Differences in Smith J frames

This is a discussion on Differences in Smith J frames within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm looking at getting a second J frame as a "New York Reload" for this summer. I currently have a 638 which I really like ...

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Thread: Differences in Smith J frames

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    Distinguished Member Array skysoldier29's Avatar
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    Differences in Smith J frames

    I'm looking at getting a second J frame as a "New York Reload" for this summer. I currently have a 638 which I really like to shoot and it is easy to carry. I also have a Ruger LCR which I don't find nearly as easy to carry due to the larger rubber grip. I'm looking to get rid of the LCR and get another J frame, I'm just not sure which one. What are the pros of having a true DAO with a shrouded hammer like the 442 vs the bobbed hammer of the 638?

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    I've got a 442, 49, and 649. Not much difference. I guess the hammer being completely enshrined inside the frame reduces the outside chance of the hammer getting caught on something...although with the design of the 638/49/649 I see that being a million to one chance to begin with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    I've got a 442, 49, and 649. Not much difference. I guess the hammer being completely enshrined inside the frame reduces the outside chance of the hammer getting caught on something...although with the design of the 638/49/649 I see that being a million to one chance to begin with.
    I would be more concerned that the shrouded hammer would get lint buildup over time than hang up a draw. Not sure if this could gum up the works or not. I went with the 640 & 642, both fully enclosed hammers.
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    Wow, I'd think twice about replacing the LCR, I went the other way S&W 642 for the LCR .38 Sp.
    Two reasons, large hands and recoil of the 642. The LCR addressed both problems. If you haven't
    decided already take a pass on the shrouded hammer.

    Is there a Buy & Sell section ? I wouldn't mind having a second one.

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    Distinguished Member Array skysoldier29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybm View Post
    Wow, I'd think twice about replacing the LCR, I went the other way S&W 642 for the LCR .38 Sp.
    Two reasons, large hands and recoil of the 642. The LCR addressed both problems. If you haven't
    decided already take a pass on the shrouded hammer.

    Is there a Buy & Sell section ? I wouldn't mind having a second one.

    I like the Smiths better. I can conceal it better at least the ways I want to conceal it, and I feel less recoil with the J frame then I do the LCR. I think the LCR is a great little revolver, but I think I like the Smith J frames better.

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    The 642 draws smoothing and is nearly impossible to bind. I've handle the 638 (which is call the "humpback"), and it was not for me (really, it was cosmetic, I don't like the look of them). While the ability to shoot SA is nice, I realized that I would likely never have that option if I had to use my revolver to defend myself. And because my airweight j-frame is often in a pocket holster instead of an OWB/IWB holster, I thought it best to get one that I would not have to disassemble every year to do a lint check.

    I don't think you would go wrong with the shrouded hammer; but I would not get a 637 (exposed hammer) for pocket carry...so, bottom line, if it's between the 638 and 442/642, which do you like best? Only with the 638 I'd take the side plate off every year or so to make sure it's not "linted up" but that's not a big deal.

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    Member Array southchatham's Avatar
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    You should try the lcr boot grips first. They are much smaller. 642, 442, or 638 is just personal preference.

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    I carry two different j frames in pocket holsters, a 36 and a 60. Both have the traditional hammers in tact. I cant pull a gun from my pocket with my thumb wrapped around the grip. I always automatically pull the gun with my thumb riding along the back of the gun, up over the hammer, to make for a smooth, (fat hand snag free), retrieval from the pocket. This effectively simulates a "hammer-less" j frame for me and is easier to remove than if my thumb was wrapped around the grip of a true hammer-less model.
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    I like the completely internalized hammer on the 442/642 for pocket carry. Nothing to snag on the draw, and nothing to collect lint.
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    Distinguished Member Array Brady's Avatar
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    The LCR would be great IF someone would make a "J-frame" type grip for it. I can't figure out noone does. Is till pocket carry it in certain pants with large pockets but it could be a little easier.

    Any of the S&W's will do, there's not that much maintenance required. I have no problem drawer a hammered J-frame.
    Last edited by Brady; December 22nd, 2012 at 11:37 AM. Reason: totally forget the smiths
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    Member Array southchatham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady View Post
    The LCR would be great IF someone would make a "J-frame" type grip for it. I can't figure out noone does. Is till pocket carry it in certain pants with large pockets but it could be a little easier.

    Any of the S&W's will do, there's not that much maintenance required. I have no problem drawer a hammered J-frame.
    They make a small bantam grip just as small as the j frame grip.

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    Senior Member Array bunker's Avatar
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    I have the Smith 642, 442 with CT laster grips, and an old Smith model 36 with exposed hammer. I like all three, but wont carry the exposed hammer in a pocket, will only carry it OWB holster. I will also carry it for ankle carry, but the 642/442 you can carry wherever you want. In any true defensive scenario, i dont think you will have the time to cok the hammer and shoot SA, i think it will be a aim and pull the trigger. Try Esmeralda wood grips, i have them for my J frames, and love the feel of the wood grips. For nightime carry, i use the CT grips. bunker
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    The hammer version can be pocket carried, but the draw technique must be altered to keep the hammer from snagging.

    Go 642 or stay at home!
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    I have all 3 J frame hammer types.
    442 DAO , chiefs special full hammer , and model 49 - shrouded.

    As was mentioned the covered hammer DAOs keep dirt and fuzz off your guns internals.

    Small downside is you lose the SA capability - so learning trigger control is esential.

    I do carry all three types though.
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