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Ages ago, when TTAG was still in its infancy, RF reviewed the modernized and shiny Charter Arms Undercover .38 Revolver. I’ve tried a couple of the newer .38 snubbies out there, and I absolutely hated the way the big, over-molded rubber grips made it look like I was smuggling a pineapple in my pants whenever I carried them. So when I ran across this very lightly used classic version in a local gun shop, with thinner wood grips and a more 1920’s look to it, I had to try it out for myself. But is it any better? . . .

First, a little backstory.


I carry a Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 1911 as my normal everyday carry gun. Well, at least I used to when I lived in Virginia. The temperate climate allowed me to at least wear a concealment garment of some sort (usually just another button-down shirt left open) to make sure I wasn’t printing too much. And even then, worst case scenario, Virginia is an “open carry” state so I could have done away with that whole “concealed” rigamaroll altogether if it was too warm.

Texas is…different. During the summer it’s often too hot to wear anything besides a light t-shirt outside, meaning that trying to conceal a 1911 (even a baby one like mine) is difficult. Factor in the inability to open carry and what you have is a situation where my best option was to leave the gun in the car. That wasn’t good enough for me, so I decided to buy a small wheelgun that I could slip into my pocket on those warmer days. That’s where the Charter snubby comes into play.


I tried carrying a tiny Smith & Wesson J-frame of some sort for a while, but there was something about the way the grip was angled that meant it was always peeking out of my pocket. Not so with the Charter .38 — this puppy stays nicely concealed in the depths of my pants all day long. It’s only visible if you take a flashlight and go poking around inside my pockets.

On the outside, though, it does make the pocket bulge just a tad. And by “just a tad” I mean that the thing looks like I have a soda can in my front pocket. Then again, no one ever seems to notice, and putting my hand in that pocket seems to make the bulge less noticeable. So it works for the intended purpose: pocket carry. But does it work as a firearm?

Robert had some issues with his snubby’s timing being off (the cylinder not locking before the hammer drops on the cartridge), but mine has been just peachy. I made sure to test the timing before I plunked down the cash for it at the gun shop and it was solid as a rock. Everything else, though, sucked.


The trigger rates a solid “meh.” The double action pull is long and tough and doesn’t have a real “wall” before the final break, so you just keep pulling and eventually it goes off. And in single action mode, there’s noticeable creep to the trigger. Then, after about 20 rounds, the cylinder release stopped working. The only way to get the cylinder open was to pull forward on the shell extractor rod.

Things only get worse when I tried to fire it.


I finally understand why people love those big, over-molded grips so much: they make recoil much less painful. Especially with my gigantic bear-like mitts, every time I pulled the trigger the metal trigger guard would crash down into my knuckles and cause considerable pain. That pain translated into some terrible shooting. I had to move forward to the five yard line to get the pitiful grouping you see here.


Despite all that complaining, though, the fact remains that it’s a functional firearm that goes bang every time I pull the trigger. It’s something that’s easy to conceal, cheap to pick up, and light enough to slip into my pocket in the morning and forget about the rest of the day. In short, it works, and for that reason I’m keeping it. Although it might be quite some time before I ever voluntarily take it to the range again . . .


Caliber                 .38 Special
Capacity               5
Barrel Length    2”
Weight                 16 Oz.
Sights                   Notch and post
Price                     $300 (About $200 – $250 is what I see around here)

Ratings (out of five stars):
All ratings are relative to other similar guns, and the final score IS NOT calculated from the constituent scores.

Accuracy: *
Minute of bad guy at 5 yards. Not exactly a tackdriver, but good enough for the statistically average shootout.

Ergonomics (Handling): * * *
Feels great in the pocket, if a little wide. Not much to hold onto when you draw it, though.

Ergonomics (Firing): *

Reliability: *
Yes, it goes bang every time the trigger is pulled. Then again, there’s that non-functional cylinder release. Beyond that, it’s like pulling the handle on a slot machine.

Customize This: * * *
Ummm…new grips? Maybe? It does fit into the standard J-Frame sized pocket holsters.

