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Old 10-26-2010, 20:10   #1
wrx04
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Would you carry a 642 WITH the lock?

I just picked up my first 642 after trading in my p22. It's a nice little gun, but the only problem is it has the ILS. Even though the chance of the lock ever becoming a problem is small, something about it bugs me. Do any of you carry one with the lock?
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Old 10-26-2010, 20:39   #2
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I have for a couple of years. Every time I go shooting, I draw it from my pocket holster and fire five shots.....it always go bang. Personally it does not bother me. There are plenty of internet stories saying otherwise. Until it fails me I will continue to use it.
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Old 10-26-2010, 20:48   #3
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I carry one nearly every day. I eventually removed the ILS "just to be sure". It probably wasn't necessary, but I can always reinstall it in a few minutes.
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Old 10-26-2010, 21:46   #4
wrx04
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Originally Posted by JK-linux View Post
I carry one nearly every day. I eventually removed the ILS "just to be sure". It probably wasn't necessary, but I can always reinstall it in a few minutes.
I thought about doing that, but i'm scared to "tinker" with a weapon that was designed to have the lock in it. I almost feel it would be less reliable with it removed.(?)

I am contemplating taking the monetary loss and trading for a gun without the lock. I hate to lose money on a perfectly good gun though, just to get the same exact thing in return.
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Old 10-26-2010, 21:51   #5
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Guess that's your call. Mine works fine with and without the ILS. Good luck.
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Old 10-26-2010, 21:53   #6
wrx04
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Guess that's your call. Mine works fine with and without the ILS. Good luck.
Did you remove the lock yourself?
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:01   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrx04 View Post
Would you carry a 642 WITH the lock?
Only if there was no alternative.

There are many alternatives.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wrx04 View Post
Did you remove the lock yourself?
Not sure about JK-linux here on GT, but 4eversnubby on YouTube did.

If done correctly, removing the ILS components should not adversely affect reliability; in principle, it should actually improve it. (No lock/parts to fail.)

Still, the more direct route would seem to be one of the aforementioned alternatives. (e.g., Buy a "no lock" 642; there are at least 11 of them on GunBroker.com right now...)

YMMV/HTH
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:17   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whaledriver View Post
I have for a couple of years. Every time I go shooting, I draw it from my pocket holster and fire five shots.....it always go bang. Personally it does not bother me. There are plenty of internet stories saying otherwise. Until it fails me I will continue to use it.
This...plenty of "stories" on the errornet...
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:09   #9
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I have two 642 Smiths. One has the lock, one doesn't. Both have been treated to action jobs by a reputable gunsmith and both are as smooth as butter. I currently carry the one without the lock due to a propensity on my part to be overly cautious (possibly even paranoid). That is likely due to the speculation and the very few credible stories on the internet. Virtually ANYTHING can happen and usually has or will. I've got a few horror stories of my own I could tell about guns I've used but I know what happened in each case was atypical. It is unlikely those incidents will ever happen again. When I consider that, I really can't justify not carrying a 642 with IL just because of the lock.

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Old 10-27-2010, 15:32   #10
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Yes, I would and have carried with the lock. ANYTHING mechanical can break. I bought a new J-Frame and after 30 pulls on the trigger it broke. This had nothing to do with the lock the cylinder just quit turning. this is why I would never carry just One Gun.
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Old 10-27-2010, 19:40   #11
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Yes, I would and have carried with the lock. ANYTHING mechanical can break. I bought a new J-Frame and after 30 pulls on the trigger it broke. This had nothing to do with the lock the cylinder just quit turning. this is why I would never carry just One Gun.
Interesting. I guess you just have to play the odds. I dont think i could ever carry two guns.....one gun is a big enough PIA for me. The odds of you ever needing one are slim, and the odds of it failing when you need it are almost ZERO. That being said, the stakes are about as high as they get, your gun fails....your dead.
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Old 10-28-2010, 19:04   #12
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:07   #13
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I carry one or two 642-2 (with the lock) as backup(s) to a G34 or G19. I'd prefer 642-1 without the lock, but I'm not convinced it's a big enough risk to justify the expense of buying and breaking in a pair of 642-1.

My understanding is that almost all of the unintended activations of the lock have happened either with extremely light guns with heavily recoiling ammo (eg 329 with heavy .44 magnum loads, etc) or, according to comments by Dr. Gary K. Roberts on another forum, when the gun is dropped onto a hard surface. I load +P .38 in the 642 so I'm not very concerned about the recoil locking up the gun. If I'm in a "fouled up tangle" with a criminal and drop the gun, my plan is to draw another.

In the last two years or so, I've put about 350 rds through each 642-2 without any problem with the lock. I did, however have a misfire issue with one of them with certain types of factory ammo (Ten-X and Sellier & Bellot) and had to have the firing pin replaced under warranty.

