Smith & Wesson 642 vs 638

Smith & Wesson 642 vs 638

This is a discussion on Smith & Wesson 642 vs 638 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was wondering why it seems that the 642 (DAO) seems to have a larger following than the 638 (Shrouded Hammer). My initial impression is ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array SaddleSC's Avatar
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    Smith & Wesson 642 vs 638

    I was wondering why it seems that the 642 (DAO) seems to have a larger following than the 638 (Shrouded Hammer). My initial impression is that both offer the same snag free design; however, the 638 gives you more flexibility by allowing you to thumb the hammer back manually, whereas the 642 is DAO.

    I was able to play with a 638 at my FFL and it is really a neat little CCW gun, especially for summer. Any insight you can provide is greatly appreciated.
    Glock 26 9mm CCW - - S&W 642 Super Tuned - - Remington 870 18.5" 12GA 6+1


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    Member Array oldogy's Avatar
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    I bought the wife a 442 S&W for the additional, if small, safety factor of being DAO. My theory is that if you need to use the gun you sure are not going to take the time to find and pull the hammer.
    oldogy
    I'll add that it does make a good CC piece but it is not a fun gun to shoot.
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  3. #3
    Member Array SaddleSC's Avatar
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    Agreed for SD

    I totally agree that the hammer will never be thumbed to SA in a self defense situation. I was referring to more options during a trip to the range; however, I do see that the DAO is an additional safety feature when carrying concealed. Thanks for your input.
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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    For self defense, cocking a revolver is generally a bad idea. The fact that the 442 can't be cocked is a benefit, since it makes it impossible for a prosecutor to argue that you cocked the gun and then accidentally shot someone (self defense is not available as a legal defense if you are charged with negligently shooting someone).

    Back when police departments still issued revolvers, some issued double action only guns for just this reason.

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    Member Array SaddleSC's Avatar
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    Excellent Point

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    The fact that the 442 can't be cocked is a benefit, since it makes it impossible for a prosecutor to argue that you cocked the gun
    This is something I never thought of, but it is an excellent point. Thanks so much.
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    Member Array crs34's Avatar
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    Had this same discussion with one of the officers that taught my CCW course. He owned a 642 and the chief had a 638. They were talking about a scenario where they were trying to make a head shot at 10 or 15 yards. Both could make the shot, but the 638 had the speed advantage because of the single action capability rather than staging the 642 and then getting a site picture back.

    I have a 642 and it's a blast to shoot. Spend a lot of time shooting at 7 and 15yards. Believe it would be pretty accurate beyond that if I could use single action. Will probably get a 638 later this year. The little J frames are fun. Just don't tell my wife.

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    Member Array drs1457's Avatar
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    The ability of the 638 to shoot single action pushes me in that direction, as I enjoy using my SD guns on the range.
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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    I've owned a 640 and a 49 (same as a 638). The smaller demensioned 640 was much easier to conceal, which was a plus IMHO.
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    Member Array roadrash's Avatar
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    Another plus for the 642 ,is that the action is more impervious to lint and debris when pocket carried ,since the frame does not have the large opening for the hammer.

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    VIP Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    Owned a 640(a 36 and 60 too)so I'd probably go with a 642 in the Airweight department. The 638 does offer that SA option, but a true BUG or even a primary carry in a pocket holster should be a DAO to keep the "critters" out of the gun!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    For self defense, cocking a revolver is generally a bad idea. The fact that the 442 can't be cocked is a benefit, since it makes it impossible for a prosecutor to argue that you cocked the gun and then accidentally shot someone (self defense is not available as a legal defense if you are charged with negligently shooting someone).

    Back when police departments still issued revolvers, some issued double action only guns for just this reason.
    I don't buy this arguement for a moment. An 'accidental' shoot is an accidental shoot...period.
    If you are properly defending yourself because of a threat, you have no worries about whether or not you cocked your hammer first.
    That would be the same thing with being 'cocked and lock', or one in the chamber, or carrying an extra mag, or having a .45 HP vs a 9mm HB...none of it makes any difference.
    It's either going to be a good shoot or not...more likely based upon how you handle yourself and relate the situation.
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    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    I have a 637 Chiefs Special with the hammer and I love it. Carry it everyday in the summer. No problems snagging. I carry hiking, fishing at the lake everywhere. I like having the option to shoot SA at the range or if I need to dispatch a angry snake while fishing etc. Plus I believe the gun just looks better with a hammer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    I don't buy this arguement for a moment. An 'accidental' shoot is an accidental shoot...period.
    If you are properly defending yourself because of a threat, you have no worries about whether or not you cocked your hammer first.
    That would be the same thing with being 'cocked and lock', or one in the chamber, or carrying an extra mag, or having a .45 HP vs a 9mm HB...none of it makes any difference.
    It's either going to be a good shoot or not...more likely based upon how you handle yourself and relate the situation.
    OMOYMV
    Yeah, I agree with you. After all, you are fearful for your life. Who would remember if they had cocked a hammer or just point and shoot. Now if you had trained to shoot single action only you might. I would think any decent defense lawyer would put a quick end to this type of questioning.
    oldogy
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    I purchased a Model 642 in 1998 but really like the notion of the Model 638 better because of it's single action option.

    I'm likely the only person on this forum who would use my double action revolvers in the single action mode for self defense.
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