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Old 10-25-2012, 11:04   #1
BlackPaladin
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Time for a backup

8 years, I have carried only my service weapon on duty. Events occurred this year that have convinced me that exploring the idea of a backup pistol would be worthwhile. I am convinced that a J frame size revolver is what I want, with no hammer. It is simple and there is very little to go wrong with it.

I am going to ask a two part question on this.

(a) Which J frame sized hammerless pistol in which caliber would be recommended?

(b) From *experience* where or how would you carry this?

Bear in mind, this would NOT be for off duty carry, only uniformed backup. I greatly appreciate the feedback in advance, this has been on my mind for awhile.

ETA, class B uniform

PIC OF 442 ON PG 3
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:08   #2
fat.buffalo
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S&W 642 .38 +p

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Old 10-25-2012, 11:30   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPaladin View Post
8 years, I have carried only my service weapon on duty. Events occurred this year that have convinced me that exploring the idea of a backup pistol would be worthwhile. I am convinced that a J frame size revolver is what I want, with no hammer. It is simple and there is very little to go wrong with it.

I am going to ask a two part question on this.

(a) Which J frame sized hammerless pistol in which caliber would be recommended?

(b) From *experience* where or how would you carry this?

Bear in mind, this would NOT be for off duty carry, only uniformed backup. I greatly appreciate the feedback in advance, this has been on my mind for awhile.
I carried a S&W 642 in .38 for a while as a backup and decided I preferred an auto. My current backup is a Beretta Nano. Nothing really wrong with the wheelgun, just not my preference.

That said, what type of uniform do you wear? If it's class A, your options as to carry location are more limited that if it's say BDU based.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:38   #4
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Smith 642. Again, don't know your uniform.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:54   #5
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I carried a 442, no lock, in a galco ankle holster. I tried the pocket carry, but it dit not work for me.
I recently went with a Kahr PM9 in a galco ankle holster. Less recoil, more accurate and I carry a spare magazine in my weak side pocket in a desantis nemsis magazine holster.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:32   #6
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.38 in an ankle holster. Get a holster with sheepskin padding. Trust me on this!
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:41   #7
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I've carried a lot of back up guns over the years.

I started out with larger autos in a vest holster. Slow and cumbersome.

Then I went to small autos in pocket carry (off hand side) and found that every now and then (not often, but enough to be unsettling) the mag release button would get engaged just enough to unseat the mag just so.

I settled on the Smith 442 loaded with +p ammo and love it to death. Five shots, offside pocket carry, very fast, very stealth, very reassuring to hear those five cartridges go "bang". Mine had a lock on it but has been de-locked some years ago.

I prefer the 442 (I have a 642 as well) due to the dark finish. I can approach cars on traffic stops with that hand in my pocket ready for action and nobody notices it if I have slid it out a bit.

Mine is quite accurate too. Really kind of shocked how good the accuracy is on these little revolvers.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:43   #8
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Smith 642.

This holster:

http://www.renegadeholstersdirect.com/page12.html

http://www.renegadeholstersdirect.com/page2.html

And, you're done.

The ankle holster is great if you are sitting in a car or at a desk alot. If I am spending the majority of the day on my feet, I sometimes pocket carry.

Last edited by Sgt127; 10-25-2012 at 13:26.. Reason: ADDED
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Old 10-25-2012, 13:07   #9
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I appreciate the comments so far. I am set against an auto as a backup for personal reasons. It seems that so far what I am hearing is that the S&W 442 with +p .38 is a good option in an ankle holster.

For the sake of asking, is the 340pd (scandium) worth the weight savings in an ankle carried snub?
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Old 10-25-2012, 13:33   #10
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Its alot of money to save a few ounces. I think an airweight with +P is about the limit for controllability, If you can handle the hyper lightweight with full on magnums, more power to you, I can't. I shot one once and it was like slamming my hand in a car door. (Think 1970's Buick 2 door) It does add a little extra horsepower, even out of the snub barrel.
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Old 10-25-2012, 13:40   #11
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We had a "County Mountie" (bet you haven't heard that in a while) that carried a 2' snubbie (can't remember what kind) in his "smoky bear" hat. I seen him do this several times, always the gentleman removed and held his hat for traffic stops. Over coffee I mentioned it to him and he picked up the hat for me to see and I laughed so hard I might have peed a little! Thanks to you all for the job you do!
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Old 10-25-2012, 13:44   #12
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My experience which includes the Detonics pictured for a decade or so strongly suggests that the quality of the ankle holster is far far more important than the weight of the gun.
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Old 10-25-2012, 13:57   #13
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I carried a S&W 442 for many years to go along with my Beretta 92 first then my S&W 4506 as a great backup.

I carried it in my off side waistband, which you could barley see in a IWB holster. I could get to it with either hand and it was easy to draw while sitting in a vehicle!!

I always had a problem with ankle holsters. If they work for you then great but mine would always flop around when I was running and I found them uncomfortable. If you carry in an ankle rig you should have your draw down and practice with it.

I am surprised you are just realizing how valuable a backup can be. It was pounded into our heads at the academy as we were taught about the Onion Field incident and several others that occurred on my department. I carried a back up since I graduated the academy!!
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Old 10-25-2012, 14:16   #14
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I have carried a 442 on my ankle since 2004. I tried vest carry and couldn't make it work for me.

