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j-frame safe if dropped?

Discussion in 'The Snubbie Club' started by mikechine, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. mikechine


    Feb 7, 2012
    My wife carries a j-frame in her purse. It is in a zippered side pocket designed for this purpose.

    Her boss is a 'gun guy' and is ok with it in the office. After a casual conversation and her showing it to settle a debate on its caliber, he removed the round under the hammer and then said it was 'safer'. She now has a loose round and a four shot revolver.

    I'm a little perplexed. I don't want to make waves as he does allow it in the office and this keeps her from handling the gun daily just to go to work.

    My question is about the gun and its construction. Does the s&w 442 have some kind of hammer blocking device to prevent firing if the gun is dropped? Their website offers no clue.

    Anyone here carry their j-frame with an empty chamber?
  2. 4Rules


    Mar 11, 2012
    He is ignorant (but she doesn't have to tell him that).
    The hammer cannot contact the primer unless the trigger is pulled.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013

  3. DeLo


    Nov 10, 2011
    It's drop safe. Don't restrict your shots from 5 to 4 by not having a chamber loaded. Gun guy or not, no one handles my carry.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  4. Just_Me


    Mar 25, 2012
    Reload that round and don't hand him a gun anymore. As a "gun guy" he should know that guns in holsters don't go off.
  5. Just_Me


    Mar 25, 2012
    Also please teach him how double action works.
  6. mikechine


    Feb 7, 2012
    Are you saying that mechanically, the hammer cannot contact the round if the gun is dropped? That it is somehow blocked until the trigger is pulled?

    I realize that carry edict 101 was breached when she showed the gun to him. But now moving forward, just wondering about the construction details of the gun.
  7. whitebread

    whitebread ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Nov 29, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    Yes, mechanically the hammer cannot come into contact with primer unless the trigger is pulled.
  8. casualoffender

    casualoffender JAFO

    Dec 1, 2012
    Carrollton, Tx.
    "to settle a debate on its caliber"? That sounds like he was playing her to get it in his hands. He clearly doesn't know very much about guns.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  9. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Her boss is not a "gun guy" by a long shot.

    I think S&W's marketing catch phrase, many, many years ago when ALL revolvers weren't made safe when dropped, was "hammer the hammer" because it's perfectly safe if you do.
  10. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    Go to the S&W site and look the gun up. Ask yourself a question,

    "If there was a danger of the gun discharging if dropped, in today's litigious society, don't you think there would be warnings all over the site?"

    TRY and Google accidents from them being dropped.

    "Gun guy" my ****. that model has been perfectly safe with full cylinder since the day it was introduced. Tell him to pound sand.
  11. Chup


    Feb 11, 2008
    N. Ohio
    I would never say a word to her boss. Put the round back in the gun. It's called a Hammer Block Safety, I think, it's a little lever that moves up as the trigger is pulled to make contact with the firing pin. When the trigger is at rest nothing comes in contact with the firing pin and the gun will not fire. For example, before a gun can be sold in California it must pass a drop test of Two Stories. I herd it cost Gun Company a lot of money for the test and some of the smaller Company's don't or can't sell there.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  12. mikechine


    Feb 7, 2012
    Thanks everyone for their replies and expertise. We have already put that round back in. I'm sure he didn't mean much by it.
  13. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    Jul 14, 2008

    'It's the thought that counts...'


  14. Batesmotel


    Apr 5, 2007
    In some revolvers this is an issue. Usually older designs. This is not a problem on a J-frame.
  15. gunsmoke92


    Jul 22, 2005
    Rigby, Idaho
    Glad to hear you have that 5th round back where it belongs.

    Leaving an empty chamber under the hammer was common practice with the early single action revolvers, as the firing pin was fixed to the hammer. There was nothing to prevent the firing pin from contacting the primer if the gun was dropped or something struck the unprotected hammer.

    Today's revolvers, such as your Wife's, use a transfer bar or firing pin block system. They either block the firing pin until the trigger is pulled, withdrawing the block and allowing the hammer to strike the firing pin, or move the transfer bar into position so the impact of the falling hammer is transferred to the firing pin via that bar.

    It's nice that her boss allows her to exercise her rights, but concealed carry is just that, and nobody should know anything other than she has a purse.
  16. Here is a video from Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA explaining the 3 Smith & Wesson internal safeties:

    [ame=""]Gunsmithing - The Safety Features of a S&W Revolver Presented by Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA - YouTube[/ame]

    There are quite a few people who think they know things the do not. Some may apply knowledge of one gun to another. It was common for the Colt 1873 to be loaded down a round so the hammer can be on a empty cylinder.

    With modern drop safe weapons, the trick is not to try catching it as it falls. Murphey's Law says you will grasp the trigger trying to catch the gun.

    Not all my guns are drop safe, but the ones I carry are.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  17. Glockbuster


    Jun 30, 2005
    Middle America
    Does he know how far the hammer has to accidentaly travel back for it to have meaningful force on the primer ?

    Does he even know what would happen to the empty chamber now that the hammer has traveled back that far ?

    What about the drop safety ?

    Gun guy ? maybe 50 years ago.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  18. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    Jul 14, 2008

    Fifty years ago, most people could add two and two and actually come up with four.

    Who'da thunk it? :whistling: