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 S&W 642 for first CC weapon? 
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 Post subject: S&W 642 for first CC weapon?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:34 pm 
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Interested in getting opinions on the suitability of a S&W 642 .38 for my wife who has never carried concealed, or for that matter has much firearms experience. I have big hands and like 1911 type pistols. My wife has been handling a lot of different guns and says that the 642 feels the best.

I have very little experience carrying snubbies. I'm kind of concerned about muzzle blast and recoil and the fact that there's no safety or external hammer. Would it benefit from a trigger job and an upgrade to the sights? And does anyone know where she'd be likely to find the best price on one?

We're going to Bill's this weekend, they have a similar revolver that she's going to try out and see how she likes it. I know there's some people on here that carry them, just interested in your opinions and will show them to her if anyone would like to offer constructive advice and experience. She's internet forum shy so I'm asking for her. :)

This forum and several members personally have been a great help to us. Thanks!

Hobie


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Small and light revolvers can offer pretty violent recoil, and aren't the best choice for somebody new to shooting. The long, heavy trigger pull is a safety feature and should not be modified on a carry gun.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:57 pm 
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Snubbies can be very hard to shoot for new shooters. Don't start her out with +P+ ammo in a snubby but some light shooting lead rounds are a good start. Going to Bill to try before you buy is a great idea and in the end have her choose.

My wife does like the Model 60 but really likes her Bersa Thunder 380.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:04 pm 
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Short version...

The 642 is the worlds most perfect carry gun!

Longer version...

You can shoot everything from wimp loaded wad cutters all the way up to hot +P loads. This should handle recoil sensitivity. I'd rather carry 38 wimp loads than a 380 (although a Keltec 380 is my summer carry, and that thing has nasty recoil, much worse than the 642). The recoil isn't all that bad even with the +P loads. Start with the wimps and work up. You can practice with lighter loads and carry +Ps.

It's simple and safe! No controls, other than the trigger, to screw up under stress. No clearing or malfunction drills; if it doesn't go bang the first time just pull the trigger for another round (yes, I know you can have revolver malfunctions, but with factory ammo and a good gun they are so rare as to be nearly nonexistent).

If you carry in a good holster that covers the trigger they are as safe as you can make a loaded gun.

They are easy to carry and have about the largest holster selection available. I have both the 640 (steel) and the 642 (alloy) and while the 642 has slightly higher recoil than the 640 I would much rather carry the 642. I carry it a whole lot more than I fire it and the weight difference is substantial. If you ever have to use it for real you won't even notice the noise or recoil, which isn't all that bad anyhow.

You can get Crimson Trace Laser Grips for it for $175 that work great and don't make the gun clunky like some grips.

Image

Image

Click on the image for full size pics.

The holster is a Galco IWB holster and the grips are Crimson Trace.

Try it, I think you'll like it! Start with a box of light wad cutter loads first.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:03 pm 
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Buy it.

It is an old standard that you will always come back to. (See image at top of this forum.) If she doesn't use it, you will. It is just so easy to carry.

As stated before, start out with some very light loads (Cowboy Action) or some reloads. These can be quite mild. I have some 148 grain LSWC reloads that are very mild. Work up from there all the way to +P.

Is she all right with the weight of the trigger pull? A good gunsmith can work it to be smother and lighter for about $100.

Have her shoot one if at all possible. I assume it will be a carry gun. If it is planned to shoot more, I would go to the increased weight of a Ruger SP101 to reduce recoil.

In the end, it is her decision.


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 Post subject: Re: S&W 642 for first CC weapon?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:04 pm 
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Hobie wrote:
Interested in getting opinions on the suitability of a S&W 642 .38 for my wife who has never carried concealed, or for that matter has much firearms experience....My wife has been handling a lot of different guns and says that the 642 feels the best.


Feel and pointing are primary considerations and while revolvers have their disadvantages this might be a good place to start. This is her first gun, not her last gun, and she can always change later as her tastes mature.

