1 7/8" or 2"


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BP Hunter
October 19, 2011, 11:25 PM
Hello folks.

I am looking into purchasing a S &W 38 revolver for pocket carry. I am trying to understand the reason behind a 1 7/8" vs a 2" J frame barrel. Is the recoil of either significantly different? Will the velocity of the bullet make a difference in "body damage" at short 5-7 yard distances. The revolvers I am looking at are the S&W 442 and 438. Additional information is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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DenaliPark
October 20, 2011, 12:04 AM
Don't worry about it, I'd go with a S&W 642 with the 1 7/8" barrel...Of more importance is the hammerless design which will not interfere or snag on your coat pocket...

Owen Sparks
October 20, 2011, 12:53 AM
I like the 3" version because of the longer sight radius besides, it is the grip that is the hard part to conceal, not the barrel. It runs parallel with your body. It is the grip that sticks out at 90 degrees.

sixgunner455
October 20, 2011, 01:06 AM
1 7/8" vs 2" isn't a significant difference. You won't be able to tell the difference if you get a revolver of both barrel lengths and shoot the same ammunition through them.

1 7/8" vs 3" is a much more significant question. If you intend to pocket carry the piece, then you want a 1 7/8" (or nominal 2") gun, unless you have really long pockets. If you do not intend to pocket carry it at all, then you pick based on balance and feel. 3" is a nice barrel length.

Both of the guns you are looking at come with 1 7/8" barrels. You have to decide which version feels better to you, and which you will like better long term. I like the x42 versions best. I think that, carrying these little guys the way they get carried, the sealed backside of the frame is best because it keeps pocket nelfs and dust and dirt out of the action to a greater degree than the channel on the x38 can, or the exposed hammer on the x36 or x37 does. I have seen the channel on an x38 full of so much junk that the hammer couldn't move.

Doesn't happen with an x42, whether you get the white (642) or black (442) finish. Which finish you get is a personal decision. Both work just fine. I've had a 642 since 2004. It's in my pocket right now, just like it is most of the time. It is one gun I would get a second copy of just to have a spare. Most guns, I wouldn't care too much to have an exact copy of. This one, I want another.

Good luck with whichever you decide. Both are great. The first J-frame I ever shot was a model 438. Made a big impression on me.

MyGreenGuns
October 20, 2011, 03:43 AM
I have a 637 (full exposed hammer, 1-7/8"). I love it. Clip holster is preferable to pocket carry, IMO.
My snubby (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=147875&d=1314151170)

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 20, 2011, 03:51 AM
I also would go with the 642 (stainless color version of the blued 442).

I have one and it is excellent.

ArchAngelCD
October 20, 2011, 04:12 AM
No real difference between the 2" and the 1 7/8"barrels when shooting. I own a M442 and wouldn't be without it!

Chillaxin
October 20, 2011, 07:52 AM
+1 on the 642. I've noticed this one is in my pocket more and more these days. I don't always carry a gun in my pocket, but when I do, it is a 642...:)

Geckgo
October 20, 2011, 08:06 AM
just generally speaking, when it comes to barrel length, 1/8" means essentially zero. Will there be a difference, probably, is it measurable and will you even notice? Probably not.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 20, 2011, 08:31 AM
The Speer Gold Dot ammo specifically for "short-barreled" guns designates on the box that it is designed for barrels that are 1 7/8" long! At least on the three boxes of Gold Dots I purchased!

When I read that, I realized I couldn't get any better ammo than ammo apparently designed around my S&W 642!

MCgunner
October 20, 2011, 01:05 PM
I like the 3" version because of the longer sight radius besides, it is the grip that is the hard part to conceal, not the barrel. It runs parallel with your body. It is the grip that sticks out at 90 degrees.

Unless you pocket carry as I do. I hate belt carry, can't do it 24/7 down here in the heat with how I have to dress. Everyone has different requirements, but a 642 makes a damned fine pocket revolver IMHO.

Determine FIRST how you're going to carry. If you wanna belt carry, then the 3" barrel DOES make a lot of sense. I can consistently shoot better groups with the longer sight radius on my 3" guns. But, I mostly carry a 2" gun in a pocket.

BP Hunter
October 20, 2011, 02:55 PM
Thanks for all your responses. I am really excited to get one.

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