Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Revolver

This is a discussion on Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Revolver within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Does anyone own one of these revolvers and what is your opinion about it? Thanx...

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Thread: Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Revolver

  1. #1
    Member Array kelsey's Avatar
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    Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Revolver

    Does anyone own one of these revolvers and what is your opinion about it? Thanx

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    they are fine , get an action tune , find grips that fit your hand and you wont find a more reliable handgun to carry .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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    Yep, I carry one. It is good. Trigger is stiff out of the box. So far a good gun. In the search link at the top of the page plug in S&W 642 and you will find plenty of reading on the 642. Most of the time it comes up in other topic threads.
    Procrastinators are the leaders of tomorrow.

  5. #4
    Member Array jimbthestripper's Avatar
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    I live near S&W, bout 1 hour drive. Anyway i went to their range
    in March and shot about 7 guns. One was the 642. Nice gun
    but i prefer a Model 60. Its my CCW. the 642 was a little to
    light for me. The model 60 is a little heavier but i think its a bet steadier.

    YMMV,

    JimB

  6. #5
    Member Array HighVelocity's Avatar
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    The 642 is a great gun. I had one for a while but replaced it with a 340PD. The 340 is even lighter and is chambered for 357mag. It's not for everyone though as it's about the fiestiest J frame of all time.

  7. #6
    Member Array badgerw's Avatar
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    I recently added a 642 to my personal armory.

    I bought it mostly to be a back-up gun to my primary gun, a Kimber Ultra Carry in .45ACP.

    I like the snag-free design. It is great for pocket carry.

    I've spent enough time and ammo at the range with it to be confident with it as a backup. Inside 25 feet, I think I can amke it do the job. Beyond that, I feel iffy.

    I've taken the time (mostly thru dry firing) to master the longer, heavier trigger pull. I can manage fairly precise shots, but I can't deliver them under time pressure.

    The stock grips fit my small hands. See the photo below to understand my hand size. That's all of my fingers easily fitting on the short grip of my Kimber Ultra.



    The only things I'm considering changing are an XO Systems Big Dot tritium front sight and Crimson Trace LG-405 laser grips.

    Bill

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    My wife carries a 642 with Crimson Trace grips; it's a great little package. Just today, I grabbed it and dropped it into the pocket holster to run out to the store. By the way, I strongly recommend Bob Mika's pocket holsters, a great product for $16...see http://www.frontiernet.net/~akim/

    Yes, the trigger is as as stiff as they come, but we've left it stock so far.

  9. #8
    Member Array M1911's Avatar
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    It's light enough for pocket carry. The rear sight is just a shallow gutter in the top strap. The front sight is relatively low profile, but a dab of orange paint will help that. The long DA trigger and the tiny sights make it very, very hard for me to shoot accurately.

    What's worse for me is that I don't practice with it much. I find it hurts when I shoot it -- the trigger guard smacks my trigger finger. Ouch. As a result, I seldom carry it. I'm much better with my Kahr MK9, though that is a good bit heavier. I have absolutely no desire to shoot one of the super lightweight .357 -- that's just turning money into recoil, IMHO.

    It will need a trigger job out of the box. Any decent gunsmith can do it for you relatively cheaply.

  10. #9
    Member Array Jaltered's Avatar
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    Reliable little gun. Fits almost anywhere. However...

    - It requires much practice to become accurate with it.
    - You are limited to 5 shots in the gun.
    - It kicks a quite a bit. (My hands were tired of it after half a box of ammo, and shooting the heavier grain rounds, I could barely tolerate more than 10 shots.)

    A great little gun for some, but try before you buy if you can.
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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    I have a similar S&W, a 638. Same action. Out of the box I was less than happy with the trigger but now I've put around 500 rounds through it and it's either smoother or I'm getting better with it! It does take some practice to get used to. I've still got the stock grips and they require a firm grip, especially with +P loads to get quick follow ups with any accuracy. I feel pretty good with rapid fire out to 30 feet and with slower fire out to 50 but it sure ain't no 1911! The trouble is it just carries so darn well. I keep mine stoked with Speer Gold Dot +P 135gr short barrel loads.
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    Member Array LibertyGal's Avatar
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    I bought mine with a factory-installed Crimson Trace laser, which IMO makes it a "can't miss". The laser is well worth the extra $$, either factory-installed or bought separately at http://www.crimsontrace.com. I practice without the laser also, but have found that using the laser actually improves my sights-only aim.

    The grips I got are the longer rubber boot type, which accomplish 3 things: they add length & width (my hands are somewhat large), making a more comfortable grip; they make for a more secure grip because of the rubber (when when your hands are damp or sweaty); and they absorb the recoil somewhat.

    My carry ammo is a low-recoil hollowpoint (Federal "Personal Defense" 110-gr Hydra-Shoks). Practice ammo 130gr FMJ round-nose - I am experimenting a little with whatever's on sale, but have found that it doesn't like semi-wadcutters too much.

    It does have a snappy recoil, but not bad; and as I said, the rubber grips absorb the shock somewhat. When I first shot it, my hand would be sore after 25 rounds, but now I can exceed 100-150 with no problems . The laser makes for very fast target re-acquisition.

    The trigger is a little stiff out of the box, but loosens up with use & dry-firing - I guess I could get a smith to lighten it a little. I don't worry too much about it - in a defense situation, I doubt I would notice it, I would just put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.

    With a concealed hammer, you don't have to worry about snags or lint. The gun is very concealable and lightweight - it just disappears. I don't even notice I'm carrying any more. In fact, a couple times when I was out, I suddenly thought, "Oh! I forgot my gun!" but when I checked, it was right there where it always is.

    Yeah, it's "only" 5 shots - I carry a couple speedloaders and a little .25 BUG - but 5 shots oughta do the job for most any personal defense situation.

    LibertyGal
    Requiring a license makes it illegal to do something that was lawful before the license was required.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    My wife carries one. I had one also, but she "stole it" -- as she wanted two identical guns so she could carry one and have one around the house. I find them a bit hard to shoot well, as the trigger is long and heavy. But, my wife shoots them quite a bit and she's very good with them. Must be practice and technique!
    As ELCruisr said, they sure do carry well.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array jhh3rd's Avatar
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    I have a nickle plated 442 which is essentially the same gun. Very good choices for concealed carry, car console,etc.

  15. #14
    Member Array kelsey's Avatar
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    Thank You everyone for your input.

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    Member Array Seabee's Avatar
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    I just picked one up a few weeks ago and blew through about 25 rounds on the first range trip and 25 more on the second. Great little gun. First five rounds I fired were dead on at 10 yards. Long heavy trigger pull. My shooting partner (my 11 year old daughter) cant pull the trigger on it (she has no problem on my other DA/SA triggers) so that should tell you something. All in all, I'm VERY happy with this little gun. I was shooting Remington Half JHP in +P loads and it did not kick that much.

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