Charter Arms .38


July 3, 2003, 07:20 PM
I bought myself another snubby yesterday. A buddy had a Charter Arms Undercover in .38 Special he wanted to move. It wasn't shot much before he got it, or while he had it so it looks good.

I stuck it in an Uncle Mike's nylon pocket holster and noticed that it was smaller and conceals better, than the Smith M649 that usually rides in that holster. The grips are small but feel better than the rope-like ones on my old Smith M49.

I haven't shot since it became mine, but when my friend had it I shot it a few times and it was OK.

A range report will follow when I manage to get to the range. :)

If you enjoyed reading about "Charter Arms .38" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 3, 2003, 11:49 PM
You hear occassional bad mouthing of Charter revolvers. But I've owned two (still have one), and both were just fine. Not the sort of handguns you'd expect to run thousands and thousands of rounds through. But as "carry a lot - shoot a little" type guns I think they are perfectly servicable. Practice shooting should probably be limited to standard pressure rounds to extend their useful life. Of course, for a gun intended for shooting under 7 yards - probably not a lot of practice is really necessary. Being able to put the shots in a 6" circle should be sufficient.

I have to agree about the grips. On the newer models I've handled, they seem to fit my hand very well (much better than the S&W's). They're a handy size & weight, seem to have a pretty good trigger - and are a good $200 cheaper than S&W's. They have a new one out called an "Off Duty" with a completely enclosed hammer - and about 12.5 ozs. May be something to consider as an alternative to the ultra-lite S&W's.

July 4, 2003, 12:13 AM
Long time ago I had two, the first was 5 shot, then later the same gun (similar) had 6 holes in cyl. I stashed these in a business( various places). The 5 shot was a better gun, didn't shoot either much, they were for a need we hoped would never occur.

July 4, 2003, 12:34 AM
I haven't shot one yet, but they seem like pretty nice guns at a good price point. Tell us how she shoots ;)

Ala Dan
July 4, 2003, 12:50 AM
Greeting's All-

One of my acquistions from a few years ago was a
Charter Arms Undercover "Off Duty" .38 Special. I
bought in NIB, and for $125.00 it proved to be a
reliable CCW type firearm. I'm sorry to say that I
let an older gentleman beat me out of it, cuz he
had NO form of personal protection.

To sum up, the companys first production guns
were probably their best; at least that is my
opinion. The little "Off Duty" model proved to
be a winner; at just the fraction of the cost of
a new Smith! Wish I had it back~

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Mike Irwin
July 4, 2003, 01:47 AM
The guns put out by the original Charter Arms were good, low-cost handguns, certainly better than Taurus and Rossis of the same time frame.

An Off Duty was my first CCW gun, and served me faithfully for close to 10 years before I got to a point where I could start buying the S&Ws that I wanted.

I've got 3 Charters, the .38 and two .357s, and one of these days I'm going to get one of the .44s.

Go over to TFL and search on my name, charter, and drop test, and you'll see what I did to my Charter to prove a point about revolvers.

July 4, 2003, 11:59 AM
I also have an Off Duty from the original Charter Arms production. The only problem I ever had was that the front sight fell off after a lot of rounds. Guncraft fixed that and it never happened again. It has been reliable and has been a welcome companion on a lot of camping trips. It is now retired in favor of a 642 (better for pocket carry). I am guessing that the new Charter Arms means someone bought the production equipment?

July 4, 2003, 12:05 PM
Off Duty, that sounds right. I later had a BullDog, .44spl. Seems as if the old ones like you guys said were a lot of gun for the money. The two 38s stayed with the business, and I traded the BullDog for a S&W I wanted more.

July 25, 2003, 07:40 PM
I took the Charter Undercover to the range about a week ago but didn't fire it then. I got busy shooting the July Mail-In match and some .22 benchrest for an e-mail match.

I fired it this morning at three yards and 50 feet. At the short distance I shot it two handed and one handed. It shot to point of aim with my 158 grain SWC reloads and shot well enough to please me. I did notice that the back of the trigger guard smacked me in the middle finger a bit.

From 50 feet I got reasonable groups, two and a half or three inches at point of aim, standing two handed. The sights on the Charter are like those on my Colt Cobra, a wide rear notch and a wide, easy to see front blade. Smith should have such good sights.

My 11 year-old son shot it a couple of times at three yards and did OK. He approved of the Charter and the trigger guard didn't smack his finger at all.

I think I'll be looking for a different set of grips for the Undercover.

I should have switched off with the M649 and carried the Charter on they way home but didn't think of it.

July 26, 2003, 02:16 AM
I have owned two Charter Arms snubbies. One was an older Off Duty in SS that was very accurate and well made and the other was a new Charter Arms (not Chartco) Undercover. They were both good but the Off Duty was better. The undercover was solid and dependable but the fit and finish wasn't as nice. I would have felt confident with either one for selfdefense as they are reliable and made well enough to do what they are supposed to do.

I prefer Charter Arms over Taurus and Rossi also.

I recently sold the Off Duty to my friend and wish I had it back. It has close to 2000 rounds through it with about half of them being pretty hot loads. The only problem is once in a while you have to screw the ejector rod back tight because it will loosen up with a lot of shooting. It is still pretty tight and the timing is still perfect. I think they can take a few thousand rounds but I don't see the reason to shoot much more in it. Even the light weight S&W snubbies won't stand up to a huge amount of shooting.

Ruger Redhawk
July 28, 2003, 06:51 PM
I've had a Charter Arms Undercover for years. It use to be my carry gun and later became mainly a Vehicle gun.When I first bought it I shot it often, it was a very reliable and a somewhat accurate little gun.I still have it but it's semi retired now. It's in a night stand waiting to come out of retirement if necessary. For the money they're not a bad gun for occasional shooting.
Ruger Redhawk

October 3, 2010, 07:16 PM
I bought the Pink Lady for my wife, But the grips are a bit too big for her little hands. I'm trying to find grips that would fit it for her hands. What would the .38 undercover be conidered for a frame? I'm not a revolver guy, but I've heard of different frame styles.

October 3, 2010, 07:58 PM
I can;pt speak to the .38, but have owned a new production CA Bulldog Pug for a couple of years now. It has over 2350 rounds though it and is still in fine condition. I'd buy another if I had the need.

Charter Arms became Charco and Charter 2000 under different ownership. The new production CA is back under the old ownership and once again producing decent firearms.

October 3, 2010, 08:31 PM
I bought a Charter Arms On Duty with a hammer shroud. Since leg problems from diabetes I carry in a leather vest that looks like a ranchers go to town dressup special. After a bout 1500 rounds through it I was given a purple Charter Arms same weight and started dropping it into the gun pocket on the strong side. First gun comes out of weak side pocket in cross draw while left hand is taking out purple gun. Drop first gun after five and take second gun in right hand. You might call this a New York reload. My borther in law calls it the Arizona transfer. Over 3000 rounds total through both guns, no failures.


October 4, 2010, 11:55 AM
CA has a good reputation as a solid gun among my "people"

My preferences are to old smiths and colts but I do not look at one with a CA as being poorly armed.

If you enjoyed reading about "Charter Arms .38" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!