View Full Version : S&W concealed 38

one hand clapping
September 30, 2014, 10:39
Hey all,
I'm in the market for a smaller CC as my hipower is a bit heavy AND might not be so good shooting from inside my purse.
I am thinking a S&W bodyguard or chief's special. [ I stupidly sold my chiefs special some 20 yrs ago when I needed some dough.]
I know that the quality of the Smiths has gone down, so please educate me on what years to stay away from, and some sugestions. I have fired a neighbors 357 bodyguard, hit what I aimed at @ 30ft and I thought it ok, but should only load 38's, or +p's for accuracy on the follow up shots. It had the built in laser that turned on when you gripped it.

Please help a gal out.

September 30, 2014, 11:40
I truly do not comprehend the laser thing on a gun that will be fired at a distance of 5 feet.

Whoever fires first wins.

Forget the laser.

Get a Glock 26.

September 30, 2014, 13:05
No, Kahr CW9 or CM9! Size and weight there is no contest against a Crock 26, lot lighter and smaller.

Laser works ok in the dark, also as a deterrent against unarmed bad guys. But against armed bad guys, it points both ways..:sad:

September 30, 2014, 13:11
The G26 is smaller than a Chief's Special .38
Its only heavier than the single-stack guns because it holds more bullets.
I suppose if the weight of the extra bullets makes you uncomfortable, you don't have to fill the magazine. :rolleyes:



September 30, 2014, 13:53
Kahr does not LOOK much smaller, but is actually a lot lighter and slimmer.

For a pure pocket gun I would go with a Keltec P32 and get an extra 10 round mag for it.



September 30, 2014, 14:59
Is that a Kel-Tec in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?



September 30, 2014, 15:01

September 30, 2014, 15:06
This li'l feller is kinda neat.

I like guns made for small hands.
They make my bullets look bigger. :]


Retired Bum
September 30, 2014, 15:38
A S&W Model 32 Terrier chambered for the anemic .38 S&W round.....

Better than nothing I suppose but that isn't any kind of recommendation from me. I own a bunch of J frame Smiths in .38 Special. My choice for a pocket revolver is the Centennial with the enclosed hammer. Yeah, it only fires DA but so what. I have three of them. Two 640's and the Airweight 642. All are rated for Plus P and none of mine have that stupid internal lock and I wouldn't be caught dead with a laser on one of mine. Like W.E.G. sez, that laser works both ways....

I own a number of smallish auto pistols that are suitable for concealed carry. With the Kel-Tec P32 being the smallest. I also have a Kahr CM-9 that fits perfectly in one of my leather jacket pockets with a pocket holster. Seven rounds of Federal 124 grain Hydra-Shok in a small platform. Just the thing to provide the protection needed on a cool day.

I have a Walther PPS 9mm which is kind of stretching the upper limits of concealment in a pocket IMHO. But in a big coat pocket like on a winter weight parka it isn't a problem to carry. I use the seven round magazine plus one in the chamber. I think of it as the bigger brother to the CM9.

And so it goes.

The Retired One

September 30, 2014, 15:45
I had a 642.

Felt like somebody hitting my thumb-bone joint with a ball-peen hammer on each shot.

September 30, 2014, 15:51
If you are thinking wheel gun, my wife loves her hammerless, airweight lady Smith. no sharp corners (like a semi-auto) and no hammer to snag coming out of her purse. Hers does have a laser but the reality of her ever pulling the trigger on someone will be a real bad guy within 5 ft, so as noted above, the laser not really any benefit.

September 30, 2014, 16:49
The 2 unseen factors... 1)the G26 is very comfortable to carry, and considerably smaller without the extended mag. 2) It is narrower at its widest point.

September 30, 2014, 16:50
The G26 has NO sharp edges either.

September 30, 2014, 18:03
Smith and Wesson 442 or 642. I daily carry for work and play and never leave without it, even if carrying a full size Glock. I used to carry the G27, then G26, but they have material where you don't want/need it. Plus, the 442 works when the Glock has not due to lint, dirt, crud, etc. that finds it's way into the action of a concealed carry piece. Plus P's are necessary, but some think they need the extra flash from the short barrel.


September 30, 2014, 18:25
Charter arms. Bottom wheel gun in the pic. Fits nicely in the front pocket, no holster needed, rated for +P. That's a Buffalo Bore HP if front of the trigger guard :D

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s30/djm540idjm540i/Revolvers_zpsb139bf83.jpg (http://s148.photobucket.com/user/djm540idjm540i/media/Revolvers_zpsb139bf83.jpg.html)

September 30, 2014, 18:57
If you do expect to fire it from -inside- your purse or a coat pocket, the revolver is the way to go.

