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Old April 18, 2019, 04:37 PM   #26
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Love my 642! With plus P ammo it hurts but with burner range ammo the recoil doesn’t seem bad. Carried it as a back up gun for years, sold it, bought it back after a year, and it’s been with me ever since. Thought about getting a second one and just going the New York reload route, but probably will never cross that bridge.
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Old April 19, 2019, 01:03 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jack19 View Post
Snubs are not now, and have never been, the guns of choice for the amateur.
Never were truer words written.
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Old April 20, 2019, 04:51 PM   #28
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Since this has drifted into general J-frame discussion, I'll toss my 49 (a REAL Bodyguard ) into the mix. I used to have an Airweight Centennial, but decided I wanted a shrouded SA capability. I swapped, and never regretted it. I pocket carry the little steel blaster without difficulty, but that may be mostly due to my size.
To preserve the classic look, I have the tiny wood 'lemon peel' grips on it, with a Tyler T-Grip. With hot loads it stings a bit, but it hits what I aim at--I've even hit a torso-size steel plate at 100yd repeatedly during one session when everything fell into place!
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Old April 23, 2019, 09:41 AM   #29
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I feel bad as I only have something over 1000 rounds through my 340PD.
I didn't write this but it really hits the nail on the head.

"A J-frame is like a shovel ..... a very narrow field of usefulness ..... but nothing better for a specific set of tasks."
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Old May 1, 2019, 10:48 PM   #30
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I have a 442 (basically the same gun) which I've never really liked for the same reasons. I'm a good enough shot with larger and heavier guns, but I don't like shooting the 442 so I never get really good enough to trust using it in public (though I sometimes do on the theory that it is a very close quarters "get off me" gun).

I have put larger, hand filling, Pachmayr wood laminate "Renegade" grips on it. I haven't shot it yet with them (even though I bought them about a year ago, did I mention I don't like shooting the 442?), but it should help. However, they are pretty bulky so, while it may allow more range time, I may not be able to use them when pocket carrying (the only time I ever use my 442).

I'm trying other options that will allow me to practice in the same configuration that I would carry it to see if they help.

I will probably replace the grips again. My 442 came with the super thin Eagle Secret Service grips, so regular S&W rubber grips will probably be a little more comfortable while still being fully concealable. If it helps enough, it will save the gun for me.

I'm trying lower recoil ammo. I usually go with a +P defensive ammo in .38 (though not in other calibers), so I may try a few regular velocity loads to see how much they help. I haven't tried the Speer GD 135gr short barrel load and the Speer GD loadings in other calibers (other than the 125gr .38 and .357) tend to feel lower recoil than many other defensive options. Even though Hydra-Shok is older tech and not usually my first choice, their 110gr option is pretty low recoil and might help. I have bought a box of the Hornady Critical Defense Lite to try (though at 90gr, I'm concerned that it might make it perform like a .380 where JHPs are usually not the best choice due to low penetration, and most ballistics gel tests I've seen back up that concern). Finally, I may try target ammo in SWC, going with the old pre-modern JHP mindset that you get the full caliber sharp shoulder round doing more damage than other non-expanding ammo to better stop an attack, and get the light recoil of a target round.

As someone else said, a Crimson Trace laser will aid accuracy. I know I'll never practice as much with my 442 as I do with other guns. At least with the laser I'll be safer for bystanders, and more accurate at any distance (especially those beyond "get off me" distances).

I may go with a combo of the above options.

Finally, I may just go with a steel frame J-frame when I go with a J-frame (I have a Taurus 85CH). Most of the time (i.e. when not in dress slacks which I don't wear much), it is just as pocketable as the 15oz aluminum 442. However, I usually like to go with larger guns. I rarely CCW a J-frame and when I do it is for very specialized reasons (I need to pocket carry and I need to wear dress pants, I can't carry here in MD but it is the once or twice a year something odd is happening near my apt and I have to go out anyway so I take a risk, I choose to carry a backup instead of a reload, etc.). So, while rare, when I do carry the 442, I really do kind of need something light and discrete (it is even more rare for me since I live in a state where it is near impossible to get a permit so I only carry a couple times a month when out of state on a UT non-res permit, no dropping it in a pocket on my way to the store- if I lived where I could carry I might find more use for it).

