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High Tower
08-04-09, 09:08
At the risk of sounding like an idiot.........

On various forums, I have read about the dislike of the internal locks on S&W revolvers. I'm just curious about issues with these. Are there mechanical problems with those?

I only own S&W PC revolvers and haven't noticed any problems, but I'm not the most dedicated revolver shooter.

I posted the question here as opposed to other forums because of the collective actual experience here and the practical answers. I grow weary of the typical "Well you can do it cheaper......." answer.

Irish
08-04-09, 09:22
There are documented cases of some of their revolvers locking up mechanically during recoil due to the locking mechanism malfunctioning. Practice your Google-Fu and you'll see several incidents that have been posted on the net along with pictures and the communication trail with Smith. I do not know the accuracy of all these claims but I have heard enough anecdotal evidence from several guys who know much more on the subject than I do.
Personally I think the odds of having this type of failure are fairly small but the risk is not worth it to me. When it comes to a life & death situation I want to minimize the most amount of Murphy's Law as possible.

BSHNT2015
08-04-09, 09:45
Pre-lock models are in demand and asking for top $$$$. Current models I've come across, the buyer always ask if this comes in a pre-lock. Some of the buyers express more of cosmetic appeal then the actual lock itself. While others express concern about the lock being more of a hinderance???? Perhap a negative hype from the net and others. As for your question, I have not seen that problem with the locks-mechanical, our depart S&W guy said it's a non issue. My S&W is a pre-lock model.


Mr & Mrs Smith

http://i659.photobucket.com/albums/uu319/horseplay/IMG_4356.jpg

sjohnny
08-04-09, 11:26
My understanding is that it more prevalent in the light weight heavy recoiling guns like the 340, 329 etc. The lock actually activates due to recoil and then you need to use your key to unlock it and sometimes that won't work either. I disabled the lock on my 642 just in case.

John_Wayne777
08-04-09, 12:30
The spontaneous lock phenomenon has been documented on J frames as well, including the airweight revolvers. (Aluminum frame)

theJanitor
08-04-09, 12:52
i'm looking to purchase a J-frame in the near future. as noted above, how can the lock be disabled or removed?

High Tower
08-04-09, 13:04
Thanks for the responses guys.

So I'm guessing that my 629s are relatively safe from this happening. I'm hoping since I have no idea where those ridiculous keys are.

Irish
08-04-09, 13:05
i'm looking to purchase a J-frame in the near future. as noted above, how can the lock be disabled or removed?

There are new 442 & 642 J frames without the internal lock on Gunbroker for sale currently. The prices are elevated but it is an option.

sjohnny
08-04-09, 15:09
Someone from the S&W forum posted a step by step on youtube for disabling the lock. It's really easy and takes about ten minutes. I don't have the link handy.

c1ogden
08-05-09, 21:26
The short answer is that you are better off just buying a gun that doesn't have that design flaw that they call an internal lock.

These internal locks fall into the just-something-else-to-break category and they apparently do so with some regularity. Since they add nothing desireable (accuracy, reliability, etc) to the gun they have no valid reason to be there.

They can be removed and there are instructions for doing so posted on the web but it is not a good idea to do so.

Removing any kind of "safety" device can lead to all kinds of legal problems, whether the removal had anything to do with the incident or not, as can any modification to a gun.

In one of his magazine columns, Massad Ayob related how far an incompetent/unethical attorney will go. In the case at hand a dangerous intruder was killed with a handgun. I don't remember if it was a criminal or civil trial but Ayoob pointed out that the shooter was depicted as a "reckless" person by the opposing attorney because he owned a Browning Hi-Power from which the magazine disconnector (which the attorney referred to as a magazine "safety") had been removed. The Hi-Power was not the gun involved in the shooting!

In another incident, an attorney had an "expert" testify in court that lightening a trigger pull (by removing a few coils from the rebound spring) on a S&W revolver increased its firepower and made the gun "deadlier".

This is what you can expect if you shoot somebody with an altered gun, or even if you shoot somebody with a stock gun and also happen to own an altered gun. That said, all of my Hi-Powers have had thier disconnectors removed and all of my S&W revolvers were made before this garbage was even thought of.

Stay safe!

Alpha Sierra
08-05-09, 21:57
Removing any kind of "safety" device can lead to all kinds of legal problems, whether the removal had anything to do with the incident or not, as can any modification to a gun.
This is bullshit.

The lock is a storage lock, not a fire control safety. It HAS to be disengaged to USE the gun and HAS to be disengaged long before you need the pistol. There is zero liability attached to shooting someone who needed shooting with a pistol so modified.

You can trot out all the horror stories you like. It makes no difference. Ayoob is a sensationalist in that regard and I ignore that aspect of his teachings.

Besides all that, my state bars the award of civil damages to someone shot in the commision of a crime. So who gives a shit what the gun has or has not had done to it?

