Monday, March 21, 2011

Smith and Wesson Model 642 joins the family.

OK, it's time for another gun post, mainly because I got another gun.

This one is a Smith and Wesson Model 642, a five-shot .38 Special. Made of aluminum alloy with a stainless steel cylinder and barrel, it's designed for concealed carry and is one of Smith and Wesson's best sellers.
I like the size of my little Ruger LCP, but I'm not a fan of it's sight picture and/or trigger pull and I'm less than impressed with the .380 round in general. It's still a nice pistol to have in one's pocket as a back-up, but by sacrificing just a bit of it's concealability, I can have five rounds of Corbon or Winchester Ranger .38 Special on tap in a pistol that's more accurate and more comfortable to shoot.

I used to have a Smith and Wesson J-frame revolver that I bought on Massad Ayoob's recommendation when we were in a gun shop together. That pistol was not rated for +P rounds, and it has a small butt and wood grips that made it very uncomfortable to shoot, even with standard rounds. I eventually needed money so I sold it but I've always regretted that. Now I have another one, and while it came used, I got it for the same price that I sold that old one for years ago, so I'm not complaining about a few scratches.

Here it is, side-by-side with my Model 66. As you can see, it's much smaller and more concealable, and the shrouded hammer means that it can be drawn from a pocket--or fired through a pocket--without snagging.

So how does it work, you ask?

Wonderfully. The soft grips absorb a lot of the recoil, and it's much less painful to fire than my old Bodyguard with it's tiny butt and wood grips. Once I got the feel for it's heavy but crisp trigger, I was able to put 32 out of 35 rounds in the black from seven and ten yards, and the flyers were the result of me doing a rapid-fire string from the supine position, lying on the ground as if knocked down. I need to work on that one a bit more. But then who doesn't? My only complaint is that the small ejector rod needs to be hit forcefully to ensure reliable extraction and ejection, but that's common to these J-frames with 1&7/8" barrels and can be dealt with as a training issue.


  1. There seems to be a massive outbreak of snubby love all over gun bloggerland as of late.

    Fine with me. My 442 is in my pocket right now.

    Fine little shooters.

  2. Nice timing. I'm actively searching for a replacement for mu mini Glock. I've been looking at the new single stack 9s but I love revolvers so this may work for me. You planning on carrying reloads?

  3. I probably will carry reloads, if only because I've ginned up a near-duplicate of the old "FBI load" with 158gr. LSWCs and I've got so freaking many of them. I just have to make extra sure that I don't have any high primers or bulged cases, because I have been known to let the odd one or two slip through my inspection process only to find them when practicing on the range.

  4. Looks like you managed to snare one without the heinous internal lock and its accompanying stupid keyhole above the cylinder release latch. That's a good thing.

  5. Yoau know it, Bob. I don't buy guns with the locks...or lever-actions with added safeties.

  6. I shot a new 642 last month. Nice gun! Just not one for my newbie student to learn with!

  7. I am a very big user of J frame .38s. I also use a .22 version, the kit gun, also in 2 inch format, for practice.

    May I suggest you get a slim, THIN, IWB for appendix carry (it just dissapears with a t-shirt over it) and Cor-Bon DPX 110 gr ammo.

    That and a touch of orange paint for the front sight.

    As for trigger pull, if you are up to it, get Wolf reduced spring set and such as Tetra gun grease and take the side plate off. get all the parts out and replace the rebound spring with no less than 14 lb spring. DO NOT CHANGE THE HAMMER SPRING! Use the Tetra grease a bit liberaly and then replace the side plate. Locktite the screws back in and do alot of dry fireing to get it all slick.

    MUCHO BETTER THAN THE LCP or any other pocket .380!

  8. Oh goody... something ELSE for you to outshoot me with... :-)