Howdy, fellow On Pointers. Today, we received our second shipment of the new Bodyguard 380 from Smith & Wesson. It's the latest in an ever-expanding pocket .380acp market, but what makes this little gun historic is that it's the first to ship from a major manufacturer with an integral laser. Useless trivia, you say? Well, it's only a matter of time before that answer appears on Jeopardy. [click here for the photo gallery]
The Insight laser is built right into the frame and has ambidextrous controls placed conveniently where you index your finger. It also has two different laser settings: steady and blinky. Technically, it has three settings if you count "off."
The little S&W Bodyguard 380 is chock full of features. It's one of the only pocket-sized .380acp pistols on the market that sports a safety lever. The only other one I can think of is the Sig Sauer P238. There's also a loaded chamber indicator, drift-adjustable sights, and a Melonite finished slide that locks back positively on an empty mag. Alas and alack, the Bodyguard only ships from the factory with one 6rd magazine. But it's a really nice stainless steel mag with finger rest, so you'll want to run out and buy more.
Overall, the S&W shows a lot of heart for a gun priced around $400 that ships with an integral laser system. The fit and finish is excellent and what you have come to expect from Smith & Wesson. There's a lot of value for your hard-earned American greenback. But for me, it's just not the most comfy .380acp on the market in terms of ergonomics. I'm also not fond of a laser that requires you to push a button to engage the system. This is a dedicated concealed carry gun, so it needs to be ready to rock and/or roll at a moment's notice. There's no time to fiddle with an on/off/blinky button. A pressure-activated Crimson Trace LaserGrips system is superior. The trigger doesn't feel very refined either. So, before you pull the proverbial trigger and buy a Bodyguard 380, make sure you go into your local shop and shake hands with it first. If you're more comfortable with your existing LCP, Kel-tec, or Kahr, you might be better off investing in a Crimson Trace laser.
Have a good week and a happy Veteran's Day, my friends. God bless.