How do You like your 642?


September 21, 2012, 12:02 AM
642 club -Question!


I would like to hear from others as to what they think of their 642 revolver; I find mine is just about a perfect revolver for it's intented use. I like the size,weight,handling and looks of this pocket sized gun. Is there anything to dislike about it? lI would like to hear from others as I am a new S&W 642 owner. Am always trying to learn form others,Thanks. Ted

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September 21, 2012, 09:55 AM
I owned one for a few weeks. I sold it pretty much right after shooting it. I realize the 642 is a holy item on these boards and I am going to butcher the sacred cow here.

FOR ME the gun did not conceal as well as my Ruger LCP, was tougher to shoot well, and had terrible recoil. The recoil made it very difficult to get good follow up shots, and it was really very uncomfortable. Something about that particular gun. I can shoot DoubleTap/Buffalo Bore full snort 158gr. .357mags in my SP101 without any recoil problem at all. I'm not recoil shy. But that little j frame even with standard, non +p loads... uncomfortable.
I can say, that the 642 I had was very very accurate. I was surprised when my very first shot ever with that gun took the 10 out of the center of the target. Dead smack in the middle. I was glad I had witnesses or nobody would have believed me!

The LCP I already owned was a much better choice for me.

I am in the minority and I realize it. Listen to some of the others here. Chances are that you will like the gun as much as other people do, but just realize that there are always statistical outliers. I am one.

WNC Seabee
September 21, 2012, 01:14 PM
I have the 638 (blued, semi-shrouded hammer) version. I like it for what it is. It's something that will slip in the pocket when needed and satisfy the need for a "get off me" gun. I have no delusions about it being a range favorite; I just want to know that it will go "bang" when needed. I've put ~20 rounds through it and likely won't do more than that per year as long as I have it. No need to practice with it for its purpose...I'm not worried about accuracy or recoil when the likely shot is from 5 feet and in. Before the howlers emerge...don't worry, I practice with my other carry pieces

September 21, 2012, 01:37 PM
I like mine a lot. Carry every day,it has range and capacity limits you just have to be aware of. I can carry it anytime in any clothes and recoil is not a big issue at all for me with Rem 158 lswchp.
It realy is the ideal edc, now if I am going into known danger I would prefer my Glock.

Old Dog
September 21, 2012, 02:11 PM
I've got the 442 (same revolver, only with a black finish). My back-up gun. A beast to shoot, not fun with 125 gr +P JHPs. I typically shoot a couple cylinders at each range session to re-acquaint myself with the egregious trigger pull and hellish recoil.

Very accurate. Purpose-built weapon. Do I like it? No, but it's the lightest, most powerful snag-free pocket gun I've ever used.

September 21, 2012, 02:41 PM
Hated it.

Upgraded to a N frame 3 inch belly gun.

More shots <8>

Just as easy to conceal.

Far easier to draw.

Far easier to shoot accuratly.

I have no use for the J frames myself.

September 21, 2012, 02:52 PM
Love the gun...kinda hate shooting it. For most situations, it is plenty of gun. Wouldn't hesitate to rely upon it for any and all SD needs likely to be encountered by me. It's powerful, it's loud, it's light, it points well, it was inexpensive. I only practice with this gun at 7 yards and I can hit what I am aiming at. 10 rounds and my hand hurts for sure but this gun wasn't made to shoot 10 rounds. It was made to shoot 3 and have 2 to spare...or vice versa. I handled an LCR at a gun show and was shocked at how poorly it fit my hand relative to the 642. I expected parity there. So, conversely, I'd expect the LCR to be better suited for other folks. Never fired an LCR so can't comment there...just didn't firearm though.

September 21, 2012, 03:06 PM
Thanks for your Honesty! That is a item that is becoming rare these days! Good shooting.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 21, 2012, 03:16 PM
Between it and my LCP (Ruger, .380), they both get worn about equal time, if not the revolver a bit more. It does show more in a pocket, however, it could be anything in someone's pocket, from a small book to a large wallet.

