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MORE ON THE NEW CROP FROM SMITH & WESSON — No Comments

  1. If someone would just make replacement hardware for the lock it wouldn’t be a problem. Its not difficult to take out and the gun works fine without it. It just looks tacky.

  2. Michael Bane has had a “lock up”. He’s not real happy about it. I don’t have a S&W with a lock but I do have a couple of other brands with locks. I’ve had no problems with them so far, could this be a S&W exclusive because of where it’s placed?

  3. Mas, the locks don’t just self-activate when the guns are fired. My early 60-15’s lock self-activated when I oafishly knocked the unloaded gun off a counter onto the hardwood floor. As you know (and as I’ve learned in force-on-force trainings), this is _precisely_ the sort of rough treatment to which a defensive firearm is likely to be put. I found the S&W’s onboard lock to be unsafe for defensive use and promptly sold the gun back to the dealer who’d sold it to me new – losing money, of course.

    If it happened to me today, I think I’d just pull the parts out and grind off the locking nub. It won’t happen to me, though, because I’m not planning on buying another S&W with an idiot-lock onboard. :-/

  4. “The feedback S&W gets from firearms retailers and general consumers is that only a small, hard-core group of gun fanciers consider the lock a “deal-breaker.””

    Well, call me a “hard-core gun fancier,” then – I have literally sought out(on GunBroker, Auction Arms and in local shops) and purchased 4 pre-lock S&W 640’s and 2 pre-lock Airweight Centennials within the past 18 months. And I’m still looking for more.

    Why so many? Mainly…I’m cheap. I buy pre-lock Centennials whenever I find one for +/- $400; a new 642-2 or 640-3 with the lock starts around $450, let alone the $500+ for a 340. Anyways, snub .38’s, by and large, are “carried a lot, seldom shot” and usually represent a good value in a used gun.

    Also, I am an aficionado of the Centennial design, partly due to Mas’ own writings as well as those of the late Chuck Karwan, who devoted an entire chapter in [b][u]The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery[/b][/u](3rd ed.) to the history and merits of the hammerless .38 snub. It is visually sleek, well-contoured to support both discreet concealment and rapid access from same, and gives “5 shots for sure” no matter how awkwardly it is grasped – even from within a pocket. Even a Bodyguard can conceivably have the rearward travel of its hammer fouled if the shooter grabs the gun with the web of the hand too far up the frame – not so with the Centennial.

    And therein lies the philosophical objection I have with the “internal lock” – these are parts added to a design that is basically sound and has stood the test of time and urban combat for over half a century, which do not enhance the accuracy, durability, reliability or ergonomics of the design in any way, shape or form. In fact, these parts are designed and intended specifically to PREVENT the gun from firing when the trigger is pressed – which IMO contravenes the entire purpose and designer’s intent, in the first place. Particularly in the Airlight Magnums, these parts have been shown to be “reliability detractors,” which rightfully DO send “cold chills down the backs of those who rely on firearms for life-saving purposes.”

    And THAT is the other reason why I keep buying pre-lock Centennials: so that neither I, nor anyone I care greatly about, will ever be forced to carry a gun that they cannot trust, for lack of an alternative.

  5. Over the years I have owned about 20 S&W revolvers from .22 LR to 45 Colt and none of them have locks and I will never buy a S&W with their ridiculous so-called ‘safety device’. The best safety device resides inside the shooter’s head, not something mechanical which may not work when needed or worse, be activated when it’s not desired. I am still waiting for the apology from S&W for their kowtowing to the Clinton regime but I doubt one will be forthcoming anytime soon. Just because ownership at S&W has changed does not mean the company gets off the hook for previous misdeeds. I will only be buying used S&W revolvers without the lock until the company issues an apology and discontinues making their unsafe guns. Let gun dealers in California include padlocks with their firearms sold and pass on the cost to the buyers.

  6. Why not just sell the locked guns to those areas that require it? What percent of sales is to those states?

  7. Hello All, Has anyone ever heard of these internal locks engaging by “accident” or inadvertantly? Taurus has a similar locking system also. I’m hesitant to buy. Any info?

  8. I really like the internal lock. It has increased the value of my pre lock S&W’s.

    I have two j frames with the little lock and they have not been a problem, I took the lock out when I got the guns.

    Besides being ugly, the thing that rubs me the wrong way is S&W’S attitude when I ask them about making new guns without the idiotic lock!

  9. Maybe S&W could design a lock that doesn’t require a hole in the frame? They could put it on the hammer so that it could be raise or lowered based on the shooters wishes, or under the grip so it locks movement of the main-spring and can be accessed through a hole in the grip. Yeah, Taurus and Ruger really do have better options to the “mandatory” safety. If they went with an on hammer design, I bet it would be pretty easy to install such a hammer on nanny-state weapons and leave them off for everyone else.

