I have been a fan of J-frame revolvers for a while. My BUG is a 642. I recently saw the new 642 “PowerPort” and decided to give it a try. This model seems to address the two biggest faults I have with the regular 642, namely the sights and the stout recoil. This is a brief non-scientific review. I was limited in my ammunition selection, and only shot a few rounds of each. The results should be considered as representative and not definitive. I shot some groups from 25 yards and chronoed the results. I was interested to see if the “PowerPort” would affect velocity. I shot both 125 grain Gold Dots, and 158 SWC from each gun. The Gold Dots averaged 757fps out of the 642s 1 -7/8 inch barrel. They averaged 801fps out of the 642PP 2- 1/8 inch barrel. The 158s averaged 735fps out of the 642, and 747fps out of the 642PP. It seems that both rounds are a little faster out of the PowerPort version.
Accuracy for both guns was similar despite the “better” sights on the PowerPort gun. The standard 642 comes with a notch rear and a ramped front sight. I have always had trouble picking up the front sight with this setup. The PowerPort gun has the same notch in the rear but has a big white dot sight dovetailed into the front. This is much easier to pick up. It also offers the option of drifting the sight for windage if needed. The 642 shot 5 Gold Dots into 4.38” and 5 158s into 6.12” @25 yards. The PowerPort put 5 Gold Dots into 5.75” (4 into 4.49”), and 5 158s into 6.50. These were the first rounds fired by the PowerPort and the trigger is still a bit stiff. I’ll call accuracy a draw,but the PP sights seem better regulated. The 642 hits low and right with no way to adjust. I added a set of Crimson Trace grips to the PowerPort gun. So with the laser and the big dot sight, I expect that this gun will have a big advantage in low light. Neither gun seemed to prefer the 158s.
If you have ever shot a 642, you know that recoil is a bit harsh. For the life of me, I can’t imagine shooting one of the .357 guns. The PowerPort seems to help a bit with recoil. It went from brutal with the 642 to stout but manageable with the PP. Maybe it’s the difference between a .44 magnum and a .357 magnum? In a real life shooting I doubt that anyone would notice, but it might be more fun to practice with the PP. Some people have said that the PowerPort might ruin your night vision by directing the flash up into your line of sight. Well, the fireball from a 1-7/8” 642 is just short of a Mosin Nagant, so I say that argument is moot anyway. I’ll try to shoot it some at night for comparison.
I know that this is a short review, but I have seen quite a few questions across the web regarding the PowerPort. I hope that this answers some of them. Be Safe.
The sight and port
Sight picture 642
Sight picture PowerPort
Gold Dot targets (should say 125 GD instead of 135)