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Old 06-19-2017, 09:54 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty  
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Default S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty

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The Smith and Wesson 642 has been my pick as the quintessential go to pocket revolver. Charter Arms has been around to stop the bad guys longer than most people been alive. So how do they stack up? Both are surprisingly quite evenly matched. You might be quite surprised on how these two revolvers stack up to each other.

Both guns have a concealed hammers and both are lightweight easy to conceal and easy to carry revolvers. MSRP is about the same for some reason. Both have a life time warranty. Both guns have many accessories and different grip choices you can go with. By the way I have found that grip choice on these type of revolvers greatly affect how accurate I shoot the guns. I am not going to go into to much detail on that because both revolvers accuracy is pretty much the same with similar grip choice. Im going to cut to the chase. Im not going to go into all the tiny small details. If I did this post would be as long as the movie Titanic. So what are the big major differences?

First off let me get the biggest difference out of the way right now. The S&W 642 has the best trigger work hands down! I can stack up the trigger quite nicely and all the workings of the revolver feels smoother than that of the CA Off Duty. Furthermore the Charter Arms has a major flaw in it's trigger pull. On the CA you must fully release the trigger on follow up shots or you will lock up the trigger workings of the revolver. What does that mean exactly? Is that a major problem for a self defense revolver? Not necessarily! It just means the revolver needs trigger discipline and lots of practice but it is a big enough problem that a new shooter needs to know about it.

With that being said there is some things I do like about the Charter Arms that I dont care for in the S&W and I feel as though the CA is superior to the S&W. The sight picture on the CA is more pronounced and way better than the thin bladed front sight of the S&W. I can pick up the sights faster and put lead on target much faster with the CA because of this. Also the CA has a better finish on it than the S&W. I dont care for the paint they put on the 642. It just does not hold up well at all! The finish will look like a big pile of butt in a can after a few short years of constant carry. Dont say I didnt warn you. Furthermore the stainless steel and anodized aluminum CA seems to hold up much better in the long run. Also I seem to shoot the Charter Arms more accurately with a wide variety of different 38 special. The gun seems to hit at the point of aim with minimal effort. Either two handed or one handed strong handed or weak handed it does not matter! The Charter Arms just shoots well!

My conclusion is well honestly I like both revolvers just as much. The Charter Arms is usually a little cheaper. If I had to choose one that I think is better I would choose an older Smith and Wesson like for example a Model 60 or an old Charter Arms Undercover. So what does all this mean??? Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear. In other words try both revolvers out yourself and make your own determination. Dont believe the hype!

