Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380

Smith & Wesson’s new M&P Bodyguard 380 caught the eye of author Denis Prisbrey, who decided to find out how the upgraded .380 ACP pistol handled for a review in the September 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS. The 12-ounce polymer design didn’t disappoint on the range as Prisbrey assessed the new M&P Bodyguard 380’s concealed carry potential.

“If you’re familiar with the first Bodyguard .380, you know it’s an 11.85-ounce, locked-breech, DAO, polymer-framed semi-auto with a 2.75-inch barrel, a stainless slide under a dark matte black finish, and black steel sights that are drift adjustable for windage,” said Prisbrey. “The new pistol adds an ‘M&P’ stamping to the left side of the slide, fish scale serrations to both sides at the rear, and drops both the internal laser and its suggested list price of $418 to $379.”

At the firing line, Prisbrey found himself reconsidering his expectations for a compact pistol, particularly the amount of recoil he had experienced with previous .380 designs. “Having spent quality time with several .380 autos in the past, I was expecting a hand-bouncer in this lightweight polymer package, but it didn’t happen—and you can thank S&W engineers for the locked-breech design that causes it not to,” said Prisbrey. “I’ve experienced near 9mm recoil levels
 from much larger and heavier straight blowback .380 pistols that depend on slide mass and relatively heavy springs to restrict slide momentum and resulting recoil. Here, the locked breech reduces the need for slide mass, along with a good percentage of the kick, and working on accuracy with three loads at 15 yards was no big deal at all in that area.”

The reliable operation of the M&P Bodyguard’s double-action-only (DAO) trigger also impressed Prisbrey while at the range. “The DAO trigger is heavy, a requirement for reliable hammer-striking
 energy in such a small design, but smooth with no detectable stacking toward the rear, and the second-strike capability is welcome to many, including me.”

To read the full article, check out the September 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, available on newsstands July 1, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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