Smith and Wesson Revolver Reviews

Gun Reviews By Women – Smith & Wesson 642 – Tracy

Smith & Wesson 642-2 Gun Review

By Tracy


Smith & Wesson 642-2 Special Specifications

Model: 642-2

Caliber: .38

Barrel Length: 1.875″

Ammunition Capacity: 5

Price: $400


Smith & Wesson 642-2 Usage & Features

Primary Use:

Concealed Carry

Are you right handed or left handed?


What features does this gun have that appealed to you?

Small, concealable, lightweight, not semi-auto.

Tell us about shooting this gun:

Takes some getting used to, as the sights are very small and recoil is strong.

How does it fit your hand, how do you like the sights, how difficult is it to rack the slide, how would you describe the trigger pull, and how would you describe the recoil?

Trigger pull is kinda heavy. That and the recoil required me to build up hand strength (and maintain hand strength) to be able to shoot accurately on a consistent basis. I chose this gun because it is lighter than the 442 stainless version (easier to carry). I chose a revolver for two reasons… 1st, an encounter with an assailant showed me that I am not the least intimidating and an attacker will not hesitate to get right up on me. I wanted a firearm that would continue firing if I had the muzzle pressed against them. Second, because I broke my right fingers several years ago and do not have the strength to rack a slide effectively (am left handed). Third, nor a big reason more of a side benefit, as a lefty the ejection chamber on semi auto’s is right in my way. Had gotten caught on my hand, in clothing, and throws casings at me lol.

How reliable is it?

This is not a gun to take to the range. It can’t take the abuse of regular use and should be cleaned and oiled periodically. Also be very careful disassembling it. The pin on the frame that holds the trigger mechanism in place is flimsy. On my first gun, it was slightly bent from the factory and eventually broke. S&W exchanged it for a new gun.

Any problems with any type of ammunition?


Does this gun have any specific ammunition requirements? If so, please explain:

38 special. Does not take .357. I carry .38 +P.

What do you dislike about shooting this gun, if anything?

The coating over the aluminum part of the gun scrapes off and looks ugly. The trigger is made of an unfinished looking steel, which appears cheap to me. I carried this gun in my flash bang holster all last summer and did not realize it was getting salt intrusion. Took it out to shoot one time and the cylinder seized up. Had to take it apart very carefully for cleaning. Was not sure I could get it working again but it came out alright. I check it periodically now and clean & lubricate it with Ballistol now and again to keep that from happening again. The sites are very minimal. This forced me to rely on muscle memory for accuracy, as siting the target is not much of an option if bad things happen. However, I like my husband’s night sights and would have put some on this gun if it were an option.

Was it easy to take down and clean?

This gun is easy to maintain just by field stripping it, but should b taken apart periodically for a full cleaning. The inner parts are complex, and that pin holding the trigger mechanism is only made of aluminum so could easily be broken, rendering the gun useless. I would suggest YouTube videos on how to assemble and disassemble the gun, clean all stainless steel parts using an ultrasonic sterilizer then coating with Ballistol. If full tear down is too much of a pain, take it in to a gunsmith every now and again for maintenance.

Would you recommend this gun?


For someone considering this gun, what would you tell them?

Do not use this gun regularly at the range. I believe most of my problem with the trigger on my first gun was because I had run around 1000 rounds through it in 6-8 months. Use the 442 at the range and carry this one. Watch for salt intrusion in the summer if you carry on body, especially if it does not get used often. Semi autos are easier to conceal… If it weren’t for my hand I would strongly consider a P380, as they are also much easier to shoot (and the Ammo was easier to find during politically enduced shortages).

Anything else you would like to share about the gun?

Kimber has come out with a comparable 6 shooter that can take .357 magnum and has removeable sites. I am going to test it out. If I like it, I may switch.


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3 thoughts on “Gun Reviews By Women – Smith & Wesson 642 – Tracy

  1. Conservative says:

    Is this the same as the Smith & Wesson 642 Lady Smith, or is it a different gun?

    1. Carrie Lightfoot says:

      This is for the 642 model however, the Ladysmith version is a variation that offers wood grips instead of the synthetic.

  2. Thruhike98 says:

    I think when you mention “the 442 stainless version,” you might mean the model 640. The 442 is a black revolver, the fraternal twin of the 642. Like the 642, the 442 has an aluminum frame and steel cylinder and barrel. The 640 is a Centennial J Frame made of stainless steel. It is heavier than the 642 and 442.

    Here is a TWAW review of the S&W 442:

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