Is .380 the New 9mm? Ask My BODYGUARD

Smith & Wesson have begun shipping their new BODYGUARD 380 semi-automatic pistol and BODYGUARD 38 revolvers to gun dealers around the country. Both weapons come complete with Insight Technology laser sights. A laser for a double action snub-nosed revolver? That’s a topic for another day. Today we focus like a you-know-what on the BODYGUARD 380′s standard-issue not-so-secret weapon against the chart-topping LCP. Here’s how Smith & Wesson describes their new mini-me semi in today’s press release . . .

Compact, sleek and ergonomic, the BODYGUARD 380 delivers personal protection in an easy-to-carry platform. Chambered in .380, the lightweight pistol features a high-strength polymer frame with a black, Melonite® coated stainless steel slide and barrel. The new BODYGUARD 380 is standard with a 2 ¾-inch barrel, which contributes to an overall length of 5 ¼-inches and an unloaded weight of only 11.85 ounces.

The new pistol features a double-action fire control system, which allows for rapid second-strike capability. The BODYGUARD 380 has been further enhanced with a smooth trigger pull. Adding to its simplicity, the BODYGUARD 380 is standard with a manual thumb safety and an external take down lever and slide stop. On the lower portion of the frame, the pistol has been fitted with an integral INSIGHT® laser, which is easily operated by both left and right-handed shooters.

With its slim-line ergonomic grip, the pistol is comfortable in the hand and points naturally. To help aid in quick sight acquisition when the laser is not in use, the pistol includes black, Melonite-coated, stainless steel, drift adjustable dovetail sights. The BODYGUARD 380 is standard with a 6+1 magazine capacity.

Some might say that the .380 bullet lacks sufficient stopping power for self-defense. Others would point out that a six-bullet mag makes the BODYGUARD 380 a one-bad-guy gun in a multiple felon world. And there are those who would assert that any bodyguard using a BODYGUARD 380 for anything other than a second or even third weapon needs a new line of work.

Me? I couldn’t possibly comment.

One thing’s for sure: someone’s buying these things. In 2008, Ruger sold 83,161 LCPs, helping them supplant Mssrs. Smith & Wesson at the top of the U.S. sales charts.

Common wisdom says the .380′s newfound popularity reflects the large number of personal defense newbies entering the market, thanks to new, less onerous concealed carry laws (in states that aren’t California or New York). It’s a snub-nosed revolver for non-gun people who want a semi-automatic; mostly it looks cooler.

Drilling deeper into the bedrock of baseless conjecture, I reckon the BODYGUARD 380′s an OSG (Oh Shit Gun) for women who don’t like big guns (or guns in general). And men who can’t be bothered to carry a full-sized weapon (so to speak).

Both of whom are highly unlikely to train with the new breed of mouse guns. Did anyone notice that Winchester white box .380 ammo costs around $50 for a box of 100 catridges? The same spec in 9mm runs about $30. Did I forget to mention that the .380′s recoil is fairly punishing?

The Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD msrp’s at $575. The Ruger LCP runs $299 without a laser, $548 with. Too close to call? Time for a shoot out.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

59 Responses to Is .380 the New 9mm? Ask My BODYGUARD

  1. avatarIn Tennessee says:

    You seem to have a negative opinion of this gun, before you've even handled it. Your opinion is meaningless. I own this gun. It's a great CCW gun, and to suggest that the .380 is useless for defense is insane. As for ammo prices, this is another area you need to check before you complain. Prices have come down. And "punishing recoil"? lol. You're funny!

  2. avatarRobert Farago says:

    I didn't say .380 is useless for self-defense. But I can certainly understand that point-of-view. Check out this link.

    Aren't you even a little concerned about stopping power? Or running out of bullets? As for recoil, check out our review of the LCP. And the ammo prices were scraped from nextag.com's comparison shopping engine an hour ago.

  3. avatarBrett Solomon says:

    $299 vs. $575, but the S&W comes with the laser built-in. Kinda like buying a car with the navigation system installed- it costs more out the door but better than a suction-cup solution. The Crimson Trace unit for the LCP retails for $249, making the package price MSRP $548. Now we have a little more parity.

    But, I do have to say, the trigger on this little guy is heavy. LCP definitely has a lighter pull, but I cannot be scientific about it. Just picked the two up out of the case and compared. Heavy is what you want on a self-defense gun, but this was a little too much for my taste. But I am still contemplating buying one…

    • avatarRon McCabe says:

      The Retail price listed in S&W site is only $399 for the 380. I think the $575 price is for the revolver.

