[ED: In response to reader requests, this is part of a series of posts by TTAG writers revealing their choice of carry guns.]
Sometimes I carry a .40 caliber M&P, and sometimes I don’t. It depends on what I’m wearing, which is determined by the weather, which in Massachusetts can be charitably described as “variable,” or realistically described as “atrocious.” What isn’t variable or atrocious is the Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight revolver that I carry every day, everywhere, even when I’m toting the .40 caliber pistol . . .
The M642 is small and light. With its internal hammer, there’s no spur to snag in my pocket or on a garment. Because of the Apex trigger kit that I installed, with its lightened (but still substantial) trigger press, my 642 is accurate at self-defense distances. At the closest of close quarters, snubbies have proven themselves to be formidable contact weapons. I can pocket-carry my 642, stuffed into a Blackhawk #3 pocket holster for safety’s sake. I can also carry the petite revolver in an IWB Remora holster or OWB Blackhawk leather holster. Any way I choose it, it prints less than an unemployed typesetter.
Loaded with five rounds of Hornady Critical Defense .38Spl hollowpoint ammo, the M642 has reasonable firepower for backup or primary duty. I also carry along a couple of full HKS #36A Speedloaders. They provide 10 extra rounds, for a total of 15, just in case I encounter a small zombie horde on my way to the nearest Piggly Wiggly.
And talk about pure, unadulterated schadenfreude! When I walk around, say, Boston with that M642 tucked away, I know that the hoplophobic citizens stumbling around me in Condition Oblivious — whose tax money paid for all that insanely expensive infrastructure — are legally disarmed while I am not. To quote Beldar Conehead, this pleases me.
Alas, all is not sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. The M642’s handle is best suited to people with only three or four digits or the small hands of a prepubescent pickpocket. Because of the revolver’s 15-ounce weight, recoil can be a bit stout. Vestigial sights, a microscopic sight radius and a two-inch barrel do not facilitate 25 yard target shooting by anyone except that cyborg known as Jerry Miculek. Five loaded rounds aren’t ten loaded rounds, which is the maximum under the Commonwealth’s preternaturally stupid “assault weapons” ban. And yet, practice overcomes all. Or most. Reloads are reasonably quick with Speedloaders, the gun will shoot straight and it will go “bang” when I need it the most.
In my opinion, everybody should have a little Airweight that they can count on. And why not? They make great stocking stuffers. They’re stealthier than a black cat at midnight. The revolver needs about as much care as a pet goldfish. And – to continue with the animal theme – like a rabid basenji, the M642’s bite is fiercer than its bark.