Yep, I carry one. It is good. Trigger is stiff out of the box. So far a good gun. In the search link at the top of the page plug in S&W 642 and you will find plenty of reading on the 642. Most of the time it comes up in other topic threads.
I live near S&W, bout 1 hour drive. Anyway i went to their range
in March and shot about 7 guns. One was the 642. Nice gun
but i prefer a Model 60. Its my CCW. the 642 was a little to
light for me. The model 60 is a little heavier but i think its a bet steadier.
The 642 is a great gun. I had one for a while but replaced it with a 340PD. The 340 is even lighter and is chambered for 357mag. It's not for everyone though as it's about the fiestiest J frame of all time.
My wife carries a 642 with Crimson Trace grips; it's a great little package. Just today, I grabbed it and dropped it into the pocket holster to run out to the store. By the way, I strongly recommend Bob Mika's pocket holsters, a great product for $16...see http://www.frontiernet.net/~akim/
Yes, the trigger is as as stiff as they come, but we've left it stock so far.
It's light enough for pocket carry. The rear sight is just a shallow gutter in the top strap. The front sight is relatively low profile, but a dab of orange paint will help that. The long DA trigger and the tiny sights make it very, very hard for me to shoot accurately.
What's worse for me is that I don't practice with it much. I find it hurts when I shoot it -- the trigger guard smacks my trigger finger. Ouch. As a result, I seldom carry it. I'm much better with my Kahr MK9, though that is a good bit heavier. I have absolutely no desire to shoot one of the super lightweight .357 -- that's just turning money into recoil, IMHO.
It will need a trigger job out of the box. Any decent gunsmith can do it for you relatively cheaply.
Reliable little gun. Fits almost anywhere. However...
- It requires much practice to become accurate with it.
- You are limited to 5 shots in the gun.
- It kicks a quite a bit. (My hands were tired of it after half a box of ammo, and shooting the heavier grain rounds, I could barely tolerate more than 10 shots.)
A great little gun for some, but try before you buy if you can.
I have a similar S&W, a 638. Same action. Out of the box I was less than happy with the trigger but now I've put around 500 rounds through it and it's either smoother or I'm getting better with it! It does take some practice to get used to. I've still got the stock grips and they require a firm grip, especially with +P loads to get quick follow ups with any accuracy. I feel pretty good with rapid fire out to 30 feet and with slower fire out to 50 but it sure ain't no 1911! The trouble is it just carries so darn well. I keep mine stoked with Speer Gold Dot +P 135gr short barrel loads.
I bought mine with a factory-installed Crimson Trace laser, which IMO makes it a "can't miss". The laser is well worth the extra $$, either factory-installed or bought separately at http://www.crimsontrace.com. I practice without the laser also, but have found that using the laser actually improves my sights-only aim.
The grips I got are the longer rubber boot type, which accomplish 3 things: they add length & width (my hands are somewhat large), making a more comfortable grip; they make for a more secure grip because of the rubber (when when your hands are damp or sweaty); and they absorb the recoil somewhat.
My carry ammo is a low-recoil hollowpoint (Federal "Personal Defense" 110-gr Hydra-Shoks). Practice ammo 130gr FMJ round-nose - I am experimenting a little with whatever's on sale, but have found that it doesn't like semi-wadcutters too much.
It does have a snappy recoil, but not bad; and as I said, the rubber grips absorb the shock somewhat. When I first shot it, my hand would be sore after 25 rounds, but now I can exceed 100-150 with no problems . The laser makes for very fast target re-acquisition.
The trigger is a little stiff out of the box, but loosens up with use & dry-firing - I guess I could get a smith to lighten it a little. I don't worry too much about it - in a defense situation, I doubt I would notice it, I would just put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.
With a concealed hammer, you don't have to worry about snags or lint. The gun is very concealable and lightweight - it just disappears. I don't even notice I'm carrying any more. In fact, a couple times when I was out, I suddenly thought, "Oh! I forgot my gun!" but when I checked, it was right there where it always is.
