S&W 642 J-Frame Airweight Aftermarket Grips

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by ponycar17, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    I bought my wife a S&W 642 J-Frame Airweight in .38 Spl. for personal protection. Personally, I like the gun. It's light as a feather, but as a consequence, kicks like a mule... well, relatively speaking... Anyway, my wife has trouble with it hurting the web of her hand, and I was wondering if there were any aftermarket grips that cover the back of the gun better, with a softer grip?... Yeah, I know, this is not something a guy would normally ask, however my wife has VERY small hands (size 4 ring finger, small) and I don't want her to be scared of the gun...

    Any ideas?...
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
  2. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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  3. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Also check out Hogue Grips.
  4. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I'm looking at the Pachmayr decelerator grip... Yeah, I'm kinda dumb in the area of grips. I've never had a desire to upgrade the grips on one of my few handguns... This upgrade comes more out of necessity than sport...
  5. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    I finally got the Pachmayr grip in that I ordered. It's their "Decelerator" grip. I think it feels great in "my" hand, but it's huge. It adds an additional finger groove that the factory Uncle Mike's grip doesn't have, as evidenced in the pic below. This kind of turns me off because it's supposed to be a light, easily-concealable pistol, right?... Oh well...

    [​IMG]

    The good news is that the new grip greatly improved "my" accuracy with the gun. With the small grip, I couldn't hit a thing hardly. Here's a target from 10 yards that I used today. I know, I should've used a pistol target, but this is all I had on hand...

    [​IMG]

    The wife shot it 5 times... She hit the target once (one of the stray shots above the bullseye). Most other rounds went in a box that was holding the target. The bad thing is, she says that this grip hurts WORSE!!!... I don't get it, but she's right. It actually left a large red mark on the web of her hand.

    So what's a man to do?... Are there any better grips, or should I start looking for a .32 for her?...

    :confused:
  6. SouthernMoss

    SouthernMoss *Admin Tech Staff*

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    Ponycar, I see that the revolver is DAO. How hard is the trigger pull on it? I have very small hands too, and have a DAO Charter 2000 Undercover .38spl. The 10lb+ trigger pull is murder on my small hands. When I grip the handle properly, I don't have enough finger on the trigger for proper leverage with such a heavy pull. And if I adjust my hand to have enough leverage on the trigger, then I don't have a proper grip on the handle. If this is the case with your wife, then the larger Pachmayer grip will make the problem worse, not better.

    When I got my Springfield Armory Ultra Compact .45, I had to change out the Hogue grips that came with it for slimmer walnut grips. Made all the difference in the world. And the lighter SA trigger pull means I don't have to manhandle the thing to make it shoot.

    As far a recoil, that's the price you pay for a lighter gun. And revolvers have more recoil than pistols, at least in my experience. I'll take my Ultra Compact or Marlin's (my husband, not the gun mfgr) Browning Hi-Power (in 9mm) any day of the week over my Charter 2000 revolver. But that's just me.

    If your wife is comfortable enough with guns to work the slide on a pistol, you might want to consider one of the polymers. If not, then try to find a revolver with a lighter trigger pull, preferably one that can be shoot both SA and DA.

    Disclaimer: not the advice of an expert, just the ramblings of a small-handed woman. ;)
  7. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    I'm not sure on the trigger pull of the 642. I know it's rather heavy, so you may be onto something. I know it takes practice to be able to hold your target, given a hefty trigger pull. I think you're right. The small hands thing, combined with DAO in a revolver probably aren't helping much at all in the way of accuracy. I think she shot better with the smaller grips, but I'm still not understanding the recoil consideration, with the larger grip being worse.

    Hehe, I warned her about the weight versus recoil when she chose that gun... Maybe I get a new 642 out of this unfortunate set of circumstances?

    Yes, she's profficient enough to use the slide. At first, she had some trouble using the slide of my Bersa .380, and that's why I swayed her toward a revolver. I guess it's just something that she can get used to... I have been looking at the Keltec P3AT in .380 as a possibility for her, and its trigger pull looks like its in the neighborhood of 5 lbs. so that should be a very good change. I guess I'll just have to drag her to the next gun show to see what we'll pick out.

    Thanks for the advice, especially coming from another "small-handed woman"...

    It's hard for me to understand her problems, but coming from someone who's into firearms, and in a similar situation really helps...

    :)
  8. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    At SouthernMoss' side forever!
    We had been looking more than year, she before we were married and both after, and it wasn't until she picked up the SA Ultra Compact that she immediately felt that was the gun for her. Nothing had really satisfied her 'til then except a Colt Mustang 380 in excellent condition. She wanted a larger calibre, though, and this one not only "fit" but it was larger!!!! SoMo had to have it and her trials were over, almost instantly.

