BUG for duty


June 3, 2006, 11:35 PM
Okay on the list handed down from above I can carry the following:

686 w/ 2.5" barrel
340 and 340PD

I firmly admit I know vey little abouyt snubbies. I've only recently gotten in wheel guns at all. So whatever your suggestion is, can I get the reason for it? That'll help me figure this all out a lot faster.



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Stephen A. Camp
June 4, 2006, 12:24 AM
Hello, sir. I'd go with the Model 642. It's light, but not so light as to preclude the use of pure lead hollow point bullets. It's snag free and rust resistant. It will have more recoil than the steel Model 60, but it practiced hands it can do good work.

Best and good luck.

June 4, 2006, 12:25 AM
Lots of good choices here. What caliber will you be allowed to use? Where will you carry your BUG--ankle, IWB, vest, etc.? All of the revolvers you listed fill specific niches.

June 4, 2006, 12:43 AM
What an arbitrary list... but at least they're all good choices. I have to second Mr. Camp's recommendation. Load that bad boy up with some Speer Short Barrel loads and you can tuck it on yourself anywhere you please.

June 4, 2006, 12:58 AM
Of the guns listed, I have a STRONG preference for the S&W Centennial-style revolvers: 640(all-steel), 642(aluminum frame), 340(titanium cylinder, scandium frame) and 340PD(same w/black finish). How strong? I currently own 3 Centennials(and used to own another), and would gladly buy another for the right price($350 or less in VG used condition).

The 2.5" 686 is a service-sized revolver with a shortened barrel - I've carried one as a CCW piece before, but it's big and heavy.

The 60 has a hammer spur that can snag on things.

The 649 has a shrouded hammer spur that can still be manually cocked - it's a pretty good design, but the slot in the frame for the hammer can allow pocket lint or small objects to enter the lockwork or block the hammer.

The Centennials(640, 642, 340, 340PD) completely enclose the hammer, and are practically immune to snagging or pocket debris.
- The all-steel 640 is good, but heavy; if you have to use .357MAG in your back-up gun, get this model.
- The titanium/scandium-alloy 340(PD) is VERY light and carries VERY comfortably; recoil with .357MAG is VERY unpleasant. stick to .38SPL if you can.
- The steel/aluminum 642 is, IMO, Just Right; it's still pretty light(16oz), and carries comfortably, but is just heavy enough to shoot comfortably(sort of).

If your agency will pay for or reimburse for your back-up gun in full, I'd say go with the scandium 340; if you have to pay for it yourself, the 642 or a very good used 640.

June 4, 2006, 01:26 AM
I carried a blued 49 for over 20 yrs and a 649 for over 12 yrs. They were usually in an ankle rig as my 2nd but also as my off duty and covert carry. They were my never leave home without them gun. I carried them on every part of the body that you can imagine and once while working an UC case I was forced to carry the 649 in a place where I'm embarrassed to admit that it fit. I carried them in all kinds of weather and never had a problem with either. The hammer slot I guess could cause a problem but in all the years I carried them it never was for me and I had mine in some pretty cruddy conditions. At end of shift just blow out anything that might have accummulated in the slot.
I'm partial to the humpbacks because of their unique appearance. I wouldn't have any heartburn carrying a 642 either but it just doesn't have the same feeling for me.

June 4, 2006, 03:30 AM
Another vore for the 642. It is pretty close to the perfect BUG.


June 4, 2006, 09:08 AM
Another vote for the 642,light weight and
not hard to control with decent loads.If
weight is not going to be a factor then
the 640 would be my choice.

June 4, 2006, 10:10 AM
the centennial or bodyguard design is hands down the best snubby.....the light weight would be prefered for ease of carry but the trade off is its less comfortable to shoot.

i carry a 642-1 as a bug on my ankle, but i am partial to my 649(38) except for the weight.

June 4, 2006, 11:22 AM
I can carry my BUG in .38 Spl or .357. Issued ammo in .38 is 125gr. Winchester +P, what particular type of Winchester round I don't know. .357 is 125gr. Gold Dot.

I'm currently looking at carrying my BUG attached to my vest in a "shoulder holster" position, but that's not certain. I'm not a huge fan of the ankle holster, but it does have it's advantages.

The weight of the weapon while a factor isn't a huge one. Compared to an HK P7M8 they're all light weight.

