S&W 638 vs. 642

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mousegun, May 14, 2013.

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  1. Mousegun

    Mousegun Member

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    I chose the 638 over the 642 because it has that bobbed hammer that can be used effectively as a single action if so desired, yet it is still small enough not to get snagged on the way out.

    I can't understand the fascination with the 642 that only gives the option for double action. It seems to be the gun of choice in the Airweight ranks.

    What may I be missing?
     
  2. weblance

    weblance Member

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    I dont think you missed anything. I also chose the 638. Its excellent
     
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  3. EddieG54

    EddieG54 Member

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    My choice was the 642 because of the consistent trigger pull of DAO. I'm all over the target when switching from single action to double action. I have shot both and seem to have better results with my DAO 642.
     
  4. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    I have the 638, but have fired both 642 and 640. I did not notice a significant difference between the 638 and 642 triggers. There is the possibility of getting some debris in the works on the 638. I don't carry mine in a pocket; it goes in its own pouch on a backpack strap that doesn't store anything else, so I worry less about lint and such. For awhile they made the 638 with a >2" barrel, and if you gave me the choice between that and a similarly barreled 642 I'd go with the 638 every time. The extra barrel length (increased velocity) and sight radius combined with a single action trigger pull makes it a slightly more usable gun to do a little plinking with lighter loads.

    jm
     
  5. David E

    David E Member

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    In the practical context, the 642 is the better choice.

    If you require the single action capability to hit with a snubby, then you need more DA practice.
     
  6. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    That may be true in your world. In my world, my EDC is a 637, a SA/DA with a OMG!:eek: full hammer. Funny, over the years I've yet to have it snag....on anything. Front sight maybe, but not the hammer. Hmmmmm, my other carry gun, the 1911, has a hammer too. Guess I'm just full of impractical. Being my EDC, means it's used on 4 legged varmints too. Could be a coyote during turkey season or a squirrel on the ground that ain't worth the cost of a broadhead during bow season. Since many of them are beyond SD range, I find having SA capability an advantage on the small revolver with the tiny sight plane. Maybe there's a reason they make so many different kinds........could be not everybody is just like you.
     
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  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    As long as you keep coins, keys, golf tees, out of the 638 hammer slot, it will go bang.

    I have both, six of one, half dozen of another.

    Good choice.
     
  8. David E

    David E Member

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    Don't know why you feel the need to get personal. :rolleyes:

    The 642 is as sealed as a revolver can be against dirt, lint, coins, golf tees, etc.

    It allows worry free drawing, especially at speed, from any carry position. It allows reliable pocket firing, even from a pocket full of coins.

    I mean no offense to anyone, but single action is the crutch of the unpracticed.

    I can hit a 100 yd IPSC target with my 642. I'm not bragging, since I believe just about anyone can do it with not a lot of practice.....but there IS some practice required.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  9. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    Each Airweight design has a lot going for it. I like all three versions, but I bought a 642, for several reasons:

    I am not worried about it not having a single action capability, because the thing is actually really accurate in double action - I don't need the single action capability. If I wanted one with single action, I would get a 637, because access to the single action hammer tip on the 638 is miniscule. My dad had a friend who got killed because the little hammer spur got away from her while she was lowering it. Yeah, the muzzle was also pointed at her. Yeah, that was dumb. It was over 30 years ago, I was a kid, and it made an impression on me that, logically or not, gives me a creepy feeling every time I look at a 638, so I have never really been interested in one.

    I pocket carry my Jframe. The 642 and 638 won't snag the hammer on the draw, like the 637 can. I tried it. It can, whether or not yours does.

    The 642 action is more protected from debris and dirt than the other two versions because more of it is covered up.

    Due to the higher backstrap, it is possible to get the hand a bit higher on teh grip control recoil with the 642 a bit better than the 637 - again, I tried them side by side.

    So: The single action hammer is immaterial to me, recoil control is better for me with the 642, I feel like the gun stays cleaner internally, and I get a cleaner draw when I want to slip it out of my pocket. 642 ftw, for me. It makes the most sense.

    There's a reason they still make all three versions - different people like different things and have different priorities.
     
  10. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    None taken, and I don't practice shooting it single action. It's just an additional feature that *can* enhance practical accuracy, especially given the short sight radius of both styles. I couldn't hit an IPSC target @ 100 yards with mine in either DA or SA, though, except by luck.

    jm
     
  11. 1 old 0311-1

    1 old 0311-1 member

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    I love the looks of the Bodyguard

    P1020787.jpg

    BUT the Centennial, 642, 640, 940, 340PD by design have better triggers, for what that matters on a belly gun, and could, according to Mass Ayoob, be easier on you in court if ever used.
     
