In November 2007 Federal/ATK launched a new handgun cartridge, the .327 Federal Magnum with ammunition offered by American Eagle, Federal, and Speer, all of which are ATK brands. The .327 Mag is more of a true magnum than the older .32 H&R Mag that was introduced in 1983. This newer cartridge has much higher working pressures (up to 45,000 psi) and greater velocities, while the .32 H&R Mag factory loads were relatively mild, unless compared to the .32 S&W or .32 S&W Long. Initially the .327 Mag was chambered in the Ruger SP-101, but now some two years later this high-powered .32 is also chambered in revolvers from Smith & Wesson and Charter Arms.
Charter Arms has been producing handguns since 1964, which still makes it one of the newer US gun manufacturers that originated in New England. Their first product, the .38 Special “Undercover” 5-shot revolver was the lightest all-steel snubby (16 ounces) that could be had at the time. Later, the Charter .44 Special “Bulldog” was one of the first modern large-bore, factory-made concealment revolvers.
The Patriot revolver from Charter Arms was first offered with a 2.2-inch barrel. Based on the Bulldog frame, this stainless steel six-shooter is primarily intended as a concealment gun. Its compact size is complimented by a weight of just 21 ounces, which is due in part to the alloy grip frame/triggerguard unit. As this is a medium frame wheelgun, the full-size rubber, finger-groove grips do not look or feel out of place, and with the right holster do not compromise concealability. They are fully checkered to give a good, secure hold. As with most concealment-type revolvers, the 2.2-inch Patriot has a fixed rear sight and a sloping ramp front sight. The rear sight is square and wide. The front sight is 0.15 of an inch per my dial calipers, but the rear of the sight is smooth and hard to see in overhead light. It really needs to be serrated.
The Patriot is your basic swing-out-cylinder, DA/SA revolver. The cylinder rotates to the right and there is an exposed hammer with a well-serrated spur. Its trigger is of medium width and smooth faced. The DA pull weight is probably in the neighborhood of 13 to 15 pounds, but the SA is crisp and about 5 pounds. Opening the cylinder is accomplished by pushing forward on the cylinder release latch. My 2.2-inch Patriot had a heavy barrel with a full-length rib on top and an ejector rod housing on the bottom. Finish on this revolver is a non-reflective matte and the alloy grip frame/triggerguard unit is anodized to match the frame. Overall quality is more than acceptable as far as metal-to-metal fit is concerned, and corners and curves were sharp, with no visible tool marks.
I also had Charter Arms’ 4-inch version called the Target Patriot. As you might suspect from the name, this revolver has a click-adjustable rear sight, which is black in color. Just about everything mentioned about the 2.2-inch Patriot applies to the 4-inch Patriot. Besides the different rear sight, the longer heavy barrel on this model also sports a full-length rib atop, and at the bottom, a full-length ejector rod housing. However, the housing on the 4-inch gun is fluted on both sides in the front. It weighs in at 23 ounces, only two ounces heavier than its smaller sibling, which should make it just about as handy to pack around. Again, holster choice will make a big difference.
Both guns also come in a nice black plastic pistol case with a foam-padded interior. You get the ubiquitous trigger lock, owner’s manual and with the Patriot a dividend…for the time being each revolver comes with a Kershaw Speed-Safe lock-blade pocketknife. It has a clip on the side for convenient carry, is gray with a black blade and marked on the left side “Charter .327.”