One reason I carry more than one gun is because of the possibility of a malfunction. Anything made by man is fallible.
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Old 10-29-2010, 14:45   #14
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I asked the same question of Evan Marshall on his site, as I have a 642 with lock that has a trigger that is butter smooth out of the box. He said something about expecting Martians before expecting a lock problem. I too carry a 2nd and occasionally a 3rd gun for that and other reasons. I had a new Charter Arms 2000 that broke after about ten rounds, a Mac 11 that gummed up on hardball (out of box) and an AMT DAO Backup that choked on hardball (out of box). A return trip to the mfg. for the pistol and revolver and a dremmel tool for the Mac 11 (burr in chamber) solved the problems as long as I had the guns. Carry a backup if you EVER expect trouble that will involve a firearm to solve! You have been advised!

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Old 10-30-2010, 11:27   #15
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My collection of J-frames includes one with the ILS, a M&P 340. I use it for most of my range training & practice nowadays. It's never exhibited a problem with the ILS (internal lock) when I've used standard pressure and +P .38 loads or Magnum loads.

I've handled, shot and inspected (as an armorer) a number of other J-frames, some of which are equipped with the ILS and are carried by fellow LE as secondary or off-duty weapons, as well as having observed a number of other owners of ILS-equipped J-frames shooting for practice or qualification, and none of them have experienced problems to date.

In the revolver armorer class I attended I asked the instructor about any reported problems from LE users with the ILS (since the J-frames are becoming very popular again for secondary & off-duty weapons among LE). He said he'd never heard one of his LE armorer students report a problem, and nobody in that particular class had anything negative to report ... aside from the older folks in my age group being prone to preferring the older, traditional revolvers. The part of the class devoted to servicing the ILS was very brief and limited to replacing the torque lock spring in the locking arm if it was ever required.

I will offer that if someone opens up their ILS-equipped revolver and starts to fiddle with things, like removing the hammer and bolt, then it's possible for the bottom leg of the locking arm's torque lock spring to slip free of its recess in the frame, which could cause problems.

Personally, if given the choice between a model equipped with the ILS and one without, I'd choose the one without the ILS (less parts and less to maintain from an armorer's perspective), but I don't worry about my M&P 340's ILS engaging unexpectedly, either.

While I own a couple of 642-1's without the ILS, I've come to carry the M&P 340 much more often than my 642's. I like the night sight and it's lighter in my pocket holster.

Juts my thoughts.

FWIW, S&W has started to offer some of their internal hammer J-frames without the ILS. The M40/42 has the grip safety instead of the ILS, too.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:35   #16
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fastbolt always has great posts.
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Old 10-30-2010, 15:11   #17
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I carry mine more than any other weapon I own.
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Old 10-30-2010, 17:51   #18
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I have a 442-2 with the lock. Would prefer one without, but bought mine new a few years ago when there was no option, and for $371+tax. So I really can't complain. When I carry -- and that's infrequently -- that's what I have in my pocket.
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Old 10-30-2010, 19:09   #19
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The only problems I have heard of are with the 357 chambering and then when using light bullets with heavy powder charges.

When working at an indoor range I did see one. A guy came on with one locked up, he had cocked the hammer to fire single action and could not get the hammer to fall, he brought it in all taped up to prevent firing.

I took it on the range and cut the tape off and tried to fire it, nothing. used a key from one of our guns and unlocked and tried to fire, nothing, turned the key to lock, then unlock and the hammer dropped Fortunately the internal safeties worked and it didn't fire, while pointed down range I did not have the best grip on it to handle the recoil from the Rem 125 gr 357 semi-jacked HPs it was loaded with.

The gun was new, first trip to the range and this was the second cylinder of the Remingtons which was the load he planed to carry. He said he had fired 50 38 spls first then went with the 357s.

Again, I have not heard of problems with the 38s just the 357s with heavy loads, my wife caries a 642 and I have fears of problems with it.
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Old 10-30-2010, 21:32   #20
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Originally Posted by fastbolt View Post
My collection of J-frames includes one with the ILS, a M&P 340. I use it for most of my range training & practice nowadays. It's never exhibited a problem with the ILS (internal lock) when I've used standard pressure and +P .38 loads or Magnum loads.

I've handled, shot and inspected (as an armorer) a number of other J-frames, some of which are equipped with the ILS and are carried by fellow LE as secondary or off-duty weapons, as well as having observed a number of other owners of ILS-equipped J-frames shooting for practice or qualification, and none of them have experienced problems to date.

In the revolver armorer class I attended I asked the instructor about any reported problems from LE users with the ILS (since the J-frames are becoming very popular again for secondary & off-duty weapons among LE). He said he'd never heard one of his LE armorer students report a problem, and nobody in that particular class had anything negative to report ... aside from the older folks in my age group being prone to preferring the older, traditional revolvers. The part of the class devoted to servicing the ILS was very brief and limited to replacing the torque lock spring in the locking arm if it was ever required.

I will offer that if someone opens up their ILS-equipped revolver and starts to fiddle with things, like removing the hammer and bolt, then it's possible for the bottom leg of the locking arm's torque lock spring to slip free of its recess in the frame, which could cause problems.

