Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

Archive for July, 2011

S&W Model 642

Posted by Gunner on July 29, 2011

Since S&W introduced the model 36 in 1950 at the International Police Chiefs Association meeting Its been one of the most sought after little revolvers in history. Police departments bought “J” frames by the thousands for Detectives while the civilian market purchased them for home defense. Shop owners purchased them to protect their businesses and protect themselves when making bank deposits. In fact there are so many categories of people who carry them it would be impossible to list them all.

In more recent history the model 642 Airweight has been the top selling revolver S&W makes. With the hammer housed inside the frame there’s nothing to hang on clothing when drawing from a pocket or pocket holster.

Since I retired from police work I still find myself carrying a 642 in a front pocket of my jeans usually in a “Nemesis” holster made for carry in this manner. On a very hot day here in the Midwest nothing is handier to grab and run a few errands. If you find your build makes it hard to carry this way there are jeans made just to accommodate this type of carry. LA Police Gear makes them at a reasonable price. The pockets are larger both front and back to allow the wearer to carry a small pistol or revolver in a front or back pocket as well as speedstrips or magazines to carry extra ammo or other gear of your choice.

The only downside to some shooters is that it only holds five rounds. This really isn’t a drawback when you consider what this revolvers intended use is. A “J” frame 642 isn’t normally a primary carry gun rather a backup too a duty gun or one you drop into a pocket for a quick run to the grocery store.

From my own experience with these little jewels it rates as one of my favorite guns. When on duty I carried a 1911 on my duty belt and a model 642 in a holster attached to my vest. That little extra insurance is a comforting thing to have. Many officers from local to state and federal agents still carry these revolvers as backups and most likely will for years to come.

Model 642
Caliber .38 Special
Capacity 5 rounds
Finish Matt Silver
Grip Synthetic
Frame Size Small – Internal, Aluminum alloy
Barrel 1.875″
Overall Length |6.31″
Weight 15 oz.
Front Sight Integral
Rear Sight Fixed
There is one item I always change right off the bat and that’s the rubber grips. They are just too sticky to carry in a pocket even with a holster. S&W makes beautiful wood grips for the “J” frames which not only look great but make drawing your revolver very easy. With practice they are very nearly as fast to draw from a pocket as from a belt holster.

Speaking of practice these revolvers require the owner to practice a good deal to be able to handle it quickly and shoot accurately. Most encounters are seven yards and closer but you can still miss. Believe me I’ve read reports where it’s happened and more times than one would think. When you mix adrenalin and the short sight radius of these small frame guns it’s easy to miss. Any person who carries a gun should practice, practice and more practice to be proficient in handling and shooting. It’s a serious responsibility any CCW owner should take to heart.

I don’t mean to say the 642 is a hard revolver to shoot because it isn’t. It just takes practice. A shooter should purchase dummy rounds to practice loading, drawing and trigger control. If this is your first handgun seek a reputable school and take a CCW class; you’ll be glad you did. It’s not only enjoyable for most new shooters but they learn a great deal more than they would ever realize.

You may wonder why I’m spending so much time on practice and training. The reason is when I’m asked “ which gun should I buy” my usual response is a “J” frame S&W. Once you master this revolver then move to a semi-auto if you like but learn the basics first.

S&W does offer a wide range of “J” frames to choose from. The 642 is an alloy frame with a stainless steel cylinder. Other models are all steel. They are also offered in a black Melonite finish and even .357 magnum. Click this link and take a look at three pages of S&W’s assortment of these revolvers.

These revolvers can be very accurate within a reasonable distance. In my experience they are great natural pointers. Most shooters can become familiar with them pretty quickly.

Range Time

When I practice with my 642 I keep my distance to no more than ten yards. I’ll start at three yards and work back to ten. At three yards I draw and fire instinctively from the hip followed by another string bringing the revolver up to eye level. After the three yard line I move back to five yards then seven yards firing from eye level using a flash sight picture. In other words placing the front sight on the target and firing. When I move back to ten yards I’ll repeat the same method then practice accuracy by slowing down my rate of fire and shooting the smallest groups possible. Granted I’ve shot S&W J frames a lot over the years but firing a one to one and a half inch group at ten yards is pretty common.


As a choice for a first gun or for a seasoned shooter using the 642 as a backup you can’t beat them. Actual prices are good and within the budget of most people looking for an excellent gun at a reasonable price. They are simple to learn and operate. All “j” frames regardless of your choice of model are as near 100% reliable as any gun can be. The 38 +P is an effective round with a reasonable amount of recoil for fast followup shots. I highly recommend them no matter what your experience level.

Posted in S&W Revolvers, S&W Snub Nose Revolvers | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Century Arms G-1 FN-Fal

Posted by Gunner on July 29, 2011

I recently wrote an article for “The Firearms Blog” I wanted to share with readers of my blog.
Link to article

Posted in FN-Fal/L1A1, Military and Police Rifles | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Vortex Optics “Strikefire”

Posted by Gunner on July 19, 2011


Vortex optics makes fine scopes at very reasonable prices. The Strikefire is similar in appearence to an Aimpoint but differs greatly from there. Something most optics of this type don’t have is the ability to be used with night vision equipment—this one does and with a retail of $179! A 2X magnifier is included and screws into the rear of the optic. The red dot is 2MOA. 