Last edited by dandyrandy; 02-03-2018 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:15 PM
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty  
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I have a Charter "On duty" it has a cockable hammer-weighs 12 ounces-and is rated for +P ammo. My other carry revolver is an early Charter Bulldog 44.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:29 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingflapjack View Post
I have a Charter "On duty" it has a cockable hammer-weighs 12 ounces-and is rated for +P ammo. My other carry revolver is an early Charter Bulldog 44.
Unload show clear than put some empties in that 38 and see if you can replicate the trigger lock up I described earlier. Report back to me ASAP with your findings sir and thanks!
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:37 PM
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i have a charter arms off-duty and a S/W 638 which is the shrouded hammer version of the 642. The 638 has a slightly smoother action but not by much. I much prefer the grips the CA off duty came with and have never changed them...Got half a dozen grips for the 638 and none are as good as the CA grips. The CA is more than 3 ounces lighter and i can tell you that makes a difference as I pocket carry. Both guns have been 100% reliable. The CA is more accurate for me because of those factory grips. Sights on the CA are superior to the sights on the S/W. The CA is only 12 ounces but is all metal and no exotic stuff to worry about what I use to clean it. I really like my S/W 638 but i carry the Charter because its lighter and i shoot it better
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:56 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty  
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Originally Posted by washerman View Post
i have a charter arms off-duty and a S/W 638 which is the shrouded hammer version of the 642. The 638 has a slightly smoother action but not by much. I much prefer the grips the CA off duty came with and have never changed them...Got half a dozen grips for the 638 and none are as good as the CA grips. The CA is more than 3 ounces lighter and i can tell you that makes a difference as I pocket carry. Both guns have been 100% reliable. The CA is more accurate for me because of those factory grips. Sights on the CA are superior to the sights on the S/W. The CA is only 12 ounces but is all metal and no exotic stuff to worry about what I use to clean it. I really like my S/W 638 but i carry the Charter because its lighter and i shoot it better
The only grips that I found to be as close to perfect as possible for the S&W J frame is the pachmayr compact grips. No one likes them because they are the heaviest of the grip options and everyone thinks they are ugly. I could care less about that and I care more about shooting the gun reliable and accurately than what the guns looks like. All other grips are terrible for shooting. Everyone likes the original little bitty S&W and Charter Arms magna grips. They look pretty and the conceal very well but they suck for shooting accurately and they kill your hand after a lot of rounds. I agree Charter Arms has better grips than what is offered for the S&W. Charter makes a sweet set of wood grips the are a little bigger than the magnas but a little smaller and lighter than the pachmayr's. They are as close to perfect as you get.
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:04 PM
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CA was a fairly new entry into the market when I was a young cop in the late '60s, but our range officer would not approve them for off duty/back-up carry.
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:52 AM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingflapjack View Post
I have a Charter "On duty" it has a cockable hammer-weighs 12 ounces-and is rated for +P ammo. My other carry revolver is an early Charter Bulldog 44.
I forgot to mention that... The Charter Arms Off Duty is very lite! Its probably the lightest revolver I have ever held in my hands in 38 special.
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Old 07-02-2017, 12:06 AM
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I have a CA Bulldog .44 SPL. that I carry.but I don't have a 642.I also have two sweet .38 spl +p a 442-2 and 638-3.
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Old 07-02-2017, 06:44 AM
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Charter Arms has a great Customer Service Department.
The charge for a "Action Job" is $49.50
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:43 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyj View Post
Charter Arms has a great Customer Service Department.
The charge for a "Action Job" is $49.50
Thats interesting I didnt know they offered that. You learn something new all the time on this forum.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:18 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty  
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After evaluating both revolvers in the past couple of years of shooting and handling the S&W 642 and Charter Arms Off Duty I have to say the S&W is way better. Mostly because the trigger on the 642 is a MILLION times better! After shooting them both to compare the two the Charter Arms starts to get a feel of last ditch effort blood and guts kind of gun. In other words the Charter is like a trusty but stumburn old ugly mule while the S&W is like a champion thoroughbred race horse! With all that being said I wouldn't hesitate carrying any of these guns for a self defense role.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:50 PM
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I own and shoot both. They each have their pluses and minuses. I like them both and just as likely to have a CA in my pocket as I am a J frame.

I will say my Charter Arm Undercovers are easier to shoot accurately than my J frames.

Today, I have a CA Off Duty with CA Walnut Grips in my pocket. It is a Dandy carry piece. I need to investigate that $49.50 trigger job from CA! That would put it near the top of the list.

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Old 01-28-2018, 11:54 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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I would like to find out about that action job too. 50 bucks for some trigger work done from the factory sounds like a good deal. Especially since most gunsmiths turn there nose up to the Charters.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:21 AM
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When it comes to small frame revolvers, I'll match my M638

or M640

up to any CA. Had a .44 CA bulldog long ago. Not even close to a S&W in any way.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandyrandy View Post
... If I had to choose one that I think is better I would choose an older Smith and Wesson like for example a Model 60 or an old Charter Arms Undercover...
Except for the quote above, I think the OP did a good, objective report on the two revolvers (I have to say though, I have owned two Charter Arms revolvers in the past and never experienced the trigger locking up as he described).

For some reason there is a mind set that the older something is, the better it is. In the case of S&W and CA revolvers, that is not true, and their best revolvers are being made today.