From the information I've gotten I'm thinking either a 640 or a 642 look just about right. I do like the ability to fire single action if need be, but then again this is going to be a contact range weapon, so it's kinda pointless in the overall scheme of things.


June 4, 2006, 12:41 PM
When the 642 first came out, I thought "S&W finally made the perfect BUG. Lightweight, reliable, won't rust. That was 13 years ago. Same gun is still with me over 40 hours a week. I've flat worn out several holsters, the gun is looking pretty ragged around the edges, but, it still goes bang every time I pull the trigger. Its pretty much at the edge of controllability and power for me. A .357 that weighs less? I'll pass. If the budget is unlimited, I might consider getting the Scandium .357 and carrying it with .38's.

Ala Dan
June 4, 2006, 02:08 PM
I will have too support the opinion (and vote) of my friend Mr. Stephen
Camp; as the S&W .38 Special model 642 would make a most excellent
choice for a BUG; in uniform or plainclothes~!:D

June 4, 2006, 02:10 PM
I will be the oddball, and recommend the 686 2.5". While its a pretty big snubbie to carry around (L-frame), the extra weight increases shootability and handling IMO.

June 4, 2006, 03:12 PM
Well, since I already posted a response to this fellow's question in another forum, I just thought I'd post a couple of comments in this one ...

I'm partial to the humpbacks because of their unique appearance. I wouldn't have any heartburn carrying a 642 either but it just doesn't have the same feeling for me. I'm glad to hear that someone else also thinks this way about the Bodyguard models.;) It was one of the reasons I originally bought one. Something about its unique appearance simply appealed to me, and I don't often think that way about a handgun. (Not unless it's a Single Action revolver, at any rate.;) ) I've often considered picking up a 638 sometime ... giving me an Airweight with the same unique appearance as my older 649. Preferably a +P capable, pre-lock model. Can't really have too many J-frames, I suppose. That's why I picked up one of the bobbed hammer 37's, too.

It's light, but not so light as to preclude the use of pure lead hollow point bullets. This comment covers the reason I prefer the 642 Airweight over the lighter Airlite models.

I've handled and fired a number of the early Airlites chambered in just .38 Spl, as well as the newer .357 Magnum chambered models. The felt recoil is a bit more noticeable with the .38 Spl +P ammunition (compared to the standard Airweight), and the .357 Magnum models can be rather brutal when loaded with Magnum ammunition. I dislike titanium cylinders, anyway.

The steel-framed J-frames are more comfortable to shoot, followed by the Airweights (aluminum frames & either carbon or stainless steel cylinders), followed by the Airlites (Scandium aluminum alloy frames with titanium cylinders).

I find the 642 Airweight to be an acceptable compromise for my needs. I work with several other instructors who have selected one or another model of steel-framed, Airweight or Airlite J-frames, and all have been pleased with their choices. Another fellow recently chose a 442, and he's been very pleased with it, having selected it as a Secondary Weapon.

I know a fellow working for another agency who carries a customized 686 2.5" L-frame as a Secondary off-duty weapon. Yep, off-duty. He doesn't mind the weight, and being off-duty he can carry it as a belt weapon under cover garments. He's been leaning more and more toward lighter weight aluminum & polymer framed primary & secondary off-duty weapons, though, and he doesn't carry the 686 snub as much as he used to, but he still likes something about that revolver. He's certainly fired an amazing number of cases of ammunition through it since it was rebarreled and customized many years ago.

Whichever J-frame you may choose, bear in mind that most owners/users discover that these diminutive revolvers generally require a well-developed, refined level of revolver skills, maintained through consistent practice.

June 4, 2006, 03:43 PM
Another vote for the 642--it's the perfect snubbie.

June 4, 2006, 10:32 PM
642. 640 if youdon't mind the extra weight.
I had a Taurus 85 in titanium. I could actually shoot it better than the S&W's. However, I've had some QC issues with some of my Taurus guns, so I'd give it a careful look and function test before I trusted my life to a another Taurus.

June 4, 2006, 10:49 PM
I wish they had a 642 in my day,the best you could get was an Agent!;)

Brian Williams
June 4, 2006, 10:57 PM
check out the 642 club thread.

June 4, 2006, 11:06 PM
I have had one for bout a year now and in the summer it is the best...you forget you have it on sometimes...I carry a glock 19 in the cooler months or days in the summer but the 642 is the go to when I need to hide one off duty...you can hide it easily in an IWB under a tight tshirt...

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