1. I can understand that S&W pretty much has to offer guns with locks, and that they are not willing to make and stock two different sets of frames. Is there any good reason they could not offer an optional non-functional filler button for the lock mechanism?

    I have a centennial with a lock–I would rather have no lock, but not enough to modify it myself)

  2. The extra locking safeties currently on various hand-guns seem to be a solution to a problem that truly does not exist. If you don’t want unathorized persons to fire your hand gun, keep it on your person, locked in a safe, unloaded, and or all of the above. No fuss, no bother. I understand it really isn’t about safety either on the part of the entities wanting the safeties or on the part of the manufacture. For the manufactures it is about avoiding the possiblity of liability. Law suits against them can and have consumed huge amounts of dollars even though most are won by the gun industry.

    Having been an “unauthorized” person for access to various locks and security systems and areas in my life, I found it was to easy to acquire the keys to systems I was not supposed to have access too. With the advent of the internet it is even easier that 20-30 years ago. The extra gun locks aren’t going to stop a criminal smart enough to steel, copy, aquire or manufacture the key needed to open it. I’d wager it is possible to defeat either the Smith or Taurus locks with common hand tools, might need to disassemble the Smith though.

    Stick to your guns, but I’d say if you like the new models of Smith and Wesson or Taurus revolvers, keep buying them and learn to live and work with the safeties. Keep bugging the companies to stop including them too.

  3. Well, I don’t particularly like the idea. It isn’t a necessary feature for one thing. The topic has been much discussed on the net, but here goes anyway. Assuming that the failure rate of those locks is exceedingly low, that is still an added layer of complexity and added parts that can break. It adds an extra .00000whatever % chance that the gun won’t work when you need it to.
    Take two otherwise identical S&W revolvers. The Smith without an internal lock has a 0.0% chance of the lock ever causing a problem. The Smith with one has an unkown % chance of developing a problem with the lock. Whatever that number is, it is certainly somewhat slightly greater than zero.

  4. A company that sells stuff and doesn’t listen to its customers has a problem. Mr. Golden may be a great guy and wonderful CEO but he doesn’t get it. YOUR customers are speaking, LISTEN !

    Now S&W may continue on as a company for another century or two, but how many potential buyers have they alienated? It comes down to arrogance. That’s ok. Buyers will go elsewhere. The brand will be damaged. As a public company, shareholders will suffer. How shortsighted. The end result of letting lawyers run a company.

  5. My newer S&Ws have the lock installed with Locktite Black for my pease of mind.

    I would sure like to see someone, Brownells?, Wolfe? engineer a really powerful spring for the lock that would make certain it stayed where put, even if it took a large wrench to switch the safety.

  6. The internal lock is redundant. All my modern firearms already require a “key” to enable them to fire. It’s called a cartridge.

  7. I agree that deactivating an internal safety might cause problems if the pistol were unfortunately required to be used in a self defense scenario. I find it interesting, however, that the FBI’s Quantico gunsmiths immediately deactivate S&W magazine safeties from all pistols to be carried by FBI agents in the field. Apparently, the FBI knows what makes sense and what doesn’t for a self defense firearm!
    I personally will not purchase another S&W as long as the internal safety is present. Murphy’s Law assures that if something can go wrong, it absolutely will, and at the absolute worst possible time.

  8. The gun locks up 1 the key is at home in safe or gun box or on table- SOL 2 key gets lost – SOL 3 high adrenaline situation fumbling through key ring for gun key of right maker amide house and car keys- SOL. Scares the crap out of me.

  9. Shut off valves in plumbing have a real and valuable use. There really are many times you are gonna need to turn off the water or the gas, especially if you need to work on older fixtures and furnaces.
    Locks on guns are exactly the opposite, they actually impair the real functioning of the weapon, do nothing to improve its service life, and subtract from operation.
    Here is a question, what is so safe about a weapon that might not fire when you need it to? My family is not gonna find it any safer. I am not gonna find it any safer, the only one who is gonna enjoy greater safety is the one making a victim of me and mine, the Deer I am hunting, or the critter that is on attack.
    When are the lawyers and paper pusher gonna learn that the whole point of a gun is that its dangerous and can take a life? Putting a little turn off valve on it might make it less scary, but is that what we really want? Do we want the youth to loose respect for guns and what they can do, all because they can shut it off?
    I try to be a safety minded guy. I will never remove the lock. I love S&Ws and will keep buying them as long as I can honestly afford to, but forever, there will always be the question-whose side is the shut off really on?