Overall: * *
For its intended function, it works. It’s just a terrible gun in almost every other category.

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    • I think my CA Undercover may be from about the same time. However, with no SN registry I don’t know exactly what year it was made. I have a six digit SN beginning with 54xxxx what are the first two of your SN?

  1. I concur with the dislike of j-frame boot grips. I bought some standard profile wooden j-frame grips for around $30 and put them on my 642. Problem solved.

  2. Guess it depends on the pockets. A S&W 642 rides in the front pocket of my khakis just fine. At any rate, I’ve fired a Charter undercover, as well as a Taurus 85. They would be fine if that’s all I had, but I prefer my J-frame. However, after a friend let me try his Ruger LCR, I have to admit that I like it a bit better. Not quite enough to actively seek to replace the J-frame, but if an opportunity to trade came along I would probably go for it.

    • The LCR is what I bought for my wife, and it’s a great gun. No hammer to snag, no extra widgets to think about under stress, pull trigger go bang.

      • As much as I hate to admit it (because I’m irrationally old fashioned about my revolvers) the LCR is probably the nicest-for-CCW snubbie I’ve ever shot/handled. The trigger is great, they’re light, they’re sturdy!

  3. I have one of the early Charter Arms “.44 Bulldog” blued steel revolvers in .44 S&W Special. It is a bit large for pocket carry, and I wouldn’t want to torch off too many with the original wood grips -I installed some Pachmayr grips that reduce the pain. As you said, it goes bang every time you pull the trigger. And although a .44 Spcl is not a .44 Mag, it still makes a serious hole in whatever it hits. Nice gun for the price ($250 used).

    • Have the same Bulldog with Pachmayr grips. A gunsmith added a peep sight (ghost ring?) to help with my Macular Degeneration. He also smoothed out the trigger. Fifty rounds at a time is about my limit. I have had zero problems, of any kind, in the twenty or so years I’ve owned it. It is more accurate than me; I can put five out of five, double action, into a paper plae at thirty feet. Suffificent, for me, for self defense.

  4. Back in ’83, in a fit of handgun macho I bought a Charter .44 Bulldog to carry while on the road for a college. Bought some Silvertips for it but didn’t fire it for 9 months. When I did, what a surprise! Despite lots of dry firing, the trigger was still gritty. Recoil was horrendous. Worse than .44 magnums I’d fired. After 10 shots, my index finger bled from the sharp trigger, while the middle finger bled from the trigger”guard”. Accuracy was B-27 acceptable at 10 yards,and the Silvertips exploded gallon water jugs spectacularly. Figuring I was likely to need it in a hotel room, I fired one round without muffs. It felt like a pencil had been jammed in my left ear! The next day I went to my LGS and traded it for a used police S&W Model 10 heavy barrel with a butter-smooth action. Moral: a gun you’re not afraid to shoot is better than a cannon that scares you.

  5. The Charter Arms idea seems (to me) to be a functional piece at a very economical price. The .44 Spl ballistics are very much like the .45 LC or .45 ACP for self-defense (ie, you need not believe you’re ‘under-gunned’).

    The downside is that trigger pull, which is pretty poor when compared to just about any stock S&W, and absolutely abysmal when compared to a S&W or Colt that has had an action smoothing job done on it. You could smooth up a Charter as well, but the cost of doing so starts to make simply buying a used S&W a better decision.

    There would be a lot of room in the market for someone who could make a solid .44 Special 5-shot, compact (eg, 2″ barrel) revolver for CCW for about, oh, $500 bucks. I wish Ruger would think about a “big brother” .44 Special to the SP-101 and LCR.

  6. The last time I was in Chicago, in 87, I carried a Charter arms Off Duty .38 in an ankle holster. The holster was a bad choice, but the gun did what it was supposed to do. It was supposed to give me an option in a hostile environment and it did that.

    My revolver functioned perfectly. But as in your experience those skinny wood grips make shooting it even with standard pressure loads a real challenge that got worse when your hands got sweaty. I practiced with mine in Southern Ohio in the summertime and my hands did a lot of sweating.

