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642 Cons?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by C-grunt, Jul 28, 2006.

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  1. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

    Jun 12, 2005
    Phoenix Az
    I have my eye on a 642 for a BUG or something to throw in my pocket when I run to the store. It feels nice, is a good size, lots of power for its size, and isnt very expensive. A LOT of people love and swear by these snubs, but I never hear any negative comments about it. What are some of the downsides to this weapon? Im not trying to find a reason to not buy it, I just want to gather as much info on it as possible.
  2. Serpico

    Serpico Member

    Feb 22, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't know any.....scandiums and ti's are so light they are brutal to shoot and the steel frames are a bit heavy for pocket and ankle...the 642 is the baby bear of snubs....just right.
  3. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 20, 2002
    I dunno. I wear a 640 (all steel) every day at work in an ankle rig, and most of the time when I'm off-duty, too. I almost forget that it is there. I think all-steel might get old in a pocket gun, but I certainly have no qualms about toting that "extra weight" if it is IWB or ankle-holstered.

    The trade-off is that the extra weight makes it a LOT more pleasant to shoot, and probably more durable as well.

    To me- and this is just me- the ti/scandium/alloy/airweight guns are cases of the cure being worse than the disease. Make mine solid steel, thanks.

  4. resqbubba

    resqbubba Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Mechanicsville, VA

    I have a 642. It is hard to shoot and you need to keep up the practice. It is great on the ankle, and in the pocket with an Uncle Mikes Pocket Holster. The price is almost perfect too usually about $350-$400. I called a police officer friend of mine when I bought my 642. I asked him, do I want a light weight .38 or a light weight .357?? I can shoot both thru a .357. He told me to think about 2 things. One, do you want to spend the extra $250 or so for the gun in .357??? Also, do you want your shots with .357 scattered about if you had to run and fire behind you?? Or would you want those shots to be center mass on an attacker if you had to run and fire at them with the .38. Hence he was trying to explain the recoil differences in a lighter gun. Here are a couple additional thoughts of mine about carrying it. Should you get into a gun fight, you will probably be shooting (should you need to shoot) from you to about seven feet away. As most know, just having the gun visible to an attacker or otherwise is normally enough to scare them off. But be ready to use it, should you need to.

    Sorry for the ramble, but I just wanted to explain some thoughts on the gun. In mine, and yes it is a 642 .38, I carry the 135gr +p gold dots. I just hope after 5 shots in someone they stop, as some else stated after a shooting it alot, your hand does hurt. Invest in a pair of Hogue grips, IMHO they are better than the ones that come with it!!!

    TOADMAN Member

    Aug 5, 2005
    Daytona Beach
    642 Cons: (1) capacity, lots of folks want more than five rounds in a handgun.
    (2) practice, takes a bit more to practice to become proficient..
  6. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    There really aren't any downsides, so long as you know exactly what you are getting: a reliable gun that can save your bacon when facing 1-2 assailants at close range. 5 shots means you don't want to try taking on a group of sub-legally employed youth, and the miserable sights/DA only trigger pull means that you don't want to take distance shots with it. It's quite accurate for such a small gun though.

    It is a touch big for the pocket- while I carry mine there, it's pretty obvious I have something good-sized in there. That's just how it is with revolvers; a Beretta Tomcat would hide better, but I trust the .38spl far more than the .32ACP.

    I love mine- it fills its particular niche well, and it really is the snubby revolver by which others must be measured.
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I have a couple of criticisms. First, you can't cock it, but then that's a good thing for a pocket carry BUG, so you can't really consider that a criticism. 2, it has a pretty rough out of the box trigger, but I'm told it'll smooth with time. Other than that, I have been thinking of getting one, actually. It might be heavy up against a titanium gun, but it's what, 19 ounces? That's not really what I call heavy even in a pocket, though it's getting there. It's a strong little gun, plenty stout enough for hot +P handloads or whatever sane .38 you wanna fire in it.

