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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. On 04.07.93, I bought a revolver primarily as a BUG for duty use as a peace officer. It was a NIB S&W Model 042. The anodizing on this gun was originally shinier than on current Model 442's and it is on the smaller "non-magnum" J-frame and with the thinner front sight. Like all of the .38 J-frame snubs, it holds but 5 shots. There is no +P designation on it anywhere, but it has digested more than a few.

This gun was never used as a primary on anything and never drawn against another person...unlike the belt gun it was quietly backing up, but it went with me on narcotics raids, routine patrol, a couple of barricaded persons situations and other police activity and was often what I carried off-duty as a BUG and sometimes a primary.

When I retired from policing in '98, it didn't, and was my 24/7 revolver for a few more years.


This one may be a bit worn, but it has been a faithful servant though one that required regular practice so that I could do my part in seeing that it did its. I believe the snub Airweight to be a really decent BUG, but do NOT think it is the best choice at all for new shooters, be they male or female.

On 06.25.02, I replaced the faithful 042 with a common, run-of-the-mill Model 642. The reason was simple. I carry the snub primarily via a pocket holster and 24/7. Summers are hot in Texas and even daily cleaning was still not always enough to keep rust spots from popping up. I don't mind honest 'battle scars" or signs of use, but cannot abide rust.

Now the Model 642 is showing signs of constant carry, but it is much easier to maintain corrosion free.


This Model 642 continues to serve well and while I "like" and trust it, the ol' 042 remains my favorite between the two. I'm not sure why unless it is that I actually prefer blue/dark guns.


Both the 642 and 042 are loaded with the same ammunition: Remington's 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. I've tried others but in this caliber, I still prefer this "old techology" cartridge. (Federal's version seems to work about as well as the Remington FWIW.)

If you are considering a compact, but reasonably potent BUG, I suggest taking a look at the Airweight line. I personally prefer the older versions w/o the lock...to the point that I will not own one with it. These aluminum-framed revolvers are plenty light to carry, but heavy enough that one doesn't have to be concerned with bullets unseating themselves during recoil. I've never had it happen nor has anyone I'm familiar with.

These do require practice in order for their users to be able to get the shots where they need to go and their payload doesn't leave much room for error in terms of either power or number of immediately available shots, and reloading is not nearly so quick as with an automatic.

Still, they offer what I consider "adequate" power...in practiced hands. These guns are convenient to carry and usually reliable in the extreme assuming at least a minimal amount of care.

The Model 042 and 642 follow a fairly long line of Airweights I've carried over the years and for me, they remain a top choice. Others will disagree and that's fine, but IF you are looking for a compact little gun to be with you 24/7 and you are willing to practice with it, I think this type revolver is tough to beat.

I guess I'm not alone as they've been around in this role for decades.

Best.
 

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You're preaching to the choir, only I let my 442 get away from me, and it now rides in a friend of mine's pocket as a sometimes primary CCW.

I have fired many hundreds of rounds through my early 21st-century M638, and it can't be stressed enough that the small guns require lots and lots of practice, though I do not recommend them for extended range sessions. I found that 25-35 rounds per session, two or three sessions a week, was a good training regimen with the Airweights. Anything more than that and I reached a point of diminishing returns. The lightweight J frames aren't "easy" to learn, but they're "simple" to learn: you just keep working at it.
 

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I must admit that today, I let a Smith Model 36, blued, battle scarred, but servicable get away at a gun show. I'm already regretting it, as it was a fair price and foolishly I decided to keep looking. In the end I got nothing and the 36 was gone when I returned. Obviously, someone else felt it was a fair price and gun too.

Alas, I know the perfect revolver is around the corner for me, only time and more searching will turn up my "Old Faithful". As always a good thread Stephen.

-Rob
 
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Stephen,

Do you expect the M 042 increase in value? Unlike yours, mine's a pristine blue except for a cylinder ring. It's so nice I feel guilty carrying it.

Max
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello. In pristine condition it might be worth a bit more than a regular 442, but I don't think it will command extreme amounts as a collector's item unless NIB and with the box and contents.

I'd shoot it and use it.

Best.
 
