S&W Internal Locks

This is a discussion on S&W Internal Locks within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been reading around the forum and noticing people saying they are removing the internal locks on their revolvers. Is it difficult to do? ...

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Thread: S&W Internal Locks

  1. #1
    Member Array BigJerm80's Avatar
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    S&W Internal Locks

    I have been reading around the forum and noticing people saying they are removing the internal locks on their revolvers. Is it difficult to do? I don't think i would attempt it but maybe my local gun smith would. Also, I've heard negative things about the locks, can somebody shed some light for me? I'm clueless. If its a possible safety issue i would want to get it removed.
    Thanks in advance.

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    There have been some instances of the internal lock locking up when the revolver is either dropped or fired. It then takes the key to unlock it. Very bad if you are firing in a self-defense situation.

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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    There have been cases where the internal lock engaged on it's own (probably due to the recoil of the weapon). From what I've heard/read, the lightweight guns (scandium, titanium, etc.) with hot loads seem to be the worst culprits.
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    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    I got rid of my 340PD for this reason. It never locked up, but I didn't want to wait for it to happen. I have heard of people removing the locks, but this voids your warranty with S&W.

    I have also heard that S&W is running a series of 642s without the IL. I cannot confirm this, perhaps someone else knows for sure and can confirm.
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    Any thoughts on increasing your civil liability for disabling a "safety device" on a firearm?

    Even if it is defective, I don't like the idea of disabling a safety item. Better to just get a gun that doesn't have one.
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    I'm not a smith, but I don't like the idea of taking something out of the gun to 'insure' safety?
    I got the S&W 637 for my wife, she prefers something else (I'm pushing her towards a Glock-26...baby steps).
    I kept the 637 as a snake gun for when we collect pine needles.

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    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY27 View Post
    I got rid of my 340PD for this reason. It never locked up, but I didn't want to wait for it to happen. I have heard of people removing the locks, but this voids your warranty with S&W.

    I have also heard that S&W is running a series of 642s without the IL. I cannot confirm this, perhaps someone else knows for sure and can confirm.
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    Member Array FallenPhoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bark'n View Post
    Any thoughts on increasing your civil liability for disabling a "safety device" on a firearm?

    Even if it is defective, I don't like the idea of disabling a safety item. Better to just get a gun that doesn't have one.
    If an unauthorized individual got their hands on your firearm, that had the internal lock disabled, I can see a lawyer arguing liability.

    It would be harder to determine liability in an good self-defense shooting I would imagine.

    The instances of spontaneous locking of internal locks is small enough for me that I don't worry about it. In my eyes, the non-magnum revolvers are nearly immune from the phenomenon within the realm of normal handling of the firearm.

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoTex View Post
    There have been cases where the internal lock engaged on it's own (probably due to the recoil of the weapon). From what I've heard/read, the lightweight guns (scandium, titanium, etc.) with hot loads seem to be the worst culprits.
    Airlites shooting .357 have been the predominant problem due to the violence of recoil. I have an Airweight 442 and I actually use the lock.

    The IL thread has been beat to death over on the S&W Forum. Try a search there.
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    Member Array Jeremiah's Avatar
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    How difficult it is depends on how much experience you have working with small parts. Just a matter of taking some of the internals apart and grinding a stud off. Some people take it out entirely, but that leaves a hole in the side of the frame.

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Opinion...

    Quote Originally Posted by BigJerm80 View Post
    I've heard negative things about the locks, can somebody shed some light for me?
    I believe the primary objections to the S&W internal lock are:

    1. It can malfunction during recoil and lock up the gun.
    2. It reminds people of the unpleasant anti-gun actions of the Clinton administration.
    3. It represents the arrogance and stupidity of the S&W company, in not giving customers the option of buying a product without an unwanted "feature".

    Personally I agree with all three of these objections, and won't buy a S&W revolver with the lock. I own 7 older S&W revolvers without a lock. Since the lock only serves to increase the scarcity and value of my non-lock S&W revolvers, I don't complain too much.
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Gunsmithing

    As for removing it, you can do it if you are familiar with the innards of a S&W revolver. It's not hard to do. I have a 610 in 10mm and the parts were removed completely. I would imagine your gunsmith might want you to sign a release or waiver if you had him remove it. Keep the parts, if you need to send the gun back for warranty work re-install them or you'll get charged full price for repairs by S&W.

  14. #13
    Member Array pjmaxm's Avatar
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    I will not own a revolver with the lock as they have locked up on people. You could always disable it but there is still the hole now.

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    Member Array ChuckAZ's Avatar
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    I went over to one S&W forum and you get the same crap posted about it failing when you fire.. Then you get a few members saying "We hear this all time time but no one can point a a single documented case that it did happen", its always been "I read here (from other people who have on clue what they are talking about) or my friends friends brothers 3rd detached cousin had one lock up"


    Kind of falls into the "My revolver blew up" , most people neglect to say they hand loaded the bullets or put a .357 mag into a .38spl gun.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array Herknav's Avatar
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    ChuckAZ,

    There is a sticky post on smith-wessonforum.com that is supposed to be limited to first-hand knowledge. There are a couple of old-time members there that have had it happen to them. I trust their opinion. It's also happened to Michael Bane, a fairly well-known shooting personality.

    Of course, you may side with Charlie Petty, who wrote an article a year or so ago in American Handgunner that said something to the effect of, "I fired 500 rounds through an IL-equipped revolver and didn't have a problem. I then asked S&W if this was a problem. They said it wasn't a problem. Therefore, there is absolutely no way there can be a problem."

    Admittedly, it's a pretty miniscule sample that's had problems, but it's enough to give me pause. Why take a chance when I can find a perfectly good lightly used S&W for less money?

    YMMV,
    Herk
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