      I think the gun is really great. I own a Kel Tec P3AT and I would have purchased the Bodyguard 380 today (except the salesman could not show me how to break it down and put back together), and I didn’t know the slide and barrel were both stainless steel. We could get it apart, but had problems putting it back together. Once I can find a salesman that can show me how to field strip it, I might purchase it.

  4. avatarRobert Farago says:

    Brett, Why not a full-size gun?

  5. The best gun for self-defense is the gun you have. One of these little buggers, slim, compact, lightweight, is much more likely to be that gun – as opposed to a 1911, most 9mms, or a uncomfortable, fat-cylinder revolver. C'mon, it weighs less than a can of soda.

    Furthermore, the low bolt thrust of the 9x17mm cartridge means that the barrel can be fixed to the frame, thus enhancing accuracy.

    Would a professional law-enforcement officer or bodyguard want this (other than maybe a "throw piece"), no. But if a private citizen wants something that he or she can live with on a day-in-day-out basis that will poke a 9mm hole in someone, this is it.

  6. avatarBrett Solomon says:

    Robert,

    William is right. I have some full-sized guns already. The first rule of a gunfight is have a gun, and I must admit that when underdressed (t-shirt and shorts) or overdressed (suit or tux) I don't like to carry full-sized. The .380 is comfortable. It may not be as comforting to you as .40S&W et al, but I am under the opinion that the new .380 defense cartridges are some nasty shit. They ain't the biggest hammer in the shed but they can get the job done.

  7. avatarUncle Lar says:

    My KelTec P3AT was the first of the .380 mouse guns to hit the market and I've carried one for several years now. It's what I carry when I don't expect to need a weapon. As the old story goes, if I was expecting trouble I'd have brought a rifle or shotgun or at least a 1911 .45 with a half dozen spare mags.

    As for ammo, when supplies got tight a couple of years ago I invested in 4,000 new Starline brass cases. A lot of it gets loaded with 100gr ball for practice with a fair amount gets either 88gr or 102gr JHP for function check and carry. The two boys and I have never lacked for sufficient cartridges. The baby carries a KelTec like me while his older brother prefers a Bersa which being a bit larger and metal framed is more pleasant to shoot for the fun of it.

  8. avatarDonal Fagan says:

    This is funny because a few days ago I was watching Omar slowly pull out his 1911 while dissing the stopping power of Brother Mouzone's Walther PPK.

    Maybe TTAG should sell T Shirts reading, "My other concealed carry weapon is a .45."

  9. avatarNeil says:

    Primary? A .40 Glock 23 with an extra mag.

    Backup? A Keltec P3AT, reachable with either hand.

    Most imprtant factor? Shot placement. (Practice, practice, practice!)

    Any questions?

  10. avatarrhill says:

    Here's why folks like the little tiny .380's.

    Because they fit very well into pockets and purses.

    They are easy to carry.

    I love 1911's. I have multiple 1911's, including a Kimber Ultra Carry II. I really, really prefer a .45 caliber, 230 grain bullet to a .95 grain .380 bullet for self defense.

    Even though the Kimber Ultra Carry II is designed for concealed carry, it's just easier to carry a .38 snubbie than the Kimber, and even more easy to carry a little .380 than it is to carry a .38 snubbie.

    Especially during summer, when I'm not likely to be wearing a jacket or a heavy cover shirt. It's just so darned easy to slip a little .380 into a pocket holster and then just slip that into my pocket.

    It weighs less than my wallet does in my other front pocket.

    Folks will take the easier route almost every single time.

    It's why before the import of foreign-made .25 ACP pocket pistols was banned, the best-selling pistols were those little tiny, ineffective .25 pocket pistols. Because they were guns, technically, and they were so easy to just slip into a pocket.

    Little gun, yes. Less stopping power, yes.

    But way easier to carry.

    rhill

  11. avatarChris Dumm says:

    *Another* .380? And with a price point of nearly $600.00? Since we're not talking about Bud Dry, I am compelled to ask "Why?" I've weighed in on the .380 issue before (my clumsily edited comments were printed in the American Rifleman earlier this year) and I am still amazed at the irrationality of this market segment.

    There's nothing irrational about the .380 cartridge itself. With modern ammo from Cor-Bon or Buffalo Bore it's only slightly less masculine than many standard 9mm loadings. It's about as effective as a .38 Special, and (in all but the tiniest .380s) kicks less and offers significant firepower advantages over a 5-shot J Frame revolver.

    But $600 for a .380? When .380 ammo costs $30 per box for FMJ practice loads, when you can find it? Which is almost never? I fail to see the appeal of such a gun, when the same money will buy you a very proven concealment gun like a subcompact 9mm, and a lot less money will get you a rock-solid .38 snubnose.

