New to CCW, looking for opinions/advice


September 30, 2010, 10:38 PM
Let me start by saying I recently decided to start carrying, but have yet to purchase the firearm. Former infantry, so I am familiar with military weaponry, but not any civilian - at all. Least of all revolvers...still getting used to the concept of not having a safety.

I've been reading and researching all the different pistols and ccw methods, and I've settled on doing a pocket carry, and im pretty sure with a revolver. I live in the south and its hot nearly year round. I dont want to dress around teh gun, and I dont want to have different guns for different weather. I'm buying one, and thats it.

I was orginally thinking I'd like the S&W bodyguard .380, but with all of the problems i've read and seen online, and it being a brand new model, i'll pass for now. I'm kind of sad about it, because it seemed to have everything i wanted.

At any rate, I have settled on one of two - Smith 642 or Ruger LCR w/ CT. I am leaning towards the LCR with a pocket wallet holster from
I think the 642 might be too big for a pocket carry (think front jean pocket more often than slacks).

I'd like to get some feedback and opinions from this community. All comments welcome.

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September 30, 2010, 10:50 PM
A small revolver (or pistol for that matter) is a very very difficult weapon to shoot well. The short sight radius, stiff trigger pull, sharp recoil and small grip all work against a novice handgunner. I carry a 642 in a pocket holster regularly and it conceals rather well. Sure, it looks like you have a pda in your pocket but most do not notice.

Back to the actual effectiveness of small weapons, small revolvers are expert level weapons. Being an expert with an M4 is an entirely different skill set then with a 6 shot revolver with an 11 pound trigger pull. I advise you to go shooting with some friends or find a local range that rents all types of handguns. Spend some time and money shooting many different types. You would not buy a car without test driving it, why buy a handgun without trying it?

I am in no way biased against the small revolver, as I carry only revolvers and one happens to be the Smith 642. However, I also practice with it just about every week running 50 rounds down the tube. Time also has to be spent doing reload drills to become proficient and effective. Try different types of handguns out, go get some training and start your collection. (you say you only want to buy one... that is what they all say :)

September 30, 2010, 10:55 PM
Sorry, but guns are like Lays potato chips. Betcha can't eat just one.... :neener:

I have several revolvers, and two of them are for pocket carry. One is a S&W model 37, lightweight J-frame, shoots .38spl. The second is a Colt Detective Special, also shoots .38spl. The frame is a bit bigger than the S&W. That model 37 fits in MY front jeans pocket without showing, and women's jeans pockets tend to be smaller than men's. Look for something in that size and you should be able to manage pocket carry just fine.


September 30, 2010, 11:10 PM
Since you mention a wallet holster, I assume you mean the LCP and not the LCR.
I started out with the 642. I really like it and still carry it in cooler weather in a jacket pocket. But for front pocket carry in shorts, you can't beat the LCP. (IMHO of course)

Hoppes Love Potion
October 1, 2010, 12:08 AM
If you wanna go real small check out the NAA Pug.

October 1, 2010, 12:21 AM
Depending on the type of jeans you wear, front pocket carry is not always advisable, in my opinion. If the jeans are sort of tight, it can be difficult to get your hand on the gun and draw effectively. If you are in your car in a seated position, getting to it will be even more difficult. You may think that you will transition it to the glove box when you are in the car but chances are you won't and if you do, you may forget it when you jump out to fill the tank etc.

With that said, a 642 does work better than any other revolver that I am familiar with for pocket carry. The 642 is extremely light and when loaded with 'standard' .38s is easy to shoot accurately. If you feel compelled to shoot .38+p, well, that's going to depend on you and how much you want to work at it. The 642 is a proven design. Smith & Wesson has sold a lot of them for a reason. I like to carry the 642 in an outside the waistband holster with a light vest to cover it or an untucked shirt, but pocket carry works too.

I have no shooting experience with the LCR. I did handle one at a local retail shop. The trigger was fantastic (better than the 642 by far). I think this gun is going to be very very popular over time. Between the 642 and the LCR, I have to believe the edge on durability will go to the 642, but that's really just speculation. Either gun will be excellent for CCW.

I have had very good luck with my LCP. If you decide on a pocket auto, then this gun is worth a serious look.

October 1, 2010, 12:40 AM
Thanks for your comments.

I initially thought the LCP would be the way to go, until I held it. It was just so friggin small, the feel of the Smith Bodyguard .380 was superior imho, for the size. The more I think about it, the more I may actually consider it to be my frontrunner again.

As for not being able to get to it in the car, I have an H&K USP .40 for that. It will stay in the car.