  7. I buy oversized shirts so as to be able to conceal a 1911 or similar, but everyone else’s mileage regarding gun, carry technique, pocket and hand shapes, and so forth will vary.

  8. I have a 70’s vintage Charter Arms .357 Bulldog Tracker. And have the same problems with the cylinder release. However, there is an easy solution. The Charter Arms revolvers release the cylinder by pushing forward an adjustable screw behind the cylinder. Find that screw (just below the firing pin), and unscrew it a bit, so that when the cylinder is swung open the screw is just below flush. You should still get positive lockup, but the cylinder release will be much easier.

  9. Like a lot of American gun companies – from Smith on down – frequent changes of ownership/ management results in fluctuating quality. I’ve got a friend who loves his Charter .38; the only thing of theirs I owned was an AR-7 which was the most unreliable .22 auto (pistol or rifle) I’ve ever owned, shot, or heard of. (The Henry ARs are a world different.) But everything I’ve seen and heard about Charters is that the quality depends on who owned or managed the company at that particual moment in time.

    But small pistols… just seems like there are a lot of gunboys out there who have no concept of physics. Just look at the excitement over the latest plastic/ titanium/ aluminum concealed-carry .40 or .45… oh boy! a +P+ .49 Magnum that only weighs 3 ounces! Sorry, you can have it; I’ll stick with something that has a reasonable mass-to-recoil ratio even if it is a bit on the heavy side. The most unpleasant handgun experience I’ve ever had was the one shot I fired from a friend’s airweight J-frame loaded with +Ps. I thought you were supposed to throw the grenade as far as possible, not let it go off in your hand. Much more unpleasant than anything I ever put through my Super Blackhawk or P220. Since I figure in the real world I might need a follow-up shot (and a wrist to take it with) I’ll trade a bit of bulk/ weight for maximum concealability. Actually, if it came with an ambi safety, I would rate the steel-frame Star Starfire 9mm “just right” for a carry gun… small but heavy enough to be controlable with combat loads and downright fun with plinking ammo.

    • The lightweight .38’s are much more likely to be in your pocket all the time as opposed to the guns 3x that weight. They are not meant to be range guns. Like they say, they are meant to be carried a lot and shot a little. I just got a Smith 637 Airweight and I love it. Accurate, smooth trigger and light. Don’t even know you have it. On the other hand I have a Ruger LCP MAX .380 and I hate it. Not accurate at all, after the barrel assembly has been changed twice and the frame assembly has been changed. Still shoots low. “Combat” hold still low. Put half the tritium dot above the back sight, in a combat hold and you’re close. Kind of ridiculous, really.

  10. Nick, good review. It’s a handsome looking .38 snubbie. Still, when it comes to a gun that might be your life saver one day, I’m of the mind-frame to buy something different such as the Ruger LCR even if the LCR is an ugly duckling in comparison.

  11. I bought one of the Charter Arms Undercover revolvers brand new back in the late 1980s. One day at the range I noticed I was having trouble seeing the front sight. After some clever detective work, I found that the sight was missing. I could see the place where it had been brazed or soldered onto the barrel. Apparently it had disappeared into the gravel of the outdoor range and was never seen again.

    I called Charter Arms and they said to send it to them for repair under warranty. I did so and waited, and waited… Unfortunately, Charter Arms decided to declare bankruptcy while they had my revolver in their repair shop. I managed to get someone on the phone who explained the situation and said he would do what he could to get my revolver back to me either repaired or unrepaired if necessary.

    It was never seen again. It was a cheap gun at the time and not fun to shoot, so I was not too upset.

  12. Maybe not related, but I have this old Rossi M88-2, one of the Interarms imports from Brazil, that has been a flawless companion of mine for well over 6 years for myself, and another 12 for my grandfather. It has been probably the most trouble-free firearm I’ve owned and it is quite well put together. Best $140 I ever spent on a gun lol.. Sad to see Charter Arms are still not that great, however, on a related note. Would be fun to see a cheap revolver comparison review one of these days

    • I have a cheap Rossi .38 that I would never have bought but my wife saw it and asked the guy behind the counter to see it. She liked the way it fit her hand. I offered to buy her a S&W but she said no.

