The Ultimate Carry Package

| March 7, 2009 | 11 Comments

Review of the 642 After A Year of CCW

I have carried my 642-2 exclusively for 16 months now. I was just thinking it is time for me to post a review after many hours of carry in different environments. I have had this revolver long enough now to be able to say I have carried it in all of the four seasons.

Those that know me know that I rarely purchase anything without advance research. Upon doing my research about the 642 I was a little worried about the finish holding up. There is a clear coat that many has reported having problems with. This was not much of a concern because S&W is known to have great service and will surely make it right in a short order of time. I have a model 60 I can always CCW if a repair is needed, which lessens this concern even greater. So the caveat would be if this is your only CCW firearm, you would have to go without while it was returned to the factory for repair.

That aside I asked myself what else is there NOT to like about this firearm. The next concern for choosing a ccw was the weight. This is an airweight j frame. The empty weight of this firearm is 15oz. This is great for carry and after 10 minutes or so you will not even notice it on your belt. What about recoil of the 38+p ammo? I am not recoil sensitive, Magnum should have been my middle name. More important to me are follow up shots which manageable recoil plays a big role in. After deciding not to purchase on the first day of actually handling the weapon, the next weekend I decided to visit the club and rent a 642. With the hopes of actually answering the magic question, just how bad is the recoil? After an hours worth of range time with the rented 642 and my model 60 I had made up my mind to purchase the 642.

So let?s get on with the review and my experience of owning the 642-2. I would first like to say it has been reported that S&W only had few that left the factory with the clear coat peeling issue. My 642-2 though it looks carried have not had this issue (see the picture above).

My 642 has been carried in all four seasons for an average of 6 days a week over the last 16 months. The carry capability of this firearm speaks for itself. The surfaces are rounded and snag free which makes for quick access in a time of need. The light weight of the 642 can only be a plus for carrying. It only takes a few minutes of carrying and not having to tug at your belt and trousers to realize ahhhh what a feeling, this thing is made for carrying. I give the 642 5 out of 5 stars in this department. I have friends right now that have a permit but don?t often carry due to the size and awkwardness of his primary carry firearm. What a shame to have a bad guy do you or your family harm when you have a permit but refuse to carry.

If there is one thing revolvers have always topped the charts in, it is ease of use. The 642 continues this tradition. If you can squeeze the trigger you can make it go bang. If it doesn?t go bang the first time there is no tap/slap, rack, bang to be performed just simply pull the trigger again. The semi auto fans, military guys and old timers know what tap, rack, bang means. For those confused about it, this is performed on semi auto firearms when a malfunction occurs. Here is a link to a gentlemen on youtube performing this action as a demo,

Reliability is often synonymous with revolvers. My 642 as been very reliable to the extent of 100%. To date I have 420 rounds through my 642. Though not many rounds, it?s reliability and accuracy helps my confidence and I trust my life to it. I usually only shoot my 642 at the end of range sessions to test for accuracy and functionality.

The only negative in my eyes of the 642 centers around capacity. With only 5 shots at your disposal I recommend the j frame speed loader from HKS. Police and FBI records show that most guns fights end with only 2 rounds being fired. With my luck and Murphy?s law I prefer to carry the extra 5 rounds in a speed loader.

This is a great little revolver. Anyone looking for a accurate, reliable, easy to carry weapon for ccw purposes look no further than the S&W 642.

Overall Grade
5 out of 5 stars.

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11 Comments on "The Ultimate Carry Package"

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  1. Mike P says:

    Great review! I’ve been thinking about the 642 for a while and when I finally get my hands on one, I’ll decide. But you gave a really thorough review! Thanks!

  2. DRB says:

    Any problems with the finish peeling on the aluminum?

  3. admin says:

    As I mentioned in the article one of my concerns was the finish. As there were many internet forums reporting a finish problem with the 642. I have not seen that issue. When I wrote this article I had been carrying the 642 full time for 16 months. It has been 26 months and the finish is still fine and no evidence of peeling. I caveat that with saying I usually clean mine about once a month if I shoot it at the range or not. You will notice it will collect dust and dirt from carrying it everyday hence the reason for cleaning it once a month.

  4. GregD says:

    I have carried the 642 for about six years in my front pocket of jeans and shorts. Columbia makes shorts with a side pocket where a 642 fits perfect. The finish is wearing off on the aluminum frame but this does not
    bother me. I had considered a sub-compact 9mm but every review indicated problems which resulted in sending the pistol back to the manufacture. I will stick with the 642.

  5. Mike K. says:

    My 642 combined with an inexpensive Uncle Mike’s IWB holster is unbelievably comfortable and utterly concealed with any shirt of reasonable length worn outside the pants. It shoots where it’s aimed and is a beautiful piece of workmanship.

  6. bob says:

    I carried the 442 for more than a year and echo this review. My only advice is to practice alot, and then practice a lot more. Snubbies are tough to master, and might not be a great first choice. A dream to carry. One negative was that the blueing on the 442 began to show wear rather quickly.

  7. Matt says:

    I love this gun! I carry my 642 daily, as an OD/BUG and have nothing negative to say. The finish on mine is intact and shows no sign of wear. I get a little harrassing from the guys at work about being “under gunned” and “only having 5 rounds”. I have to laugh because they just dont get it. I’ll keep packing my 642, and just rest easy knowing its always there.

  8. Eddie says:

    I have been carrying my 642 for only 2 weeks now but I absolutely love it. I purchased mine with the Crimson Trace Sight system. The rubber grip and lazer sight are perfect.
    The lazer made me a better shot no doubt about it. I had never owned a lazer sighted pistol before but will own many in the near future. I can tell you that the lazer, combined with the double action of the 642 taught me some good shooting techniques.
    I have always done well with my handguns, but I never owned a snub before and didn’t expect to be able to do much good with the 642, at least not without some serious practice. I can say I am shooting this little pocket gun as well or better than my Colt Double Eagle or my Beretta 96. The 642 with the lazer is one amazing combination. I love it!
    In fact, I went out and bought a second one for the wife.

  9. Regan says:

    Hi, I just got a SW 642 and I am very excited. After doing research, I am prepared to purchase the Crimson Trace sights unless I find something better. Your review helped me alot and I appreciate your experience. I need to find the best products/kit for cleaning this gun and am hoping you can lend your experience one more time. How do you clean yours and what tools/products do you use? I obviously have read all of the scary stories about finish… so naturally, I would like to preserve mine as best I can. I will be going for my concealed permit within the next couple of months but I need to better educate myself and learn to shoot it a bit better first! 🙂 I am a first time gun owner. Any assistance you can provide will be more than appreciated!

  10. Regan says:

    Also, one more quick question. What type of ammo do you recommend the most? I have heard conflicting stories over and over and everyone has a difference of opinion. I just want the best quality and want to have the cleanest firing as possible.

  11. Mike says:

    I bought my wife a 642 with the Crimson Trace grips. She loves it. She was not good a clearing jams on a semi or even racking the slide. The trigger pull is very heavy though. I put the Wolfe spring kit (8# hammer/ 14# slide) in myself. After watching Youtube, it was a snap to do. Getting the side plate off without prying was the hardest part. The trigger job made it ~20% easier to pull. I fired 3 types of ammo including 50 reloads with no issues with new springs. We love this gun. She likes the looks of it and thought the Ruger LCR was ugly. I’m not sure looks/fashion on a CCW is a factor.

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