So, you could try the same options I'm considering (though I'm sure you have)... try new grips, use a laser, use it with lower recoil ammo (not just for practice, but also for actual carry), or a combo of these. You could replace it with a steel J-frame if it will work with your pockets. Finally, you could get a similar steel J-frame for practice (maybe a 640 or used Taurus 850 for as similar a configuration as possible, maybe a regular S&W 36 or Taurus 85) and use the same grips that you use on your 442. The practice will be as close to the same as possible, and hopefully the practice will mostly transfer to the very similar 442, while at the same time you can practice longer due to the heavier steel revolver.
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Old May 2, 2019, 08:59 AM   #31
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Having owned many lightweight snubs over the years, the only snub I own now is an older S&W 60-7. Much nicer to shoot than any aluminum or polymer snub nose. With the old classic type panels on there I can easily get all three finger on the grip and I wear XL gloves.

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Old May 2, 2019, 09:17 AM   #32
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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
Did you really expect it to be a soft shooter???? Why not a 649 weighing in at 27 oz loaded?????
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Old May 2, 2019, 10:17 AM   #33
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I think its more about expectations. We have been sold the .38 as "barely adequate" little brother for self defense for so long that we expect some anemic cartridge. Its not an anemic load and without all the springs and moving parts of an auto can be surprisingly crisp in the recoil department. I don't find it unpleasant but understand where it can be more than expected especially in a light revolver.
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Old May 2, 2019, 07:22 PM   #34
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Targa you should have purchased the S&W Model 36 classic 38 Special revolver. It's all steel, +P rated and weigh's in a about 19 to 20 oz. Recoil is tame compared to the light weight revolvers and a real pleasure to shoot. The Model 36 shoots much better than the light weight framed revolvers. You get better control, follow-up shots, more accuracy because of less recoil. The bluing is absolutely beautiful and any round butt S&W J frame grips will fit, if you don't care for factory grips. My 36 has a Tyler Grip adapter and an older pair of J frame grips which I find just a bit thicker than the ones on the gun when purchased. I carry it in an ankle rig and find the small amount of weight is not a problem. The gun is a real pleasure to shoot. Price is high but well worth the money. Beautiful revolver!
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Old May 2, 2019, 07:34 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Jack19 View Post
Snubs are not now, and have never been, the guns of choice for the amateur.
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Old May 23, 2019, 06:19 AM   #36
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What’s amazing is the 1000 times at a gun show or shop I’d see a salesman trying to sell to a woman, the “perfect” gun. A 642. I couldn’t take it one day. In a bad mood I guess. I said to the salesman, have you ever fired that gun? Anyways, he hadn’t. I told him that gun is for experienced shooters. The few women I knew that shot it as newbies were basically afraid to shoot the experience so bad. They don’t really bother me. But I can see why it would.
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Old May 23, 2019, 11:24 AM   #37
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Much against my wishes I advised my wife not to buy the 642 airweight. Long story short she shot half a box of ammo and never touched it again. I put crimson trace grips on it aa I could not hit target at 3 yards. The grips allow for the pinkie finger to hold the gun as well.
This gun is definitely painful to shoot, more so than the 686 with 3" barrel that I carry and the 45/70 contender I have shot. Not a pleasant shooting gun at all.

Last edited by ms6852; May 24, 2019 at 07:59 PM.
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Old May 23, 2019, 11:31 AM   #38
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We have been sold the .38 as "barely adequate" little brother for self defense for so long that we expect some anemic cartridge.
It is. Remember for decades a small lightweight revolver was an alloy K frame. When fired from a steel framed revolver it is very tame. A light weight snubby is an experts gun.

Its not an anemic load and without all the springs and moving parts of an auto can be surprisingly crisp in the recoil department.
Anything with smokeless powder that travels less than 1000 fps is anemic, my opinion worth every penny you paid for it.
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Old May 29, 2019, 07:05 AM   #39
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P365 is not a pocket gun, weighs nearly a half pound more than a 642
Not so! Unloaded weights are: 17.8 oz for the P365 vs. 15.0 oz. for the 642. But I will agree with the poster, that a P365 is a bit much for pocket carry.