I'd use money they want for a laser and get more ammo instead. Lasers are very theatrical but they are slow. Half the time the target doesn't really know they've been painted (can't feel it). I wouldn't depend on one.

Because the little revolvers take dedication to shoot them well, some folks get two J-frames like a 642 and a 442. A steel frame for most practice sessions and a lighter one for carry and occasional shooting.

Speer has a 38spl, 135gr cartridge (#23921) loaded specifically for short barrels that receives high marks.

K. Funk
September 30, 2014, 19:40
Take a look at some of my auctions on GB. I have some compact and sub compact auto's as well as a 340PD smith airweight. My NIB Glocks and M&P's normally go way below retail.


Mark IV
September 30, 2014, 20:04
If you're not looking for anything pretty, here's a S&W Chief's Special carry snubby in my AO. $375 isn't a smoking good deal, but not bad either.

They also have quite a few Body Guards as well.

Williams is a good outfit. They'll deal with you as long as your offer isn't insulting, and they'll ship to your dealer. Check out their other stuff.

If you're thinking about a concealable pistol, my wife loves her SIG P238 .380. Crazy accurate for such a little pistol, and of course, it's a SIG. Good enough for me to stake my life on it.

September 30, 2014, 21:57
I paid either $50 or $75 for the Charter Arms....... :facepalm:

October 01, 2014, 08:18
The OP said that she might have to shoot it out of her purse. Forget about all the semi-auto's . You will get the first shot off and the semi-auto may not cycle reliably inside of a crowded purse.
I love my Smith and Wesson Model 49, all steel so the weight helps to control muzzle flip when shooting +p 38 ammo. Shoot regular 38 for practice, but carry the + p's. Concealed hammer so it doesn't snag, but if you need to made a single action shot, you can easliy thumb the hammer back. Only draw back is that it just holds 5 rounds.
Colt Detective with a hammer shroud is another option, but they are crazy money right now for that extra round.

October 01, 2014, 08:43
I carry an Airweight. 5 shot, alloy, .38 +P+, internal hammer.

I would rather carry my Glock 26, but the shape of the J frame makes it fit my front pocket without imprinting. The glock looks like I have a glock in my pocket.

A Galco leather holster keeps the gun vertical in the pocket.

I do have a laser grip, but I probably wouldn't have bought them - I got then in a trade.

October 01, 2014, 09:08
So Mark do the girls tell you "Are you happy to see me or is that a Glock in your pocket?" :D :facepalm: Could not resist that.

October 01, 2014, 09:15
Hard to beat an older S&W Model 36 or 49. Better yet, a Model 60......stainless so not as many worries about rust. Newer Smith's will go bang when you pull the trigger, but the older guns were made when quality mattered. Not to mention those stoopid little "lawyer locks" on the new stuff.......:facepalm:

October 01, 2014, 09:21
So Mark do the girls tell you "Are you happy to see me or is that a Glock in your pocket?" :D :facepalm: Could not resist that.

I had been seeing this one chick for a couple months and some Javelina wandered out on my road. She wanted to take pictures, but was unaware of just how aggressive they could be. I told her to be cautious, and I pulled out my J frame, just in case one decided to gore her.

She couldn't believe I had a gun in my pocket - and had every day, all day, for all the time we spent together.

I have a G17 in my office, my car, my buttpack, my dresser, my go bag and several spares in my man cave. But for pocket carry, I just like that J frame.

October 07, 2014, 00:37
Ditto to Mark, on the Air Weight S/W and Glock 26/27. Carried them both on the job and off. The little Glock 26 is not really so little. Used lasers on both and I can shoot them well, but usually in a stress fire situation there is no time to fool with a lasers. Lasers are great to diffuse a situation when the other guys or guys gets to see himself lit up and backs down.

Andy the Aussie
October 07, 2014, 00:52
OHC....what you are describing is exactly what a J Frame S&W was made for. If you get a hammered/unshrouded one (M36/60 etc) then there use to be Bianchi grips made of them (I think it was Bianchi that included the shroud). they are probably still around if you shop a bit.

November 03, 2014, 16:45
i'de look for a used S&W64, bobbed hammer, DAO, round butt, 3 inch barrel

priced right and very nice to fit in your pocket or purse draws snag free, and would fire from inside purse or pocket. most are used police trade ins.

