P3-AT vs 642

P3-AT vs 642

This is a discussion on P3-AT vs 642 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So I've been giving serious thought to selling off my Kel-Tec P3-AT and picking up a S&W 642. The .380 isn't fun to shoot at ...

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Thread: P3-AT vs 642

  1. #1
    Member Array stickybeatz's Avatar
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    P3-AT vs 642

    So I've been giving serious thought to selling off my Kel-Tec P3-AT and picking up a S&W 642. The .380 isn't fun to shoot at all and I am having a hard time convincing myself that it is reliable enough (mechanical wise and stopping power wise) to carry it. Anybody have any thoughts on the matter?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Wasabi's Avatar
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    Kind of like apples and oranges here but I'd lean towards the 642. I've thought about picking one up myself.

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    JD
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    The 642 isn't much fun to shoot either, atleast with +P it's not, even standard loads were a bit much IMHO, the P3AT is a jumpy little guy, what you may want to try and do is add a pinky rest to the mag to give you a little more grip.

    If you do get a 642, get some snap caps, dry fire the heck out of the thing, get the trigger smoothed up, and dry fire it some more, I had one for a short period of time, untill I was able to re-obtain my Colt Mustang from the wife.

    If the P3AT is having reliability issues, I'd either get rid of it or send it back and get it fixed, but I wouldn't be one to say that the 642 is THE answer.

    Also, for what it's worth those little pocket guns aren't suppoesd to be fun to shoot, just easy to carry and should go bang when you pull the trigger.

    Chooie, a member here, got to shoot my 642 and he is a P3AT owner, he hated the 642, maybe he can provide some more insight.

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    Member Array stickybeatz's Avatar
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    Good info, JD. The P3AT hasn't had any reliability issues yet, it just seems really poorly made and I can't help thinking it's gonna break any day now. Maybe I'll see if I can rent a 642 at the range and try it out...

    also... the kick isn't what gets me on the kel tec, it's the super aggressive plastic texture on the sides that just tears up my thumb and the big knuckle of my index finger. I used some of that rubber coating that you put on tool handles and that's helped out a bit. Maybe I'm just getting bored and trying to come up with an excuse to add another family member..... ;)

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Revolver for reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by stickybeatz View Post
    The .380 isn't fun to shoot at all and I am having a hard time convincing myself that it is reliable enough (mechanical wise and stopping power wise) to carry it.
    Personally I favor the S&W 642 over a .380 for mechanical reliability and stopping power. I've had a 642 for 10 years, and keep it loaded with the Speer 135 grain Gold Dot +P ammo, which is designed for short barrels. From a 2 inch barrel this ammo has a muzzle velocity of 860 feet per second and muzzle energy of 222 foot-lbs., according to the Speer website.

    A typical .380 load is a 90 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of about 900 fps from a 3 inch barrel and muzzle energy of about 180 foot-lbs. The .38 snubby with the Speer ammo gives you about 25% more energy.

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  6. #6
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickybeatz View Post
    Good info, JD. The P3AT hasn't had any reliability issues yet, it just seems really poorly made and I can't help thinking it's gonna break any day now. Maybe I'll see if I can rent a 642 at the range and try it out...

    also... the kick isn't what gets me on the kel tec, it's the super aggressive plastic texture on the sides that just tears up my thumb and the big knuckle of my index finger. I used some of that rubber coating that you put on tool handles and that's helped out a bit. Maybe I'm just getting bored and trying to come up with an excuse to add another family member..... ;)
    Again, you gotta look at the role of the P3, it's not a shoot all day gun, it's a shoot one mag and call the cops gun.

    There's very low trade in value, and not very good resale value on them, instead of replacing it, it accept it for what it is, put a grip sleeve on it, and invest in a nice .22 or 9mm, better yet, a 9mm with a .22 conversion kit for plinking at the range.

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2 View Post
    Personally I favor the S&W 642 over a .380 for mechanical reliability and stopping power.

