Representing a bold new move on the part of this historic firearm manufacturer into the concealed carry market, the Bodyguards (top, Bodyguard 38; right, Bodyguard 380) feature integrated Insight laser modules and ultra-modern manufacturing techniques.

SMITH & WESSON BODYGUARDS

The use of smaller and smaller handguns for concealed carry…

The use of smaller and smaller handguns for concealed carry is always a bit controversial. One camp subscribes to the “no handgun smaller than…” principal. The next camp is the “any gun is better than…” group, where the adage, “it’s better than a stick” is common. In my experience, it depends on the stick and who is wielding it—but that is another argument altogether.
Like everything else in the firearms world, those at the poles are pretty intractable. It is the middle ground where some headway has been made. Terminal ballistics are important, but you can’t use a pistol you don’t have. Using a handgun for self-defense is about stopping the threat from doing whatever caused you to shoot it in the first place. Shooting them six times only to have them continue to attack you is counterproductive, to say the least. Nevertheless, self-defense situations in the real world present themselves unexpectedly, which requires you to actually carry your handgun. A handgun that you will not only always carry but will likely stop the threat is ideal, and the new Smith & Wesson Bodyguards fit right in here. The .380 ACP pistol is certainly small, but not too tiny like many others. Meanwhile the .38 Special is similar to other five-shot revolvers. Both are light, accurate, easy to carry, and can handle the most effective ammunition in either caliber. The addition of integrated lasers help with the sighting process.

Packing 6-shots of .380 ACP in its mag, the Bodyguard 380 is a potent carry pistol.

Packing 6-shots of .380 ACP in its mag, the Bodyguard 380 is a potent carry pistol.

Gun Details
A recent tour of the Smith & Wesson factory demonstrated the differences in these guns. The revolver is not a reworked Model 60—it is completely new, both in design and manufacture. The pistol is small with big pistol features, yet the manufacturing process is so simple in fact that the gunwriters at this event actually assembled some revolvers themselves. Given that S&W starts with their own forgings, there is some pretty tight quality control, and simplicity of the process results in increased consistency. Seeing a billet of aluminum get whacked by the forge, then move through 3 different CNC machines, resulting in a complete revolver frame was impressive. This process lowers the cost as well as providing a consistent and reliable product contained in house.

The Bodyguard 38 is as radical in its design, as it is in its materials, featuring a polymer lower frame mated to an aluminum upper frame.

The Bodyguard 38 is as radical in its design, as it is in its materials, featuring a polymer lower frame mated to an aluminum upper frame.

The pistol is built on a metal receiver that is placed inside the polymer lower. The slide is essentially a mini M&P slide. It is put together with the assistance of just a couple machines, and all done in just a matter of minutes. Again, it allows for tight controls over quality yet allows for lower manufacturing costs.

Both handguns have integrated laser sighting systems, with the revolver’s attached to the right side of the frame and the pistol’s encased inside the polymer lower. Both are manufactured at the state-of-the-art Insight Technology factory. Insight has been making laser-sighting systems for the military for years. Although the smallest such device they have made, the lasers integrated on the Bodyguards still contain the reliability of all their larger products. As we toured the facility, their attention to detail and quality became evident. The facility resembled a medical laboratory, not a factory.

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  • A S Myers

    Just purchased the S&W Bodyguard for myself. Full disclosure, this was my first gun purchase of any kind. That being said, I did my homework before starting to shop. Prior to the purchase I had been to the gun range a few times and learned what I Didn’t want to shoot. My hands are very small, (woman), and I didn’t need a weapon with a double digit magazine. Price was also a consideration, but mostly I wanted something I could shoot which didn’t weigh me down or tire (my hand) me out. My daughter and her boyfriend are sheepdogs at heart, while I, myself, prefer to remain simply a woman who understands the benefit of preparedness. Anyway, after much time and thought I invested in the S&W Bodyguard for concealed protection. This is a beautiful gun, (can you say such a thing?), and am really happy with its performance. Small, sleek, and sturdy, the Bodyguard is everything it’s advertised to be. While I can’t imagine ever having the time to locate, depress, and align the laser pointer, it did help me a lot at the range. I am a much better shooter, far more accurate now than I was before. Additionally, it is near invisible to wear, so lightweight I have forgotten its there. My one complaint is the trigger-pull. It is long and deep, actually negates the need for a safety, (which is easy to access and employ). However, the 10 or 12 poundss it takes to fire in no way impedes my ability to empty the magazine in short order. For me the S&W 380 Bodyguard is my primary weapon, for you it will probably be your back-up; it’s an excellent choice either way. For women in particular this is a great gun of choice. It is small, lightweight, inconspicuous, and user friendly I wanted something I could afford, and something I could afford to trust – I got both and have no buyer’s remorse. For those who respect and appreciate a finely made weapon I highly recommend you make this purchase. PS: buy an extra magazine or you’ll go a little crazy in the re-load.