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I have a similar friend, my 2" Colt Cobra. It was my BUG and primary off duty for many years in the "Old Days" of 38 Spl the approved firearm. I never really transitioned to the 357, I waited for semi-autos to make the list. The top two were my duty & off duty for most of my career, the shrouded Dick Special is a recent acquisition.
 

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T Lee, beautiful Colts! I've been eyeing a D-Frame myself and wish I had the money to pick up the minty 3" full-shrouded Cobra I saw yesterday (don't see those very often at all!). But alas, I was short quite a bit.

I'm going to have to stop reading the revolver forums. They're starting to really make me jealous....

-Rob
 
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T Lee, beautiful Colts! I've been eyeing a D-Frame myself and wish I had the money to pick up the minty 3" full-shrouded Cobra I saw yesterday (don't see those very often at all!). But alas, I was short quite a bit.

I'm going to have to stop reading the revolver forums. They're starting to really make me jealous....

-Rob
Where is it and how much? Mine was lost to Hurricane Charley two years ago and I REALLY want another!!!!!
 

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T, it was a Dallas gun show on Saturday, so, I'm not sure who had it. The price was $345 which I KNEW was an absolute STEAL considering it even had the box and looked perfect except for a light cylinder ring. Unfortunately, I only had a couple of hundred in my pocket.

At the next gun show, I'll be on the look out for it, but alas I'm sure it is gone by now...

-Rob
 
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Man that ain't right, I NEED to find another! :( Here is the only picture of mine I could find. In fact if you can find it I will be more than happy to give you $425.00 for it and pay shipping!

 
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BTW, I also need a 3" Cobra in .22 LR.
I DO NOT CARE IF THEY HAVE BOXES OR NOT AS LONG AS THEY ARE 95% OR BETTER!!!!!
 
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Mr. Camp, I'm interested in your grips on the Model 42. Can you tell me what they are and where you got them? I'd like to try a set on the old 649...

By the way...I wonder how many J-frames, even nowadays with the advent of chopped tiny Glocks, Kel-Tecs, Kahrs and the like, are still riding in pockets or on vests or ankles? I've carried some small automatics on the ankle, but always become concerned about the amount of dust, lint and junk guns seem to pick up like a magnet in that location. I know the revolvers work even when they're covered in junk, but I'm not so sure I have the same confidence in the small autos...

Thanks for a good article and for sharing a little piece of Texas law enforcement history...

Bob
 

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Stephen,

I certainly like my SP 101 in 3 1/8 " bbl in .357. Easy to shoot for range use - rugged - easy to tote.

The only reason i carry my G19 more around here now is just that the perceived threat level in the Houston-Galveston area is higher. A confrontation is more likely to mean multiple opponents - multiple shots. A role a snubby just doesn't fit well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hello. Thank you all for the kind comments and I'm glad that the post was of interest.

I bought the grips on the Model 042 at Brownells. They are listed as Hideout Grips and cost less than twenty bucks.

Best.
 

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Mr. Camp,

have you considered having your 042 "tuned up"?

i have one also as well as an old model 37.

im considering tacworx for my 37 to have the black "t" finish done as well as a little tuning if needed....

if all goes well i will send them my 042, but im hesitant to let that one out of my sight as it is a hard gun to come by at a reasonable price if a mishap occures....
 

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(quote)
By the way...I wonder how many J-frames, even nowadays with the advent of chopped tiny Glocks, Kel-Tecs, Kahrs and the like, are still riding in pockets or on vests or ankles?[[snip]] I know the revolvers work even when they're covered in junk, but I'm not so sure I have the same confidence in the small autos...
(quote)

Bob, I have two 'carry' guns: A Mod 60-nothing that I bought in 1968, and a Kahr K9 that I acquired in 1996. The S&W has a bobbed hammer. It makes a nice pocket gun. The Kahr has greater ammo capacity (60% more, full up) but really needs a holster, as it is a pretty hefty little chunk o' steel. (It's the smallest small auto I'd trust to protect me and mine.) Sometimes one rides along, sometimes the other, depending on dress and time of year: either one will do the job for on the road self-defense, against most threats a civilian encounters. At home, I keep heavier artillery handy.
 

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My Ol' Faithful Revolver is a S&W 13-3 .357 3"HB, we been pards for a long time, bobbed the hammer and had to put new grips on it, but other than that it's just like the day I bought it.

PapaBear

 
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