and annoyed at the people who told them to buy it) at all the new shooters that show up with these guns. Malfunctions and an inability to get on the paper at 7 meters are very very common occurances. I do the best I can to help but it's like learning how to drive a car with a boot on it...
     
  9. Firewire

    Firewire New Member

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    I appreciate the info! I have been looking at pocket pistols recently. I have a friend who bought two of these (for him and his wife) over a year ago and hasn't shot either.

    Here is a pretty nifty chart showing how small the Bodyguard 380 pocket gun is (in order of size). http://www.mouseguns.com/PocketAutoComparison.pdf
     
  10. stephen1

    stephen1 New Member

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    Wow, this is it, I like this gun for my self defense. Is it really hard to get a license to carry?
     
  11. Predecessor

    Predecessor New Member

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    Generally not if you are living in a Red State.
     
  12. jhb

    jhb Member

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    Even with proper grip technique the p22 can be hit and miss on reliability:)....at least on the first generations to mid productions.