S&W 642 Airweight .38 Range Report Review

S&W 642 Airweight .38 Range Report Review

This is a discussion on S&W 642 Airweight .38 Range Report Review within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Today I shot my new Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight .38 special revolver for the first time. This is the revolver I got in place ...

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Thread: S&W 642 Airweight .38 Range Report Review

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Thumbs up S&W 642 Airweight .38 Range Report Review

    Today I shot my new Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight .38 special revolver for the first time. This is the revolver I got in place of my Taurus 85 when the cylinder/trigger froze. Because it was a Davidson's Guaranteed firearm I was allowed a hefty credit towards the 642 instead of replacing the 85 with another!

    Some background for comparison: I liked the 85 and had no serious complaints until it broke. It was not fun to shoot with the hard rosewood grips so I changed them out to rubber ones and that was just as uncomfortable. I could shoot about 20-30 rounds before my hands hurt too much and I would switch to something else. I chalked it up to the common regard that a small, lightweight .38 is not as pleasant to shoot as one might think. The 85 weighed in at 17 oz. empty.

    I took 25 rounds today and here's what happened. All shots were from 7 yds. DAO (internal hammer so no cocking). The sights on the 642 are almost non-existent and blend in with the finish. They were quite blurry to me which had nothing to do with the revolver but with my out-of-date glass prescription.

    First pic: 5 rounds of Federal 158gr RN. I shot from "low ready" for each shot. One on the bullseye and 4 a bit higher. I said "whoa" and not because of the accuracy but because there was NO recoil muzzle flip. I thought these Airweights at 14.5 oz. were supposed to be hard to control! No hand pain either.

    Second pic: 5 rounds of PMC 132gr FMJ. Again, low ready each shot. I'm still shooting on the high side. No pain.

    Third pic: again 5 rounds of PMC 132gr FMJ but this time each was holster drawn. All high again and one even went off the target by about 3" too high.

    Fourth pic: the 642 is rated for +p while the Taurus was not. Now I am thinking that I am really going to feel it now! Nope! Just louder but still easy-squeezey on my hands. All on target again. These were Remington 'HTP' 110gr +p SHP from low ready each shot.

    Fifth pic: Back to the PMCs and start from low ready. 5 rapid fire shots. Yikes! I need to practice target re-acquisition. One on the bullseye, one on the top almost off the paper and the last 3 went about 2" high off the paper. Oh well!

    After 25 shots, I decided that the Taurus I thought I sort of liked to shoot was not really fun to shoot at all compared to this gem. The super-soft recoil was the biggest surprise. I can't comment on the feel of the trigger because I didn't even notice it. That tells me the DAO is smooth. Even though I didn't shoot it until today, I did the unthinkable and carried it around the house and out and about a few times. I banked on its reputation and the one spent casing in the box to feel confident it could save my life. Highly recommended for anyone.

    Hope you liked the review.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array WrongRecroom's Avatar
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    Factory grips or after market ? Most of mine had paycmar compact grips on them ....

    And got to ask lock or no lock ?

    But yeah the 642 are great little guns .. Maybe a 640 pro next
    gatorbait51 likes this.
    “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” H.L. Mencken
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I enjoyed the review. You did very well!

    Don't be too hard on yourself. The air weight j frames are very difficult to shoot. In my opinion, more so than a 4 inch 44 magnum.
    You did good.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    Great review on a great gun! Congrats!
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    Excellent! S&W snubs are Mom and apple pie, and for good reasons. You're doing great for first time at the range w/a new toy. I'm always happy to see someone upgrade their hardware and IMHO, a Taurus to Smith is a definite upgrade. I'm glad to hear that your confidence level immediately increased as well. Keep on it. And now you've got a snub you can brag about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    I enjoyed the review. You did very well!

    Don't be too hard on yourself. The air weight j frames are very difficult to shoot. In my opinion, more so than a 4 inch 44 magnum.
    You did good.
    I agree w/that one. My 629 is definitely more accurate and manageable. But it don't fit in me pockets.
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    Senior Member Array Alex_C's Avatar
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    You would hit an attacker every time! Good job!
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    You lucked into great gun (I know you did your research as well from your other posts :)). The sw jframes are great. My 442 is always with me. I agree with your assessment on the recoil. It is very mild for such a light gun. With the +p rds it's feels like more of a push in the center of my Palm. You will continue to love it. Great buy, enjoy!!! That shooting is defensive worthy as well
    BigJon


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    Senior Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Great to hear you like it. Im in the market for a 642 in the upcoming weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WrongRecroom View Post
    Factory grips or after market ? Most of mine had paycmar compact grips on them ....