I don't shoot it often, as I don't feel I really need to. For its intended purpose (say, 21 feet or less), I can shoot the +P defense loads just fine! I did load a bunch of calmer 158g LSWCHP's that I never got around to shoot! It's just as well, with the cost of everything going up, I can save them for various "rainy-days."

September 21, 2012, 03:56 PM
The grip is a tad small for me, but I need to pocket carry in the summer. No better option in my opinion since I need a tiney gun based on how I dress. Winter.... a bigger gun is carried IWB under a fleece. I guess I could try an LCP, but that isn't enough bang for me. So the 642 is just as right as it will get.

now if I am going into known danger I would prefer my Glock.

Unless you are a cop or soldier, you shouldn't be doing this. Unless you mean the outdoors with critters and such. Then I take your meaning.

September 21, 2012, 05:59 PM
I found the 642 conceals better than the Kahr CM I just bought; however, I can shoot the Kahr better - the 642 just always wants to shoot high and right (LH shooter), so I carry it less and less now

September 21, 2012, 06:21 PM
I think it is perfect for what it is intended for.

September 21, 2012, 06:27 PM
I like it so much that I bought a 442 just to keep it company. :D

Seriously, the 642 (in my humble opinion) is near perfection for its intended purpose.

September 21, 2012, 06:49 PM
Really, my favorite. Shoots straight, conceals well, light as a feather. I'd carry over most of these new lc9, pt blah blah kel tec .....

September 21, 2012, 08:06 PM
"now if I am going into known danger I would prefer my Glock"
"Unless you are a cop or soldier, you shouldn't be doing this. Unless you mean the outdoors with critters and such. Then I take your meaning."

I probably could have phrased that a little better. The 642 is a gun I can carry every day with reasonable confidence for the types of trouble I may have in the suburbs of Detroit where I live. However in the City I may feel a little under armed. The possibility of multiple armed attackers is simply higher.

September 21, 2012, 08:59 PM
642 is a great pocket gun. It is not square and does not have the slide hump like an auto pistol. It is easier to get a hold of and draw fast.

September 21, 2012, 10:47 PM
I like my 642 except when loaded with +P ammunition.

September 22, 2012, 09:41 AM
I have 2. One is sitting here on the desk as I type. It will be carried in the pocket of my fall/winter jackets and is loaded with Gold Dot.

September 22, 2012, 12:42 PM
Went to buy the new no-lock 642 that appeared at the LGS. Ended up with the LNIB 40+ year old Model 37 that was sitting next to it in the case.

There was a problem unlatching the cylinder (for loading) of the 642. Took 3 or 4 tries and some straining to get it open. Gun store owner said it would go away with usage. I said, no thanks.

The 37 was $100 cheaper, had a pinned barrel, looked great, and you could get the cylinder open. I've been happy with it. Shooting wadcutters at the range, I can put 4 out of 5 on an 8.5" x 11" target at 25 yards. Usually one or two land in the black at that range.

The 37's trigger pull is quite heavy so the single action firing mode is useful. I wouldn't want to shoot anything much heavier than my wadcutter loads. +P hadn't been invented when that gun was built, but I'm led to understand that the .38 Spcl. they sold back then was loaded to the same pressure levels as +P today.

Did I say it was $100 cheaper? :D

September 22, 2012, 02:26 PM
Did I say it was $100 cheaper?

And if you decide to sell it, you'll likely get out of it, what you paid.
Not so with buying a new 642 (or any new gun for that matter).

Sounds like a win to me!

September 22, 2012, 02:37 PM
i love love love it. contrary to popular belief recoil even with
+p's is quite managable and I can make fast accurate follow up shots but I practice alot because i love shooting it.

September 22, 2012, 04:33 PM
I appreciate all the information members supplied. Over-all it seems to be a very good gun for the indented use. Ted:)

September 22, 2012, 04:44 PM
I have a 642 with CT 305 grips for accurate point shooting, full grip and recoil mitigation. I keep it loaded with Buffalo Bore standard pressure soft cast 20C.
It's my Wife's bedside piece.