  10. Mas, I wish you would stop making gun recommendations. My fiance and my checking account would appreciate it as well.

    When I saw the sights on the 340 when compared to the sights on the J-frames I already own I had to have one the moment I found a good deal.

  11. My Mother is in the process of getting her CCW,so I took her shopping today for a suitable carry gun. She had almost decided on a S&W 642 when a Black S&W 442 caught her eye. While She was looking them over & debating which one to buy,the gunshop owner said “let me see that little 442” and after looking at it for a second he exclaimed “this doesn’t have the lock!”.
    My Mother didn’t know anything about the locks, but I as well as the owner recommended that she get the 442 since it lacked that asinine internal lock. I own a couple of S&W Centennials myself(both with the locks)so, they are not a deal breaker for me, but I would much prefer to see S&W do away with them completely.

  12. Sadly, we (informed shooters) are in the *vast* minority these days, so S&W has to play to the larger market of folks who may not know any better. There is also the 800lb Gorilla Family of lawyers, legislators and their ilk…

    Remember, if S&W can’t sell guns, they can’t make guns.

  13. I think that the main objection with the S&W revolver locks is that it is in the sideplate, thus being a physical disfigurement and a potential entry way for dirt. Ruger, which puts the lock under the stocks, has no similar problems with complaints. If S&W moved the lock under the stocks in a similar fashion, most of the complaints would probably cease.

  14. I own two guns with internal locks, a Taurus PT745 MillPro and my Ruger P345. Never use them. I use to use them when at home before I got a small locking safe to store my guns that I was carrying that day due to three teenage kids running around. Now I just put them in the safe and the key hangs from a shoelace around my neck. I find it much easier to use.

  15. I am one of those viscerally opposed to internal locks on firearms. I see them as unnecessarily complicating the mechanism. Life experience has taught me that what can go wrong, will. Aesthetically, I just don’t like the extra holes on some. I also don’t like having to keep up with an extra accessory for the firearm. A retired soldier (and infantryman) I believe in K.I.S.S.

    BUT, I do own a couple (3) of the Ruger SAs with the internal lock. I never use it. The grips haven’t been altered to permit its use. However, these aren’t really self-defense guns either.

    All that aside, the guns I like are cheaper used but in very good condition than new production. Makes my illogical, visceral objection very easy to live with!

    Keep writing Mas, love your stuff and have been reading you for a long time now.

  16. FYI, last night while dry firing my S&W 442 (with lock), I had the trigger mechanism freeze up; the firing pin was poking through the hole in the frame and the cylinder couldn’t be opened. I tried fiddling with the lock and found that the key would some times turn to the locked position, but other times would free spin in both directions; locked and unlocked.

    Am waiting for a reply from S&W regarding sending it in for repair.

    I too have heard of locks failing from firing hot loads, but from dry firing? It’s got me stumped!

  17. Buy an older barely-used S&W revolver and not only won’t this problem of the internal lock exist – but the gun will cost much less, particularly if it’s a model that was popular with police.

  18. I just won a bid on a smith 29 a later model with the internal lock. I how I did’nt make a mistake I thiught I got a fair deal on it $549, in the box in excellent shape.

  19. You mentioned that S&W quickly sold out of their run of 642s and 442s that were made from old stock, without the internal lock. I was wondering if they are still available for sale, since they are still listed in their on-line catalog. Is S&W still making them? They certainly should. I would purchase a Scandium version without the lock if they made it, too.

  20. Scott, a dealer friend tells me another quantity of new no-lock J-frames has just become available. I haven’t had a chance to ask S&W about it yet, though.

  21. Thank you mas on the heads up with our prosecutor friends.
    I have bought “no lock” revolvers for CCW per your advise.

    Sport is one thing, personal protection is another.

  22. Big Corporations and ‘the Government’ are becoming so intertwined and interlaced with each other these days insofar as agenda, that one can not tell the difference. Welcome to the “new world order”.

  23. I love S&W revolvers and have a bunch of ’em . . . but no new ones for me after the dang locks became standard in 2002. Since then I’ve ONLY looked, and purchased nice USED ones!

    I’ve learned in my 58 years to never say never . . . but that rule went out the window when the S&W IL revolvers came on the scene.

