My Opinion of Charter Arms: Review of the Pitbull

| October 16, 2011 | 49 Comments

Though I do have a couple of Glocks, I’ve always considered myself a revolver aficionado. I’d heard of Charter Arms, but honestly, prior to this purchase, I never actually had the opportunity to fondle a Charter Arms revolver. I did an exhaustive amount of internet research on Charter Arms and, with some trepidation, ordered my Pitbull from Davidsons, sight unseen. What follows is a rather lengthy review of my revolver in particular, and Charter Arms’ owner, employees, and company in general. To those interested in my impressions of the gun without a desire to read further…I LOVE IT! I think it is a fine quality revolver that will most certainly outlast me (and probably my children) with a reasonable amount of use and care.

But I feel the need to recount (in painstaking detail) not only my opinion of my revolver, but of the company itself. There are a lot of negative opinions about Charter Arms out there on the net. Since my experience has been extremely positive, I want to share it for those that might be considering a Charter.
So that you might have some context for my opinion, I have been a law enforcement officer for the past 24 years. I spent 10 of those years as a certified firearms instructor and have bought and sold more guns than I care to recount (since I have regretted nearly every one that I let go.) I began my career with a variant of the S&W 686 as a service weapon, and a Ruger SP101 as an off duty. I’ve had many snub nose revolvers (mostly S&W) through the years. I was one of the last to begrudgingly convert to a semi-auto, and only after my agency adopted the Glock. (Their first foray into the “wonder nine” world was the S&W 6906, which I held in low regard.) To this day I prefer revolvers and am elated that Charter has taken the initiative to develop and market a self-defense revolver that accepts rimless ammunition since that is what I am currently issued.
Despite that fact that there were a number of Charter Arms authorized dealers in my area, none had the PitBull in stock, and none indicated that were planning to order them. One of the unintended consequences of the Internet is that dealers seem to be restricting their stock to only the most popular firearms. This prevents educated consumers (like me) from “cherry picking” the best one in stock. With no alternative means of getting my mitts on a Pitbull, I ordered one from Davidsons and had it shipped to my local dealer.

I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up my new revolver. It was tight, locked up solidly, and exhibited much more of a quality “feel” than I had expected based on some of the internet information I had read. There were no machine marks or sharp edges, the revolver was finished well, and timing was flawless. One issue of immediate concern was that the ejector rod was very stiff. I chalked it up to the fact that the gun was brand new and needed a good cleaning and lubrication. Armed with “Davidsons Lifetime Guarantee” as well as Charter Arms “Lifetime Warranty”, I accepted the gun, hopeful that Charter would resolve any issues that might arise.

At my first opportunity, I sat down to do a side-by-side comparison of my new Pitbull with my Ruger LCR. (FYI, my LCR has about 150 +P rounds through her) Despite the fact that the Pitbull is a larger gun (most similar in size to the Colt D frame Detective Special), I think it is valuable to compare the Pitbull to the LCR since it appears to me that both are similarly constructed. Both the Pitbull and the LCR feature a two-piece frame, enclosed crane, and lack a cylinder stop. My admittedly unscientific observations are that the Pitbull is virtually identical to the LCR in terms of tolerances. Revolvers lock up tightly, there is no play in the cylinders when the trigger is held to the rear, the “hand” and “cylinder bolt” of each revolver appear to be proportionately sized and of equivalent strength, and the (very minimal) amount of “end skake” is the same in both revolvers. Those of you familiar with the LCR know that it utilizes a completely different trigger system, which I think is without equal. The Charter trigger was a bit gritty out of the box, but “smoothed up” beautifully after dry firing it a hundred times or so. One criticism I have seen about the Charter revolvers is that there is greater than normal “cylinder wobble” when the cylinder is opened and hanging on the crane/ejector rod assembly. This appears to be because the crane is narrower where the ejector rod passes through in order to accommodate the “slip collar” on the ejector rod, which slides into place to provide a locking point when the cylinder is closed. This may be difficult to visualize without handling the revolver, but I do not envision this being a problem. There is less “cylinder wobble” when the crane is open on the LCR, but the LCR locks up with a detent on the end of the extractor rod (like an S&W), allowing for more metal on the crane which I believe accounts for that difference.

The revolutionary feature of the Pitbull is that it allows the use of (so called) rimless ammunition without need of moon clips. This is accomplished by means of spring-loaded tabs that engage the cartridge rim when inserted. As a result, the rounds don’t just “fall” into the chamber when reloading since some force is required to push back the spring-loaded tab. One trick to reloading is to depress the extractor rod to lift the star, then placing cartridge on to the extended tab, allowing the round to “fall” into the chamber when the extractor star is lowered. I loaded and unloaded the cylinder about one hundred times to evaluate its reliability. Initially, one of the five tabs would stick and fail to engage the cartridge case. One drop of Militec oil (from a pin point oiler) solved that problem. I assume, much like the trigger assembly, the tabs need to wear in a bit. It is important to point out that the spring-loaded tabs serve ONLY to allow for the extraction of the spent shells. The cartridge itself is headspaced in the cylinder, so even without the tabs in place, the cartridges would seat properly and not fall through. The rimless system seems very robust and I think it will perform well long term.

