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PauloB
February 15, 2015, 02:58
Hello brothers and sisters. Anyone have any experience with older S&W models 38 or 49 as a ccw? I remember firing a friend's model 38 about 30 years ago at a range and thought it to be fairly accurate @ 10 yards as well as being an overall pleasant pistol to shoot. Any practical info on this family of pistols would be appreciated. Paul

RetiredNSmilin308
February 15, 2015, 03:39
PauloB,
Even a brick is pretty accurate at 10 yards.

Please understand I am not intending to be snarky with that comment, only to let you know when it comes to HANDGUNS, and especially HANDGUNS, it is a very personal choice, so you just go with whatever trips your trigger, if you will pardon the pun.

I was once at a 22 handgun silhouette match in Virginia and was doing pretty good, till this geezer showed up with a Ruger Single Six and cleaned all our clocks with it. He finished first, probably because he had been shooting that little guy longer than I had been in competition.

Just find something you like and go with it. The only one you have to please is yourself. Feel good though, that if it is a revolver and it has S&W as a logo, it will shoot the first time you need it too about 99.99999% of the time.

I recently was tickled to death to finally be able to acquire a Smith Model 14 at a decent price.

I can't say the same thing about their "Walther" auto though.

Just get yourself either one and have a ball.

PauloB
February 15, 2015, 05:13
Thank you for your answer. However it failed to address my question and completely missed the point of the pistol's purpose (cc). BTW, 30 feet of accuracy is good for a pistol with a 1-7/8" barrel and fixed sights. I'm sure you are probably much better.

To clarify things a might;
I have already decided to hunt down an old Bodyguard at the local LGS's ; models 38, 49 or a even a 638 or 649 as they can be fired SA whereas the newer Smith Bodyguard series cannot. I spoke to a retired uundercover LEO who used a model 36 as a concealed backup as he stated it always went bang and had a slick trigger out of the box. I can attest to that statement as my model 19's trigger was smooth as glass out of the box. The model 36, however, has an exposed hammer which I do not want. I want to drop the pistol I choose into my pocket and pull it out without a hammer hanging onto something while being able to retain SA function.
I am looking for owners who have experience with any of the four models I've listed to share their expertise and help a brother out. Thanks.

Gazz
February 15, 2015, 09:11
I sometimes carry my S&W Model .38 as it is reasonably powerful, small, light and reliable. I never thought it pleasant to shoot with the factory stocks though and when I would take it to the range, I would end up bleeding in the web of my hand. I put a set of the S&W "banana" grips on it which do increase its size a mite but is much more comfortable to shoot and control. I like it.

PauloB
February 15, 2015, 10:12
Gazz, can the model 38 handle +P rounds? Out of all the snubs, that is the one I'd prolly end up with. Btw, thank you for your answer.

tdb59
February 15, 2015, 11:29
The J frames are excellent, IF the grip fits your hand.
I carry square butt K frames Smiths with the small Magna grips because they fit my hands, and second and third shots are quick.
The J frames twist slightly when I fire them.



.

FUUN063
February 15, 2015, 12:20
I have owned all of the guns you listed at one time or another. I have sold them all off as far as CC goes and have stuck with the model 442. It has no hammer exposed and is very light weight. I qualify with it twice a year as a CC set up and it shoots very well for me. I also don't want the single action option, it's a CC piece, not a lot of time for that when the gun is needed. If I need that option, I go for the Glock 17 I carry in a Fobus. I like the fact that the 442/642 series of pistols are a little more sealed to keep out foreign debris that the hammer guns, also. I hope this helps. I would not sell my 442 for either the 38 or 49, as far as CC goes.


Leland

Wildcat
February 15, 2015, 13:37
I have a prelock 649 in 357-Mag. For its role its fantastic. Fits in a pocket and will deliver 5 rounds as fast as you care to shoot. It can be shot from within a coat pocket if that becomes necessary.

I look at it as a break-contact gun. You will get 5 rounds to make a hasty escape. Reloading it under emergency conditions is, well, not to be expected.
The extractor stroke is shorter than a 38-spl, so ejection must be done with vigor to convince the cases to exit the chambers.
There is very little clearance for the speedloader. Actually shaving the sides of a Comp I slightly to give it a rounded pentagon shape is helpful.

The little revolver is certainly plenty accurate but it is a challenge to shoot it really well. Work with it enough and it will hit an 8-inch plate at 50 yards; not quickly but it can be done consistently. 50 yds is a silly distance for this gun but the exercise improves my shooting at closer range.

The single-action is a novelty on this gun. It does work but I almost never use it and wouldn't expect to for serious purposes.

PauloB
February 15, 2015, 17:40
Thank you all for your input. Leland, you threw a wrench into the works that will cause me to look at 642s as well.

FUUN063
February 15, 2015, 18:41
The 642 is a silver colored gun. The 442 is the blue/black colored gun. I got the 442 as I'm not into the WEG bling!:uhoh::wink:


Leland
:fal:

PauloB
February 15, 2015, 20:12
My mistake. I meant the model 442.

Cossack
February 15, 2015, 23:55
The J-frame snubs are easy to carry and plenty accurate, but hard to shoot accurately. I dislike using a speed loader, and prefer a speed strip or two. I've never used or fired an alloy framed j-frame, but I've thought about getting one. The steel frames are great, but the weight saved would be nice.

I like the humpback bodyguards, ugly as they are. As Wildcat said, the single action is mostly a novelty, but I still prefer to have it available.

Here's one for sale for a good price. I just bought a revolver from this place and it was a good experience:

http://www.thegunstash.com/collections/revolvers/products/smith-wesson-model-38-38spl-good-condition

pjpjr
February 16, 2015, 00:42
Thank you all for your input. Leland, you threw a wrench into the works that will cause me to look at 642s as well.

