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Which J Frame

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by KF, Nov 12, 2006.

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  1. KF

    KF Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Just joined THR....
    I finally decided to get a j frame for pocket carry. I read the 642 forum..lots of positive posts..
    Some questions and advice needed.
    I am looking for a hammerless or spurred hammer......
    -Is the 442 the same as the 642 just a different finish?
    -Is the model 60, (Hammerless 2") the next "size up" in weight to the 642?
    looks like; 442/642 15 oz
    Model 60; 2 1/2" 22.5 oz
    Is the kick on the model 60 more manageable, than the lighter 642?
    Any feedback on the model 60 vs the 642/442 would be great..
    Thanks to all for advice.

    Be safe.
  2. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    Yes. I have one of each.

    The Model 60 is a steel gun. The 442/642 are "Airweight" (aluminum alloy frames). Then, a few years ago, the titanium frames came out, and nowadays S&W makes scandium frames. A scandium equivalent to the 442/642 is the Model 340. About a third lighter, but twice the price! :eek:

    Yes, recoil is always affected by firearm weight. Basically, a given round is going to have a given recoil impulse. If the gun it's fired from is heavier, that means that the recoil impulse has to spend more of its energy moving the gun before you feel it. A lighter gun is more easily moved, thus you feel more of the kick. However, this is relative. I don't find any problem in shooting a few cylinders of +P .38 Special ammo from my 442 or 642, but I wouldn't want to shoot a full box of hot loads out of them at a sitting. In a steel gun, this'd be much less painful on my hand. Given that I don't have my Airweights as range guns, but as carry guns, I don't worry about shooting lots of ammo out of them, so this isn't a factor for me. (I have a steel J-frame, and a Model 317 in .22LR, so those are my practice guns - training with them translates directly into training for the Airweights).
  3. Captain Bligh

    Captain Bligh Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    You really need to decide if you want a gun to shoot or you want a gun to carry.

    I have a Model 60 that I love, but I wouldn't want to carry it in a pocket. It serves best in a belt holster. It's comfortable shooting .38 spcl. and .357.

    My kid has a space-age metal S & W. It is light as a feather and disappears in a pocket. Shooting it, however, is PUNISHING with a capital "P." My concern about that gun is that I wouldn't want to practice with it enough to be proficient. I think I would merely carry it until the SHTF.

    So, I chose the Model 60 and a good belt holster, IWB for me.
  4. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    I'd go with the lighter gun, easier to carry.

    642 recoil is not fun after a while, but then you're not getting it for fun. With hot ammo, I think the trigger guard comes back and hits my fingernail. That's the only painful part. No big deal.

    I practice with a bunch of home-made "minus-p" rounds, light loads, light recoil. I wind up a session with about 20 rounds of "plus-p" because that's what normally sits in the gun.

    The way I see it, recoil doesn't matter. How many shots do I expect to make "for real"? I'll take a wild guess and say "zero".

    When I want to shoot for fun, the 686 is a much kinder, gentler gun.

  5. jamz

    jamz Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Seacoast NH
    Any J frame you get will be a good gun. :)

    My j-frame evolution went like this:

    First, and older model 60 in .38spl only (Cheif's Special). All stainless steel, regular hammer. I didn't like the weight or the hammer snag so I looked around for a year until I found a good condition....

    older Airweight Model 38, in .38spl. It had a shrouded hammer, which I liked, and it had an anluminum frame which made it nice and light. Beautiful deep bluing too. Put Ahrends stocks on it and it shot and carried really well. Only drawback is I didn't want to shoot +p through it, so I started looking at the newer airlight 340, because I like to overdo things.

    340PD.. Just got it a few weeks ago, and I love the way it shoots .38 +p, but .357 is nasty with the Ahrends stocks. I just found some Hogue monogrips that I forgot I had, put them on this morning and I'll try .357 with these bigger grips later.
  6. JLStorm

    JLStorm Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    I use a 640PD for BUG ankle or pocket carry. Its light and very comfortable, but it kicks almost as much as my ported 454. If you have some size to you and are well trained in recoil management and intend to practice a bit I would say a lightweight snubby is a winner. If you are not so sure of your skills go for something with some weight. I have seen a few people give up on their airlights etc., because they are tired of missing the target or having sore wrists. On the flip side a nice snubby lightweight 357 (I think the 640pd is 11oz) can always use 38 rounds, which is a great way to learn the gun and carrying a 38 round until you are comfortable with 357 is fine, after all a 38 is nothing to laugh at.
  7. Striker

    Striker Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio
    Agree with jamz that any J frame is a good gun.

    A consideration is what kind of pants will you be wearing while utilizing a pocket carry. With snug pocket jeans, I have no problem with a steel gun. In a suit, dockers, or cargo pants with loose/big pockets I carry an airweight in a properly fitted pocket holster. May not be a factor for you though.

    As to recoil, I would recommend that you try your choices out before you buy.
  8. Steve 48

    Steve 48 Member

    Feb 24, 2006
    St. John, Kansas
    I have both, the 642 and the 60. The 642 slips in my pocket more often than the 60 because of the weight. Steve 48

    TOADMAN Member

    Aug 5, 2005
    Daytona Beach
    If you want a J-frame for pocket carry - the S&W 642/442 will serve you well. 38 spl. Speer Gold Dot 135grn+P short barrel ammo is a very capable self defense round..The Remington 38 spl 158grn+P Lead Semi Wad Cutter Hollow Point (LSWCHP) is also a great self defense round.
  10. fiVe

    fiVe Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    West Florida Panhandle
    Well, of course I recommend the 642

    If you want to know more click >>here<<
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