When, after a through lubrication and cleaning, the ejector rod continued to bind, I emailed Charter Arms to arrange to return the gun for repair. Since I live in NYC (where it is unlawful to ship firearms except through an FFL) I had inquired as to whether or not I would be able to bring the gun to the factory (about 75 miles from my home) and have it repaired while I waited. Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Nick Ecker (Owner and President of Charter Arms Inc.) personally on a Sunday! Mr. Ecker told me that Charter would, of course, cover all shipping and handling in the event that I wanted to ship the gun to them, but he invited me to visit the factory for a tour while my gun was repaired. I was giddy at the prospect of a factory tour, and happily chose the latter.
When I arrived, I was greeted by Mr. Ecker who proceeded to take me on a step-by-step tour of his factory, which is basically a classic machine shop. All parts in a Charter revolver are manufactured within a 100-mile radius of the factory, with assembly, fit and finishing done by Charter. I got to meet many of his employees (there are just under 30) who (in addition to being extremely friendly) were proud to demonstrate their role in the manufacture and distribution of these fine firearms. I really got the sense that Charter Arms is a family. Mr. Ecker noted that his company has a “zero” attrition rate, and that most of his employees were there when he bought back the business back in 1999. (If you visit you can read about the full history of the company.)

It is also worthy of note that I asked Mr. Ecker how many of his employees were devoted to warranty repairs. In response he pointed to a cabinet containing about a half-dozen guns. He also volunteered that since 1964, approximately two million Charter Arms revolvers have been sold, and that cabinet was typical of what was “in house” at any given time for repair. There are no employees dedicated to warranty service since it is simply not necessary. All repairs are completed on the regular assembly line, and turn around time is normally five business days or less. In my view that speaks volumes about the durability, reliability, and over all quality of Charter Arms revolvers.

During my brief visit, I developed a tremendous admiration for Mr. Ecker. He, along with his employees, truly embody the traditional American values of hard work, pride, and craftsmanship. He is justifiably very proud of his company. All of us who cherish our Second Amendment rights owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Ecker (and others like him) who overcomes enormous regulatory and legal hurdles to bring their product to market.

On Wed 10/12/2011 I headed to the range for a quick test run. One thing that struck me right away is that the Pitbull seems perfectly balanced, points naturally, and has a very comfortable grip. I realize this is totally subjective, and not entirely unexpected since I have always regarded the old Colt Detective Special as the perfectly sized, weighted and balanced snub-nosed revolver. An added bonus is that I was able to squeeze the Pitbull into my old Cobra Gunskin H-35 paddle holster, which I regard as the best holster I have ever owned. For me it just feels right.

Due to time constraints, I was only able to fire 65 rounds (Federal 135 grain HST), but I can state that gun shot to point of aim and exhibited excellent combat accuracy out to 15 yards. Like most weapons I have fired…the gun is capable of higher accuracy than I am. There were no malfunctions and the revolver functioned superbly. Spent casings ejected easily, and the extractor tabs functioned smoothly. Three friends that were with me each test fired the Pitbull and were equally as impressed as I was.

This target is 20 rounds all aimed in at center mass (except for the two head shots which were aimed at the head). 5 Rounds from the 3 yard line, 10 rounds from the 7 yard line (including the two head shots), and 5 shots from the 15 yard line

In summary, I am happy to report that I am extremely satisfied with my Charter Arms revolver, due in no small measure to the company that manufactured it. Charter Arms revolvers have a decidedly different “feel” than either Ruger or S&W, but I would not characterize it as a feel of a lower quality…just different. I have no plans to torture test my personal weapon, but I read somewhere that tolerances in one of the initial Ruger LCRs remained within factory spec after 10,000 rounds fired (some with the crane screw removed) and I have no reason to believe that a Charter Arms revolver would perform any differently. Here is a link from the Charter Arms website to a “torture test” of 2000 rounds performed on one of their aluminum framed revolvers with favorable results…ure%20Test.MP3 I have to imagine a steel frame would fare even better. I doubt my Charter revolver will see 5000 rounds until my grandchildren are using it, but I am confident that it could handle many more rounds than that, and if any issues did arise, they would be expeditiously resolved by the Charter Arms family.

I would like to close by urging any of you considering the purchase of a revolver to give Charter Arms a hard look. I own S&Ws, and Rugers…and I like them very much, but there is an intangible satisfaction that comes from owning and carrying a fine quality American revolver, made by a small company that does one thing and does it exceedingly well. I echo the sentiments of Congressman Ron Paul in that I consider myself a capitalist, NOT a corporatist. That is not a swipe at S&W or Ruger, nor is it meant to say that all large corporations are bad…but I do think that small businesses like Charter Arms are the backbone of this great Republic. Mr. Ecker is Patriot who manufactures an excellent product, and whom I am proud to support.

Thanks for taking the time to read my opinion. Written and Authorized by Peter Quaglia.

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49 Comments on "My Opinion of Charter Arms: Review of the Pitbull"

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  1. PVQ says:

    I am the author of this article which has been published on this site. I was asked to comment on the speed reloading ability of this revolver, considering that it uses a unique “rimless” cartridge extraction system. In my view, use of typical HKS type speedloaders (even if they did exist) would be impractical since it is necessary to literally depress every round to make sure it is seated and the extractor tab clicks into place. My mind’s eye tells me that speed strips may work, but a better option, though I have not tried it, would be to utilize your favorite high capacity magazine to load one chamber at a time as you strip rounds from the magazine. The only think I know for sure is that even without use of a magazine as a feeding device, this revolver can be reloaded faster than my Ruger Vaquero in .40 S&W (LOL) . Jeff Quinn from Gunblast posted a review of the Pitbull on 10/12, though I just saw it today. It can be found here: In the video portion of his review, Jeff invokes the words of Sheriff Jim Wilson who (Jeff says) states “If you do your job with a revolver, you don’t gotta worry about reloading it so quick”….I sort of agree.

