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11/20/2019 5:07:11 PM
Posted: 10/31/2009 6:39:34 AM EST
Got the concealed .38 bug again, but don't know much about 'em. I had a model 60 wit hammer before but sold it years ago. From reading various forums, the 442/642s seem highly regarded, but then I see posts about M&P revolvers, airweights, etc. Soooooo I'm open to sugggestions, opinions, comments. And, most importantly, who has various models in stock for in-hand comparisons? Thx!
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:49:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 6:50:31 AM EST by Bed_Head]
You're welcome to try out my 642 if you'd like, chiz. I love it. We picked it up from BRA a few years ago.


It's very easy to conceal, and I really love the hammerless design. Yes, it has some impressive recoil when loaded with the +P loads, but nothing that can't be handled. The only downside is that when I go shooting, if I put 50+ rounds through it before I shoot anything else, I notice that my hands feel pretty wasted. I need to start shooting it last when I go out.



eta: Also, the capt and I both have it on our permits, and I've found that many times HE likes to carry it as a pocket gun too, because it's just so convenient.


I've posted these pics in the Women's Forum a few times.....



Link Posted: 10/31/2009 7:55:10 AM EST
Stop by HDI. I'll bring my 442.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:18:31 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:48:04 AM EST
The 642 would have been my first choice, but I traded into a 637 and just bobbed the hammer for the same results. Fast out of a pocket and a dream to carry. Not my favorite to shoot, but it gets the job done and is what I rely on most often. Jframes rule!!!
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 9:53:38 AM EST
Very happy with my 642. Easy to appendix carry and conceals there quite well. Also very light so it is comfortable for all day carry in an ankle rig. With the modern .38 +P loads designed for the short barrel it has decent potency. Learn to work the trigger and it is very accurate too.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 10:28:50 AM EST
The three main choices for smith are

1. 642/442/637

2. M&P 340/360

3. 340/360PD

If you never want to shoot 357 pick something from one. They are the cheapest,lightest, and most common guns made.

If you think you want a 357 then we go to #2 or #3. I think the M&P series is a better value. A little cheaper and has a front night sight. The main difference is the M&P's have a stainless cylinder(blacked out) and the PD's are all alloy so they are a few ounces lighter but cost more and have a red ramp or hiviz front sight.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 12:46:09 PM EST
Ive got one of the scandium alloy ones. Its a S & W 342 PD. I love it. Its all black and light as hell. It carries like your not carrying anything at all. It makes a great 2nd gun. For me its a lil light for a gun to carry if you are goin into harms way...but as a second it fits the bill nicely. I originally was looking for the same gun in 357 but ended up with this one cause I got a steal of a deal on it.
IF I were to do it again Id try to get the scandium version in 357 with the night site. It only weighs one ounce more, and you can load with 357 if you need a lil more uummph.
As for shooting either of those. Its going to suck. They are so light you take all that recoil. If your looking for a carry gun...they are fine. IF your looking for something to shoot a bunch...get something with more weight. Thats my 2 cents. Hope it helps.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 1:12:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 1:15:38 PM EST by chiz45]
Thanks for the replies, it seems more practical to get the 357 but I wonder how often I would shoot 357 rather than 38+Ps. Is there a noticable size difference between 38 and 357 revolvers? Also, what about barrel lengths? When I saw "1 7/8" I was puzzled, thinking how could that be effective

BH, I would carry it just like that or pocket. That thing disappears!
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 1:22:19 PM EST
Honestly, I would bet the answer to "how often would you shoot .357?" is ONCE. .38 + ps are are downright unpleasant to shoot in those little airweights with tiny grips, full power magnums would be unmerciful.

Personally, I say go .38 and dont look back.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 1:32:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 1:33:21 PM EST by Bed_Head]

Originally Posted By chiz45:
Thanks for the replies, it seems more practical to get the 357 but I wonder how often I would shoot 357 rather than 38+Ps. Is there a noticable size difference between 38 and 357 revolvers? Also, what about barrel lengths? When I saw "1 7/8" I was puzzled, thinking how could that be effective

BH, I would carry it just like that or pocket. That thing disappears!

