S&W Model 12-3 vs. S&W 640 vs. S&W 642

This is a discussion on S&W Model 12-3 vs. S&W 640 vs. S&W 642 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; What are your thoughts/recommendations concerning which of these (S&W 12-3, S&W 640 or the S&W 642/442) is the best concealed carry gun in .38 Spcl ...

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Thread: S&W Model 12-3 vs. S&W 640 vs. S&W 642

  1. #1
    New Member Array ncaabbfan's Avatar
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    S&W Model 12-3 vs. S&W 640 vs. S&W 642

    What are your thoughts/recommendations concerning which of these (S&W 12-3, S&W 640 or the S&W 642/442) is the best concealed carry gun in .38 Spcl or 357?

    Are there any others you feel are better/more suitable as a concealed carry weapon? If so, what are they?

    Do you feel the stainless steel models are more rust resistant than those that are not stainless steel and thereby more suitable for IWB concealed carry?

    Also, what are your comments concerning a nickel plate vs. stainless steel vs. carbon steel or other material for the frame and cylinder?

    I have a Springfield Armory XD-40 service model for my duty gun, but I am concerned that I may not be able to comfortably conceal it for concealed carry.

    Thank you very much for your input.

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    Senior Member Array bluelineman's Avatar
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    A buddy at work got a SW 642 a while ago. I tried it out & liked it, but I like plain stuff. I opted for a SW 442 (blued version). I'm not worried about rust, I'll just clean/lube it regularly. I think stainless is a pain in the butt to clean & think the blues finish will hide a lot of dirt. I got a Crimson Trace laser grip for it (LG 405) installed at the gun show where I bought it. I didn't really like the stock sights. Mine's loaded with Speer Gold Dot short barrel ammo, 135 grain JHPs. I usually pocket carry in a Mikas round cut pocket holster.

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    Stainless steel is definitely more corrosion resistant which could be a consideration for concealed carry. Having said that I only have a single lonely Model 642 in a pile of blue steel revolvers and automatics as I prefer blue steel. The models 442 and 642 along with the older K-Frame, six shot Model 12 all feature aluminum alloy frames rather than steel frames. I'm not as up on the later Smith & Wesson models but think the Model 640 is steel framed.

    Only my opinion but I much prefer the heavier steel framed handguns to any alloy models. I like the extra weight and the notion that steel will offer more long term durability. I'm sure the modern alloy frame revolvers have an ample service life for serious concealed carry purposes. My Model 642 only has about 800 rounds through it of which 200 were +P and it's tight as new.

    The nickel plated handguns offer increased protection against corrosion to blued steel models and their appearance can be quite smart. They infrequently have problems with flaking of the nickel plating. I drooled over the nickel plated models in catalogs when I was a teenager but became adverse to the flashy look of nickel as an adult. Now I'm beginning to want to add some nickel models to the collection. I guess I'm reverting to my childhood in my dotage.

    I recently returned from a three day trip and toted a blued steel Colt Detective Special IWB. A few seconds attention with a rag treated with RIG kept rust away though I was in the summer heat of Texas and New Mexico. Stainless steel is a convenience but will rust in a most ugly manner if subjected to neglect. It's not required that blued guns rust, even around perspiration.

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    Senior Member Array CR2008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncaabbfan View Post
    What are your thoughts/recommendations concerning which of these (S&W 12-3, S&W 640 or the S&W 642/442) is the best concealed carry gun in .38 Spcl or 357?

    Are there any others you feel are better/more suitable as a concealed carry weapon? If so, what are they?

    Do you feel the stainless steel models are more rust resistant than those that are not stainless steel and thereby more suitable for IWB concealed carry?

    Also, what are your comments concerning a nickel plate vs. stainless steel vs. carbon steel or other material for the frame and cylinder?

    I have a Springfield Armory XD-40 service model for my duty gun, but I am concerned that I may not be able to comfortably conceal it for concealed carry.

    Thank you very much for your input.
    I carry both a Sig handgun (220 or 239 at times) AND a 640... I choose the 640 because I like the fact it can shoot magnums where as the 642 only shoots .38+p rounds and it being light (an advantage for carry) makes the recoil greater and the 23onces in the 640 is not too much for me, I have not tried to pocket it with a pocket holster yet though.

    You should try both at the range, or at lest hold both in the hand and see what you like with the weight issues etc, the 640 was just more of the gun I was looking for since I have more rounds to select from and less recoil to deal with.
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  6. #5
    Member Array Coach's Avatar
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    Nickel 442 pre lock.
    14 years old and no wear on finish.

    640 (38) 16 years old, no show of wear.
    Looks the same as when it came out of the box.
    They finished them better then too. No sharp edges.
    All the edges are rounded on the frame.

    You didn't ask about a 340 PD but...
    340 PD, edge wear above side plate screw,
    on the corner of top strap,
    where it sticks out of a pocket holster,
    after 6 months in the pocket.
    Same thing happened on 2 340 PD's.
    First time, I sent it back to Smith,
    they refinished it and it happened again in 6 months.
    I sent it back, they replaced it with a new 340 PD
    and it happened again 6 months later.
    I live with it, because of the weight of the gun.

    I love my 442, but the 3 ounces does make a difference.

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    Senior Member Array LoveLeather's Avatar
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    Hard to beat stainless for ease of cleaning as the wonder solvents that will take off carbon and such with ease can ruin a blue finish....

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    What about a M&P 340 Centennial???

    It's light, (13 ounces unloaded), small frame, hammerless and has a Tritium Night front sight. Handles either .38 +P or .357.

    I wouldn't want to practice a lot with magnums but a few rounds of Winchester 100 gr. self defense loads aren't too awful at the end of a range session.

    I carry mine, strong side, in an El Paso lined, belt holster on a pretty stiff belt. Wearing a 'bowling shirt' or a T-shirt that's not tucked in, the gun is invisible!!
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