In the search for the best design for a concealed carry firearm, gunmakers have followed different paths. The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard Crimson Trace Laser .380, which we review here, offers an interesting approach to solve the balance between concealment and accuracy.
The advantages of an ultra-compact Smith and Wesson firearm are, of course, that it is easy to conceal and light enough to be carried in comfort all day. On the other hand, the necessarily small frame makes handling and accuracy problematic. Smith & Wesson addressed both potential drawbacks of a small-frame gun, in a belt-and-suspenders sort of way, by providing two aiming systems while enhancing the ergonomics of the firearm.
As a subcompact, the Bodyguard in .380 ACP is small, light and highly functional. With an overall length of 5.25″ and a 2.75″ barrel, it has a weight of just 12.3 ounces. These figures place the Bodyguard well within the ultra-compact class of firearms; it can easily be carried in almost any position and worn for extended periods without difficulty.
The action is hammer-fired double action only, which allows the gun to be carried – and drawn – without snagging on holster or clothing, if carried in a pocket. As small as it is, the grip angle and position of the trigger have been designed to make the pistol as ergonomic as possible. Even in larger hands, there shouldn’t be any fumbling. It is literally point and shoot.
But how to point? Two aiming systems are provided. The most obvious – from the name of the handgun – is the Crimson Trace laser. This is integral to the pistol, incorporated into the frame below the barrel. The activation button is located on the left of the frame, just forward of the trigger guard, where it can be easily pressed with the off-hand. The laser can be adjusted without having to disassemble the firearm. Of course, since it is a battery-powered system, a backup in case of a SNAFU scenario is provided in the form of manual sights. These are adjustable stainless steel drift blade sights, front and rear.
Just as you would expect from Smith & Wesson, the materials and fit are excellent. Both the barrel and slide are made from stainless steel, with the latter finished in matte black. The frame is high-strength black polymer. Controls include a manual thumb safety and an external combination takedown lever and slide stop.
Two 6-round magazines are shipped with the handgun. One has a finger groove, while the other has a flat butt plate. The obvious carry profile would be to load the taller magazine, which provides a slightly larger grip profile, and use the flat-plate magazine for reloading.
Well-designed, accurate and reliable, the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 ACP with Crimson Trace laser provides a sophisticated self-defense system. It can be carried easily until it’s needed and, if the time comes, used to best effect.