Good decision to carry a BUG.
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Old 10-25-2012, 14:17   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPaladin View Post
I appreciate the comments so far. I am set against an auto as a backup for personal reasons. It seems that so far what I am hearing is that the S&W 442 with +p .38 is a good option in an ankle holster.

For the sake of asking, is the 340pd (scandium) worth the weight savings in an ankle carried snub?
I was going to recommend the 340. Not only is it lighter, but it allows you to shoot .357 mag rounds in addition to .38.

As far as location, I wear mine on my vest in a uncle mikes vest holster. The armor straps pass through the holster and hold it tight. Mine is on my right side, allowing for a left handed draw if needed. I have also heard of officers carrying in a cargo pocket if allowed at your agency. Desantis nemesis are great holsters in either the normal or cargo pocket variety.

I agree with you that a revolver is the way to go as a bug. Many officers don't realize that autos will not fire if the slide is pushed back. Basically if you jam an auto into someone's gut it may not fire..


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Old 10-25-2012, 14:58   #16
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I don't know if they still make them but they used to make a bolt on shroud for the hammer. If hammerless is needed then a 442 or 642. I would NOT reccomend the superlight magnums that are out there, with magnum rounds some have been known to have the bullet jump crimp and lock up the revolver. In addition the recoil is a lot heavier which sucks for range time and qualification time.
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Old 10-25-2012, 15:06   #17
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I vest carry a S&W 442 using 5.11's "Backup Belt System" holster. Works very well and is highly concealed. I'm not satisfied with access and the draw however. I may end up giving off side pocket carry a try.


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Old 10-25-2012, 15:29   #18
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I'll side with the majority here. The 442/642 is ideal.

Scandium frames are nice and are stronger than aluminum frames, so if longevity over thousands of rounds is important, get one.

I am not a fan of .357 Magnums out of scandium J frames. I have been firearms enthusiast since age 12 and they are the most unpleasant handgun I have ever fired. My .454 Casull revolver was nowhere near as brutal, nor was the .500 S&W Magnum I fired. If one is wedded to the Magnum chambering, a Colt Lawman or a M-19/66 with a 2.5 inch barrel is a better choice.

Many tout that the extra power is necessary when the time comes and more stopping power is good, BUT... a defensive firearm requires lots of practice and qualifications. The J frame Magnums are flinch inducing machines. I am against practicing with light loads and then carrying Magnum rounds based on experiences I saw on the range with cops who did this in duty revolvers back in the early 1980s.

A .38 Special +P round with a modern bullet design, combined with good placement, should do the trick.
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Old 10-25-2012, 17:08   #19
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Anyone have experience with Charter Arms' current production 9mm revolvers?
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Old 10-25-2012, 17:25   #20
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ANother vote for 642\442.

I carried mine off hand front pocket.
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Old 10-25-2012, 17:52   #21
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I carry a 642 in a Desanti nemesis holster. I used to carry it in my weak side pocket but I now carry it in my weak side rear pocket (5.11 Taclite pants). The back pocket on these pants are large and wrap partially around to my side. The gun fits in the pocket almost on my hip and it is comfortable. Also, the larger pocket it easier to draw out of.

The only thing I would say about a Scandium frame is that when it actually came down to using it in a situation, you won't notice the recoil, but training will be brutal. In my 642+p rounds get painful, I can't imagine a lighter gun with magnums in it...ouch
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Old 10-25-2012, 22:23   #22
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I carry a S&W 642 with .38 +P in a vest holder. Never even know it's there.
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Old 10-25-2012, 23:40   #23
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Well as others have said the 442 is a great gun for just about every kind of carry. My favorite is vest carry. But if you decided on ankle carry the smith and wesson 340 might be a better option just because it is a little lighter and the lighter the ankle gun the better. For the bullet issue. As long as you run bullet weights heavier than 125 gr it is not an issue.

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Old 10-26-2012, 01:07   #24
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I've carried a M640 for many years and now I have a M642 airweight. The airweight is about half the weight of the full stainless one and only 2 ounces heavier than the Scandium which cost twice as much. Best bang for the buck.

I couldn't shoot full power magnums out of the J anyway so the full stainless was a waste of money and weight. The airweight handles the regular +P just fine and is very easy to carry in the off side pocket in a Mika holster.

I keep my off hand in my pocket with a firm grip on the butt on certain contacts and situations where I want my hand on a gun but don't want to cause alarm by having my strong hand on the grip of the duty gun. People complain about that around here and say it's intimidating or whatever. But it gives me a nice warm and fuzzy feeling knowing I already have a gun in my hand ready to go at a moment's notice. To the outside world, it just looks like I have my off hand in my pants pocket. Low key... heck... it's no key.

You can also get the Bodyguard series 649 with the shrouded hammer instead of the hammerless so you can have the option of cocking the gun for single action if your policy allows for it.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:24   #25
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unless you have ankle/leg problems id recommend an all steel snubby.

i used to carry a 640-1 loaded with real magnums, just as easy as a "baby" glock but actually concealed better on the ankle.
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