I haven't gotten to, but the capt shot the little Scandium(?, Titanium?) S&W .357, as well as my .38+P. He said the .357 is no fun to shoot at all. He says to tell you it was "vicious" in its recoil- much, much worse than the .38, even with +P. I notice a difference between the regular .38 loads vs. the +P loads as it is. I practice with the target loads, and keep it (and my speed loads) filled with +P for defense.

FWIW, the little thing is surprisingly accurate for having such a short barrel. It's definitely meant for shorter distances, of course. But the capt (he is a little better shot than I am ) can hit cans at 20-25 yards with it. I'm better off with water jugs at that distance, myself.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:03:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 3:04:05 PM EST by acidman]
I carry a 642 daily. The downside is the limited ammo capacity and the poor sights. But, it will ALWAYS fit my clothing choice, thus it always goes with me.

This gun is made for one thing and that is close threats to your health.

Am I more accurate with a glock 30...yes. But once again everything is a trade off. The 642 fits every time, either pocket or belt carry.

If 38+p is not enough for 5 foot close range encounters then I guess I will pull out my knife.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:18:53 PM EST
I pocket carry a Taurus 85 loaded with some 125gr .38spl +P Agency rounds that Gunmonkey gave to me backed up by three speed strips full of 125gr Hornady XTPs handloaded to +P spec.

With the Hogue grips installed and riding in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster, I don't really notice the thing's there most of the time. I keep the speed strips in a cell phone case I scored at Dollar Tree.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:33:52 PM EST
642 w/130gr GDs. IMO, 357 is a waste in snubs. More bark than bite.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 3:59:03 PM EST
I shot Bed_Head's 642 a while back and I liked it. Not crazy about revolvers but not much experience with them. I thought about getting one to conceal as, like you all said, it disappers. Maybe later I will get one . Gotta get back into the momentum of shooting again..It's been a while but I could still make the shot when I need to...
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 4:48:01 PM EST
Sorry boys and girls but, I gotta do it. Screw S&W, get a Ruger SP-101.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 4:55:56 PM EST
No comparison. 26 ounce 5 shot Ruger vs. 15 ounce 642. I don't know about Chiz but if I'm shopping for a snubby, I want it small.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 5:04:08 PM EST
The Ruger LCR is pretty nice. I handled one, totally lightweight, nice double-action only pull, concealed hammer. I'd consider buying one used, as there's still no way I'd ever get caught giving my money to the Ruger company. I don't care how much they've "cleaned up" their act in recent years, they've still got a lot of good will to spend if they want to get themselves out of that singularity of ill-will much of the firearms community still feels toward them.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 5:16:24 PM EST
Its all relative. I find that carrying an airweight j frame can be done in outfit short of my porno wardrobe. Seriously, in my lightweight Adidas gym pants in a cheapie Uncle mike's, the pocket of my swim trunks (who else was CCW at the Rehab casting call?) and especially in an ankle rig or front pocket, it really does fit everywhere. A steel frame gun does not work that well for me, but it may well for you. The SP101 is a great gun and will serve you well, but I cant comfortably carry it in all the situations I take the 637.

And FairlyLaidBack, those are 158 gr +p lswc "treasury" or FBI loads.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:16:03 PM EST
Currently I alternate between a P32 for suits, PM9 for intermediate clothing, and G19 whenever I can get away with it. I don't need the 442/642 but when has it ever been about 'need' ;) weight is definitely a factor, and I'm looking for a supermarket pocket gun.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 10:34:45 PM EST
I carry a pre-lock 342Ti AirLite Titanium (.38spl +P) in a Mika pocket holster and a 642-1 no-lock (new manufacture) Airweight Centennial in a renegade ankle holster. I forget it's even there it's so comfortable. I can see the renegade working well with dress pants.

Loads of info at The Snubnose Files.

