Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol


.380 Automatic Colt Pistol
Barrel Length
Stock Color
Round Capacity
6 + 1
Gun Weight
12 oz.



Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol – The Smith & Wesson® M&P Bodyguard® 380 Semi-Auto Pistol conceals easily, even when dressed in hot-weather clothing. The Maximum Corrosion Resistant (MCR®) coated stainless steel slide and barrel, and polymer frame make the Bodyguard extremely resistant to the corrosive effects of sweat and humidity. Compact and lightweight, the sleek, ergonomic Bodyguard balances well in the hand for superb fire control. The Bodyguard 380 operates on a locked breach design, which soaks up recoil fairly well compared to blowback operated 380s of similar size and weight. A hammer fires the pistol by means of a long, double-action-only (DAO) trigger pull; an external thumb safety blocks the hammer and locks the slide in the closed position by moving it up. The slide of the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Semi-Auto Pistol comes with fish scale serrations for a non-slip grip while chambering rounds, and is dovetailed for both front and rear sights. M&P pistols ship with 2 magazines.

Conceals easily with light clothing
Maximum Corrosion Resistant coating
Stainless steel slide and barrel
Locked breach design
DAO trigger pull
Dovetailed sights
Polymer frame
2 magazines
REVIEW: Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380


The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 was introduced a few years ago in tandem with the Bodyguard .38 revolver. The demand for concealable “pocket” pistols has never been greater, and S&W set these models apart from the crowd by equipping them with integrated lasers. But not everybody who wants a pocket gun necessarily wants one with a laser, so Smith & Wesson introduced another version: a straight-up, iron-sighted M&P Bodyguard 380.

Paul Pluff, Smith & Wesson’s director of Marketing Communications, told me he thought bringing the Bodyguard 380 into the M&P fold was a no-brainer because it is a natural extension of the line, and that makes sense.

It also makes sense to give consumers more choices. Lasers cost money, and the new model gives consumers an option that’s about $70 less than the laser-equipped version. I also think it’s a better-looking gun without the laser because it results in a pistol with cleaner lines. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

For those of you unfamiliar with S&W Bodyguard 380, let’s go over the specs. First, it is a 6+1 capacity, double-action-only semiauto. While the trigger pull is long—about twice as long as I would like even on a pocket gun—it is smooth, and on my sample gun, the trigger pull was 9.5 pounds. The trigger itself is smooth, flat plastic.

The gun is a hammer-fired DAO, with the hammer bobbed so it won’t get caught on clothing. It comes with real steel sights, and as it’s a member of the M&P line, the slide is treated to fish-scale serrations.

Even though it is as small as .380s can get, the M&P Bodyguard 380 has all the controls you’d expect on a full-size gun, including a manual safety and slide stop, plus real sights made out of steel.

It is a hammer-fired gun, and the bobbed hammer protrudes very slightly from the rear of the slide just before the trigger breaks. I found I could stage the trigger right at the end of the pull and shoot it almost single action. It has a double-strike capability. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

The pistol features all the controls you’d expect to find on a full-size gun, including a manual safety—one that’s unobtrusive enough not to snag but positive enough to operate only when you want it to.

Barrel length is 2.75 inches, and the rear of the hood has a cutout that acts as a loaded-chamber indicator. At 12 ounces unloaded, less than an inch thick and with an overall length of only 5.25 inches, this gun is plenty small and light enough to hide in a pocket. I’ve got medium-size hands, and when I’ve got a good grip on the gun and place my index finger along the frame, the end of my finger is only about a half-inch from the end of the slide.

Sights are black and no-snag, both front and rear dovetailed into the slide. The front is a serrated ramp. Both slide and barrel are stainless steel that has been treated to a uniform matte black finish. Now that the Bodyguard 380 has M&P status, the rear slide serrations are the M&P-style fish-scale type, and “M&P” is etched into the front of the slide on the left side.

This M&P Bodyguard .380 version doesn’t include a laser, which in the author’s opinion creates a gun with nicer lines. Plus it retails for about $70 less than its laser-sighted sibling.

The manual safety is in a familiar place for anyone who has ever fired a 1911: top rear of the frame on the left side. With the safety engaged the trigger won’t pull, and you can’t work the slide.

Pocket guns tend to get thrown into drawers, purses and, yes, pockets, and some people might have a concern that the manual safety might get accidentally engaged or disengaged. The serrated metal safety is nearly flat and hardly protrudes, plus it takes some force to move in either direction—and then it makes a very audible click. I don’t see it getting moved in either direction accidentally. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

The M&P Bodyguard 380 comes with two magazines and four base pads—two extended and two flat. I don’t have thick fingers, and even with the extended base pad in place I could only get two fingers on the grip. The extended base pad provides an extra half-inch of real estate to grab onto, for a total height of 4.25 inches versus 3.75 inches with a flat base-pad magazine inserted. The gun will fire with the magazine removed.