November 03, 2014, 17:56
i'de look for a used S&W64, bobbed hammer, DAO, round butt, 3 inch barrel

priced right and very nice to fit in your pocket or purse draws snag free, and would fire from inside purse or pocket. most are used police trade ins.

I don't know how likely you are to find a 3" Model 64. The 4" are pretty common though.

One other note about the Model 442. If buying a used Airweight, and if it has a "DCU----" serial number then check the firing pin bushing very closely. More than one has shown up with a damaged bushing. Smith Wesson's position is that the gun cannot be repaired....only replaced.

November 03, 2014, 19:29
Ive carried a model 36 .38spl for many years, and a couple others in the J frame. Got a .22 J Frame that functions as a "barnyard" pistol. A nice used pre "lock" revolver will serve you fine, and isnt an auto- easier to fire from a pocket or purse. Nothing wrong with a Glock but have issues with any auto fired from the pocket...
WEG Im envious of your .38S&W there. Nice little carry piece, not a bad round if handloaded...... drool....

November 03, 2014, 21:13
Do yourself a favor and check out the M&P 340 or 340PD. I have zero complaints with respect to S&W quality on my piece. It's no Glock, and that is exactly why I love mine. ;)

I could list reasons why I think it's an ideal carry piece, but that'd just muddy the waters with arguments and more pictures of glocks. Plus, you already appear to grasp the virtues of the J-frame, and I'm sure you understand their limitations.

My 340 weighs right around 12 oz empty. I stoke it with Hornady CD .38 +P, and if it ain't over in 5 rounds of that then I shoulda brought a rifle. I use either a DeSantis SupaFly for pocket carry, Galco leather for OWB, or a King Tuck for IWB, as conditions allow. My biggest concern is that I'll forget I'm carrying. I also have the CT laser grips, and can definitely see their value with indexed shots from defensive and/or vulnerable positions. They are of way more practicality than the night sights that came with my snubby---now that's funny!

November 04, 2014, 00:53
I don't know how likely you are to find a 3" Model 64. The 4" are pretty common though.

Pretty likely if you look hard enough. I've been searching for a few months for a reasonable deal on one and finally grabbed one off of GB last night. Watched another go this evening for about the same money, but it was not DAO and couldn't be sure whether it was RB or SB. The 3" RB DAO 64's usually start out at around $500 used which is $100-$200 more than an equivalent 4" and they're about 50x less common.

I paid $350 for the one last night but it has a bit more than average handling wear. Being stainless it should clean up without too much effort.

2" is cheaper and easier to find, but the three inch gives a bit more velocity/energy, a longer sight radius, and most importantly,.....a full length ejector. Even if you were to go with the 5-shot J frame I'd search out a 3". Not quite as uncommon in the J frame and sells at less of a premium.

November 04, 2014, 22:22
The laser is a great training aid when dry firing; shows you exactly what you are doing wrong when you pull the trigger.

November 05, 2014, 10:13
The laser is a great training aid when dry firing; shows you exactly what you are doing wrong when you pull the trigger.

Yep - it will show you if you're doing something wrong, like watching the laser instead of your front sight.

November 05, 2014, 14:50
Yep - it will show you if you're doing something wrong, like watching the laser instead of your front sight.

Except there are plenty of self-defense/recovery situations where watching your front sight is neither practical nor possible, and focus under stress will be a problem for most people placed in these situations. Plus, the addition of a laser grip in no way eliminates the opportunity to use your irons if required or preferred. Just another tool in your toolbox.

If your training regiment for personal defense using a pistol is limited to using a Weaver or isosceles stance in front of a target 10 feet away you are doing it wrong.

November 05, 2014, 15:19
One should read my post, before commenting on it.

November 05, 2014, 16:42
One should read my post, before commenting on it.

I did. Quoted it, too.

November 05, 2014, 16:54
Then you should have figured out, I was commenting on this specific comment:

The laser is a great training aid when dry firing; shows you exactly what you are doing wrong when you pull the trigger.

and not the use of lasers in general.

In fact, I have one on my J frame backup (what the heck, it was free) and IR OTAL on my SCAR for use with my PVS-14.

November 05, 2014, 17:04
My wife carries a 642. It came with a 12 pound trigger pull. Get the spring kit from Wilson. It is worth the money and now the trigger is about 6 pounds.

