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S&W m642 airweight

Guest 808-South

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Guest nicemac
I just put this on layaway. Should pay it off by the time my HCP comes in.

What are your thoughts on this pistol?

Excellent choice - I have two, so my wife and I can both carry what quickly became both of our favorite pocket guns.

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I've had one for a few months (bought it when S&W reduced the price) and really like it. I bought it largely to use as an ankle gun for the infrequent occasions when I carry an ankle gun. Because of my predilection for revolvers, however, I have been carrying it more than my P3AT when I want a pocket gun (oddly enough, I have found that the P3AT works better for me as an ankle gun than the 642 - go figure.)

Personally, I think that - in order to achieve the 'power' level of a .38 +P revolver - many of the pocket autos are really pushing the limits of design capabilities. Therefore, while semiautos may have greater capacity, I think the revolver is simply more reliable. Then, again, I pretty much believe that any decent revolver is more reliable than pretty much any semiauto but that is just my opinion.

I have owned other snubbies but none that were quite as lightweight as the 642 and this is my first 'hammerless'. A few things I have discovered, being still relatively new to them that may be of help to you:

1. I have owned a compact (subcompact? - it was a Kel Tec P11) 9mm, have a very small, light .380 (Kel Tec P3AT), own a mid-framed, six shot .357 snubbie that I enjoy shooting with full-bore .357, have fired a Ruger SP101 5 shot with full-bore .357 and currently have a .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk that I can shoot pretty well one-handed with 240 grain JSPs. Firing the 642 with +P rounds is like none of them. I guess the best way to put it is that the recoil is more 'snappy' than the others. You really have to get used to this gun and, at first, you might think, "Wow, did I make a mistake?" Once you do get used to it, though, you realize it isn't nearly as bad as you first thought, it gets to be kind of fun and you will like it more and more. You will also begin to realize that it is quite possible to be accurate with it at SD distances. Still, after firing a significant number of rounds in one session - especially if practicing with +P - don't be surprised if your wrist knows you have been up to something. The 642 is a great gun and a great carry gun - which is its intended purpose.

2. I have found that, at least with mine, the factory rubber grips are a bit too thick in the area where the thumb rests (if you shoot right handed) to allow an HKS speedloader to be used very easily. I know that some folks remove a little material from the grips in that area (maybe with a dremel) while others put different grips on which allow a speedloader to be more easily used. I may change the grips, eventually, but for now my solution is that I carry a speedstrip for reloading rather than a speedloader. The speedstrip may not be quite as fast but it carries more easily and is, in some ways, easier to use (less chance of fumbling while reloading, IMO.)

3. Shooting a 2 liter cola bottle filled with water from 10 yards with a Winchester PDX1 .38+P round from a 642 with a tree as a backstop will cause said bottle to jump about six feet straight up into the air and leave an exit hole that splits the bottle wide open. What does this prove? Well, nothing, really - but it sure was fun!

Just be sure to get a pocket holster. You don't have to spend big bucks for one. I carry mine in a cloth Blackhawk pocket holster that I bought at Walmart and it has worked just fine, so far although something with a wider base might work better (I've been thinking about a Nemesis.) A pocket holster covers the trigger and (possibly even more importantly) keeps the little revolver oriented the correct way in your pocket so you can just reach in, grab and draw while also keeping the muzzle pointed in a relatively safe direction.

Also, if you want to belt carry it, sometimes, it also disappears well and fairly easily under just an untucked and maybe unbuttoned shirt even in just an inexpensive FOBUS paddle holster (they make one that is labeled specifically for J-frames.)

Edited by JAB
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Guest nicemac

I put Crimson Trace grips on mine, as much for the rubber over mold as for the laser. With the CT grips, it actually doesn't hurt to take it to the range and fire a box of 50. With factory grips, around the third reload, your hand starts to hurt… just sayin'.

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I got a 442 late last year for my wife. She didn't care for the 12 lb trigger, so i put an Apex carry spring kit in it. I liked it before, but now it has a much better pull, about 9lbs.

This is my favorite pistol. I am glad my wife didnt like it. I have carried it quite a bit. It is lighter than my PPS and is very easy to conceal. It is great for coats with big pocket. Just drop it in. As you walking to and from your car, you can have you hands in your coat pocket on you weapon. You can shoot thru your pocket if the situation calls for it without worrying about the gun snagging in your pocket.

Now with the lighter trigger, she may want it back.

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I believe you will enjoy your 642 just like the rest of us. It's a great reliable gun but it does take practice to be proficient in using it due to the heavy trigger and short sight radius. Even though it's not a fun range gun, don't let that stop you in putting plenty of rounds down range.

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I suspect you will like your 642. Quite a challenge to get good with it at 7-10 yards, but once you do you'll enjoy further honing your point and shoot skills. If you can get all 5 in a pie plate size (COM) at five yards in five seconds you will have done well as that is what they are designed for.

The 642 was my first S&W J Frame Centennial and it prompted me further to get a M&P 340 and a good deal on a M60 (with hammer) when the opportunity came along.

I added a set of Crimson Trace 405s and it is now my wife's nightstand companion. I found it just a bit heavy for the pocket hence the 340.


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Carried one for almost 10 years as a back-up and off-duty gun instead of any number of semi-auto pistols. I now use it for CCW when the mood strikes. I had mine silver hard chromed several years ago when the factory paint started to chip off of the aluminum frame. I also have Eagle checkered rosewood Secret Service grips that I absolutely love. Simply a fantastic small carry weapon. +P rounds should be used sparingly even if it is +P rated to keep it good and tight for the long haul.

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Awesome, awesome choice. That is my weekend, kickin' around town gun. Just put it in a pocket holster in my front pocket and almost forget it is there. I also added some Crimson Trace grips that I got used here on the forum, but I had it for at least a year before I did that and it wasn't a "must have". Also, I have it at Predator Custom Shop right now getting an action job. It shoots fine, but compared to my older S&W guns, the trigger is not as smooth (maybe none of them are). They are going to replace some springs and smooth out any rough spots...I think they know what they're doing. Anyway, those are some of the things you might consider in the next year or two, but you will love carrying the gun. Shooting it is not as fun because it kicks hard, but that's what you give up with light weight. The thing kicks hard, and there's nothing much you can do about it except put on bigger grips (which again defeats the purpose of a good carry gun). So...I think most people practice a few rounds each time they go to the range, but don't use it as a "fun, all day target gun" when they go shooting. It is a "man, I'm glad I have that gun with me" type of gun...it will be there when you need it and you won't care about recoil if you're in trouble. I say you made a very wise decision. B

Edited by Bassoneer
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