OK, j frame guys....

OK, j frame guys....

This is a discussion on OK, j frame guys.... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Am selling an 870 Police Magnum that I seem to not shoot. Proceeds will get me a j frame. Deciding between a 442 or a ...

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Thread: OK, j frame guys....

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    OK, j frame guys....

    Am selling an 870 Police Magnum that I seem to not shoot. Proceeds will get me a j frame.

    Deciding between a 442 or a 640. I like the full length ejector rod and the all steel frame of the 640, but like the weight and price of the 442. Either one would be carried with 38s, as I cannot possible see shooting 357s through the 640. I imagine the 442 would ankle carry better as well. For those of you who know j frames (Byron and Gman) let me know the upshot. Many thanks.


  2. #2
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    If you are set on .38's, then the 442 is an excellent choice.

    The model 640 is 23 oz, and 2 1/8" barrel, while the 442 is 15 oz and 1 7/8" barrel. If you eject briskly with the 442 the spent brass pops right out (not that you likely need to reload "under fire"). I don't ankle carry but I do pocket carry, and the extra 8oz of the 640 makes a big difference. I need a firm IWB or OWB for the 640, and for pocket carry the 640 is too heavy for me. But when I carry the 642 - in any location - I can easily forget about it.

    The 6/442 comes with boot grips and is very concealable for pocket/ankle carry. The 6/442 can be a bit snappy with +P's, but I can shoot very controlled point shooting groups with standard pressure loads.

    If I were only going to carry OWB, then I would go with the 640. If I wanted the option to carry more discretely, then the 6/442 is the logical choice.

    I solve the problem of choosing between the two by buying both the 640 and the 642 - but my 642 or 637 (air weight with exposed hammer) tend to get most of the carry time.


    Edit: By the way, I'm done with .357's in my J-frames. Too hard to get back on target.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Depends on what's more important to you: ultra lightweight carry, or improved control during firing. IMO, the added weight changes the balance of the 640 significantly enough (for me, at any rate) to markedly improve accuracy at combat distances and under stress. Up to you, whether you find the difference significant enough to drive your decision.

    BTW, my choice was the 442, back when. If I were to do a snubbie again, it would be with a ~20-25oz steel variant, not the Airweight variants. If in the pocket, I might well be tempted by the 442's weight. But if on the hip, no question that I'd select a 20+ oz alternative.
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Either are great choices. i carry snubs most everyday love em. image.jpgimage.jpg this is my 642 an mod 60 I also carry my SP alot.

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    I faced the same decision once. I knew I wanted to pocket carry about 50% of the time, so I chose the 442 based on size and weight. Never regretted the decision.

  6. #6
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    The 442 is one of the most versatile carry guns you can get. Light and easy to carry in many manners. I installed a Wolff Shooters Pack spring set in mine and it made it fabulous. Easy DIY job, just check out youtube vids. I also have all steel model 49 and 649. The 442 is easier to carry. You just can't go wrong with it.
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    Recoil wise, I think the 442 is easily managed.
    Shooting one handed with +P is not an issue.
    I just put 100+ rounds through one a few days ago.

    357s can obviously not be fired out of the 442 but fired in the 640.

    I think if you want to shoot 357s, the all steel gun is the way to go.
    If you only want to shoot 38sps, get the 442.

    You'll appreciate the lighter gun if you intend to carry it.

  8. #8
    Member Array pattrickg's Avatar
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    642 / 442

    I have several snubbies and enjoy them all. But for quick and easy, especially pocket carry the lightweight 642 shines. All my snubbies seem to shoot well and they all fill a niche for me. But when it comes to ease of carry, I more often find myself grabbing a 642 because in most urban situations it just works, and does it comfortably. So if your looking for an easily carried piece I would stay away from the heavier options. It is amazing the difference an ounce or two will make in a pant or jacket pocket.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walls View Post
    Recoil wise, I think the 442 is easily managed.
    Shooting one handed with +P is not an issue.
    Depends on the person.