I regularly carry S&W revovlers with the lock disabled and lose not one second of sleep over it.

PT Doc
08-05-09, 22:26
Someone from the S&W forum posted a step by step on youtube for disabling the lock. It's really easy and takes about ten minutes. I don't have the link handy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVPYgohVCNM

Not sure if this is the same one, but this one is very detailed and worked like a charm.

sjohnny
08-06-09, 07:55
That's the same one! Thanks for finding it, I'll bookmark it this time. I don't plan on buying any more lockable Smiths (only one of mine is blemished in that way) but you never know.

jmoore
08-06-09, 09:04
A MOST excellent video, BTW!

1) First - I'm about as far from a gunsmith as you can get - so keep that in mind:)

2) The "castration" shown in the video is, I believe, a partial version - designed to leave part of the IL mechanism in place and resulting in no visible change in appearance from the outside. You can remove all of the IL guts at the cost of having a rather noticeable hole where the lock once lived. Some are concerned that this would leave one more access route for schmutz to enter the action. (Yeh - I know. What about access around the trigger and hammer?:)

3) Question #1. Although I haven't been there for many months, some of the folks on the S&W list have commented on the fact that, if left inside, the remaining parts of the IL could displace and create a locked/jammed condition. Does anyone have any updated information/input on this possibility? (FWIW - some have stated that there is "no way" for the remaining guts to work loose. Others have agreed in concept, but maintain that it still happened to them. Again - I don't understand revolver guts enough to comment either way.)

4) Question #2. I know that no gunsmith will advertise that they will remove the lock, for obvious reasons. However, is anyone aware of a source for a decent "plug" for the IL hole - needed to improve the cosmetics and/or block additional schmutz if you remove all of the IL guts? This would be similar to the replacement screw that is offered for those who take the safety out of their Marlin rifles.

TIA

c1ogden
08-06-09, 15:58
This is bullshit.

The lock is a storage lock, not a fire control safety. It HAS to be disengaged to USE the gun and HAS to be disengaged long before you need the pistol. There is zero liability attached to shooting someone who needed shooting with a pistol so modified.

You can trot out all the horror stories you like. It makes no difference. Ayoob is a sensationalist in that regard and I ignore that aspect of his teachings.

Besides all that, my state bars the award of civil damages to someone shot in the commision of a crime. So who gives a shit what the gun has or has not had done to it?

I regularly carry S&W revovlers with the lock disabled and lose not one second of sleep over it.



You may think its BS my friend, and you are entitled to your opinion, but it is still a substantial risk that many people would rather not take. These arguments are brought up quite regularly, especially in areas where the politicians are especially anti-gun. These arguments can usually be shot down in court by a good defense attorney but as Ayoob points out, it is easier to not have to face them at all. As you can see, since I have put all of my Hi-Powers into proper working order, I am personally willing to take that chance but many others are not. As to the liability attached, you are correct that it would be zero in a fair court with a competent jury but we all know that such a situation can be very rare in some places.

Outrider
08-06-09, 18:34
The legal problems that can arise from removing a safety device have to do with the type of harm the device was designed to guard against. In the case of the internal locking mechanism, its purpose is to allow the gun's owner to secure the gun even if he/she does not own a gun safe to prevent an unauthorized person from using the gun.

A kid finding a gun with a disabled safety device and shooting another kid is going to be a problem for the gun's owner. The lock was designed to guard against this kind of situation.

The gun owner shooting a home intruder with a legally possessed firearm that has a disabled safety device is not going to be much of an issue. The lock was not designed to guard against this kind of situation.

The reason that Ayoob and others harp on the disabled safety device as an issue are for shoots that are not completely clear-cut good shoots. It's like the problem of engraving pithy little anti-social messages on a gun. It becomes evidence of the gun owner's mindset. -The argument goes that it is evidence that the gun owner was looking to be dangerous instead of looking to be safe.

Whatever one thinks of it, the idea is to survive the encounter and survive the aftermath (i.e. an investigation into the shooting).

M4Fundi
08-07-09, 00:57
I personally have had a 629 Mountain Gun's internal lock lock/jam up the gun and have to be sent to S&W atleast 3 times! The last time it happened I had to send the gun back loaded because the cylinder would not open. S&W handled it all VERY BADLY :mad:and I will never buy another S&W revolver with an internal lock.

Really breaks my heart:(

DocGKR
08-07-09, 01:33
I've witnessed J-frames with the internal lock malfunction and FAIL to fire during LE training--they had to be disassembled and repaired by an armorer before they would again function correctly; as a result, I will NEVER choose to own a firearm with an internal lock.

Skintop911
08-07-09, 02:13
The problem is real, despite what armorers, gunwriters, and S&W employees say.

Guns that are used for serious purposes, such as preserving life, should have no such devices. None of mine do.