Personally, if given the choice between a model equipped with the ILS and one without, I'd choose the one without the ILS (less parts and less to maintain from an armorer's perspective), but I don't worry about my M&P 340's ILS engaging unexpectedly, either.

While I own a couple of 642-1's without the ILS, I've come to carry the M&P 340 much more often than my 642's. I like the night sight and it's lighter in my pocket holster.

Juts my thoughts.

FWIW, S&W has started to offer some of their internal hammer J-frames without the ILS. The M40/42 has the grip safety instead of the ILS, too.
Thank you for the detailed post. Means a lot coming from a s&w amorer.
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:04   #21
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fastbolt knows his stuff and likes to share...I have learned much from his writings...

FWIW I have a 642-2 with the lock...would have preferred it did not have it but the price was right when I bought it and I have since had mine worked on but the lock was left untouched...no issues but mostly 125GR standard velocity Nyclads with some reloads and 135GR +P Speer Gold Dot (before the short barreled ammo was available)...no problems with mine...carries nearly a easily as my Seecamp LWS32...

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Old 10-31-2010, 11:07   #22
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FWIW, over the years since the introduction of the ILS in the S&W revolvers I've had the opportunity to discuss it with some of their folks, including a couple of the repair technicians and some of the CS/QC folks who work directly with LE/Gov agency customers.

From what I've heard, while they experienced a few scattered issues with the early X-frame guns and the ILS (due to the tremendous recoil, it seems), they resolved those issues. I've also heard that guns that have been returned for "lock problems" turned out to be either caused by other problems, involved guns which might have been tampered with by the owners, or might even have been the result of an occasional production/assembly issue. (This last potential factor seems to have been taken quite seriously by the company from the way it was discussed.) They seemed candid enough and weren't defensive in the least about the subject.

It just didn't seem that it was something for which they received a lot of complaints and warranty returns.

There are many more things which can "lock up" a revolver than a potentially malfunctioning ILS.

When I've ordered some spare/repair parts I've noticed the ILS torque lock spring has been revised. Not uncommon, though. A lot of S&W parts and components are always being revised. Sometimes it's a change in the part itself, a refinement or improvement, sometimes a change in a vendor, and sometimes simply a change in the part number or some minor change not connected to the performance of the part.

As I stated earlier, I know a number of guys who are carrying various J-frames, both Airlite Magnums and Airweight .38's, and they've not experienced any problems related to the ILS in their guns. While any piece of mechanical equipment can experience a problem, the potential for ILS-involved problems has gone pretty far down on the personal list of things I worry about.

There was one guy who bought a used 642-2 to carry as a backup weapon & for off-duty when he didn't want to wear a belt holstered weapon. He was experiencing no problems with the 642 on the range as he received it. I did inspect it at one point and felt the locking arm spring seemed a little lighter in tension than I'd found in new guns (or during the armorer class). I replaced the locking arm & spring with newer parts and noticed the spring tension was heavier. The gun still ran normally afterward, and I liked the heavier tension on the locking arm spring. I know another guy who carries a 442-2 for backup & off-duty and shoots it a lot. He's a longtime shooter, for recreation and competition venues, and has subjected that 442 to heavier use than many J-frame owners would probably consider doing. No problems with his ILS-equipped gun to date. I could go on ...

On the other hand, for the folks who are adamant in not owning a revolver with any sort of lock built into it, there are options out there, even within the S&W product line. Suit yourself. I certainly don't make it my business to try and convince someone that they need to think about things the same way I might. It's their money and their choice.

Personally, I've considered adding a 6th J-frame to my retirement collection, this time maybe a new M40 (no ILS, but a grip safety), and maybe in nickel. I miss an excellent M36 nickel 3" Heavy Barrel I foolishly let slip through my hands many years ago.
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Old 11-04-2010, 19:31   #23
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I have a few snubbies with the lock, and a whole bunch more without it....they all have worked just fine without fail. Let's see.....11 snubbies in the collection now...it's all good stuff!
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Old 11-04-2010, 19:44   #24
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I have for a couple of years. Every time I go shooting, I draw it from my pocket holster and fire five shots.....it always go bang. Personally it does not bother me. There are plenty of internet stories saying otherwise. Until it fails me I will continue to use it.
After it fails once, you may not be able to continue using it.
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Old 11-05-2010, 14:00   #25
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When you think about the vast number of ILS equipped revolvers that are out there, I'd have a tendency to believe that the percentage of those guns that have had ILS problems is probably very small. And likely much smaller than other guns with their problems.
Has anyone heard or seen any stories about an S&W owner being hurt or killed in a self defense situation because the ILS seized up their gun?
My 642 has been and continues to be flawless and if it was'nt for firearm forums and the internet stories floating around, I would never have known there was any sort of problem.


The thing I don't like is that the lock ruins it's good looks.
It's like a boil on the face of a beautiful woman.

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