S&W 642 Airweight - PD ammo suggestions

mitchntx

Sarcasm Sensei
TGT Supporter
Jan 15, 2012
4,036
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Waco-ish
I picked up a box of 110g hydroshox claiming "low recoil". I chose those for no other reason than that's all he had. LOL.

I've read on other forums that 130g +P is the preferred PD ammo in 38 snubs and could see that for heavier guns. But a light breeze will blow this thing off the table.

I don;t want to have a stack of PD ammo laying around that I won't use for its intended purpose and PD ammo is just too expensive to plink and experiment.

Thoughts on PD ammo for the Airweight?
 

OIF2

Well-Known
Dec 28, 2008
1,637
113
Hill Country
135 grain Speer Gold Dot. Good track record in shootings on both the NYPD and LAPD. Department issue (on both agencies) for those still carrying .38s.
Bob
 

Kingsnake

Member
Nov 19, 2010
125
16
Houston
+1 on the Speer 135 grain .38 Special "short barrel load". This round was developed specifically for the 2" j frames and and really gets this caliber up off it's knees. With the lightweight frame of your particular revolver you definitely will want to avoid the also highly effective +p 158 grain LSWCHP "FBI Load" because they tend to jump the bullet crimp upon firing causing the weapon to lock up.
 
Last edited:

navyguy

TGT Addict
Oct 22, 2008
2,986
38
DFW Keller
+1 on the Speer 135 grain .38 Special "short barrel load". This round was developed specifically for the 2" j frames and and really gets this caliber up off it's knees. With the lightweight frame of your particular revolver you definitely will want to avoid the also highly effective +p 158 grain LSWCHP "FBI Load" because they tend to jump the bullet crimp upon firing causing the weapon to lock up.
There is nothing wrong with the low recoil .38's. Think of it as shooting a .380. Yeah I know there are many that think that the .380 is not an adequate defense round, and sure it's a bit wimpy. But for those that are recoil sensitive, it's better than nothing.

I can tell you first hand that shooting +p out of a 642 is about as bad as it gets. Range or defense situation, if a person is anticipating that severe recoil, shot placement will suffer. If you're 2- 3 feet away, accuracy is not going to be an issue. Get beyond that in range, with the stress of a defensive situation, no telling where the shots will go.
 

benenglish

Just Another Boomer
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Nov 22, 2011
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Spring
I'm old and don't expect reliable expansion from conventional ammo in a snub. When I load a .38 for defense, I use standard 148 grain target wadcutters. Based on gelatin tests, they over penetrate a bit but they do cut a full diameter hole all the way through. At ~700 fps, recoil is light.

Of course, if you prefer a more hairy-chested version of that load, there's always this: 38 Special +P
 

CALI

Active Member
Dec 19, 2008
273
18
Round Rock
I use this on my back up 642 as well. Even my wife can handle it and she is Asian...small hands.

+1 on the Speer 135 grain .38 Special "short barrel load". This round was developed specifically for the 2" j frames and and really gets this caliber up off it's knees. With the lightweight frame of your particular revolver you definitely will want to avoid the also highly effective +p 158 grain LSWCHP "FBI Load" because they tend to jump the bullet crimp upon firing causing the weapon to lock up.
 

DonnieR

New Member
Oct 15, 2013
3
1
Cedar Park
I like the S & W 642! I want one to carry as a back up and or off duty piece. What I would shoot is Hornady 125 gr XTP® round or even the 158 gr XTP®
 

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