S&W performance center 642 centennial airweight range report

S&W performance center 642 centennial airweight range report

This is a discussion on S&W performance center 642 centennial airweight range report within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Thanks everyone who posted on my thread about .38 snubbie accuracy. Helped me make up my mind that I really did want one. Several people ...

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Thread: S&W performance center 642 centennial airweight range report

  1. #1
    Member Array red13's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Albuquerque, NM

    S&W performance center 642 centennial airweight range report

    Thanks everyone who posted on my thread about .38 snubbie accuracy. Helped me make up my mind that I really did want one. Several people had indicated that accuracy with these things is more a question of practice than anything else, and I'm certainly one to practice.

    So Davidson's had this S&W performance-center 642 centennial airweight on sale, ($409, $453 out the door after tax and transfer) and I had looked at one in a store recently, and the trigger had felt kind of heavy. They said this one had the performance center trigger job, which includes mirror polishing the internals and lightening the spring.

    A woman next to me at the range had an LCR and we swapped at one point. She thought the airweight had less felt recoil and a smoother trigger than her LCR and I pretty much agree. LCR seems to have a strange kind of abrupt change in the pull towards the end which I don't like, I think I read somewhere that they use a cam to smooth it out, but I didn't really like it.

    PM9 being my primary gun, I didn't find .38 special 130 grain Winchester to feel much different. Buffalo Bore 158 grain +p semiwadcutters were another story. It was more or less like my first time shooting .40, it felt like being smacked in the palm with a hammer every time. That said, I'm really used to .40 now, and it feels fine. I imagine I'll feel the same about +p after a bit. There's a lot of psychology to the felt recoil thing.

    Accuracy was great. Even though the sights are minimal, they are usable (at least in bright light) and at 10 yards was to point of aim and felt perfectly natural to me. My second cylinder I got a 3" group of 4 out of 5 at ten yards, with the 5th one off to the side a bit. It was somewhere in that neighborhood for the rest, 3 to 5 inch groups, except when I was losing mental focus.

    I would like to put some better sights on it at some point, any tips on what and where?

    Here's some pics, the gun all grimy after the first day at the range, and the 2nd group mentioned above.

    S&W performance center 642 centennial airweight range report-sw642.jpgS&W performance center 642 centennial airweight range report-642trgt.jpg

    bottom line? LOVE this gun.
    Anybody can get scared, but you must absolutely not let that affect your behavior. Cowardice kills. -Jeff Cooper

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array bunker's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    You will love to carry it also! Congrats on a great decision, hopr it serves you well. I recently purchaed an OWB brown leather holster from Hays Holster, who is a sponser on this page. I actually purchased two of them, and they are beautiful! Check them out, i dont think you will be dissapointed. bunker
    "6 P's of self defense "
    Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

  3. #3
    Member Array LoadedPipes's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    East Coast USA
    Great choice and nice range report you'll get a lot of use out of that snubby.

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  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Diddle's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Central Kentucky
    Fine revolver to own. I have the 442 and really like it. Money well spent!

    Indusrtrial Machine Tool Technician - Certified Refrigeration Technician - CET
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  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Costa Rica
    Great choice and fantastic firearm!!! Here's a picture of his evil twin brother!!!

    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

  7. #6
    GM is offline
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    Aug 2009
    Glad you like it. Congrats and enjoy!
    "The Second Amendment: America's Original Homeland Security"

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Under an old Volkswagen somewhere in Florida
    Welcome to the snub club. You will come to appreciate and enjoy it. Mastering the snubbie is a skill and an art. By mastering I mean shooting, carrying in various methods, and reloading via speed loader and speed strips. Hayes Holsters (Jeff Hayes) on this site makes a speed loader dump pouch carrier that you carry on your belt that works great. The firearm you've purchased is arguably the most versatile carry gun available with regard to methods of carry. I often carry my 442 in my weak side pocket as a secondary access to my SP101 on my strong side (or whatever else I'm carrying). In the winter, it is also good to carry inside your coat pocket. You can walk through parking lots with your hand on your gun ready to fire and still be concealed. If need be, you can fire from within the coat pocket since it had no hammer and no slide, etc. IWB, OWB, SOB, ankle, pocket, coat pocket, fire from within pocket, shorts, jogging pants, lounge pants....it is about as versatile as it gets. Congrats...you're gonna love it.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
    No Guns, No Safety, No Peace.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array MichSteve's Avatar
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    May 2010
    I too have the PM9 and 642, the double action on both guns make easy transition. The clip draw on the right side of the 642 in my signature is a great way to carry AIWB.

  10. #9
    Member Array Eldon Hickey's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Bethpage, TN
    Good choice! I have 8 different snubbies--smiths, a couple of colts and an LCR. The 642 is my choice for everyday carry. Check out the Michael Bethancourt videos on youtube....he's the snubbie guru.

  11. #10
    Member Array crabbys44's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Austin, TX
    "I would like to put some better sights on it at some point, any tips on what and where?"

    On my S&W revolvers the front sight is pinned in place.

    I bought a narrower front sight in all black to replace the stainless one with the red insert.

    I've also seen people mount a trijicon front sight on their revolvers.
    Courage is endurance for one moment more…

    Hollowpoints might expand, but bullets won't shrink.

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  12. #11
    Member Array Ivan's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Lancaster, PA
    Congrats on a great gun. You might want to check out Buffalo Bore's Standard Pressure .38 load. That is what they recommend for lighter guns like the 642. Still plenty powerful. As far as sights - the front sight on a 642 is fixed so your best option to upgrade might be a laser sight. I have a Crimson Trace LG-405 on my 638 and it does a nice job absorbing some recoil because of the pocket on the backstrap and it makes a difference for me in terms of accuracy when shooting.

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