Is my 642 Airweight +P rated?

This is a discussion on Is my 642 Airweight +P rated? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; it does not have +P anywhere on it? Bought it new in the late 90's. How do I tell?...

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Thread: Is my 642 Airweight +P rated?

  1. #1
    New Member Array MiataGuy's Avatar
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    Is my 642 Airweight +P rated?

    it does not have +P anywhere on it? Bought it new in the late 90's. How do I tell?

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  3. #2
    New Member Array norm6000's Avatar
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    The 642-2 has the +P stamp. Don't try it with yours, my friend.

  4. #3
    Member Array mslaughtertx's Avatar
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    If your does not have the stamp I probably would not try it. Mine is stamped +P. Though you are not missing much as it is not fun...

  5. #4
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    I purchased my Model 642-1 new in summer of 1998 and it is marked .38 Special +P on the left side of the barrel.

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    If it is +P, then it's stamped on the barrel, if it's not, it's not.

  7. #6
    Member Array denverbear's Avatar
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    I just bought a 642 the other day and the +p is stamped on the barrell...if it does not show it it is'nt..also the one I bought does not have the internal lock.
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  8. #7
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    S&W did not mark all S&W J-Fames as being OK for +P even though some were tested for and approved for +P.
    Contact S&W and give them your serial number.

  9. #8
    Member Array Zach Riggs's Avatar
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    I have considered one of these before. When you say don't try it do you mean not ever or just not more than a couple of cylinders in its life time. I was just curious b/c i've heard mixed facts about whether its ok to carry with +P just dont shoot unless necessary with +P.
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  10. #9
    Member Array lee n. field's Avatar
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    it does not have +P anywhere on it? Bought it new in the late 90's. How do I tell?
    Call S&W and ask.

  11. #10
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    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    Just for the record +P pressures are about 5% higher than non +P rated ammo.

    The general opinion is that a '90s S&W J-Frame firearm in good condition is not going to blow up or explode if it gets shot with +P.

    Modern S&W non +P rated firearms will develop accelerated wear problems and will eventually shoot loose and "go out of time" shooting +P.

    That is the general web consensus and not necessarily my own personal opinion.

    If you are an adult capable of making your own responsible adult decisions then you decide if you want to shoot +P in a revolver that you are not certain about. You certainly would need to be able to know how to watch out for warning signs of your revolver going out of time.

    It's the same ol' same ol' - you pays yer money and you takes yer chances.

    I would just suggest that you shoot good standard pressure .38SPL until you find out from S&W if your particular revolver is tested for +P but not marked as such.
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  12. #11
    New Member Array KTMRider's Avatar
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    Not that I would recommend this to anyone else, but I have a very similar gun that's not +P rated, a Charter Arms Off Duty made in 1986. Very similar to the S&W, weights 16 oz, 38 spec. I've bobbed the hammer and really love the little snubnose.

    BUT I do carry it with Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWHP +P's.

    I've shot two cylinders of them in it, just to check it out. That's all I'll shoot of the +P in that gun, unless it's to save my life. I agree a steady diet of them would ruin the gun, but I suspect it will hold up for all the gun fights I'll ever get into with it.

    If I'm at the range I'll run a couple cylinders of light target 38 special reloads in it.

    Again, I'm not saying everyone should do this or that anyone should, and I know it's not recommended, but I can't see dumping this gun to buy one exactly like it with a +P on it. In fact, if I really was going to shoot a LOT of heavy +P ammo, I'd probably just buy a 357 mag.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array wjh2657's Avatar
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    I carry a 642 or 640 (depends on season of year (clothing). The major issue with the 642 is not only what it is rated at but what you can handle in it. I found it to be almost impossible to fire multiple, fast shots (4X5 drill) in the 642 with +P ammo. I carry standard pressure HBWCs or LSWCs in mine. 640 usually also stoked with standard pressure Hornady JHP/XTPs , but it is manageable with the right +P ammo. You may be better at handling the recoil so your drill may be different. I feel pretty safe with the 642 and the SP ammo.
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  14. #13
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    I guess the bottom line is that if you've got an empty "not tested for +P" J-Frame "in hand" with your only reload being a speed loader filled with +P
    Don't ditch your revolver and go for the baseball bat!

  15. #14
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    KTMRider makes a good point about the way to make minimal use of +P .38 Special. A couple of cylinders-full for basic target verification and then stoke the gun with them for toting.

    I'm of the opinion that .38 Special +P is a bit of a "tempest in a teapot" with reference to it's potential for destruction or damage to a revolver. If one is foolhardy enough and extravagant enough to waste the money it'd take to feed a revolver a steady diet of +P then he could very well hammer his gun into junk over the long term.

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