The 3 Best IWB Holsters for Bodyguard 380 Smith and Wesson M&P
You may have just got into concealed carry and may not feel comfortable carrying a large handgun around. You may have looked for a nice small pistol and found the M&P Bodyguard. You might have some questions about it and you may be wondering what the best IWB holster for the Bodyguard 380 is. Let's look into it.
To understand the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard as a carry option we first have to understand what it is, what it is chambered in, and what kind of concealed carry holsters are designed for it.
Understanding The M&P Bodyguard 380
The M&P Bodyguard is a subcompact semi automatic polymer pistol. It is double action only, has a 6 + 1 capacity, and possesses a 2.75” barrel according to Smith & Wesson. It comes with adjustable sights, external takedown lever, external slide drop, and two ergonomic magazines.
The Bodyguard comes in three different styles. The standard model has an external manual thumb safety. The Crimson Trace model features a manual safety and a integrated Crimson Trace laser that can be adjusted without disassembly. The last model has no manual safety or laser. There are other models but their differences are cosmetic or deal with the color of the laser. For function there are only these three types of Bodyguard.
Because the Bodyguard is a subcompact, people with larger hands may not be able to get a comfortable grip on the pistol. The magazines come with extensions for the grip to aid in handling while being capacity restriction friendly. The Bodyguard is very light, less than a pound, this combined with it being about two inches shorter overall than a Glock 19 and almost four shorter than a Glock 17 makes the Bodyguard carry friendly for new shooters. This also makes it more concealable and offers more options for concealment in a variety of other areas than just on the belt.
The next thing to take into consideration is the ammunition the Bodyguard uses. This pistol is chambered in .380 ACP (9x17), a rimless cartridge designed by John Browning and introduced to the market back in 1908. Also known as 9mm short or officially as the 9mm Browning Court, the .380 shares the diameter of a normal 9mm bullet while being shorter lengthwise.
The case is shorter and the recoil lighter than the normal 9x19. The lighter recoil was primarily from the round being weaker since it was designed for a direct blowback pistol system (most pistols today offer a tilting barrel or short recoil system to help mitigate recoil and the effect of more powerful rounds). The Bodyguard is a light shooter because it features a short-recoil system and the .380's lower powered cartridge.
The major strike against using .380 as a defensive round is that it is uncommon. The demand for .380 is very low so the price for a box of ammunition is much higher compared to normal 9mm.This makes it harder to put range time in for practicing with any .380 pistol, but you can still use dry fire practice which should be done in conjunction with live range practice.
What to Look for in a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 Concealed Holster
Because of its compact size the pistol it gives us more options for concealment but there are still things that are a “no go” for many types of holster. One of these is small-of-back (SOB) holster. These types of holsters have a dangerous placement of the handgun that line it up right with the spine. This can cause at worst crippling paralysis and at best a large amount of pain if an individual falls on it. Because of this a Bodyguard .380 SOB holster should not be considered as a viable option.
Other considerations are trigger and trigger guard coverage. The holster should cover these enough o prevent objects from getting into the trigger area and cause a negligent discharge, which can be very life threatening, especially when using concealed methods. In addition to this retention and rigidity must be considered. The holster should keep the gun in despite most designs being drop safe, but a handgun should always be assumed that it is not drop safe as a precaution. Rigidity, especially in kydex holsters, helps keep the gun in place and helps with drawing the pistol. A floppy kydex holster indicates a poor heat treatment of the material.
Wallet holsters and pocket carry are generally brought up when subcompact firearms are mentioned. These are options, especially for those who have trouble with inside the waistband carry (IWB) so a pocket holster for a Bodyguard .380 with a laser is not out of the question. They are not the best holsters, as a lot of them are some form of nylon holster which are best avoided. Wallet and pocket holsters are generally designed to disrupt the look of the pistol in the pocket as well, so how well they do that has to be considered.
The 3 Best Holsters for Bodyguard 380
Now we will look into holster options on the market, favoring IWB centric holsters for the 380.
This holster option is made from Boltaron for better durability. Recessed areas in the holster make for an easier draw that does not catch on things like the slide release and manual safety. The clip attachment is a concern but most smaller pistol holsters do not seem to feature loops, it should be kept in mind.
This holster can fit on belts up to 1.5” wide. The company 100% guarantees satisfaction and they and their product have many positive reviews. It also features adjustable cant and retention pressure and good trigger coverage. Remember to specify hand orientation when ordering (right hand or left had oriented, the holster is not ambidexterously designed). Also keep in mind that this holster does not accommodate the laser model.
This holster is designed for the laser model of Bodyguard .380. This holster is made out of kydex and provides a quality amount of trigger coverage. This model also features a belt clip and a lifetime warranty on the product. It uses Philip's head screws so no specialized tools are required for adjusting the cant or retention. The holster has a full length sweat guard which is great for those hot days. This will also fit non laser models of Bodyguard.
This Bodyguard .380 holster wallet is custom made for each firearm. This means you will have to have a lead time when ordering from this manufacturer. Since they are custom you can get various preferences for your holster to ensure that the trigger guard is properly covered, etc. Since it is a leather holster more care is required to maintain the holster, compared to kydex and other materials.
This holster creates another option for carry as it can be put into various pockets. Its dimensions are 4 1/2” by 5 1/2” on its back panel, so any pocket that can fit something of this size will fit this holster. Coats, pants, and bags become a holder of a backup pistol or copy of your primary pistol. Available in black or brown.
The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is a very compact pistol and a viable option if someone prefers to have a different brand than Glock or Sig Saur. The recommended price for these types of pistols falls into trade-in pistol range, meaning it can be about $50 to around $100 less than other carry options. This is off set by the price of ammunition. If you don't mind spending a large amount of money on training ammunition and getting less, .380 ACP is not a hindrance. 9mm offers more options and at a lower cost, but with slightly more recoil.
The Bodyguard is a great state compliance pistol and backup gun as its limited magazine capacity complies with most restrictions and small size makes it convenient for concealment. It is recommended at least one spare magazine is carried with it as six to seven rounds are at the low end for the minimum amount of capacity from a defensive stand point. Proper magazine pouches are also recommended, please avoid nylon or stretchy magazine holders. Ensure that the ends of the magazine, the area where the bullets are extracted from, are covered to help avoid magazine malfunctions.
You should also research quality .380 ACP ammunition manufacturers and what types of defensive loads they have available. Use ball ammunition for training and hollow points for defense, trying them out to see how the pistol cycles them (please try more than just a magazines full of rounds), and most importantly get training and practice with your chosen firearm.
Hopefully this article has helped with your choice of defensive firearms and answered some of the questions you may have had and given you an idea of some of the best IWB holsters for the Bodyguard .380 for concealed carry.