The surging popularity of the .380 caliber among concealed carry permit holders has led to an explosion of what has come to be known as the “mini” or pocket market; essentially scaled down replicas of a similar full size weapon.
Although these diminutive cousins may walk the walk, they don’t always talk the talk in terms of accuracy and dependability.
This is not the case with the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380(BG380), but the most interesting feature of the BG380 is the integrated Insight Technologies laser module.
The laser is designed for the same purpose as the gun; short-range self-defense, so it’s not a powerful or well-defined beam beyond a few yards, but definitely effective up close and personal. George Hill describes the benefits of the laser module for the BG380 in his article “M&P Mini-Me: Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Some shooters argue against lasers as unnecessary gadgets. It’s true that a laser isn’t a necessary thing, but any device that gives you any sort of an advantage in target engagement or intimidation is a huge benefit, especially with pocket sized guns.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
The specs on the Smith & Wesson BG380 are fairly standard for the pocket 380s. The overall length is 5.25 inches with a barrel length at 2.75 inches. Height is 4.1 inches and grip girth is a slim .75 inches. The weapon weighs 11.8 ounces empty and 22 ounces loaded. The trigger pull is on the heavy side at 12 pounds.
It was during range testing that the BG380 surpassed most of the other minis. The low relief sights are a nice feature on this gun that significantly increase the odds of the bullet going where you aim it. There were no malfunctions during the field test using CCI Blazer Brass 95 grain JHP rounds and Winchester 95 grain Silvertips.
As far as concealability, the BG380 is a dream carry, as are most of the pocket autos. There is no printing and the light weight allows for all day carry. The .380 cartridge is not going to create a lot of carnage, but the 6 +1 magazine provides plenty of shots to get the job done or at least give you time to make a safe getaway.
Smith & Wesson’s entry into the pocket semi-auto market is a winner. The Bodyguard 380 supplies all the essentials for a concealed carry piece along with a cool built-in laser. It’s reasonably priced around $575.
In the concealed carry world, permit holders are always seeking out the perfect combination of stopping power, weight, and concealability. Carrying a large frame or large caliber handgun isn’t an option, so a series of compromises are generally made based on personal preferences.
Taurus Firearms is trying to change that with a weapon designed to chamber the large caliber .380 ACP round into a light, compact, and concealable firearm.
The 738 TCP is a semi-automatic with a 6+1 magazine weighing in at a mere 10.2 ounces.
Despite its small dimensions, the Taurus 738 TCP handles extremely well under fire.
In his article “Constant Companion: Pocketing the Taurus 738 TCP” at USConcealedCarry.com, author Todd Burgreen explains how the 738 TCP’s design has improved reliability:
“Most handguns of such small dimensions are blowback operated, but the Taurus 738 TCP operates via John Browning’s swinging link design as found in the 1911 and the Hi-Power pistols. Recoil is minimized and reliability is enhanced by using the Browning method.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Additional specs on the Taurus 738 TCP further document its superior degree of concealability. The gun is only 5 inches long, 3 5/8 inches high, and .75 inches thick — a low-printing dream. The barrel is a miniscule 3 1/3 inches long.
Taurus lists the 738 TCP as a single action/double action gun but in reality the trigger pull feels like a double-action. The gun is actually fired via hammer, not striker. Another important feature on this firearm is that if there is a cartridge in the chamber, it can be fired without having the magazine inserted. This can be a potential life-saver in close combat scenarios.
Other features of the 738 TCP that enhance concealed carry capability include a serrated rear portion of the slide for tactile ease in drawing and slide operation, an oversized trigger guard that allows easier access to the trigger from concealment or while wearing gloves, and a loaded chamber indicator that can be assessed by touch while the gun is still pocketed or when entering an area where vision is minimized. Additionally, low-profile sights and rounded “snag” points make drawing effortless.
During range testing, the Taurus 738 TCP performed admirably with no malfunctions. Accuracy was excellent at close range with a variety of ammo and tapered off with distance. The gun fits easily into the palm and handles well with surprisingly little recoil or reduction in accuracy when firing multiple shots.
Overall, the 738 TCP lives up to the concealed carry hype from Taurus. It’s extremely light and extremely powerful for its size. It may turn out to be the ultimate concealed carry firearm and is available in several styles from Taurus including black, stainless, and pink. Pick one up for about $350.