I Carry: Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 Pistol in a N8 Tactical Holster

Today on I Carry we have a Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 pistol in a N8 Tactical holster with a CRKT knife.

posted on May 17, 2024

Firearm: Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 (MSRP: $399)

With the plethora of micro-9 mm double-stack pistols currently available, it gets more and more difficult to advocate for a 7-shot .380 ACP semi-auto when a more powerful, more capacious handgun is available from numerous sources. There are a handful of roles and cases where a small .380 ACP semi-auto might be the right tool for the job, and the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 is one of the exemplary models for such cases.

First off is the size: 5.25 inches long, 4.1 inches tall, .75 inch wide and only 11.9 ounces make the Bodyguard 380 one of the smallest full-featured pistols you can carry. Dovetail-mounted, usable front and rear sights make a difference during range time—no more squinting at the tiny notch and vestigial front sight like with other small pistols. There’s a manual safety, handy to have for a pistol that might be carried in a pocket. Round that out with a loaded chamber indicator and scalloped sections on the rear of the slide for easier manipulation, and it’s clear the Bodyguard is more than just a tiny pistol.

With a six-round magazine, bringing total on-board capability to seven rounds, there’s not a ton of room on the grip to hold onto the pistol, so the magazine comes with an extended baseplate in addition to the flush-fit version. Concealment is pretty much the same with either floorplate, so there’s really no pressing need to keep the flush fit—use the extended and get at least two fingers of the strong hand on the gun. While the capacity is less than that of its micro-9 mm double-stack rivals, the magazines are quite small, making it easy to have a backup or two handy.

The strong suit for the Bodyguard 380 and other micro-380 ACP pistols is deep concealment. Whether it’s tossed into a back pocket, kept in an ankle holster or perfectly hidden under a light T-shirt, the small size and light weight make it a great choice for a backup pistol. It’s also useful as a primary gun when undergoing activities where a larger, heavier pistol would be difficult to conceal. It’s not the perfect carry gun by any stretch of the imagination, but don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If you need a supremely concealable handgun for whatever reason, the Smith &Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 is an excellent option.

Holster: N8 Tactical Mini-Xecutive (MSRP: $34.95)

While, yes, the Bodyguard 380 is definitely the perfect size for pocket carry, its diminutive size also makes it a great option for inside-the-waistband carry. It’s super light, takes up little space on the belt line, and is easy to dress around. We’ve been impressed with N8 Tactical’s Mini-Xecutive line of holsters, and have chosen one for the Bodyguard 380 for today’s kit. It’s a simple, affordable holster that works well, and fits in nicely with our minimalist theme for today’s kit.

Constructed of a single sheet of kydex, the Mini-Xecutive offers screw-adjustable retention and the ability to change cant for appendix-carry or inside-the-waistband applications. Color options, right- or left-handed variants and belt attachment methods are also available to further customize the Mini-Xecutive to your own particular carry style. And, you get all this at a starting price that’s less than a box of defensive ammunition!

Accessory: CRKT CEO Microflipper knife (MSRP: $70)

Rounding out today’s minimalist kit is the Columbia River Knife & Tool Company (CRKT) CEO Microflipper pocketknife. With a 2.4-inch D2 steel, titanium-nitride finished blade and aluminum scales, the CEO Microflipper uses CRKT’s proprietary IKBS ball-bearing pivot to quickly open the blade. As the name implies, that’s accomplished via a small but useful flipper projection on the back of the blade, and a liner lock holds the CEO Microflipper open during use.

With an overall length of 3.25 inches closed and a weight of only 1.7 ounces, the CEO Microflipper can be carried with ease. It’s made even simpler by a low-riding pocket clip that is reversible for left- or right-pocket carry. It’s a sleek, aesthetically pleasing knife that opens and closes easily while taking up minimal real estate in the pocket. If you’re going for a minimalist effect, it’s the perfect complement to the Bodyguard 380 and Mini-Xecutive.


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