Alpha Sierra
08-08-09, 10:12
Not sure why all the hate towards S&W revolvers. Yes, the locks look ugly. Yes, they malfunction. Yes, it is dead easy to remove its functionality. And yes, it is dead easy to render the lock fully functional again.

Just gotta know how to open up a S&W revolver and be mindful of the lock arm return spring, both to remove it and reinstall it correctly and not lose it.

Two of my several S&W revolvers have them. Both have been de-activated. I carry both of them in complete confindence that not only the pistol will work every time I want it to, but also that it's lockable storage status is a non-issue on the street.

In fact, it should be arguable that defeating the lock is a PRUDENT thing to do.

Skintop911
08-08-09, 14:24
Not sure why all the hate towards S&W revolvers.

No hate for the revolvers, just the lock. Important distinction.

Most folks buying these aren't terribly gun savvy. Most will simply trust the manufacturer. Most won't come places like this to learn what potential issues may arise, and the fixes for them.

The saving grace for them is that they are unlikely to put them to measurable use, so the problem may pass them by altogether. Still, we should help spread the word.

f.2
08-10-09, 18:47
Many pre-lock S&W models out there for sale. Just sold a 940 9mm pre-lock / pre-MIM / no-dash. Cruise the smith-wessonforum.com classified board or gunbroker:

Firearms (Modern) > Pistols > Revolvers (http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Browse.asp?Cat=2325&Timeframe=0&Sort=0&Items=50&Page=1&SearchLogic=0), type pre lock or pre-lock or internal lock or lock (etc.) into the top right search box

aedavis
08-12-09, 11:01
The problem is real, despite what armorers, gunwriters, and S&W employees say.

Guns that are used for serious purposes, such as preserving life, should have no such devices. None of mine do.

I agree with this. There was a long running thread on the S&W forum that detailed dozens of cases of locks malfunctioning, locking up the gun. I don't think it is worth the risk, especially when you can still find prelock Smiths or other makers that don't put the infernal locks in them.

If enough people stop buying these, maybe S&W will get the message. I know that isn't likely, but I never thought they'd do a run of no lock 642/442 like they did a year or two ago either.

John_Wayne777
08-12-09, 11:09
Not sure why all the hate towards S&W revolvers. Yes, the locks look ugly. Yes, they malfunction. Yes, it is dead easy to remove its functionality. And yes, it is dead easy to render the lock fully functional again.

Just gotta know how to open up a S&W revolver and be mindful of the lock arm return spring, both to remove it and reinstall it correctly and not lose it.

Two of my several S&W revolvers have them. Both have been de-activated. I carry both of them in complete confindence that not only the pistol will work every time I want it to, but also that it's lockable storage status is a non-issue on the street.

In fact, it should be arguable that defeating the lock is a PRUDENT thing to do.

I remove all traces of the lock from the weapon. The lock sucks and those extra bits are just pieces of metal that can interfere with the function of the weapon. As DocGKR said, lockups HAVE happened and I have no intention of allowing one to happen to me.

...but most people will not do this. They'll leave it stock and only discover there's a problem when they experience one on the range...or worse...on the street.

Henny
08-12-09, 13:58
I'm really surprised no one has offered a stainless, matte or blued plug so if someone chooses to completely remove the lock, they could keep their revolver visually pleasing by filling the hole with this plug and either peening or epoxying the plug in the revolver.:confused:

Skintop911
08-12-09, 22:36
I'm really surprised no one has offered a stainless, matte or blued plug so if someone chooses to completely remove the lock, they could keep their revolver visually pleasing by filling the hole with this plug and either peening or epoxying the plug in the revolver.:confused:

I'd bet that the folks that would want that widget most are least likely to be aware of the potential problem, pre-emptively remove the lock, or shoot the gun enough to produce a lock-up.

RAM Engineer
08-13-09, 06:52
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=82470&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y

I bought one of these earlier this year. Hopefully this is a harbinger of good things to come.

Paul45
08-13-09, 09:35
I have a S&W625 JM with the lock. It started causing an issue at around 1100 rounds. I removed it and it now has run over 2300 rounds with no issues. I plan on removing the lock from my M65LS before I re-start carrying it.

7.62WildBill
04-14-12, 15:55
The topic of this thread seems like it may be related to my issue at hand.

I have a S&W J-frame hammerless model 940 (the short lived 9mm model). I picked it up used about 10 years ago, and have not fired it more than 25 times since then.

While my buddy was shooting it a couple weeks ago, the hammer came down in between two rounds. It obviously did not fire, but jammed itself in this position. The cylinder will not open or rotate. Is there anything I can do with it, other than bring it to a gunsmith?

P.S. I realize this is the semi-auto forum, but this is where I found the thread.

jhs1969
04-14-12, 18:59
i'm looking to purchase a J-frame in the near future. as noted above, how can the lock be disabled or removed?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVPYgohVCNM&feature=youtu.be