    NEVER for me. A gun HAS to work each and every time one needs it to. Internal locks need not EVER be a feature on revolvers . . . OR parachutes!

  24. Hey Mas. Bro LeVick here. Good thread. As you know from my posts on both the Smith Forum and our private forum, I have removed locks from the few Smiths I own that had locks from the factory, including my 340PD. As a lawyer, I fully understand the concerns surrounding lock removal. However, as a sometimes expert witness and a shadetree gunsmith, I am available to testify at very reasonable rates that the internal lock makes the gun MORE dangerous, not safer. Additionally, unless the case involves a gun accessed by a child or other unauthorized user, I could make a good argument that removal of the lock is irrelevant and keep it out on a Motion in Limine. The recklessness issue you mentioned would be the only concern.

    On a related note, I view it as only a matter of time before someone sues S&W on a products liability claim arising out of a user-in-self-defense having the gun tie up because the lock is a defective design, and IT IS. I am likewise available to testify in that case!

  25. As an “old revolver guy” and one of the few remaining LEO’s who qualifies with and carries a revolver for serious, as well as competition, I won’t own an IL revolver. I spend to much time and money ensuring my handguns are reliable to buy one with a built in weakness.

    Why S&W will not make the IL optional, on all their revolver models is beyond me. Is not easy reprogramming a claim to fame of CNC machines? Is it corporate arrogance? I would have thought that corporate greed, wanting to sell as much of your product to as many people as possible, would have overcome them by now.

    Despite the rantings of S&W fanboys that, “S&W can’t make lock free guns, they need to sell guns in all 50 states”, and “Just ignore the lock or take it out!”, the fact remains that Maryland is the ONLY state to require an internal lock, and if I wanted to pay too much for an overated handgun only to have to tweak it and remove parts to make it reliable, I’d buy a Kimber.

    Removing the lock may be an option for some. But even if you remove that idiotic device, your revolver is STILL UGLY! Regards 18DAI.

  26. From Above:
    “Ruger, which puts the lock under the stocks, has no similar problems with complaints. If S&W moved the lock under the stocks in a similar fashion, most of the complaints would probably cease.”

    I have to disagree. The default state of a S&W revolver if the ILS malfunctions is LOCKED. If a Ruger or Taurus lock malfunctions the default state is UNLOCKED. I wouldn’t object to the S&W ILS if the possibility of the lock disabling the gun didn’t exist.

    Since 2001 the only S&W revolvers I’ve bought were used no lock models and one of the newly released M642’s without a lock. Even though I’m missing out on some very nice S&W revolvers I will not buy a new S&W as long as the ILS exists.

  27. The IL on revolvers is probably an economic issue and little else.

    The parent company of S&W owns the patent for the IL. You can bet S&W pays a royalty to the patent holder (their owners) for every gun they make with the lock.

    This is a sweet deal from the point of view of the parent company… they get pre-tax dollars from the company they own, the company they own gets to deduct the royalty payment from their earnings for tax purposes… all in all very nice indeed.

    The reason you see the IL optional on the auto pistols is simply a result of there not being a patent advantage.

    Whoever said follow the money was right…


  28. Simple solution:

    I respect Mr Ayoob’s opinion on altered firearms in court, but I agree with the other poster (an attorney) who said unless it’s an unauthorized person using the altered firearm, there should be no liability for improving your gun. Like putting on new sights, trigger job, grips….

    Now, S&W’s liability when someone needs to use their IL gun and it jams and they are injured or die is another story.

  29. I understand all that has been stated and still have a “but”. How will the safety come into play when the gun is used in a clean cut self defence shooting? I can see if the shooting is accidental or by a child that finds the gun unsecured. Whether the safety is working or not should have no barring as far as self defence goes. I guess this is asking for someone to have a nd use common sense.