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    Distinguished Member Array snowdoctor's Avatar
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    i did that exact switch about a year ago...I have never regretted it...if you have the ability to carry the slightly larger 642...I believe it is a wise choice...
    about the same firepower....much more reliable...and with +p ammo...MUCH more knock down power...
    IMO...if you carry long enough a 642 (or similar) is an essential tool.
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    I've carried a 649 .38 for a long time. It has been carried without mechanical complaint in my left armpit during a few humid Northeast summers. With that being said, it is a backup to my primary sidearm and I rarely carry it by it's lonesome. However, of all of the backups that I own (or have owned) including the S&W 342PD, Colt Pony lightweight, Seecamp .32, it has the best balance of size, weight, ergonomics and ballistic throw weight. It is the only one of the bunch that I would carry by itself. My job requires some specific "off duty" responsibilities that the 649 alone will not cover. But these are unique to my situation. Otherwise, I would not hesitate to carry the 649 alone all of the time.
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    Member Array Larryes's Avatar
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    And add a mag extension to it... you'll be pleasantly surprised. I've used mine for a couple of years and have never had even one problem!

    God bless,

    Larry

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    Senior Member Array wht06rado's Avatar
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    I don't think you can go wrong with a 642. Both in reliability and in stopping power(compaired to a .380). As others have said though, a 642 isn't much fun to shoot. I just shot mine today and my hand is sore. Mine always beats up the web of my hand and the nuckle on my thumb. But for it's size, concealability, and stopping power I think it is a very good option.

    So that's another +1 for the 642!

    P.S. I carry my 642 everyday and I love it!
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    Senior Member Array Fragman's Avatar
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    As many have posted, these are not 'shoot all day at the range' guns.

    And if it ever comes down to the wire, you wont really feel the recoil, you wont feel the grips hurting your hand, you will have much more pressing input working your senses.

    In fact, you might just be glad for that rough texture on the grips. You will also be glad you did that dry firing others posted about. These two items are going to help you make sure that you don't miss, with either gun.

    Personally, I'd prefer the 642, but having said that, it's probably not worth trading the 3AT. Especially as you can pick up a new 642 for a good bit less than $400. The amount you would get for the 3AT just doesn't make it worth selling. Sure you see them on gunbroker for 250, but not with any actual bids. I reckon you might get $150 for it.

    I would just get the 642 and have both.

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    I have both, and like both. I carry the P3AT most of the time when I do not carry a 9mm or .45. It is just easier to carry in my pocket. I think the 642 is too large for pocket carry for me and the clothes I wear. Others have a different view.

    But if I had to get rid of one it would be the P3AT, and I would keep the 642.

    Jerry

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array tankdriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    The 642 isn't much fun to shoot either, atleast with +P it's not, even standard loads were a bit much IMHO, the P3AT is a jumpy little guy, what you may want to try and do is add a pinky rest to the mag to give you a little more grip.

    If you do get a 642, get some snap caps, dry fire the heck out of the thing, get the trigger smoothed up, and dry fire it some more, I had one for a short period of time, untill I was able to re-obtain my Colt Mustang from the wife.

    If the P3AT is having reliability issues, I'd either get rid of it or send it back and get it fixed, but I wouldn't be one to say that the 642 is THE answer.

    Also, for what it's worth those little pocket guns aren't suppoesd to be fun to shoot, just easy to carry and should go bang when you pull the trigger.

    Chooie, a member here, got to shoot my 642 and he is a P3AT owner, he hated the 642, maybe he can provide some more insight.
    The 642 is no fun to shoot with target reloads either.......

    I put about 50 rounds throught it last night. The web of my hand is sore today...

    I shot both last night, about 50 through both. Grip is a little better on the 642, but because the Kel-tec is a semi auto, the action takes up part of the recoil. Do a fluff and Buff on the Kel-tec and you will not have any problems with it. My buddies Kar had more problems than I did.
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  15. #15
    Member Array stickybeatz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys! Lots of good info.

    on another note... I went over to the range today and was comparing the 642 and the M&P 340 (I think?), since the 340 can shoot 357mag and 38+p. Anyway, I rented a 340 and bought a box of Mag Tech 357 Magnum. I'm sure some of you know where this story is going.... after 10 rounds, a bloody thumb, and a blood blister on my trigger finger, I decided that just because I CAN shoot 357 mag through it doesn't mean I SHOULD. Either way, I suffered through the other 40 rounds just so I wouldn't be the guy who couldn't finish off a box of ammo. Surprisingly, all shots stayed on COM, but not by much. I'll go rent the 642 next week and see if I can enjoy the 38's a little better. If I can tolerate that one, I'll probably just keep the keltec and have both.

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