One of the many cool things about the Clackamas County Public Safety Training Center is their armory. If you have a firearm, you can rent a firearm for the purposes of “try before buy,” and today I took three different .380 ACP pistols for a test drive at the range.
First up was the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard which is a very, very small pistol. Designed for discreet concealment, the Bodyguard would probably be suitable for pocket carry with a proper holster.
I think I have “normal” sized hands, and it was a bit of a challenge to get what I thought was a proper grip on this pistol. The trigger has a very long pull, which is part of the design for a deep carry weapon, although I had an imaginary music box playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” while firing.
The sights are almost nonexistent, but again this is intended to be a deep carry, close quarters weapon, and I was able to get reasonable groups at 5 yards.
Next I tried the Ruger LCP, not the LCP II, but the OG LCP. It has a similar user experience as the Bodyguard, being a tiny pocket-carry gun. I preferred the trigger of the LCP over that of the Bodyguard. No windup toy tunes while pressing the trigger here. And while the sights on the LCP were basically nonexistent (point and shoot, yeah?), again I was able to get 3"-ish groups at 5 yards.
The Glock G42 is easily the largest of the three .380’s that I tried. You can see the comparison between it and the Bodyguard here. I’m going to guess that there are pockets large enough to accommodate a G42 in a suitable holster, but those pockets are going to be larger than those that hold the Bodyguard or the LCP.
On the other hand, the G42 is a more comfortable gun to grip, point, and shoot. As much pooh-poohing the Glock trigger gets, I definitely preferred it to those of the LCP and the Bodyguard. I’d say I had the most fun shooting the G42, which also got very good groups at 5 yards. Oh, and the stock Glock sights also get their share of disdain from some folks, but they’re definitely preferred to the “point, pray, and press” of the other two 380’s.
With all that said, I’m kind of sticking with 9mm’s for the sake of minimizing the variety of ammunition I have to stock, so while that would rule out any of these .380’s for now, I did enjoy taking them all for a spin.