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I have very little experience carrying snubbies. I'm kind of concerned about muzzle blast and recoil ...


I suggest you start her with a 4" revolver especially if she will be carrying in a purse where overall length is relatively unimportant. The 4" revolvers have less felt recoil and somewhat reduced muzzle blast although you still have a gun that spits out the cylinder gap.

Quote:
and the fact that there's no safety or external hammer


Field experience is that modern revolvers have an unbeatable safety record. You can get an external hammer if you want one, S&W makes them both ways, and Taurus and Ruger both have external hammer revolvers.

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Would it benefit from a trigger job and an upgrade to the sights?


Not for a carry gun. Get her a nice .22 with a trigger job and sights for that kind of thing.


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And does anyone know where she'd be likely to find the best price on one?
Discountgundealer.com if you're buying new and know what you want.

Quote:
We're going to Bill's this weekend, they have a similar revolver that she's going to try out and see how she likes it. I know there's some people on here that carry them, just interested in your opinions and will show them to her if anyone would like to offer constructive advice and experience. She's internet forum shy so I'm asking for her. :)


Because of the external lock fiasco I would suggest that you consider Ruger and Taurus over S&W.

25 years ago I was a bigger fan of revolvers for beginners. The modern semi autos have improved and become more proven since then and I don't think the case is nearly as clear cut any more, especially since there isn't a cost benefit to revolvers now. If a Glock (or any of the competing modern semi-autos with equally simple controls) fits her hand, you might consider that as an alternative.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:25 pm 
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We had this very discussion today, My wife will be carrying her 642, Yeah it kicks a little, but it's manageable, we also we with the Crimson trace laser grips, to help in case we ever needed to use it. She doesn't like to go out and shoot a full box. I think it's a bit of fun to shoot 8)

Good grips certainly help, y thoughts are that if the time ever came to be, you wouldn't feel it anyways.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:02 am 
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Don't overlook the S & W 638, this is everything the 642 is, plus a shrouded hammer which gives you the option of single action.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:57 am 
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Because of the external lock fiasco


Anyone care to enlighten me on this? I have the 642 with the internal(?) / integrated(?) lock.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:07 am 
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My mom really likes her Model 60. Same frame size as the 642 but it has a 3" bbl and came with slightly larger grips.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 pm 
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642 is a good carry gun. Revolvers are good guns for beginners. Have her shoot it to make sure she likes it. Other than that, if it's what she likes I say go for it.

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 Post subject: Follow up...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:49 pm 
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Thank you for all the tips and suggestions. My wife read the feedback, decided to give the Bersa Thunder a try. She test-drove a Beretta Cheetah in .380 and had no problems managing the recoil.

So we went shopping and got a nice duo-tone Thunder for her. Although the Bersa is lighter she has no issues with recoil and loves the way the gun fits her and the way it shoots. Thanks for the recommendation and feedback!

Hobie


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 Post subject: Re: Follow up...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:50 pm 
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Hobie wrote:
Thank you for all the tips and suggestions. My wife read the feedback, decided to give the Bersa Thunder a try. She test-drove a Beretta Cheetah in .380 and had no problems managing the recoil.

So we went shopping and got a nice duo-tone Thunder for her. Although the Bersa is lighter she has no issues with recoil and loves the way the gun fits her and the way it shoots. Thanks for the recommendation and feedback!

Hobie


Congrats on the Thunder. She will like it. My wife likes her's.

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 Post subject: Re: Follow up...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:20 pm 
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Hobie wrote:
Although the Bersa is lighter she has no issues with recoil and loves the way the gun fits her and the way it shoots.

That's what counts!

Congrats to your better half on her new gun. :D

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:26 am 
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I have that same gun and really like it. I have never had a problem - I think that she will like it.
My wife carries a Taurus 85 titanium with lightened trigger and hammer springs. She wanted to carry the Thunder but due to arthritus she could not rack the slide.
Have fun ant tell her that she has a good gun.

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