Posted June 12, 2019 6:42 am by Comments

By Chris Eger

After several thousand rounds or so pushed through it over the years and two decades of carry, this early S&W 642-1 is still kicking. For that time when the clock stops, Smith has a lifetime service policy. (Photos: Chris Eger/
For those situations where a more full-sized gun isn’t on the schedule, this Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight has often tagged along, especially in hot summer months.
The original S&W 642 was introduced in 1990 as an update to the company’s 1950’s era aluminum-framed Model 42. A double-action-only 5-shot .38 Special with a snag-free fully concealed hammer, the 642 in most cases sports a 1 7/8-inch (some 2-, 2.5- and 3- inch models are floating around) stainless steel barrel and cylinder along with a matte-finished alloy frame.
Weight, unloaded, is 15-ounces flat while overall length is 6.3-inches and ties with its matte black brother, the S&W 442, as the company’s smallest .38. By comparison, Ruger’s LCR— which was introduced in 2009 with the same cylinder capacity as the Smith but with a polymer frame– weighs 13.5-ounces while going a tad longer, showing just how svelte the 642 is. Also, of note, the 642 is the same overall length as the Glock G43


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