I prefer a M&P 340 J Frame with CT 405 grips for revolver pocket carry due to the lighter weight as compared to the 642 which I found too heavy. I like the 135 gr Speer God Dot Plus P in the 340 and used it in the 642 until it went to my Wife.

Frequently like many though I pocket carry a small .380 semiauto which is lighter yet. The recoil is ugly and it doesn't have a lazer.

These days I'm
actually getting used to and working towards OWB for Winter carry here in East TN.
One in 9, .40 and .45.

Ralph G. Briscoe
September 26, 2012, 11:34 PM
I have a bunch of .38 and .32 snubbies--642, 36, 49, 327pc, LCR, DS, Cobra, Agent, model 10....the 642 is my choice for everyday carry because of weight and concealability.

Ralph G. Briscoe
September 26, 2012, 11:36 PM
PS--I load it with a handload--158 gr LSWCHP at 815 fs and feel adequately protected.

September 27, 2012, 11:02 AM
I have pocket carried a smith for many years. During that time, i have come to the conclusion that the two best models (for me) are the 642 and 638 series. I still like the option of single action fire, though the vast majority of my practice is double action.

The 642 is better maintaince wise keeping the lint out. Only "must address" point about the smith J frames as far as I am concerned is that they all could use some smithing on the action as they tend to be rough.

Seen too many various pocket autos malfunction on the range and hear the various excuses concerning lube, limp wrist, bad mags, ejected or unseated mags, and bad ammo/picky ammo.

While I will concede that the pocket autos generally will have less felt recoil, better sights, more accuracy for longer distance, are easier to conceal, bigger payload, and faster to reload...the pocket auto still fails in the number one requirement which is near absolute reliability.

All mechanical devices can fail including revolvers. But on any given day, the revolver is more apt to deliver "5 for sure" rounds than the micro auto's 6 or 7 round payload that may or may not choke for mechanical or especially human reasons.

This is based on direct observations of others with pocket autos such as the LCP, P3at, BG380, PF9, and LC9. The problems might be rare but nevertheless they are observed over a period of time. Not so with the snubs.

So yes, the 642 does have drawbacks. But the 642 in my opinion is still the best when it comes to pocket carry. A tap/rack/bang drill I do not want to experience at hand-shake distance.

October 20, 2012, 12:56 AM
Have had a 638 for a few years and it's great for pocket carry. I did put some different grips on and while it's still not a range gun, it's much easier to shoot.

Cheerful Rookie
October 20, 2012, 09:27 PM
Hi, I've been lurking The High Road for sometime now and finally decided to sign up.

I have a carried a 642 for several years and think it is handy thing. You can hide it anywhere you can quickly pull it from. I never have considered it to have much recoil or volume. I first had the larger grip put on for my large hand and just recently some smithwork on the inside so it is easier than it ever was. I keep thinking about a laser sight but weekly practice has it's emotional value. I don't think I will ever part with it but I am thinking about and saving up for a larger caliber revolver in the future. Maybe a .44 mag :D

October 21, 2012, 09:56 AM
I always carry Two Revolvers. The 442 is one of my favorite back up guns.

Derry 1946
October 21, 2012, 10:23 AM
The 642 works great for me in its intended application: the smallest, lightest, most corrosion-resistant, most concealable .38sp I own. Perfect for hot humid New Orleans Summer (and Spring and Autumn) days, when the event calls for attire incompatible with a larger, more rust-prone option. I usually carry something else, but I never regret having the 642 when the need arises. Also a great BUG.

October 21, 2012, 01:15 PM
S&W states that it is the best selling gun they make. That says a lot about it. The Centennial design is ideal for pocket or coat carry and I like the gun. I carry the Colt magnum carry the most in the waist band holster ,but most often use the little 642 as a coat and pocket back-up. Or when I can not carry the magnum carry, as in the Summer, the 642 is my gun-to-go. Grant Cunningham, Massad Ayoob, and many others have extolled the virtues of this very fine CCW design.