  30. It would be helpful if you would link, or post, the transcript of the entire statement made by the prosecutor to illustrate your point. I would like to see the transcript posted here…thank you, and the context as to what his comments were…

  31. Sheriff Berry has been privately emailed a contact for the information he requested.

  32. I am a grandparent of two wonderful children. Unlike their father, who was schooled in gun safety from age 2, they have not been around guns except in my house. I keep my not-in-use guns in my gun safe, most do not have locks (in fact only the S&W snub has an internal lock) and some are even loaded (I live alone now and know which are loaded–I consider them all loaded so far as handling goes) as an empty gun is only a hammer.
    I like the convenience of the internal lock but I’d like to see trials on all firearms that use them, say 10,000 rounds without an unscheduled lockup.
    Maybe you could suggest this as you have a much broader podium than I do. I carry a PT-145 as I have no faith in 9mm (Kurtz or Parabellum) or .38 special and it is a better fit than my PPK/S or any magnum wheel gun; it also carries 10+1 rounds of alloy bullets designed to stop my assailant cold. But I’d like to know if Taurus has had any reports of accidental lock-up while being fired.
    I believe that any company that uses the internal lock as a sales gimmick must test them and publish all results; it is more unconscionable to have a lock that might endanger the family it is supposed to protect when a situation arises than having someone disable a lock that might endanger the user more.

  33. I own a S&W 340 M&P. I personally have had the internal lock jam on me also, at my Agency’s gun range. Thank God it happened during a training session, and not in a life threatening situation. I was able to unlock it using the S&W Key, but you don’t have time for a key, while trying to defend yourself. I have to be honest, I feel uneasy now, carrying the S&W. That is too bad, because I really like the 340’s light weight and accuracy. Not to mention it cost me around $900.00. I am thinking about having a gunsmith remove the internal lock. The lock is useless to me because I always keep my guns locked in a gun safe, when I am home anyway. Although it is rated for .357 Magnum, I personally only fire .38 Special Ammo with it. Specifically Federal Hyrda Shock 147 grain +P+ or 129 grain +P. My Agency only requires that we carry Federal Hydra Shock, so they are both acceptable. I wish S&W would remedy this problem as soon as possible.

  34. I don[t have any firearms with locks. I will not purchase a S&W with a lock nor any other brand. I have checked gun dealers & pawn shops for a month looking for a J frame concealed hammer without a lock to add to my Mod. 60s & 36. I will NOT purchase any with a lock and I have a modest inventory to rely on. NO MORE S&Ws.

  35. I have had three late model smiths with internal locks that engaged during practice at the range using light loads. This happened on more than one occasion with each gun! I was shooting .45 acp & .45 LC. I met with & discussed this problem with S&W reps @ the NRA show in Phoenix. They were symphathetic & polite, but did not acknowledge that a problem existed. I felt I could not depend on these guns so I de-activated my internal locks and have not had a problem since. My guns are stored in a safe & no children are present.

  36. 1. The locks do in fact fail. This is thoroughly documented. No tool intended to save your life should have a built-in potential for failure.

    2. The locks are pointless. They are the idea of la-la leftists and dimwitted appeasers who know nothing about guns and believe the lock makes guns “safer” when they absolutely do not.

    3. The locks are symbolic of S&W’s willingness to sell us all out to gun grabbers whenever they feel threatened. To buy even one of the revolvers with a lock is to endorse S&W’s behavior in this regard.

    I love S&W revolvers. In fact, I will no longer own any revolver not made by S&W. The double action S&W revolver represents the peak of perfection for the world of revolvers in general.

    Nonetheless, under no circumstances will I buy a new S&W revolver, ever, because of the lock. I am forced to content myself with buying older, used S&W revolvers without the Hillary appendage. This profits S&W not at all. Every S&W enthusiast I know says the same thing… no way! S&W denies it, but this absolutely MUST be severely hurting sales.

    Wake up S&W. You rely on us S&W enthusiasts to buy your guns and to explain to others why they should also. You have lost us and we will not come back until you get rid of the leftists and the appeasers (remember Lord Chamberlain?) and especially the Hillary lock. We hate it. Stop lying to yourselves, and us!

    One other thing. Your quality control of late, stinks! I WAS going to buy all three of the then new Centennials (no lock) until I got my hands on a couple. You should be ashamed. Worst fit and finish I have ever seen on a S&W AND the poor quality is consistent. Everyone I know who intended to buy one of these changed their minds when they finally saw one.

  37. As a retired LEO I normally carry a no-lock Model 38 or a Colt Cobra. I do own one new 638 w/the IL, but do not carry it. My other IL is a Model 63 .22 LR used for range fun. Neither of my newer IL guns have ever locked up during a range session, but experience dictates that protection of my family is paramount. I agree with others that Murphy is alive and well – I plan to sell the 638.

    “Back in the day” we were taught to unload the revolver at home and lock your handcuffs through the open frame, and secure the other cuff to the bar in your closet. It is a shame when those who know nothing about firearms get to dictate their brand of “safety” to experienced professionals.

