Bodyguard 380 Review

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380

Review of the Bodyguard 380

Bodyguard 380 Review

By Mark “Six” James

Recently, I received an email from an individual seeking advice on purchasing a Bodyguard 380 pistol for his wife’s personal protection use. He knew nothing about firearms but wanted something that would be easy-to-carry, and slim enough to slip into her handbag. I remembered in 2012 I reached out to my friend Mark “Six” James and asked him if he would write a review of the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380. I didn’t know much about this particular pistol, so I thought it be best to have an expert weigh in on it. Below is his review.

A friend called me the other day and asked if I wouldn’t mind taking a moment to write a review of the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380. As a protection specialist and firearms instructor, I chuckled and said, “Harlan you know I don’t shoot starter pistols.” He then replied, “You have never seen a handgun you didn’t like to shoot.”  I said, “You are right, give me a week and I will get back with you.”

My everyday carry weapon is typically a compact or full size .45 ACP or 9 mm subcompact when I want to travel light.  I am not one to be sucked into the caliber wars as accuracy should always trump caliber size and in close quarter engagements it is often your tactics more so than the caliber size or marksmanship which will keep you alive.

However I am a proponent of a person carrying the largest caliber that they can shoot accurately.  A well trained operator will handle their business with any caliber you put in their hand, unfortunately most people are not well trained and handgun encounters are rarely one shot stops.

I had seen the “Bodyguard 380” advertised but had not taken the time to really look into it, as I had not historically been a big fan of pocket guns.

A Place for “Pocket Guns” like the Bodyguard 380

Although, I am a firm believer the situation should always dictate the tactics and the tools.  With that said there is a definite place for pocket guns.

Personally I think pocket guns function best as secondary and tertiary tools.  Most have poor sighting systems, undersized grips and are often underpowered.  Probably the biggest challenge I see with them is how they are often sold. I see many people attempting to buy them as primary weapons for new shooters.  Many people are of the misconception that because they are small in both stature and caliber they will be easier to shoot and have less felt recoil.

Effective recoil management starts first with a good grip.  Since most people buy firearms and never get proper professional training they often suffer from poor fundamentals be it improper grip or poor sight alignment.  Thus rarely learning how to master the tool.

Bodyguard 380 a Small Gun that Acts Like a Big Gun

When I went to my local gun shop and range today to take a closer look at the Bodyguard 380, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large number of big gun features built into this small package.

The Bodyguard 380 has a polymer frame with a stainless steel barrel and slide.  It is also equipped with a manual thumb safety, slide stop, external takedown lever and loaded chamber indicator.

It has useable raised stainless steel adjustable sights (dovetail cuts) and an integrated Insight laser sight on the vertical axis with ambidextrous laser controls (constant on, pulsating, off).   The laser features a battery saver cut off, which automatically shuts off after 5 minutes.

It is a double action only, hammer fired semi-automatic handgun. While the double action may help reduce accidental discharges, from the new shooters I polled some were uncomfortable with the long trigger pull. The trigger pull appears to be around 8 – 9 pounds.  However effectively managing a long double action trigger is something that a few more lessons can easily address.  It also features a steel guide rod.

The magazine for the bodyguard 380 has an extended finger tab on the bottom to make the grip more ergonomically pleasing.

The bodyguard 380 performed well on the range. The sighting system was effective and the recoil was what I expected out of a sub 3 inch barrel on a polymer frame. The weapon will also fire with the magazine removed.  The slide also locks back on an empty magazine.

Bodyguard 380 Not Good for Novices: Training Suggested

While I am not ready to make the bodyguard 380 my everyday carry weapon, I would move it to the front of the line for pocket pistols.  The $399 suggested retail is a good value for the features built into the handgun and explains why dealers are having a hard time keeping them on the shelf.

The bodyguard 380 is more than fit for duty as an ultra concealment or secondary tool. In my opinion it is not a starter handgun and functions best in the hands of an experienced shooter.

The light weight, small frame, and short sight radius are not features that lend themselves to new or untrained shooters.  With the right operator or training the Bodyguard 380 can compliment your defensive capabilities.

In the hands of the untrained operator it has the potential for a bad experience.

Bodyguard 380 Review

Model:         BODYGUARD® 380
Caliber:         .380 Auto
Capacity:         6+1 Rounds
Barrel Length:     2.75″ / 7.0 cm
Frame Size:         Compact
Action:         Double Action Only (Hammer Fired)
Front Sight:         Stainless Steel
Rear Sight:         Drift Adjustable
Grip:             Polymer
Overall Length:     5.25″ / 13.3 cm
Weight:         11.85 oz / 335.9 g
Frame Material:     Polymer
Material:         Stainless Steel w/Melonite® Finish
Finish: Matte     Black

Purpose: Personal Protection, Professional / Duty
Mark “Six” James is the Executive Director of Panther Protection Services a full service protection agency.

