Friday, August 03, 2012

A Few Random Thoughts About the 9mm Charter Revolver

I note that Charter Arms has finally brought their 9mm snubbie revolver, the Pitbull, to market. I've been sort of half-way pondering where this revolver sits in the Cosmic Scheme of Self-Defense Thingies since Charter announced the little gun. It's obviously not the first — both S&W 940 and the Ruger SP-101 fell into the 9mm snub; neither are in current production, which should tell you a bit about the demand. Taurus still catalogs their tiny 905 9mm revolver, essentially the size of an old S&W "I" frame, the small frame revolvers that, I believe, predated the "J" frame. If I recall, my friends found the little Taurus crazy accurate.

Still, strangely enough, I think the Charter 9mm may have a viable place in the self-defense hierarchy, especially post-Aurora. Essentially, it can fill the "second gun" role for CCW holders who carry a 9mm as their primary weapon. I recently saw on one of the gun forums a list of "well known gun people" (for lack of better, or at least funnier, words) who had moved to the 9mm. It's a pretty interesting list.

As you know, in my Panteao Productions CONCEALED CARRY video, I wholesale recommend the 9mm as the choice for newbie CCWs. So far, no one has thrown any tomatoes, brickbats or cast iron skillets at me for that recommendation. You all know I'm a fan of the pocket pistol, most notably the Ruger LCP .380, everybody's universal pocket pistol. I do like the LC9 and some of the other mini-blasters, but they're a bit of a stretch for the pocket.

That's the role I think the Pitbull fits in...primary 9mm on the hip; secondary 9mm in the pocket. Snubs are great pocket pistols. As Walt Rauch has said many times, their weaknesses are their strengths. In a good pocket holster, they don't "print" as bad like a small semiauto because of their round lines. I like the Rimless Cartridge Extractor System because loaded full moon clips in the pocket suck...sooner or later you'll bend them enough so they won't work. QuickStrips from Tuff Products come in a 9mm version, although sadly not in pink, and they are wonderful products.

One of the primary functions (at least in my mind) of a civilian carrying the second pistol is the ability to arm someone else if the situation becomes necessary. I think that the Aurora active shooter points this out even more strongly. In that situation, if I have "gone to ground," that is, if I've stuffed myself and a spousal unit (or innocent bystander) into a hidey-hole, I want to be able to arm said spouse or even bystander with my second gun. Should the aggressor return, I want that aggressor to be met with a hail of bullets. A two-gun hailstorm is better than a one-gun hailstorm.

Okay, says you, that scenario works whether the second gun is a semiauto or revolver or even some bizarre derringer. Yes, it does. But if I am carrying that second gun with an eye toward possibly arming an accomplice, I have GOT to go lowest common denominator on the manual of arms and with the HIGHEST reliability factor. You are welcome to argue with me all you want, but I have been an instructor and in competition for a long time. The most common firearm jam in the world is limp-wristing a semi...period...exclamation there! My experience has been the little semis are even more susceptible than their big brothers (sisters?) to that very problem. Might a less experienced, or even non-experienced, person be more prone to making that mistake, especially under the hellish stress of an active shooter encounter? Duh...

A revolver, OTOH, will fire if you're holding it with your teeth. You are not part of the fire control system of a revolver in the same way you are with a semi.

Early this summer I spent a while just carrying a Ruger LCR snub .38+P, and it worked just as well as it has always worked. Obviously, you can carry a second snubby revolver in any caliber and accomplish what I'm suggesting here. However, I do like ammo interchangeability with the primary gun...then we all have ammo, should we need to share. Unlikely? You betcha! But things tend to be the way they are until they're not...unlikely things don't happen until they do. Mr. Murphy is always lurking in the wings.

Secondly, the reason I chose the 9mm for concealed carry is I like the self-defense choices in that caliber, especially the Corbon's jello performance borders on amazing. If you forced me to carry any of the premium self-defense rounds (a big shout-out here to Hornady Critical Defense), I wouldn't feel under-gunned.

Okay, stalled as long as I can...time to go to real work!


Overload in Colorado said...

Ammo interchangeability is good, but when would you actually do it? When would it come in handy given the carry scenario you mentioned?
The only thing that comes to mind is airplane travel, where you could take a single box of ammo.

Will said...


A protracted gunfight (one where you reload). You could give the revolver holder one of your spare mags, and tell him/her to thumb the rounds from the mag into the chambers.
Yeah, an extended firefight is not common, but does happen. Seems fairly rare to require a reload while bullets are still flying. This typically means you aren't hitting your target, the target(s) are armored, or you're in a target rich environment! Or, a combination, more likely.

C J said...

I believe that this design will sell well, as opposed to the designs you mentioned, due to the extractor design making a "star" clip unneccessary. If their 40S&W hadn't been a big seller, I don't believe Charter would have brought out the 9mm. I believe they could further enhance sales if they would include a couple of speed strips in the package. A sort of "spare magazine".

Bill in PA said...

If the trigger action isn't hideously heavy and grungy like each of the other four Charters I've owned, this looks like an addition to my battery.

bigdrumdaddy said...

As one who carries a CA .44 Bulldog frequently, I can definitely see the advantage of having a "slightly smaller" snubbie in a potent caliber - especially since I've just gone to a Glock 19 as my EDC. The 9mm snubbie would give me a number of options - and deserves a good look. And I've never had an issue with my .44, so I have no reason to expect one with their 9mm - especially not needing half moon clips.

Thx for the review Michael!

Dan said...

The S/W 940 full moon clips are sturdy. I have NEVER bent one in the pocket nor lost any rounds.

9mm snub lets one standardize on a single caliber, also. It complements my Sig and my Kel-Tec 9mm.

Beaumont said...

Simplicity is a virtue. The ability to have a single chambering for a belt gun, backup, and the backup to the backup, cannot be overstated. Aside from that, revolvers can function with a wider range of out-of-spec ammo than an auto. In a SHTF scenario, that's a bonus.

Yes, I know revolvers can malf. It's happened to me. Autos malf too, esp. w/ bad ammo. ALL guns will malf, and anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. One of the beauties of a revolver is if you can stuff a round into a chamber, you stand a good chance of being able to fire it. Of course, what happens afterward is in God's hands.

And what about magazines? I suspect most shooters don't buy nearly enough mags. If a shooter loses or damages the 2 or 3 mags he has, in either a running fight or SHTF, his auto becomes a self-ejecting single-shot. Unless, of course, the pistol has a mag safety: in that event, running, hiding, and prayer are his best options.

zombietactics said...

I see you made mention of my post regarding "cool gun guys" and what they shoot. Wow ... referenced by Michael Bane, I think I've "arrived", lol.

Andy said...

Can't find one have been looking for over six months , have called Dee Ecker at Charter Arms and asked about the unavailable Pitbull , she advised that since the big run on guns since the school shooting in Conneticut in 2012 , that they have been so back ordered ,it's hard to catch up . Just wish they would make a run of them and hold off on other models , because the other models have caught up with demand .Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

Andy said...

My comment was posted Janurary 19, 2014 .