By J.B. Wood GUNS Magazine
About 2 years ago, Charter Arms addressed the problem of auto-pistol cartridges in a revolver and came up with a brilliant answer: Individual rim-contact levers inside the ejector star. Wisely, they introduced it in a Pitbull chambered for the .40 S&W cartridge, a round favored by many, including law enforcement.
Now, finally, they have made it for one of my favorite cartridges, the 9x19mm, also called the 9mm Luger. With the proper loads, the 9mm will come really close to the performance of the “10mm Lite,” and it will do it with a lot less felt recoil. This is an important factor for quick follow-up shots and for the recoil-sensitive.
In the past, designers solved the revolver/auto-pistol cartridge problem in various ways. Everyone knows about the half-moon clips that allowed the .45 ACP round to be used in revolvers. Later, there were full-moon clips and other methods that didn’t work as well. Finally, Nick Ecker, Terry Rush and the design team at Charter got it right.
In recent years I have noticed that in fit and finish, all of the Charter revolvers are excellent. On this one, the matte stainless steel surfaces are both attractive and non-reflective. The rubber grip fully encloses the grip frame and has recesses for all three fingers of the average hand at the front. On this defensive piece, the sights are non-adjustable, square-post front and square-notch rear.
While shooting the Pitbull in double action (left), J.B. experienced some
vertical stringing with the CorBon 147-grain Match load. Firing single
action at 15 yards, the Pitbull delivered this 1.25-inch group.
The Hornady Critical Defense ammo delivered this 2-inch group at 7 yards.
A steel shroud, integral with the barrel, encloses the ejector rod. The rod has ample travel for ejection of 9mm cases. Because of the continuous contact of the little rim-contact pieces, Charter includes a separate note with the instructions, advising you to point it upward and hit the rod smartly. I had no difficulty. Those nickel-plated Hornady Critical Defense cases slid out easily. Some of the brass cases required a more forceful slap.
On my Lyman Electronic Scale, the smooth and easy DA trigger pull averaged 11 pounds. I am pleased to report the trigger has a smooth face with no pesky ridges. The SA trigger pull is superb, with zero take-up and overtravel and a clean 3-pound let-off. My compliments to the final fitters at Charter.
After all these years, Charter is still making the firing pin in beryllium copper, and for good reason: I have never seen one broken. Also, way back in 1964, Charter was the first modern maker to reintroduce the transfer-bar firing system designed by Andrew Fyrberg in 1890. Since then many others have used it. If the trigger is not fully to the rear, the hammer can’t touch the firing pin.
Six rounds, ready to go (above). Note that the case heads are fully recessed.
Look closely at the inner curve of the ejector (below), and you can see the
rim contact studs. Charter recommends holding the revolver vertical and
forcefully ejecting the cases.
The compact Charter Arms Pitbull (above) is now available as a 6-shot 9mm Luger.
The ejector is shrouded and long enough to positively clear the empties.
The finish of the Pitbull 9mm (below) is an even matte stainless steel.
At the Big Tree range, I tried out the 9mm Pitbull with two loads: Hornady’s Critical Defense with the 115-grain FTX bullet and a 147-grain FMJ Match load from CorBon. At 7 yards standing with a 2-hand hold, the Hornady load printed a neat 2-inch group, dead center, firing single action.
Firing double action at 7 yards, the CorBon load sort of walked up the target, the last three in the center ring. Finally, at about 15 yards, I tried some careful SA shots from a casual rest. The CorBon load printed an amazing little 1.25-inch group at dead center. For accuracy, this Charter gets top grades.
With both loads, the felt-recoil was moderate. That all-around rubber grip has a marvelous effect. As I mentioned earlier, the Pitbull in 9mm would be a good choice for anyone who is bothered by the sting of the heavy stuff. And, with loads like the Hornady Critical Defense, it’s going to be just as effective for personal protection.
Maker: Charter Arms
18 Brewster Ln.
Shelton, CT 06484
Weight: 22 ounces
Length: 6.75 inches
Height: 5 inches
Width: 1.45 inches
Barrel Length: 2.2 inches
Finish: Matte stainless steel
Grips: Wraparound rubber
Champion Traps & Targets
1 ATK Way
Anoka, MN 55303
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