The stainless .44 Special Bulldog features Crimson Trace Lasergrips, a…

The stainless .44 Special Bulldog features Crimson Trace Lasergrips, a five-shot cylinder and shrouded 2.5-inch barrel. At 21 ounces empty, it is a powerful, pocket-filling carry piece

Los Angeles, 1983 — the two men had been watching the young woman lawyer for days. They knew which car on the street was hers, and they waited until she was fast asleep to remove the glass from the living room windows and enter her apartment. They quickly and quietly removed everything that was worth anything, including the television, and using the keys in her purse they opened her car and loaded
their swag into it. But then they didn’t just leave.

They moved to the bedroom door and opened it.

The lady lawyer woke in time to see the two strange men standing silently in the threshold of her bedroom, and screamed as loud as she could. Her neighbors responded to her with 2x4s and knives, and the assailants fled.

The next day, on the recommendation of her co-workers in the courthouse, she bought a dog, and her first revolver: a Charter Arms Bulldog revolver chambered for the .44 S&W Special cartridge.

Gun Details

The Bulldog had been around since 1973, and was a favorite of court employees. Designed to be carried a lot and shot a little, that revolver was a perfect example of a circa 1983 Bulldog. With a blue finish on the steel 3-inch barrel and five shot cylinder, the exposed ejector rod and case hardened hammer, the “Bulldog .44” was lightweight and easy to carry.

A bad guy’s last sight: Five massive 200-grain Speer Gold Dot hollow points.

Shooting it was an entirely different matter. At 20 ounces empty, this dog loved to bark, and the muzzle flash and kick were considerable with heavy factory .44 Special loads. I doubt our female Attorney would even know that by the time she bought hers, over half a million Bulldogs were already in the hands of citizens who needed to defend themselves. Somewhere in the middle of the Bulldog’s history, quality control slipped at the factory, and the venerable big bore carry gun found its reputation floundering. New owners put it backon track, and the 21st century Charter Arms revolvers are better than ever.

By 2012, revolver design had advanced since those 1970’s models, and those changes have found their way into the Bulldog. As it approaches its 40th anniversary, the Charter Arms Bulldog still holds the same five rounds of .44 Special as its predecessor, but that’s where the similarities end.


The current Bulldog comes in ten variations, from the standard blue model at around $400 to the top of the line Crimson Bulldog we tested here. The stainless, eight-groove barrel is now cut back to 2.5 inches long, but features an integral shroud to protect the ejector rod, and keep it from snagging when drawn from a pocket or handbag. The all Ameri-can-made solid stainless steel-framed revolver weighs in at 21 ounces empty, and comes with Crimson Trace Lasergrips activated by a button on the frontstrap.

With the Bulldog and a new Crimson Model in hand, we set out to see how the new Charter guns compared to the original. With a supply of factory .44 Special ammunition, we headed to a private shooting facility.

Load Comments
  • Ray S

    I’ve currently got one on layaway. Normally I am into S&W and Ruger revolvers but the last few Charter Arms I have looked at have really been stepping up on quality, fit/finish. The one I’ll be picking up feels great on the hands and the trigger pull was quite nice. Very similar to a Ruger. Looking forward to adding it to my carry setup.

  • frank

    Have a well worn and well used Bulldog. With macular degeneration in one eye, had a ghost ring/peep sight added. Doesn’t snag, and helps accuracy.

  • william d. niles

    Love the Charter Bulldogs! Have owned several in the past and currently daily carry one of the new ones now. Have always found them reliable with factory ammunition. Big ol’.44 in a small, lightweight package. Works for me!

  • Jerry Sweitzer

    Article tells the truth as I’ve used both the 240gr. lead Magtech’s and the 200gr. JHP Speer loads in mine.
    The “down the barrel” photo with the Speer load is right on the money i.e. AWESOME! BullDog is the same size as the .38/.357 MagPug’s but with .44 clout so what’s not to like.