    I love the .380, and I even carry one sometimes, but in my opinion there is nothing that the .380 does so well, and so much better than other larger rounds, which justifies dropping this kind of money for it. Just because the .380 is 'hot' right now doesn't mean it's worth what the market will currently bear.

    Just ask any Dutchman from 1638. Or former Enron shareholders.

  12. avatarBrett Solomon says:

    I happen to think this .380 is groundbreaking as it is the first pistol with a laser onboard. Done in a nice way. Integrated smoothly. I like that.

  13. avatarSteve Hellwig says:

    I saw both S&W models this week, and both the LCP & LCR in the past.

    Brett: I agree the trigger pull on the .380 is heavy, but on the other hand it seemed much shorter than the LCP

    In TN: I too expect "punishing recoil" I shot a Walther PPK in the past it was far heavier and still kicked like a mule. A nice gun to carry, but never a fun one to shoot.

    Chris: Further the PPK was a lot more punishing than a steel J-frame, I expect an airweight would kick a little harder. Of course I have big hands and tend to grab the J-frame high which gives me more stability, when I do that on a PPK the slide cuts the back of my hand between the thumb and trigger finger, not to mention what happens to the other thumb on an overhand grip.

    The "problem" with a .380 is the gun is going to have a blowback action and that makes it hard for people that want a "dainty" gun to get a second shot on target without a lot of said punishing practice. The alternative is to pick up something like a Walther PPS, which thanks to a Browning type design shoots nice and easy. Of course it weighs over a pound, will not fit in a shirt pocket and is in an entirely different price range.

  14. avatarChris Dumm says:

    Steve:

    I've had the same experience with PPKs being no fun to shoot and cutting the web of my thumb. I find that the .380 has a 'sweet spot' in compact-but-not-miniscule guns, such as the Makarov, Bersa and CZ-82. This genre of gun tends to have exceptional accuracy and tolerable ergonomics; excellent in the case of the CZ. They also have heavy steel slides and mid-sized grips which allow a 3 or 4-finger hold, and these two factors combine to reduce felt recoil. The Makarov is the only centerfire handgun my wife has ever enjoyed shooting.

    Concealability does suffer: they're heavier than a J-frame and the butt is more prominent. But on the sunny side, they're thinner than a J-frame's cylinder, and it's nice to have 8 or 9 (or 13) rounds on tap instead of 5.

    Oh yeah, and the Mak and CZ are both dirt cheap and stone-cold reliable.

  15. avatarExNuke says:

    If you are going to think about spending $600 on a mouse gun you should take a good look at the Sig P238. I finally broke down and bought one a few weeks ago and am well pleased with it. SAO and sort of following the 1911 pattern, the delayed blowback action doesn't have the sharp slap of recoil like most .380s. With just a couple of hundred rounds through it so far, I haven't had any problems with it and it has surprised me with it's accuracy (at least at self-defense ranges). I have always liked my 1911's and don't care for plastic guns (or cars). The Sig is all metal and still comes in under 1 lb, for a little guy like me it's a whole lot better than no gun at all during a deep south summer.

  16. avatarRC says:

    Lots of interesting reading on the different philosophies. When the environment that I am intending to travel in suggest the prudent thing to do is carry as much firepower as possible, I do. It is either a S&W SW99 .45 cal or a Ruger SP101 .357. Both great firearms, but can get a little uncomfortable to carry for long periods. So when I travel in areas that would suggest a firearm is not needed, the size of a pocket .380 fits the bill. You do not hardly know you even have it. Of course one of my more powerful firearms is always in my vehicle and available if the environment dictates the need. Bottom line is, there are times it is far more comfortable to carry something smaller even though it may not always be the most prudent thing to do.

  17. avatarRC says:

    I might add, I have shot the Taurus TCP, the Ruger LCP, the Sig and the Kahr 380′s. All shot great and I most certainly would not want to be on the receiving end of one of these.

  18. avatarSteve says:

    Mine just shipped and I can't wait. Bought new for $455. It's about .25 inches longer than I wanted and seriously considered the Kahr P380, PM9, and PM40 which are all similar in size, but at least $200 more than the Smith. With the right ammo (Buffalo Bore or Corbon) it should make a fine CCW defensive carry.