      I don’t like that Rossi, it’s a cheap ugly gun. But, all it’s parts work and it has never failed to go boom when you pull the trigger.

    • I’ve been kicking myself for years for not picking up the same Rossi at a pawn shop for either $125 or $150, I can’t remember. These days I can’t even imagine finding a reasonably priced firearm at a pawn shop, much less passing it up. I used to buy a ton of guns at pawn shops but it’s been years since I’ve seen anything worth having for the price.

  13. So about a year ago I saw a Charter Undercoverette .32 h&r magnum on consignment sale at a local gun shop for $200. My wife and daughters like to practice with .32 longs so I thought this would be a good way to get another practice gun that could also shoot a halfway decent round in a pinch.

    The gun seemed fine at purchase but after a half box of ammo the cylinder got loose. Oh well, no big deal, sh1t happens with used guns. I sent it to Charter who fixed it pretty quickly and sent it back. I took a few shots with it and noticed crap blowing out the sides with every round. It turns out the cylinder gap was at about .17 instead of a half or third of that as it should be.

    I sent it back to Charter again and they sent me a brand new gun. Nice! Their customer service was excellent. So now I’m in for $200 plus about $100 of shipping charges and $35 for some replacement grips. Not bad for a brand new gun. Or so I thought.

    Straight out of the box this thing just doesn’t work quite right. It shoots fine but the cylinder sometimes doesn’t lock when you first close it unless you wiggle it. Very irritating. I’m hoping it will loosen up over time but at this point I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll just use it as a practice gun and consider the whole thing a lesson learned… No more Charters, I just don’t think the manufacturing quality is there. Maybe it was at one time but no more. And more generally, no more cheap guns for me. For a couple $100 more than what I spent on this lemon I could have gotten a decent used smith.

      • Pretty nice trail gun though in .357, especially 4.2″ barrel model that gets full effect from the hotter loading. Kind of off topic.

        • Or for limited periods of time in the front pants while making a midnight run at the gas station (with 3″ barrel type). A GREAT all around tool.

      • All the snubby revolvers are a bit to bulky for limitless pocket carry, for me, anyway. My 3″ SP101 can be carried for short periods in a pocket (pants or jacket), but really should be in a IWB or OWB holster. SP is really a jack of all trades gun as you can shoot full 357 til’ doomsday.

        • Yes, the SP101 is even fun to shoot at the range. If you can put up with the extra weight it carries nicely on the belt.

  14. If you’re wanting a snubbie and are willing to have one with a hammer, let me recommend a 637 with performance center grips and trigger job: The grips are wood (I hate those bulky rubber grips too), but the shape and size makes them much better than the Undercover/Model 36 grips. The performance center trigger job makes for an easy, predictable double-action pull, and a crisp, immediate break in single action.

  15. My Smith 340 PD .357 snubbie is about as accurate as latter day Brett Favre, and shooting it is roughly as comfortable as grabbing an electric fence. Don’t feel too bad.
    The Smith is, however, 100% reliable and has a decent DA (only) trigger pull.

  16. Nick, It sounds like you are just not giving it enough love.

    On another note:
    “Robert had some issues with his snubby’s timing being off (the cylinder not locking before the hammer drops on the cartridge)”
    This sounds downright dangerous. I’d definitely look into that… or at least get a Chicago style buyback out of it.

  17. Every time I read a review of a J-frame or similar on this website I laugh. The reviewers and all the people that are agree in the comments are a bunch of pansies. I regularly shoot .357 Magnums (carry the 158grn gold dots, but practice with 158grn JSP) out of a 13oz airweight S&W with a 1.875in bbl. What the heck is the big deal? Yeah, if you don’t hold on tight enough, it has the potential to rip up your fingers (I actually had the trigger guard bite into my off hand’s index finger REALLY good on my first outing with the gun) But I can go through 100 rounds without a problem. Does the web of my palm get a little sore? Yeah, but I’m not a 12 year old girl, so I can handle a little soreness, it goes away after a day.

