I have carried my 642-2 exclusively for 16 months now. I was just thinking it is time for me to post a review after many hours of carry in different environments. I have had this revolver long enough now to be able to say I have carried it in all of the four seasons.
Those that know me know that I rarely purchase anything without advance research. Upon doing my research about the 642 I was a little worried about the finish holding up. There is a clear coat that many has reported having problems with. This was not much of a concern because S&W is known to have great service and will surely make it right in a short order of time. I have a model 60 I can always CCW if a repair is needed, which lessens this concern even greater. So the caveat would be if this is your only CCW firearm, you would have to go without while it was returned to the factory for repair.
That aside I asked myself what else is there NOT to like about this firearm. The next concern for choosing a ccw was the weight. This is an airweight j frame. The empty weight of this firearm is 15oz. This is great for carry and after 10 minutes or so you will not even notice it on your belt. What about recoil of the 38+p ammo? I am not recoil sensitive, Magnum should have been my middle name. More important to me are follow up shots which manageable recoil plays a big role in. After deciding not to purchase on the first day of actually handling the weapon, the next weekend I decided to visit the club and rent a 642. With the hopes of actually answering the magic question, just how bad is the recoil? After an hours worth of range time with the rented 642 and my model 60 I had made up my mind to purchase the 642.
So let’s get on with the review and my experience of owning the 642-2. I would first like to say it has been reported that S&W only had few that left the factory with the clear coat peeling issue. My 642-2 though it looks carried have not had this issue (see the picture above).
My 642 has been carried in all four seasons for an average of 6 days a week over the last 16 months. The carry capability of this firearm speaks for itself. The surfaces are rounded and snag free which makes for quick access in a time of need. The light weight of the 642 can only be a plus for carrying. It only takes a few minutes of carrying and not having to tug at your belt and trousers to realize ahhhh what a feeling, this thing is made for carrying. I give the 642 5 out of 5 stars in this department. I have friends right now that have a permit but don’t often carry due to the size and awkwardness of his primary carry firearm. What a shame to have a bad guy do you or your family harm when you have a permit but refuse to carry.
If there is one thing revolvers have always topped the charts in, it is ease of use. The 642 continues this tradition. If you can squeeze the trigger you can make it go bang. If it doesn’t go bang the first time there is no tap/slap, rack, bang to be performed just simply pull the trigger again. The semi auto fans, military guys and old timers know what tap, rack, bang means. For those confused about it, this is performed on semi auto firearms when a malfunction occurs. Here is a link to a gentlemen on youtube performing this action as a demo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Snme66Jqs0&feature=related.
Reliability is often synonymous with revolvers. My 642 as been very reliable to the extent of 100%. To date I have 420 rounds through my 642. Though not many rounds, it’s reliability and accuracy helps my confidence and I trust my life to it. I usually only shoot my 642 at the end of range sessions to test for accuracy and functionality.
The only negative in my eyes of the 642 centers around capacity. With only 5 shots at your disposal I recommend the j frame speed loader from HKS. Police and FBI records show that most guns fights end with only 2 rounds being fired. With my luck and Murphy’s law I prefer to carry the extra 5 rounds in a speed loader.
This is a great little revolver. Anyone looking for a accurate, reliable, easy to carry weapon for ccw purposes look no further than the S&W 642.
5 out of 5 stars.