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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 09-14-2011, 08:15 AM
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Default 642 vs. 637 opinions needed.

I've got in narrowed down to these two....today......
I'm liking the look and feel of the hammer in the 637 and I also like the control I believe I have with it.
But as always, I'm sure there's much I don't know, so would like your input.
The only useful feature I see in the 642 is no hammer to snag on you when pocket carrying.....but again, I would not be surprised if I'm missing something very important.
Your thoughts please. And pictures pretty please
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:32 AM
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There was a time when any revolver I bought had to have a hammer. After reading a lot of information, I came to the conclusion it depends upon what you plan to use the gun for. If it is one that will stay home in a drawer all the time the hammer version would be to my liking. In my case I wanted something reasonably light that I could pocket carry. I tried a light weight gun with a hammer on it. It worked OK. I never had an issue with it snagging when I went to remove it from my pocket. I always drew with my thumb on top of the hammer. I sold it because the hammer opening accumulated a lot of lint and other trash. I was constantly cleaning the opening out. I found that most of the time when I practiced I fired double action anyway. In a self defense situation I do not think anyone is going to take the time to cock a gun first. One day I tried the model 642. There was just something about that gun that fit me. If you plan to pocket carry, I suspect you will practice firing double action. That being the case then why buy a revovler with an open hammer?
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:52 AM
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Why not get a 638 then. That way you have a shrouded hammer that allows for single action if you ever want it but it can't snag. I really love mine.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:27 PM
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Are there any hammerless or shrouded hammer Smiths that come with a 3" barrel?
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:32 PM
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637 = ILS

642/442 = NO ILS

642/442 wins!!!

Mine:



(Bought before the new No ILS 642's...)

Last edited by Maximumbob54; 09-14-2011 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:10 PM
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My own personal preference is for the 642. All my guns (so far, anways) are primarily for self-defense and are DAO. I already have a 642. My 2" 64 has a factory bobbed hammer and I had the hammer on my 3" 65 bobbed as part of an action job. If I were to buy the 637, I'd have the hammer bobbed and converted to DAO, which is an extra expense. I'd save money by purchasing the 642.

If having an exposed hammer and having the ability to shoot SA is important, then the 637 is an obvious choice. For pocket carry you just have to practice keeping your thumb on the hammer when drawing to keep it from snagging. To me this is another advantage to the Centennials (and true Bodyguards) in that I can get a firing grip on the gun from the start (well, depending on the size of my pockets). If you want SA capability in a snag-free design the Bodyguard is the best option, IMO.

As a side note, some people are concerned about lint getting in the hammer area of the Bodyguards. I don't think it's a big deal. Just make sure it's clear at the start and end of your day. If there's any lint, just blow it out.

Regarding the lock issue, my personal preference is a no-lock gun, but it's a little further down on my priority list.

FYI, the idea of getting a Bodyguard and converting it to DAO is appealing, and I've come close to getting one for that reason. But the Centennials will still probably be my first choice.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:13 PM
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This is a little pocket revolver, not a big target gun. That hammer will only get in the way!

A nice thing about the Centenials, is the high hold you can use because of no hammer to ever gouge the web of your hand.

Last edited by off road; 09-14-2011 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:16 PM
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Default M638

The J Frame on top is a M638 Bodyguard. It has the ability for SA or DA, as in the M637, and a semi concealed hammer, similar to the M642.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:37 PM
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Personally I prefer the hammer I have had very little issues with snagging. Just practice pulling the gun from your pocket until its natural. The hammer is a nice feature because you can cock it as you pull it out so that first shot is SA then follow up rounds can be DA.

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Old 09-14-2011, 03:59 PM
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When I bought my j frame last January I also wanted the 637. But it was also for pocket carry and I decided to get a 442. When I went to get the 442 they had a 438 (black 638) so I got that instead. Now I have da/sa without worrying about hammer snag.

You may not shoot single action in a self defense situation, but it helped me learn to shoot the j frame. I used single action to learn the sights (knowing any problems wasn't because of the long hard pull) and feel of the gun, then went to double action after I felt I knew the sights. Plus it's fun to shoot single action. I like the option.

Also my buddies with the Ruger lcr can't say they have a better trigger. Lcr may have a nice trigger, but it can't beat a single action.

