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If you are willing to put in the time to master it, it is a very reasonable choice, and has many advantages.

But if you are just looking for something to stick in your pocket and think you are prepared, keep walking.
^^^THIS!^^^
 
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I've carried my 642 in a Mika pocket holster for the past 13 years. Mine has a CTC laser grip, also. I keep it stoked with either Buffalo Bore FBI loads or 135gr Gold Dots. It pocket carries w/o any issues. Recoil and muzzle flip from stout 38+P takes a little getting used to, but it's manageable. Utterly reliable and accurate enough for close in SD, which is precisely what it's meant for.

It's ideal for my low risk lifestyle. But each of us has to assess our circumstances to make a choice that's reasonable.
 

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My wife has the 642. It’s a great gun and I often carry it , especially in the summertime. It conceals well in a pocket and lite weight. Double action is different then a single action trigger . All in all it’s a good gun to add to any collection.
 

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A fine firearm capable of more accuracy than most shooters. Conceals easily. Time tested.
 

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I have had a 642 in my pocket every day for over 4 years now. The finish has held up very well. The only change I made to the out side is I changed the grip screw to stainless. The factory black screw kept rusting.
When I first bought the gun it needed some trigger work. I bought a spring kit, but when I opened the gun I found the return slide was rough! almost like it was unfinished. After smoothing that and replacing only the trigger return spring, it became a very easy to shoot trigger. I did complete the trigger work but that was all that was really needed.
I bought it because I needed a gun that I could shoot and load one handed and a revolver fit that bill. I keep it because it fits my lifestyle. Once its in the pocket I don't even notice it till I need to move it to another pair of pants.
I have owned other J frames before, but they were all steel framed guns. I was surprised at how much more felt recoil the light weight guns have. I practice a lot with light loads. 50 rounds of carry ammo would make my arthritic hands ache for several days after! But 50 rounds of light wad cutters, and I don't even notice.
My carry load is a 148 gr WC bullet at just under 900 FPS [ advertised, at 950 fps] and my practice load is around 650 fps with the same bullet. Their point of impact are very close to the same out to 20 yards.

I really like the airweight gun as a carry gun. It is easy to forget you have it! And thats something that never happens with a bigger, or heavier, gun! DR
 

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I have a chance to get a S&W 642 Airweight series revolver.
With tax it would be just under $500. 5 rd .38 +P shrouded hammer with a 1.87 inch barrel.
well, let ma start by saying that I have never owned one let alone carried one.
My Taurus 605 and 856 are ok but not exactly pocket carry material.

How do they handle? Conceal? Pros and cons please.
They're your basic .38 snubbie.

Cons -- I found shooting it with the stock grips to be painful. Fortunately there are a lot of options.

Pros -- biggest aftermarket of all the snubbies.
 

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But n some CC positions I’d feel safer with a 442 or 642.
Quoted this part because it is at the heart of the strong points of the platform.

If you believe that speed of presentation and action are the most important qualities to have for your SD needs, the snub j frame excels in spades for this application, and it has everything to do with carry position possibilities.

One can make an argument against it for capacity or power, but no one can argue against it for the purposes of being able to get the fastest shots on target if you take advantage of its carry position possibilities.
 

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Since this is about 642s, if anyone is interested there is a new 642, satin finish, on Gunbroker right now about to run out in roughly 27 minutes. Minimum bid is 399 and there are no bids at present.
 

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I have a chance to get a S&W 642 Airweight series revolver.
With tax it would be just under $500. 5 rd .38 +P shrouded hammer with a 1.87 inch barrel.
well, let ma start by saying that I have never owned one let alone carried one.
My Taurus 605 and 856 are ok but not exactly pocket carry material.

How do they handle? Conceal? Pros and cons please.
For pocket carry and deep concealment your 642 is a great choice. Learning to shoot it well is possible but requires practice for sure. Mine is a the 442. I find it particularly useful for concealed carry on these hot shorts and tee shirt days.
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356779
 

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I carry the 642’s cousin, the 442 air weight, as my 3rd gun on duty, sometimes a second off duty on in plainclothes and as my around the house gun.

Pros are it’s so small and light you really don’t know it’s there.

Cons are it’s so small and light that even standard pressure rounds kick like a mule.

I carry it loaded with wad cutters. Easier to control, and eject more easily given the short ejection rod.

On duty I carry mine in an ankle holster with an extra Bianchi speed strip.

Off duty either on the ankle or in a Galco Kingtuk IWB.

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ETA: I have boot grips on it now. Better, but still tough to hang onto with full power loads.
 

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SAMMEOW, FWIW I was never a great fan of the little 5-shooters of any kind, in any caliber, by any manufacturer. Still, I began carrying a 640 as a second weapon, after an incident in which I badly needed one. Later, a family member acquired a 642, but ended up not carrying it. I began using the 642 due to the lighter weight. The 642 became my second weapon while I was still gainfully employed, and a CCW after I retired. Much as I was never a fan of these little guns, I came to believe the 642 is a practical little weapon for many of us. I have since acquired a few of the little 5-shooters.

I don't perceive much of a difference in recoil between the steel framed 640 and aluminum framed 642 with .38 +P ammo. Where I do perceive a difference in recoil is with the little S&W 940 9mm, even though it has a steel fame, and slightly heavier barrel than the 640 and 642.

In short, the little 642 has been a trouble free little gun, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in acquiring a small revolver for carry......
5-shooters (1).JPG
 

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View attachment 356907 A 442 lives in my pocket. A few other J-Frames rotate in my waist. You can’t beat them.
I never get tired of seeing that line up you got there.

I’ve just got the two at the current, but I’m going to change that by adding another airweight to the mix.
356910
 

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I don't perceive much of a difference in recoil between the steel framed 640 and aluminum framed 642 with .38 +P ammo. Where I do perceive a difference in recoil is with the little S&W 940 9mm, even though it has a steel fame, and slightly heavier barrel than the 640 and 642.
I always found it interesting how different people interpret recoil… not implying anything rock185, but what one person notices, another doesn’t. Different strokes, right?

I’ve had my 642-1 since 2009. In 2015, I converted it over to 9mm via a Pinnacle converted cylinder. Still have the original cylinder, so I have sort of a convertible, but I haven’t shot .38s out of it in years.

Never found 9mm, specifically 147 grain Hornady XTP, to be any worse than .38 +P (used to carry 110 grain Hornady CD). I do practice with 115 grain UMC bulk, which has a similar POI as my carry load (and it’s cheap to shoot). Gun didn’t blow up, burst into flames, or harmed me in anyway since it was converted. Other than the conversion, had the gun and both cylinders done in NP3 Plus, run LG-405s, and a LaserMax weapon light (make sure to say that because I always get questions on why I have two lasers when I post pictures).



If I had to do it all over again… I’d probably see about doing a converted Titanium cylinder. Would cut the weight down by about what a load is, so I’d be carrying a gun loaded that weighs like my current setup, unloaded. That revolver goes everywhere with me (off duty) at its current weight, because it is so easy to carry.
 

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I never get tired of seeing that line up you got there.

I’ve just got the two at the current, but I’m going to change that by adding another airweight to the mix.
View attachment 356910
Sometimes I think people say, oh not him again. Glad you like it. I would like a 49 Bodyguard but, I never see them for sale local. I don’t want to buy at auction or on line.
 
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