CCW Revolver: S&W 642 v. S&W 60 v. Ruger SP101


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The Unknown User
July 8, 2008, 04:41 AM
I'm trying to narrow down my choice of a CCW revolver to one of the three (642, 60, SP101).

I know the 60 and SP101 are heavier than the 642; are they still good for carry? Or are they too heavy?

Any advice on how to choose between these three is appreciated.

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ArchAngelCD
July 8, 2008, 04:45 AM
Too heavy is a relative term. What's heavy to me might not be heavy to you. I like to pocket carry a J frame and I feel the SP-101 is a little too heavy for the pocket but totally fine in a IWB holster.

BTW, if you don't mind or even like the little extra weight and like the M642 because of the Centennial frame the S&W M640 (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=11101&storeId=10001&productId=14790&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=15704&isFirearm=Y) is the Stainless Centennial Model which weighs the same as the M60, M649 (Bodyguard) and the Ruger SP-101. The M640 is also a .357 Magnum like the M60 and SP-101 whereas the M642 is a .38 Special +P, not a Magnum.

I carry a S&W M638 (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=11101&storeId=10001&productId=14772&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=15704&isFirearm=Y) in .38 Special +P because I like the Bodyguard frame which allows for SA/DA shooting but has a shrouded hammer so it won't snag.

Nematocyst
July 8, 2008, 04:50 AM
How are you going to carry, Rob?

I carry a 642 daily, but not pocket. (OWB)

If I were to pocket carry, it'd be a 642.

As it is, I just like the weight of the little monster.
I forget it's there during a 12 hour day
(until I'm in situation that I think I may need it.)

If I'm in the woods, I'll wear the mod 65 stoked with .357.

How you're going to carry it matters in this discussion.

Nem

The Unknown User
July 8, 2008, 07:39 AM
I'm looking to carry on my hip. Pocket carry doesn't appeal to me, and usually my pockets are already full to begin with.

johnnylaw53
July 8, 2008, 08:15 AM
rob87

I have the 642 it a very good carry gun but hard on me at the range. I'm looking for a 640 now like archangle mention I'm not a pocket kind of guy either but do it now and then I"m don't think the extra weight will brother me the few times i pocket carry, and IWB or OWB you won't notice the extra weight.

gringolet
July 8, 2008, 08:29 AM
my 442 hot loaded slaps the base thumb knuckle to the point of paralysis after some shooting..the ruger grip design puts more rubber all around the grip frame...wouldn't this make the ruger considerably more comfortable
(less painful) to shoot and be a point in favor of the ruger? the ruger sp 101
is also a bit larger than the J frame S&W's being more along the size of the colt detective specials.

C-grunt
July 8, 2008, 08:31 AM
I carry a SP101 IWB and its great. It definitely would be to much for a pocket. If you're going to carry out of pocket, like you're saying, I would go for the slightly larger steel framed guns like the SP101 or the SW's.

wnycollector
July 8, 2008, 08:58 AM
If you are going to carry IWB, the SP101 with a 3" barrel is pretty hard to beat.

machinisttx
July 8, 2008, 01:46 PM
I carry a 2.25" SP101 OWB, and believe it to be far superior to any J frame.

dairycreek
July 8, 2008, 02:56 PM
Coincidentally, all three of the guns mentioned in the original post are in my collection and, I must say, are all really excellent choices. With a good carry belt I find that I prefer either the M60 or the SP-101 to the 642. For me, the somewhat heavier revos are just better shooters. My personal choice for CCW is the Ruger SP-101 in a Comp-Tec 2 O'clock Carry holster
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v736/dairycreek/HOLSTERPIC2-1.jpg

The Unknown User
July 8, 2008, 06:05 PM
Thanks for the feedback. What if I get a barrel that's longer than the snub? Will that make it more accurate out to longer distances? How does the barrel length affect performance?

glockman19
July 8, 2008, 06:14 PM
I have a 442 & 642 and would opt for a 640 If I were to carry a different revolver.

ron7786
July 8, 2008, 07:41 PM
I have a SW model 60 that I carry in a crossbreed supertuck. I have boot grips on it and even with 357's its not that bad to shoot. Sure there is some recoil, but it is a gun after all. Its easy to carry and looks good as well. I polished mine up with mothers aluminum wheel cleaner. I have no experience at all with the others you mention but I'm sure you will be happy with any of them.

ArchAngelCD
July 9, 2008, 04:33 AM
Thanks for the feedback. What if I get a barrel that's longer than the snub? Will that make it more accurate out to longer distances? How does the barrel length affect performance?
Rob87,
Barrel length won't make a revolver more or less accurate. I know you will hear things like "a snub nose revolver isn't accurate" but that's not true at all. The fact is a revolver with a 2" barrel is more difficult to shoot well because of the short sight radius. Little mistakes are exaggerated due to the short barrel and will show up the further the target is from the gun. A 3" or 4" barrel revolver has a longer sight radius making it easier for the shooter to shoot well but like I said, the revolver itself is no more accurate because of the barrel length.

Since you said you will be carrying this revolver on your hip any J frame will be fine. If you want a light .38 Special buy a 15oz S&W Airweight. (M442, M637, M638, M642) If you want a Stainless .357 Magnum buy a 23oz S&W M60, M640, M649 or a 26oz Ruger SP-101. If you like something in between the S&W M36 and M40 are 20oz revolvers.

All will serve you very well and for the most part it will come down to how heavy you want your revolver to be and which frame you like best.

The Chief's Special frame has a fully exposed hammer. They are the M36, M60, M637 and the SP101 (KSP-321X).

