charter arms revolvers
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Charter Arms has manufactured affordable revolvers for sport and defense since the 1960s. Products from its Shelton, Connecticut, facility are 100-percent American made and carry a lifetime warranty.

The company’s flagship product is the Charter Arms Bulldog. This big-bore revolver punches higher than its weight class with five .44 Special rounds in a light and compact package. And the Bulldog’s design has evolved.

The original featured a blued frame, wooden grips and a 3-inch barrel with an exposed ejector rod. Although that version is still available as the Classic Bulldog, Charter Arms has expanded the product lineup.

Below, check out nine Charter Arms revolvers perfect for personal defense.

This article was originally published in “Concealed Carry Handguns” 2018 #211. To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.

Charter Arms Bulldog Stainless Standard

I recently received a Bulldog Stainless Standard for review. This updated snubbie could be described as the default base model of current-production Bulldogs. The stainless steel components have a matte finish, and the wraparound rubber grips have finger grooves. The gun weighs 21 ounces unloaded. The 2.5-inch barrel features a shrouded ejector rod with a fixed, serrated ramp front sight, and the fixed rear sight sports a generous notch. The gun is a traditional double-action/single-action (DA/SA) design with an exposed hammer. A transfer-bar safety ensures the gun will not fire unless you pull the trigger. The cylinder holds five rounds of .44 Special ammunition and rotates clockwise from the shooter’s view when fired.

The cylinder release latch is on the left side of the frame and is pushed forward to activate. The DA trigger pull was smooth, with some stacking and a clean break. The DA trigger pull weight was more than the 12-pound maximum of my gunsmith’s Lyman digital trigger pull gauge. I estimate it at just more than 12 pounds to be about 13 pounds. The SA trigger pull averaged just more than 3 pounds, with a short amount of take-up and a crisp break.

  • Caliber: .44 Special
  • Barrel: 2.5 inches
  • OA Length: 7.25 inches
  • Weight: 21 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Matte stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $422

Charter Arms Boomer

A compact version of Charter’s .44 Speciall Bulldog, the Boomer is designed for concealed carry with a double-action-only (DAO) hammer, full wooden or rubber grips and a matte stainless finish. The Boomer’s tapered, 2-inch barrel is ported to reduce muzzle rise, and it has no front sight to snag or delay a quick draw. It’s sleek and compact, but it’ll make plenty of noise when you need it.

  • Caliber: .44 Special
  • Barrel: 2 inches
  • OA Length: 6.75 inches
  • Weight: 20 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber or wood
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DAO
  • Finish: Nitride or stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $443

Charter Arms Chic Lady

The Chic Lady is part of Charter’s line of colorful revolvers. The heart of the Chic Lady is the popular Undercover Lite, but it has an attractive pink anodized frame and high-polished parts. This is another five-shot model that weighs 12 ounces unloaded. It also features a 2-inch barrel, fixed sights and a traditional hammer spur. It’s also available with Crimson Trace Lasergrips, and each Chic Lady comes with an attractive pink faux-alligator case.

  • Caliber: .38 Special +P
  • Barrel: 2 inches
  • OA Length: 6.75 inches
  • Weight: 12 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Pink, stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $473

Charter Arms Pitbull .45 ACP

The .45-caliber Pitbull has a unique design with a dual coil spring assembly in the extractor that lets you insert and retain .45 ACP cartridges in each chamber of the cylinder. No moon clips are required. This patented system lets you easily eject spent cartridges for immediate reloading. It has removed the difficulty of rimless loading and ejection and offers the simplicity of rimmed cartridges. A 9mm is also available.

  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Barrel: 2.5 inches
  • OA Length: 7.25 inches
  • Weight: 22 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $489

Charter Arms Southpaw

Don’t fret, lefties. Charter Arms offers a true left-handed revolver. The Southpaw is identical to the Undercover Lite, but it’s completely reverse-engineered. The cylinder releases and opens to the right side for convenience for lefties. This five-shot .38 Special revolver is also available in a two-tone Pink Lady finish.

  • Caliber: .38 Special
  • Barrel: 2 inches
  • OA Length: 6.75 inches
  • Weight: 12 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $419

Charter Arms Mag Pug SS Standard

Compact yet extremely powerful thanks to its .357 Magnum chambering, the five-shot Mag Pug features a ported 2.2-inch barrel and fixed sights. It weighs 23 ounces unloaded and features a traditional hammer spur and full-sized grips. A target model is also available with a 4-inch barrel and an adjustable rear sight.

  • Caliber: .357 Magnum/.38 Special
  • Barrel: 2.2 inches
  • Sights: Fixed
  • OA Length: 7 inches
  • Weight: 23 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $394

Charter Arms On Duty

The On Duty combines traits from the Undercover Lite and the Off Duty with a unique hammer-block design that allows DA and SA operation while minimizing the risk of snagging the hammer on your clothing. Made of heat-treated aluminum, this five-shot .38 Special features a 2-inch barrel and weighs only 12 ounces unloaded. Comfortable and versatile, the On Duty is a great choice for concealed carry.

  • Caliber: .38 Special +P
  • Barrel: 2 inches
  • OA Length: 6.75 inches
  • Weight: 12 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $402

Charter Arms Undercover Blue Standard

Charter Arms made its name with the classic Undercover in .38 Special. Today, Charter’s family of .38 Specials has grown to meet the tastes and demands of various shooters. At 16 ounces, this five-shot .38 Special is compact and lightweight. Its 2-inch barrel and safety features make it ideal for concealed-carry situations. It’s a great compro-mise between size, weight and stopping power.

  • Caliber: .38 Special +P
  • Barrel: 2 inches
  • OA Length: 6.75 inches
  • Weight: 16 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Blued
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $346

Charter Arms Undercover Lite Standard

This revolver lives up to its name by weighing only 12 ounces unloaded. And yet this wheelgun provides impressive stopping power thanks to its .38 Special +P chambering. Constructed of tough aircraft-grade aluminum and steel, the Undercover Lite offers rugged reliability, while the rubber grip is comfortable with finger grooves. This ultra-lightweight five-shot features a 2-inch barrel, fixed sights and a traditional hammer spur.

  • Caliber: .38 Special +P
  • Barrel: 2 inches
  • OA Length: 6.75 inches
  • Weight: 12 ounces (empty)
  • Grips: Rubber
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Finish: Stainless
  • Capacity: 5
  • MSRP: $397

For more information on Charter Arms, visit charterfirearms.com.

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