P238 or 642? Size and firepower?

This is a discussion on P238 or 642? Size and firepower? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am interested in very easily concealed firearm. I have pretty much narrowed it down to the new P238 or the S&W 642. I know ...

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Thread: P238 or 642? Size and firepower?

  1. #1
    Member Array superthumbs's Avatar
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    P238 or 642? Size and firepower?

    I am interested in very easily concealed firearm. I have pretty much narrowed it down to the new P238 or the S&W 642. I know the 238 is extremely easy to conceal IWB, as I have tried out my parents'. I don't have immediate access to a 642 to compare it to.

    Does anyone have a photo comparison of a P238 next to a 642? Any experience from a concealability standpoint?

    My requirements are very easy to conceal tucked IWB when wearing well fitting dress clothes, abilitiy to go in the pocket on occasion, will replace my P228 when I just can't conceal it, so reliability is something I am not willing to compromise on.

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    I handled the 238...and own a j frame. I give concealability to the auto...power to the jframe.
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    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    I own both a J-frame and a P238, so let me weigh in here.

    For reliability, you'll never edge out a revo. That being said, I can say that I have extreme confidence in the SIG.

    Given a choice, I'd go with the P238. While it weighs the same as the 642 it is so much easier for me to conceal, not having that bulgy cylinder. I pocket carry it all the time. Pic below of my P238 in Mika Pocket Holster.

    For firepower, the P238 has the 6-round mag. While the .38 Special may seem more powerful, I'd encourage you to do some reading in the gun rags about Hornady's new Critical Defense ammo--this stuff really boosts up the capability of the .380 (and the .38 Special for that matter). So, I wouldn't sell the .380 too short in the ballistics department.

    Frankly, you can't miss either way, for both are excellent pocket guns.

    Good luck!


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    Member Array Jackawala's Avatar
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    Single action VS. Double action...
    In MY pocket I feel more comfortable with the DA J Frame.
    I used to own a Mustang but I never could get used to cocked and locked carry.
    For me single action semi autos are range guns, or combat guns, not CCW guns,
    even though I do have a soft spot for 1911's and Hi Powers.
    But thats just me.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    642 or a Kahr 9mm

    Both of these two guns have pros and cons. I own the 642 but not the Sig P238. I do have a Walther PPK in .380, however.

    In my case I use the 642 for pocket carry or discreet IWB belt carry, and find the cylinder bulge to be a small factor because it is not very big in a 5 shot J frame. I use the .38 special +P ammo from Speer in the "short barrel" version and think it is pretty potent - and better than most .380 I have seen. I have carried my Walther .380 in the past, but now favor a Kahr MK9 in 9mm for this role. The 9mm has a lot more power and the Kahr trigger is vastly superior to the PPK trigger.

    I probably would not go with the Sig P238 because a single action cocked and locked gun for pocket carry seems excessively complicated and a little unsafe to me. I prefer double action only for "deep cover" use, such as the 642 revolver or a Kahr.

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    Ex Member Array jreXD9's Avatar
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    I handled that new Sig 238 a couple days ago and it's a sweet lil pistol. The salesguy said it has very little recoil at all, surprisingly. They got 15 and had sold 14. I'd love to have one, but I too don't think I'd feel 100% comfortable carrying that thing cocked/locked inside my pants pointing anywhere near my jewels or anything else in the vicinity.

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    VIP Member Array searcher 45's Avatar
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    My Kel Tec P3AT is smaller and easier to conceal than any 380acp with the exception of Ruger LCP which is the same size but one once heaver. More fire power than S&W 5 shot with 6 in mag and one in chamber=7 spare mag is very small and easier to conceal than speed loader. My P3AT always goes band and eats everything I feed it. Hides very well in pocket holster and rides easy all day. Add Crisom Trace Laser sight and ether P3 or LCP becomes a fearsome up close and personal fighter.

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    VIP Member Array NCHornet's Avatar
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    I would probably go towards the Sig. The semi auto is going to much easier to conceal, and you will have more firepower. For rounds I carry the Buffalo Bore Gold Dots, better ballistics than a 38 Hydrashok, they are very impressive.

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    Member Array MasterGuns's Avatar
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    I only own the 642, so can't speak to a comparison; however, if you're thinking that the cylinder might be a bit thick for IWB or even pocket, my experience says no. The toughest thing to conceal is the grip, and that grip is thin. I often wear t-shirts that are not loose, and it doesn't print at all.
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    Member Array chiefs-special-guy's Avatar
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    my idea- suppose that awful day comes and you need it very badly. you need to fight right now, in poor conditions, in circumstances you didnt ask for. maybe your wife, or a child is there, and it is up to you to stop a real bad guy.
    your heart is racing, and the adrenaline is rising.
    okay, you reach for your gun.....
    which is it? which do you have total absolute confidence in? which has the manual of arms that is understandable in this situation? which has the power to stop the threat? your fine motor skills are degraded, and there is no time to reflect or remember.
    i pick the smith revolver. it will fire when i pull the trigger. it will fire again when i pull the trigger again. it is in a caliber that will do the job, but is shootable. sigs are fine guns,but.....
    now, this is just me. theory is fine. but my theory is this- if you really need it, now, which will it be? everyone should decide this based on their gut feelings.
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    Member Array Gibber's Avatar
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    Although I am jonesing for a P238, I still recommend the 642.
    If I could only have ONE carry gun, it would be the 642.

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    Member Array superthumbs's Avatar
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    Great feedback guys. I guess I've never fully trusted pocket-sized semi-autos. I think I should probably just stick with my gut here, which tells me that even though the 642 may take a little more work to conceal, I will feel more confident in carrying it if I need to. On top of that, my EDC is a P228, which does not require a manual safety as part of my draw.

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    Member Array Air,Land&Sea's Avatar
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    I compared the same two before getting a no-ILS 442. The Sig (especially the newer one with wood grips) is a major winner, but I went for simplicity - no mags, recoil springs, etc. It's a bit bigger, but less to bother with. Prolly can't go wrong either way, but the 442/642 seems like such a no-brainer.
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    Member Array gwlammers's Avatar
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    At one time I used to think that concealing a J frame in a pocket was a bad idea with the bulky cylinder, but after trying it in a Desantis Nemesis pocket holster I was quite impressed. The cylinder actually helps break up the outline of the rest of the gun.

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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyC4 View Post
    I own both a J-frame and a P238, so let me weigh in here.

    For reliability, you'll never edge out a revo. That being said, I can say that I have extreme confidence in the SIG.

    Given a choice, I'd go with the P238. While it weighs the same as the 642 it is so much easier for me to conceal, not having that bulgy cylinder. I pocket carry it all the time. Pic below of my P238 in Mika Pocket Holster.

    For firepower, the P238 has the 6-round mag. While the .38 Special may seem more powerful, I'd encourage you to do some reading in the gun rags about Hornady's new Critical Defense ammo--this stuff really boosts up the capability of the .380 (and the .38 Special for that matter). So, I wouldn't sell the .380 too short in the ballistics department.

    Frankly, you can't miss either way, for both are excellent pocket guns.

    Good luck!

    +1, I don't have the Sig but I do have a LCP same caliber. I agree 100% with your assessment. I chose the LCP for the higher round count as the ballistics between the two rounds is minimal IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyC4 View Post
    Hornady's new Critical Defense ammo--this stuff really boosts up the capability of the .380 (and the .38 Special for that matter).
    Again I agree. JMO, but anyone thinking or carrying a .380, or carrying one now for SD should look at this stuff. It's got some serious ballistics and video to back up their advertisement.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

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