  10. I’ve sworn off all S&Ws with internal locks for defensive use. I do have a post-lock 617 revolver in .22 LR that is just a fun plinker / small game gun, so the lock doesn’t bother me too bad on it.

    But on any kind of fighting revolver? NO WAY, for the same reasons that others have listed here. Especially not on any kind of lightweight carry gun, with the heightened recoil forces! Instead my next planned revolver purchase is (another) Ruger SP101. No lock on ’em at all. For now.

    Note that S&W did a short run of “no lock” S&W 642s recently — and I bought one! My message to S&W couldn’t be more clear. If you want to sell me more revolvers in defensive chamberings, then you simply must ditch the lock. (Or make it optional, as they did with the successful M&P pistol line.)

  11. The S&W key locks, as well as the Win. and Marlin cross-bolt safeties on there lever-action rifles are deal breakers for me. I actually couldn’t care less about the frame-mounted firing pin per se, since I’ve owned pre-lock .22 K-frames for decades. My house-rifle is a pre-safety Marlin 1984 .44 Mag w/ .44 Special loads.

    I’ve had a Taurus Tracker .45ACP revolver for several years, and the hammer-based key lock has never caused a problem.

  12. The purpose of a (defensive carry) handgun is to fire when the trigger’s pressed. Anything contrary to that is a liability. If a man is competent to carry a loaded handgun he can be trusted to safeguard it from children. Maybe S&W suffers a hangover from its short time as a subject of the Crown. If not, the company should accept its repatriation and be true to its heritage.

  13. I have a no lock S&W 442 airweight I purchased new in California a few months ago. The store where I purchased it had just got the shipment in. My brother also purchased one at another gun store that was lock free. I also saw one at a third gun store that was lock free. So the idea that they are required on the gun to be sold in California is pure B.S. In order to sell a handgun in California, all it has to pass is the stupid, state required drop test which even a poorly made double action revolver should easilly pass because of the amount of force it takes to rotate the cylinder and fire the gun. For S&W (or Mas) to put this on California is not right when you can walk into any gun store and buy S&W and other guns right now that don’t have the locks. I do believe that S&W thought including these locks might help them with liability issues but that is a completely separate issue. So blame the lawyers and not California in this case.

  14. No, Cali. has no such law and you can bet S&W knows that. Only one, ONE state in the east has an IL law and that state recently OK’ed other external means of locking a firearm.

    The liability excuse fails in that external locks have been provided for years. The external locks have an increased measure of safety as the status of locked/unlocked is easily seen from a much greater distance.

  15. Consider me one of those “diehards” who considers ANY S&W handgun equipped with an internal lock “a dealbreaker.”

  16. I was literally raised on S&W revolvers. Going back to the age of three, my mother and father helped me hold and fire Dad’s old 6″ Model 10 at a local impromptu range. Over the years, I have owned any number of S&W revolvers in .38 spl, .357 magnum, and .44 magnum.

    I would love to own some specimens of the newer Airweight and Ultr-Lite revolvers, but as long as the stupid internal lock comes on them, I will continue to live without them.

    Clinton has been gone from office for years. I have long said that everyone in Massachusetts is anti-gun, even the people at S&W. I use the continued incorporation of this unwanted and much-hated lock as proof of that statement.

  17. California does have a law that says all handguns have to be sold with a lock, but there is no requirement that the lock be an “internal” part of the gun. As recently as 2009, I purchased a Ruger GP100 (.357 magnum) in Los Angeles county, and it simply came with a padlock –which Ruger happened to provide– that fits through one of the chambers of the open cylinder. If the manufacturer does not send a lock with the gun, the dealer is required to sell you some sort of padlock or cable lock at the time you purchase / take possession of the handgun. On my Ruger, the included lock doesn’t even work if the cylinder is closed, but this still meets the legal requirements. By the way, my 4″ barrel stainless steel GP100 is a great gun, very accurate, and very heavy duty. Last time I was at an outdoor range, I was knocking over bowling pins out past 75 yards!

  18. I have come across a 640-3 (IL) at a good price. What is my potential financial/legal liability if I have the IL removed? I live in Arizona but travel to many states and would carry it.

  19. One of these days it will be illegal to disable the POS internal lock. I wont own a gun with one.

  20. Does anyone else recall the good old days when every S&W revolver came with this neat (and durable) aluminum cleaning rod with a round “loop” on one end? I really miss getting one of those when I buy a S&W revolver and would MUCH rather receive those cool cleaning rods in the box than a stupid lock, whether internal or external.

    I just placed an order for a 442 (no lock) with my local police supply store and await its arrival anxiously.