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Old April 15, 2019, 04:02 AM   #1
Targa
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Goodbye little Smith! The 642 is gone.

I tried and tried to enjoy shooting this little hand slapping beauty but after an Apex trigger job, numerous rounds down range (as many as I could handle anyway) it just wasn’t meant to be. I really wanted to like this gun but apparently my fondness for revolvers stops at 13 oz snubnoses
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Old April 15, 2019, 05:26 AM   #2
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That’s when some hollow base wad cutters are in order. So soft behind 3gr of Bullseye.
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Old April 15, 2019, 09:26 AM   #3
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The 642 ain't a ladies gun. It won't be the funnest gun you own but it is my favorite carry gun, it's accurate, fits in the pocket, lightweight. It is hard to shoot accurately but you can't put a 686 in your pocket and be happy with it.
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Old April 15, 2019, 10:01 AM   #4
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I liked carrying mine.
Didn't mind shooting it. -- It wasn't meant to be a plinker.

But it rattled itself looser than anyone would ever expect, and I had fired less than 120 rounds through it in ... four(?) years. (Six cartridges shy of two 50-round boxes, and one box of Hornady CD.)
A Ruger LCR replaced it.
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Old April 15, 2019, 10:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targa View Post
I tried and tried to enjoy shooting this little hand slapping beauty but after an Apex trigger job, numerous rounds down range (as many as I could handle anyway) it just wasn’t meant to be. I really wanted to like this gun but apparently my fondness for revolvers stops at 13 oz snubnoses
Mee too..like the wee snubnose idea but...replaced it with a Taurus 380..fun to shoot for this 'recoil sensitive' guy..I know the 642(nor my LCP) was a frequent shooter but any gun I own I want to shoot, frequently. If it isn't FunToShoot, it's gone, replaced..
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Old April 15, 2019, 12:25 PM   #6
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I owned and carried one for several years. I can't honestly say that I ever enjoyed a practice session with it. It moved on along.
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Old April 15, 2019, 04:08 PM   #7
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Practice was a big player in getting rid of it, I cringed at the idea of practicing with it. I want to be as accountable as possible for any rounds out of the barrel if God forbid the day ever came to use it and that wasn’t going to happen with it. The safest place to stand past 15 yards or so would have been where I was aiming......
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Old April 15, 2019, 05:59 PM   #8
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A better grip makes a world of difference.....along with the right ammo.
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Old April 15, 2019, 06:34 PM   #9
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I carry a 637-2 pretty much every day. I would absolutely agree that recoil from this little beast can be unpleasant.

While I'm not a huge fan of laser sights in general, I found that a Crimson Trace grip made all of the difference in the world. Not only is the grip more comfortable and manages recoil better than the stock grips, the laser makes accurate placement pretty easy.

Honestly, if not for the CT grips, my 637 would have been gone a long time ago.
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Old April 15, 2019, 06:44 PM   #10
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I've shot several hundred rounds thru the first 642 I bought, no looseness at all. Prolly fired the newest gun 2 or 3 hundred time, no looseness. I rather like shooting them.
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Old April 15, 2019, 07:38 PM   #11
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I still have my 642; it has its merits; but I have moved to the SIG P365 - simply awesome is "nuff said.
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Old April 15, 2019, 09:12 PM   #12
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The Sig is an impressive gun. My dad has one and I am always impressed with its capacity and how well it shoots and carry’s, its like Sig defied physics with the 365.
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Old April 15, 2019, 09:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
The safest place to stand past 15 yards or so would have been where I was aiming.
Once you figure out what hold to use, it's not bad. ...Not that it matters much at this point, since the revolver is gone.


