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Which is smaller-642, M36, or Colt DS?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 38snapcaps, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. 38snapcaps

    38snapcaps Well-Known Member

    I prefer a revolver for concealed carry, but I'm annoyed with the cylinder width, it's fat compared to many autos. I'd like to find something smaller than my 642. An IWB holster feels uncomfortable, a belt holster seems to cause my jacket or shirt to stick out noticeably, and I can't stand carrying a gun in my pocket, looks like a billard ball bouncing against my leg.

    I'm pretty sure from my reading that a Model 36 has a different frame than a 642, so that component is smaller, but is the cylinder smaller too?

    I'm also interested in a Detective Special, how does that compare in size and width?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  2. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    width of the Smiths are identical

    The DS is wider
  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    The M-642 and M-36 are considered the same frame size (S&W's J-frame) The difference is that the M-642 encloses the hammer in the frame by extending the sides of the frame upward. The M-36 is actually a larger package as the exposed hammer extends up both higher and further back. The cylinders of both models are the same size.

    The Colt D-frame has a larger cylinder. It's 6-shot cylinder, as opposed to the J-frame's 5 shot one, is about the same size as the S&W K-frame...the next size up from the J-frame.

    I've been carry my M-642 for 15+ years and recently switch to the Kahr P/CW 9 for easier carry (much thinner and more rounds), but you might take a look at the Ruger LCR
  4. 38snapcaps

    38snapcaps Well-Known Member

    The reason I thought a M36 could be smaller is because I've seen over on the S&W forum they refer to modern J frames as having "magnum frames" so that the same frame can be used with .38 or .357.

    Darn, I was hoping a DS would be smaller in some way. I have a M10 snub and it seems huge next to a 642, I sure don't want to try and carry that! I don't see how they did it back then. I am an avid watcher of old movies and the heater used by both sides of the law is either a Detective Special or M10. Sometimes you'll see a J frame, usually what appears to be a M36.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  5. savit260

    savit260 Well-Known Member

    An old (non magnum frame) J frame is a tiny bit shorter than the new ones. Width should be the same.

    The Colt, being a 6 shot cylinder is .1" wider than a J frame.

    To go smaller than a J frames width, you'd have to go with something like an old Lemon Squeezer in .32 S&W. You'd reduce the size a bit, but be carrying a very underpowered round. Then there's the mini North American Arms revolvers in .22 and 22 Magnum.
  6. savit260

    savit260 Well-Known Member

    Not nearly as hard as you think. The key is a very good holster and belt. If you're trying to do this in a cheapo off the rack holster, you're fighting an uphill battle. I have no problems carrying a 4 5/8" Ruger Blackhawk .45 (quite a bit bigger than a K frame) under just an untucked T shirt, and I'm just an avarage sized guy.
  7. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    Maybe you should try an aluminum framed gun in the front pocket. Less weight equals less bound...The Colt Agent and Colt Cobra are the same gun as a DS, just with an aluminum frame. My Agent rides just fine in the front of most pants.
  8. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    Truthfully, it sounds like you also have serious holster issues contributing to your "problem" or perception thereof.
  9. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    A pocket holster can make pocket carry much better.

    The 642, due to its aluminum frame, is the lightest of the three revolvers you mention, and for carry comfort, that can be a huge issue. The Detective Special is slightly larger in all dimensions than a J-frame S&W. Both the Detective Special and the model 36 are all steel, though the Colt's D-frame snubby was also available with an aluminum frame.
  10. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    Please head Savit's advice

    I carry under an untucked shirt. The left grip of the gun is touching my side because I am using a 5.11 reinforced belt. This way the gun cannot "fall away" from my body.

    A reinforced belt literally changed my life. I now carry more comfortably and more hidden than ever before.

    The best 30 bucks I ever spent on a gun accessory.
  11. 38snapcaps

    38snapcaps Well-Known Member

    Guillermo- I did a Yahoo search for 5.11 refinforced belt and found several choices. Which one do you have that you like so much?

  12. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    I like the trainer belt because it is 1 1/2 inches, thus will fit most holsters and belt loops.

    I don't remember if I got mine from Cheaper than Dirt or GT Distributors. My guess is GT because they are local for me but I remember it was a little more than 30 bucks.

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