  2. PVQ says:

    I just spent some time practicing using a Glock 22 .40 magazine as a loading device for the Pitbull. It works magnificently. I think this enhances the Pitbull’s utility for officers who utilize a .40 semi-auto for duty work and are seeking a revolver for back-up since they are already carrying the loaded magazines.

  3. Ryan Long says:

    Thank you for your extensive write up on charter arms, I just came from a local gunshop to browse and came across a charter arms Goldfinger .38 cal. The guys in the shop didn’t seem too enthuised on showing it to me and quickly recommended another revolver. Because the price was 249.99 I put a deposit down on it anyway because I remember reading a write up in a guns and ammo mag about the pink lady version and the review was good. Now after reading your article, I’m am even more excited to bring this home this week and test it out. I’ll be sure to post my results. Thank you

  4. Daniel says:

    I’m hunting for a self-defense pistol for a cousin of mine and she is dead set on having a revolver. I am a semi-auto fan but do enjoy shooting revolvers on occasion. I am a big believer in versatility and having the option to use the same ammo in both an auto and revolver seems really practical.
    I want her to get a SA XDm 3.8 Compact in 40 cal for a purse gun but this gun seems a better use of her money.
    Thanks for all the info.

  5. Doug says:

    Thanks for your review. Since Charter Arms announced the new design, I had been hoping for good reviews, since I too carry a Glock 22 for duty use. Due to the caliber of my duty weapon, from the time the C.A.R.R. [Pitbull] was introduced, I had wondered about “speed loading” it from a Glock magazine. Thanks for confirming this, since my inquiries elsewhere went unanswered.

  6. Charles Crumb says:

    Thanks for a very informative write-up. You have inspired me to buy American, too.

  7. Chris Whatley says:

    Thank you for the article. It was very well written and I am glad to see Charter Arms continues to make new products that other companies just don’t seem to want to. I carry a 40 S&W Glock as a deputy sheriff and like the idea of having one type of ammunition on my person at a time.

    FYI my current back up is a Charter Bulldog Pug .44 Special. I learned to love this type of firearm as a teen shooting my father’s Bulldog. Due to my own bad luck I did have to return my revolver to Charter for repair, it was fixed and back to me within ten days with no charge. Not bad for a weapon I have carried for six years and fired around 750 rounds in.

  8. Jonathon Wagner says:

    I bought a Pitbull based on this article. Hope it lives up to your glowing recommendation.

  9. AJ says:

    Thanks for a wonderful review. My experiences with Charter Arms is similar to yours. I purchased a Bulldog Pug .44 Special (SS / DAO) about a year and a half ago and just LOVE IT as well. I E-mailed Nick Ecker several times prior to my purchase, he was more than accommodating in my pre-purchase inquires and took the time to answer them personally. I’m a Police Officer, was weaned on revolvers as well and still carry them this day both on duty as a BUG and off duty. I’ve fired approximately 500 rounds through my .44 without a problem and the trigger does “smooth” out quite a bit. If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable, concealable combat revolver, take a look at a Charter Arms.

  10. Vince DAugelli says:

    Based on this review I bought a new Charter Arms Bulldog. (We can’t get the Pitbull in California) I like the gun a lot, particularly the way it felt in my hand and the low recoil, but there were two major defects. One was similar to the reviewers with a very sticky ejector rod, the other was a bit more serious, with the hammer screw attempting to come loose while firing or pulling the trigger. Tightening the screw caused the hammer to stick. I sent the gun back to Charter about 12 days ago and I’m hoping I get the speedy results others have gotten.

  11. Vince says:

    Got my Bulldog back in 16 day ( 1 day going there Fedex, eight days coming back with UPS Ground and seven days there) Both problems were fixed by replacing the cylinder and the hammer. The replacement cylinder was so unfinished on the outside, I could hardly believe my eyes. I’ve never seen anything quite like it on a new gun. Looked like they picked it from the ugly pile. Very unfinished and unprofessional looking. Hopefully the inside is finished. We’ll see when I shoot it tomorrow. The problem with the hammer screw rotating was fixed by replacing the hammer. Looks fine and feels fine.

    Happy with the turnaround time, happy with the hammer and ejector rod. Not so happy with the ugly cylinder. Something not quite right about it.

  12. Vince says:

    [IMG] Cylinder[/IMG]
    Is this how a new cylinder on a new gun should look?

  13. Andy says:

    I am interested in the .327 Federal cartridge, so I researched the Patriot revolver, and, having seen the 4″ Target model in person, ordered one. I had decided to ignore the naysayers on Charter Arms, influenced in part by things like this review— I had already read it a while ago. I have looked at pictures, read many reviews, and viewed guns in person. I was confident that the negative reports about Charter were misguided. So much so, that in addition to the one I ordered, I have the 2″ model on layaway with another retailer.