    I'm not sure why the gun should be any harder to shoot than any other J frame with a good grip on it. I love the little rubber boot grip my Taurus 85UL came with. An Uncle Mike's boot grip is quite similar. It's concealable, pocketable, yet is comfortable in the hand. The rubber absorbs some of the +P sting, too. My Taurus is the main reason I ain't runnin' out to get a 642. I can buy a 642 at my local gun shop for just over $300. That's a danged bargain for a Smith! I've fired a couple and handle a couple and the trigger is a good bit worse out of the box than my Taurus, though. The Taurus is very smooth, one of the best out of the box triggers I've ever felt this side of a Python. And, I do like the fact I can shoot it SA because I take it outdoors a lot, shot a snake with it just the other day. The sight I have on it is much better than a 642 comes with, I had it installed, black front sight with a gold reference wire for my light loads (Keith style). I'm all set up with that little revolver, so don't feel the need for another for what I use even a pocket revolver for. But, for your duty, the 642 is an excellent choice. Snag free hammerless is better out of a pocket, I do admit. And, the sights ain't THAT bad even stock.
  8. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Run and fire behind you? With unaimed fire, .38 is more accurate than .357? Please. :rolleyes:

    Cons: It weighs 15 oz...as does my Kahr PM9. My Kahr is dead reliable, carries 6+1 of 9mm Ranger 127gr+p+ (seven for sure;)) , with another 7 rounds just a mag change away. Better yet, my Kahr is smaller than a j-frame (yes, I own two j-frames, and carry neither). And my Kahr has No Lock. ;)
  9. aguyindallas

    aguyindallas Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    I have had mine for a week now and I have no complaints. I have carried it in two different pocket holsters. One is a Desantis Nemesis and the other is a Galco Pocket Horsehide. Both do very well and represent both ends of the spectrum in material and cost.

    I bought mine NIB from www.sportingarms.com and it was $339.00 plus tax. I talked to them today and they told me all S&W prices were going up between 8 and 11% on Aug. 1st.

    If you are considering one, make a move, and make it quick.

    As for downsides....the topic of this...I can only think of 1 and that is capacity. 5 shots is a little light, but then again, reloads are easy to carry and in 90% of those that CCW, its probably a BUG anyway. For me, it is my primary more than it will be a BUG. 1 other thing that I am not a fan of is the front sight. Its just hard to see. This is not just a 642 problem though, its a snubby problem.

    Good luck, you will love it!
  10. ravencon

    ravencon Member

    May 5, 2005
    There is nothing wrong with the 642. Nevertheless, I recently upgraded to the 340Sc for pocket carry.

    For me it is worth the extra cost and heavier recoil to have a very light pocket pistol. YMMV.

    If I want to carry a snubby on my belt I go with a Ruger SP101. Much heavier and much easier to shoot well.
  11. JNewell

    JNewell Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    Land of the Bean & the Cod

    * Buy a steel J-frame for practice! :D
  12. kentucky_smith

    kentucky_smith Member

    Oct 6, 2005
    Con: It's not a 637. :neener:

    Yes, I know I'm in the minority, but i prefer the 637. I've tried for a week to get the hammer spur to catch on what I'm wearing. It hasn't yet. Slides right out of my pocket, especiall the usual khakis.
  13. jes

    jes Member

    Apr 25, 2006
    Bites My Thumb

    The 642 is my carry gun and I practice with it at least once a week. My only problem is that with "stout" ammo, my right thumb knuckle can get beat up on the cylinder release.:what: I have to be very careful to pull my thumb out of the way.
  14. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    My 642 is painful on the trigger finger. I think the recoil causes the trigger guard to hit the nail on my trigger finger. Especially bad with +P loads.

    So, on any outing, I only shoot about 20-30 rounds with it, another 20 rounds with the weaker hand, then get out the 686 for more pleasant plinking.

    So if there's any downside to the 642, it's the recoil.
  15. symr00

    symr00 Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    The only cons for me were that all the local dealers around here want $480 to $520 for them :confused:
  16. The Good

    The Good Member

    May 24, 2006
    corection on an above post.. it is actually 12 oz. unloaded..

    oh and the recoil aint too bad, so dont worry about that too much.
  17. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    As a fun or range gun there are several cons as has been previously mentioned. When you consider what it was designed to do, be a lightweight easy to carry reliable gun in a respectable caliber, absolutely nothing is wrong with it. Different guns for different jobs.
  18. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    Jul 25, 2003
    The Great Pacific NorthWet
    AMEN Brother! I'm glad I ain't the only one who feels that way.

    I carried all steel J-frames on my ankles for about 15 years. In a good holster you can actually forget they are there. The problem is there are very few good ankle holsters anymore no matter what the weight.
  19. Ichiro

    Ichiro Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    light gun + small grip + heavy trigger + short barrel = difficult for me to shoot accurately.

