Charter Arms Pitbull

The .380 ACP Revolver That Could

Simple but effective. A fixed ramp front sight and square notch rear
provide a durable yet clear sighting system.

If you’re going to make a revolver chambered for a “rimless” auto pistol cartridge, you need to leave room for a modern version of the old “half-moon” clip. Unless, that is, you’re Charter Arms. They have patented some marvelous little rim-contact parts in the center rod of the cylinder to accomplish the same goal. So, there’s no need for what we now call a “star” clip.

In the past year, Charter added to their auto-pistol chamberings lineup began back in mid-2019 the .380 Pitbull. Some gun people associate a reasonable price with lesser quality, and that would be a huge mistake here. Over the past 50 years, I’ve found Charter’s excellent. They work. Every time.

The .380 Pitbull uses high-tech alloy for the grip frame, and stainless steel for most of the remaining parts. The front of the rubber grip piece has well-spaced finger recesses, and there’s even one for the little finger. The fit and finish of all parts is superb. Let’s look next at weight and measurements. Note these are not factory specs, I did my own measurements.

The .380 Pitbull weighs 26 oz. and the overall length is 7.6″. The height is 5″ and width at the cylinder is 1.03″. Barrel length is 3″ and the cylinder holds six rounds. As you can see, it’s not pocket-sized or for deep concealment. It’s perfect though for home, car or purse.

J.B. liked the grip and found it had plenty of room for all fingers.

The ejector has enough reach to clear the cases. Look closely and you can see the little rim contact part.

effectiveness of the little .380 for personal defense, remember using today’s high-performance loads, it gets into the lower edge of full 9mm ballistics. The Super Vel load I used for my range testing is an example. Also, in the Charter barrel, the rifling lands are less prominent, adding a few more feet per second of velocity.

The trigger pull is excellent. Single-action is 3.5 lbs. with a clean break and minimal over-travel. The DA pull is 9.5 lbs., but it’s so smooth it feels like less. The sights are just right for practical use — non-adjustable. The front is a simple ramp, and the rear has a wide square notch.

I tried out the .380 Pitbull at seven and 15 yards, standing, with a 2-handed hold. I found the point of impact to be well-centered and I was able to print 3.5″ groups free-handed. The felt recoil was minimal, a factor that is important for some users.

Mechanically, Charter revolvers have all the things you’d expect in a modern gun. The cylinder and crane unit is locked at the front and rear, and the engineers accomplished this without extra parts and springs. The firing system uses a transfer bar so the hammer can’t contact the firing pin unless the trigger is fully depressed to the rear.

So, what do we have here? A beautifully made revolver with light felt recoil and a suggested retail price of $464. It’s a solid handgun that will perform when needed.

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