Charter arms 38 spl Opinions


July 11, 2014, 07:59 PM

My wife is looking for a new handgun since her Remington R51 is never coming back, we decided to take the refund after they had it for almost 4 months :fire:. Anyways she really like the look and feel on the chic lady, its the pink lady but with chrome. It is very light, but I am not sure on how fun it will be to shoot. any opinions are welcomed.

We are also looking at Kimber Solo and Colt mustang 380.

It is going to be mainly a carry gun, but I like to shoot my carry guns a lot and want her to get in the same habit. So The gun should be at least decent to shoot( 50rds in one sitting).

She is really leaning towards the Chic lady and wants to get a fancy holster with it. This one from Mernickle. Which is fine, I am not one to talk. I have 2 holsters from them, one with stingray and one with snake. I mainly just want to know what others that have experience with the charter arms think.

Also any other pistols we should consider? The R51 was the first pistol she had that she shot very well. She has owned Sig P938 - could not shoot it well, CZ 75-01 Duty- too big, bodyguard - too tough of a trigger. All she did not like. For some reason the R51 work great for her, when it didn't have FTE, FTF, and so on.

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July 11, 2014, 09:02 PM
The pinky-hanger will beat you up on the range. It might turn her off of range time.

I have a CA Undercover, and the wife has a S&W 637. We ended up adding larger grips to the S&W to make it more tolerable on the range. It still conceals well. The Undercover came with larger grips, so from that standpoint they're now about the same. We shoot them enough to keep in practice, but neither of them is fun to shoot.

The S&W is definiitely the more refined revolver - smoother trigger, better fit, etc. The price difference even with aftermarket grips is small enough that I openly admit that I should have gotten a S&W instead.

July 11, 2014, 09:13 PM
I'm not going to knock the Charter Arms line I have considered them myself for carry/truck gun.There's a lot of choices for snub nose revolvers today i personally carry a J frame Smith and love it !Wts I've owned Rugers (LCR ,SP 101) and Colts and IMO they are better choices for the long hall again that's not to say Charter, Rossi or Taurus are bad but just not built for a life time just my opinion .

July 11, 2014, 10:27 PM
What about the STI Elektra in 9mm? I know its 3 times the price of the charter arms.

Nick Burkhardt
July 12, 2014, 07:01 AM
Try the Ruger LCR trigger and don't look back.

July 12, 2014, 09:05 AM
If she has the option of renting or trying guns, I would compair the SP101, LCR357, and booth steel and airweight J-Frames. The SP101 is heavy but soaks up 38 recoil very well. The LCR357 has the best trigger is light but the extra weight of the 357 gun dampens 38 recoil better than the 38. Tthehe J-Frames are great for concealment, you can change grips for exstensive range practice, and change back for carry if need be. The heavyer J-Frame will be better for recoil and the lighter better for carry. I rotate between heavy and light. Light for the pocket heavy in the waist or light for both. I carry Two every day.

July 12, 2014, 09:21 AM
+1 to Haywood's reply.

Any .38 snub is going to have a sharp recoil. Try before you buy to make sure it's not a "one and done" experience for her. Yes, heavier, is better for soaking up recoil, but not so much for carry. Make sure she's OK with the heavy DA trigger pull.

If she liked the R51, I would suggest looking at similarly sized autos.

Remember: Her gun. Her choice.
You just write the check ;)

July 12, 2014, 12:17 PM
Here is my wife's Lady Chic. Notice that she did away with the stock grips that beat her hand up badly. She added a pink paddle holster and pink earmuffs to complete her set-up. She loves the gun and seldom leaves home without it. (

July 12, 2014, 06:07 PM
I've fired a lot of snubs, 38's and .357's. And given the fact everyone has a different level of sensitivity to recoil, I still don't personally find a stout 38 load to produce an uncomfortable level of recoil from any steel frame revolver. The ultra light aluminum alloys can be snappy for me though. But a J frame is truly comfortable for me to shoot all day long with 125 gr. +p loads, and I'm a very small man of only 115 - 120 lbs..

Just my .02


July 12, 2014, 10:38 PM
I carry a S&W M442 daily and that works for me. I see nothing wrong with the current Charter Arms handguns either now that the Ecker family is back leading the company. If she looking for a semi-auto I highly recommend the SIG P238 in .380 Auto or the P938 in 9mm.

