20151115_210111

I carry the first and only gun I’ve ever owned: a Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD .380, with three crucial mods/enhancements:

1.  Galloway Precision’s short stroke trigger kit — because even a noob like me could tell that the BODYGUARD’s factory trigger sucked.

2.  A Garrison grip extension on EVERY magazine I own — these let me grip with my pinky finger as well as my middle and ring fingers, which boosts accuracy without compromising weight, portability or concealment . . .

3.  Precision One .380 ACP 90 grain HP/XTP ammo, plus some COR-BON 80 grain DPX rounds.

I wanted to err on the side of portability. Neither my job nor my personal life puts me in harm’s way. If that were the case, I’d have gone heavier.

My BODYGUARD, even when holstered, slips neatly into a pocket or glove compartment.  Its weight and form factor never make me think twice before packing it. A bigger gun just doesn’t travel well in a pocket.

The new trigger, the grip extender and the badass ammunition make me confident that if I ever have to fire defensively, I’ll modify my adversary’s behavior in a tactically conclusive manner. And I’m will to forgo the superior firepower of a 9mm or a .45 in favor of a less powerful weapon that will likely be in my pocket at crunch time — not at home in my valet drawer.

43 Responses to TTAG Reader: What I Carry and Why – Victor H’s S&W BODYGUARD .380

  1. I don’t see the point of such a large grip extension on such a small gun – why not just get a bigger gun with a better grip and more power? My G27 has the + extension, allows for a full grip, and has twice the power of a .380 while carrying 10 + 1.

    But if it keeps you packing and works for you then carry on. The Precision One XTP is a good SD load.

    • I have a G26 with the +1 extension. Unfortunately with my build it is hard to carry without printing especially for work where I deal with clients daily. Also I ride a bicycle alot and that Glock is too thick. So I can see why he goes with the BG380. I have a CW380 and it disappears in anything I wear but the gun is not reliable enough for my trust. So I usually carry a CM9 daily and the G26 when clothing allows it. When I bike I use a pistolwear holster and carry my LCRx.

    • That is an awfully large mag extension. I really don’t think you need it, but if you like it, then go for it. I like a three finger grip, but feel fine with a two finger grip. My Kel-Tec P3AT has a 1.5 finger grip and is a bit too small. I use a small extension to get a 2 finger grip and it works fine. The .380 BG is a bit bigger and should be a solid 2 finger to start with.

  2. You need more than one gun. Period. I agree with your reasons for liking this one gun. But you need more than one. Full stop.

    • Not all gun owners are enthusiasts. He owns a gun to protect himself (and presumably his family). He found the right fit and he’s sticking to it.

      I don’t think we should be ‘marketing’ gun ownership as a lifestyle requiring people to spend thousands just to get started.

      • I agree with JWM that it is very good to have more than one gun. The gun enthusiast may have 5-10-25-50 or more guns. The non enthusiast sensible person should still have at least 2-3 guns (maybe 2 handguns and a long gun, or vice versa).

        • Every non-enthusiast citizen should have:

          2 handguns, one full sized, one for concealment

          1 shotgun

          1 carbine or rifle

        • “2 handguns, one full sized, one for concealment”

          I EDC, which does include concealed, a full size gun…so…??

          That said, I do own more than one handgun.

        • “2 handguns, one full sized, one for concealment”

          Pick the right handgun and you’ll only need one.

        • “Every … citizen should have.”

          Who does that sound like? I like the idea of owning more than one gun, but then again, I’m not the author of this article, nor is he me. Every citizen should be able to do and choose what they please.

      • I hope I didn’t come across as ragging on Victor’s choice or decision. It’s obvious that he cares enough about his safety and his family’s safety to take sensible precautions.

        IMHO he should have a spare or backup to his one gun. If it’s down for mechanical issues or taken by the cops after a dgu he will still need to provide for his family’s security.

        That was the point I was trying to get across.

      • The main reason to recommend a second gun is for redundancy. If your only gun needs to be serviced, you’re disarmed until the gunsmith or factory is done with it. If you have the unfortunate experience of using the gun for its intended purpose, there’s a good chance it’ll be taken into evidence by the police, at least for a while. Sure, you can run out and buy another gun if necessary, but it would be better to have a backup that you’ve already put through the paces and confirmed its reliability.

  3. I bought and traded in promptly one of these was disappointed as my S&W J-Frame one of my all time favorite carry guns. Required way too many tweaks, customizations and gun smithing to make it work, out of the box high failure to fire rate. Maybe just a bum gun could sent warranty back to Smith. Opted for the Sig P938 which is not much larger or heavier and a significantly better pistol, although also significantly more expensive:) but out of the box it was and still performs flawlessly.