  38. I think that discussion is good. However, now that S&W offers the same model revolvers with or without the IL, is that not now a point for it not being a major hang-up in any court case where the prosecutor uses its disabling against the defendent? If it is needed, why is S&W now offering the choice of with our without?

  39. Pingback:Internal Lock Failure - Happened to Me? - Page 2

  40. I did not read all the replies here but was compelled to comment on legal actions.
    If an honest citizen ever looses life because of these locks wouldn’t the manufacturer be liable?
    I for one will not buy a modern politically correct desk jockey designed firearm.
    Lord help us next we will be wearing a safety harness and have an air bag in a fanny pack.
    If the bureaucratic machine was truly concerned about safety there would ba locking cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom too.

  41. Just bought brand new 638 38 special from Cabelas Sunday March 11,2012. Brought it home dry fired it 3 times then gun completely locked up. Trigger is locked and cannot pull hammer back. Gun cylinder does open freely. Tried the key in the key lock but does nothing. Called Cabelas immediately since I just purchased it a few hours before. I also called Smith and Wesson and all they could say was have Cabelas send it to them. I then got on line and googled internal lock problems. This is how I found this site and many others discussing this problem. When I spoke with David at Smith and Wesson I mentioned that I did research and others have had this problem, He replied “Not that many”. I hope Cabelas takes this gun back and refunds my money, we will see. I cannot trust this self defense weapon. I will update what happens.

  42. Since my posting of Jan. 2011 the 638 is sold (it never did lock-up) and I purchased the new M&P 340 model w/o the lock. It is a joy to carry and because of the unique sight set-up, very accurate. It has become my EDC in retirement loaded w/the FBI +P round. I have shot it extensively w/ +P, and CorBon DPX 125 grain .357 designed for short barrel guns, and learned to handle it with either load. The gun handles better w/+P and is faster back on target.

  43. After many years of .45 caliber autos (both Colt and Glock) Igot a look at the 642-2. I have always liked the snubbie and now that I don’t have to carry in a holster for all to see it looked like a good deal. HAmmerless meant no torn suit coat liners or snags coming out. I was not aware of a lock on a revolver so I got it. Now tthat I know about them and the fact that they might lock themselves does bother me. I carry my 642-2 in a Aholster which fits my pocket, keeps the weapon clean and does not print. I have put alot of rounds thru the weapon becoming familiar with it and it has not locked yetbut now I am wondering if Murphy’s Law will ever come into effect. So I ask the question”Is this lock issue just a bother because it insults a reasonable and prudent man or is there a serious record of self locking ?

  44. I thought the point of using a revolver instead of a pistol is because there are less moving parts, and therefore less chance of a malfunction. Why add a point of failure on something that could save your life? A safe or a padlock would be much more effective when preventing access from unauthorized users and wouldn’t affect the weapon’s functionality.

  45. I removed the lock on my model 638 because after carrying it a while, I went to do a function check and it was locked. I had NEVER engaged the internal lock on that gun.

    My shooting mentor was of the opinion that anything which stops a revolver from going bang when the trigger is pulled is stupid, and something that can engage accidentally is worse.

    After that I did a quick disassembly, ground off the locking stud, and reassembled. Viola – no more lock, even if the ugly lock hole is still there.

  46. Just buy a Charter Arms revolver – they have not installed the ils, and I believe they still send the external trigger lock (you know, that chunky thing) with their revolvers if you really want one.

  47. S&W is gradually making guns available without this lock. They have taken the utterly reliable revolver and unnecessarily added a failure rate to it, to please the Clintons. The Clintons have been out of the WH for a number of years, and hopefully will remain out.

    S&W should heed their customers’ wishes and dispense with the stupid internal locks. I like their designs but have passed up S&W products for other brands because I find the locks to be unacceptable.

  48. Janet L. has the right idea by grinding off the locking stud. Even if the beast malfunctions you won’t know it! I wish that all the people who removed these locks would send the parts back to S&W. Maybe they would get the idea.

  49. It’s been a few months waiting for a no lock S&W 340 M&P . The dealer has no idea when it’s coming in. Another law enforcement dealer told me S&W is saying there’s a 8 month backlog.
    S&W is replying to inquiries with a disenguinious boiler plate email that they have no way of knowing what dealer is getting what model from their distributors. This doesn’t sound right to me, anyone else hear anything ?