Then again... I don't think I ever "practiced" beyond about 7 yards (always estimated, never measured). Anything more distant was more along the lines of "plinking" to empty the cylinder or finish off the handful of cartridges I pulled out of the box.
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Old April 16, 2019, 08:10 AM   #14
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Still have my 642 after 18 years or so. While I don't shoot it as much as I do others, it's frequently put to use. Most shooting is done at 7-15 yards but I do push it to 25 yards on occasion. I won't win any trophies at 25 but it is far from ineffective at that distance.
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Old April 16, 2019, 03:53 PM   #15
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I guess we all feel recoil differently, I have a 638 and don't mind shooting it. I don't shoot it all the time don't get me wrong, but with the extended grips I put on mine (pinky parking) its good for me.

I also plan on getting a Sig P365 once they start putting those 12 rounder mags in as standard instead of the dumb 10 rounders. I'm not paying $46 for a 12 round mag when it should come standard for us living in a free state.
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Old April 16, 2019, 04:53 PM   #16
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I have carried J frames as backup and off duty weapons for the past 42 years and a 642 since 1997. Yes the J f frame and especially the Airweight version does take some getting used to but a good set of grips can make all the difference.
I use the Pachmayr Compacs most of the time, they are surprisingly easy yo conceal although I also use UM Boot grips at time. I Keep the Compacs on my 642 and the Boot grips on my 638. Most of my shooting is done with wadcutters with 10-15 rounds of +P at each practice session. I shoot at least monthly.
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Old April 16, 2019, 06:33 PM   #17
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It was a learning experience, I really wanted to like the 642 but my CM9 was much more accurate, very comfortable to shoot, the trigger was much better (even after the Apex spring kit was installed on the 642) and it carried better than the Smith.....well, for me anyway. I love revolvers but other than its looks, the 642 ended up having no redeeming qualities for me. As for thicker grips, that would have just worked against the deep concealability that I bought it for in the first place.

I can tell you though that they are certainly thought well of, I had no problem selling it to a coworker the second I mentioned it..
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Old April 16, 2019, 06:44 PM   #18
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My grips were not thicker but were 1/2 longer, so I could have someplace to put my pinky. Glad you got a gun your happy with.
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Old April 17, 2019, 10:01 AM   #19
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P365 is not a pocket gun, weighs nearly a half pound more than a 642. You are not comparing apples to apples. If I'm gonna carry in a holster I'll carry a Lightweight Commander pistol, it shoots and handles much better than a 642 and it'll hold 11 rounds if that matters to you.
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Old April 17, 2019, 10:40 AM   #20
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Seriously considering

Not to drift too much, your cringing when you think of practicing a few rounds rather reminds me of my LCP.
It's quite accurate, but man I sure don't want to put more than 1 mag through it for practice.

I think I am going to try a grip sleeve for it.
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Old April 17, 2019, 06:36 PM   #21
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Imo, the biggest difference between typical LCRs and J-frames is the trigger. I much prefer the da trigger pull on the Ruger to the ones on J-frame Smiths.
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Old April 17, 2019, 07:29 PM   #22
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Each individual has to consider their choices, their reason(s) for their choices, and any likely (or realized) consequences for their choices ... in order to make their best informed decision.

Good for you to think it through for you.

I only carried steel J's for many years before finally thinking to try an Airweight. It was when the 642-1 was first rated for a steady diet of +P that I finally tried my first Airweight. It involved a little bit of a learning curve, meaning the first couple of cases of +P loads used. The standard pressure loads made it easier, but I was carrying +P so I decided to include more +P for quals and frequent range use.

I also had the opportunity to grab an early production 640 from the training safe (the older one chambered in .38SPL but laser marked as approved for use with +P+ on the frame window) and run some cases of some older 110gr +P+ duty ammo we'd inherited from another agency. That made shooting even +P in the 642-1 seem comparatively pleasant.

Once I was hooked on the lighter pocket holster carry weight of the Airweight (compared to a 36 and 649 .38SPL), I was hooked.

I presently own a pair of 642-1's, a pair of M&P 340's (with and w/o ILS) and one of those 37-2DAO's that were released on the commercial amrket from a canceled overseas order (made on the older short Airweight frame using older machined carbon steel parts). All of them run within 13.8oz-15oz on a scale, empty.