Small guns are easy to conceal but recoil harder and are more difficult to aim. This is just a fact of life. During testing, the end of my index finger tended to wrap around and hit the far side of the frame before the trigger broke, but that’s par for the course with tiny autos unless you have tiny hands.

For a gun that is not too much bigger than a deck of cards, I found the M&P Bodyguard 380 to be controllable, accurate and completely reliable, and for a last-ditch defensive weapon used at conversational distances, that’s exactly what you need.

Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 [Review]


Are you one of those people who think anything less than a .45 isn’t worth carrying?

If so, you can probably just skip this one and just head on over to our .45 ACP roundup, but if you do you’re going to be missing out.

The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is a pocket-sized .380 pistol worthy of S&W’s long heritage, and it makes for an excellent carry gun. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

We’re going to look at what makes these little pocket guns so popular, and what about the Bodyguard, in particular, caused it to wind up on my belt.

Let’s get to it.

Why Buy a S&W Bodyguard?

Pocket pistols are by no means toy guns. Sure, they typically come in a smaller caliber, but up close a .380 can do some serious damage.

Remember, it’s only slightly smaller than a 9mm. If you need a refresher on the sizes of the various common handgun calibers, check out our handgun caliber comparison.

With guns like this, it really isn’t size that matters; its shot placement. And that’s where guns like the S&W Bodyguard excel.

See, the smaller round means less recoil, which means more accurate shooting, which means more holes in the bad guy and less in the wall behind them.

S&W Bodyguard for Concealed Carry

Carrying a gun this small opens the door for a lot of people to carry a gun more often. Did you buy a larger gun and don’t always carry it because of its size or weight?

I bought my S&W Bodyguard specifically to deal with a problem I had with my regular carry gun. Any of you folks that carry know what it’s like in the summertime when its hot out and you’re wearing light clothes and trying to conceal a larger firearm. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

The gun prints, which isn’t ideal, and the heavier gun can weigh down lighter clothing.

Plus, it’s hot. Guns get hot. Then you sweat.

Tactical implications of trying to draw, aim, and fire a sweat-soaked firearm aside, sweaty guns are no fun.

So, because I don’t want to wear thicker or baggier shirts or multiple layers in the summer, I thought it would be smarter to get a smaller, thinner gun than my Glock.

Since I got the S&W Bodyguard, there have been plenty of times when I don’t want to lug around my Clock 27, ($539) even in the winter months. I know the Glock 27 isn’t huge in comparison to other guns, but it still feels like you’re toting a boat anchor compared to the Bodyguard.

Whether you’re wearing it in your pocket or on your belt in an IWB holster, it’s an easy gun to conceal.

These little guns are not for everyone, but they are perfect for those shooters with a smaller frame that can’t conceal a larger firearm or want something a little smaller for easier carry.

Which Bodyguard Should You Buy?

There are several variations of the Bodyguard 380 available. Aside from the color, your options are a combination of whether you want a thumb safety (they are not quick to un-safety, I recommend going for the no-safety version) and whether you want a laser. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

The main consideration is whether or not you want the version with the laser, and if so which color laser, green or red.

We strongly recommend laser sights for defensive guns, so it’s definitely a good idea to spend the extra to pick up the laser.

The color choice is up to you, but I recommend going with the one that aligns with your Jedi/Sith inclinations.

All of them come with two magazines that hold six rounds each.

Shooting the S&W Bodyguard

The handguns I’ve shot have typically been larger than the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard. If you’re used to a sub-compact like an M&P Shield 9mm, when you go to the Bodyguard you’ll notice there’s a lot less room for your hand on the gun.

It takes a little getting used to, but it shouldn’t be a problem.

Another thing I had to get used to was the Bodyguards Double Action only trigger, as I’ve only rarely shot a DAO trigger.

Getting used to the trigger was a little bit of a learning curve, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. A lot of the guns I’ve shot have really short trigger pulls…about half what the Bodyguard has.

Newbie Note: A double action only gun means there is no need to cock the hammer. If a round doesn’t fire when you pull the trigger, you just pull the trigger again. With other gun types, you need to rack the slide again to cock the hammer before it will fire. For more information, we actually have an article that explains the difference between double and single action.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of the long trigger pull. Unlike some handguns, you truly have to pull the trigger all the way to the back before you get to the break.

While that’s one of the things you get with a double action only, the pull could be about half the length in my opinion.

