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Pretty is as Pretty Does- new Charter Arms Undercover Light

I’ve watched the fortunes of Charter Arms rise and fall over the decades, sometimes doing a good business, sometimes not. Their quality has been up-and-down too, to the point where I would be cautious to recommend them. This week a friend of mine purchased one for her birthday and immediately wanted to go shoot it. She asked me to come along as she is not very familiar with revolvers. With the opportunity to gain some first-hand experience with the current Charter Arm’s current products I was eager to agree.

The reputation of the Charter Arms Undercover includes the common wisdom that they tend to have heavy trigger-pulls. She was also cautioned in advance that snub-nosed revolvers are difficult to shoot well because of the short sight radius and double-action trigger, and that alloy-framed snubbies in .38 Special have a sharp recoil that many find unpleasant. Despite us naysayers she wanted what she wanted, and got one.

Specifically this gun is the Tiffany Edition, with a Tiffany-blue alloy frame and shiny cylinder and barrel.


I can’t say that colored guns are my ‘thing,’ but it’s attractive enough I suppose. Small too, and light- really light. The manufacturer lists it at 12 oz. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised; fit and finish is quite good with everything nice and tight and no visible tool marks. The trigger, a constant albatross around the neck of past charter Arms offerings, was surprisingly decent; pleasingly light and if not exactly smooth it wasn’t crunchy either. Neither it’s new owner nor I had any trouble shooting decent double-action groups at 7 yards.

Two types of ammunition were used- Remington 158gr. LSWC and Freedom Munitions 158gr. Copper-Plated Hollowpoints. Both were standard-pressure loads and shot to point-of-aim. Surprisingly recoil was not at all unpleasant, tamed I think by the somewhat large neoprene grips. Despite being a first-time revolver owner my friend had no difficulty putting rounds on-target double or single action. While quite capable in either mode she very much enjoyed shooting it single-action and produced very respectable groups. I stuck to double action, producing this target without much effort.


Charter Arms Undercover Light, 7 yards double-action, Freedom Munitions 158gr. CPHP

Between us we put around a hundred rounds through this gun, and it was entirely reliable. The only mark against it was that the inside cartridge-case tended to hang up against the grip, and I think this could be easily remedied.

Out the door for under $400, my friend seems to have gotten a gem indeed; I am quite favorably impressed with this little revolver. As a concealed carry or back-up revolver it leaves little to be desired.