Anyone Know What S&W mod #s mean?

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Watching here for LCR or S&W J frame for CCW.

On seeing an ad I often dash to S&W site to get model details and see photo.

Noticed that many models have the pretty much the same specs.

Does anyone know or have the cereal box decoder ring for what the S&W model numbers designate or mean, or are they just "the model numbers"?
642, 442, 340?? What do I need to know between these for my shopping?
Also M&P, does that designate a special model, material or something else.

Thanks for any hints or letting me access your decoder ring.
 
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the number after the dash is the generation, so a 642-3 would be the third generation, I beleive the first gens did not have a dash and would just have the model number stamped on the crane
 
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cowboygraphics
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Thank you all for the links and perspectives!

@ titsonaritz thanks for the info & recommend for 442 - I kept going back to that one.
Keylocks are lame because one more thing to go wrong or mess up?
Good gun safety and common sense should be enuff.

@ mountainbear - that book is at local library. Now I just have to find my library card. : )
 

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