S&W 642 vs. 442


Boston Irish
October 8, 2006, 10:44 PM

Can anyone help me in making a decision between the smith & wesson 642 vs. the 442? I am leaning towards the 442 because I like the blueing, I have way too many stainless guns already! BUT.... will the carbon steel in the 442 hold up as well as the stainless steel? I know alot of people here love the 642 is that the better choice?
One of them will be coming home with me... just want to make the right choice.

If you enjoyed reading about "S&W 642 vs. 442" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
October 8, 2006, 10:54 PM
I love my 442 and carry it often. It is holding up just fine. I also have a 638, close enough to a 642. I think I like the 442 better.




Stephen A. Camp
October 8, 2006, 11:00 PM
Hello, sir.

I own both Models 642 and 442 snubs and have carried S&W J-frames of one sort or another for decades. In my opinion, both perform equally. The only advantages I see for the 642 is that it resists corrosion longer than the 442. It also tends to show wear marks less obviously than the darker gun.

This 642 has been my constant companion (via a pocket holster) for several years now. If you look closely, wear marks are visible on the cylinder and the frame. These don't show as much as they would were the cylinder and barrel blued and the the frame's anodizing, black. The gun also resists corrosion better. How much of an issue this actually is depends upon the individual, the climate, and their personal preferences. I am "blessed" with the "acid fingers" and even when cleaning at the end of each day, my blued snubs would eventually show tiny specs of corrosion here and there when carried during the hotter months of the year here in Texas.

Not actually a 442, this 042 (essentially the same gun) was carried as a backup gun for several years. Scuff marks and dings show up more readily. Personally, this was not the problem for me but keeping it 100% free of rust was.

Any handgun carried lots will show signs of it. I consider these marks of use to be "honorable" but prefer the 642 for its corrosion-resistance to the 442 even though I much prefer dark guns.

In terms of shooting performance, I have not found an advantage/disadvantage to either.

Best and good luck.

Boston Irish
October 9, 2006, 07:59 AM
Thanks Stephen,

I was concerned about corrosion. I work outdoors most of the time and plan to use either model in a pocket holster. I have heard rumors that s&w had problems with rust on their carbon steel slide 1911's when used as a daily carry piece. Again... just rumors. I have carried a sig 239 for many years in a IWB holster without any signs of rust etc. I just fell in love with the size and weight of the snubbie!
All of my s&w pistols are in stainless, I am looking for a departure. Wish I could buy them both.
Thanks for your input... I guess I have some decisions to make!

March 27, 2007, 11:13 PM
Sorry I'm late to this thread but I am also debating 642 vs 442. Do both support +P ammo? Is there any other difference with safety, sights, etc. or is the finish the only difference? I also like the centennial frame better than the bodyguard frame on 638.

March 28, 2007, 12:14 AM
I like the Bodyguard frame better than the Centennial but have nothing against the later. Both the M442 and M642 are equal so it only comes down to what you like better, SS or Blue. Both will serve you equally well so just buy the one you like better...

March 28, 2007, 12:34 AM
I have a 642 and am getting a 442. Different guns for different dress. Dark suit 442, lighter colors 642. Fact is I like them so much I just wanted another.

March 28, 2007, 12:49 AM
Sorry, a little OT...

What company made the grips on your M442??

They look great but how do they handle? How do they compare with the stock Uncle Mike's rubber grips?

March 28, 2007, 07:04 AM
For a couple hundred more :eek: You could get a M&P 340 which will satisify the need for a dark gun and have perhaps a better coating than the 442.
For that pleasure you also get a gun chambered for .357 and night sights. That's worth it IMHO. Usually night sights are around $75. The 340 is also lighter at 13 oz vs 15 nominal.

Supposedly the 340 has a "new" high tech coating??

Anyone know what it is?

Model: M&P340
Caliber: .357MAG/.38+P
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Barrel Length: 1.87"
Front Sight: XS SightsŪ 24/7 Tritium Night
Rear Sight: Integral U-Notch
Grip: Synthetic
Overall Length: 6.31"
Weight Empty: 13.3 oz.
Material: Scandium Alloy Frame/Stainless Steel Cylinder
Finish: Matte Black
Frame Size: Small - Centennial Style
Action: Double Action Only

March 28, 2007, 07:50 AM
I have a 442 and according to S&W it's "Finish: Blue/Black". I've found that it wears much better than an all blue gun. Not sure what the black finish really is, but it's held up very well. I'm guessing the alloy frame is covered in some kind of paint finish and the steel cylinder is blued.


March 28, 2007, 11:51 AM
IIRC correctly the finish on the frame of the 442 is just hardcoat black anodizing, a la the AR-15 receiver. Dunno if they give the 442 the same clearcoat top layer they give the 642. I went to my local gunstore yesterday to see if I could handle one of the new M&P revolvers, but they hadn't gotten any of them in yet. I do like the monochromatic appearance of the M&P over the two-tone effect of the other scandium guns, so I may have to pick one up when I can find one.


March 28, 2007, 12:59 PM
Only problem with the M&P is that it can fire 357. I think 38 +P is just about right for this gun.

And the M&P is a little light to fire the FBI load, my preferred load.

Other than that... Great deal. Who knows if they were next to each other what I would have picked.

IMO 442 > 642
I like "blue"


I do think the bead-blasted blue on the barrel and cylinder seems to wear well. I'm sure it will eventually wear off, though hopefully that won't be for awhile.

March 28, 2007, 02:22 PM
"if they give the 442 the same clearcoat top layer"

Don't see it on mine and have never heard of a peeling problem on the 442 like I have on the 642.


Ala Dan
March 28, 2007, 03:58 PM
I have the S&W 642 instead of the 442, only because I got it at the very
attractive price of $200. ;)

March 29, 2007, 12:00 AM
I prefer blued over stainless, I went with the 442. I have no stainless guns.

March 29, 2007, 12:06 AM
I prefer the 442 -- both are identical in function so this is strictly subjective

March 29, 2007, 07:59 AM
I want a 442 so I have a pair...:)

March 29, 2007, 09:16 AM
I prefer the 442....the hard anodized frame is pretty hardy but the cylinder on mine began to pit so I hard chromed it...maybe I should have just had the cylinder done in black teflon or something but I decided to hard chrome the whole thing....holds up well with no coating issues...and doesn't look half bad.....


April 1, 2007, 07:44 PM
.....the 642 frame is alloy, not stainless, correct? In fact, isn't the frame the same material as that of the 442, with a different finish?

I believe the cylinder of the 642 is SS, & the 442 is CS, but am I correct on the frames?

April 1, 2007, 09:06 PM
went to sportsmans warehouse to buy 642 but didn't have one had 442 and all guns on sale 5% off.and like usual it followed me home.;)

If you enjoyed reading about "S&W 642 vs. 442" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!