  19. avatarGwolf says:

    I have a Walther PPS in 40, a smith wheel gun .357, the Ruger LCP and most recently the Body Guard .380. All have lasers, not for accuracy but for rapid target aquisition in low light situations and unususal shooting postitions.
    The Body Guard is a tiny gun that behaves like a bigger gun in how it functions. Slide locks back on the last round and safety lever. I have carried everything from a Desert Eagle on down concealed at one time or another and there's nothing more uncomfortable than when your printing in public. It feels like your inviteing a confrontation. The PPS while very concealable and super accurate is still quite unreliable. That gun should have been recalled. If I am going to carry it I think I will need the Body Guard as a backup.

  20. avatarBob H says:

    The .380 is largest gun I can conceal 6 months out of the year. It is too hot to be wearing 2 shirts (not to mention the funny looks you will get, most of them from people who are thinking "why is he wearing a loose shirt over a tshirt when it is 100° with 60% humidity? Maybe we should call the police!") I carry a .380 and a spare magazine in my front pocket or a real mouse gun, a Beretta .32 in an ankle holster. You just can't conceal anything bigger without being really obvious, which kind of defeats the purpose of carrying concealed.

  21. avatarJose says:

    I got a new Body Guard .380 recently, For the price it has everything I wanted in a small .380. The laser,the extra safety, it shoots well most of the 380 ammo (I had problems only with Fiocci JHP) and there is a minimal recoil.
    I like the Kahr guns but sometimes they leave the factory with problems and you have to send them back for them to work well.
    The Sig is a good one but is more expensive and comes without a laser even at that price.

  22. avatarJeff says:

    I just bought the 380 Bodyguard for $439 @ Academy Sport. I was out this weekend with 4 friends who all have carry permits. My small 380 was in my pocket. Their Glocks were at home, to heavy to carry. Which had more stopping power that night, the 380 in my pocket or their 45s and 9s sitting at home?

  23. avatarBiggun says:

    The bodyguard comes in a 9mm flavor as well. Anyone have any reviews on it?

  24. avatarAaron says:

    According to s&w web site it also comes in a .380 revolver – not 9mm.

  25. avatarThe Judge says:

    I recently bought a BG .380. I also keep it loaded with Hornady Critical Defense rounds. As for recoil, the BG 380 is very manageable, it is not a blow back, but it has a Browning locking action. Stopping power in a carry piece is one of the least important considerations because 90% of the time the gun will stop the aggression without firing a shot. A criminal is just as scared of a .380 as he is a .45. As Neil pointed out, shot placement is much more important than caliber. Learn shooting skills and practice them. Spraying and praying is rarely effective.

  26. avatarBR549 says:

    Well, I used to have a Diamondback DB380, now I have a S&W BG380. The S&W is a full three ounces heavier, which I would guess was mostly in the slide weight, and appears to be what made the DBs so fussy; the latter couldn’t handle the range in bullet weights. Regarding the S&W, on the other hand, I ran across one article that said you could run anything from 60-100 grain through it without a hitch. It’s a far more solid platform than the DB, and it has a safety.

    When I went to initially look at the 380s, none of them had a safety, which meant that you couldn’t rack them beforehand and then enter a dangerous situation. If you carried it unchambered, then you had to give yourself away by racking it. At least the S&W gave you the option.

    As for accuracy, hitting a succession of 10″ steel targets at 25 yards in one second intervals on flimsy iron sights I didn’t think was too shabby, particularly when its use was designed for more intimate encounters.

    S&W seemed to have had some issues with the earlier EAAxxxx serial numbers (with the take down pin/lever), but it seems to have been resolved by EABxxxx. They’re well past that now.

  27. avatarRon McCabe says:

    I own a Kel Tec P3AT and carry it every day, every where I go. Problem one is it can easily rust in your pocket not being stainless. The Bodyguard 380 has stainless barrel and slide.

    The P3AT has poor sites and needs a laser site. I can solve that with an add on laser site by Crimson Trace.

    The P3AT does not lock back after last shot or anytime, and has not slide lock. Which means when you clear it and put it down or hand it to someone, they have to clear it again to insure it is empty (they can’t just look). The BG380 not only has a slide lock, but it locks back after the last shot. It also has a manual safety (if you want to use it).

    The BG380 has a take down lever instead of a pin.

    I was at a gun store today and the only reason I did not buy the BG380 was when the salesman broke it down for me, we had a difficult time getting it back together. As a matter of fact I could not do it and the salesman only did it two out of five tries.

    When I find a salesman that can show me how to reassemble the thing I will buy it for the LIST PRICE of $399.00 ($575 is for the revolver), and sell the P3AT to someone.

    • avatarJeff says:

      I field stripped and cleaned my BG 380 right after I got it home from the store. Very simple to take down and re-assemble. The instructions are straightforward.

