Let me cut to the chase. The Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard with Crimson Trace Integral Laser is the most accurate micro .380 I’ve ever tested, rivaling that of my .380 Walther PPK/S.
Standing at 30 feet and firing with two hands, I consistently obtained 1½- to 2-inch groups using SIG Sauer’s Elite FMJ practice ammo and 90-grain V-Crown JHP loads. When I fired the first group, which was also the first 1½-inch group I fired, I said to my shooting buddy Manuel, “Holy —-!” He thought something was wrong when he heard my exclamation. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.
The polymer-framed .380 Bodyguard is available in two basic configurations: standard frame and the slightly enlarged CTC Integral laser frame. There is a Bodyguard .380 with a Crimson Trace Green Laserguard included on it, but the frame is still the standard model.
M&P Bodyguard .380 Specs
The Bodyguard .380 features a double-action-only, hammer-fired operating system. The hammer is visible through a slot in the rear of the slide. There is no way to thumb cock it. The long, double-action trigger pull is backed up by a manual safety on the left side of the frame. The trigger pull, which is similar to that of a revolver, allows the user to carry the Bodyguard .380 without the safety on and allows multiple restrikes without racking the slide. The safety lever sits toward the rear of the receiver and is nearly flush with it. In my opinion, the manual safety is best used as an extra precaution to help prevent unauthorized firing. There isn’t any protrusion beyond the frame to catch with the shooting hand thumb in an emergency like the manual safeties on the full-sized M&Ps. I have been carrying my sample Bodyguard with the safety off. However, while at home, I have been putting it out of reach with the safety on and then checking and removing it before it is carried again. It is an easy habit to adopt.
The slide and barrel of the .380 Bodyguard are both stainless steel and are coated black with Armornite for additional rust resistance. The slide has cocking serrations at the rear of the frame in the same curved style as full-sized M&P semi-auto pistols.
The front and rear sights are snag resistant, yet more prominent and easy to see than most competitors’ models. The rear sight is drift adjustable for windage, and the front sight features serrations to break up glare — something not normally found on micro handgun sights.
Located at the muzzle end of the receiver, above the trigger guard, the built-in ambidextrous Crimson Trace laser can be operated by the index finger of either hand. It is a constant “on”-type switch. Push once for on, again for pulse and again for off. I would prefer that Crimson Trace drop the pulse setting and leave it only constant on and off. It would be much simpler to tactically operate the laser without the pulsing dot. In any event, the switches are well placed and difficult to accidentally activate.
Takedown is accomplished via a lever on the left side of the frame. There is also a slide lock/release lever there as well. Smith & Wesson also nicely includes two six-round magazines with the Bodyguard .380. One is flush-fitting and the other has a small finger extension. (Smith & Wesson is doing a smart thing by including two magazines with the Bodyguard and other handguns. Having just completed a four-month stint working retail gun sales, I can tell you that the folks who purchased competitor handguns sold with only one magazine weren’t happy about that, and would have been willing to pay a bit more for the inclusion of a second magazine. Just sayin’.)
Testing at the Shooting Range
Testing at the range yielded flawless out-of-the box functioning with both SIG loads. These loads provided quite reasonable levels of recoil. The trigger pull is long but smooth. Having the integral laser proved to be quite helpful in diagnosing and correcting “flinch.” My friend Manuel, a college Spanish Professor and neighbor, is still learning about shooting. We were able to reduce his flinch greatly by turning the laser on and having him concentrate on not letting the dot drop down out of sight as he pulled the trigger. In two or three shots, his flinch was gone. This is a nice benefit to a sighting laser: In addition to sureness of shot placement, one also has the potential to change an attackers mind without having to fire a shot.
I have been carrying the Bodyguard in a TUFF Products Pocket Roo pouch for a couple of weeks. The Pocket Roo conceals the outline of the Bodyguard nicely and holds it in place, ready for easy draw from the front pocket. The 12.5-ounce weight makes comfortable, all-day carry a snap. The (Kanga)Roo part of the holster holds the second magazine at an angle for easy reloading access, giving me a total of 13 rounds of .380 V-Crown ammo on tap should I need it.
I hadn’t thought I would like the Bodyguard .380 as much as I do. On the surface, it seemed like it might be just another cookie-cutter locked-breech .380, but it’s not. Smith & Wesson did their homework on this one, down to the Flat Dark Earth color of the frame, which contrasts nicely with the slide.
MSRP of the M&P Bodyguard .380 w/Crimson Trace Integral Laser is $449, while the standard-frame Flat Dark Earth version is $379. If you are at all interested in the laser advantage for your .380, the Bodyguard with the integral CTC Laser is the way to go.