  12. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    Didn't pick the 642 because I dislike the 638. Just like the 642 better.
     
  13. David E

    David E Member

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    You see, I think you could!
     
  14. HankR

    HankR Member

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    Twelve S&W snubbies?

    And my wife says I have too many guns.
     
  15. EddieG54

    EddieG54 Member

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    I tried shooting at a B-27 silhouette at 100 yards with my 642. That was a waste of ammo:rolleyes:
     
  16. David E

    David E Member

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    The key to long range shooting, at least initially, is to spot your misses. Then you know how much front sight to hold up, etc.

    I bet both you guys, with maybe a little bit of long range coaching, could hit that 100 yd target 1-2 times every cylinder. Maybe more.
     
  17. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I have had any number of Colt and S&W snubnose revolvers but somehow I have always had an abiding fascination with the Model 49 and its lightweight brethren, the Model 38. Currently my two favorite J frames are an older Model 649 which I have polished the stainless steel surface to a bright nickel plated-like finish, and a recent production Model 638.
     
  18. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    It is really quite simple, the available SA is a feature without practical function in a defensive handgun of this size...really any reasonable carry size.

    I agree with David E that the SA is really a crutch for folks who either won't or don't know how to practice shooting in DA. Shooting a defensive revolver in DA is just as accurate as SA and with a bit of training and practice has proven over the years to be more accurate.

    I don't think I'm as good a shooter as David E...it has been a while since I've shot my 642 at 100 yards...but grouping at 50 yards is a regular part of my practice. As he said, it is just a matter, at 100 yards, of figuring out how much front sight to hold above the rear sight
     
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    IMO it comes down to looks. Some shooters just don't like the profile of the Bodyguard frame and feel the Centennial frame looks better. I happen to like the Bodyguard frame better but then again, I own all 3 frame types. (Chief's Special frame too)
     
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I never did understand a statement like that??? So if you shoot SA you did something wrong but if you shoot DAO you didn't? Is it a crime to use your handgun in the manner where you can aim best and shoot most accurately? I just don't get it...

    Using that logic I could get in trouble with the law for using a 8" barrel revolver because it's easier to shoot well. So now you have to limit your ability to shoot well to keep from getting arrested? I think not!
     
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  21. skoro

    skoro Member

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    I carry the 642 and always feel well armed with it. That said, I think any of the S&W Airweight j-frames is a good choice. Go with the one you prefer and hope that you never, ever have to draw it in defense.
     
  22. hedrok

    hedrok Member

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    I'm a strong believer in the long, smooth trigger pull for self defense shooting for many reasons, not the least of which is the pure simplicity of the long trigger pull straight back and...bang.
    No choices to make...No grip position to change...No accidental discharge (important).

    Additionally, if you ONLY shoot double action and practice correctly, you'd be surprised at how your shooting with a short pull trigger (semi-auto) will improve.
     
  23. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Says a lot for the SASS folks and 1911 enthusiasts.

    Just because I like to shoot SA, doesn't mean I don't practice DA and am a lousy shot. Again, maybe that's how it is in your world, but not here in mine. Since I hunt pretty much everything but Turkeys with a handgun, I routinely practice with all my revolvers in DA and SA generally @ 70 yards, the little 637 included. Once my guns are sighted in or regulated to ammo, I rarely shoot paper anymore. Hanging bowling pins or ten inch lengths of 4X4s work well...... cause watchin' things bounce and swing is more fun than lookin' at holes in paper. Also, doesn't get near as boring. Once they get swingin', then they are a moving target for fast DA shooting. While I don't hit them near as often with the 637 as I do with the 629s and the X-Frame, it sure is fun tryin'. Still, when I'd like to make a precise shot, not just HIT something, I prefer the short stroke of SA. That's just me tho.......In that scenario, I don't consider it a crutch, but an advantage.




    Hitting a piece of paper that's 22" X 18" @ 100 yards with an reasonably accurate handgun shouldn't be too tough. Most of it is in your head. To folks that only ever practice @ 7, 15 or 25 yards it seems almost an insurmountable task. Shoot @ 100 for a while and all of a sudden, 15 yards makes you claustrophobic. My experience is that reactive targets at any range tends to make most folk focus more than just a bulls-eye on a piece of paper. I like clay pigeons on the berm @ 40 yards. Even new shooters can home in on the orange center and adjust their shots by watchin' the dirt fly.
     
  24. deputy tom

    deputy tom Member

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    You aren't missing anything. I own both and they are both great carry guns. tom. ;)
     
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  25. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Had both. My wife preferred the 38 nickle cause she didn't care for double action only and I got on fine with the 642
    +1 on keeping little bits and pieces away from the 38/638 hammer slots. It doesn't take much to jam one up.
     
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