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Old August 18, 2021, 12:23 PM   #1
Super Sneaky Steve
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11 Reasons My Charter Arms is Better Than Your Smith & Wesson

1. No frame lock.
No one likes a frame lock. They are ugly and useless at best. At their worst they can lock up your gun. Now this occurrence may be rare but it has happened before.

2. Only 1 grip style.
Grip frames are the same for every model of ever year. So if you want big grips or small grips, wood grips or rubber grips, they all fit. Try finding a rubber boot grip for your N frame. Can't do it! I tried. S&W decided to make all grip frames just a little different so you can't put your favorite grips on the gun you want. Lame.

3. Grip frame material.
CA offers polymer, aluminum and stainless steel. People make good arguments for all three. With CA you can get what you want, they are easy to swap out and replace, with S&W you get what they give you.

4. 8 grove barrel.
8 is better than 6. Even my 5 year old knows that. Less bullet deformation and better accuracy with the CA.

5. Lock up.
The CA will lock up on the crane. S&W will put a ball detent on some of their fancy N frames but not on any of their J or K fames. CA does it better.

6. Simple Design
CA revolvers have fewer moving parts and a solid frame without a sideplate. This allows lighter revolvers without using exotic materials or forged frames which are very expensive.

7. Cost
You can buy 3 Charters for the cost of 1 Smith in most cases. This is huge!

8. Caliber
Charter offers many models in 44 spl and 32 magnum. Two of the best calibers out there. Smith has a few big expensive 44 Magnums that run well north of $1000 that are too big and too heavy. They run on L and N frames. Charter makes them light and compact. Smith also has nothing in .32 and on the used marked these guns go for ridiculous prices.

9. Trigger
Charter polishes all their sears at no extra cost. S&W will only do this on their performance center line for extra $$$. I own many Smiths and my Charter is just better out of the box.

10. Lock Time
Charters have shorter hammer throws and decreased lock time which means you can shoot your CA better!

11. Lifetime Guarantee
Yes, I know Smith will most likely take care of their messed up guns but they don't have to. Charter puts it in writing. They slap a sticker on the box so you don't forget. American made, American parts, Guaranteed for Life!
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Old August 18, 2021, 12:43 PM   #2
mk70ss
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I don’t know about better…but Charter Arms makes some damn nice little guns. I had a 70’s vintage Bulldog .44 I loved. I still have a 70’s vintage Pathfinder 3 inch .22 that is my truck gun. Neither one ever gave any problems.
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Old August 18, 2021, 12:53 PM   #3
Super Sneaky Steve
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I'll post a review of my Police Undercover soon. It surprised me in many ways.
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Old August 18, 2021, 03:37 PM   #4
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While you may like your Charter Arms, let me ask just one question:

Can you tell me about the models they offer with adjustable sights?

Thank you.
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Old August 18, 2021, 03:46 PM   #5
Pumpkin
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More crappy Smiths for the rest of us
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Old August 18, 2021, 04:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Can you tell me about the models they offer with adjustable sights?
A quick look at the website and it looks like there are several models from 22lr, 22mag, 357 mag and 44 spl..... nowhere near as many as S&W, but it covers a good range if you so desire an adjustable sight.
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Old August 18, 2021, 05:12 PM   #7
Super Sneaky Steve
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I wish they would offer more models with adjustable sights. There's a few guns that come to mind that shoot a little low with standard velocity stuff like The Professional and The Boxer. With adjustable sights I'd pick up a Professional in .32 Mag right now.
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Old August 18, 2021, 05:16 PM   #8
BornFighting88
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I was just looking at a Charter Arms "Professional" for the little lady in 32 cal. The review that gun rags and internet spotlights are giving this thing make me want to just (forgive the pun) pull the trigger on the purchase.

That said....

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will replace a glassy-triggered 686, hence the post Pumpkin made. Very good, sir!!

Six of one, five dozen of the other, I guess...
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Old August 18, 2021, 08:10 PM   #9
wild cat mccane
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Without a doubt, Charter Arms, their entire line up, has the ugliest guns on the market.

Absolutely nothing to them is aesthetically pleasing. Everything is portioned wrong. Barrels always look too short, cylinders look huge, grip is huge, frame is too small.

Glad you like yours. However, given the point to push your opinion...here's mine. No gun looks uglier than any gun from Charter Arms.

I would take 30 T-Lock holes all over one S&W than pick a Charter Arms as pleasant to look at, regarding #1.
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Old August 18, 2021, 08:30 PM   #10
lee n. field
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Sneaky Steve View Post
1. No frame lock.
No one likes a frame lock. They are ugly and useless at best. At their worst they can lock up your gun. Now this occurrence may be rare but it has happened before.
.....