I only run standard pressure loads in the 37-2, but have usually run one or another of my regular +P loads in the others. I have, however, started to also use that nifty Hornady 110gr standard pressure CD load using their FTX JHP in one of my 642 or M&P 340's now and again. It has a rather mild recoil and it's shown itself to be a tack-driver in my snubs, in my hands. It's a nice alternative to the heavy recoil of my usual +P's, and the even harsher recoil of the .357MAG loads I've previously run in my 340's.

Using my typical range of +P's in my 642's has usually meant the trigger guard has beaten up the distal knuckle of my trigger finger after as little as 50 rounds, and 100-150 rounds of +P during a single range session is about the point where further rounds are going to start degrading my shooting sessions.

And this is being said by someone who used to think that 400-500 rounds of stoutly loaded .357 or .44MAG loads made for a pleasant and enjoyable afternoon, using heavy steel revolvers. The years of continually working with managing that sort of heavier recoil effect eventually takes its toll, though. Hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders can eventually express their displeasure and start to complain about it.

I remember during my DAO/revolver armorer class for S&W J-frames, listening to a younger, large and strapping young man from another agency enthusiastically tell everyone how he'd fired more than 500 full-power Magnum rounds through his 340PD, and how he planned to exclusively shoot Magnum ammo through a M&P 340 he was going to order. I didn't voice it, but my unspoken reaction was pretty much, "More power to you, dude. Enjoy subjecting yourself to that brutal recoil shooting magnum loads through that 11.8oz pocket mule while you're young and consider it an enjoyable challenge."

Age brings wear & tear to us all, no matter our strength of will and desire.

Personally, age, experience and time in service has resulted in me looking increasingly more toward the critical influences of being able to produce accuracy and effective "placement" of hits, than only relying on some of the "more effective" short barrel loads.

Don't mistake my meaning, as the modern better JHP's that can offer some hope for expansion from short tubes, albeit seemingly realistically more on the shorter testing for penetration range (10-11") are great options, especially for secondary and off-duty roles. It's just that I no longer see "penetration" of just under the FBI's minimum 12" requirement for duty calibers to necessarily affect my own choice of suitable retirement loads for my needs.

Also, when it comes to the average person shooting a lightweight snub for defensive purpose, there's still something to be said for them to be able to make controllable and accurate hits, as a sufficiently rapid pace (if need be), even using some mild recoiling load like a 148gr target wadcutter. A nice flat, wide-for-caliber meplat, with a "edge", and a long bullet shape that might yaw and present a long surface traveling through an anatomical medium, might still be something of merit.

A 158gr RNL, or a 130gr RN Ball? Probably not so much. A LSWC that doesn't significantly deform or expand? Possible better than the RNL or the 130gr ball load.

Kinda might depend on whether it involves a CNS hit, though, too.

Still gotta be able to put the hits where they're going to be the most effective. That may not mean a +P for many average folks.

Some knowledge and considered thought into such things might help provide the basis for someone's individual informed choice.

Me? Well, I've been wearing a belt gun for the last couple of days (a 9 and then a .45), but tonight I'm going to pocket (holster) one of my J's that might be loaded with Speer GDHP 135gr +P, or one that might be loaded with the Hornady 110gr CD/FTX at standard pressure. I'll decide when I reach into the safe. It just means I'll probably grab a speedstrip of matching ammo to pocket, unless another speedstrip of the other load may be closer at hand.
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Old April 18, 2019, 02:56 PM   #23
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Sorry to hear the 642 wasn't meant to be your EDC. It is my favorite CCW gun and I'm recoil sensitive. tom.
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Old April 18, 2019, 04:09 PM   #24
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Snubs are not now, and have never been, the guns of choice for the amateur.
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Old April 18, 2019, 04:13 PM   #25
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I wish it worked out too Deputy Tom, it really is a neat little gun. As for being recoil sensitive, I never thought I was but that little thing sure tells a different story.... My hands really are freakishly large and they pretty much swallowed the standard grips, larger grips could have helped with that but that wasn't an option for me.
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