    • I have yet to meet a man who does not have a dresser drawer devoted just for his manlier things. Where else would I stash my once read Fur, Fish, and Game magazines, my odd assortment of knives, cuff links I once got for Christmas and never opened, my Tim McGraw cologne I haven’t used (but I hear it drives Sara Tipton wild), a much raided coin collection that I used to buy an LCR (got $50 just for a nickel), and a few other odds and ends.

      In fact, that would be a great blog post for this site–what’s in your drawers?

      • If you live around NC we can go to the range sometime and then you can say you’ve met the elusive “drawer-less man” … er… Or something like that

  4. My BUG, yes a BG 380, also has the Galloway Precision upgrades. The difference in the way this gun shoots is AMAZING! While it was apart it got Big Dots[My XDs .45 has Big Dits as well] and Frog Lube properly applied.

    When one NEEDS a small pistol….and spare me the caliber debate as nothing in 9MM is this small….you cannot do better than a BG380. Reliable and accurate! I did not care for the extension though as the added bulk gets in the way IMHO.

  5. 1. I would recommend shying away from large grip extensions. When you squeeze the grip ext hard enough, it can put tension on the mag, and cause failures. I’ve done it several times with a G26 and +2 ext.

    2. I’d also recommend a larger gun for HD, something you can put a light on. You can get a good, quality shotgun for $250ish, sometimes less.

  6. I bought one of Galloway’s +1 mag capacity kits and really liked it. On the oem ones I can’t seat the magazine with 6 rounds in but on my now 7 round mag I have no issue. Not a bad buy for ~$22 and easy to install.

  7. It looks good to me. The Taurus TCP has a near perfect trigger and never a failure with one I had.Never had a problem griping it with my medium large hand either. So I don’t get extensions for little 380’s. Yeah I like at least 9mm or larger but throwing it in an Uncle Mike or Nemisis is oh so EZ. Train for head shots…and Happy THanksgiving!

    • A .380 is practically a 9mm. Just with the about 2mm worth of powder that burns in the last 1.5″ of a 4.5″ service pistol barrel, removed……

      Kinda-sorta kidding, but there is something to it. Used to be lots more to it, before the popularity of micro nines drove ammomakers to focus on short barrel nines when designing certain bullets and loads.

      .380s are comparatively nice and quiet from short barrels. Nines significantly less so. I realize deaf does beat dead, but deaf still kind of sucks.

      • The small difference in case volume isn’t the big difference between .380 and 9mm. The big difference is that the 9mm runs at around 35,000 psi vs. the 21,000 psi of the .380.

        • THAT and muzzle energy from 380 tops out at 200or a bit more ft lbs. And 9mm can hit 500 ft/lbs. with the right +P+ ammo. That is a helluva’ difference. But if you shoot a bad guy in the head with your tiny 380 he’ ll probably develop more than a migraine…

  8. That rather long extension negatively impacts the ability to conceal this pistol. It also will likely snag on your pocket. I’ve probably had a dozen .380 pistols over the years, and none has ever stuck around for long, either due to reliability, trigger, feeding, or just general “meh”. YMMV.

    • “I’ve probably had a dozen .380 pistols over the years, and none has ever stuck around for long,”

      Just curious…has any of those been a Walther PPK?

      I’ve never owned one, but a friend’s wife had one and it seemed a pretty good pistol.

      I’d be interested in hearing pros/cons on it as an EDC pistol.

  9. I too, carry a BG380. Regardless of what others insist, do what is right for you.

    I have more than one firearm (and caliber) but It’s my addiction. The only one I feel comfortable carrying, most of the time, is my Bodyguard.

  10. I had one and it took 3 trips back to S&W once for a broken firing pin once after that for light strikes, it barely dimpled the primers. and once for the laser dying , After the third time I sold it. Maybe they finally got their act together on them but damned if I’m going to take a chance. I never dry fired it , was told that was a no no with it. I wanted them to just send me the laser module and I’d send the bad one back but nope. I had to send the gun in again. After I sold it I bought a Sig P238 and shortly after a P938 and both have been flawless.

      • All guns can be lemons. My bodyguard was an early model and they may have gotten the problems ironed out. But no way would I have continued to own a gun I did not trust. Only problem I had with my 2 sigs was ammo became hard to get for awhile.

  11. I like the looks of the Garrison magazine extension and will promptly buy a couple to wear and try. My only compliant with pocket carrying the BG380 (inside a Sticky pocket holster) is sometimes I discover the weapon has rotated backwards inside the pocket – so when reaching into the pocket my hand first falls onto the rear top of the slide (rear sight & hammer region with the palm) and not right onto the grip, requiring a little more rearward hand movement to grasp the grip before the draw.

    Hoping the magazine extension will prevent any backwards inside the pocket rotation. It’s worth the twenty something bucks to buy a couple and find out….

  12. The best carry gun is the one that you’ll carry on you all the time, regardless of frame heft and caliber size.

    I’ve been looking at buying a BG .380 for some time now. Thanks for the heads up about the aftermarket trigger, I’ll definitely install one if I get the BG.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *