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I Carry: S&W M&P Bodyguard in a Mitch Rosen Ankle Holster

Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard revolver and carried in a Mitch Rosen holster. We also have a Coast Products flashlight, a SOG knife and Federal Premium HST ammunition.

Pistol: Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 (MSRP: $539)

We’ve covered Smith & Wesson’s M&P Bodyguard 38 previously, and are bringing it back because the small-frame, five-shot revolver is a popular choice for a backup pistol. A revolver’s ease of operation, coupled with Smith & Wesson reliability, make the M&P Bodyguard 38 a natural choice as a “New York Reload.”

While there are some subtle differences in the M&P Bodyguard 38 and Smith’s J-frame revolver line, the general lines are quite similar and the operation is identical. It’s still an enclosed-hammer, double-action-only revolver that carries five rounds and is rated for plus-P 38 Special. While the low round count puts the small revolver at a slight disadvantage to the single-stack semi-auto, it’s far less of an issue when relegated to backup duty.

And, that’s why we’ve gone with a revolver. If you’re planning for the absolute worst-case, everything that can go wrong has gone wrong scenario, the reliability of a good wheelgun is worth its weight in, well, titanium. The small revolver has proven itself over decades of use with law enforcement and the concealed-carrier, and Smith & Wesson’s M&P Bodyguard 38 continues that heritage with modern upgrades like a Crimson Trace laser and top-mounted cylinder release that makes it truly ambidextrous in operation.

Holster: Mitch Rosen Duncan’s Ankle (MSRP: $175)

Since we’re considering that the intended purpose here is as a backup, ankle carry is definitely prominent in this role. Mitch Rosen’s “Duncan’s Ankle” holster provides a sturdy leg band with padded reinforcement at the formed-leather holster and a healthy chunk of hook-and-loop to secure the rig to your ankle. Retention is accomplished via a dense elastic strap and is intended as “pull-through” rather than thumb break, eliminating a step in the draw.

Ankle carry is generally viewed as best left for backup guns, and I can’t fault that thinking. It is slower to draw than inside the waistband and requires small firearms, which isn’t a factor if you’re planning around a more-accessible primary. The major advantage to ankle carry is the concealability—it’s pretty much invisible to anyone that isn’t specifically looking for it.

Ammunition: Federal Premium Micro HST (MSRP: $29.95)

When choosing a small firearm with a short barrel for concealed carry, your choice of ammunition is more important than with a full-size firearm. Shorter barrels mean less velocity, and ammunition designed for expansion at a certain velocity may not achieve full potential. Federal’s HST .38 Special +P is designed with low-flash propellants, proven HST bullet design and deep bullet seating to ensure consistent powder burn rates and peak performance.

Knife: SOG Escape FL (MSRP: $21.95)

Solid knives at great prices seem to be consistent in the SOG lineup, and the Escape FL is no exception. With a three and a half inch, bead-blasted 8CR13MOV steel blade, frame lock and reversible pocket clip the Escape is easy to carry and use everyday. The sheepsfoot profile is unconventional, to be sure, but will work just fine for any defensive measures needed. And it’s best at opening boxes and cutting rope, which is, let’s face it, what you’ll be using your pocketknife for 99.999 (repeating of course) percent of the time.

Light: Coast Products HP7 (MSRP: $45)

The last item on our backup EDC list is the new-for-2019 Coast Products HP7 flashlight. Featuring three light intensity settings and the ability to quickly cycle between floodlight and spotlight, this affordable light runs on common triple A batteries. From a respectable 60 lumens on low setting to 410 lumens on high, the HP7 can run up to 12 hours on 4 AAA batteries. There’s a lanyard loop that doubles as an anti-roll stop (seriously, how often does that nice, round flashlight roll right off the nightstand?) and a molded tailcap switch, all in a light that comes in under 50 bucks MSRP. Sure, it’s a little big for a pocket, but it really is easy to hold onto.

Be sure to visit shootingillustrated.com for more information on the products above and for other EDC combinations.

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