    You might find, if you can get her to look long enough at enough guns, that she, too, will one day find the "perfect" gun surprisingly out of the blue. It was worth the wait as there is no haunting doubt of any kind.
  9. SouthernMoss

    SouthernMoss *Admin Tech Staff*

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    If the grip is so large that she can't get her hand around it properly, the gun is going to move within her hand, rather than her hand and the gun moving as a single unit.

    Try this with the larger grip:

    Make sure the gun is unloaded, then hold the gun in your own hand and notice how far around the grip your fingers come and how far your thumb comes around in the other direction. Notice where the finger indentions of the grip meet your hand (I'm guessing it's pretty close to where your fingers join your palm.) Hold the gun in a nice, firm grip, and try to wiggle it sharply with your other hand.

    Now have your wife hold the gun and notice the positioning of her fingers as compared to yours. I'm guessing that there's little overlap of thumb over fingers. I'm also guessing that the finger indentions on the larger grip hit around her first knuckle. Have her grip the gun firmly, then try to wiggle it sharply. See the difference?
  10. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    If you are so inclined, buy a Wolf, or Uncle Mike's, spring kit. Clean up the rebound slide , the trigger, and D.A. sear, with an arkansas stone, and install the lightest of the springs in the kit; if there is no spring for the rebound slide, cut 1 1/2 coils from the original, lube everything, and re-assemble. A double action J frame Smith can run just fine with 9# or less effort, at 100% reliability; some will run reliably, below 7 #.
    Put the skinny grips back on, and look at the targets!
  11. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    stash247, I bought a Wilson Combat spring kit, with an 8# hammer spring, and 3 different rebound springs (13#,14#, and 15#). I'm going to try it out, and see how it helps. I know I can't help her with the recoil problem, but I don't think that's an issue for self defense.

    Thanks
  12. badge851

    badge851 New Member

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    Not trying to be a SMARTA$$ but it appears to me you got the wrong Pachmayr® grips. Send them back & get the Compac Pachmayr® grips. More compact/concealable and cushion the recoil really well. They are the grips my wife uses on her snubby 38.
    Last edited: May 8, 2005
  13. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    The "Compac" Pachmayr grips have one less finger grip than the "Decelerator" has. The extra finger grip of the "Decelerator" moves the center of rotation of the gun downward, and therefore decreases the pressure on the webbing of your hand caused by the recoil. The "Compac" grip has the same number of finger grooves as the factory grip, and therefore the same point of rotation under fire. The only advantage to the "Compac" grip is the softer rubber... I thought the "Compac" was a "compromise" to comfortable shooting, while maintaining concealability, but maybe my assumption was wrong. Is the "Compac" grip slimmer than the "Decelerator?" Am I misunderstanding the difference between the two grips?

    The reduced hammer spring and rebound spring helped greatly with her accuracy. She still claims the recoil is painful, but to understand that, you must understand my wife... She's 5'0", 90 lbs., size 4 ring finger... yes, tiny... I did buy a Kel-Tec P3AT .380 yesterday as my toy, and she can't manage to pull the slide back on it; yes, no joke, I don't understand it either... So yeah, she doesn't deal well with harsh recoil and doesn't have the strength to reliably operate the slide on an auto pistol. Hopefully, she can shoot well enough to defend herself if the need arises. I'm working on her grip to assure that she's holding the 642 Smith as high as possible, to reduce the perceived recoil as much as possible.

    The 642 compared to the P3AT in size, with a Bersa .380 and Ruger 22/45 alongside them for comparison... I like the P3AT!!! The wife doesn't... Good!! :D

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 9, 2005
  14. badge851

    badge851 New Member

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    The grips I'm talking about are the Pachmayr® Presentation/Compac, with US Patent No. 3,672,084. They are not shown on the Pachmayr® website but still made.It's the same grip that Colt® :( :mad: used on their Detective Special. Has a special groove just for the pinky finger.
    I'm new to this board & haven't "FINGERED OUT" photo uploads yet. If you send me an email to pcspatrol@comcast.net I'll send you a photo.
  15. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    I can buy 148 wads for $55/case. They punch a full caliber hole, just slower. Since, in most cases, blood loss is a more than significant factor, in gunshot wounds, perhaps you ought to start with these. They will not, cannot, HURT your petite wife, and won't scare her, either,as they, compared to the stuff you've been running, are very mild.
    In a 2" gun, we already are making several compromises; simply, make one more, for a while, and let her grow into the gun!
    My two daughters shoot, and very competitively, but both started with low recoiling rimfire rifles; they would likely wax my a**, today, over the course. The bigger girl weighs 106 #.
    Your wife is new to the game; treat her gently. When she's ready to move up, both of you will Know. Meantime, reduce/eliminate recoil/muzzle blast, and she will continue to shoot. Set her up with YOUR weapon/load combo, she may not! Just my .02. Terry
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