The same is true for the automotive industry.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:47 AM
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I carry my CA Off Duty more than my S&W because it is lighter. Trigger is not as good as S&W but it is acceptable and lighter.
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Old 01-29-2018, 03:15 AM
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I had the opportunity to handle and examine an older Charter Arms Undercover revolver. Seemed like a decent little revolver to me. That being said, I've never personally owned one.
FWIW, years ago Jeff Cooper reported in "Cooper on Handguns", on CA revolvers. He thought the .44 Bulldog was the best concept in pocket revolvers to come along, but reported it was unfortunately produced as a "cheapie". He further expressed the opinion that the CA snubbies were produced to undersell S&W's similar revolvers. He commented on the CA's rough action, crude finish, base pin socketed at only one end, and a yoke design that seriously reduced axial rigidity. Since I have't owned CA products, I don't know if current CA production suffers any of these issues. It does appear that the yoke design Cooper mentioned is the same on current and older CA revolvers.

The current CA revolvers may be fine firearms. But I admit that I have stuck with S&W and Ruger .38 and 9MM revolvers that have served so well for so many years....ymmv
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Old 01-29-2018, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Sear View Post
Except for the quote above, I think the OP did a good, objective report on the two revolvers (I have to say though, I have owned two Charter Arms revolvers in the past and never experienced the trigger locking up as he described).

For some reason there is a mind set that the older something is, the better it is. In the case of S&W and CA revolvers, that is not true, and their best revolvers are being made today.

The same is true for the automotive industry.
This is the truth.

I remember a time in the not too distant past where it was more common than not for a new pistol to need the services of a Gunsmith.

When I was a kid we had a Dad in my neighborhood get 100,000 miles on his mercury. It was a big deal.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:58 AM
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I wanted to address some questions and or concerns about my review of the Charter Off Duty and S&W 642. Some would say that the new revolvers across the board are superior. I find that to be true and false in some regards. So far I have tried out both new and old S&W and Charter revolvers. With that being said the new revolvers do say they can handle hotter loads now. Thats debatable to say the new revolvers are stronger than the old but it does clearly say +p on the 642 barrel and it does not say that on any of my older S&W barrels. So its safe to assume that the new revolvers are designed for higher pressures. That does make them better in my opinion so one point for the new revolvers. Although the older revolvers do seem to have a better fit and finish in some respects as compared to the new revolvers especially when comparing the Charter Arms revolvers. My old trusty Stratford built Charter Off Duty looks to me a better fit and finish than my new Off Duty. By the way I would like to do a comparison of the new Shelton Off Duty and the old Stratford Off Duty. Both ARE different but I digress because this is about the new Off Duty and 642.
WIN_20180203_07_06_47_Pro (2) by dandy, on Flickr
I would like to discuss my bigger issue with the two revolvers and that is the trigger. Clearly the 642 has a better trigger and the Charter has given me this trigger lock up issue that I commented on before. This is the biggest concern for me about Charter revolvers. I have tried to duplicate this problem on my other Charter Arms revolvers and yes my new production 44 Bulldog did lock up on the trigger also. However I have not been able to duplicate this issue on my older Stratford Off Duty revolver. Further evaluation is needed on the Charters.

What does this mean??? Well my double action shots with the Charter can get tricky especially in rapid fire and that is not far from reality in defensive shooting. Make no mistake about it these are defensive, up close and smell there nasty ugly breath, shooting type revolvers and I need all 5 shots! On the other hand with the S&W I do not have to ever worry about that trigger at all. The trigger pull and mechanics are always positive and the same every time. So one smiley face sticker goes to the 642.

In all fairness the Charter Arms revolvers are VERY appealing. One attractive thing about them is the fact they have the same round butt style frame on all there revolvers regardless of caliber and model. What does that mean??? Well that means you are able to put any kind of grip on any of the Charters. My new Off Duty is sporting Crimson Trace laser grips as we speak and I cant wait to test it out! One thumbs up for the Off Duty!

However the Charter you have to watch closer. Screws like to come loose on the CA but on the S&W I dont ever have to worry about that. Though the Charter is easier to work on in my opinion. For example I can change the hammer on my Charter in about 5 minutes but its much more complicated and a headache to do on my S&W. The trade off to this is the S&W is more complicated and I prefer the smoother time tested and proven workings of the S&W more. This also might explain why the Charter has such an atrocious trigger on it because of the simpler mechanics. Though the Charter is easier to work on which one do you think might break faster? You make the call on that but if I was a betting man I would go with the S&W outlasting the Charter.