    My 4″ Target Patriot arrived today, and I am deeply shocked at the machining. My cylinder looks like yours, Vince, but compared to the barrel assembly, it’s perfect— I mean, I literally did not notice how bad the cylinder is for a “new gun”, as you say; because the barrel, underlug, and front site are all so poorly machined that it is incredible (the cylinder crane is, too; but that is something I did sort of expect– many of them seem to have that.) The entire barrel and lug is canted at least 5 degrees from the axis of the gun, some attempts were apparently made to “straighten” this cant by grinding the overlug and sight ramp in compensation— it’s a mess. There isn’t a straight line or single feature that is symmetrical on the entire upper surface of the barrel. On the underlug itself, its “flat” surface all down the right side shows deep, rough machining marks– the way Chinese guns look; about 40 to 60 grit scratches.

    I love the design, but I don’t even want this gun in this condition. I intend to contact Mr. Ecker on Monday and see if they can resolve this. I had high hopes for that, assuming this particular revolver was just a terrible mistake; something they could easily correct– until I read what you wrote, Vince.

    If they just today sent you more work just like this, then does that mean they’re “okay” with this level of fit and finish? It’s an incredible dilemma. If Mr. Ecker assures me they’ll fix it, but they send back something as bad, then I’ll be forced to sell it— I guess that’s okay, although I really wanted the gun. But I will be out about $60 in next-day shipping to get it to them. I’m fine with adding %15 to the cost of the gun if it fixes it, but if I’m going to have to sell it anyway, I’ll just sell it as-is– it is literally “brand new, in the box.”

    I do hope they can make this right. I already have money paid another one of their guns! I would really like to unwind that if this is the kind of product they produce. The funny thing is, I know a gunsmith could fix these sort of issues— they “melt”, polish, and otherwise perfect or modify revolvers all the time, with artisan quality. For that matter, I’m taking classes on CNC machining, and we could produce the crane and cylinder in my class— and if they turned out like the ones on this “finished product”, I’m quite sure that would not be considered passing work. How is it that the very manufacturer; the company described in the review above, this “classic machine shop,” cannot do what a run-of-the-mill revolversmith can? Or a community-college CNC class, for that matter?

    The “cabinet containing about a half-dozen guns” and we-fix-them-on-the-assembly-line stuff sounds fine— except who did this work “on the assembly line” in the first place? Frankly, what I had thought happened when I saw this gun was that a finished frame was somehow mated to a series of unfinished parts, accidentally roll-stamped, and sent out without anyone noticing. Hell, the crane actually has three numbers scratched by hand onto its interior surface. But it seems like, from what Vince just said, and what I have sitting here in my lap, that this is actually what they consider finished work, ready for the public. I just don’t understand it at all.

    I certainly hope Mr. Ecker has some convincing answers about these issues.

    I am so sorely disappointed…

  14. Vince says:

    I would have been wide to let a gunsmith fix my two problems instead of Charter, I guess. But there’s no way the knife marks in the notches can be removed and the gun stay within proper tolerance and still lock up and rotate. The gun I bought, had a nice looking cylinder and was cosmetically acceptable, what they sent me back, was not. The big question is will they make good? My idea of making good would be for them to treat me like the reviewer and send a brand new, acceptable looking and functional gun to the dealer, to swap out for the ugly one. I just want what I paid for, but like a bulldog, I will pursue this until I’m happy. I’ve sent them emails with the images of the cylinder and we’ll see what happens.

  15. Andy says:

    I’ll be very interested to hear further on what experience you have. I also planned to photograph and describe what I find unacceptable on it to see what they have to say. If some of the problems on mine weren’t too far gone to fix, I would just stick with private smiths– but I feel like I need a better one to start from to be able to do that. I really do like the design too much to let it go, so as you said, I’ll keep pursuing this…

    Looking forward to hearing what you find, Vince.

  16. Vince says:

    Hey Andy,
    So far there’s been no response to my emails, so their phone line will be red hot on Monday. There’s more to this story concerning shipping, but I’m going to let that alone, since they did pay for it, even though it was shipped back to me UPS ground, which I didn’t consider to be appropriate. I’ve showed this gun to a lot of people and they can’t believe their eyes. I’d pay two hundred bucks for this gun if I saw it at a pawn shop. It’s a difficult enough process buying a gun in California without having to put up with this type of treatment. Next time I’ll tell them I’m a reviewer. Someone told me that the cylinder looks like what you’d find in a QC reject pile.
    To be fair, the gun locks up fairly tight and shoots fine, but two of the chambers in the cylinder are a bit tight and it’s difficult to extract the spent shells from them.

  17. Andy says:

    Well, over the weekend I was able to look at several other examples of Charter Arms revolvers, and I’m happy to say that what I saw made me feel better— to me there is no question now that they could not have intended to send out a gun as bad as mine is. The others I looked at didn’t have a single one of its flaws, let alone the whole catalog. So, based on that I am now pretty confident that they will see my particular example as a clear QC reject; something they never intended to have go out the door…

    Here’s where it gets interesting, though: I shot the gun today. I wasn’t sure I would, at first, with these machining issues; but I’m glad I did. The cylinder was one of the parts that to me did look pretty good, compared to the rest of the gun; but get this— it bulges cases by more than their own wall thickness, all the way down until the web prevents it— the cylinder is overbored! In fact, on one of the six, it’s apparently also bored out-of-round, because one of the cases has a few parallel cracks in it; the case was splitting. Later I observed a trail of particulate debris all the way down the one side of this one chamber— where gasses were able to blow by the length of an as-yet-unfired round. Ugly is one thing, but I’ve never heard a hint that Charter Arms would ever produce anything that’s dangerous; I’m quite sure they would not. But a look at these fired cases would curdle your blood…

    In total, I think that my gun must have been a tester or something; training fodder for a new machinist, maybe, that wasn’t supposed to go out as a finished gun. My biggest concern when I first found all these flaws was the possibility, however distant, that Charter would not agree with me that they are serious flaws that deserve correction— now I feel sure that there is no way they would want to claim that this gun is as they intended it to be.