November 05, 2014, 17:28
A fan of the S&W 642 here. Recently bought another one for my 26 year old daughter. She has a G19 but has a LOT of difficulty shooting it. On the flip side, she really enjoys shooting the 642 with some of my 158g cast SWC loads.

The trick is, if someone enjoys shooting, he/she will practice. That is what she is now doing and is making quick progress on learning how to use the little pistol.

November 05, 2014, 17:48
Then you should have figured out, I was commenting on this specific comment:

The laser is a great training aid when dry firing; shows you exactly what you are doing wrong when you pull the trigger.

and not the use of lasers in general.

In fact, I have one on my J frame backup (what the heck, it was free) and IR OTAL on my SCAR for use with my PVS-14.

I didn't counter your comment. I was offering advantages of lasers that hadn't been brought to discussion yet and used your comment as a segway to do so. You should've figured that out before you commented on me commenting on your comment....:wink:

November 06, 2014, 18:32
Model 37 Airweight.

Bruce Allen
November 07, 2014, 11:47

Been waiting for everyone else to give their opinion about this, so here is mine.

See pic above.

I have considered the hammerless J Frame Smith to be the finest pocket/purse handgun ever made.
The frame size actually comes from the S&W line of purpose made pocket pistols.
The hammerless model is smooth with no edges or hooks to catch on clothing, etc., when being drawn or firing while in the pocket.

My recommended ammo is either the tried and true Winchester lead hollow point +p round - which expands on well, or my faviorite if you hand load: hollow base wadcutters loaded with the hollow point forward, loaded to about 750 fps. Wadcutters are pure lead and expand to over 1/2" size easily when striking soft targets and are very easy to control because of low recoil.

This is the perfect "belly gun" combination IMHO.

We are talking point blank range for a gun like this so ease of use and reliability are paramount. Either load is also accurate enough out to 25 yards if necessary.

Yes there is the possibility of being confronted with a drug crazed madman that is 7ft tall and built like a tank..
But.. 2 or 3 rounds to the center of a normal human being will get the job done.

I actually perfer the original wood grips with a grip adapter for reducing the grip size slightly:


My favorite adapter is made by Tyler.


November 07, 2014, 12:05
For a gun in my pocket, I eschew rubberized grips. Too much friction on the draw. I like the hard plastic. But this has me curious. I'm actually thinking they may have something here as far as pointability. It's just the rubber, and I think the shape may increase difficulty in getting out of a pocket.

I've contemplated drilling a hole and attaching a lanyard.

large image, so linked instead of imbedded


November 07, 2014, 12:48

I can anticipate some serious retention issues with that cone-shaped (geez, I really wanted to say "buttplug") style grip.

The better-designed versions of them things usually do come with a "safety lanyard." Saves having to do a lot of explaining to the charge nurse in the ER.

Retired Bum
November 07, 2014, 17:34
My no lock Model 642-1 had a set of Uncle Mike's neoprene "banana" grips when I purchased it. I like neoprene grips on my bigger K, L, and N frames for range use but I feel that they have no place on any pocket revolver that I am using for CCW. So I dug through my box of assorted handgun grips and found a set of like new round butt J frame rosewood grips with the S&W medallions and put them on the 642. I had a polished aluminum Tyler T-Grip for round butt J frames and installed it as well.

My old UM #1 pocket holster that I carried a Model 640 in was kind of ragged looking so I bought two new #1's and that is what the 642 rides in these days.

I first started carrying a J frame back in 1971 when I got my first CHL. It was a hard to come by Model 60. After 20 years I replaced it with my first of two Model 640's and then I bought the Airweight 642. Forty three years of legally packing a stainless J frame and I have never felt under gunned with just five rounds of +P JHP in the cylinder.

And so it goes.

The Retired One

November 11, 2014, 22:39
Friends don't let friends buy Glocks. See average one a month blown to pieces from firing slightly out of battery due to unsupported chamber. The newer guns have gone a long way to fix the issues but a lot of older Glocks with huge amounts of chamber support sacrificed for better feed ramp angle combined with age, wear and poor cleaning habits are biting peoples hands off. If your Glock is more than 10 years old look for this.


So you dont get this:

http:// http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/blowup_images/glock1.jpg

When a supported barrel like these:


Fixes an issue that is compounding with age.