December 12, 2012, 09:09 AM
Absolute definition of a no excuse to not carry handgun. The Model 40 has served me well in the late 60's as an Army aviator, same gun was my carry gun when I was with NIS (now NCIS), followed by a no lock 642, and currently my always with me Model 40 "Classic". I have tried various auto's for ccw, and the closest that I could come to the ease of concealment and low weight was the Colt Mustang 380.

December 12, 2012, 09:52 AM
I prefer the Ruger LCR. IMO, it has a better trigger and handles recoil better as well.

December 12, 2012, 10:10 AM
I have a 640 and carry it alot during the summer. I did replace the rubber stocks with some wood stocks, I like them better. It is a little weighty, being stainless, but it's comfortable in a IWB holster. And 158gr Lead SWC's come out the barrel.

December 13, 2012, 01:37 AM
The Airweight J frame (M438, M442, M637, M638, M642) are my very favorite carry guns. I practice out to 20 yards with one but of course it's not my favorite range gun. It's not meant to be a range gun, it's a carry gun.

I do a lot of range work with a M640 and before I leave the range I fire 15 to 20 rounds in my M442 carry revolver. That works well for me...

December 13, 2012, 03:30 AM
Have had a 638 for a few years. Bought it after going to a gunshop where a buddy of mine worked. Most of the guys that work there had a 642 in their pocket. I have tried several different types of small autos but keep coming back to the 638. My reasons are, 1 speed of deployment. I can pocket carry and have my hand on my gun inside pocket and look totally natural. 2 reliable, I've had FTF, double feeds, FTE, ammo failures, bad primers all on factory ammo. Granted it didn't happen in 1 day, but these problems have happened with most autos at some time. Haven't had one issue with the revolver. Maybe I'm unlucky with autos but revolvers have been 100% thus far.

December 13, 2012, 11:58 AM
Ten years ago next month found me having a bad day at the range with my pair of pocket protectors - a LN and a well-used AMT DAO .45ACP 'Backup'. Between the pair and four loaded mags, I made one 'Bang!' - and it stovepiped the second round. I had bought them both new and shot one of them regularly with the UMC ball ammo I carried. I hadn't shot either in a year. I was disgusted - and decided to clean them and trade them - that day - on a S&W 296, reasoning that five .44 Specials would be more reliable than five .45 ACP loads. I cleaned them, got their boxes & papers, and stopped by my favorite lgs - leaving less them, but with a new 296 and a new 696 - a great day.

Several years of aperiodic OWB carry of that 296, which with 200gr Gold Dots is slightly brutal, followed before I would contact Robert Mika for a pocket carry holster - and one for a 642, which I thought I might buy. The 296 only fit maybe 3 of 4 of my pants - I bought a 642 - and decided to carry it one day - it fits all of my pants - and I needed it that day! Now it's a 24/7 EDC - mow the lawn, go to the grocers... even church - it's in my pocket - with the 158 gr LHPSWC +Ps (Remington R38S12). It pops a bit, so loaded, and switching to Zero reloads of 148gr LWC (full wadcutters - target ammo) hits close enough to be nearly as effective. I guess starting out with that 19.7 oz AirLite Ti 296 and it's hand whack made the 642 seem much less significant. For that matter, my mild 125gr JHP homebrews are fun with the Steel Plate Challenge targets - I never miss - 5 of 5. That's not it's forte - just an excuse to shoot it periodically. Below are the 296 and 642 holstered - very similar. The 642 will be my 'last' revolver to leave my meager collection - it's my protector!

I've shot both the Ruger and S&W hybrid .38's - the LCR is my least favorite - sounds like it's coming apart when you shoot it. A range friend summed it up. He went from the Ruger to the S&W - then 'rediscovered' the 642 - and was amazed - and a happy new 642 owner. The '642 Club' threads here are a great reference, too - check them out. Good luck!


December 13, 2012, 07:32 PM
I had a 442 and 642. Never took to them. I continued to carry my 70's era M37 for years, just felt better when pulling the trigger..