    Has there been any further movement on your end? Were those e-mails returned, perhaps; or did you get the chance to give them a call?

  18. Vince says:

    They haven’t returned my emails and I didn’t really think they would. I called once but no answer. I’m too disgusted to care anymore. I’ll just order a S&W, Ruger or Taurus like I probably should have in the first place. They’re gonna want the gun back. They won’t give me a new one, I’m not a reviewer and I’m afraid of what would happen to the gun if they got their hands on it again. They just don’t care enough about a couple of unhappy customers. They’ll just claim sour grapes, but good luck to you.

  19. Bruce says:

    Anything further on this? Interested in the outcome to base a buying decision on.


  20. Vince says:

    Yes, I’ve ordered a S&W to use as my concealed carry/home defense weapon. The Charter has had a sticky cylinder release and two tight chambers since it was returned from warranty repair. The other day I went to reload and I couldn’t get the cylinder to open. Sometimes it will open, sometimes it will be frozen. This has been the worse experience I’ve ever had with a gun purchase. This company was upset with me from the beginning because they had to send me an overnight call tag. They had originally sent a second day tag and Fed Ex refused to ship it and told me I was breaking the law by trying to ship it that way from California. They shipped it back UPS ground which took eight days. I would have a real hard time trusting this company with a repair a second time around.

  21. Royce says:

    In my opinion, a better design would have been to just use full moon clips to reload, but I do respect their ingenuity. This is a firearm I am really interested in as I carry a .40 cal M&P. It would be nice to have a back up that is of the same caliber. It will save me not only money on having to buy two different types of ammo, but if I want to carry extra loose rounds in a pocket, I can use them in either weapon without fear of putting a .38 in a .40 cal gun. The price is almost the same as my auto, so thats not too discouraging. I just wish they would make it with a “hidden” hammer, that would make it the perfect back up pocket pistol for those of us who carry a .40. Overall I am impressed with this design though.

  22. Norm says:

    I had been interested in the Pit Bull 40 S&W as a home and outdoors carry and back up weapon, as well. Peter’s article boosted my interest as I currently carry a SA 3.8 in 40 S&W. However, seeing the kinds of problems Andy and Vince encountered has soured me on the Pit Bull now. A manufacturer with, apparently, no quality control review before a gun leaves their site makes all their products suspect. It will be a hit or miss with any gun showing up as a questionable quality piece. And no responses to multiple e-mails and phone calls makes their customer service stink. Sorry, Peter, your “A” treatment must have been a fluke. The stories by Andy and Vince are more in line with the Charter Arms reputation I have heard about. Too bad, that Pit Bull in 40 S&W sounded promising and looks great in the pictures!

  23. Glen says:

    @Andy&Vince – Apparently I’m now in the market for on of their pieces for my wife, she really liked the “Lavender Lady” revolver we seen at Gander Mountain earlier. It looked like a nice piece but since I don’t know anything about Charter Arms, I got reading this and am now concerned. Did you guys get any resolution to your issues ?

  24. Rob says:

    Pittbull owners,

    Does your Pitbull lockup tight with no movement when the revolver is in full lockup (trigger pulled to the rear)? I just received a new Pitbull this week from the factory in exchange for a Patriot that had a faulty barrel. My other two Charters (a 1st generation Undercover and current generation Bulldog) both have no rotational cylinder movement while in full lockup while my new Pitbull has a small amount of movement while in full lockup. I was just wondering if this is normal for the Pitbull.


  25. joe gockel says:

    shipped my bull dog target 4 inch barrel to charter factory.rear sight could not be adjusted far enough to the right to get it on target.after looking at the front of the barrel it seemed to be drilled off to the left and it back from factory with a new rear sight and the barrel seemed to have been turned slightly to the also came with a factory test showed slight left and high with 6 oclock hold.when i fired it shoot very low and to the left again.i dont want to hear that i cant shoot.i am 64 with great eyesight and have been shoot sense i was 8 years old.i finally got it some what on targe but the rear sight had to be adjusted way to the right and way up as in more charter arms for me.i will spend the extra money and buy a quality fire arm.

