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Old 05-10-2017, 08:47 AM
wildfire88 wildfire88 is offline
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Good Morning All,

New member, and figures the S&W forum would be the best place for this question. I live in sunny FL, and am looking into my first revolver for CC use, and am highly looking at a J frame 38 special and am looking for advice into what model you would recommend for pocket carry. I think I would like a 38 special, but the ability of being able to use 38 and 357 kind of appeals to me.

What model would you recommend by S&W for my particular requests?

Thanks All.
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:05 AM
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Welcom, I love spending my Winters in Pompano Beach. While there a 442 is always in my pocket. I have no problem with DAO. If you feel the need for a hammer there is the shrouded hammer 438 in blue or the 638 in stainless. I like the blue DAO 442. I carry it in a cheap Uncle Mike's Pocket Holster. I also carry a second J-Frame AIWB. The pocket gun is easy to care for when it's hot. I checked mine every day. The waist band gun, as long as you keep sweat off of it, was ok also. You can't go wrong with a J-Frame in your pocket.
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:13 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

I carry a S&W 640 in a leather pocket holster. An internal hammer and all steel. No hammer to snag anything or give the BG something to get his hand on if it becomes a wrestling match. A little heavy maybe but I like the "big gun feel" of the stainless.

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Old 05-10-2017, 09:41 AM
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Welcome to the forum. I carry a 442 during the summer and with certain types of clothes in the winter. You can not go wrong with any J frame.
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:44 AM
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Hot climate + lightweight clothes + 357 desires = Smith & Wesson 340

The 442/642 are good choices, but you loose the ability to shoot 357 mags out of them. And yes, the 357 mag is somewhat brutal in the lightweight guns.

And welcome to the forum!
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:47 AM
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638-3 with +P's.

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Old 05-10-2017, 10:37 AM
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I go with a 649 with desantis clip draw grips.....The M&P 340ct is also a good option

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Old 05-10-2017, 10:52 AM
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The S&W line of guns called Airweight I believe would be the best choices. Among these are the 638, 642 and 442 mentioned in the above posts. Absolutely excellent guns that can be carried in pocket or waistband holster. Because they are made of alloy, in lighter weight shorts or pants they will not swing around or bag down your pants as much as a steel gun will.

If .357 in this size gun seems to appeal to you, it is because you have not shot one. Just being honest.

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Old 05-10-2017, 10:58 AM
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Smith has a few guns that will take good care of your needs. I carried a model 60 for many years and it served me well. FWIW I have probably tried out about 20 different carry guns, both autos and revolvers over the years!

In more modern times I did try out a 642 for a while and then for a bunch of years went with a Bodyguard.380 (SA) Now I'm carrying a Ruger LCR.38 (same size as a S&W J frame)

I say here that the 642 and Bodyguard .380 & Ruger are for casual use. I just grab them and the holster, stick in pocket and go out the house and stay local.

Going in more harmful directions I up the ante to a more powerful and larger capacity auto loader. (.45) in a ISWB!
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:44 PM
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I prefer the Airweight Centennials. While options are nice (.357), I'm happy with the 442 and .38 Special.
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:57 PM
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I carry a 442 owb year 'round.
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Old 05-10-2017, 01:59 PM
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I think it's really hard to go wrong with a 642-1 or 442-1 for a pocket gun. However, I should add that I don't pocket carry because IWB works better for me, but with suitable clothing and a good pocket holster a snub can do a good job filling that role. Lightweight, compact, controllable with proper load selection, reliable, and easy to operate. There's no exposed hammer, so there's nothing to snag while drawing. They're double-action only (DAO), which is good for a self defense gun. Single-action capability in a defensive gun is over-valued, IMO, and not necessary. They're also not that expensive and are readily available, which helps.

At the same time, lightweight snubs are not for everyone. I'd suggest trying one out, either borrowing from a friend or a rental range, if possible before buying.

