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S&W 642 vs. 442

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Boston Irish, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. Boston Irish

    Boston Irish New Member


    Can anyone help me in making a decision between the smith & wesson 642 vs. the 442? I am leaning towards the 442 because I like the blueing, I have way too many stainless guns already! BUT.... will the carbon steel in the 442 hold up as well as the stainless steel? I know alot of people here love the 642 is that the better choice?
    One of them will be coming home with me... just want to make the right choice.
  2. cslinger

    cslinger Well-Known Member

    I love my 442 and carry it often. It is holding up just fine. I also have a 638, close enough to a 642. I think I like the 442 better.



  3. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello, sir.

    I own both Models 642 and 442 snubs and have carried S&W J-frames of one sort or another for decades. In my opinion, both perform equally. The only advantages I see for the 642 is that it resists corrosion longer than the 442. It also tends to show wear marks less obviously than the darker gun.

    This 642 has been my constant companion (via a pocket holster) for several years now. If you look closely, wear marks are visible on the cylinder and the frame. These don't show as much as they would were the cylinder and barrel blued and the the frame's anodizing, black. The gun also resists corrosion better. How much of an issue this actually is depends upon the individual, the climate, and their personal preferences. I am "blessed" with the "acid fingers" and even when cleaning at the end of each day, my blued snubs would eventually show tiny specs of corrosion here and there when carried during the hotter months of the year here in Texas.

    Not actually a 442, this 042 (essentially the same gun) was carried as a backup gun for several years. Scuff marks and dings show up more readily. Personally, this was not the problem for me but keeping it 100% free of rust was.

    Any handgun carried lots will show signs of it. I consider these marks of use to be "honorable" but prefer the 642 for its corrosion-resistance to the 442 even though I much prefer dark guns.

    In terms of shooting performance, I have not found an advantage/disadvantage to either.

    Best and good luck.
  4. Boston Irish

    Boston Irish New Member

    Thanks Stephen,

    I was concerned about corrosion. I work outdoors most of the time and plan to use either model in a pocket holster. I have heard rumors that s&w had problems with rust on their carbon steel slide 1911's when used as a daily carry piece. Again... just rumors. I have carried a sig 239 for many years in a IWB holster without any signs of rust etc. I just fell in love with the size and weight of the snubbie!
    All of my s&w pistols are in stainless, I am looking for a departure. Wish I could buy them both.
    Thanks for your input... I guess I have some decisions to make!
  5. rogerjames

    rogerjames member

    Sorry I'm late to this thread but I am also debating 642 vs 442. Do both support +P ammo? Is there any other difference with safety, sights, etc. or is the finish the only difference? I also like the centennial frame better than the bodyguard frame on 638.
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I like the Bodyguard frame better than the Centennial but have nothing against the later. Both the M442 and M642 are equal so it only comes down to what you like better, SS or Blue. Both will serve you equally well so just buy the one you like better...
  7. glockman19

    glockman19 Well-Known Member

    I have a 642 and am getting a 442. Different guns for different dress. Dark suit 442, lighter colors 642. Fact is I like them so much I just wanted another.
  8. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Sorry, a little OT...

    What company made the grips on your M442??

    They look great but how do they handle? How do they compare with the stock Uncle Mike's rubber grips?
  9. DAdams

    DAdams Well-Known Member

    For a couple hundred more :eek: You could get a M&P 340 which will satisify the need for a dark gun and have perhaps a better coating than the 442.
    For that pleasure you also get a gun chambered for .357 and night sights. That's worth it IMHO. Usually night sights are around $75. The 340 is also lighter at 13 oz vs 15 nominal.

    Supposedly the 340 has a "new" high tech coating??

    Anyone know what it is?

    Model: M&P340
    Caliber: .357MAG/.38+P
    Capacity: 5 Rounds
    Barrel Length: 1.87"
    Front Sight: XS Sights® 24/7 Tritium Night
    Rear Sight: Integral U-Notch
    Grip: Synthetic
    Overall Length: 6.31"
    Weight Empty: 13.3 oz.
    Material: Scandium Alloy Frame/Stainless Steel Cylinder
    Finish: Matte Black
    Frame Size: Small - Centennial Style
    Action: Double Action Only
  10. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    I have a 442 and according to S&W it's "Finish: Blue/Black". I've found that it wears much better than an all blue gun. Not sure what the black finish really is, but it's held up very well. I'm guessing the alloy frame is covered in some kind of paint finish and the steel cylinder is blued.

  11. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    IIRC correctly the finish on the frame of the 442 is just hardcoat black anodizing, a la the AR-15 receiver. Dunno if they give the 442 the same clearcoat top layer they give the 642. I went to my local gunstore yesterday to see if I could handle one of the new M&P revolvers, but they hadn't gotten any of them in yet. I do like the monochromatic appearance of the M&P over the two-tone effect of the other scandium guns, so I may have to pick one up when I can find one.

  12. loplop

    loplop Well-Known Member

    Only problem with the M&P is that it can fire 357. I think 38 +P is just about right for this gun.

    And the M&P is a little light to fire the FBI load, my preferred load.

    Other than that... Great deal. Who knows if they were next to each other what I would have picked.

    IMO 442 > 642
    I like "blue"


    I do think the bead-blasted blue on the barrel and cylinder seems to wear well. I'm sure it will eventually wear off, though hopefully that won't be for awhile.
  13. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "if they give the 442 the same clearcoat top layer"

    Don't see it on mine and have never heard of a peeling problem on the 442 like I have on the 642.

  14. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Why It Pays To Work In A Gun Shop (101)

    I have the S&W 642 instead of the 442, only because I got it at the very
    attractive price of $200. ;)
  15. amprecon

    amprecon Well-Known Member

    I prefer blued over stainless, I went with the 442. I have no stainless guns.
  16. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Well-Known Member

    I prefer the 442 -- both are identical in function so this is strictly subjective
  17. KillshotRB

    KillshotRB Well-Known Member

    I want a 442 so I have a pair...:)
  18. Serpico

    Serpico Well-Known Member

    I prefer the 442....the hard anodized frame is pretty hardy but the cylinder on mine began to pit so I hard chromed it...maybe I should have just had the cylinder done in black teflon or something but I decided to hard chrome the whole thing....holds up well with no coating issues...and doesn't look half bad.....

  19. Kevinch

    Kevinch Well-Known Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong but....

    .....the 642 frame is alloy, not stainless, correct? In fact, isn't the frame the same material as that of the 442, with a different finish?

    I believe the cylinder of the 642 is SS, & the 442 is CS, but am I correct on the frames?
  20. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member


    went to sportsmans warehouse to buy 642 but didn't have one had 442 and all guns on sale 5% off.and like usual it followed me home.;)

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