Mounted using the included 30MM high mount and 2X magnifier attached

The sight uses one “N” size battery giving approx. 500 hours of runtime. Flip-up scope covers are also included as is the battery. Of course removeable caps adjust for windage and elevation.

Field of view on the Strikefire is normal for the type which translates into a fairly wide view with a bright very clear dot thanks to quality glass and electronics. When the 2X magnafier is attached the field of view narrows considerably. The red dot also increases in size to roughly 4X. Not bad at all but I would prefer a smaller dot for medium ranges.


In the photo above you’ll notice the on-off, brightness and night vision controls are on the side mounted control panel. Front top is the on/off switch while the rear has an up arrow to increase brightness and a bottom arrow to dim the red dot. The NV button is activated by simply pressing it in. The rear of the sight tube is knurled for rotation by turning it right or left.This allows the user to adjust for an individuals vision. Each end of the tube has a rubber ring for protection from rain or other moisture. The Strikefire is completely waterproof. The rubber ring also creates a waterproof seal when the magnifier is screwed in.


The Strikefire comes in two variations. The first has a setting for a green or red dot while the one I obtained for testing is a red dot only. I chose this since the red dot only has a considerably longer run time. Options available include a screw in killflash to prevent any light reflection from the front of the sight. A short mount is an option. In fact one is included with each sight you simply specify which one you want. A 3X magnifier can also be purchased seperately. The larger magnifier mounts seperately behind the Strikefire. This optic has a swing out mount.


After taking my AR to the range with the Strikefire mounted I fired 100 rounds at various distances with and without the magnifier. The sight held up well as did the mount with no loss of zero. Even with the magnifier and the larger red dot I was able to hit my targets at 100 yards without difficulty. I did take the time to remove the sight and then re-attach to see how much off my original zero had moved. As it turned out the original zero was still right on the money. 


The Strikefire as well as all optics from Vortex have what they call a VIP warranty. The unlimited lifetime warranty shows the confidence they have in the products they sell. It’s very simple you have it fixed or they send a new unit. No hassle and a very short turnaround time.

When one compares the quality of this optic and features not found on others at twice the price it’s a hard scope to beat! Most dealers actually sell these for $149.00! If your looking for this type of scope the Strikefire is certainly worth looking at.



Happy Shooting!



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LaserLyte “Kryptonyte” K-15 Tan Military Model

Posted by Gunner on July 7, 2011


Laserlyte has been making firearm lasers for a good number of years. I’ve used their products on several guns but nothing has come close to this powerful green carbine laser. All a shooter needs is three inches of rail space to mount on any weaver or picatinny system. I recently acquired the new tan version which I mounted on my CMMG carbine. I can tell you right up front that this is “the” laser for the AR15 shooter!

The finish is hard anodized over an aluminum body. All markings are laser etched for durability. It runs on one C123 battery with a life of five hours continuous runtime. The run time is actually longer since most users will use the more conservative activation pad. Your choices are continuous, off and momentary. The laser comes with a cable which plugs into the rear of the body. The laser can be activated using the supplied cable that has a velcro attachment with a pressure switch. In the picture below you can see the cable leading from the laser to a Tango Down rail cover with built in pressure switch attachment. This is a great way to mount the switch. It’s very sturdy and easy to manipulate. The unit can also be submerged in water up to 10 feet with no damage.


The two turrets in the above picture allow the user to adjust for windage and elevation. You simply remove the covers and use a supplied hex wrench for adjustments. I sighted mine in at fifty yards. This allows for only an inch lower than POI at 100 yards and an inch higher at short range. I’ve used this at night of course but what surprised me was how much distance it’s capable of on daylight. With the sun overhead 35 yards practical distance is not unusual.

This video was taken a few weeks ago at our police range. You’ll see the laser as well as my Hoyt H-1 flashlight using the constant beam as well as strobe.

As I’m sure you noticed the laser is very easy to see even with the 155 lumen light on full power. I’d like to dispel a myth while I’m at it. Some people believe a laser beam of this power can be seen and tracked back to the rifle. This isn’t the case at all. Even in this video you’ll note all the shooter can see is the green dot. 

One thing that surprised me was the laser dot provided enough light to identify the target without even using the white light. That’s pretty handy when the shooter is trying to remain unseen by an aggressor. 


Some may believe a laser is an unneeded extra that just adds bulk with little practical value. I used to have that same opinion. After using the K-15 I changed my mind. Not only is the beam intimidating to an attacker it can be very good finding and engaging a target quickly in your home or outdoors. At a retail of $259 I’d consider it a bargain. Of course most dealers sell it for cosnideably less.

Another use for the LaserLyte is on a home defense shotgun. Mounted on a picatinny rail on the reciever takes just a couple of minutes. Examples would be the Remington 870 Tactical and the Stoeger double barrel “Double Defense”. Both come from the factory with picatinny rails. As I mentioned using the included wrench sighting in on any weapon is very easy. On a shotgun the owner may choose a closer sight in range than with the AR15.


Further information may be obtained on LaserLytes website:  K-15 Link


As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me.


Happy Shooting!!

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