If you still want to go the lightweight snub route, I recommend the guns without the internal lock, so either the 642-1 or the 442-1. There are other options, such as the scandium framed guns, but I don't think the additional features they offer justify their increased price over the 642-1/442-1. YMMV.

Some people prefer the 442-1 because the finish holds up better than the clear coat on the 642-1, but the steel components are carbon steel and can rust if not cared for properly. I prefer the 642-1 because the stainless steel components don't require as much preventative maintenance, which can be a factor in hot, humid environments like FL.

Many people recommend against lightweight snubs as first guns, and for the most part it is better to start with heavier, larger revolvers, like K-frames, but not everybody has the means to do that. It does take some time to develop proficiency with lightweight snubs. Get some snap caps and do a lot of focused dry fire practice. Start off with light target loads until you're comfortable with them, then you can move up to more powerful loads if you want. When I started carrying my 642-1 I carried Federal 125gr Nyclad at first, but then transitioned to Speer 135gr SB-GDHP +P when I got used to shooting +P ammo. Of course, you don't have to move up to more powerful loads; there are a number of self-defense loads available for those who prefer loads with less recoil.

I think the disadvantages to .357 Magnum in a snub, particularly a lightweight snub, far outweigh any advantages. Yes, even in a short barrel the .357 Magnum will generate more power in terms of muzzle energy, but the cost is increased muzzle blast (and flash, with some loads), increased recoil, and increased shot-to-shot times. Some people like to say that in a real self defense situation you won't feel the recoil. To a certain extent that's likely true, however it doesn't change the laws of physics that say a gun with more recoil is going to have slower follow-up shots than a gun with less recoil, regardless of whether or not the shooter feels the recoil. Add to that the data that shows nearly all service caliber rounds, including .357 Magnum, perform about the same in actual shootings. I see no advantage to carrying .357 Magnum in a lightweight snub.

Just my opinion, FWIW.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 05-10-2017 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 05-10-2017, 02:21 PM
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Last year, my FIL, never having pocket carried, wished to start. Living alone and frequently going to car auctions, he wanted to protect himself.

Cousin Richie, a police chief, and I took him to a rental range. Richie said to pick guns that felt natural in his hand and pocket.

After handling many, he rented the BG380, the LCP, the P238 and a 442.

After a box of shells through each we asked: "so, who's the winner?"

"The 442."

He appreciated what the others had to offer but said that the 442 was easier to retrieve from his pocket and the DA trigger had enough resistance to give him peace of mind about it being on his person.

Great gun.
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Old 05-10-2017, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Rustyt1953 View Post
He appreciated what the others had to offer but said that the 442 was easier to retrieve from his pocket and the DA trigger had enough resistance to give him peace of mind about it being on his person.
This is something that is sometimes overlooked in pocket pistols. Semi-auto pistols, while flatter, can sometimes have issues when being drawn from a pocket because of the rear of the slide. It sticks out above the hand when drawn from a pocket and can be a potential snag point. With a 642/442 there isn't really anything sticking out above the hand that can be a potential snag point.

While it's true that the 642/442's cylinder makes it wider, thus more difficult to conceal in a pocket than a slim semi-auto, that width can make it easier to grab the gun, depending on one's pockets. It creates space for the hand to reach in and grab the snub.

Just a couple of other points to consider.
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:49 PM
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There are simply too many to pick. Although I think the 640 Pro offers a good value. The street price is significantly less than the MSRP, and a small premium over the 640 gets you a real rear sight, a cylinder cut for moonclips, and an excellent trigger job.
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Old 05-10-2017, 07:13 PM
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I would second those recommending the Centennial or humpback styles. I have a 638 which I just used to qualify in John Farnam's Defensive Handgun course at the second or student level. It was tough with the snubby took me about 10 tries but I was training as I was fighting, fishing out the speedloader from the jacket pocket etc.

Personally I think the airweights would be better in an I frame and in 38s&w or 32acp but in 100 grain configuration or 380/38s&w power levels they'll also work.