BTW, I have one, with a February foaling date, that's given me 975 rounds of absolutely malfunction free shooting. My wife & DIL both carry 637's with CT grips, but my day to day carry piece is now the P365.

Here's a 10 yd slow fire target shot from a Weaver's got accuracy built in & recoil with those outstanding grips & 9mm ammunition is mild. YMMv Rod
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Old May 29, 2019, 04:43 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by TJB101 View Post
That’s when some hollow base wad cutters are in order. So soft behind 3gr of Bullseye.
Amen to that brother...I second that !
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Old June 1, 2019, 04:00 PM   #41
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Any skill worth having takes practice and patience. The Alloy frame J frames are not overly pleasant to shoot but they are #1 when you consider weight=size-power . It just takes time and rounds down range.

It always amazes me that those who complain about the recoil of the J frames claim they just love their snubby K & L frames! (probably not with magnums though)
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Old June 2, 2019, 11:44 AM   #42
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My 642 isn't that bad really---I shoot 125gn +P's in it exclusively----but then again full house heavy .357's in my SP101 don't bother me either.

Maybe its an acquired taste like coffee or beer----something you shy away from initially and go for enthusiastically with continued use.
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Old June 2, 2019, 01:25 PM   #43
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It always amazes me that those who complain about the recoil of the J frames claim they just love their snubby K & L frames! (probably not with magnums though)
Why's that? My 3" K-frame (65LS) has far less recoil with typical magnums than my 442 does with pretty much anything. If I go all steel, my 21oz Taurus 85 isn't too bad with regular .38 (though a bit stout with +P), thus similar to my 65LS with various magnum rounds. Only when you get to my ~25oz Rossi 461s (one 2" and one 3") is the recoil in .38 definitely lower than the recoil of my 65LS with magnums, but then we are getting pretty heavy for snubs and they are pretty comfortable to shoot .38 and .38+P (though magnums out of them are not really fun, OK for a couple cylinders, but not fun).
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Old June 2, 2019, 02:47 PM   #44
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That's my point, if you choose to carry an Airweight j frame, practice with carry (or equivalent) ammo with the grips you intend to use for concealed carry. You will get used to the recoil as long as you use proper grip. Gripping a revolver is not the same as gripping an auto.
When I want to just have fun shooting, I shoot a relatively heavy revolver with wadcutters and I shoot soda cans and plastic bottles.
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Old June 2, 2019, 08:04 PM   #45
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I think the key to super light j-frames is to practice often but in small batches. My first few cylinders are right on the mark but after that fatigue starts to set in. I don't think for me there's any advantage of putting more than a box of cartridges through it at a time. Shoot a few cylinders every few weeks. I carry with 158 grain flat-nosed rounds and that's what I use to practice.
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Old June 3, 2019, 02:12 PM   #46
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My 642 was unpleasant to shoot with +P ammo at first too. I later lowered my grip position with the web of my hand even with the tops of the grips about 3/8" from the top of the back strap - made all the difference for me.

I use the 135 +P Speer for my defensive load and have loaded the same bullet as well. The 148 wadcutter loads are relatively mild to shoot even in the Airweight.

rodfac - that is a very nice target with the P365! There is a shop not too far from here that has a P365 available for rent. I sure hope I don't like it too much!
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Old June 3, 2019, 11:18 PM   #47
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You guys know what +P ammunition is designed to do?

Separate you from your money. It does that well.
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Old June 4, 2019, 04:23 PM   #48
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I often carry a 442, and shoot some stout loads in it. I don't see any downside.
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Old June 28, 2019, 01:10 AM   #49
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Thread is a little old, but one very real advantage to the 442/642 is that a person can easily modify his or her ammunition choice to suit the user from mild to pretty wild. From 148 grain wadcutters to 110 grain std pressure HPs to 158 grain SWCs to 130 or 35 grain plus Ps to 158 grain LSWCHP+Ps without having to shoot several boxes of each potential carry load to make sure it cycles and functions in the weapon. An aging or injured person can tailor loads to suit his or her current capabilities rather easily. If it fits in the cylinder, it’s pretty well going to shoot. Not necessarily so, in a subcompact semi auto.

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Old June 28, 2019, 03:49 PM   #50
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Good point, Laz. Same advantages especially apply to relatively light-weight revolvers chambered in .327 Federal Magnum.
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