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EDC Gun Review – Smith and Wesson .380 Bodyguard

bodyguardSome might call me a “Gun Nut”. I prefer the term “Firearm Aficionado!” But I thought I would combine my love of firearms with my love of writing and blogging. So to begin this endeavor, I decided I would start with a review of my old backup, off-duty, EDC pistol; the .380 Bodyguard by Smith and Wesson.

I purchased the Bodyguard wanting a backup pistol for my Glock 23 as well as something I could easily carry off-duty. I looked for something light weight and easily concealable. The S&W Bodyguard fit that bill. The fact that it had a built in laser sight by Insight was a bonus.

The laser is activated with a button on both sides of the gun frame. You hit the button for on, again for pulse, and a third time for off.

The Bodyguard is a hammer fired, double action semi-automatic pistol. The slide is stainless steel and coated in Melonite, while the lower frame is polymer. It came with a single, 6 round magazine with a flared bottom plate for better gripping ability.  (Gun has a 6 +1 capacity.)

The barrel on this gun is 2.75 inches, with the total length of the gun at 5.4’ and weighs about 12 oz.

The Bodyguard comes with a safety on the left side, which for a Glock man took a little adjustment. The slide stop lever and the mag release are also on the left side. There is slight notch in the top of the slide so you can tell if there is a loaded chamber. The slide also locks to the rear after the last round is fired.

The gun was a bit small, but not awkwardly so. The grooves in the grip felt natural to me. I did also have some Pro mags for this gun, which did not have the bottom plate flared. The difference for me was noticeable.

Smith and Wesson bodyguard

The loaded chamber indicator

Both the front and rear sights were subdued. I felt like they did this so as to avoid snagging on something when drawing this pistol from a pocket or purse. It’s a nice thought, but for a guy who is used to having tritium night sights on his Glock, these took some getting used to.

I did not have many problems field stripping this gun. The takedown lever was a bit sticky at first, but once I got used to it there were no problems. I read that there were some initial problems with this when the gun was first manufactured, but I had no issues and have heard that these problems have been corrected.

With a custom made leather ankle holster, and a Fobus paddle holster, this gun was EASY to conceal. In fact, there were times I almost forgot it was there. I never once worried about the gun “profiling” under my shirts.

Now there were some issues I had with the gun. First, the Insight laser; while a nice feature, was basically useless in broad daylight. Beyond a few feet, you simply could not see it.

Smith and Wesson did make some Bodyguards without any laser, and have since upgraded to a Crimson Trace laser, but I am told it is still not easy to see in broad day light.

I also noticed a bullet drop after about 15 yards. Both the front and rear sights are drift adjustable for windage. But the bullet drop I chocked up as the gun needing a “break-in” period.

Free shipping for 10 or more boxes!!

For me, these weren’t a huge deal. I purchased this gun intending it for up close situations, not making sniper shots at 100 yards.

However, the problem for me was the trigger pull. It was a LONG trigger pull. I’d say at least in the area of 10 lbs plus. For a guy who loves Geissele triggers, this was an issue. The pull was so long I found myself at times shooting a bit to the left, as the natural movement of my finger going THAT far back shifted the gun slightly. It took some getting used to and a slight adjustment to my shooting technique.

I also noticed that it was a bit finicky about ammo. It did NOT like steel cased ammo. I had a box of 50 rounds of Monarch steel cased ammo. I had 4 or 5 where the hammer did not strike the primer hard enough to fire the load. On the plus side, the Bodyguard has the second strike capability, so I could pull the trigger a second time and BANG. (I also had at least one or two failure to feed issues with this ammo.)

I tested this same type ammo again a few weeks later….same issues. So no more Monarch steel cased for me. With other types of ammo, such as Federal, I did not have the failure to fire or failure to feed problems. So I place those issues on the Monarch ammo and not the firearm.

Final Verdict

The MSRP on the Bodyguard with the newer Crimson Trace laser is $419, so you could probably find it a bit cheaper at a reputable dealer. When you consider what all you get with this gun:

  • Adjustable front and rear sights
  • Built in laser with most models
  • Loaded chamber indicator
  • Slide locks to the rear when empty
  • Second strike capacity
  • Light weight and easily concealable

This pistol is worth the money if you are looking for a good carry, conceal pocket pistol at a reasonable price.

After a few years, I sold the Bodyguard to my brother, and “upgraded” to a Sig P238. Yes, I’m a bit of a gun snob, and I liked the Sig’s night sights and trigger pull over the Bodyguard. But I’ll save that for another review!


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