Another approach might be the LCP2. Really nicely done. I tried one out to 45 feed at the local factory shoot and got 10 in the eight ring iirc with two flyers. Again 32acp would be a better caliber for a gun that small and light and Farnam opined that guns that small lose in reliability but. ...it's pretty good for what our is. More shootable and concealable than the snubby although not as reliable.



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Old 05-10-2017, 07:24 PM
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Also I noticed that the DA trigger pull on the Centennial style revolver (442) was better than the humpback.

Also I tend to load my snubbies with buffalo bore hardcast wadcutters with the idea that I'll point shoot out to 12 feet but I wasn't that accurate this weekend at the Farnam course at 5ish feet. I currently have my 638 loaded with hornady 110 grains.

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Old 05-10-2017, 07:24 PM
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Mine is a 340 M&P and it is a .357 albeit a bit pricey. I like the big dot front sight.
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:31 AM
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I went with the Centennial in .22 Magnum. Looks like the 442 but holds 7 rounds, has a Big Dot front sight and weighs only 12-oz.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:40 AM
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I personally think the 442/642 has become the iconic pocket-carry revolver - and for good reasons. They include light weight, concealed hammer has fewer gaps for lint and dust to mix with lube and gun up the action, and the .38 Special is still pretty versatile. Plus, they are plentiful and can be found new or used at affordable prices. The 340 is a neat little revolver with .357 magnum capability, but the prices are higher.

The smallest .357 I ever fired was a Model 60 with a two inch barrel, and it was really mean. I can't imagine that a 340/360 would be any better. Plus Ps out of an air weight can be bad enough. Still, I can understand the desire to have the "ability" to load magnums.

If I was going to buy another small magnum, it would probably be a 640, or possibly a 3 inch 60 OWB/IWB carry). I have a 640 and a 36, both in .38, and neither is ideal for pocket carry compared to an alloy J-frame, at least in my opinion.

Nevertheless, go to shooting ranges that rent handguns and see if any have small revolvers you can try out. That way you can get an idea of how bad you want a .357, or if .38 Special is going to be sufficient.


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Old 05-11-2017, 09:31 AM
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In this article, Massad Ayoob describes the reasons why the M&P 340 is one his long-time favorite handguns, and it's my favorite EDC.

Massad Ayoob's Long-Time Favorite Handguns

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Old 05-11-2017, 10:04 AM
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welcome A Board . 442 in blackhawk pocket holster
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:13 AM
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If you're set on a J frame I'd get an all steel version, something easier to practice with especially since you say this will be your first CCW.

I like the Centennial and Bodyguard styles, plus stainless steel for corrosion resistance. You also want the option of .357 magnum, so if it were me I'd get a 640 or 649.

You might also like the K-frame snubbies - not hard to carry with a good holster and lots of fun on the range.
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Old 05-13-2017, 12:00 PM
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Thanks for all the info and recommendations everyone.

Been busy as of late with a very active fire season here in the state.

I have a line on a 640-1 Centennial Magnum pre-lock. I was considering the 442 or M&P 340 but stumbled upon the Centennial and all my research shows it's a very nice piece. We will see.
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Old 05-13-2017, 12:25 PM
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Maybe heresy but I have replaced the J-frame with the LC9 when I pocket carry exclusively. Better ballistics, double the capacity with the extended mag and, I think, better concealment without the cylinder budge.
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Old 05-13-2017, 08:50 PM
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I carry two J frames most days. A 640-1 in a Mika pocket holster in my front pocket and a 637-2 with a bobbed hammer off body. I can recommend both!
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Old 05-13-2017, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfire88 View Post
Thanks for all the info and recommendations everyone.

Been busy as of late with a very active fire season here in the state.

I have a line on a 640-1 Centennial Magnum pre-lock. I was considering the 442 or M&P 340 but stumbled upon the Centennial and all my research shows it's a very nice piece. We will see.
It's a snubby and it says S&W on it. You can't lose.
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