Yeah, it's "only" 5 shots - I carry a couple speedloaders and a little .25 BUG - but 5 shots oughta do the job for most any personal defense situation.
My wife carries one. I had one also, but she "stole it" -- as she wanted two identical guns so she could carry one and have one around the house. I find them a bit hard to shoot well, as the trigger is long and heavy. But, my wife shoots them quite a bit and she's very good with them. Must be practice and technique!
As ELCruisr said, they sure do carry well.
I just picked one up a few weeks ago and blew through about 25 rounds on the first range trip and 25 more on the second. Great little gun. First five rounds I fired were dead on at 10 yards. Long heavy trigger pull. My shooting partner (my 11 year old daughter) cant pull the trigger on it (she has no problem on my other DA/SA triggers) so that should tell you something. All in all, I'm VERY happy with this little gun. I was shooting Remington Half JHP in +P loads and it did not kick that much.
Got one a few months ago to carry while I saved up for a Kahr. Within a week I had lost all interest in the Kahr, the 642 is just too handy! Carry anywhere, conceal easy, no safety to fumble with and the trigger does seem to smooth out with use. Can't see myself ever being without one now.
The 642 was my first actual carry gun, used it to qualify for my permit the second time I took it to the range. As others have said, it's a breeze to carry and it's so small there are plenty of carry options. I carry a fullsize 1911 most of the time now but the 642 still gets carried when wardrobe makes concealing the 1911 too difficult. It kicks pretty good with 125 +P Golden Sabers but I think it's a hoot n' a half! Someday I'll get a 649 to keep it company but there are several others on my list before that.
I've had a S&W 642 for about 8 years, and feel that it is an excellent gun for a specific application. That application is a lightweight pocket or ankle carry gun that is absolutely reliable and intended for short range use to save your life.
The gun weighs 15 ounces empty and maybe 18 ounces loaded, and is not fun to shoot with .38 +P ammo because of a heavy trigger, 2-finger boot grips and stiff recoil. But it can be concealed more easily than most other guns and fired with the muzzle in contact with your adversary, if needed. It is very useful as a backup gun that you go to when something prevents you from using your larger primary gun.
I think that a good way to carry this gun (if you are right handed and have your primary in a belt holster on your right side) is in your left pants pocket. The weight will tend to balance your primary, and you can go for it with your left hand if your right hand is disabled or in use fending off your attacker.
It came with the "custom" CT Laser grips and I can line up my shots quickly and reliably. Usually I can put all 5 rounds into a 1.5 - 2 inch grouping with the laser firing fairly quickly.
The trigger does take time to "work in" so I dry fire it with the Snap rounds in it.
My wife has the twin of the revolver and likes hers a lot. We went to the range a bit back and she tried mine out and she noticed that the action was smoother and not nearly as stiff.
So yeah, I'm dry firing hers now too. Figure after about 10,000 pulls on each gun I'll be done...and my trigger finger will be able to break bricks!
I use a "Uncle Mike's" pocket holster for mine and it carries like a wallet in my front pocket. (That I keep in my other pocket!) Gun comes right out nicely enough.
I tend to keep Federal Hydras in it, but lately I've been keeping Speer Gold Dots for carry, just based on what I've been reading on bullet performance. And I keep two speed strips with 6 rounds each on my belt in a small "digital film" carry case.
So yeah, I like the 642s. I also have that little Kel-Tec P32 and an old Enfield Pistol that I like to shoot.
Next? Probably either a XD45 or a 1911 of some sort. And a nice rifle and shotgun are in the mix too!
i also have a sw642 for a bug to my ultra carry II. I helped the poor sight problem with a dab of orange paint and some lg405 crimson trace laser grips. I love the combo, and with the laser it is very accurate and easy to shoot. I haven't done anything to the trigger as with practice I have gotten used to it.
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