I own and carry a S&W 642 daily. In my opinion it is perfect for me and my expectations, which are to keep me and family safe while out and about. I have realized something and that is I don't want to get in a gun fight and I don't plan on stepping into something that requires me shooting my way out. That being said the 642 is perfect for me, compact, snag free, powerful and utterly reliable! Add a speed strip and WALA! I'm well armed!!:beer:

Timber Wolf
February 16, 2015, 17:11
I have a Model 38 that I like a lot, but actually carry my newer (no lock) 642 loaded with +P ammo. Go with the 442/642 and be happy.:wink:

Retired Bum
February 16, 2015, 19:38
Some years ago I acquired a used nickel plated Model 38 Airweight Bodyguard. It was my first alloy J frame. It proved to be uncomfortable to shoot even with standard pressure loads such as the Federal 125 grain Nyclad HP. So I traded it away for something a bit more useful.

I acquired a new Model 642 Airweight Centennial fitted with the smooth rosewood round butt grips and added a Tyler T-Grip. It is a much more pleasant piece to shoot than the Model 38. I use it as a carry gun loaded with Federal 129 grain Hydra-Shok. Recoil with +P loads is somewhat snappy but controllable IMHO. At seven yards I can put all five into a two inch group using a two handed grip. Good enough for personal protection AFAIC....

And so it goes.


The Retired One

Nomad, 2nd
February 17, 2015, 00:08
A 649 was my first J frame.
Since then I've added well over a dozen.

A nicked beat to hell model 38 remains my favorite.
I far perfer the bodyguard models, and this one is light weight and such that I don't worry about the finish.
Well worth the $260 I gave.

douglas
February 17, 2015, 21:15
A Smith and Wesson Model 49 was the 1st center fire revolver that I bought as an adult. I still have it and it will be the last one to go. I upgraded the grips to some Craig Spiegel "bootgrips" about 20 years ago and never looked back. The original factory grips are a joke and I gave them away as a "Karma" on a Smith and Wesson forum a couple of years ago.
At 10 yards I can put all 5 shots into the 10 and X ring on a B-27 target firing double action.
Not a target gun, but it will do just fine if you do your part.
I would not suggest it as a 1st time revolver. I trained and carried on duty a Smith and Wesson Model 66 for about 15 years before switching over to a duty semi-auto. The snubbie takes lots of practice to become proficient with.

Tuhlmann
February 18, 2015, 12:34
I have a M&P340 and it is perfect for me for reasons I've stated in several similar threads. Not sure why you'd want to (or be able to) shoot single action in a self defense role, but the negatives of having an exposed hammer spur to catch on anything and everything at the moment of truth far outweighs any possible benefit of havin it, IMO.

Pistols are more personal than panties, so get whatever makes yours wet.

catmguy445
February 18, 2015, 13:20
I have a 649 that I bought back in the late 80's. I put a Wolff spring kit in it, polished the inside of the frame and the rebound slide, and put a Pachmayr grip on it. The trigger pull is light and VERY smooth, and even with the lighter springs, it ignites the round every time I pull the trigger. The Pachmayr grip makes it a lot more comfortable to shoot, but it does tend to increase the size of the gun a little as far as concealment is concerned. I think the tradeoff is worth it, though. The 649 is the only J frame I own, although I have several K, L, and N frame Smiths. I like my 649 a lot, and definitely wouldn't ever get rid of it.

justashooter
February 20, 2015, 10:55
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=131467&d=1424447601

bad ass 32 long belly gun. a 1903 hand ejector 5th change.

johndoe
February 23, 2015, 21:11
PauloB,
Even a brick is pretty accurate at 10 yards.

Please understand I am not intending to be snarky with that comment, only to let you know when it comes to HANDGUNS, and especially HANDGUNS, it is a very personal choice, so you just go with whatever trips your trigger, if you will pardon the pun.

I was once at a 22 handgun silhouette match in Virginia and was doing pretty good, till this geezer showed up with a Ruger Single Six and cleaned all our clocks with it. He finished first, probably because he had been shooting that little guy longer than I had been in competition.

Just find something you like and go with it. The only one you have to please is yourself. Feel good though, that if it is a revolver and it has S&W as a logo, it will shoot the first time you need it too about 99.99999% of the time.

I recently was tickled to death to finally be able to acquire a Smith Model 14 at a decent price.

I can't say the same thing about their "Walther" auto though.

Just get yourself either one and have a ball.
Very well put and very true, as for a 38 it is still being used as a police side arm in some areas. I bought a 64-3 s&w off a retired deputy a couple months ago. I took it out and shot it the day I got it and split a fence post with it using hollow points. I broke my wrist two weeks ago and can't work the slide on my 1911 so that's what I have been carrying since then. At ten or so yards you should be able to Remove a face easily (if needed!!), you may be able to miss with bad eyes, shaky hands and a snub nose. Like He said find you like and is conferrable, the go put some ammo through it.

jeffrey
March 11, 2015, 14:38
I have a m38 Airweight Bodyguard. It is about perfect for it's intended purpose, which makes complaints about shooting discomfort kind of moot.
It is not a gun to take to the range for an extended session. And do not shoot +P through it.
For a cc gun it is great. It disappears in front or back pocket and no need to worry about lint as you would with an auto. And nothing to snag when you need to get it out.
Two years ago, we had a small gang of Russians burglarizing rural homes all over our county while people were out back mowing or working the garden. The m38 was not even noticeable or uncomfortable in my jeans pocket. Same for evening walks when our local coyote pack is howling nearby.