The new M&P Bodyguard 380 pistol from Smith & Wesson is a customer-driven variant of the original Bodyguard 380 released several years ago. The original pistol has an integral laser-aiming unit, while the new M&P version does not.

While a laser can be a great tool for aiming a pistol under stress or from unusual positions, some law enforcement agencies do not allow their use. One large West Coast agency allowed officers to carry the original Bodyguard 380 as a backup gun, but only if the laser was disabled by a department armorer.

To meet the demand of officers who could not carry the gun due to department prohibitions on the laser sighting devices, Smith & Wesson released the M&P version of the pistol.

The new handguns are chambered in .380 ACP and are very easy to conceal. Like the originals, the M&P Bodyguard 380 is thin and light, allowing a police officer or deputy to conceal one in an ankle holster or on a bullet-resistant vest. The gun only weighs 12 ounces when unloaded and is less than 5.5 inches long. It is more than compact enough for pocket carry.

In my testing, the gun proved to be an accurate shooter and ran reliably with a variety of hollow-point ammunition. Recoil was mild, and the sights on the pistol are much better than what is found on competing .380 pistols. The frame-mounted safety worked as it should.

There is no reasonable excuse for not carrying a backup gun on duty. Considering the MSRP of the M&P Bodyguard 380 is only $379, the guns are affordable in addition to being reliable. Check out the video for more, and be sure to check out the October 2014 issue of GUNS & WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT magazine for a full review. To subscribe, visit

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