Handloader|December - January 2020
Brian Pearce

In spite of advancements and the widespread popularity of autoloading pistol designs in the past few decades, the demand for double-action revolvers remains strong. One example is the Charter Arms Pitbull .45 ACP, which is a medium frame, five-shot revolver with a 2.5-inch (actually 2.460) barrel and is stainless steel. It offers a modest price, reliability and is manufactured in the U.S. For this review, several hundred rounds were fired and it functioned flawlessly throughout.

Charter Arms began producing firearms in 1964 with manufacturing located in Stratford, Connecticut. Its first gun was the Undercover, a small frame, fiveshot double-action revolver chambered in .38 Special that competed directly with the Smith & Wesson (S&W) Chief Special Model 36, but at a notably lower price. The company enjoyed considerable success and soon introduced additional models that included the Pathfinder .22, Bulldog .44 Special and many others. For various reasons, the company ultimately moved operations to Ansonia, Connecticut, and unfortunately closed its doors in 1991.

Beginning in 1998, Charter 2000, Inc., began producing guns, but today it’s known as Charter Arms, and guns are produced in Shelton, Connecticut. While the basic design is very similar to the original, there are minor design changes, along with many new models that are chambered in a variety of calibers that range from .22 Long Rifle to .45 ACP. There are many finish options, colors, etc., and even lightweight alloy frame variants.

As indicated, this review is of the Pitbull chambered in .45 ACP, a potent and effective so-called snub-nose revolver. With so many excellent self-defense loads available for this cartridge, it makes perfect sense. Even if premium loads are not readily available, run-of-the-mill loads are still effective due to the large caliber and bullet weight associated with the .45.

The Pitbull is offered in several configurations, finishes and fixed or adjustable sights. In addition to the .45 ACP, it is chambered in .380 Auto, 9mm Luger and .40 S&W. Naturally, it can be fired in either single-action or double-action modes.

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