Friday, January 25, 2008

S&W 642 joins the family...

Oh, I can hear you now. Nobody is going to rob your store, nobody like that goes over there, nobody would do anything to hurt you, just give them the money, etc. Well, it is just the one person in the store. The store is isolated. There is no view from outside the store. Many of our items are high dollar, low risk to transfer, even on e-Bay. We are just off the interstate and there have been several (many for this area) robberies of hotels and such just off the interstate as opportunistic thieves get their traveling money. There are edged weapons in the store as part of the stock. I get a bit on "edge" every time I show bladed weapons to people I don't know, particularly the "odd" ones. Oh, yeah, every once in a while. But truth be told it isn't the "odd" ones that get you. So for me, it is more important to go home at the end of the day and, frankly, there isn't enough cash in there to bother with, most folks pay with plastic. It is all about going home to the wife.

Something had to be done. Oh, I already have a couple of .38 Special guns but my preference for the 3" barreled guns for shooting has left me without a gun that will drop in my pocket. I really needed such a gun for work which would allow me to be armed with no indication that I was. Additionally, I like all steel guns. Let's face it, those are a bit heavy for the pocket and will flat drag a bathrobe off (while out walking the dog), that can be embarassing and in more ways than one!

The above photo was taken from the S&W site for the 642. My gun is an older one without the lock. That was very important to me. I just don't see a need and don't need the complication.

This gun also doesn't have the grip safety of the original Model 40 as shown in this S&W photo of the Model 40 Classic. This the gun I really wanted but, truth be known, only for my "collection" of J-frame S&Ws. However, this gun is heavier by 6 ounces (a lot in a pocket) just like any other all steel gun, and more expensive with an MSRP of $765, $236 more than the MSRP for my gun and $335 more than what I actually paid for my NEW revolver!

One thing I didn't like was the rubber grips. Not that they won't work. As you can see in the photo, these are shaped right to give one a good grip and handle recoil. But, when the gun is carried in a pocket, those things just grab cloth and make for problems. I switched those out for a pair of old wood S&W stocks from a M34-1 RB and a Tyler-T adapter. This combo looks good enough and works. One can now order a brushed aluminum adapter that will more closely match the finish on this gun.

The ammo, the only ammo, I intend to use is the 158 gr. lead hollowpoint "FBI" load. I've got a couple of boxes of the Winchester and Federal (discontinued) versions. I also provide a good copy with my handload of 5 gr. Unique under either the Hornady or Speer swaged 158 gr. lead hollowpoints.

My 642
Does it shoot? Yeah. No, I haven't had time to put 200+ rounds through it but it worked and put 2 cylinders full on point of aim at 15 yards. No groups yet. I'll be carrying this gun ALL the time now, so I'm sure it will be used to deal with groundhogs, possible rabid animals, and maybe even a bunny or squirrel. We'll see just how it does with time.

Holster? Currently I've got a Simply Rugged Silverdollar Pancake and an old S&W leather shoulder holster but I find I'm just dropping it in my right front pants pocket either in the Silverdollar or not depending on the pocket. Rob Leahy also makes a pocket holster, a better solution, and I'm going to order one of those ASAP. The pocket holster will help break up the outline of the gun in a pocket and make certain it is properly oriented for a reasonably fast draw.

Why the 642? That is a good question. As I said, I've wanted either an original or new Classic Model 40 for a long time. These guns are compact, reasonably accurate, have a good reputation for quality and durability. The design beats the 49 or 649 Bodyguard (shown to the left) because the completely enclosed hammer of the Model 40 or 642 allows less lint and trash into the action. Such things are bad for a pocket gun.
649 aka "Bodyguard"

The big downside, for some at least, is that the gun must be fired double-action but that is exactly how one will be shooting when "stuff" happens. I don't see it as a downside unless I'm trying to hit a squirrel at 25 yards. I'll just have to see just how much practical accuracy I can wring from the gun but what I already know is that it is capable of dealing with 2-legged assailants at 30 feet or less. The gun is with me right now, at work, and I feel much better than I did with my .45 in the truck...

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