I really didnt think that the decision would be this difficult. Even narrowed down to .38 vs .380, its a tough decision.

October 1, 2010, 01:00 AM
You can purchase small extensions for the LCP mags. That's what I did, and it improved the grip by a lot. I have never had a failure of any kind with my LCP and the gun is shockingly accurate.

At the end of the day though if you said you get to take the LCP or the 642 to a gun fight, I would take the 642. The 642 can be shot through a pocket and/or from under clothing. It also won't go out of battery in a close quarters hands on fight. No mag springs to wear out over time, keep it loaded and ready to go 24/7. Throw a set of CT laser grips on the 642 and you have a very effective SD tool.

What's your goal? If concealment is your number one priority, I would go with the LCP. If you are willing to give up a little bit of concealment, then I would go with the 642 or the LCR.

October 1, 2010, 01:08 AM
A small revolver (or pistol for that matter) is a very very difficult weapon to shoot well. The short sight radius, stiff trigger pull, sharp recoil and small grip all work against a novice handgunner.
I am in no way biased against the small revolver, as I carry only revolvers and one happens to be the Smith 642. However, I also practice with it just about every week running 50 rounds down the tube. "Very very difficult"? Small autoloaders have most if not all of the same disadvantages as the small revolver. I don't have much experience but I do have a S&W M&P 340 (J-frame) and I don't shoot it much worse than say my Walther P99C compact autoloader. But the 340 is pocketable whereas the Walther compact isn't.

I would say that the J-frame is just a bit more challenging that a compact autoloader but equally it's a bit more fun.

October 1, 2010, 11:33 AM
I was recently faced with this same dilemma, and received a lot of good advice on the matter:

I ended up buying a 642, which I'll be picking up in a couple days. :)
Since I was leaning towards a .38 over a 380, the info in the thread is more specific to revolvers. But in any event, there's a lot of good information on that thread if you want to check it out.

October 1, 2010, 01:56 PM
hey ping,

i have carried the SW 642 in front pocket with a desantis nemesis holster for about 3 years now. it carries fine in blue jeans, carhart, or kahaki shorts pockets though it does have a little bit of a bluge (noticeable, but not attention grabbing). it does tend to bulge and move a good bit when wearing loose kahaki pants, and slacks.

i suggest a good thick belt. it will help prevent your pants from dragging down, and also prevent your belt from curving on the side you have the gun.

i am sorry, but i have not ever carried the lcr, and do not have much experience with it. the other gun i ccw is glock 23. either iwb, or owb.

good luck, and thank you for your service!

October 1, 2010, 03:01 PM
You may have already eliminated it. But in case you're just unaware it's out there, consider the S&W 638.


October 1, 2010, 07:49 PM
My primary carry is an M&P 9c but I often switch to a 642 - either in an Uncle Mikes pocket holster or a Don Hume H715 IWB. No matter which rig I use when I carry the 642, it's so light and comfortable that I practically forget it's there.

Depending on what type of jeans you wear, pocket carry may be difficult for you. The pocket opening should be at least 6 inches wide (for easy access to the gun) and, of course, deep enough so the butt doesn't stick out of the pocket.

Thank you for your service, Ping!

October 1, 2010, 08:22 PM
The jeans have a pretty generous pocket. My primary goal is - i dont know how else to say it - but ease of concealed carry. At work I have a polo shirt tucked in to slacks or jeans, so I cant really do an IWB and untuck the shirt. It has to be pocket.

Im leaning now back to the LCP over the LCR or 642. I would have really liked the BG380 because it has a better feel and features, its just in the alpha stage. As much as I want the LCR and/or 642, I think the slim size is the way I'll go.

Its so weird, one day i want this, then that, then the other....GRRRR.

October 1, 2010, 09:50 PM
You said, "Its so weird, one day i want this, then that, then the other....GRRRR."

I'm sure I can speak for practically everyone on the forum when I say that we have all been there.

I started out about a year and a half ago to replace a like new S&W Model 13 .357 revolver (which I wish I had never sold). Researched and deliberated over many guns until I decided on an M&P 9m. That lovely purchase led to an M&P 9c; then a 643 and a Walther P22 (ostensibly to save money on ammo), and finally, an M&P 15-22. Don't ask me why!!! I'm through for now...hopefully.

Just take your time deciding and GOOD SHOOTING!

October 2, 2010, 10:50 PM
The j frame 642 is 6.3 inches long, the ruger LCR is 6.5.

These length is important to me with the pocket carry. Being new to the civilian market, am I correct to assume that is about as short as a .38 can possibly be?