    If I’m going to shoot more than 100 or so rounds of it at the range I might go with .38s, but people on here even act like the .38 out of a snubby is excruciating. What the heck?? It’s like a pea shooter with .38s in it and the +p is not much worse. My wife carries a Charter UC Lite in .38. She shoots about 100 +P out of it while I’m shooting my .357 at the range. She has never once cried about it or stopped early from pain! She’s about 5’4″ and if I said her weight she’d kill me probably, but it’s under 130. Her UC Lite is 12oz, an oz lighter than my SW.

    As for accuracy, both my S&W and my wife’s much maligned Charter can shoot 2-4″ groups at 7 yards, well within where it needs to be.

    What’s the deal?

    • I don’t mind recoil. In fact, I don’t know what all the talk of a Mosin kicking is about.

      Sloppy fit, though, is a deal-breaker.

      • I agree with you there on the sloppy fit thing. Much like any other much maligned firearm (read: Taurus), once it gets a bad name, it’s done.

        However, just like with others, we have never had a problem with my lady’s UC Lite. We’ve had it 2 years (bought it new on her b-day) and put somewhere around 1500 rounds through it so far, give or take a few. It is her EDC and it’s not showing much in the way of wear and tear, but she does baby it a bit.

        • I’m glad it works for you; kind of like Jeep, Harley and others, it’s all up to the owners du jur.

          I’m very partial to my Tok. It looks like a tractor part, is loud and kicks a bit, but with a military ball load, there’s not much on land it won’t stop – or at least turn.

    • The reviewers and all the people that are agree in the comments are a bunch of pansies.

      Spoken like a true keyboard commando. Or a florist.

      • Ralph, first of all, the florist thing is hilarious! As for being a Keyboard Commando, just because your little baby soft hands are too fragile for a snub nose .38 doesn’t mean everyone else feels that way. I do not find .38s out of my 360 painful even in the least. And, as I said, 2-4″ at 7 yards, however at 10-12 yds that DOES jump up like crazy… more like 4-6″ groups. I hope to never have to use this particular weapon at rangers that long.

        I know I was a bit cavalier in my assessment, and I apologize for the pansy remark. However, I do not understand why the reviewers and others that post think that it is so bad. I honestly don’t get it.

        I just can’t believe that there isn’t just one other person that agrees that .38spl or .38 +P out of a J-frame (or similar) that reads TTAG. I love them for their smallness and light weight, as well as the reliability of them.

        There’s always the possibility that I’m just weird though…

        • You must be the guy that on the 4th of July, just lets the damn thing go BOOM, rather than throwing it out of your mitts. I wish I had your level of….non sensitivity.

      • I agree. The recoil from my 340 PD is more uncomfortable than my .460 Smith, or my Marlin XLR .45-70 with Buffalo Bore +P. My wrists are strong enough that I can walk on my hands.

        I’ve not actually seen anyone shoot 100 rounds of .357 from a 12-13 oz revolver. But if you’ve actually done that, and shot your alleged 2-4″ groups at 7 yards, post that on YouTube. Otherwise, I doubt it actually happened.

    • atc_tec! I’m with you on this. A bunch of crybabies complaining bout something that is a natural effect when shooting. Recoil happens! Twist happens! Be a MAN and deal with it. I have many guns, all of which have recoil. I developed my grip so I can HOLD a gun. Guns made from Steel will be heavy, It’s STEEL. Its called a “heavy” metal.

  18. I don’t get why you would want to carry this revolver. Why not just go with a Glock 19 IWB? Enlighten me, please.

  19. I’ve tried carrying various guns but the only one that always works for me is a Smith J-frame (preferably a no-lock 642 with a trigger job) in the front pocket. When wearing khakis or cargo pants/shorts with deep and wide pockets, I can easily carry one with a full size Hogue Monogrip. With jeans, the small S&W wood grip panels are easier to conceal but a tad on the small side with in comes to holding onto the gun when firing. I don’t find the recoil from the Airweight shooting +P ammo to be a big deal so this doesn’t bother me. With fairly good consistency, I can hit within the critical zone of a man-sized target at a decent range.

