Smith and Wesson 442 and 642 | No Locks!

Two of the most popular Smith and Wesson handguns, the models 442 and 642, have been re-introduced without the infamous internal locks.  These J-frame snubbies are the classic blued and stainless steel .38 Special revolvers with the internal hammers.

Smith and Wesson model 442 revolver j-frame .38 specialPerfect for pocket, ankle, and other forms of concealed carry, these revolvers have been great sellers for Smith and Wesson for many years.  Like all S&W revolvers, in recent times, a consumer could only buy these with the internal lock.  Unfortunately, these locks have had a few problems and consumer confidence in them is very low.  Smith and Wesson have listened to their customers and brought these two classic J-frames back without internal locks.

If you have been wanting one of these sidearms, but have hesitated, wait no longer.

Smith and Wesson model 642 j-frame revolver in .38 specialI am a proud owner of the model 642-1 that I bought more than 10 years ago.  It is a great gun!  I have carried it daily in a pocket and on an ankle.  It has always performed perfectly and is very accurate.  I have no doubt these new models will be outstanding revolvers.


Smith & Wesson updated the 442 and 642 line with “Pro Series” models.  The difference:  they do not have locks – the same as these revolvers.  Here is what I wrote on the new Pro revolvers when they were announced in December 2009:

Let’s face it: other than Smith & Wesson, no one likes the internal locks that have plagued the S&W line of revolvers for years now.  I know of many people, myself included, who have passed on buying a new S&W revolver because of the infernal things.  Well, things may be changing.

Last year, Smith & Wesson claimed to have found a batch of old, pre-lock frames for the the 642.  So, the company ran a rather limited production of them.  I guess they sold pretty well, as S&W is now offering the 442 and 642 revolvers without internal locks.

Called the ‘Pro Series’ the new 442 and 642 revolvers, feature the standard 1 7/8″ barrel and ‘hammerless’ profile of the traditional 442 and 642 handguns.  Two major differences stand out.  The first is the lack of internal safety.  The second is the cylinder is cut for full-moon clips.

Smith & Wesson has not published a MSRP, so let’s hope this is not another limited production run.


About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.

  • Mack

    Just picked up the 442 to replace the Taurus 85 Titanium I partd company with. Didn’t have high expectations for this gun when leaving the store with it.
    This changed quickly once at the range. This little power house impressed me with its dead on accuracy at 15 yds. Had to swap out the stock grips with a set of Houges to fit my hand. Trigger is usual factory heavy and gritty towards end of pull, but I know that this will smooth out with use. This small lightweight revolver can be carried all day long with any notice or fatigue from weight. The frame covered hammer slips easily in and outa my pocket with no snagging.
    It surprisingly digested various brands of ammo from plinking to personal protection +P with almost no point of impact change at 7 yds. Just for thrills tried it out to 20 yds and all five shots ringed out within a 10″ diameter (just slightly down and to the right).
    I think I am going to become very fond of this little snubnose, especially once the trigger smooths out.

  • Howard

    I just ordered a 642 on line. The one that I handled at the local gun store was pretty smooth, and the gun range rental that I handled was very smooth. My Mikas pocket holster should be here in about 6-8 weeks.


  • Howard

    …by the way – it’s a ‘no lock’ model. I had to pay about $35 more, but since a revolver is so trustworthy because of it’s simplicity, I wanted to keep it that way.

  • Jack

    What kind of problem have occured with the lock on the 442.


  • Jack

    Also, what is the maximun load can this pistol withstand.


  • Dr. Richard L. (Rick) Wigginton

    The 442 can take any factory .38 spl +P. However, there are no free lunches in physics. The 158 g. +P will beat you up. In training to teach a special snubbie self defense class I fired a lot of different loads. 50 rds. plus of the 158 +P is brutal. 125 +P seems to be a bit gentler but not by much, not when firing rapid fire. I was sent a set of CRIMSON TRACE LASER GRIPS by the CRIMSON TRACE marketing director to wring out and evaluate. A worthwhile investment if used properly, not worth a damn less proper trigger control but a fine way to learn trigger control and a heck of a night sight. I agree that the trigger is a bit heavy. It will not lighten with time and rds. down range but it will become smoother. However, for anyone who wants a pretty much perfect out of the box trigger, the RUGER LCR is the way to go. RUGERS have always been tough, strong, durable wheelguns but not noted for smooth triggers. The LCR has changed the rules of the game. I’ve experienced no better out of the box DA trigger. I recommend the CRIM TRACE LASER GRIPS which can acutually be ordered as part of the LCR pkg.

  • Steve

    I purchased a 642-1 on on Feb. 13th and took it to the range on Feb 20th. I fired 105 rounds, (90 130gr fmj remingtons, 5 129gr +P Federal Hydor Shok; 5 158gr fmj Sellier & Bellot; and 5 158gr fmj +P Lawnman. I cleaned the gun with M-7 Pro as recommended by S&W. I now have problems with the trigger. The trigger, sometimes will not release back into the ready position to fire. And sometimes the trigger will not engage (pulling backards)in a ready fire position.

    Has anyone else encountered this problem? If so, I welcome your feedback. However, I am sending the gun to S&W for repare.

  • Steve

    I’ve gotten my 642 back and fired it only 50 times; 40 130gr fmj, 5 158gr +p fmj, and 5 129gr Fed Hydro Shoks. A lot different this time, but I still need to put another 350 rounds to be totally convinced.

  • Bill

    I bought a new 442 at local gunshow in NC, as I was walking out to the car dry firing it the trigger kept hanging up. I went back to the booth and they replaced it with another one and the saleman tested it this time. I’ve shot about 50 rounds with it so far with no problems. I’m glad I checked it before I got on the road.

  • Rex

    I have a 442 that I put Hogue grips on, have a large hand, and it is very comfortable to fire. Use an Uncle Mike’s pocket holster and it is super easy and comfortable, in pants pocket or jacket pocket. I have put around 200 rounds of regular ammo through it and it gets smoother with each trip to the range. Enjoy…

    • Richard

      Hi Rex,

      Thanks for the feedback on the Hogue grips. I don’t think I have tried them on my 642. I swapped out the standard grips with a set of Pachmayr Compac grips. The Pachmayr were much more comfortable, and filled the hand well, but were too large for pocket carry. So, I went back to the original boot grips. I’ll have to find a set of the Hogue and give them a try.