Charter’s Pitbull

“Clip-Less’ 9mm Wheelgun.

Abit more than a couple of years ago, Nick Ecker, Terry Rush and the Charter Arms designers arrived at an interesting answer to allow rimless auto rounds to function in a revolver. The solution was simple and elegant — individual spring-powered rim-contact blocks inside the ejector. The system works beautifully, and has allowed Charter to chamber their small, defensive revolvers in .40 S&W and now 9mm.

The first production of the Charter Pitbull with this system was in .40 S&W chambering, a round much-used by law-enforcement agencies. As many readers will know, I am not a fan of the “10mm Lite”. In smaller, lighter handguns, its increased felt-recoil is not a good trade-off for a very slight increase in performance.

Which brings us to the new Charter, in one of my favorite cartridges — the 9mm. With today’s high-performance loads from Hornady, Speer, Cor-Bon and others, the 9mm will nearly match the effectiveness of the .40 S&W. And, it has a lot less felt-recoil. This can be a real factor for those who are sensitive to this, and it also has an effect on any follow-up shots.

Speaking of the recoil-sensitive, the nice rubber grip of the Pitbull fully encloses the frame, and tames even the more aggressive 9mm loads. At the front, there are recesses for all three fingers of the average hand. The square post/square notch sights are non-adjustable. The matte finish on the alloy grip-frame and the stainless-steel upper parts shows off excellent workmanship.


Targets, DA on right (at 7 yards) and SA on
left (at 15 yards). J.B. must have pulled one!


Inside the inner curve of the ejector are the rim-contact
lugs allowing use of 9mm pistol cartridges.

Transfer Bar

Fifty years ago, Charter became the first modern gun-maker to re-introduce Andrew Fyrberg’s firing system of 1890. He called it a “safety-lifter” and we now say “transfer bar”. Moved upward by the trigger, it fills a recess in the hammer, allowing firing pin contact. You could drop it on the hammer all day, and it still wouldn’t go off.

The ejector rod is fully enclosed in a recess integral with the barrel. For ejection of 9mm cases, it has ample travel. The small rim-contact lugs inside the ejector are always touching the cartridges, so Charter encloses a note with the instruction booklet. It advises you to give the rod a smart slap, with the gun pointed upward. I followed their advice, and had no difficulty. I’m also glad to report they are still using beryllium copper for firing pins. In the years I was doing gunsmithing for several dealers, I never saw one broken.

The well-shaped trigger has no annoying ridges, and the single-action pull is a nice three pounds on the Lyman scale. Take-up and over-travel are non-existent. The final-fitters at Charter are very good. The DA trigger pull averaged 11 pounds, and was very smooth and easy, with no “loading” at the end of the pull.


Charter’s new 9mm Pitbull is tidy and compact.


J.B. found the new ejector lugs allow reliable use of 9mm rounds
in this great little revolver. They fired and ejected perfectly.

Shoots Fine

I tried the 9mm Pitbull with two loads: Winchester and Black Hills. Even though both were 147-gr., the felt-recoil was moderate. Groups were all around 3.5″, centered well in the 8″ black of the Champion VisiShot targets. Firing was at 7 yards and around 15 yards, DA and SA, using a two-hand hold. For a personal-protection piece, perfect performance.

If the substantial whack of the .40 S&W version causes you some discomfort, this 9mm Pitbull would be a nice alternate choice. It’s beautifully made, moderately priced and it will work — every time.
By J.B. Wood

For more info:, (203) 922-1652

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