    I have a Charter .38 Off Duty I bought in the 80’s. It was a pretty nice little gun that I abused and neglected and it still functioned for many years. Alas, I got a cartridge case hung under the extractor and manhandled it out which broke something. The extractor rod would not return forward. The gun is in two parts in a plastic baggie and keep thinking I’ll get it repaired someday. Someday.

    • Ah ha! There is one that agrees with me! .38 +Ps are not some impossible excruciating thing!

      Also, good choice with the 642 sir!

      • For my wheel guns, I have a Ruger SP-101 3″ for carry and a S&W 627Pro 4″ 357 8 shot for the night stand (or limited carry and outdoors). I am not the biggest snubby fan but the titanium guns are interesting, and easier to carry, though I bet you probably would not even notice the recoil upon shooting my hunks of stainless.

  20. About 10 years ago I bought a high mileage Charter Arms Pathfinder – same frame, 3″ barrel, .22 mag chambering – from a coworker who was hurting financially. I saw the hundred and a quarter that I paid for the gun as a gift to a guy who needed some help and the fact that it was an undocumented “private sale” was just a bonus. To my surprise, the action was pretty smooth and the pistol would shoot a quarter size group at 20 feet. The stock grips fit my slightly arthritic hands and I really like the adjustable sights. The finish on my pistol is almost gone and these guns were never pretty even when new but I’m actually quite happy with mine. I carry it as a “walk in the woods” gun and I think that the .22 mag loading is stout enough to do damage to man and/or beast

    • Dave, IMHO, the .22mag is one of the really underrated rounds out there. Except in grizzly or polar bear country i would not feel under gunned with a .22mag in my pocket.

      • A friend of mine in Canada hikes regularly in bear country. He wears a pouch belt loaded with – I sh¡t thee not – four red bricks. My idea, since gun choices are limited for a guy with a spotted past.

        If he gets treed – as is not uncommon in Banf and surrounds – he aims carefully and lets one drop.

        ROOAAARRRR! Then the bear goes away. A grizzly once took two, but nothing ever took more than half a”mag.”

        • That’s a very creative solution to the problem,Russ. Not a route I would like to go. And if I had been chased up a tree more than once by a bear I think I would move to jackrabbit country.

        • Wow. Carrying four bricks. I have heard the term ‘heavy as a brick’ or ‘like a brick in your pants/pocket’, but FOUR. I suppose you would need that many for a bear. Must REALLY like hiking in that area as ONCE would be enough for me as I would sh@t a load of bricks, running from a Grizz.

  21. In my experience, recoil is very subjective. I don’t consider myself recoil sensitive, but my little sister’s Ruger LCR with 125 grain +P was very unpleasant, and you can forget fast follow-up shots (well, I can). My brother, on the other hand, seemed to quite enjoy himself with those.

  22. There’s a root flaw in your thinking, which is that speed, accuracy and power don’t matter in a gunfight, and any old gun, no matter who bad you shoot it, will do.
    It’s a fact that a lot of people choose to believe, because it allows them to choose to carry guns that they can’t shoot worth a crap, because carrying a gun you can shoot better is “too hard”. There are dozens of semiauto pocket guns on the market now, with better triggers, better sights and equal capacity to the 5 shot snub revolver. Even if all you can carry is a pocket gun, there are much better choices – and a key factor in the selection process should be “what gun gives me the best odds of survival, should I actually have to use it?”. It’s not a magic amulet. It’s a hand tool.

    • While you make some excellent points, sir, consider the number/percentage of times when simply revealing that you are armed, with anything that will potentially go BANG in the direction of the bad guy, ends the confrontation. I’m sure any number of the armed intelligesia here would be happy to provide that statistic, which I do not currently have at hand.