    • avatarAl says:

      Ron,

      Just recently purchased a BG 380, and I love it. Have put about 300 rounds through it; no problems and it has broken in nicely.

      Two tricks to field stripping it: First, rotate the takedown lever clockwise 180 degrees, not 90 as the manual suggests, to disassemble it. The 180 came from an early fix to a takedown problem and the manual was never updated.

      Second, follow the manual exactly for re-assembly except point the weapon muzzle down when locking the slide back. Test before inserting the takedown pin by pushing the barrel back into the slide; it should stop before going completely into the slide. Insert the takedown pin and gently move it around until it goes back in. I have found it goes in easiest if orientated in its original position (90 degrees). Have much patience.

      Regards,
      Al

  28. avatarD Litch says:

    Real world… not statistical analysis is where the rubber meets the road. You can say, all day long, that a .45 is a better one shot stopper than a .380, of course it is. But a .357 is better than a .45. There is always something out there better than the last one… it comes down to what do yo want to carry? Do many of you out there carry concealed with the idea that you need be ready for a multiple bad guy, long running, multi clip gun fight? More likely if you engage it will be a couple of quick rounds inside 2o ft and run away. No need for 20 rounds for that scene. But lets look at the real world.. here’s a little known fact, the .380 round is a higher percentage stopper than .38 special in real world gun fights. The .380 is equal to ANY caliber in stopping power (%) from ANY weapon with a 3″ barrel or less. So, if you want to be able to carry a small, comfortable, totally concealable pocket gun there is none better (in percentage of actual stops). Now, if you are ok packing a full size high capacity high caliber weapon then good for you… but thats not what I or I’d venture to say, most .380 mouse gun advocates need. Pair your .380 with an excellent self defense round of course, never standard ball ammo for carry. (All of my statistics are from analysis of real life gun fights, not benchtop theoretical pissing contests.)

  29. avatarD Litch says:

    PS- The S&W BG380 absolutely rocks taking all things into account… big gun features in a very small size. BG380 is the current top of the food chain.

  30. avatarJohn Papadopoulos says:

    The S&W bodyguard 380 can now be found online for about $330, a steal compared to absolutely any other .380 gun as the laser is basically free. And as for Winchester white box, $20 for 100 9mm and $30 for 100 .380ACP FMJ. JHP ammo is approximately the same for 9mm and .380 acp. Stopping percentage for Federal JHP hydrashock in .380ACP for a single chest shot is 70% and moves at 1000+ FPS, not bad for self defense. The laser provided an intimidation factor, in a situation bullets might not even have to be fired. 6+1 plus an extra mag is plenty, if you get in a gun fight where you need more bullets than that you have no business involving yourself with that much danger. This gun looks very aesthetically pleasing, is very light, and extremely concealable. I wish it came in 9mm as well as all of my other handguns are 9mm and I would only need one size. I plan on purchasing this gun soon as I always dress nicely, I’m not a t-shirt/hoodie and cargo pants kind of guy.

  31. avatarAllan says:

    Purchased mine after the S&W price drop. Couldn’t be happier. Much more likely to carry than the G23, and with Xtreme ammo I feel secure.

    • avatarNick says:

      Are you talking about Extreme shock ammo?? If so…. Do some research.. that stuff is useless……..

  32. I’ve sent over 500 rounds down range with and without laser active. The weapon has operated as advertised. I have a CCP and wanted a everyday carry weapon. I have 9mm’s for home and auto and looked for a 9mm for everyday carry. I reviewed many 9mm pocket guns on youtube, gun shows, and local gun shops. I carry in the front pocket of slacks or jeans and the 9mm’s were not comfortable. The bodyguard 380 fits in my pocket hostel and looks like a front wallet.
    Don’t get me wrong, If I knew I was going to a gun fight I’d want my 9mm with 16 rounds and extra mags. However I’m living a normal life working 9/5 and want to protect myself and family from the off chance a thug or two attempts to harm us. You point a red dot on most thugs and it’s all over. Those thugs bent on harm you have 7 rounds of critical defense ammo to end their advance.
    Let’s be real, if you need more then 7 rounds your in deep stuff! These pocket weapons are for self defense not offense.