I did a bunch of checking around the web in forums and talked to some people I know who have owned pocket pistols and they suggested I look for an adjustable trigger and a shorter trigger bar. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

A kit that kept coming up time and time again was the combo of an RTK Edge Trigger and Galloway Precision Short Trigger Bar.

By adding a new trigger and shorter trigger bar you will gain adjustability. You can have your trigger break about halfway through the pull, which is where most people are used to.

Some people like to add all kinds of mods to their EDC pistols, be it a trigger, springs, barrel, or something else. When you make these changes, you are potentially compromising the careful engineering of the firearm, so make sure you’re aware of the risks

Always keep in mind that even something as simple as a shorter pull trigger can come back to bite you in the butt if you end up in a life-or-death situation. Proceed with caution, and at your own risk.

The Reality of Carrying a S&W Bodyguard

Something you should realize right away is that the Bodyguard is not designed for long-range shooting, partially because of the size, but also because of that trigger pull.

If you’re not squeezing the trigger carefully, its very easy to yank the barrel to one side when you’re firing. What’s only a slight error at 3 feet becomes a complete and utter miss at 20 feet. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

Because of this, we recommend you get a few boxes of a good .380 defensive ammo and practice practice practice to make sure you’re used to the recoil and the considerable trigger pull.

Maintaining the S&W Bodyguard

Taking this little guy apart to clean and lube isn’t too bad. Make sure it’s unloaded, lock the slide back, turn the front rod holding everything together to the 9 O’clock position and pull it out.

Of course, as with everything, there are about a million YouTube videos out there that will show you how to do it.

If your gun is new, it might take a small flat blade screwdriver and some patience to get it out. After a few times, you’ll get the hang of it, and things will loosen up.

A little of your favorite lube on the barrel and other metal to metal contact points are all you should need.

Once you do that, you can put it together. This is where you’ll need to be patient and might learn a new curse word or seven.

Putting the pin back in is… challenging to put it nicely. After a few attempts at doing it, you learn how everything should go together, and things get much easier.

Just remember: the pin goes back in the same way it comes out.

Make sure the barrel is pushed all the way forward, have the pin at 9 O’clock, and twist it in. Once the pin is turned to the 3 O’clock position, you’ll have to push it in.

If it’s new, you might need to tap it with something like the back of a screwdriver or small, hard rubber mallet. Avoid metal tools as this will mark up your nice new finish. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

Ammo Considerations

Like even some of the best .380 pocket pistols can be a little picky with ammo. Having a double strike capability with the S&W Bodyguard 380 is nice because if you have a light primer strike, all you have to do is pull the trigger again.

Other pistols like a Kahr CW for example, you’ll need to re-rack the slide.

It still is my recommendation to practice with several different types of ammo just to make sure that when you need to pull the trigger to save your life, something actually comes out.

Like they say, the two loudest noises are a bang when you expect a click and a click when you expect a bang.

The carry ammo I’ve had good luck with is the Hornady American Gunner Series 90 Grain XTP Hollow Point. When training, I have used ball ammo from Winchester and Federal with no problems.

S&W Bodyguard by the Numbers

Reliability 4/5

With higher quality ammo and some testing to find out what works for the gun.

Accuracy 3/5

It’s not going to win any long-distance marksmanship competitions, but it’s more than adequate for self-defense distances.

Ergonomics 3/5

All pocket pistols suffer from being a bit hard to get a grip on, but this one is better than most, and the controls are easy enough to reach for even the hammiest of hamfisted shooters. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

Looks 3.5/5

You either like it or you don’t.

Customization 4/5

There are a surprising amount of customizations out there for this gun, but by far the best options are in S&W’s custom shop.

Bang for the Buck 5/5

It’s cheap, reliable, and it fits in your pocket. For my money, this is an awesome carry gun.

Overall Rating 4/5

The S&W Bodyguard makes an excellent carry gun for those who are looking for a smaller EDC piece, and its low cost and decent feature set make it a great choice for first-time shooters, and those new to carrying. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard


Carrying the S&W Bodyguard 380 is convenient, you almost forget you have it on you since it’s so light. Obviously, ergonomics, size, and weight can make or break a CCW, and the Bodyguard is an all-around solid pick. It might not be a standout, but it’s inexpensive and has great features.

For my EDC and summer carry, it works well. Aside from procrastinating over getting a new trigger, I have been really happy with my Bodyguard 380.

Training and range time to get used to the size and quirks of a smaller gun is important when you’re starting out with one of these. You don’t want to be in a life or death situation and have your rounds miss your target. Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard

And as with any carry gun, always bang out a box or two of your defensive ammo of choice at the range to make sure the gun feeds and fires as expected.

Other than that, the S&W Bodyguard makes a great choice for those with smaller hands or those who want to carry without having to worry about printing or carry a weighty piece around.


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