He is a firearms and combative instructor and internationally published author.  To find out more about Panther Protection Services visit or

8 Actionable Steps for Bodyguard Career Improvement

By Doc Rogers


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The following are some very basic concepts, but it’s exactly what you need to help improve your bodyguard career.

1. Focus on providing superb principal protection and customer service.
2. Focus on becoming professional and you’ll become successful.
3. Nothing comes easy in the bodyguard industry.
4. Keep a strong work ethic; hard work pays off.
5. No matter how much success you achieve in the industry you will always be vulnerable.
6. Avoid as much negative influences as possible.
7. On the job you need the following objectives:

  • A clear vision on how the assignment will unfold which should be rooted in advance work.
  • A strong plan for principal movements and protective coverage techniques.
  • A professional team to support your vision and plan in keeping the principal safe.
  • It takes an intelligent bodyguard to surround himself with other intelligent bodyguards.
  • Consistent, professional execution of your bodyguard duties and responsibilities.
  • Be able to overcome potential obstacles; in the real world nothing always goes as planned and nothing is what it seems, therefore have at least 3 back-up plans.

8. Never lower your standards; always keep raising the bar, because you are only as good as your last assignment. Only you have that power. Keep safe and God speed.

Check out Doc Rogers Author Page at:

Learn how to be a bodyguard



The Rich Bodyguard

By Doc Rogers

The rich bodyguard does not indulge in ill-advised behaviors that will generate negative financial consequences later.Bodyguard 4 This means he:

  • Has no lavish lifestyle and no pampered life.
  • Buys assets not toys; things that will earn him money (proper BG equipment, bulletproof vest, gym membership, duty weapon, etc.).
  • Maintains a budget for every paycheck and the rest is put in the bank.
  • Keeps emergency funds and doesn’t drain his savings.
  • Does not squander away his money; ensuring he will never go broke.
  • Does not live above his means; lives a simple and disciplined life.
  • On assignment he does not need a lot of money to live on; his meals and hotel rooms are paid for by the principal.
  • Does not spend needlessly on details.
  • Maintains a high work ethic that lays the foundation for his success; it all boils down simply doing hard work and the willingness to apply yourself 100 percent on each and every assignment.
  • Has no glitz, no glamour and no unprofessional attitudes; he is a consummate professional, always prepared yet ready to improvise.

Follow these rich bodyguard tactics as your passport to a secure financial future in the industry. Keep safe and God speed.

Check out Doc Rogers Author Page at:



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The Way of the Professional Bodyguard


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By Doc Rogers

Today’s professional bodyguards (executive protection specialists) are a unique breed, whether performing assigned duties or planning career moves they are ambitious and demanding; but methodical in their approach. Principals expect orderly and professional behavior from their bodyguards and the operational techniques of the bodyguard are done according to a systematic and established form of procedure. Although most are experts in tactical shooting professional bodyguards are more likely to use intellect as a weapon rather than the firearm concealed under their business suit.

The protective methodology of the professional bodyguard is one of a ‘problem solver’ who avoids threats directed towards the principal at all costs. Bodyguards are known for their ability to discreetly protect their principals and return them home safely each night. If in the unlikely situation a sudden unexpected threat appears the bodyguard will instinctively shield the principal with his own body while evacuating the principal from the kill-zone; this is not only his jobs, but his duty.

This selfless sense of duty is only a small part of what takes to be a professional bodyguard. The biggest part of being a bodyguard is to perform your tasks with honor, integrity, trust and with confident performance for a successful assignment. If you don’t have strict self-discipline, high standards, teamwork and determination, you might as well stay home. However, if you got what it takes now is the time to deliberately and selflessly move forward and push beyond your physical comfort zone to keep your team and principal safe; because that is the way of the bodyguard. Keep safe and God speed.

Check out Doc Rogers Author Page at:



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Managing Chaos

Mystery ShoppersManaging Chaos

By Doc Rogers

Definition of Chaos
This article defines chaos as environments that are experiencing complete disorder and confusion due to violent or damaging conditions. This includes civil disorder, also known as civil unrest, irregular warfare or terrorist and criminal action in the immediate proximity to your principal. To maintain mental clarity follow these simple instructions.

Focus on Taking Action
Maintain mental clarity and direct your thoughts for taking swift, positive action. Action will provide focus.

Keep Positive
It is easy to become negative when tough situations arise and when working in chaotic environments. Center your attention on positive problem solving within the scope of a bodyguard.

No Negative Self-Talk
In chaotic environments you must change your mindset from a self-defeating one to a mindset of positivity. Fill your mind with a new positive thought patterns, because negative self-talk will drain you very fast.

Useful Thought Patterns
Control mental habit patterns, because mental inefficiency causes things not to work to smoothly, whereas useful thought patterns will assist you in avoiding bad decisions, and actions. Take control of your mind and keep on the positive path.

Provide Solutions
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best by using your mind for problem solving. In chaotic environments the bodyguard above all must provide protection, direction and guidance. Formulate a plan; depending on the situation the solutions could range from covering and evacuation the principal to presenting the principal with a carefully thought out range of viable security options. Keep safe and God speed.