5. Lock up.
The CA will lock up on the crane. S&W will put a ball detent on some of their fancy N frames but not on any of their J or K fames. CA does it better.
A spring loaded sleeve on the ejector rod, locks into a recess in the frame. It is slick.

Quote:
6. Simple Design
CA revolvers have fewer moving parts and a solid frame without a sideplate. This allows lighter revolvers without using exotic materials or forged frames which are very expensive.
Ehhh, OK. The trigger, and the bits associated with it, are a screaming royal bother to reinstall when you need to remove them. That's a downside of the no sideplate design (at least, the way Charter has done theirs).

I look at the Ruger LCR, and think "there's the Charter idea, done right."

Quote:
8. Caliber
Charter offers many models in 44 spl and 32 magnum. Two of the best calibers out there. Smith has a few big expensive 44 Magnums that run well north of $1000 that are too big and too heavy. They run on L and N frames. Charter makes them light and compact. Smith also has nothing in .32 and on the used marked these guns go for ridiculous
And the .44 Bulldog is one that, so the Internet tells me (YMMV), one with which one ought not to give free reign to their inner Elmer Keith. Keep the loads on the light side.

Quote:
11. Lifetime Guarantee
Yes, I know Smith will most likely take care of their messed up guns but they don't have to. Charter puts it in writing. They slap a sticker on the box so you don't forget. American made, American parts, Guaranteed for Life!
Lots of companies do this. Yes, Charter's support tends to be pretty good.
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Last edited by lee n. field; August 19, 2021 at 08:11 AM.
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Old August 18, 2021, 08:38 PM   #11
bedbugbilly
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I never knock an individual/s firearm preference - to each their own - some like apples and some like oranges.

I have never owned a CA nor shot one in the nearly 60 years I've been shooting - know some have 'em and some like them OK.

Better? That's something that is kind of up to the eyes of the beholder. My 70 year old Smith & Wesson M & P 5" K frame is a smooth shooter, accurate and will keep going for another generation when it is time for me to pass it on. It has served me well for many years so really no need to give it up for a new revolver. Looking at your list of "better" things kind of reminds me of when I stopped to talk with a neighboring farmer and he started telling me how his breeding bull was so much better than mine. I listened to him rattle off all the things that made his bull better 'til I finally had to put a stop to his preaching by holding my hand up and asking a simple question: "What difference does it make? They both get the job done."

Seriously though - enjoy your CAs and have fun - that's what it's all about..
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Old August 18, 2021, 08:43 PM   #12
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I'm convinced. I'm going out to buy a Charter right now! Wait... I've never seen one, ever, at any LGS or local gun show. Availability... advantage: Smith.
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Old August 18, 2021, 08:59 PM   #13
Bill DeShivs
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Charter actually makes very nice guns.
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Old August 18, 2021, 09:50 PM   #14
kenny53
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I have never owned a Charter Arms but handled a couple in my LGS and found them to be solid and surprisingly smooth. I would not be ashamed to own one but given the choice I might go with a Smith.
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Old August 19, 2021, 02:00 AM   #15
Carl the Floor Walker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenny53 View Post
I have never owned a Charter Arms but handled a couple in my LGS and found them to be solid and surprisingly smooth. I would not be ashamed to own one but given the choice I might go with a Smith.
Same here. Never shot one, and personally do not like to disparage any gun I am not familiar with or owned. As a RO for many years, I have seen my share. They have been around for years and folks like them. I personally own a Smith 642 and some Rugers. The Smith is a great little carry. Shoots just fine.

Many of gun forums enjoy putting down this or that weapon. Perhaps maybe not focusing on which is better but focusing on shooting skills and defense skills would be a more sensible discussion.
It is not about the Charter Arms revolver or the Smith. It is about the person behind it that really matters.
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Old August 19, 2021, 07:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
5. Lock up.
The CA will lock up on the crane. S&W will put a ball detent on some of their fancy N frames but not on any of their J or K fames. CA does it better.
My Model 19-9 has a ball detent on the crane. That's a K-frame.



Seen here, that little silver piece is a spring loaded ball that locks into a recess on the crane. I'm not sure what other S&W's have it, but it stands to reason at least the current Model 66 (stainless version of the 19-9) has it also.

Having said that I won't dispute that Charter makes a pretty decent gun. I've owned I don't know how many over the years, but I've gradually weeded them all out over time. They're OK, but not really my cup of tea.
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Old August 19, 2021, 07:39 AM   #17
lee n. field
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Originally Posted by CajunBass View Post
My Model 19-9 has a ball detent on the crane. That's a K-frame.

Seen here, that little silver piece is a spring loaded ball that locks into a recess on the crane. I'm not sure what other S&W's have it, but it stands to reason at least the current Model 66 (stainless version of the 19-9) has it also.