Last edited by southchatham; 09-14-2011 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:12 PM
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Personally, I always prefer a hammer of some sort because if I'm out on the farm and need to dispatch a beaver or deer it's much easier to hit them if I can fire single action.
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:52 PM
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Thanks for all the feed-back ya'll...very interesting.
When I said in the Op that I liked the control of a hammer....I guess what I really meant was "the option" to go SA or DA.....
...still on the fence.....
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotRoderX View Post
Personally I prefer the hammer I have had very little issues with snagging. Just practice pulling the gun from your pocket until its natural. The hammer is a nice feature because you can cock it as you pull it out so that first shot is SA then follow up rounds can be DA.

That sounds like a HUGE mistake waiting to happen.
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:40 PM
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I'm having the internal debate whether to get a 4/638 or a 4/642 myself.

Pro:
1. I like the idea of having a hammer for potential SA playing
2. and to be able to visibly see what position the hammer is in.

Con:
1. I do not like the idea of lint more easily getting into the firearm. I've seen too much lint get into cell phone screens from everyday pocket carry.
2. I'm also not sure if the extra frame extension on the 638 for the radius of the hammer cocking is bothersome to me or not.
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:51 PM
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I don't think that they make an airweight with a 3" barrel but they did make a run of airweights with a 2.5" barrel. I like the concept but I don't know how easy it would be to find holsters for this length of barrel.

Revolvers - Smith & Wesson

To find the model I am talking about choose 38 caliber handguns and go to the top of page two and you will see a 638 with a 2.5" barrel. SKU #: 162523

Last edited by Jeb21; 09-14-2011 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:28 PM
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I've got the 642 and am very happy with it. Was gonna get a trigger job, but basically made it much easier myself, simply with about 750 rounds through it plus some dry firing excercises. I also have the model 36, so if I just have to use a SA/DA, I've got it. Model 36 is still probably the best snubbie made.
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:55 AM
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I've had a 49 for years (the "real" Bodyguard) and enjoy the single action from time to time. Like on steel plates at 25 yards - just because I can. But it's too heavy for a pocket.

So I recently picked up a no-lock 442 that is perfect for pockets. I probably would never use single action in deadly earnest, so the 442 should do. But still, if I could find a no-lock aluminum frame with a shrouded hammer I'd be awfully hard put to resist it.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:45 PM
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In my opinion, the mission of the Airweight J frame is deep concealment and close quarters gunfighting. The 642 is better at both.
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:59 PM
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I've done gone and dun it! I'm making a trade deal on a 442....we'll git r done early next week....I'm excited!
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:29 PM
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On a J frame, I prefer a hammer gun...bobbed. The dimensions of a 36, 37, or a 60 with a bobbed hammer are smaller than on the shrouded or internal hammer models.
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:16 PM
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The ability to cock the hammer of a isn't all that important on a self defense gun, I would argue that it's actually a liability. Single action trigger pull is considerably lighter than DA, increasing the risk of an accidental discharge during a self defense situation...
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:48 PM
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Default All valid points

I have CC'd a 642 for the last three years.

1. With the ammo we have now I do not feel out gunned. May shock some folks but even with standard 158 gr .38 I didn't feel that way either.

2. I can't imagine dealing with a hammer in pocket carry or concealed carry with a good holster. Last thing I want to do in that situation is mess with a hammer.

3. Totally agree with the other folks with the blood pumping having a revolver with the hammer back SA is looking for trouble.

For what it's worth from me anyway the 642 or 442 is they way to go.

Don't take'em for granted though you have to practice with'em.

Dan
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:58 PM
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I pocket carry the 642 and can't imagine having (or needing) a hammer.

My $.02.

