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  1. #1
    nukehayes's Avatar
    nukehayes is offline Member
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    S&W revolver nomenclature

    So, being a purely Auto guy, I am a little confused over S&W's way of differentiating their revolvers. I have been looking at getting a J-frame and was looking at a hammerless airweight in .38 +P. On S&Ws website I found a few I like, the model 442 and the 642 however I can't tell the difference between them besides one was blue and the other was stainless, is this the only difference between model numbers. Sorry for being Revolver illiterate but I need some help. Any schooling on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys

  2. #2
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    In the newer 3-digit model numbering system, if the first number is a:

    - "3", then it is USUALLY a Scandium-frame gun (see model 317, below, for exception).

    - "4", then it is an aluminum-alloy frame gun.

    - "5", then it is a carbon-steel (blued steel) frame gun.

    - "6", then it is a stainless-steel frame gun.

    J-frames: most of your 5-shot .38s and .357s, 6-shot .327s and short-barrel 6-shot .22s. Some will have visible hammers, some shrouded hammers (can still be thumb-cocked for single-action firing), and some will be internal hammers (double-action only guns). The model 317 is a J-frame 8-shot .22 in the AirLite series, but it has an aluminum-alloy frame, not Scandium. J-frames are considered small frame guns, and usually will have short (3" or less) barrels -- but not always.

    K-frames: Mostly 6-shot 38s and .357s, and longer-barreled (4" or longer) 6- and 10-shot .22s. Medium frame, some with plain barrels, some with solid-ribbed barrels, some with lugged/weighted barrels.

    L-frames: 6-shot .357s, 7-shot .357s, and a few 5-shot .44 Specials with short (3" or less) barrels. L-frames usually have barrels with integral lugs/underweights. Medium frame, beefier than a K-frame in some areas, but designed to use K-frame grips due to their popularity.

    N-frames: 6-shot .357s, .41 magnums, .44 Specials, .44 magnums, .45 Colt, .45 ACP, and 8-shot .357s. Large frame, barrels usually solid-ribbed, some lugged/weighted.

    X-frames: the newer honkin' huge 5-shot .460 and .500 magnums, with lugged/weighted barrels.


    More info at these sites:

    http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg105-e.htm

    http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg76-e.htm

    http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg107-e.htm

    http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg77-e.htm

    http://www.handloads.com/misc/Smith.Model.Changes.asp

  3. #3
    nailer is offline Member
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    I use the 442 as my CC. It hides perfectly with or without a pocket holster.

  4. #4
    nukehayes's Avatar
    nukehayes is offline Member
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    Thanks DJ, that helps me out a lot in understanding how they name their weapons.

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