A Faithful Revolver...

This is a discussion on A Faithful Revolver... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello. On 04.07.93, I bought a revolver primarily as a BUG for duty use as a peace officer. It was a NIB S&W Model 042. ...

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    Array Stephen A. Camp's Avatar
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    A Faithful Revolver...

    Hello. On 04.07.93, I bought a revolver primarily as a BUG for duty use as a peace officer. It was a NIB S&W Model 042. The anodizing on this gun was originally shinier than on current Model 442's and it is on the smaller "non-magnum" J-frame and with the thinner front sight. Like all of the .38 J-frame snubs, it holds but 5 shots. There is no +P designation on it anywhere, but it has digested more than a few.

    This gun was never used as a primary on anything and never drawn against another person...unlike the belt gun it was quietly backing up, but it went with me on narcotics raids, routine patrol, a couple of barricaded persons situations and other police activity and was often what I carried off-duty as a BUG and sometimes a primary.

    When I retired from policing in '98, it didn't, and was my 24/7 revolver for a few more years.


    This one may be a bit worn, but it has been a faithful servant though one that required regular practice so that I could do my part in seeing that it did its. I believe the snub Airweight to be a really decent BUG, but do NOT think it is the best choice at all for new shooters, be they male or female.

    On 06.25.02, I replaced the faithful 042 with a common, run-of-the-mill Model 642. The reason was simple. I carry the snub primarily via a pocket holster and 24/7. Summers are hot in Texas and even daily cleaning was still not always enough to keep rust spots from popping up. I don't mind honest 'battle scars" or signs of use, but cannot abide rust.

    Now the Model 642 is showing signs of constant carry, but it is much easier to maintain corrosion free.


    This Model 642 continues to serve well and while I "like" and trust it, the ol' 042 remains my favorite between the two. I'm not sure why unless it is that I actually prefer blue/dark guns.


    Both the 642 and 042 are loaded with the same ammunition: Remington's 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. I've tried others but in this caliber, I still prefer this "old techology" cartridge. (Federal's version seems to work about as well as the Remington FWIW.)

    If you are considering a compact, but reasonably potent BUG, I suggest taking a look at the Airweight line. I personally prefer the older versions w/o the lock...to the point that I will not own one with it. These aluminum-framed revolvers are plenty light to carry, but heavy enough that one doesn't have to be concerned with bullets unseating themselves during recoil. I've never had it happen nor has anyone I'm familiar with.

    These do require practice in order for their users to be able to get the shots where they need to go and their payload doesn't leave much room for error in terms of either power or number of immediately available shots, and reloading is not nearly so quick as with an automatic.

    Still, they offer what I consider "adequate" power...in practiced hands. These guns are convenient to carry and usually reliable in the extreme assuming at least a minimal amount of care.

    The Model 042 and 642 follow a fairly long line of Airweights I've carried over the years and for me, they remain a top choice. Others will disagree and that's fine, but IF you are looking for a compact little gun to be with you 24/7 and you are willing to practice with it, I think this type revolver is tough to beat.

    I guess I'm not alone as they've been around in this role for decades.

    Best.
    Last edited by Stephen A. Camp; May 7th, 2006 at 11:21 PM.

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    Senior Member Array WJP9's Avatar
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    I looked at a model 637 in stainless last week. Came with a custom leather IWB for $230. Hardy shot and in stellar condition. Trying to decide between that and a kel-tec P3AT as a pocket-rocket when
    "dressed up". What do you think?
    -Bill

    "Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."

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    Array Stephen A. Camp's Avatar
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    Hello. My personal choice would be for the Model 637. If it's in the description you describe and (for me) particularly if it's "pre-lock", the price sounds quite nice.

    Best.

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    For me it's a 638. Sometimes BUG, sometimes primary. I'm using 135gr. Gold Dot +P short barrel loads right now but would like to try a box of 158 LSWCHP +P sometime and see how they handle. You're right about the practice routine. With my .45 Commander shots come easy. It's taken alot of practice to nail down the 638 to the point I'm satisfied with my performance enough to carry it.

