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Old March 9, 2008, 03:01 AM   #1
ornithoid
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I bought a S&W 642 Airweight 5-shot revolver, but have questions

In response to an anti-gun column in our local paper, The Palm Beach Post, I went to a gun show (which was specifically mentioned in the anti-gun column, that's why I went, and I e-mailed the columnist a "thank-you" for alerting me to the show!) and I bought myself a new revolver.

It's a Smith & Wesson 640, for which I paid $389+tax (one guy had it for $499!). It says "Airweight" in script on the right side of the frame.

I admit that I bought it without a lot of thought or research into it. I saw on "Personal Defense TV" how effective and quick it can be to carry a J-frame in a pocket, courtesy of Massad Ayoob. Wow! So I knew I had to get one for CCW.

I am a bit dismayed that the paperwork that S&W includes does not get specific to the actual model of the gun in the case. It's just generic revolver info. Laaaame.

So, if you can, please tell me more about my gun! I don't even know what the frame is made from to make it an "airweight." Is it aluminum, titanium, scandium, what?

Thanks for taking the time!
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Old March 9, 2008, 03:05 AM   #2
ornithoid
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Whoops!

A quick look at S&W's website just revealed to me that I think what I got is actually a model 642, which appears (unless I am mistaken) to be the same as the 640, but the "Airweight" which evidently has an alloy frame...

I kinda like that it's alloy, because I don't plan to fire it much, but I will be CCWing it, and if it's not gonna be polymer, I want it to be something else that resists corrosion. Aluminum fits the bill, I think.

Your thoughts?
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Old March 9, 2008, 03:26 AM   #3
postal1911
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yes it would probally be a 642, since the 640 is a stainless steel revolver
the 642 is a aluminum J frame revolver
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Old March 9, 2008, 03:35 AM   #4
scsov509
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I have a 642 that goes with me everyplace I go, even though most of the time I carry something bigger as my primary weapon. The 642 is an excellent little wheelgun, and you'll love it. For ammunition try the 158 grain HP-LSWC, or lately I've been using Speer's 135 grain +p Gold Dot which is made specifically for short barrel revolvers.
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Old March 9, 2008, 04:54 AM   #5
ornithoid
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Thanks, guys.

I don't remember for sure if the tag on the display gun said 640 or 642 (somehow I got 640 stuck in my head), but I recently realized that there's a sticker on the side of the case that says unequivocally "642".

I'm so hot to carry this gun that I'm going to have it out with my on Sunday, even though I haven't proven it at the range yet. (In the past I have never carried a gun I had not fired as a test first.) I just don't really see a significant likelihood that this gun would do anything but fire as expected. (I still will be taking it out to test it soon, regardless -- don't you worry.)

I feel a bit weird being limited to 5 shots... but on the other hand, there is nothing as good as 5 shots you can get to in under a second! 10 or 15 shots in five seconds may not be good enough...
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Old March 9, 2008, 09:59 AM   #6
doc540
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Click HERE for more than you even want to know!

Congrats.

fwiw: if it bites your hand from the recoil of +P loads, I suggest adding a Hogue Monogrip. It sure helped on mine.



Here's a SmarCarry, deep cover holster that has an extra pocket for a Bianchi speedloader which will give you a way to reload another 5 rounds.





(borrowed this pic from a poster here)
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Old March 9, 2008, 05:19 PM   #7
SDBuckaroo
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I thought you were going to ask where the skin from the webbing on your hand went.

Buckaroo

Who is jealous
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Old March 9, 2008, 05:38 PM   #8
Doug S
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Congrats on picking an excellent concealed carry pocket gun. The 642 is one of the all time greatest handguns IMO. I just bought my 3rd one a couple of weeks ago. I traded the first two, and never found anything that could replace them, so I think I'll keep this one. Prior to getting this most recent 642, I bought a Scandium 340. The 340 is an $800 gun, but I think for much less money, the 642 is even better.
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Old March 9, 2008, 05:50 PM   #9
Alex45ACP
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Quote:
Congrats on picking an excellent concealed carry pocket gun. The 642 is one of the all time greatest handguns IMO.
+1

I have one and so do two other people in my family.
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Old March 9, 2008, 07:32 PM   #10
Kreyzhorse
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You'll love the Airweight. They are great guns and a joy to carry. You got a hell of a price too.
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Old March 9, 2008, 07:39 PM   #11
ornithoid
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Quote:
You'll love the Airweight. They are great guns and a joy to carry. You got a hell of a price too.

Well, $that$ makes me feel even better!