  26. Michael says:

    I own two of the Pathfinder .22 magnum revolvers. 2″ & 4″. One has been “in the shop” twice. I’m positive both revolvers will be seeing Mr. Eckers more than I’d like. My brother bought a Bulldog and it is on it’s second trip to the factory for repairs. I don’t believe a single word the author of this article has written. Mr Eker called you? Wow, when I emailed him with quality control issues he sent me a scathing email calling me a child and telling me he didn’t want “people like me” buying his guns. My first revolver looked like someone assembled it with one eye and missing fingers on both hands. A total heap of dung. On it’s return the barrel cone was filed at a 45 degree angle and the barrel was canted to the right. The fired cartridge was in a packet labeled .22 lr instead of .22 magnum. Yeah, these are dedicated workers all right. They spout the “made in USA” crap for all to hear and I gave them an honest chance. Bought two of their guns. Glad they have a lifetime repair program. They need it. Must cost a fortune in shipping costs. Maybe it would be a good idea to HIRE a professional gunsmith to work in the warrenty dept and cut down on returns. I now have two Charter Arms revolvers in .22 magnum that I had planned to use for personnal and home defense. Had surgery on both hands and recoil is a real issue for me. Do I trust my life and the lives of my family to these revolvers? Hell no! I spent hard earned money on these duds. Now I have to save for something else. Wasted a lot of good money. I hate to put down any American gun company but just because they make guns in the USA doesn’t make them immune from critic. If they make garbage they should be called to task until their quality comes up to snuff. In the case of Charter Arms their reputation has been so bad for so long I doubt they will ever recover. And I will continue to slam them until proven otherwise.

  27. Gunnutmegger says:

    I recently tested both the .40S&W and 9mm versions of the Charter Arms Pitbull.

    Color me unimpressed.

    While it is commendable that Charter Arms stands behind their products with their warranty, a well-made firearm would not NEED to be serviced in the first place.

  28. Michael says:

    A followup on my two Charter Arms Pathfinders. One was sent back so many times they gave up and replaced it with another lemon. Both are so inaccurate it’s laughable. After 12 rounds the shells the ejector rod sticks so bad I had a hellava time getting them out. Just plain poor quality. Sloppy garbage. Finally I sent both revolvers back and informed them I no longer wanted to be the owner of any Charter Arms products. Told them to keep the damn things. Nope, even Charter Arms didn’t want them. They sent the damn things back to me yet again. I’ve tried to sell them for $200.00 each and nobody took my offer. I’m just sick. I’ve owned many different handguns over the last 30 years and in that time I have only had one very minor issue with any of them. To be slammed with garbage like these Charter Arms was quite a shock. I don’t believe they have a qualified gunsmith at that plant. I don’t know what I’m going to do with these revolvers. Almost $700.00 down the toilet. Cannot seem to sell them and I’m faced with the prospect of sending them back to Charter Arms until the end of time. Life time warranty remember? Quality American made craftsmanship at it’s best. Yeah…. That’s not quite true…

  29. Stu in Seattle says:

    Sounds like allot of finish honing and In-process issues to me.
    I have been thinking about a .44 bulldog as a shoulder hideout companion for checking traps out in the big woods. Man , i`d hate for something to freeze up running into a testy mama bear with cubs.
    As a machinist, it sounds as if Charter is really working hard at getting up the ladder but a keen shop manufacturing manager and a Metrology / Q.C. dept. w/ in-process inspections every step of the way could be a much valued asset to Mr. Eckers manufacturing business. By just advancing or retarding in-process orders of operations in itself can make a big difference saving time and money & expensive tooling costs, especially if your product keeps getting returned for warranty.
    I remember when my old shop would receive someone else’s drawing and the tolerance call outs were +-.003, we were forced to hold +-.0005 so that when they received there product, nothing ever came back to us, nothing ever , by golly, Q.C. made shure of that , employee 1st article write ups are no good at wage review.
    All +-.0005 was called, was employee paying attention, the machine will repeat itself all three shifts , 24/7. Sounds like a good revolver for the money, i have a B-West Imez Makarov .380, the internal machining isn`t the prettiest, i`ve had to do some extra edge breaking & deburring to soften it up a little, but for the money it will punch the same small hole all day long, spot on.
    I may have to sit on the Q.C. fence a little while longer.

  30. daniel says:

    I just acquired a used, and owned by an ex police officer, Charter Arms Bulldog Pug 44 spl. I just want to say that I love this pistol. It is very accurate, has a pretty good kick, but manageable. Back to the accuracy, I am amazed. I am not a pro shooter by any means, but the first time I shot this pistol, at 30 feet, within the first four rounds, the group was about two or three inches, with two of the rounds almost in the same hole. So, I will say that this is a very good shooting gun with much power. I traded a Taurus PT22 and four boxes of 9mm FMJ ammo for it. I think I got a good deal.

  31. Barry says:

    I bought a Charter Arms 44 spl and really like the little gun.
    Good balance, good shooting, etc.
    As some people have said, I think a Ruger has better overall quality, but the Charter just “feels right” for carry.
    Plus before I bought it I called Charter Arms to ask about their warranty. They told me as long as I own the gun if anything goes wrong just send it back and it will be repaired. Can’t beat that!!!

  32. Bill says:

    I own two Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Specials. The only problem is: one of them has had a cylinder that will not open twice, also the double action trigger is a little heavy. I go to their Facebook page. I have given it a bath in Hot Soapy Water, with the grips off, rinsed in hot water. Dried with a hair dryer and Froglubed it. Shoots much better. I like these guns and I hate to see the horror stories. I think if I had a problem, I would buy the parts and have someone handle it. Laws are changing here in California, I want guns that will not become illegal. I bought two Ruger LC9s for that reason.

