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GUNS Magazine November 2011 Digital Edition - Page 34
MIKE CUMPSTON your choice of pocketsize semi-auto or revolver comes complete with an integral Insight laser sight. bout a half-century ago, Smith & Wesson began A numerical designation of the growing range of handgun models largely abandoning the familiar cognomens of the early 20th century. handgun enthusiasts took this in stride and soon became walking encyclopedias of model numbers and the dash-numbers appended to designate variations. As of late though, purpose-oriented model names have reappeared in the line. The demographic of gun users has undergone a profound shift. Practicality rather than enthusiasm is the motivating factor for many gun purchasers today. The name “Bodyguard” may speak to such buyers much more clearly than a mere number. Responding to the demand for lightweight concealment arms of the smallest practical size, Smith & Wesson fields the J-frame 5-shot .38 Special and a pocketable .380 semiauto with a maximum capacity of 7 rounds. Both are products of 21st century design making use of plastic, aluminum alloy and stainless steel. Both models were co-designed with the Insight Laser Company and are equipped with dedicated, fully adjustable laser sights. The provided Laser Adjustment Table is superior to most laser sight instructions. The semi-auto Bodyguard is thE SMIth & WESSON BOdyGUARdS The S&W Bodyguard 380 (above, middle) compares favorably in size to the Fn Model 1910, also in .380 ACP (above, top) and the .25 ACP Baby Browning. The disassembly lever of the 380 is hard to unlock, but after it is down, the pistol strips easily (below). Teresa Gold was very impressed with the Bodyguard 380. The moderate felt recoil and smooth trigger function translated to a tight, evenly spaced group at close range. a double-action-only, concealed hammer, locked-breech design with features common to full-sized pistols. These include positive slide lock, a left-side safety as well as a passive firing pin block internal safety and the favored grip-mounted magazine release. Held up next to similarsized Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec, it appears to be the same size, though measurement shows it is about a 1/4" longer and a 1/2" taller than the LCP. The difference is insignificant in terms of concealability though the taller grip proved advantageous in terms of shooter comfort. The sights, compared to other pistols of this size, are highly visible; both front and rear are dovetail mounted and driftable for windage adjustment. I had a comprehensive supply of Buffalo Bore .380 ACP loads on hand, including standard- and highvelocity loads. Tim Sundles, the CEO of Buffalo Bore, anticipated the recent ammunition shortage and by laying in components well in advance, managed to keep .380 ammo in stock throughout the crisis. The Bodyguard was 100-percent functional with all of these rounds and perhaps, incidentally, they all struck usefully close to the same point of aim. I shot the pistol through the Texas 34 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER 2011