October 2, 2010, 11:45 PM
I'm going to jump in here again. Yesterday I went to the gun shop/range. I shot my 642 and LCP side by side. They are just totally different animals. I can shoot the 642 more accurately than the LCP at 25 feet. Closer than that, and it really doesn't matter. I personally think that a .38 special +P round is going to be a more effective self defense round. I was shooting Speer Gold Dot 135grain+p and it's just really accurate and doesn't have much flash. I was shooting corbon dpx , a solid self defense load, out of the LCP and the flash was significant.

After shooting my guns I went to the new gun counter and handled the LCR and BG side by side. Between the two, I like the LCR a lot more. The cylinder realease on the BG is on top of the frame. To me this is just confusing and is not something I would want to build into muscle memory. The laser has to be activated..unlike with a CT laser where it just comes on when you have a firm hold on the gun. In a self defense situation, are you realistically going to have time to turn the laser on..I don't know.

If your top priority is concealment, get the LCP. If you want something that is still light weight, concealable, highly reliable, and has substantial stopping power, get the 642 or LCR.

Note: I am not familiar with a "shorter" revolver chambered in .38. What does the optional "Boot" grip on the LCR do to length? It may shorten it slightly.

Glock Holiday
October 2, 2010, 11:55 PM (
These are my CC guns. Well,the LCR is the wife's gun.
Laser is good for her since she doesn't practice like she should.
I love the J frame for winter/jacket carry and the LCP is great in the summer.
I have no problem to pocket carry either one.

October 3, 2010, 03:48 AM
At work I have a polo shirt tucked in to slacks or jeans, so I cant really do an IWB and untuck the shirt. It has to be pocket.

There is IWB tuck-able holsters out there. I have a Cross Breed SuperTuck,ProductName that I like. There is also KHolster which is very similar.

October 3, 2010, 06:33 AM
I have both the LCP and the 442 (the black version of the 642), this is what I've found.

Pocket carry of the 442 is OK BUT itís hard drawing it out past the opening of the jeans pocket, other pants work better for me. Carrying something that isn't super small and is 15 oz in a pocket did get old. (for me) Hitting COM is no problem out to 10 yards or so which is plenty far for a small gun.

The LCP I bought as a BUG, and as you said, it IS small. I had to learn what to do with my thumb because it got in the way of my trigger finger. :). The really nice thing about the LCP is it weight of 9oz. You really can put that gun in a pocket and forget itís there. The down side to this gun is that the size makes it somewhat hard to use well AND the .380 is a .380

SO what I've done is I put a real grip on my 442 and carry it in a holster on my belt. When I can't do that I pocket carry the LCP in a pocket holster.

This is why people end up buying more than one gun. :D

Oh and I shot the LCR .357 a couple weeks ago. Itís a bit more beefy then the 442 and comes with a larger grip. I shot .38 +P+ ammo out of it and it was no problem at all. Very nice to shoot. About the same size as the 442, but with a larger grip, and its 4 oz heavier.

October 3, 2010, 08:37 AM
The term we all employ is "concealed," and while that's important, "comfort" is also at issue- though it may sound wimpy to some.

A friend of mine, who lived in a state where it was legal to CCW, went through the whole experience, and told me in the end "You're only going to use a gun to defend yourself that you happen to be carrying at the time." He started out thinking he was going to pack his Star PD compact .45. That didn't last long. He lasted a while longer with a snubby (a Detective Special, I think) and decided it was too bulky. He progressed to a Tokarev, and thought that while it was plenty flat, maybe not reliable or that easy to get into action.
He ended (literally) with a Beretta Tomcat. No, he never had to use it, died of congestive heart failure in his kitchen....but he was packing it.

Moral: To this day, I cannot consider .32 ACP a serious defensive round, but if it's what you can stand to carry, it's what you've got.

March 1, 2011, 11:15 PM
I live in the south as well and do know what you're saying. I will say this for what it's worth. Ya get used to it. I've been wearing a work shirt over my t-shirts for so long now, I really don't even notice it anymore. Too much time in the shop I guess. I just recently purchased a CZ-83, in .380 cal, as my carry weapon. Feels comfortable all the way around. Small, precise and quick. And have ordered an H.B.E. (Holsters By Eric) holster for it as well. Great guy to work with, by the way. Good luck and I hope you find what you want.

In addition, wasn't the .32 round a military and law enforcement round of choice for multiple years. I seem to remember that a lot of Eastern Bloc countries carried the the .32 and/or the .380 round for just that. And a few LEOs in the US as well.

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