  33. Michael says:

    I’ve owned two charter arms revolvers. Both Pathfinders. Both were sent back so many times I lost count. They even replaced one with another that was twice as bad. I managed to sell one to some sap. The other is going back tomorrow with a note to Nick Ecker that he can keep it. I will NEVER own another CA as long as I live. They may shoot now but eventually your going to have issues. I had issues right out of the boxes. I have 16 firearms and these CA are the only one’s I have had issues with. Anyone touting CA quality is either new to firearms or a CA company troll. The quality is just plain BAD. BAD and SLOPPY.

  34. Andy says:

    I have a .38 Special DAO Undercover,have had it since my wife bought it for me Christmas of 2001,used it for a backup when I was a Deputy.Have put almost 1200 rounds through it,the only problem I have had with it is the firing pin spring broke,I sent it back in for warranty repair this past August recieved it back three weeks later,they replaced the spring also put a new firing pin in,tightened up the action,and even installed a new rubber grip on it.I shot it when I got it back,shoots great just like always,I am planning on getting the wife to get me the 9mm Pitbull for this Christmas,then when the .45 acp version comes out I want one of those too.I guess I have had better luck with mine than other folks have.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  35. Andy says:

    Been trying to find a Pitbull in 9mm cannot find one at all!Where ever I call most dealers don’t even have the other calibers of CA’s revolvers in stock,I called and spoke with Dee Ecker at the CA’s factory and they are running way behind on trying to catch up on back orders,this will even push back how soon the .45acp version will be put into production,it appears that these guns do draw some respect due to the fact that they are practically sold out when they do reach the dealers shelves.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  36. Andy says:

    Still trying to come across a Charter Arms 9mm Pitbull , no luck yet , I have a friend with a FFL and he cannot find one at all . All I can do is wait for one , wish they would step up production on the Pitbull models , since there is such a high demand for them .Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  37. Dan says:

    Have 3 CA revolvers, bulldog DAO 44 spcl, lavender lady .38,
    On duty alum 38.
    Bulldog: cylinder would not open. Fixed it myself, repaired
    the cylinder lock release screw. Crummy trigger.

    Lavender lady: occasionally locks up while firing DA.
    On Duty: same. Excessive cylinder wobble, timing problem.

    The cylinder lock is poorly designed, weak, thin, not conducive to confidence. Cylinder does not always lock
    When cocked single action (lock/ timing issue).
    Forcing cone area is very thin by comparison.
    Alongside the competition including Rossi, S&W, Ruger, ect, these guns are NOT for a life preservation scenario, they
    belong in the entertainment category only , should be delivered in a box of cereal or coated popcorn snack. I will not rely on a CA weapon to save my life…..
    Take a good look at a S&W 637 – or 638 and the difference becomes very clear. What’s YOUR life worth?

  38. George says:

    I just bought the Charter Arms On Duty 44 Special & can’t wait for it to come in. I am a collector, shooter, (some Cowboy Action, too) and loved the feel of this model when I held it in the NRA Convention in Houston last year. George

  39. Thomas says:

    I purchased a used Charter Arms Bulldog pug .44 special, I have a very difficult time opening the cylinder, I have to hit the weapon with my fist to open the cylinder, is this common with this weapon ? I am thinking about shipping it back to Charter Arms, I was informed that there is an additional service charger of $49.00 if the weapon was made at one of Charter Arms earlier locations other than Shelton Conn.which mine was made in Stratford Conn., is this a common problem with this weapon difficult to open up cylinder ?

  40. kirk says:

    Ordered a Pitbull .40 from my local Gander Mountain. It took 10 weeks to arrive in November, 2015.
    I have taken it to the range twice. At 7 yards it shoots 4-5 inches to the left. the front sight is bent.
    The bottom of the trigger wraps around the bottom of my finger and is so sharp that it has cut deeply both times I have taken it to the range.
    Also, 2 of the little metal gizmos that allow the star extractor to pull the empty casings out of the cylinder have fallen out and are lost.
    I am sending it back for repair this week.

  41. Jerry says:

    I’ve noticed that a great many of the older undercover .38s that are used models for sale on the net and at gun shows have the nut,sleeve, and spring on the ejector rod missing. The sleeve is an important part as it “locks” the cylinder into the frame. Replacement parts are about $40 from Charter Arms(seems like a lot to me). A drop of locktight on the nut would have solved this problem.

  42. Bob Wilkins says:

    Personally, as a Smith, Colt, Glock, Ruger owner and shooter, of now 5 decades experience, a reloader since then, military, unrepentant tinkerer/builder/repairer, and someone who has always had a lifetime love affair with big bore revolvers and autos, but have also come to love plastic such as my G17 and G43…. i gotta say i adore my .44 Boomer, which, which minus ports, and if trigger guard cut away, would be the closest anyone has ever offered to a Fitz Special factory offering. The ports help greatly, along with their black banana rubber uglies, in reducing the pounding to web and base joint of thumb, the gun as accurate as anyone can point and shoot DA, and very reasonable weight and smoothness modern DA pull, and leverage which i far prefer over a J-frame, even my older nicer ones. A great belly gun.

    The frame and cylinder, in a matte stainless which somewhat disguises not a lot of spit and polish, is still far better than many rough imports and domestics i have seen over the years, and who else makes a 17oz .44 Special sub-2″ radical tapered pencil barrel snubbie for under $400? Raise your hand….