  23. With all the small polymer frame auto pistols out there nowaday (I have a Kahr), why would you even attempt to carry something like that in your pocket?

  24. KR and chuck, some people are just Wheel men. Revolvers are easier to use (especially for beginners) and will go bang when you pull the trigger. If you pull the trigger on a dummy round, you just pull the trigger again for the next.
    I have a Kahr P40, Kel-tec 3AT and PF9, among other guns, so I know of the advantages you mention regarding the semiauto.
    Maybe the best thing to do is carry both a semi and a revolver.
    But which would be the primary, and which would be the backup?

  25. I have had a Charter Arms snubby in .22lr. It survived perhaps 1500rnds before it lost it’s timing, was repaired and almost immediately the transfer bar locked up. I found it more economical to dispose of (actually by shooting it in half) than repair again. I also own a Classic Undercover in .38spc that is a doppelganger for the one pictured top. As previously stated by others it is crude but reliable and effective, though very uncomfortable to shoot. It seems to me that the rear of the trigger guard is located to close to the leading edge of the grip, causing that bloody middle knuckle on the firing hand. I will shoot it, in fact it’s an a desk drawer as a hide out piece, but I don’t like to shoot it and haven’t in years. As I recall the accuracy was reasonable for such a piece but certainly not good. In contrast I have a S&W 36 J frame air-weight in .38spl that is comfortable to shoot with standard loads, and slightly better than the Charter even with +Ps, though they aren’t pleasant in such a light weapon with such minimal grips. The Smith is also far more accurate, in fact accurate enough that it’s difficult to conceive of needing more accuracy in a defensive encounter not thought up by Hollywood.
    On recoil sensitivity, I have slender, long fine hands, made for office work, or perhaps playing the piano, and I see no difficulty with the little SW with standard loads, or a whole day of .45’s in a 1911. That said, I’ve shot so many rounds through handguns of various types and love it so that I might be willing to put up with a lot more pain than some. Then again, despite my smallish hands I don’t mind full house .44mag in an appropriate (read full sized) pistol. Offer me a scandium snubby with that stuff though and I’ll tell you to offer it instead to the boys who seem to have something to prove. . . I need to be able to type later!

  26. I have a Charter 2000 that I sent in for warranty work,the firing pin was sticking out into one of the chambers and freezing up the action,I sent it the first of August this year.I recieved the gun back The 29th,man was I surprised they not only replaced the firing pin spring which was what was wrong,but they replaced the firing pin,tightened up the action,and brush cleaned the outside,it looked almost new.In this day and time for this type of service I give Charter Arms a big five star rating,oh and it shoots like new too.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  27. oddly enough, I just picked up the same gun, old school, smooth grips not checkered…. and the only complaint I have is the finish (bland not shiny). it appeared to be shot very little. lock up was very good and timing was exceptional. got it for $250 OTD. no, it is not as accurate as my model 60, nor is the trigger as smooth, but the trigger is crisp and kind of smooth. accuracy of mine is considerably better that minute of man at 5 yards. I was surprised by this gun considering what they put out today.

    forgot to add, used for testing federal low recoil 110gr. hydrashoks and wwb 130gr. fmj.

  28. CA was founded in 1964 by Doug McClennahan. “For years Doug McClennahan was a gun designer with Colt, High Standard, and Sturm Ruger. Using his strong engineering and inventive background he decided to go out on his own. The early guns (the first 3000 or so) did not display an address on the barrel. Starting in 1966, the guns, made in Bridgeport, CT, were marked with that address.David Ecker bought out Doug McClennahan’s share of the company in 1972 and moved it to Stratford, Connecticut in 1974. Guns made in Stratford were marked on the right side of the barrel: with the new address this is when things went south so if you have a non marked or a bridgeport you have a well made Undercover.

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    half being the epic, progressive explorations. Realization.
    Can we at least acknowledge their existence.