The Bodyguard frame has a shrouded hammer yet still allows for both SA and DA shooting. They are the M638 and M649.

The Centennial frame has a fully enclosed hammer which allows for DA only shooting. They are the M40, M442, M640 and M642. Ruger's SP101 (KSP-321XL) is a DA only revolver but the hammer can be seen when fired even though it's flat to the revolver.

Now if all of that wasn't confusing enough I have one more option you might want to consider. The SP101 with a 3 1/16" barrel in .327 Federal Magnum. From everything I've read you get almost .357 Magnum power with 20% less noise and recoil. If you want to look at this revolver Here (http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=5759&return=Y) is the link...

ArchAngelCD
July 9, 2008, 04:56 AM
I have the 642 it a very good carry gun but hard on me at the range. I'm looking for a 640 now like archangle mention I'm not a pocket kind of guy either but do it now and then I"m don't think the extra weight will brother me the few times i pocket carry, and IWB or OWB you won't notice the extra weight.
johnnylaw53,
I have a M638 and a M640 and the M640 is much more pleasant to shoot at the range. I can shoot it all day long with .38's but usually won't fire more than a box of .38's in the M638 in one day. I carry the M638 and practice with the M640, IMO that's a winning combination. (Of course I do practice some with the M638 before I leave the range) When you do get a M640 it will make your range practice much more enjoyable for sure. Since the M640 is Stainless and has some extra weight even .357 Magnum rounds aren't uncomfortable to shoot. My M640 just loves 145gr Winchester Silvertip .357 Magnum's. With that ammo it shoots POA=POI and will do 2" groups at 50'.

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/M640-02.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o26/ArchAngelCD/M640-03.jpg

Nematocyst
July 9, 2008, 05:03 AM
...for the most part it will come down to how heavy you want your revolver to be...That says it all for me.

After carrying a heavier semi for a while, all day,
and having it a noticeable drag on my pants, I went with an air weight.
I don't even notice it, thus am more likely to wear it.

Body weight/size matter. If you're a big person, an N-frame is not problem. Smaller people may prefer J's.

Of course, get a good gun belt if you are going to OWB. Makes a HUGE difference.

ArchAngelCD
July 9, 2008, 05:26 AM
If you're a big person, an N-frame is not problem. Smaller people may prefer J's.
I'm a big guy and I still prefer a 15oz J frame. I'm too old now to add any more weight to carry around than I already have no choice but to carry! LOL...

JNewell
July 9, 2008, 09:32 PM
Yes, "big" is generic and doesn't translate to carry/concealment. I can do the N-frame thing pretty well because my jacket size is 39 and my waist is 28. That provides a lot of cover if I'm wearing a suit jacket or blazer...but fercryinoutlowd, I am from the same school as Nemo. I want and need to carry all day every day. I carry a 342 and practice with it and a model 60. I did carry an SP101 for a while, btw. It was IMO too big and too heavy for 18x7 carry and rests in the safe now.

ronto
July 10, 2008, 05:42 PM
I carry the DAO SP101 in a Mika pocket holster all day. OWB/IWB carry should be a breeze with the 101.

TOGGLELOCK
July 10, 2008, 11:39 PM
Love that 640, very good looking gun. Wish S&W would drop that silly lock. TOGGLELOCK (no pun intended)!

johnica
July 11, 2008, 02:34 PM
I bought a 3" Model 60 to carry in a shoulder holster, and after a couple months I decided it was to heavy. I bought that because it was a good range gun, decent sight radius and figured I would 'make do' while carrying. Then I came to my senses and bought a 442 (black 642) for pocket carry. It has been in my pocket for 8 months now and wouldn't carry anything else.
You may not be able to find a gun that is 'pleasent' to shoot and easily carried. For me I shelled out the money for a nice gun that I only shoot to practice for SD and not for plinking. Just a sacrifice of CCW.
If it hasn't happened yet, give it time-soon you will have a safe full of guns and a drawer full of holsters, in pursuit of that perfect one.
Shoot on!

Evocatii
July 11, 2008, 07:41 PM
I can only speak from my experience with my M60. Sweet snub. IWB and OWB are my preferred methods for transport. It has preformed flawlessly through countless rounds. If I was going to do it again though, I would go with a M640 for obvious reasons. Just my two cents.

bhk
July 11, 2008, 10:04 PM
I find three-inch small frame revolvers are FAR easier to shoot accurately that my subs. Smith and Wesson makes a real nice Model 60 in three inch and the Ruger is also available in three inch. As a side note, I find that my three-inch guns are actually more comfortable to carry IWB than my two-inch guns. Doesn't make much sense, but it is true. I think the slighly longer barrel/holster stabilizes better and doesn't poke me in the hip. I don't see much sense in going for a sub unless you are going to pocket carry.

gb6491
July 11, 2008, 11:30 PM
I've carried a model 60-9 for quite sometime. IWB carry has never been a problem when a belt is worn; some waistbands are not stout enough to support the weight alone. OWB - There is a wide variety of quality holsters available to meet your carry needs. One word on holsters: the Magnum 60 frame will not fit in some model 60 holsters. I generally do not carry it in a pocket, but do slip it in one now and then for short durations. I've also had it in hand, in a pocket, when circumstance deemed it necessary. I have bobbed the hammer on mine slightly because the hammer would bite me sometimes and to reduce the risk of it snagging on something (the profile might not look like it does much in that regards, but I arrived at it after much trial and error and find it very effective).
Regards,
Greg
http://i38.tinypic.com/2zzpxmt.jpg

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