David E
July 13, 2014, 12:31 PM
Load choice matters. Get her acquainted with the .38 with 148 grain target wadcutters or equivalent handload.

July 13, 2014, 01:51 PM
When it comes to revolvers I'd stick with S&W or Ruger...just my honest opinion...

July 14, 2014, 09:31 PM
The CA is a very capable gun. If she likes it she may find it easier to carry all the time. It handles recoil well enough for SD and range time if she shoots regular loads at the range. +P loads at the range may keep her under 50 rounds but all light weight snubbies react the same way. If that's what she wants, then she should get it because it does the job.

July 15, 2014, 11:13 AM
A Charter Undercover Southpaw is my primary carry gun. I love it. It's accurate at ranges up to 25 yards. It's not too large for concealment, and it don't weigh down my belt.

July 15, 2014, 11:44 AM
I know you said that she couldn't shoot the SIG P938 well, but I suggest that she try a P238 HD -- the all-steel model. With standard .380 loads, that is the lightest-recoiling centerfire handgun I have ever shot.

July 15, 2014, 06:10 PM
as with any light weight snubby, it is best to use target loads for practice when the novice is involved.

July 15, 2014, 06:18 PM
I like CA products.The new ones have smooth/decent triggers.They are certainly accurate,better than some recent S&W revolvers I purchased.The much older ones from the 1960s and 70s are GTG.The ones to look out for are the CHARCO and Charter 2000 era guns,spotty QC.

July 15, 2014, 09:04 PM
I got an old Charter Undercover and it is Great. Rock Island makes a Smith Clone.

July 15, 2014, 09:27 PM
just buy it if you like it. nothing wrong with it.

July 15, 2014, 10:21 PM
Thanks for all of the replies. I am going to have my LGS hold the charter arms for my wife until Remington sends the refund for the R51.

July 16, 2014, 01:47 AM
Thanks for all of the replies. I am going to have my LGS hold the charter arms for my wife until Remington sends the refund for the R51.
Good for you.

Don't forget to post pictures when you bring it home!

July 16, 2014, 02:26 AM
here is my old school "off duty". if I ever find an old school bulldog locally I will tempt the owner with a nice offer.

July 16, 2014, 05:44 AM
I've had several of the Charter Arms 38's and have liked all of them. Yes, they do kick a bit, especially if you use the small grips. Swap them out for a good set of hand filling neoprene ones and you've got a different gun. Charter sells a good set on their website for about $25.00 if the gun you're looking for doesn't come with them.

July 16, 2014, 07:14 AM
here is my old school "off duty". if I ever find an old school bulldog locally I will tempt the owner with a nice offer.
Don't fear getting a new one. They're actually better, with the front sight integrated into the barrel.

And that lifetime warranty.

July 16, 2014, 10:37 AM
Don't fear getting a new one

+1. I really like my 2011 Bulldog. My only regret is that the black tiger stripe finish came out shortly after I bought.

At only 20 oz, they're a handful with warm loads, but manageable (my carry load is a 210 gr. JHP @ 980 FPS from the 2.5" gun). It's actually quite pleasant with cowboy loads.

July 16, 2014, 11:32 AM
So I went down to the LGS to have them hold it and just decided to buy it. My wife loves it and now thinks I am the best. She shot a few rounds of Winchester PDX defense rounds and she said the kick was not bad at all. Plus she hit the target all 5 times. Its a AR500 buffalo head target 10yds away that measures 15"w and 18"h. She did two single action which both bullets were in the center and almost touching. The other 3 were double action and the groups were much wider be still hits. All in all I am glad that she likes it and can shoot it. I figure for target loads I will load her some 125 or 130grs on the low end.

July 16, 2014, 12:17 PM
Also just ordered her this from Mernickle Holsters. Its stingray

July 16, 2014, 04:40 PM

Hoppes Love Potion
July 17, 2014, 08:24 PM
My wife has a Pink Lady. I consider it total junk and would not trust it for self defense. It broke, we sent it back, it broke the same way the next time it was fired. So now we just look at the pretty colors.

July 18, 2014, 09:29 AM
I have had good luck in the past with Taurus and Charter. After hearing all the bad stories if I buy anymore I will only buy used and require a test run at the Range. My freind just told me about his Charter. It shoots 6" low and the empty brass sticks in the cylinder and has to be pushed out with a lot of force.

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