So you dont look like this:


Now to caveat my post. As mentioned.by a.Glock dealer.they are the most popular pistols on the market. More in the field could justify more incidents due to more potential. We dont know 100% issue that has caused all Glock KaBooms. That said I only own one polymer frame.pistol. A SIG 2022 in 40 Smith. Stainless slide riding in steel rails and SIG actually states the life.expectency of their poly pistol is 20 years. Hmmm, expiration date on a pistol? SIG manned up and did it. Why I finally trusted a plastic pistol maker. Carry it almost every day. If alive in 2033 I will put a fresh frame under it. Too many variables with bakealite, exposure to U.V., chemicals, heat, etc. I have a file with over 100 different Glock KaBooms. Yep, pretty low odds compared to number of guns sold.

For the O.P. If you shoot and practice clearing jams, double feeds, stove pipes and such regularly then a semiauto is fine. If your putting in pocketbook and plan to shoot half a box of ammo a year then get a wheel gun. I gave my parents each a S&W Model 60 38 special. Both got standard velocity hollow points and 1 speed loader of spare ammo. As mentioned, first person to put bullets in other usually wins. My wife has two Walther PK380's. A little fat for a 380 but shoots like a dream. She also has two Smith Model 60's that live in her motorcycles and next to her recliner, in pouch of wheelchair, under pillow and other strategic locations she has 4" barrel 38's. Mostly Colt Diamondbacks.

Before I would take you to gun store as client there would be a minimum of five supervised range trips. Also a lot.of discussion as to desire and goals. One of my recent women clients who is serious distance runner ended up with a SIG 380 for car and a Smith PD Scandium in 22 mag. Yep, a 900 dollar 22 revolver. Only gun she was willing to carry running due to weight but the 22 mag she carries is better than the tactical nuke she left at home. What are your specific carry situations and needs? The devil is in the details choosing a gun. Unlike me who has a primary on belt every minute of every day out of house and backup in ankle rig or pocket, pistol under seat of truck and a long gun also floating around truck. How you plan to conceal and how bad the neighborhood and so on. Most of my female clients shoot minimum of dozen guns that may suit them then end up with two so can choose which one by situation and threat level.

Got my fire suit on so you glock guys start warming up your flame throwers realizing I admit Glock has put effort into fixing unsupported/out of battery issues as time passes. I have seen some Glocks take serious abuse and keep on ticking too.

Retired Bum
November 12, 2014, 00:53
I own the best Glock ever made IMHO. A Walther PPQ 9mm........

And so it goes.

The Retired One

November 12, 2014, 07:56
Glocks blow up after you fill the barrel with lead fouling.

Don't shoot bare ass lead bullets in your Glock, and it won't blow up.

November 12, 2014, 10:40
And a gun doesn't split the chamber from an unsupported cartridge web. Chamber is split from a massive overload of pressure, usually caused by barrel obstruction or double-charged reload. A case rupture from an unsupported web manifests as a relatively boring case failure, such as ripped rim.

Friends don't let friends buy Glocks. See average one a month blown to pieces

One Glock KB a month - eh? So you've seen personally over 60 Glock KBs in the last five years? Sorry, buddy, but BULLSHIT.

Keep the hyperbole for story-telling around the campfire. Around here, bullshit doesn't fly for long.

November 12, 2014, 10:58
"one per month" That's still a lot.:smile:

November 12, 2014, 11:05
"one per month" That's still a lot.:smile:

Yeah, sorry about that. Fixed it. Long night.

November 14, 2014, 20:48
I will restate that. I have seen a catastrophic failure on average of once a month. Quite a few result in busted frames when case ruptures and sets off top round in magazine. There are lot of guys locally shooting IPSC with "drop in" upgrades on Glocks at matches. These pistols are responsible for vast majority of incidents on the range. I also stated most issues I see are on older units that have been ridden hard. By examining newer Glocks design changes have been made to improve them. I also stated that as most popular and sold gun on market increases the odds due to shear numbers in circulation. Almost every statement had a caveat that explained reason for failures may not be 100% on the Glock brand or design. I just see more have serious issues than all other brands combined.

If I can't launch lead bullets out of any handgun its not worth owning. Only way I can shoot a thousands of rounds a year of centerfire pistol are cast bullets. Good enough for Elmer Kieth and good enough for me. I also know when gas checks need to be added. Most of the 7.62x39 I shoot now are cast lead bullets in steel cases. I have had hundreds.if not thousands say it wont work but it does. My SIG 2022 in 40 cal and Walther PK380's dont have issues with cast. No way I could call a gun reliable for survival if I cant turn wheel weights into bullets.