Buying a S&W 642 tomorrow--need help!

This is a discussion on Buying a S&W 642 tomorrow--need help! within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First, I let me post my lists of pros and cons to this gun then you guys can add to my lists if I leave ...

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Thread: Buying a S&W 642 tomorrow--need help!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array kavity's Avatar
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    Buying a S&W 642 tomorrow--need help!

    First, I let me post my lists of pros and cons to this gun then you guys can add to my lists if I leave something out.

    Pros:
    --lite 15oz
    --small (J-frame)
    --easily pocket carry-able and concealable
    --can handle .38special +P rounds
    --its a hammerless revolver...you'd have to try to break/jam it (and would probably still work)
    --hammerless..can shoot from concealment/won't get snagged during the draw

    Cons:
    -- lite 15 oz + shoots +P rounds = kicks like a mule
    -- 5 rd capacity
    -- longer reload times than a pistol
    -- .38 special +P (while a decent round, its on the lower end of the spectrum)
    -- 1 7/8" barrel = less accuracy at distance

    Am I leaving out any glaring cons? pros?

    I am getting the 642 as a bug/pocket carry for when my XD9 isn't feasible. It's also smaller and more comfortable so I would be more inclined to go with it than go without.

    Does the 642 have any sort of drop safety or anything to keep it from going off if dropped?

    I would be going with a Desanti pocket holster for ~$20 and I would like to get a speedloader for it but I dunno where to look, so if you have any suggestions I am all ears.

    Thanks :)

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  3. #2
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    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    The 642 is a great little gun. It wont go off if you drop it, you'll just have to trust me on that one, or try it for yourself. I wouldnt bet that it wont lock up... you still need to maintain it, in particular if you pocket carry.
    Speed loaders are easy to come by, any gun shop worth the space it takes up will have them.

    I've seen some amazing stuff people can do with a J frame. It can very very accurate with that little barrel. I am not a revolver shooter at all, but I did hit a 9"steel plate at 75 yds with my M36. I cant do it again, but it hit it once. A older guy I shoot with can make most shooters with fancy autos cry with his worn out 36... its amazing what a snub can do with some practice.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    There is a reason that the S&W J-Frames are Smith's biggest seller, they work very well for their "intended purpose".

    Congrats on selecting a very reliable, accurrate easy to carry handgun as a CCW piece. I carry mine as a BUG 95% of the time and love having it in my support side pocket.

    Biker

  5. #4
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    I've carried one for about a year and have about 800 rounds through it. It's very accurate and I enjoy shooting it just as much as any of my other guns. You can carry it all day and not even know it's there..Good choice.

  6. #5
    Member Array firefighter_56's Avatar
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    The 642 is a great small handgun your list of pros and cons pretty much spells it out. I have carried a 442 for many years as a back up gun or as my primary when I could not conceal my 1911 easily. Load it with Speer 135 grain Gold Dot and you have potent concealable package.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array zero's Avatar
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    I don't think +P's kick like a mule. I carry my 442 with Speer Gold Dots like so many others do. They are not bad at all. Try the old school 158’s, lively but still not bad. Now J frames with .357’s that’s a whole other world.

    I remember your threads from awhile back. You can’t go wrong with a snub. They are so easy to carry there is no excuse not too.

    With my Mika pocket holster it is easy to forget its there.

    You might want to try speed strips for extra ammo. They are flat and easy to carry.

    Good luck with your new friend and enjoy. Shoot it often, you will be surprised how accurate they really are.

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    Member Array Timothy's Avatar
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    Its a fine little gun I carry with my primary, buy with confidence as its a very popular gun. I suggest you look into reloading for it since its so easy and affordable in that caliber. Get some speed loaders and premium ammo and your set. Dont expect full size gun accuracy at first, I have to concentrate to keep 5 shots on a plate at 7 yards. Good luck

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Had a 442 Airweight for years. Liked it a lot. Very appropriate for its intended purpose. For me, insufficient in the number of rounds, not highly accurate, kicks like a mule. I'm far more accurate and reliable with an excellent semi-auto, but then they tend to be heavier, larger, require a bit more training.

