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Old November 23, 2009, 01:10 AM   #1
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S&W 642 or S&W 442?

So I'm finally giving in on buying a S&W snubbie. I've narrowed it down between 2 - the S&W 642 with the stainless steel finish, or the 442 in matte black. Are there any benefits carrying the stainless over the matte black? Is matte black more likely to chip away? If anyone owns either or both of these I'd like to know more about them.
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Old November 23, 2009, 02:39 AM   #2
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S&W 642 are more prevalent due to 'stainless' steeel being more corrosion resistant...NOT corrosion proof; all guns need to be cleaned and maintained equally;the 642's weakness is the baked on clear coat finish on the aluminum careful when using harsh solvent cleaners, aerosol cleaner/degreasers, and stiff bristled cleaning brushes...all will easily remove the baked on finish; this will not degrade the corrosion resistance of the aluminum frame or weaken the strength; there will be nominal amounts removed where steel rubs on the aluminum frame in the center of the breechface and from casings smacking the breechface during recoil; if it really bugs ya it can be refinished by S&W

S&W 442 needs more oil on carbon steel to resist corrosion; their strength is the black anondized finish that holds up better to use, cleaning, etc; once anondizing gets worn or banged up you are stuck with it since it's not a simple refinishing job (remove old, prep, apply new, bake) since anondizong is achieved through a chemical process that changes the surface of the aluminum and is thicker than bake on clear coat

there is currently a limited run of S&W 442's that have satin stainless barrels, cylinders, and triggers which makes for a nice contrast of colors/finishes; whatever you get be prepared to shoot it a good deal and it will be a good workhorse
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Old November 23, 2009, 02:51 AM   #3
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I tend to prefer black guns (and holsters) because they seem to disappear a little better. Never the less, I have the 642.

Also have a couple of 640's that are stainless. The other day while chrongraphing some loads, I was shooting toward the sun with a 640-1 and got glare from the tang just behind the sight It prevented me from seeing my sights.

I'd get the one with the best trigger.
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Old November 23, 2009, 03:33 AM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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It's called "anodizing," and it does not change the dimensions of the aluminum.
Any clear coat will be thicker than anodizing.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Old November 23, 2009, 04:36 AM   #5
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and I'd be surprised if the 642's frame was not clear anodized.

edit: Yup, and so it is...

Last edited by Model-P; November 23, 2009 at 04:42 AM.
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Old November 23, 2009, 10:03 AM   #6
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Largely a rehash, but here's my thoughts:

442 Plus:
  • Black color hides more easily for pocket carry
  • Sights have more contrast in most situations
  • Frame finish generally thought to be more durable
  • Doesn't look as bad when it gets dirty
642 Plus:
  • Gun is more visible, making it easier to index the gun on target during coarsely sighted rapid-fire, also good for intimidation value
  • Sights more visible at night
  • Barrel and cylinder finish generally thought to be more corrosion resistant
  • When finish does start to wear- which is inevitable for a carry gun- silver high-edge wear and scratches are less obvious against a silver-grey background than a matte black background
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Old November 27, 2009, 10:14 AM   #7
Dave Chuppa
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I had a tuff time trying to pick one. I started with a bobbed 37. My second one was the 642. I sold the 642 and now carry the 442. I like the Black one better. I think, ya I'm sure, I think.
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Old November 28, 2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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Other than color, and that's a personal thing, the biggest difference is weight. The 442 is several ounces lighter than it's stainless brother.
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Old November 28, 2009, 10:32 PM   #9
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I owned a 442 for about 10 years now and carry it all the time.
Other than normal slight wear marks on the front of the barrel from the holster, the finish holds up great and it still shoots like a new one.
Its a fine CC gun. Little getting used to the DA only, but not a big deal.
Love mine.
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Old November 28, 2009, 11:47 PM   #10
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I was in the same boat as you. Narrowed it down to the 442 or 642 and for me I went with the 642 just because I like the way it looks better than the 442. Not sure you can go wrong either way with these two guns.
Bersa 380 | S&W 317 | S&W 642 | Walther P22 | Firestorm FS22 | Ruger GP 100 4'' SS
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Old November 29, 2009, 01:25 AM   #11
Tony C
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642 As Well

I chose the 642 and probably for no good reason. I decided on that due to the fact that when I wear it IWB without a shirt between me and it, the stainless won't react as fast to the sweat.

Probably wouldn't make any difference at all, but who knows? Either are quality, get one of each!

Good luck,
NW Oregon
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Old November 29, 2009, 06:55 AM   #12
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The difference between the two really comes down to weight. If this is a primary CCW, the weight difference is where I'd make my decision and go with the 642.
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
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Old November 29, 2009, 07:58 AM   #13
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Opted for the best of both worlds. Have a 642 that had bad problems with the anodizing. Wearing off, and looking like hell. Sent the gun to Birdsong, and had them do their "Black-T" finish on it. Came back looking great, and I now have a black 642.
Like I said, the best of both worlds.
God Bless America
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Old November 29, 2009, 10:09 AM   #14
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According to the S&W website, the 442 and 642 both weigh 15oz.
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Old November 29, 2009, 10:21 AM   #15
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I wanted the 442 (just looks) after several calls to dealers, around these parts the 442 was 100$ more , got a 642
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