Regards,
Russell
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:06 PM
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Default Prefer 637

My choice is the 637CT. I like the SA choice. Here it is:



I just ordered a DA S&W 632 (new model). You may want to look at it, also. A lot of versatility.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:09 PM
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Having grown up shooting and carrying the Model 36/60, I was a bit hesitant about the 642. It's great! It's feels like half the weight of a steel J frame and there's no hammer to snag or collect pocket schmutz. It's 5 rounds of .38 Plus P that will get you out of and away from trouble!
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat Man View Post
There was a time when any revolver I bought had to have a hammer. After reading a lot of information, I came to the conclusion it depends upon what you plan to use the gun for. If it is one that will stay home in a drawer all the time the hammer version would be to my liking. In my case I wanted something reasonably light that I could pocket carry. I tried a light weight gun with a hammer on it. It worked OK. I never had an issue with it snagging when I went to remove it from my pocket. I always drew with my thumb on top of the hammer. I sold it because the hammer opening accumulated a lot of lint and other trash. I was constantly cleaning the opening out. I found that most of the time when I practiced I fired double action anyway. In a self defense situation I do not think anyone is going to take the time to cock a gun first. One day I tried the model 642. There was just something about that gun that fit me. If you plan to pocket carry, I suspect you will practice firing double action. That being the case then why buy a revovler with an open hammer?
Well said, Goat Man. The 642-1 NO LOCK is the best and most popular S&W J frame for pocket carry.......
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:28 PM
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I picked up a 442-1 about a year ago. IMHO, it's the perfect pocket gun. I looked at the 642 but didn't like the shiney finish.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:17 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback. I'm feeling good about the decision I've made to trade for the 442.....but it's not in my hands yet, so we'll see.......
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:11 PM
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i'm working on the 642 pro moon clips with the new ergo delta grip...



anyone else digging it...?
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
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i'm working on the 642 pro moon clips with the new ergo delta grip...



anyone else digging it...?
Can you please explain that grip to me? I've never seen anything like it.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:49 PM
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Can you please explain that grip to me? I've never seen anything like it.
yeah, it's ERGO grip's newest addition, just saw it at shot show 2014. i like it a lot... bet it would look even sweeter on the 637 airlight with exposed hammer...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b731LDqcUDU

http://ergogrips.net
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:53 PM
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I prefer the 37 to the 42/ 637 to 642. My real preference is the 38/638. Kind of a hybrid. That's what I carry most the 638. It has a shrouded hammer but it does have a hammer.
...a sampling of my J frames... I love them all..like family!

Model 42 1958


Model pre 38 Body guard Air-weight with shrouded hammer


642 2013



638 Most carried pocket



Model 49 steel frame nickel



637 Talo



A pair of Pre 42 Airweights 1953



They all work... hammer, shrouded hammer, enclosed hammer...all personal preference but all great choices.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:16 PM
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I fondled the 637 Talo this weekend. Do you like yours? Don't really need it, but I like it!
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:38 PM
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I fondled the 637 Talo this weekend. Do you like yours? Don't really need it, but I like it!
It's a sweet gun. It's worth the extra $. Trigger pull is really nice.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:59 AM
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For serious SD CC I would only choose the 642 preferably the "PRO" version with Moon cips.
Exposed hammers are nice for range toys but not to be allowed on something you may be carrying under layers of clothing.
The DAO pull of a 642 is well within the capabilities of any man, and most women for sure. The raised backstrap allows a web-high hold that puts the hand almost in-line with the bore...you cannot do this with a M36.
I would NOT choose the "Bodyguard" model for one major reason...I was a 6 year old child sitting in front of the TV when I saw Jack Ruby jump out and shoot Oswald with a S&W Bodyguard...it's stuck with me to this day. Also, I don't find the rounded "hump" of the Bodyguard attractive even though it shrouds an exposed hammer spur. I think the M442/642 is THE way to go for anyone seriously carrying for SD.
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:43 AM
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I have and prefer hammerless revolvers for CC but I wouldn't rule out revolvers with hammers for CC. With the right holster and plenty of practice, (which should be the case with ANY firearm thats carried for SD), hammered revolvers should be fine. Its a personal choice, Rick
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:50 AM
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+1 for the 642. For years I thought my 640 was the ideal carry gun. The solid feel of stainless steel seemed reassuring. Then I bought a 642-1 no lock and have not carried my 640 since. Although the 642 is only 1/2 pound less than the 640 (15 as compared to 23 ounces), it feels incredibly lighter. Firing both guns at the range made me realize that recoil was not that much different between the two (truthfully I find both unpleasant to shoot, even regular 38 special but especially 38+p). The only advantage the 640 has is that it can hold 357mag rounds, but even for self defense I find that too difficult to shoot. I've also pretty much stopped carrying my Ruger LCP as well and go with the 642 every day regardless of what I am wearing. (I recently discovered OWB carry with a Bianchi holster and when wearing a shirt outside of my pants, or wearing a jacket, this lightweight gun becomes almost weightless on my belt.)
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:57 AM
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The J frame revolver is a very close combat defensive handgun. If you need to defend your life with it, the situation will be close, and very quick. I doubt you will ever have the time to thumb cock the hammer before you need to fire.

