I wrote a review for BlueSheepdog.com of the new LAPD-approved Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 pistol in September of last year. I thought I would give you an update as to my continuing experience with the gun.
This being Florida, I would say that firearm choices for concealed carry are sometimes dictated by the hot weather clothing. For many of us, it is difficult to conceal even a medium-sized pistol or revolver when the temperatures soar into the high 90’s with the oppressive humidity. Shorts and a t-shirt only help with the heat a little.
The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380, which was officially approved for on duty back-up and off-duty carry by the Los Angeles Police Department, has been a good concealed carry weapon for me here in the “Tropical” South.
Though its length, height, thickness, and weight are slightly greater than my Kel-Tec P3AT, the added features of the Bodyguard 380 make it worth toting the smidgen in increased size. The hammer-fired second strike capability, adjustable sights, loaded chamber indicator, slide stop lever, and slide lock after-the-last-round all contribute to the Bodyguard 380’s defensive usefulness.
Since September, I have jogged numerous times with the Bodyguard in a Pistol Wear PT-2 holster, which is worn under a t-shirt. The gun weighs a scant 11.85 ounces unloaded, so even with the magazine and 7 total rounds, the Bodyguard stays put and does not jump around while I am running.
I am very attached to my Pistol Wear PT-2. It carries a small gun very close to the body, much like a belly-band, however, the waist strap is less cumbersome. The PT-2 also blocks moisture because the gun’s pouch is solvent and perspiration resistant from the back.
The second carry method for which I feel the Bodyguard 380 ideal is pocket carry. The pistol fits snugly in an Uncle Mike’s size 2 holster. In my right front pocket, the gun and holster combo resembles a wallet or maybe a smartphone. The holster gets a good grip on the pocket material and drawing the gun is not a problem.
I have worn this gun in dress pants to dinner, the station, and court appearances (lockboxed in the main facility). Even with the thin material of dress pants and a dress belt, I find the gun pleasant to wear. I’m not a fan of ankle holsters and guns a bit larger than this “print” in slacks.
When driving my personal car, the Bodyguard rides in the Smith & Wesson-provided nylon “dayplanner” holster that came in the blue box. I won’t pocket carry when driving because you cannot access the gun while wearing a seatbelt. The nylon carrier is a welcome way to keep the gun accessible when I am in the car.
By last September, I had about 400 rounds through the gun. These were 90 grain Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point, 95 grain Speer Lawman Total Metal Jacket, and 95 grain Fiocchi Full Metal Jacket. I have put an additional 250 rounds through the Bodyguard 380 and can add 70 grain Corbon Pow’RBall to the list of ignited ammo. Most of the last 250 rounds have been the Fiocchi, since it is easiest on my bank account. The gun has run without failures to feed, extract, or eject.
LAPD has nixed the use of the built-in laser on their officers’ guns. They have also deleted the safety lever. I would have to agree with these changes. The laser’s activation buttons are stiff and somewhat difficult to cycle through, not a plus in CQB. I have no use for the small, hard to manipulate safety for the same reasoning.
Being somewhat fickle when it comes to firearms, I will admit to having a rotation of off-duty carry guns, but I’m happy to report that the S&W Bodyguard 380 still solidly makes the roster.
9/18/2012–Passed another required off-duty/secondary weapon qualification with the Bodyguard 380. It is the same state course we fire with our issued Sig Sauer P226’s. The Bodyguard has continued to function flawlessly. In addition to a spare S&W mag, I picked up a DeSantis Mag-Packer for the pocket reload.
5/24/2013–The batteries in my Insight laser finally gave out. Click here to find out what happened next!
1/5/2014–Smith & Wesson announces the new M&P Bodyguard 380. Read here.
1/25/2014–Short video and article about shooting the M&P Bodyguard 380 at SHOT Show 2014 Media Day at the Range. Read here.