  33. avatarEric says:

    the gun you carry has infinitely more stopping power than the one left in the nightstand/car and lets be real if i was expecting to get in the sh!t the hell with a handgun hello Ar-15 with a drum mag

  34. avatarJohn Papadopoulos says:

    Lol @ you guys ‘ if I knew I was going to a gun fight’…. Why would you know ahead of time you were going into a gunfight and still go into said gun fight? The whole purpose of having a gun is to avoid a gunfight or confrontation at all costs, and to only engage if it’s the absolute last resort. Unless you plan an old fashion 10 step back to back gun dual with your neighbor for letting his dog shit in your yard, no one should expect a gunfight. I understand if maybe you knew you were going to be in a very dangerous place and you wanted to bring along a more substantial gun for defense just in case.

  35. avatarTom Myers says:

    Just bought a brand new bodyguard 380. I carry an XD now and just wanted this for a backup or for when my clothing doesn’t allow for a larger weapon. But as far as the bodyguard is concerned, I love this gun! I picked mine up for $379, a lot of gun shops around here are selling then for $349 but are selling out weekly so finding one is a little difficult. There was a lot of problems with the first generation of this gun but S&W seems to have worked out the bugs. The old model had problems with the take down pin coming loose and also the button for the laser wearing off and/or turning itself on while holstered. The problems have been corrected with both of these issues and the gun is fantastic! The easy way to identify an old model vs. a new one is to see if the gun has a ring around the button for the laser. If it does have the ring, you are good to go! Happy and safe shooting to all!!!

  36. avatarJohn Papadopoulos says:

    Just got my bodyguard in the mail, $405 total for shipping and transfer fee from the local FFL. Awesome feel to the gun, great features, can’t wait to put some rounds through it. This is going to be my every single day carry for when I can’t carry a larger weapon AND even when I am carrying a larger weapon. I have my kimber ultra carry on me on most days when it’s cold and I have a jacket or when wearing loose clothing, and even then I’ll carry this gun in addition as a backup.

  37. avatarBill S says:

    Got my 380 bodyguard in October. It has been on me every day. There have been times that I had to say I forgot something in the truck because I was entering and passed checkpoints that weapons were not to pass.I have a full size gun also but when I have that one on me some people can tell, that takes away my advantage.if I need more than two mags, than I’m in the wrong place to begin with.
    Love the safety and the laser it just a bonus. It has never a jam or any other type of problem. As far as take down the manual tells you the little trick to get it back together , I did have trouble until I read it.
    Bill S

  38. avatarAndrew says:

    The first rule of self-defense or a gun fight is to have one. I don’t know how many times I left a nice, capable M1911 or M9 at home because it was too heavy or too akward for where I was going or what I was doing. I am in the military and run quite a bit. Try go jogging in July with a 1911. Try wearing a G26 on your ankle and see how fast you have hip problems. In my opinion, the point of CC is that no one knows you have it. I would rather be underestimated in a situation than overestimates, known, figured out, and planned for.
    This weapon is not pointless. It has a rythm and reason. The .380 is not pointless or ineffective. With rounds like SafetySlugs, Carbon DPX, and other newer contenders this is a nice deep-carry weapon. Anyone that argues otherwise should imagine shooting themselfs with it center mass and reevaluate their opinion. (Don’t actually do that!) Besides, if you were mugged while jogging, caught in a gas-station or ATM robbery, etc… would you rather have a .380 JHP or the .45 ACP you left at home, or in the glovebox? Try wearing a full-size with a suit and observe how fast people notice and act differently. There are pros and cons of EVERYTHING in life. Firearms are no different. If there was a single best choice, why make different models (?)

  39. avatarMark Hilbish says:

    I purchased the BG380 as a concealment weapon. My Glock 26 was a little bulky, and my H&K P7 was worth too much to continue carrying. I like the size and concealability of the BG380. My only complaint after firing the gun is that the laser sight is nowhere near to be close to sighted in. I had a friend witht he same problem. And, the gun comes with only one mag. Need two or three to do any real shooting without reloading mags after firing 7 shots.

  40. avatarDale says:

    Just picked up a BG .380 for $360 and am looking forward to taking it out to the range. Cabela’s did not have any clips, nor do they expect any for the next several months; ordered 2 from S&W ’cause no one has them! It field strips very similar to my FNH FNP40, was somewhat tricky getting the take down lever out; but it went back together without a hitch.
    The built in laser and the portability is what sold me on it. During the CCW class I attended, they stressed very heavily that IF you are ever involved in a shooting that you do not want ANY modifications on your weapon or non-factory loads. You will be considered a “cowboy” and it will not bode well during either a criminal or civilian lawsuit!!! (After market lasers are a modification… any questions?)
    Anyway, I picked up some snap caps and a De Santis pocket holster and have been doing a lot of practicing. The laser seems to be a little low, but S&W provided a nice little allen wrench to adjust the laser.
    It fits very nicely in my front pocket and I know it will be a life long companion with me and my FNP 40 will still be close by…

  41. avatarJohn Papadopoulos says:

    Yeah I gave the body guard to the wife. She shot it and fell in love with it, wont let me touch it anymore haha. I’ll tell you what, I trust 7 good expandable hollow point .380 ACP rounds to protect her more so than I would trust some pepper spray or even a taser. The .380 round is a great compromise as it still packs a wallop and can fit anywhere on the body. I laugh at people that believe it’s about as effective as a .22. I sure as hell know i wouldnt want to be on the receiving side of a .380. Great gun for women and men alike as it has balls and shoots like a champ once it’s broken in easily. For when I can’t carry my 1911 .45 I got me my sig p238 as it is a familiar design for me and can be concealed even if I were naked (jk). It’s my trusty .380 gun I carry when I can’t carry the big boy comfortably.

  42. avatarKristi says:

    I purchased the bodyguard 380 for $300 new. I was trying to choose between the LCP and the 380, I shot both before purchasing. The accuracy on the bodyguard to me was impressive and way better than I expected. The weight also was heavier and overall felt more comfortable and of better quality. After comparing the two I felt that the LCP was a toy gun, no offense to anyone with an LCP if the BG380 didn’t come out I would have purchased one. I also own a glock 29 10mm and glock 23 .40, for those of you saying yeah but your a woman. I just needed a smaller gun that was easier to conceal than either of my glocks. The only issue I didn’t really like about this gun is that it on comes with one magazine and it was a pain finding extras. Also the takedown lever was quit difficult but that was S&W’s intentional fix from the earlier generation BG’s. As far as stopping power I don’t see anyone raising their hand to have it tested on them so I can’t comment. I hope I will never have to use it or any weapon for defense but definitely have no problem with increasing my chances of survival and won’t hesitate should the need arise.

  43. avatarPhil says:

    After years of ccw I have been involved with all type and size weapons. Just purchased a 380 and find that for its size and ability it handles well and has a good safety feature.. Remember folks that its not the size of the weapon tat counts but the expertise of its user…

  44. avatarShawn Healey says:

    Dudes… My Kimber Raptor Stainless .45 acp is my weapon of choice, my 9mm Beretta Parabellum is a good back-up, but when I’m firing up the Harley for a ride, I pack the BG .380. I’ve sent 500 flawless rounds down the tube and find it 2″ group accurate at 25′. If you can drop the machismo for a minute, you’d find it a useful gun when packing light. All that being said… I’d trade it in a minute for Kimber’s new concealed 9mm Solo

  45. avatarReid says:

    Picked up one of these for my wife. She loves it, and she will carry it, which is what matters. She wouldn’t carry anything bigger/heavier.

    The guys who insist on carrying .40 or .45 and mocking anyone who carries a smaller caliber crack me up. It’s like a bunch of 16 year old boys arguing over what exotic Italian supercar has more horsepower or faster acceleration or whatever. Meanwhile they drive Civics or get rides in their moms’ station wagons. Some of the .45 advocates here talk like they have to leave a trail of expended brass from the parking lot into the Wal-Mart on a daily basis.

    The Bodyguard 380 is perfect for my wife. Sure, it would be nice for her to have an AR-15 pistol with a loaded 100-round CMAG and an EoTech, but it just won’t fit in her purse. And where I live, we don’t need to lay down covering fire for one another just to get groceries.

  46. avatarJason says:

    The .380 isn’t a bad round. I can’t stand people who act like if you’re shooting somebody with anything less than a .50 BMG they’ll just keep coming at you like some kind of zombie. I have a Ruger LCP that I carry. For what I use it for it’s great. I carry a .40 Glock 27 most of the time. But in the summer (I live in GA, aka HOT) if I’m just wearing shorts and a T shirt I’d rather have 7 (or 13 if I’m carrying a spare mag) rounds of .380 than just my 2 fists. And I’d rather have that .380 than have to wear more clothing to conceal my .40. I’m more likely to die of heat stroke than assault. I do carry 90 gr JHP Buffalo Bore ammo in it though. It gets right about 1,000 fps out of my LCP. Not too shabby for a pocket pistol. And I’ve seen quite a few people shot over the years (12 years in law enforcement so far) with everything from .22LR to .45 ACP in pistols. I’ve never seen anyone hit with a .45 actually die. And I’ve seen 3 or 4 shot with it, including 1 that was a head shot and 1 neck shot. I’ve seen 3 people shot with .380 in 2 incidents. I believe all 3 were with FMJ’s also. I know 2 were, the other one we only recovered 1 bullet that missed and it was too mangled to tell. 1 took 2 .380′s to the chest, dropped right there and died. 1 took one in the arm AFTER it penetrated through a car’s windshield! 1 took one under the jaw from about 20 yards away (lucky shot from a rival drug dealer in the parking lot shooting at a guy on the 2nd floor of an apartment building). He was lucky, it exited under his ear. Didn’t die but really jacked him up. He had an AK-47 in the closet but he wasn’t even able to go in and get it after he took that .380. So depending on how you look at it the guy with the .380 beat the guy with the AK in a gunfight. If it had been an inch or 2 to the left it would have got into his brain and he’d have been DRT. So basically, .380 is no wonder cartridge. But neither is the .45 ACP. But it’ll get the job done if you do your part, and it sure beats not having a gun at all.

  47. avatarAGB says:

    I’ve had mine for almost a year, an early variant that was sent back for refinishing.

    One of the most reliable and accurate little pistols I had ever shot. The laser is invaluable. At about 15 yards it shoots about 2 inches low. Which is very good.

    With DPX ammo it’s real world performance should equal or better a .38. Good enough for usual self-defense purposes.

    FAST holster co. in Brooklyn, New York makes an excellent and slim kydex holster for it with good retention.

    BTW, I sold my Ruger LCP because it had several FTFs. Not the case with the Smith, a far better crafted weapon.

    Sure, I’d rather have a 9mm, but then again, a modern 380 will perform well enough and the saving in weight and carry comfort is a major consideration for most people.

  48. avatarJimD says:

    Guys who carry 1911′s as their CCW are the same kind of rubes that put huge tires on their truck at the expense of performance.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a .380 as a CCW.

    In fact, I’d say it’s better in some situations.

    For instance, suppose you’ve just been asked for your wallet at gun point. Who the hell keeps their wallet up under their armpit? Or in waistband of their pants for that matter?

    I know I keep mine in the front pocket of my jeans…right next to the BG .380.

    And before anyone says it, God save you if you still wear a fanny pack!

  49. avatarVince says:

    Ruger is selling their LCP like hotcakes, but this new S&W BG380 seems a bit better. I will be a new, first time gun owner, so I’m the perfect market for these two types of guns. Can’t wait to try them.

  50. avatarTern02 says:

    It’s possible if I had picked up a Ruger LCP first maybe I would have purchased it ! But I liked the fact that the S&W bodyguard .380 slide locks open on the last round fired and lets you know it’s time to reload another mag. Also the double strike capability. And it has real sights that function. Also the S&W bodyguard .380 has the built in laser. For me it was also about getting what I thought was a good deal. I picked the bg up on sale at GT Distributors in Austin, TX. for $289. + tax. I have no idea if they have anymore? This was a limited quanity sale and they had received there final shipment and aren’t offering rain checks when they sell out. Also would like to add and I’m not into selling holsters but by chance on UTube videos I saw “Uncle George’s holsters. I picked up the nicest custom leather wallet pocket holster I’ve ever seen for $42. dollars. I tried to get Uncle George which is in Austin, TX to let me come over and pick it up but ended up paying $6 dollars shipping and handling plus sales tax. But I must say this is one fine very high quality leather holster. Check out his web site and see for yourself. He only makes holsters for a few small pistols and the Ruger LCP and S&W bodyguard are among those he makes. Also would like to say my first choice for conceal carry for ME is a Glock 4th gen mod 22 .40 cal 15 +1 or a 1911 .45 but we just had 90 days of triple digit temps here in Texas and when all you have on are a pair of shorts and a t-shirt carrying this new .380 bodyguard makes life good! As far as all I’ve heard about the .380 being to small a caliber I believe it has it’s place and can be very effective. People have been shot with much smaller cal. and are not here to collaborate. What I don’t like is paying so much for .380 ammo ! Anyone as you may already know can buy 9mm Luger for much less which is a whole different subject..

  51. I have had the SW Bodyguard .380 for several months now. It’s a great shooter, light weight and easy to carry. A gun you carry is better than the one you left at home. A .380 is plenty if you practice often and shoot well.

  52. avatarDavid says:

    I have to smirk at those who comment the 380 has poor stopping power. Most self defence situations happen within 20 feet or less. If I shoot you with a 380 at 20 feet, you are going to stop doing what you are doing. The compact 380 is not designed as a combat weapon. It is a self defence weapon. I carry a S&W Bodyguard 380 daily and I feel well armed. If I’m going to a combat zone then I’ll get a M 16 and a .45. Shoot youself with a 380 and tell me it’s underpowered.

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