    If you've shot a light snubbie and can see it working for you in a defensive situation, go for it. The modern S&W snubbies are fine weapons.

    Strong suggestion: If giving consideration to pocket carry, consider the Pocket Softy holster, by Mitch Rosen. I found it to be excellent in every regard. 10yrs of daily carry and very little wear on it. A bit expensive, and they're not just hanging on the shelf ready to ship, but worth every penny, IMO.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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    VIP Member Array maclean3's Avatar
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    My 642 is accurate enough that I used it to qualify for my carry permit and I don't think the recoil is at all too harsh. Speedloaders are easy to find as most gunshops will stock the HKS "twist knob" style and you can always order the Safariland TYPE I "push button" style. I've used both and they'll both get the job done, I gave my HKS to my BIL for his gun and I keep the Safarilands next to the gun in my dresser drawer. The only time I actually carry those is when we're travelling as they're sorta bulky. Generally, I'll just drop a Bianchi speed strip in the change pocket of my jeans and head out the door.

    Along with the pocket holster, you might also consider an ankle rig at some point in case you want to use it as a BUG to your primary. We had tornado warnings in our area not too long ago and I was glad to be wearing my 1911 strongside with the 642 on my ankle. It's good to know I can pass the j-frame to my wife in a worst case scenario and she'd have some protection of her own.

    You can't really go wrong with the S&W j-frames in either Centennial or Bodyguard configuration, they're just good, solid guns to have in the arsenal for those times when carrying something bigger isn't an option.
    Jack

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    Senior Member Array kavity's Avatar
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    How exactly does a speed strip work? I am not that familiar with revolvers.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kavity View Post
    How exactly does a speed strip work? I am not that familiar with revolvers.
    Like shown in the photo, below. You insert a pair of bullet at a time, until you've loaded them all. I think a SpeedLoader is far faster, but then those take up a sizeable amount of space (or require holstered carry).
    Attached Images
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    VIP Member Array maclean3's Avatar
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    That's pretty much it. The strip is made of a rubbery composite so you start two rounds into the chambers, peel the strip off the case heads, start two more rounds, etc. Yeah, it's a little slower than speedloaders but they're much easier to carry as they lay perfectly flat.
    Jack

  14. #13
    Member Array Schwebel's Avatar
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    Another great thing about a J-frame is that there are tons of nice holsters readily availible. And also the grip doesn't poke out like an auto's does when concealing it. It's also a very comfortable gun to wear.

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    Member Array Dolphin's Avatar
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    For speedloaders I tried both and prefer the Safariland comp 1 to the HKS. Also I understand that when the Desantis loses it's "tack" a quick handwash will restore it.

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kavity View Post
    First, I let me post my lists of pros and cons to this gun then you guys can add to my lists if I leave something out.

    Pros:
    --lite 15oz
    --small (J-frame)
    --easily pocket carry-able and concealable
    --can handle .38special +P rounds
    --its a hammerless revolver...you'd have to try to break/jam it (and would probably still work)
    --hammerless..can shoot from concealment/won't get snagged during the draw

    Cons:
    -- lite 15 oz + shoots +P rounds = kicks like a mule
    -- 5 rd capacity
    -- longer reload times than a pistol
    -- .38 special +P (while a decent round, its on the lower end of the spectrum)
    -- 1 7/8" barrel = less accuracy at distance
    A J frame is a great choice. I agree with all your pros. It is a great gun to carry. My 442 rides in a Kramer pocket or bugging on my vest or ankle in an Apache. Considering looking into an appendix IWB.

    As to your cons, IMO

    • Does not kick like a mule with +P. It's really not that bad
    • With practice, if dedicated, reload times can be pretty fast.
    • .38 is an acceptable carry round. It's where you hit, not what you hit with.
    • Diminished accuracy is a problem of the shooter, not the gun. Dedicated practice will prove that. I have no problems at 25 yards, which is the max disatnce for our quals.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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