    I'm able to fire a good number of rounds through the 442, but it definitely affects my ability to remain on target. Not so, with all-steel snubbie equivalents nearly twice the weight of the 442. Everyone's different.
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array TWO GUNS's Avatar
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    I carry a 640-1 daily and I am very happy with it. I also carry it with 357 magnum ammo.
    I have no problem shooting 357's out of it. It is no worse than firing 38 +P's out of an airweight Smith.
    Alot of people will say you don't gain anything from the 357 mag over the 38 +P's from such a short barrel but i disagree.
    You can look for an article on the internet written by the Late and Great Stephen Camp that proves the 357 Magnum is better
    than the 38 +P's fired from a short barrel.
    So what I am saying is get the 640-1 and you will be happy you did.
    Last edited by TWO GUNS; May 23rd, 2013 at 02:15 AM. Reason: I forgot the -1
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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    The 442 is very controllable with standard pressure loads. My wife prefers shooting the little .38 over my steel frame CZ 9mm.

  12. #12
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    The 442 hands down. Very easy to learn to shoot well and +P rounds are really not necessary. I've had mine sine 1993. You'll carry the 442 and make excuses to not carry the 640 after a time.

  13. #13
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    I always prefer the full length ejector rods and the extra weight tames the recoil. Even though I have been shooting J-frames for over 40 years and own a nice 340PD which I carry, I have to suggest that you take a look at the .38 spl LCR. I love the trigger and it is lightweight without costing a leg and an arm. The 11.4 oz. 340 PD is my dream gun. I load it with regular .38 spl FTX which penetrate 12 inches through ballistic gel after passing through 4 layers of denim. I can also handle a cylinder of mild .357 magnums if need be. I was more of a 642 man because I pocket carry and would never consider thumbing the hammer back on my gun in a defensive situation as the trigger pull is too light for my taste. I was raised on revolvers and the DA trigger pull is old hat for me.

    Whatever you choose, enjoy and welcome to the club. Revolvers are so old that they are retro and now carried by all the cool hipsters. :)
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  14. #14
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    What PEF said. I agree completely. I have both the 642 & 640. Unlike PEF, I find myself carrying the 640 ,most of the time that I carry a j frame, but I prefer to IWB it, so the weight does not make much difference but it does help with recoil. I shoot .357 Golden Saber rounds as my SD rounds and it does fine. I do stay away from full house .357 in the j frames.
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  15. #15
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    Both Airweight and steel J-Frames are kept around here. I've come to appreciate the steel-framed versions best. The extra weight is beneficial when shooting the gun. The Model 642 weighs 15 oz. and the Model 640 weighs 8 oz. more.

    I've never obtained a Model 640 because I never felt the need for .357 Magnum capabilities in a J-Frame Smith & Wesson. Magnum performance is diminished and recoil is accentuated when "real" full-powered .357 Magnum ammunition is used.

    I also prefer the models with hammers for single-action use better than the double-action-only models because it gives a choice in the way the gun is to be used. Because of this the original Chief's Special or one of the funny-looking humpbacked Bodyguards (not this current aberration of a Bodyguard in the S&W line) such as the Model 38 or Model 49 look appealing to me. If you don't care for hammer spurs and single-action work with the revolver than any of the Centennial models will suit.

    There is something to be said for 3-inch barrels though they are less popular on the market. They add just a tiny bit more weight and milk a bit more performance from the ammunition. Most important, they offer a complete ejection stroke for clearing empty cases from a revolver. You see, the 2-inch and 2 1/2-inch revolvers ejector rods aren't long enough to push the empties fully clear of the cylinder. Sure, the habit of a sharp rap on the ejector rod will generally kick the empties completely free of the cylinder. Occasionally though one will experience a stubborn sticky case or cases that only is pushed from the chamber as far as the ejector rod will take it. Then he must pick the offending case(s) free with his fingers before reloading. Not really helpful if needing to reload in an emergency situation. The 3-inch ejector will mechanically carry those empties back and completely free of the cylinder. Much more positive in its operation is the 3-inch revolver and really just as easy to hide. An inch of barrel makes little difference for concealment purposes.

    I'm as guilty as the rest of thinking that the 2-inch snubs look so tough and "bad to the bone" so have acquired 2-inch models over the years. The 2-inch is so popular that the 3-inch J-Frame lengths never sold well. Both the Model 642 and the Model 640 could once be had in 3-inch but were discontinued quite a few years back. Surviving examples are considered somewhat uncommon and collectors sometimes pay premiums for them.
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