To conclude further testing needs to be done by me on the Charters, which takes time and money, and I dont have to worry about that with the S&Ws. I know, rely, and trust the 642 plain and simple! Do I trust the Off Duty? Yes as long as you know what your getting into you will be fine after all there is far far worse out there and even though I pick the 642 the Off Duty is a very close second. In the meantime more shooting is in order! Kampai!!!

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Old 02-03-2018, 12:04 PM
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Hah dandyrandy! You can send me my image usage fee later.



Here's the other side of the Model 642 that lives around here.


And, a photo of the revolver with the choice of "totin' " ammo.


At the end of the day I'll take the Smith & Wesson J-Frame rendered in steel over any alloy-framed revolver. Shot a circa 1980 Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special on an occasion years ago and it was alright though not as good as the Smith & Wesson J-Frame. Don't know about current Charter Arms Off Duty.

Don't really care for the Model 642 for that matter. Think they are overrated and oversold. But, my wife came to love the revolver in the photos.

My personal notion of the best 5-shot .38 Special revolver is the Smith & Wesson Model 49 or Model 649.


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Old 02-03-2018, 02:58 PM
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For the past six years my nearly EDC 642 has no finish issues.
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Old 02-03-2018, 03:11 PM
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My 642 (bought in 1994) stays home more often these days and my .44 CA Bulldog takes up the slack. I've had the Bulldog two years now.

I like them both.



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Old 02-03-2018, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock185 View Post
I had the opportunity to handle and examine an older Charter Arms Undercover revolver. Seemed like a decent little revolver to me. That being said, I've never personally owned one.
FWIW, years ago Jeff Cooper reported in "Cooper on Handguns", on CA revolvers. He thought the .44 Bulldog was the best concept in pocket revolvers to come along, but reported it was unfortunately produced as a "cheapie". He further expressed the opinion that the CA snubbies were produced to undersell S&W's similar revolvers. He commented on the CA's rough action, crude finish, base pin socketed at only one end, and a yoke design that seriously reduced axial rigidity. Since I have't owned CA products, I don't know if current CA production suffers any of these issues. It does appear that the yoke design Cooper mentioned is the same on current and older CA revolvers.
DESPITE THE FACT THAT I WAS ENAMORED OF THE CA .44 BULLDOG, I NEVER PURCHASED ONE, NOR WAS I TEMPTED TO......

ALL OF THE GUN WRITERS OF THE TIME, SEEMED TO ECHO COOPER'S OPINION. AS A RESULT, I NEVER DEVIATED FROM THE COLT OR S&W BRANDS, IN MY CHOICE OF REVOLVERS......

NOW, TOO LATE IN MY RUN, AND WITH SO MUCH DEPTH IN MY EXISTING LINE UP, I WILL NEVER OWN A CA FIREARM......

IF I WAS A YOUNGER MAN, EARLY ON IN HIS GAME, I WOULD CERTAINLY GIVE CHARTER ARMS A TRY.......
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Old 02-03-2018, 03:54 PM
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You're probably about my age (74)...never to late to play a hand or two in the game.

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Old 02-03-2018, 05:00 PM
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On an Undercoverette, Police Undercover and a Pathfinder the lockup is quite similar to my M640 and M642. With 50 percent or less trigger release there is free movement of the trigger, at 55 to 60 percent release pulling the trigger will advance the cylinder but not fire, at 65-70 percent it will not move at all but if you release and pull it will advance and fire. Over 75-80 percent everything is normal. This was only five guns YMMV.

C****** A**** revolvers IMHO function every bit as well as the Smiths which I prefer.

With the exception of a Stainless Steel .327 Patriot which had the fit and finish if a Smith (and a matching price tag) they did not have the fit and finish of a steel frsm S&W. (I prefer the steel frames.)

I think CAs occupy an important place in the market. For the difference in cost at a LGS, compared to a comperable Smith a newcomer or someone on a limited budget can obtain a decent CA and 10 to 15 boxes of ammo to help them become proficient in its use.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:17 PM
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I saw so many charter arms needed repair during my time working at the gun store. I personally wouldnt trust them.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:27 PM
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I noticed no one has mentioned the trigger problem on the Charter Arms that I mentioned above.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
Hah dandyrandy! You can send me my image usage fee later.



Here's the other side of the Model 642 that lives around here.