    It sets the clock back to the 1930s with chopped and channeled Colt DA big bores, or, even the Webley/Trantor 1800s…and they all say the same thing….they say, “Get the $!#! off me!!” with the authority only a big bullet can muster….

    pretty much a .45ACP snubbie in effect, and i am happy shooting wide flat point round nose cowboy loads at 725fps with 200gr bullets doing old Russian or American velocities with that weight and meplat. The entire point of a handgun is not to blow opponents to pieces scattered over a city block, but simply to make someone stop doing what they were doing to warrant being shot in the first place, and i warrant a 200gr .44 slug at 700fps will do just that, serious behavior modification.

  43. willie says:

    alas, i have to report that my Pitbull 9mm had to go back to Charter right away after a single range session… i’ll report on how the fix went… kinda disappointed as my two other Charters run well… oh well, it happens…

  44. Wayne says:

    Bought a pit-bull .45 … had an issue with the cylinder not rotating occasionally. I wonder if retailer knew there was a problem with gun as he checked the serial number & then offered to take $40 off the price. Charter fixed problem quickly. Pulling the hammer back it now has a different feel. I am 100% satisfied now, gun is functioning perfectly now.

  45. willie says:

    my 9mm Pitbull was returned from Charter with a new crane… the original had terrible machining – the cylinder lockup and light strike issues were fixed… however, one would be advised to always check the position and tightness of the crane, cylinder latch release, and cylinder latch screws… the cylinder latch release and cylinder latch screws should be seated with a moderately strong threadlocker

    my high-polish .38 undercover on the other hand, is wonderfully balanced, lightweight, and accurate with a smooth double action – and best of all, doesn’t have a Hillary hole!

    i think Charter needs to invest in a quality control officer, and write better tolerance into contracts and enforce contracts for quality of work

  46. Frank says:

    FFWD to March 2019. My CA Bulldog, which I acquired Jan 2 2019, is about to go back to the factory for the second time.

    1st time: Locked up after firing 20 rounds during a CCW course that I paid for. The cylinder release screw backed out. Money lost. Had to ship partially disassembled gun back to CA. They covered shipping both ways

    2nd time, last Friday March 8, I’ve had about 300 rounds through the gun. I was dry firing it with snap caps when it locked up again. The trigger pivots but the action won’t cycle and the cylinder won’t open. Took a video and emailed it to CA and posted on their FB page. It seemed to have gotten their PR person’s attention and she messaged me on a weekend. I don’t doubt that they will take care of it but it seems that nothing has changed despite all the talk about improved quality under the new ownership.

  47. Marcello T says:

    Disappointed that no one makes a circular speed loader for 9mm Pitbull plus haven’t been able to find a kyndex holster for it . The problem is it’s not a J Frame.

  48. Jeff says:

    Bought a new Charter Bull Dog in 9mm. First time to range had 1 misfire, 2 fires then the cylinder locked up with 2 active rounds in the cylinder. Rubbish!

  49. Seth E Burgin says:

    My first foray into uncharted Charter Arms territory was a 9x19mm Parabellum Pitbull. The gun had an obviously bent crane, and I bought it an auction, so I sheepishly sent a picture to Charter arms and a description of the problem. A postage paid box arrived 4 days later. The gun was back with a new crane within a couple of weeks. That was impressive, as the gun returned fully functional and it wasn’t shaving lead. As for locked up cylinders, sometimes the projectiles creep and sometimes screws back out, but any gunsmith is just going to grab a rubber, acrylic or a butylate tipped hammer and knock it open while holding the latch open. A couple of drops of this green Japanese ThreeBond green thread locker I have in metal cans and any screws and or pins stop will trying to back out. When my neighbor’s 6’5″ tall violent felon son got out of prison I bought another Pitbull only chambered in .40S&W. Then I got the .45 ACP. These guns are great for my mom. The double action trigger pull is actually VERY GOOD. It’s not great, but mom can shoot good S&W revolvers, my old DA Colt revolvers and Charter Arms. The Kimber was a massively huge failure for her arthritis and so was Taurus, of course, but a spring kit and some minor filing & honing will tune up any wheel gun, even a Taurus. $800+ for a Kimber with a super sh**ty Taurus heavy trigger? MAJOR PASS! If you have not had a cylinder lock up on a wheel gun, you haven’t done enough shooting with’em yet. Often times it’s just the ammo. I get out an old Plumb Lucite head hammer, hold the latch open, and knock the cylinder open and or out. Charter Arms has been great with honoring their warranties, and Taurus is about the same as far as having a genuine good lifetime warranty. Try sending a Smith & Wesson with a canted barrel back to Smith & Wesson. They will twist the barrel so the sights are straight again but then the slab sides on the barrel are canted off to one side. That was a very nice “F’k you a**hole, now go away!” from S&W. At least Charter Arms will put a new barrel on the gun. The Charter Arms guns also actually have a really great natural point of aim for a wheel gun, and a desent trigger. They somehow just nailed it for whatever is in between my shoulders and my finger tips, anyway. I have gotten some real factory made turds from S&W & Colt (and Kimber) and it’s Kimber, S&W and Colt, not Charter Arms. S&W and or Colt don’t honor jack squat if they don’t want to. You can pay them far out the wazoo to fix stuff, but I can also pay Magnum Mike down the street to do a better job than Smith & Wesson or Colt. Colt is about the same for warranty SOL hell as S&W is. I hope CZ will put Colt back on track again.

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