Reviewed By: Randy R on 01/21/2016
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
This is probably the ideal pocket gun! Despite the wholesale shift toward bulky, thick, high-capacity auto pistols, the J-frame Smith and Wesson soldiers on as a viable concealed carry, deep concealment, backup/primary carry revolver. Smith & Wesson builds the quintessential version...or should I say "versions" since they offer virtually every style anyone could want in these little J-frames, but the M-642 is probably THE perfect choice for those who want to carry something that works, that drops into a pocket, or into a holster. The M-642 Smith & Wesson is "hammerless," meaning the hammer is abbreviated and fully housed inside the frame thus making the revolver double action only, which is pretty much how most people will employ it should a shooting situation arise. The result is a compact, lightweight revolver that can be dropped into a jacket pocket, or even a jeans pocket, yet retrieved quickly and SNAG-FREE because there is nothing on this little gun that would hang up on clothing.
The little 642 only holds 5 shots...but that's 5 SURE shots due to the revolver's design. Start yanking the trigger and even if the first round misfires, the cylinder rotates up another, PLUS, there are no external safeties to worry about, and the revolver's condition can be determined at a glance...you see the rims of cartridges in the cylinder, then it's LOADED!
This Smith & Wesson M-642 is the end result of the revolver-maker's art. The aluminum alloy frame is barely distinguishable from the stainless steel barrel and cylinder. The DA trigger pull is short and smooth...easy head shots inside 21 feet! The gun is SMOOTH in all it's operations...it unlocks and opens smoothly...the ejection rod deploys smoothly with no binding or gritty feel. The trigger pull is pure-D PHENOM Smith & Wesson! You don't NEED to cock a hammer on this little beauty because the DAO pull is a perfect as perfect can be!
As for the negatives of this revolver...unfortunately there are NONE unless one desires to detract due to only five shots versus a few more from the various stubby auto pistols, BUT...and ain't there ALWAYS a "but"? The S&W J-frames bring absolute certainty to the table. When you snatch the trigger on this baby it WILL FIRE, and when you snatch the trigger four more times it WILL FIRE despite being loaded for months or years!
The .38 Special is a very capable round from a sub-2" barrel, and perfectly capable of cancelling anyone's ticket with the correct shot placement!
I love the way S&W managed to make the aluminum and steel surfaces look almost identical, and I love the way the gun feels in the hand....it's built for real life.
I HIGHLY recommend this revolver to anyone smart enough to choose a DAO "pocket" pistol! For the price...it beats the Charter Arms on ALL levels...I like Charter Arms, but for the money, if I'm buying a .38 Special, I'd buy S&W every time over Charter Arms!
With that said...I would purchase the Smith over the polymer framed Ruger...the Ruger is more expensive yet brings NOTHING that challenges the simple, purity of Smith and Wesson's J-frame!
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