I have spent the better part of 5 years trying to find the right handgun for concealed carry, during which time I have actually carried 3 different handguns before finding the Smith & Wesson 642. All 3 of these previous handgun choices were fun to shoot but were too heavy, and too large or bulky. They would make my back hurt and would make the concealed carry aspect of dressing myself extremely challenging. The 642, however, meets all of my criteria for a carry gun.
The Smith & Wesson 642 is a very small, lightweight revolver chambered in .38 Special and is rated for +P. Its hammerless design makes it a nice, neat little package for personal carry, whether concealed or open. It is also sleek, sexy, and made with the craftsmanship that I have come to expect from Smith & Wesson. It is an all-around excellent choice for a carry gun.
The 642 has an aluminum alloy frame so it only weighs 15 ounces, unloaded, which is more than manageable. I have a lot of back pain so if my carry gun is too heavy, I am very miserable. The first week that I carried the 642, I kept checking my holster to make sure it wasn’t empty. The 642 does not weigh me down so I can almost forget that I’m wearing it.
Speaking of weight, the 642 only holds 5 rounds of ammunition, which helps keep it nice and light. I am not one who prepares for a firefight by carrying a semi auto, which holds a dozen or so rounds and who carries two back up magazines on my person as well. I only need a few rounds to drop an assailant and send his buddies running for cover while I run the other way so I’m good with only five rounds in the gun and some speed loaders in my purse for good measure.
No larger than a fast food napkin, the 642 is 6.375 inches from the tip of the barrel to the apex of the backstrap, and 4.25 inches from the top of the frame to the bottom of the grip. Excluding the grip, it is smaller than my hand and not much larger than an iPhone. All this to say, the 642 assimilates nicely into my daily wardrobe and behaves more as an extension of my body instead of a giant uninvited tumor on which I would whack my elbow twenty times per day.