The Charter Arms Bulldog: Does It Live Up to Modern Gun Expectations?


The Charter Arms Bulldog is a short-barreled, five-shot snub nose revolver that has been on the market for nearly forty years. It’s known for its ruggedness, reliability, and concealability, despite its slightly larger size. It has excellent stopping power and a nice polished look, securing its position as one of the best affordable revolvers for home protection.

The Bulldog has a nicely shaped, checkered walnut grip. It’s comfortable to hold and shoot, and it’s large enough to dissipate recoil but small enough to still allow for concealed carry. It features a transfer bar safety that prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear, and an exposed ejector rod that you can pull on to access the cylinder’s chambers.

The cylinder reliably cycles any .44 Special ammo you feed it (although I wouldn’t recommend homemade gunpowder), and you’ll be able to get excellent groupings from close range distances. Even from 15 yards, I was able to stay within a 3” target. The Bulldog does include two fixed sights, a ramped blade front, and a fixed groove rear. They work decently and help you hit right at your point of aim. They are machined into the barrel and frame, but can be removed if you want to use something different. 

Thanks to the exposed hammer, you can fire the Bulldog in either single or double-action mode. The double-action pull is approximately 13 lbs, and the single-action is about 3 lbs. There is a bit of stacking in double-action mode, but it’s not too bad and perfectly acceptable for a defensive handgun. The single-action trigger has a slight bit of take-up, but then breaks clean. The trigger itself is grooved, which helps your finger stay in place even under recoil.

It’s not as small as the Taurus 380, but the compact size of the Bulldog still makes it a good choice for concealed carry. It’s 6.7” overall with a 2.5” barrel and weighs just 20 oz. Although the lighter weight means that there’s not much to absorb recoil, like the Ruger GP100, the grip makes up for it.

The Bulldog MSRPs for between $436-$466 and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s cheaper than higher-end revolvers like the Colt King Cobra, very solid, and offers excellent protection for personal or home defense.

It won’t do the same job as an AR-15 with a flashlight, and although it is larger than the average concealed carry revolver, it’s still very powerful and compact enough to hide on a hiking trip. This is a revolver that has been around for decades and still holds up against modern concealed carry home defense firearms.

Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense, and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller, and other publications.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.



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