  20. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Home Of The First Capitol Of The Confederate State

    Sometimes there is not enough too go around~!:eek: :uhoh: :D

    As we all learned in school, that is called:

    Supply and Demand
  21. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Only negative I can think of is that my 442 is not much fun to shoot with +P. Very snappy.
  22. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 22, 2002
    Kampong Cham, Cambodia
    The only Cons is theay are not made in 9mm with moonclips.
  23. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Within the lightning
    Ichiro said it very succinctly.
    "light gun + small grip + heavy trigger + short barrel = difficult for me to shoot accurately."

    Some subjectivity is always likely when answering questions like this, and it really depends on your perceived needs and desires ... but here's my thoughts regarding the potential disadvantages of an Airweight DAO J-frame ...

    Small grip frame.
    Heavy DAO trigger stroke.
    Short sight radius & difficult-to-see notch & post sights.
    Light weight and higher felt recoil than steel-framed models (but less harsh than the Airlite models).

    These attributes can potentially make it more difficult to consistently and accurately place shots where intended, even under 'ideal' range conditions. Small framed revolvers can require a higher level of knowledge and DA revolver shooting skills than when using larger framed models.

    The weight of the standard Airweights can be an acceptable compromise, depending on the owner's abilities, as well as the ammunition used, of course.
    The 23 oz. weight of the 640 can be noticeably heavier than the 15 oz. weight of the 642, but the shorter barreled 60 is half an once lighter than the 640, and the steel .38 Spl 36LS weighs only 20 oz. You can also reduce the weight of the Airweight by something close to an ounce if you install the Bantam grips, too (snap-on, no screw).

    Now, while most folks agree that +P ammunition results in more felt recoil than standard pressure ammunition ... there's +P ammunition, and then there's +P ammunition. :what:

    I've used some Lawman 158gr TMJ +P loads for qualification that exhibited noticeably more recoil than the similar weight Remington 158gr LHP +P loads I used for actual carry (I'm lazy and like to avoid cleaning lead out of the charge holes ;) ). For the most part I've found the Speer SB 135gr +P loads to offer more recoil than the Winchester or Remington 158gr LHP +P, too.

    Some folks don't mind +P ammunition (in those models rated for a steady diet of +P), and some folks would rather use standard pressure ammunition for the controllability advantages.

    I've seen some decent LE pistol users ... who apparently entered LE work long after revolvers were the issued service weapons, and revolver skills were taught ... bring a newly purchased 5-shot snub-nosed revolver to the range for qualification and be rather surprised when they couldn't shoot it very well at first.

    Of course, I've always suspected that average revolver shooters could be more easily transitioned into pistols shooters than the other way around. Doesn't mean they'll like pistols, and I've heard some real grumbling from old time revolver shooters ... but I've also seen their scores improve when they applied their revolver trigger control skills and use of sights to their pistol shooting.

    When I first bought my 642-1 I spent some focused range time with it, and with a couple of 442 & 640 range training guns, running through several hundred rounds to knock the rust of my revolver skills. (Ditto my DAO revolver skills with my SP-101 .357 Magnum, using full power Magnum ammunition, too.)

    I finally reached the point where I could run my 642 through any of the various service pistol qualification courses of fire and qualify Master with it. Took more reloading, granted, but I also knocked the rust off my previously well-used speedloader & speedstrip skills, too. I keep my DAO snub revolver skills fresh, and include often include drills from 'precision' (head) shots on silhouettes at 25-35 yards (not practical, most likely, but it requires focusing on the basics), as well as making called hits on wooden clothespins at distances of 5-7 yards. That takes some focus on basic skills maintenance, which is why I include it.

    Now, what's a bit odd is that over the years I've found I can shoot my J-frames better than my short-barreled SP-101, even when shooting .38 Spl loads from the Ruger. I guess I've become accustomed to the DA/DAO trigger strokes of my various J-frames.;)

    Lightweight, easy to carry in various manners, chambered in a reasonably sufficient defensive caliber, reliable ... and the revolver is less prone, or perhaps just less susceptible, to 'limp-wrist' grip issues than a diminutive pistol platform. If the cylinder can rotate when the trigger is pulled, and the hammer can fall, the round under the hammer can fire ... all else being normal (good ammunition, clean and well maintained revolver, etc., etc.). I wouldn't necessarily include the Airlite models in this category, since bullet jump concerns may arise, depending on the ammunition used and the individual shooter.

    I like the steel J-frames for shooting ... but I like the Airweights better for carry and shooting.

    Different strokes. Different handguns for different folks, too.
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