  30. I have a Charter Arms Undercover .38 SPL. And it was my Dad’s until he passed away. He bought it new. It looks just like the one at the top of the page on here. I honestly don’t think he ever shot it. Has a belt clip leather holster. And I am wanting to sell it for the simple reason I am not into guns myself. Can some one please let me know what a excellent shape hand gun like that would be worth ? Thank you very much.

  31. I know this is an ancient thread and the likelihood of you reading this is minute but I feel moved to say it. I’m sorry if this was mentioned in the comments I scrolled by but I just couldnt read anymore “yea but my charter” needy people.

    Your shot group is not your guns fault. Judging by your impact pattern displayed above (assuming fresh/relatively fresh target) it’s your trigger squeeze and finger placement on the trigger itself. Right side pull is caused by placing your finger incorrectly. Move the placement of the trigger away from the last knuckle. Ideally the trigger should fall between the tip of your finger on that first knuckle. Given the OG Chart .38’s narrow grip, this takes some time and practice if you have above average sized hands.

    With proper trigger placement, my index finger makes a nearly perfect 90 degree angle from the trigger to my hand.

    As far as trigger guard clearance is concerned, either deal with it, use a different gun altogether or lose weight. There is no way you’re bashing your finger on the guard unless you are extremely out of shape and have fingers that would put a polish sausage to shame.

    As far as trigger pulls are concerned, single action pulls for mine are about even with the un-modded revolvers I’ve handled. Somewhere between 8-10 pounds.

    Utilizing the double action’s reduced trigger preasure and travel time, I find it extremely accurate for a 2″ snubby and can 4/5 tennis balls at 20 yards consistently. Refer back to trigger squeeze.

    It’s good to post reviews of weapons but do not let your personal circumstances/experience cloud over the review of the weapon. A review of a weapon is based on the weapon itself first and foremost. Your inability to properly handle it has nothing to do with it, it’s frame or its manufacturer.

    Perhaps a little more familiarization prior to immortalizing your inexperience online is in order?

  32. My Charter Arms Off Duty was made by the newest Charter Arms company who re-designed the manufacturing methods of these great little revolvers. The lug, barrel and front tight are one piece, the method for cutting the grooves is improved and the gun I have owned for the last 3 years works flawlessly, and is extremely accurate…not just for a snubby, but for any handgun. I have been shooting revolvers since the 1970’s, and some dry fire practice with them will show you where your flinch is…try that before blaming the gun

    Either my CA Off Duty or my S&W Bodyguard Airweight are my carry revolvers.

  33. I have a revolver. It says 38 Special on nose of barrel charter arms off duty. But I read that off duty r Hamer less n mine has a hammer. I’m confused. I do have the serial number if that will help

  34. Inherited a Undercover 38 made by Charter Arms sometime in the 1980’s. Trying to find out if ok to use P+ ammo. Gun fired only a few times.

  35. I have a 38 Charter special old police gun and I need a cyclinder for it. Where could I ordered it from. Love the gun the right size for me . But I don’t have cyclinder. If anyone could tell plz let let me kno.
    Thank u.



  38. I have owned my Charter Arms .38 spl stainless for well over 10 years, and I have put thousands of rounds through this thing ! I used to reload .38 spl ammo for target shooting with 158 gr. lead round nose, and I have run many , many + P hollow point defense loads through it. I had to add some red lock tite to the hammer adjusting screw, but other than that, it has been a flawless weapon. I shoot it very well, as the .38 spl is an accurate round anyway, and can hit targets at 20 yards with no problem. I carry it while rockhounding in Arizona. It is light, and easy to carry. No safety to mess with. Just draw and shoot. In my area we have Havalina pigs, and some mountain lions around. The loud blast from a .38 spl +P is enough to send them running with one shot. ( I’m not hunting these animals…I just want them to run away !! ) The C.A. .38 is very reliable, and I never had any FTF, or jam ups . To be honest, I don’t think many bad guys could handle two rounds of .38+ P to the groin.!! I own an FN P40, ( a bit heavy to carry )and a really fantastic Ruger LCPs in 9 mm that I carry even more than the .38 now . .Wheel guns are just fun, simple and reliable..


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