I'm glad to see that this selection has received such fervent approval, and that so many people think so highly of this gun!
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Old March 9, 2008, 11:37 PM   #12
44 Deerslayer
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The 642 is my "always" gun. Sometimes I carry a larger gun but the 642 is always in my pocket. It's an accurate shooter but target shooting is more pleasant with standard .38 ammo. I usually shoot a cylinder of +P at my range sessions and that's what I carry too but it can sting the web of your hand a little. Not really painful but not something you want to shoot all day in a gun this light.
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Old February 25, 2009, 10:58 AM   #13
FGColonel
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Hey guys, I am reviving this thread because it is exactly what I am facing at the moment. I recently purchased a 642 for my wife to carry. She is a slight thing of petite proportions and small hands. She is no newbie at shooting and although she says she like the gun, I detect a bit of apprehension in her voice. After 34 years of marriage I know her well enough to know that she will not complain about the small things. She carries the gun and loves the size and weight, but when we go to the range she migrates back to her Kimber of my K19 S&W. I think the recoil of the snubby was kind of a surprise to her. I want to make the gun as confortable as possible for her to carry and shoot. Any suggestions?
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Old February 25, 2009, 01:09 PM   #14
David Armstrong
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The 148 grain target wadcutter is a very soft recoil round, and is considered fairly effective by the IWB crfowd as a SD round.
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Old February 25, 2009, 01:15 PM   #15
Shadi Khalil
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Quote:
I am a bit dismayed that the paperwork that S&W includes does not get specific to the actual model of the gun in the case. It's just generic revolver info. Laaaame
Most gun makers do this.

Congrats on the new revolver and nice work on on writing the author the thank you letter
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Old February 25, 2009, 02:51 PM   #16
FGColonel
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Thanks David, I will pick up a box and let her give them a try this weekend.
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Old February 25, 2009, 03:10 PM   #17
Daryl
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FGC,

I have an airweight, and someone gave me a nice set of over-sized wood grips for it. They fit my hand well, and do reduce recoil noticeably.

That said, most of the time I carry it with CT lazergrips. In addition to having the lazer for low-light, the smaller grips are easier to conceal in situations where I bother with it.

As mentioned above, I also shoot a lot of 148 gr HBWC's (hollow based wad-cutters) with a few grains of bulleye under them. They're easy to shoot, and don't have a lot of recoil.

Daryl
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Old February 25, 2009, 03:11 PM   #18
p99guy
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You made a great choice of an everyday carry revolver...they are classics for a many reasons and attributes. Grip choices make a big difference in your successful interface with a J-frame.

I chose its brother, the 638 Airweight with factory crimson trace laser grip, for my every day revolver as I wanted snagfree DA/SA. The Crimson Trace grips have a cushioned backstrap and room for the pinky...and are comfortable with the hottest loads you would use in a J frame. They also provide a good second sighting option under conditions that iron sights are no good. Congrats on your revolver, and practice, practice, practice!
(I also use the Gold Dot 135gr +P Short Barrel load developed for NYPD J frames)



And with the Galco Horsehide pocket holster it normally rides in
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Old February 25, 2009, 03:48 PM   #19
Flyfisher
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It's redundant, but...

...the 642 is the gun that goes with me everywhere...every day. I use it with a Milt Sparks pocket holster that fits neatly inside my front pocket. I use it whether I am fly fishing on some remote trout stream or going to work. The only time I do not have it with me is if I am packing other handguns for specific reasons. I have a variety of handguns from Sig to Kimber to Ruger to some cousins of the 642! In the final analysis, the 642 is my "go to" gun for everyday applications. The questions regarding grips and ammo type will ultimately sort themselves out. If you ever need it, your last consideration will be whether the firing will hurt your hand!! :-) Great choice.
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Old February 26, 2009, 03:04 PM   #20
FGColonel
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Thanks for all the input guys. I will try the wad cutters this weekend and I am in the process of locating grips that she will feel comfortable with. I will let you know how it turns out/
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Old February 26, 2009, 04:42 PM   #21
Couzin
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One more thing - the coating on the frame is fairly easy to rub off if you use a wire brush or abrasives like MAAR polish. Once the alum alloy is exposed to salt (sweat) etc., it can start to corrode.
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Old February 26, 2009, 07:24 PM   #22
dbldblu
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I bought a S&W 642 Airweight 5-shot revolver, but have questions

HBWC's keyhole out of my snubnose but YMMV.
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Old February 26, 2009, 07:32 PM   #23
Mr.RevolverGuy
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there is a nice review of the 642 on this site.

http://www.dayattherange.com
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Old February 28, 2009, 05:22 PM   #24
NoBite
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I got a no-lock 642 recently and just received my MIKA pocket holster earlier this week. Google Bob Mika and you'll find his site. Best investment in a pocket holster is what my friends told me. After getting one in hand, I am very satisfied.

You might want to rethink one thing you posted, that you don't plan to shoot the 642 much. I believe you were referring to the light weight being a joy to carry, but maybe not a joy to shoot all that much. The other side of that coin is that to shoot any snubbie very well, even at bad-breath distance, you need to practice. Dry fire would be good, too. Yes, it will go bang for you. But, you really do need to get the hang of shooting a snubbie.

Here is my favorite site for snubbie information.

http://www.snubnose.info/accessories.htm
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