I carried a model 60 as a undercover and back-up gun for years. Mine was am issue gun, which meant it was not suppose to be modified in any way. One day I was at my local gunsmith, and I guess I was standing too close to the grinder, and the hammer was accidentally removed. And by some miracle, a heavier hammer spring was installed. Even after the "accident" the little Model 60 performed well for the next 12 years until I retired.

Now I have a 642 and a Model 60, along with a Colt Detective Special and Colt Agent. All the exposed hammers have been bobbed.

IMHO go with no hammer for a pocket gun.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:50 AM
buck460XVR buck460XVR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilibreaux View Post
Exposed hammers are nice for range toys but not to be allowed on something you may be carrying under layers of clothing.

Wonder what those that carry 1911s think of that? I also wonder how many folks have actually tried to draw their CC weapon from a pocket or clothing? When I draw my 637, the web of my hand pretty well shields the hammer from snagging. I have practiced drawing my weapon from many different pockets and holsters....the hammer has never been a problem. The clothing worn over the handgun and the position when drawing is the biggest impedance. I often wonder how many folks with a spare tire around their waist have practiced drawing the weapon held @ 4-5 o' clock from under a coat....from a tucked holster? Most folks will find trying to draw a handgun from their pocket ends up with the "mason jar" syndrome. Your hand goes in and out easily until you wrap your hands around something and try to pull it out in a hurry. If the Hammer is gonna catch, what about the bump from the laser sight on the grip?

Carry what you're comfortable with and practice with it often. This means not just shooting, but drawing the weapon from any attire and retention you are going to use.
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:35 PM
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All Centennials allow you a higher grip than a external hammer would....so your hand is more in line with the muzzle with each shot and follow up shot and will result in less muzzle flip.....
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:07 PM
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I have been carrying a model 637 every day now for the last seven years. I assumed the hammer would get in the way and I would trim the spur with Dremel moto-tool and cut-off wheel . Old school modification. Guess what....the spur doesn't get in the way. People tend to make a problem of it...it's not a problem. I like to have the option to shoot single or double action.
Before you buy, if at all possible, try shooting both or at least dry firing both, then decide.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:28 PM
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Only FWIW: I had never shot a revolver that didn't have an external hammer, but my husband bought me a small S&W revolver with an internal hammer, and I really like it. Even though I don't have strong hands, it is easy to shoot DA only, but not so easy that it would be likely to pull the trigger by accident.

I have to agree with the poster who said cocking a revolver while you pull it from your pocket is not a good idea. The trigger pull is much lighter once an external hammer is cocked.
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Old 05-30-2021, 01:12 PM
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I know this thread is dated. I own both & have found the 637 lends itself to longer distance or precise shots more accurately. Also, makes for an outstanding dedicated snake gun when loaded with shot.
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Old 05-30-2021, 01:38 PM
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I like the 637 pretty well as my avatar pic shows. I have owned 637’s,642,442,638,models over the years ,still like the old 637 the best.
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Old 05-31-2021, 06:34 AM
JimCunn JimCunn is offline
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I've been pocket carrying a Chief's Special with hammer spur for over 55 years. The spur doesn't get in the way and is not a problem when cocking while drawing (though you can choose not to do so; that isn't a problem either). I currently have three 637-2 Airweights further lightened with titanium cylinders and center pins and converted to 9mm. All three retain their hammer spur, and I consider that to be an asset rather than a detriment because I prefer to shoot single action.

As an an aside, I run the old Herrett Shooting Star conversion grips because the Altamont Combat grips are quite painful when shooting 9mm.
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442, 632, 637, 642, airweight, bodyguard, concealed, hammerless, j frame, lock, ruger

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