Shooting +P Speer Gold Dot 135 gr through my 342 is not bad. The stock hogue rubber grips are the key and absorb alot of the explosive recoil transferred to your hand. I've read that shooting .357 through a snubnose is very painful and most don't recommend it.

The M&P 340 is the .357 / .38 spl j-frame you are referring to I believe. They come with a lock, but there may be pre-lock versions for sale on gunbroker. It's a PD I believe - personal defense - comes with the red ramp front sight and black finish. I got my pre-lock 342Ti in the stock silver finish and sent it to s&w for their PD black refinish. Much better now and they did a great job. If you didn't know, S&W has the best customer service in the business, bar none.



Read up on the s&w internal lock ( IL ) also. Smith says there is nothing wrong with the lock, but recently they started making a few revolvers without it - such as the 642-1 and 442. No difference between the 442 and 642 except for the black and silver finishes respectively. The only reason I got the 642 was it was released first - the 442 no-locks came out months later. I would prefer the black finish but I like my 642. I tried a few grips but came back to the stock s&w uncle mike's boot grips that it came with. Hard rubber, it absorbs some recoil. Tried some nice ebony wood Eagle secret service grips - very nice but no recoil absorbtion at all. They came off right away. Read the snubnose files grip article.

If you'd like to shoot a 342Ti or 642 you are more than welcome anytime.

For carry ammo, read this: BUG's: .380 ACP vs. .38 Sp, m4carbine.net, Industry Professional DocGKR

I'm considering switching the +P to the semi-wadcutter loads that Dr. Roberts recommends.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 10:36:30 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 10:53:29 PM EST by f2]
oh and the 342 is so much lighter than the 642-1. I forget that it's in my pocket also.

edit: more about the IL

There is a thread at smith-wessonforum that documents IL failures. Here's one: S&W Revolver Lock Failure!, Michael Baine blog. Randy Lee mentioned seeing one fail on the line in a forum post. The thing with the IL is it fails in the locked position. J-frames, with it's recoil kick / jump are prone to failures because of that. I don't / won't own a s&w revolver with a lock.

And you probably know the centennials can be fired reliably from a jacket pocket. And, you can have your hand in your front pants pocket, have a final grip on your j-frame with trigger finger straight across the trigger guard ready to draw and no one will be the wiser. Talk about a fast draw.

edit: I'm not talking about a plaxico pocket fuck either
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 6:05:54 AM EST
F2, great articles. Thanks for linking them. The grip article mirrors my own experiences almost exactly. I LOVE Hogue monogrips and have switched to them on every revolver I ever owned EXCEPT the J frame. The 637 still wears the Uncle Mikes Spiegel copy boot grips. They make the gun super concealable and make a pocket draw seamless. I did the hammer bob myself and learned a lot about the IL in the process. I probably should have just pulled it out and thrown the parts in my box o'gun parts crap.
I really believe you cant go wrong with a jframe.On Evan Marshal's Stoppingpower.net site, you will find almost everyone there has a j frame BUG as a second or third gun. Like a bowl of chicken soup, my jframe brings comfort and warms my innards...
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 12:37:11 PM EST
I like the thumb cross over grip when shooting j-frames:

Revolver Grip, Smith & Wesson, PRO TIPS with JERRY MICULEK

( 6th panel down )
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 12:41:50 PM EST

Originally Posted By f2:
I like the thumb cross over grip when shooting j-frames:

Revolver Grip, Smith & Wesson, PRO TIPS with JERRY MICULEK

( 6th panel down )
I've always typically held it like the frame right above that. I'm going to have to try the thumb crossover next time I shoot. Thanks for sharing that.

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:16:36 PM EST
I've always typically held it like the frame right above that. I'm going to have to try the thumb crossover next time I shoot. Thanks for sharing that.



First saw that grip when reading this gun rag article on Sheriff Jack Weaver.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:16:09 PM EST
Looks to be a descent deal.
http://ee.ar15.com/ItemView.aspx?iid=35444
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