    And got to ask lock or no lock ?

    But yeah the 642 are great little guns .. Maybe a 640 pro next
    Factory grip and a lock. I'm thinking maybe a 617 .22lr for Bullseye shooting!
    gatorbait51 and tdave like this.
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  11. #11
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    Clear the cylinder, double check it, check once more and then dry fire it over and over and over and over. Not being patronizing just speaking from experience on clearing it (not adding anything else here.....). J frames are tight and they need cycling.
    Savage Heartland

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    Member Array JohnHancock's Avatar
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    I carry the 442 daily IWB appendix and it's the best gun I've ever owned! I upgraded from a Kel Tec P3AT and the recoil/muzzle flip was hard to shoot follow ups and it was really too small for my hands. I actually shoot faster and more accurate with the smith and it's reliability is unquestionable!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firearm.Fan.Girl View Post
    Today I shot my new Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight .38 special revolver for the first time. This is the revolver I got in place of my Taurus 85 when the cylinder/trigger froze. Because it was a Davidson's Guaranteed firearm I was allowed a hefty credit towards the 642 instead of replacing the 85 with another!

    Some background for comparison: I liked the 85 and had no serious complaints until it broke. It was not fun to shoot with the hard rosewood grips so I changed them out to rubber ones and that was just as uncomfortable. I could shoot about 20-30 rounds before my hands hurt too much and I would switch to something else. I chalked it up to the common regard that a small, lightweight .38 is not as pleasant to shoot as one might think. The 85 weighed in at 17 oz. empty.

    I took 25 rounds today and here's what happened. All shots were from 7 yds. DAO (internal hammer so no cocking). The sights on the 642 are almost non-existent and blend in with the finish. They were quite blurry to me which had nothing to do with the revolver but with my out-of-date glass prescription.

    First pic: 5 rounds of Federal 158gr RN. I shot from "low ready" for each shot. One on the bullseye and 4 a bit higher. I said "whoa" and not because of the accuracy but because there was NO recoil muzzle flip. I thought these Airweights at 14.5 oz. were supposed to be hard to control! No hand pain either.

    Second pic: 5 rounds of PMC 132gr FMJ. Again, low ready each shot. I'm still shooting on the high side. No pain.

    Third pic: again 5 rounds of PMC 132gr FMJ but this time each was holster drawn. All high again and one even went off the target by about 3" too high.

    Fourth pic: the 642 is rated for +p while the Taurus was not. Now I am thinking that I am really going to feel it now! Nope! Just louder but still easy-squeezey on my hands. All on target again. These were Remington 'HTP' 110gr +p SHP from low ready each shot.

    Fifth pic: Back to the PMCs and start from low ready. 5 rapid fire shots. Yikes! I need to practice target re-acquisition. One on the bullseye, one on the top almost off the paper and the last 3 went about 2" high off the paper. Oh well!

    After 25 shots, I decided that the Taurus I thought I sort of liked to shoot was not really fun to shoot at all compared to this gem. The super-soft recoil was the biggest surprise. I can't comment on the feel of the trigger because I didn't even notice it. That tells me the DAO is smooth. Even though I didn't shoot it until today, I did the unthinkable and carried it around the house and out and about a few times. I banked on its reputation and the one spent casing in the box to feel confident it could save my life. Highly recommended for anyone.

    Hope you liked the review.
    I suggest you paint your front sight with red nail polish.

  14. #14
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    You did just fine with your J frame . Mine are old ladies so no +P but they still do the job so I cannot complain. #1 likes hers and she can run with it.
    S&W is finally deciding, it appears, to do what they do best . I believe they make the best revolvers in the world .
    EN MI VIDA AL MAL NO TEMERÉ, POR QUE EN MI CORAZÓN Y MIS DOS .38 SUPER COLT.

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    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    See if this helps.. instead of a traditional hold (both thumbs forward and assuming you are right handed ) Take the thumb of your left hand and bring it over the top of your right hand so the joints of the left thumb are centered over the rear part of the right thumb.
    jhold2.jpg
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

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