Having said that I won't dispute that Charter makes a pretty decent gun. I've owned I don't know how many over the years, but I've gradually weeded them all out over time. They're OK, but not really my cup of tea.
That would be the current Model 19. Putting it there is how they fixed the need to have a flat spot on the forcing cone, which was a weak spot. Prior to that, there was nothing like this on a factory K frame, to my knowledge.

Charters do the cylinder lockup in a quite different way that is very solid.
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Old August 19, 2021, 08:53 AM   #18
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I’ll play… personally, I’m not a fan of .32 Magnum. The Charter Arms allure isn’t that huge for me, and I like the S&Ws I have… especially the one that S&W didn’t really produce, other than a one off prototype (9mm Airweight, which I carry A LOT). So, someone’s pious opinion on Charter Arms revolvers doesn’t mean that much to me when I value different factors. Sorry, but not sorry.

That being said, I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade. If you like Charter Arms, I say buy and carry them. But I don’t see it to be making friends/gaining support when you start the “us verses them” debate. Easier for people to support your cause when they aren’t being judged for their purchasing decisions.

On a more pro-Charter Arms view, I have been looking for a 3” Bulldog in .44 Special. Blued with wood grips, and not one of the new production ones. Mainly, I have a few oddities in my collection… and a David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) gun would be neat.
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Old August 19, 2021, 09:05 AM   #19
Mike Irwin
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My first carry gun was a Charter Arms Off Duty .38 snub.

First generation, from the original company.

My Dad had one of the Bulldog trackers in .357 with a 2.5" barrel, Mom had a 4" Bulldog tracker.

All three were decent guns. Not great guns.

I still have my Off Duty and I have my Dad's 2.5". My Brother has the 4"

The 2.5" has an issue with the trigger that's going to require my replacing the trigger to fix it. I'd say that the trigger mechanism wasn't properly hardened when it was manufactured and it's badly peined and worn. No fixing it.

Not a problem, really. I have 7 Smith & Wesson .357 Magnums, and none of them has a trigger problem.

That said, I still have a very soft spot in my heart for the original Charter firearms.
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Old August 19, 2021, 09:21 AM   #20
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Gotta love SSS and his "My xxx is Better Than Your xxx" posts. Completely unbiased.

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Old August 19, 2021, 09:23 AM   #21
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I have 5 45 ACP revolvers. The only one I'd sell is the CA Pitbull. The quality is a step or 2 below anything S&W has ever done. It's an OK gun, but to claim it's better does not match my experience.

Sharp edges everywhere, poor trigger pull, terrible sights, worse accuracy, cylinder release feels flimsy. On top of that I find it much easier to use moonclips versus trying to get rounds in and out of the Pitbull.

3 Charters for the price of 1 Smith? You can get Smith 442 for a little over $400.
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Old August 19, 2021, 09:45 AM   #22
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1. Not a fan of the Smith lock. Therefore, I don't own one.
2. Had a Charter, years ago. Couldn't afford a Smith, got a used Charter.
Nothing special about it. .38Spl, 4", blue. It went bang, every time and hit where it was supposed to. NOBODY drooled, wanted to fondle or shoot it. I traded it off. No regrets, barely remember anything about it, like a wooden handle, claw hammer. It got er done,
3. You like (insert anything), enjoy it. Variety makes the world round.

Made a trip to the range. Happened to carry a couple of Browning lever guns, BL-22 .22LR and B-92 .44Mag.

Another shooter arrived. He had 2 Henry's, .22LR and .45C. He went on and on about Henry being THE BEST LEVER GUN. Henry was NEW and sold almost as soon as they hit the shelves. No such thing as a used one.

We chatted some. He was a really nice guy. Admitted he had never owned or shot any other lever guns. I expressed a desire in having a Henry, someday. I offered to have let him shoot mine. He took my offer and let me shoot his.

Afterwards, he says, " dang it, now I will be looking for some Browning's. "
I laughed. I ended up getting a Henry .45C.
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Old August 19, 2021, 11:34 AM   #23
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Many moons ago I had a SS Charter Bulldog 44 spl with a tapered barrel.
I really liked that little gun bur always considered it a step between an H&R and a Colt, Ruger, Smith. The last 3 I have owned in various models and have completely disassembled at least 3 of each brand. I would never take an H&R or CA down all the way, I couldn't keep up with all the springs and gizzmos flying across the den All of these makes have their place in the shooting world.
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Old August 19, 2021, 01:03 PM   #24
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11. Lifetime Guarantee
Yes, I know Smith will most likely take care of their messed up guns but they don't have to. Charter puts it in writing. They slap a sticker on the box so you don't forget. American made, American parts, Guaranteed for Life!
This one seems to be pulled from Tommy Boy. Made me smile.
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Old August 19, 2021, 01:10 PM   #25
hub1home
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I had a Charter Undercover that I bought at an auction in the late 1970's. I ended up selling it to a friend in 2005. It was a great gun and the price was even better.
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