And, a photo of the revolver with the choice of "totin' " ammo.


At the end of the day I'll take the Smith & Wesson J-Frame rendered in steel over any alloy-framed revolver. Shot a circa 1980 Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special on an occasion years ago and it was alright though not as good as the Smith & Wesson J-Frame. Don't know about current Charter Arms Off Duty.

Don't really care for the Model 642 for that matter. Think they are overrated and oversold. But, my wife came to love the revolver in the photos.

My personal notion of the best 5-shot .38 Special revolver is the Smith & Wesson Model 49 or Model 649.

Naw Im good on that and too heavy on the above stated all steel models. Especially when there is similar size 9s or 380s that are probably a lot lighter and carry more ammo.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomkinsSP View Post
On an Undercoverette, Police Undercover and a Pathfinder the lockup is quite similar to my M640 and M642. With 50 percent or less trigger release there is free movement of the trigger, at 55 to 60 percent release pulling the trigger will advance the cylinder but not fire, at 65-70 percent it will not move at all but if you release and pull it will advance and fire. Over 75-80 percent everything is normal. This was only five guns YMMV.

C****** A**** revolvers IMHO function every bit as well as the Smiths which I prefer.

With the exception of a Stainless Steel .327 Patriot which had the fit and finish if a Smith (and a matching price tag) they did not have the fit and finish of a steel frsm S&W. (I prefer the steel frames.)

I think CAs occupy an important place in the market. For the difference in cost at a LGS, compared to a comperable Smith a newcomer or someone on a limited budget can obtain a decent CA and 10 to 15 boxes of ammo to help them become proficient in its use.
I tried out all my Charters and it looks like ALL of them present the same double action trigger issue for me. I will try out my S&W and see if there is a similar trigger issue when shooting. I doubt it though. Im thinking that comparing the two I am going to come to the same conclusion that they are both very different.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Old cop View Post
CA was a fairly new entry into the market when I was a young cop in the late '60s, but our range officer would not approve them for off duty/back-up carry.
Did he say why?

As for the the trigger "issue" it probably wouldn't affect me as I am a full release guy with almost every gun I have.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:07 PM
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I don't know all that's been said above but, I have 2 of each and as far as CCW? the 642 wins.
I like them both and feel well protected by either, but the 642 is the easier to conceal.
At the range that either are made for, there's not much difference,

Last edited by Jessie; 02-03-2018 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandyrandy View Post
I noticed no one has mentioned the trigger problem on the Charter Arms that I mentioned above.
i have 3 charter arms revolvers...been shooting them for years....never had a trigger issue...not one...ever
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  #33  
Old 02-03-2018, 10:16 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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Originally Posted by comiskeybum View Post
I saw so many charter arms needed repair during my time working at the gun store. I personally wouldnt trust them.
I feel you on that and thats why Im doing this to see if those concerns are valid.
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  #34  
Old 02-03-2018, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by washerman View Post
i have 3 charter arms revolvers...been shooting them for years....never had a trigger issue...not one...ever
On the Charters there is an very audible and felt in the shooting finger click at the very end of trigger release that gives a false positive and it is VERY close to actual full trigger release.
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  #35  
Old 02-03-2018, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STCM(SW) View Post
When it comes to small frame revolvers, I'll match my M638

or M640

up to any CA. Had a .44 CA bulldog long ago. Not even close to a S&W in any way.
I liked my 638 a lot but the internal lock bothered me to much so I had to send it on down the road and the all steel S&Ws feel to heavy in my pocket for my taste. They all stayed at home because of that and thats does me no good.
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  #36  
Old 02-03-2018, 11:13 PM
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty  
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Originally Posted by Cocked & Locked View Post
Image Usage Fee...good idea. I've had that happen several times myself.




Meanwhile...

My 642 (bought in 1994) stays home more often these days and my .44 CA Bulldog takes up the slack. I've had the Bulldog two years now.

I like them both.





