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S&W 638 and 642

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by NATIVETEXAN, Jun 28, 2008.


    NATIVETEXAN New Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    What are the advantages or disadvantages of these two for pockey carry. Now I have a 637 and I don't like it for pocket carry because of the hammer. I am going to get a new one and I like the looks of the 638 as well as the single action capability. However I have read on here that many people love the 642 for the pocket. Will the 642 be smoother on the draw or will the shrouded hammer on the 638 not get snagged in the pocket. Thanks in advance for ya'lls input.

  2. Shade00

    Shade00 Active Member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Ruston, Louisiana & Jackson, Mississippi
    There is a lot of good information available about these guns on the forum, especially in the '642 Club' thread. While the 638's SA capability may seem attractive, I don't think it likely you would ever use the SA if you had to use your gun in a SD situation. For me, the choice would be between the 442 or the 642, depending on which finish I wanted.

    The SA function might also seem useful for the range, but you need to be practicing with your SD gun as you would be shooting in such a situation. Keep it simple; DAO would be my suggestion. These guns aren't meant for target shooting.
  3. Technosavant

    Technosavant Senior Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    The 638's single action capability is useful for seeing where a load prints in relation to the sights. These aren't range guns- you shoot for proficiency with these things, not for kicks. Neither should snag in the pocket.

    I have a 642, but in retrospect I wish I'd have laid out another $10 for a 638 so I can check load printing.
  4. Lou22

    Lou22 Member

    May 21, 2005
    Oakland County, Michigan
    I can't speak from personal experience, but I've heard the 642 has a better double-action trigger pull over the 638 because the 642 don't have the parts in it needed for the 638's SA trigger. I do know I took my new 642 to the range today, and after about 20 rounds was putting the bullets into a 5 inch area on the target at 21 feet. Most DAO guns I shoot for the first time at that distance take me longer to get that sort of grouping. Not tack driving but adequate for self-defense.

  5. ir3e971

    ir3e971 Member

    May 22, 2006
    I recently purchased the 642. I am very pleased with it. It sits in your pocket well, and is very light. Trigger is stiff but controllable. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a CCW revolver.
  6. greener

    greener Member

    Jun 27, 2006
    Glen Allen, Virginia
    I think the ability to go to single action is a matter of preference. I don't think the exposed hammer would be much of a problem. I opted for the enclosed hammer and the 442 because I preferred black.

    I carry mine in an Uncle Mikes pocket holster. Hides the gun outline even in my jeans. The holster stays in the pocket when you draw. I like it so well, I really haven't had much interest in a different type of holster.

    These revolvers are definitely not range guns. My 442 has a pretty heavy trigger (as it should), which adds to the difficulty of pin point accuracy with the gun. I shoot mine more frequently than any other handgun. I always shoot 20-30 rounds from it each range trip. If I'm going to carry it, I want to improve and maintain proficiency.
  7. jad0110

    jad0110 Senior Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Somewhere between the Eastern Block states and Flo
    From my own experience, the 642 is very easy to draw from a pocket. I would think a 638 should be about the same, though there is a little nub of hammer sticking up that could, in theory, get hung up on something.

    My father and I just handled a 638 a little while ago. The guy behind the counter commented that he believed it would be VERY easy to loose your thumb hold on the hammer as it was being cocked. There isn't much to get a hold of. Something to consider.
  8. Noxx

    Noxx Participating Member

    Jun 8, 2007
    I find the DA pull on the 642 to be pretty smooth and "controllable" with a little practice. I've said it before and probably will again, CT grips are the single best thing you can do with either of these guns, they take a moment to get a sight picture on, and it's not a great sight picture either.

    I prefer the 642, even with the mostly shrouded hammer I would be in fear of somehow accidentally ending up with a cocked revolver in my pocket.
  9. TheFrontRange

    TheFrontRange Member

    Jan 17, 2003
    I purchased a nearly-new 638 several months ago for pocket-carry. Frankly, I could have just as easily gone for and was actually planning on a 642; this particular 638 popped-up at a local dealer with practically no wear and a nice $60-plus discount off the "new" price.

    I never shoot this revolver in SA mode. I've had the same concerns about the possibility, however slim, of the revolver becoming cocked during carry; however, in the past seven months of pocket carry (in a nylon holster), this has thankfully not been an issue. While carrying, I do discreetly feel for the hammer at rest from time-to-time...it's as simple as reaching into the pocket.
  10. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
  11. btg3

    btg3 Participating Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    That link concludes:
    Some else mentioned that if the timing ever locks up a revolver and there's no hammer to assist, then you've got a rock. Even so, I prefer and carry the 642.
  12. Elvishead

    Elvishead Active Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    Las Vegas
    Having the liberty to be able to shoot single action gives me worn fuzzies.

    TBS, I practice DA, 95% of the time.
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    There is no difference in the trigger between the M638 and M642 other than the normal slight differences between any 2 revolvers, even of the same model. They are the same 15oz Airweight revolvers which are rated for .38 Special +P with slightly different frames. If you like your M637 you will like the M638 or M642 just as much. All 3 have the same feel and trigger.

    I carry a M638 all the time and I'm glad I bought it. Choose the one you like best to carry because all feel and shoot the same.

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