Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two Tone 442



I recently picked up a two tone Smith & Wesson 442.I've always wanted either a Black 642 or a Stainless 442,but I have yet to find that combination offered by Smith & Wesson that did not have porting(which is not practical for a carry snubby IMO).There have supposedly been a few 442's with Stainless Barrels released(usually limited no internal lock runs),but they have Carbon barrels S&W customer service doesn't know anything about these despite several people on forums claiming they have one.

While searching for how to blacken a 642 or if there are 442's with Stainless barrels and cylinders,I came across a post on Defensive Carry about a two tone 442 that had the Black 442 frame,but a Stainless Barrel and Cylinder.I called Smith & Wesson and they never heard of them.I did some searches and found a couple for sell on some of the internet sites that looked like the one I saw on DC.After talking to several people at S&W,one CS rep said that sometimes there are special runs made at the request of a distributor,but they are not catalogued,so they have no way to look them up unless I gave them a serial number.Good enough for me and the seller was a dealer who had 100% positive feedback,so I ordered one.
Why I like this combination is for the rust/corrosion resistance of the stainless and the black finish of the 442 is said to wear better than the silver 642.Plus,the black finish of the 442 can be touched up with any of the products made for AR-15 receivers such as Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black(what S&W themselves use) or a BC Super Black Touch-up pen.I don't know of any good way to touch up the silver frame on a 642.The matte stainless barrel & cylinder needs no special treatment and any scratches can be buffed out if desired and in the rare circumstances of rust,simply clean it off with mild abrasives. I would prefer the stainless to be blackened,but nobody will do that on a aluminum J-Frame due to risk of cracking the frame. Simple flat black paint is an option if I really wanted the SS parts black,but being Matte stainless,the parts aren't really all that light reflective.Massad Ayoob says he actually prefers shiny guns as He wants the bad guy to know he just drew a gun.Pros's/Con's to both,but I prefer the "stealthiness" of Black guns.

Overall,this is a nice little piece although I would prefer it if it was chambered in .357 Magnum rather than .38 Special +P.Many people think .357 Mag out of guns like the 340 M&P and other lightweight Scandium guns is a physical absurdity and this is more or less true with some of the full power magnums loads(there have been cases of hands actually being broken),but .357 Mag in it's lower loadings is not that much more harsh than .38 +P,plus I like the option being able to shoot .357 even if the plan is to carry .38 +P most of the time.I don't feel under gunned at all with a good .38 Special +P load and these guns can be found for half the price of the S&W M&P(which I really like also),which is currently running $900 and the titanium 340 PD is even higher(ouch!).The 442's/642's weigh in at 15 oz compared to 13.3 for the M&P.How much is the ability to shoot .357's and that 1.7 ounces really worth to you?