I carry those two a lot. Love em both! Did you shine up the cylinder on that 642 or is that from wear?
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  #37  
Old 02-04-2018, 07:19 AM
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This has been my side-kick for about 5 years . But I've always been intrigued with the Charter Arms as well; actually looking to buy one

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  #38  
Old 02-04-2018, 07:41 AM
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Shiny cylinder on my 642 is from wear
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Old 08-05-2018, 11:58 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty-win_20180805_22_42_54_pro-jpg
Im actually still evaluating both guns... So far the S&W 642 has had flawless operation and well the Charter Arms Off Duty is a different story. These would be considered carry pieces. One of the tests I do thats probably the most important test of them all is after a few months of carrying around the revolvers Ill randomly go to the range and leave them exactly how they been. Speaking of carrying the Charter Arms does feel just a bit liter in the pocket. Thats always nice... I set up my target and draw the guns like I was at the Okay Corral and see how they run. The Charter worked okay if I remember. The trigger still acts weird. I think during the reload and fire I had a hang up and only shot off two rounds.
I contribute this to the atrocious trigger on the gun. Also the gun stopped working all together! Come to find out it was a lead round nose sticking out too far from the case hanging up the cylinder but thats not the fault of the gun. Just something to be aware of... On the S&W it had no problems at all! It even shot all the wonky lead round nose 158 I had that were unusually too long. I would put my money on the S&W but thats just me... I still carry the Charter though but not as much as the S&W.
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  #40  
Old 08-06-2018, 12:50 AM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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S&W 642 vs. Charter Arms Off Duty-win_20180805_23_07_51_pro-jpg
Even though they are not my my favorite go to gun of all time. Dont be too quick to bash the little Charter. There are some really sweet things about them. They pretty much take all and except all S&W J frame type holsters and equipment. They have pretty much every pistol caliber taken care of in some form of a revolver. They even have a 45 ACP and 40 S&W revolver. They probably have one of the only large caliber revolvers that actually works for me. That being the 44 Bulldog. I love that revolver! The Bulldog is light on the feet but still packs a big bark and most importantly its shootable! Only downside is the Bulldog ammo can get crazy.

They are very easy to work on and easy to disassemble and assemble. I pretty much figured out how they work and fit together without looking at the manual or watching instructional videos. Also those shooters that are into Ruger revolvers should find the Charters construction familiar. Thats because a gun designer from Ruger started the Charter company back in the 60s and pretty much stuck to that similar Ruger design which is arguably one of the toughest revolver designs ever. They are quite tough little guns! The Charters are also one of the safest carry guns of all time. They were one of the first to design the firing pin block safety on a revolver. They also put the firing pin in the frame of the revolver as opposed to S&W at the time putting the firing pin on the hammer which could possibly break after time.

They do require some maintenance from time to time just to make sure nothing has come loose but other than that the old and new guns seem to be good! You can also get them on the cheap cheap! All the bubbas should perk there ears up on that... Especially on the older guns which are also some of the BEST quality revolvers out there.

Looks for Stratford Shelton or Bridgeport makes on the barrel. Stay far away from the ones that start with an "A."


They got the saturday night special prices but they are not the cheap un-reliable quality that comes with the saturday night special. Its safe to say that a Charter revolver will more than likely outlast all of you thats for sure... The new guns do have a life time warranty and heres a bonus! I have to say the customer service is TOP NOTCH! Especially during these trying times where customer service reps care more about there facebook messages than your gun quality. Give em a try! Its money well spent I promise and it wont break the bank!
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  #41  
Old 08-06-2018, 06:47 AM
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Charter Arms shines in the customer service area. Here is an example
I have posted before, but in case you missed it:
I bought an Undercover, but didn't care for the boot grips that came on
it. I called Charter Arms, not noticing that it was very early in the morning.
A man answered. I told him about not liking the little boots. He said I
will send you a pair of full size grips, and asked for my address. I asked
can you do that? He said I think so, I'm the president.
When his package came it had the full size grips, some smaller wood
grips, and some Barami "hip grips".
I don't think that would happen at S&W.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:15 AM
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SA/DA or DA only...easy choice and changeover with a Charter Arms.








Same goes with the .44 Bulldog, Pathfinder .22, etc.

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Old 08-06-2018, 08:26 AM
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Full-size, high quality revolvers are one thing. Small frame, concealed carry revolvers are another. I'm a life-long S&W fan. My EDC is an S&W 638. HOWEVER. If I was to do it again I would look strongly at the CA offerings. Why? Because they are both reliable, and you aren't going to get a glass-smooth action in a J frame Smith so why pay the extra.
YMMV.

edit: If I didn't own several S&W j frames I would be buying me a 12 oz Charter Arms in a heartbeat.

Last edited by max503; 08-06-2018 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max503 View Post
Full-size, high quality revolvers are one thing. Small frame, concealed carry revolvers are another. I'm a life-long S&W fan. My EDC is an S&W 638. HOWEVER. If I was to do it again I would look strongly at the CA offerings. Why? Because they are both reliable, and you aren't going to get a glass-smooth action in a J frame Smith so why pay the extra.
YMMV.

edit: If I didn't own several S&W j frames I would be buying me a 12 oz Charter Arms in a heartbeat.
I have a 638 and a charter arms off duty...Charter is a 12ounce DAO gun..In my opinion it has a better grip and a better trigger than the 638. the Charter gets carried because of those 2 reasons. Just can't go wrong with the newer Charter Arms revolvers and i have 3 of them so have some experience not just internet chatter
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocked & Locked View Post
SA/DA or DA only...easy choice and changeover with a Charter Arms.








Same goes with the .44 Bulldog, Pathfinder .22, etc.

It looks like you put in new spurless hammers in old Charter revolvers. Is that true? I wish Charter made the older spurless hammers that still had that little bit of serration on the top in case you want to go single action. i cant find those hammers anywhere! If they did I would have to say it would be just about perfect.
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  #46  
Old 08-06-2018, 11:54 PM
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I've had a new production 642-1 for about a year. The trigger is great and I can put nice groups together with the right ammo. But I'm not happy with how the finish is wearing. I typically carry it in a hybrid IWB holster, the trigger guard and just in front of the rear sight are looking rough.

All this positive talk about CA has me interested. A bulldog will probably be my next firearm purchase. Thanks guys.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandyrandy View Post
The only grips that I found to be as close to perfect as possible for the S&W J frame is the pachmayr compact grips. No one likes them because they are the heaviest of the grip options and everyone thinks they are ugly. I could care less about that and I care more about shooting the gun reliable and accurately than what the guns looks like. All other grips are terrible for shooting. Everyone likes the original little bitty S&W and Charter Arms magna grips. They look pretty and the conceal very well but they suck for shooting accurately and they kill your hand after a lot of rounds. I agree Charter Arms has better grips than what is offered for the S&W. Charter makes a sweet set of wood grips the are a little bigger than the magnas but a little smaller and lighter than the pachmayr's. They are as close to perfect as you get.
I've carried Pachmayr Compacs daily for eighteen years. I love them.

Yes, they weigh four ounces. Yes, they are bigger than boot grips. But they are not hard to conceal, and make a huge difference in control and comfort when shooting .38 Special +P.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:05 AM
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It looks like you put in new spurless hammers in old Charter revolvers. Is that true? I wish Charter made the older spurless hammers that still had that little bit of serration on the top in case you want to go single action. i cant find those hammers anywhere! If they did I would have to say it would be just about perfect.
Yes...correct. The blued gun is an older .38. The stainless is a 2 year old .44.

The pictures do show double action only spurless hammers from CA. These do not have the option of cocking for single action.

AS you state, I don't think CA has available any longer the hammers you mention. Might be worth a phone call to inquire.



I also like the Pachmayr Compac grips on some handguns including S&W 642 and CA Bulldog .44.

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Old 08-08-2018, 08:32 PM
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My brother purchased a Charter Arms Undercover back when they were new. He carried it on any number of missions over Vietnam and later when working with the US Military Mission in Potsdam. After decades of use in SE Asia, Europe, Turkey, and a farm, it looked to be in sad shape. In the midst of one of his divorces (Hey! Don’t judge!), he had me lock it up with some other guns in my safe. When everything got sorted out, I gave him his guns. In the meantime I had Riley Gilmore’s gunsmith go through it for a refresh, clean it up, and Parkerize it. When my brother saw it (on his birthday) his eyes leaked a bit. I’d also fixed up a little fitted wooden box with velvet inside for it with a duplicate of his wings on the top. Good times.


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