I Carry: S&W M&P Bodyguard 380 in a DeSantis Holster

posted on June 14, 2019

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 380 carried in a DeSantis holster. We also have a VZ Grips knife, a Surefire flashlight and OC spray from POM Industries.

Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Crimson Trace (MSRP: $499)

If you’ve ever looked in your gun safe in the middle of July and thought your daily carry gun was too heavy/hot/whatever to strap on that day, don’t just give up and go without. There are options like the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 that might not be the optimal gun to carry, but are significantly better than harsh language.

Weighing in at 12.3 ounces unloaded, the Bodyguard 380 has an overall length of 5.3 inches and a 2.75-inch barrel. Capacity is 6+1 rounds, and the pistol is double-action-only hammer-fired with second-strike capability. The Crimson Trace laser is activated via a pushbutton on the side of the polymer frame, and can be adjusted without disassembling the pistol. I find the Bodyguard 380 fits nicely in a pocket holster, and is small and light enough to carry in the back pocket of a pair of jeans as a backup.

The front and rear sights, usually vestigial little nubs on guns this small, are actually real, useful sights. There are glare-reducing serrations that help keep reflected light to a minimum, and the sights are tall enough to give a moderately decent sight picture without hanging up on the draw. The trigger is, well, there’s no getting around it, long and heavy—but that’s to be expected from a little gun you keep in a pocket.

DeSantis Superfly (MSRP: $41.99)

When it comes to pocket holsters, there are two critical things the holster must do: it must completely cover the triggerguard, and it must present the proper angle for a quick, correct grip. The DeSantis Superfly accomplishes the first with full nylon construction that completely covers the triggerguard. The grippy material on the outside of the Superfly not only orients it correctly in the pocket, but also helps keep the holster anchored so it doesn’t come flying out on the draw. In addition, the hook-and-loop attached outer flap is reversible and helps break up the outline of the pistol.

SureFire Sidekick (MSRP: $29.99)

300 lumens isn’t exactly blinding these days, but when it comes in a package a small and portable as the SureFire Sidekick, it’s pretty darn impressive. Three settings are available at the push of a button, and it starts on low setting for 5 lumens for low-light navigation, while medium brings a respectable 60 lumens. Best of all, the Sidekick recharges via a standard micro-USB charging cable. All this in a package that’s barely the size of a car’s key fob that weighs in at two ounces. That’s a lot of light for thirty bucks.

VZ Grips VZ Discrete Dagger (MSRP: $70)

Constructed entirely of the same nigh-invulnerable G10 as the company’s tough-yet-attractive handgun stocks, the new VZ Grips Discrete Dagger offers a dedicated fighting tool that’s pretty much weatherproof. With a checkered handle to stay anchored in the hand regardless of how sweaty you might be, in addition to a weight under one ounce, this is a defensive tool ideal for hot weather use.

One note, though: this is a dedicated defensive tool, and as such, it’s a good idea to seek dedicated training. Check out trainers who specialize in knife techniques such as Steve Tarani or Craig Douglas of ShivWorks for the most-effective ways to employ a tool like the Discrete Dagger.

POM Industries OC Spray (MSRP: $12.95)

Recommended to Shooting Illustrated by John Correia of Active Self Protection, who extensively tested this spray, is a new-to-us manufacturer of OC spray, POM Industries. POM approached the less-than-lethal game with an improved trigger mechanism (covered by three separate patents) and an eye toward curb appeal. Rather than simple “tactical” black, the POM OC spray comes in numerous main color options with a middle band of varying colors to match, well, whatever you feel like matching. The spray itself is 1.4 percent capsaicinoids, with twelve seconds total activation. Assuming half-second bursts, this yields up to 25 sprays.

Carrying a less-than-lethal option such as pepper spray gives another tool in the toolbox for dealing with potential threats—particularly where lethal force might not yet be justified. It can also provide a self-defense option where a firearm may not be allowed. As always, check with your state and local laws, and ideally take a course or two in the care and handling of OC sprays. Know the limitations of the tool you’re using, as well as the most-effective methods to get those tools in action when needed.


RCBS Chargemaster Supreme
RCBS Chargemaster Supreme

High-Tech Handloading

I now keep all my ammunition-creation data on a computer. Sure, I’ll make notes when working up a new load or tweaking an existing one, but ultimately my data is stored digitally. Since my loading room is only steps from my computer, the transition from written to digital data has been easy for me. Now that I’m using the handloading app from RCBS, it’s even easier, and it also makes recreating my favorite loads when I’m at the loading bench more convenient.

First Look: 1791 Gunleather Holsters for S&W CSX Pistols

New holsters for the nifty little pistol from Smith & Wesson.

First Look: XS Night Sights for SA XD OSP and Tisas PX-9

Two new front and rear sight sets featuring some of XS Sights most popular designs.

Concealed-Carry Contemplations

You took a concealed-carry class from a well-known instructor who visited your local range recently. You learned a lot—especially that there was a lot yet to learn—over the two days of the course.

What We Plan For

Sheriff Jim reminds us that wishing and hopeful thinking should not be part of your self-defense plan.

First Look: GiantMouse ACE Nazca Knives

A folding knife with south of the border style.


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