However recently I came into a 342 -- Now that is what the 4/642 was meant to be. It is amazing how a couple of ounces can make the difference between ok and great.

My M37 still feels better when shooing but the "carry-ability" of the 342 cannot be beat.

January 26, 2013, 09:44 AM
The best concealed carry gun you'll ever buy or find; along with it's uglier but gorgeous 638, the 642/638 are a no compromise, highly concealable, easily pocketable, point shooting, close quarters defense weapon that has no equal. You never know when you're carrying, they are snag free, can be shot from inside the pocket, and are made by Smith & Wesson. It doesn't get better then this.

Resto Guy
January 26, 2013, 10:02 AM
I've had my 642 for about 5 years now, and it's my "every day carry" in a Mika round cut like above. I tried several grips and settled on 305's.

January 26, 2013, 10:11 AM
Great gun, perfect for pocket carry. Mine has worn through the back strap finish very quickly its basically down to the bare aluminum now. Other than that I love the gun.

January 26, 2013, 10:22 AM
I like carring mine in the summer when wearing a T shirt. Conceals very nicely. In the winter I carry it in my coat pocket with my 1911 on my hip.

Derry 1946
January 26, 2013, 10:23 AM
Blackstrap finish wore or flaked off mine too, very quickly. Otherwise, a useful carry item.

January 26, 2013, 07:50 PM
Love the gun. Have two, both with crimson trace grips, in desantis nemesis pocket holsters. they go everywhere, all the time, with me, along with a speedstrip.

I don't know what people are complaining about, tough recoil. I've shot 158-gr. +P and it doesn't bother me.

Yes, larger guns handle recoil better and are easier to shoot. BUT YOU CANT HIDE TWO OF THEM IN A PAIR OF NYLON SOCCER SHORTS WHEN IT IS 98 DEGREES OUTSIDE.

So, I always have 2 guns, 10 shots, plus a re-load, plus a knife on me, completely invisible, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Can anyone say that with their ruger sp-101 or S&W n-frame?? No. And I like those other guns!

I prefer small revolvers over small auto for reliability sake. Shoot the 642 with a limp wrist, a dead fish grip, upside down, sideways, in your pocket, pressed against someone's shirt, with hollowpoints, FMJs, plus-p, light loads -- it makes no difference. it goes BANG, five times.

There is one drawback -- poor trigger pull. The answer to that is PRACTICE and, for me, the CT grips. Makes pointing and shooting absolutely simplistic.

January 27, 2013, 11:08 AM
The 642 fits my hand better than the Ruger LCR. I can point shoot a man targey at 5 yards and score a CM hit all 5 shots.
A great gun for what it is made to be, and easy to carry.

Recoil? I think if you have to pull it your adrenaline will overcome the recoil.:what:

January 27, 2013, 11:13 AM
Excellent carry piece, but of course I have the 442. :)

red rick
January 27, 2013, 12:16 PM
It ia a good pocket carry gun but I hate the trigger and I don't like pocket carry, so my P9 or G23 get out of the safe more. I own 3 S&W revolvers and no Ruger's, but they did a good job on the trigger of the LCR. I would pick it over my 642.

January 27, 2013, 08:50 PM
Have had a 442 for a number of years. It's now in my wife's purse, and I have a 340 M&P that I carry sometimes in the summer.

The 442 is a handful, and the wife doesn't like shooting +P at all. I've custom loaded some Gold Dots up to her tolerance level. Think 1/2P. She now can hit minute of bad guy up to 15 yards with slow, careful shots. Up close, say 5 yards or less she can empty it into the chest area about as fast as she can pull the trigger. Really impressive! It is accurate enough for purpose at hand.

The reason I went with the 340 M&P is I picked up one cheap and I liked the Night Site front site and the couple of ounces lighter weight. 357 Magnums will wake your butt up though!

January 28, 2013, 12:56 AM
My 442 is great after a trigger job and new grips. HORRIBLE factory trigger. Came with a 14lb pull!!!

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