    An interesting note. When I was recently ordering a new IWB holster from Andrews he said the .45 / .38 snub BUG seemed to be one of the most common combinations he heard of from his customers. His as well.

    Eric

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Good write up as always

    WJP9 i would go with 637

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    Excellent write-up Mr. C.

    What stocks adorn your 042?
    USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947

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    Array Stephen A. Camp's Avatar
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    Hello. Those are inexpensive (under $20) Hideout Grips made of nylon.
    I bought them at Brownells and modified them so that they'd work well with speedloaders.

    Best.

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    Senior Member Array Macattack's Avatar
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    just bought the 642 recently and now carry it every where. Its recoil is a little more fierce than i thought, but after a few hundred rounds, im learning to cope and accuracy is now acceptable(but needs work) I have the same grips on the 642 and find that the part directly behind the cylinder release irritates my inside thumb after a few shots. Just me? Any suggestion on a better grip Dr. Campbell? (called you docter because your posts are as precise as a surgeons)
    -mac
    "In those days, there was a lot more respect for other people and it showed in peoples values.... Today the word value means nothing more than something you get on the $1 menu at McDonald's." -BARK'N

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    Thx Steve for your usual fine write-up.

    Seeing that old 042 reminds me of my old M85 - something about the snub that bears the wear of long time carry! It's not in the same class but despite being ''just'' a Taurus, is a great piece IMO and will see duty from time to time, as it is a tad smaller than my SP-101.


    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Hello and thank you.

    Macattack: You might take a look at the boot grips here:

    http://www.inventorscolony.com/colli...ps/default.asp

    or take a look at the rubber boot grips offered by Hogue if you prefer that type.

    Best.

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    Senior Member Array Kevin's Avatar
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    Stephen - Thanks for the write up! I bought a 642 just last week. It was at the gun store when I was picking up a Sig I had ordered. I couldn't resist and walked out with two guns! - I haven't had a chance to shoot it yet, but have heard nothing but good things about it! Can't wait to go to the range with the two new kids!!

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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    Carried an S&W Model 36 for years as a BUG. I cut the hammer and the gun looks like it has been in a war (summer in Miami will do that to a gun). Then I got a Model 60, did the hammer thing again (my wife wanted the Model 36). Now after 16 years the Model 60 looks as good as new, except the grips they show ware.

    frankmako

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    Senior Member Array Macattack's Avatar
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    Thanks stephan. Was thinking about getting the hogue but those wood and ivory grips look to good. ( darn it now i have to find 75 extra bucks somewhere)
    "In those days, there was a lot more respect for other people and it showed in peoples values.... Today the word value means nothing more than something you get on the $1 menu at McDonald's." -BARK'N

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    New Member Array 638Bodyguard's Avatar
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    I'm glad I read this post! I'm new to the whole concealed carry thing (so new I'm still waiting on my permit to arrive in the mail!) and after spending the last couple of months scouring these forums and really wanting a glock 27 (after deciding the really small kel-tec 380 is too unreliable) I went down and put a S&W 638 Bodyguard on layaway before leaving town this weekend. With all the different guns on here, it seemed that for 24/7 carry, alot of guys ended up with their snubbies with them, and their glocks in the safe. Hope I made the right decision because with 2 kids at home and my wife going back to college, this is going to be the gun I'm stuck with for a while!

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    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    I can't say I have one of those lil'smith airweights, I wish I did.
    I do have a ss Taurus 85 ultralight tucked in a nemasis pocket holster. I then have it in my front pocket. I really like it there when I ride my motorcycle. Lite in weight and comfortable.
    Best of all....no one knows.............................. ! :)
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

    Just call me a pessimistic optimist !

    U.S. Navy vet 1981-1992

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