I saw my first Charter Arms revolver in the early 1970s. “The Undercover” was a very compact .38 Special 5-shot revolver priced substantially lower than most competing models. At just 16 ounces, it was advertised as the smallest, lightest, steel-frame revolver then available. It was also the first revolver I’d seen with a hammer-block transfer-bar safety.
The company eventually began offering .357 Mag revolvers of the same general size, but with some extra heft. Those were the days before 11.5-ounce .357 snubbies were available, so some of us considered the lightweight .357 Charters challenging to shoot. With full-house magnum loads, these guns could be relied on to sting your hands.
Times change. While Charter Arms’ .38 Specials weigh from 12 to 16 ounces, today’s .357 Mag versions tip the scales at close to a pound and a half. That’s a more sensible weight for a magnum revolver. Fire a cylinder full of .357 Mag loads in a 12-ounce snubbie, and you’ll know what I mean. These ultra-light magnums are a pleasure to carry, but they’re not a pleasure to shoot. They’re difficult for anyone but a seasoned handgunner to control.
Recently I decided to try the company’s .357 Target Mag Pug. This matte-finished stainless steel revolver features a 4-inch barrel, along with a fully adjustable rear sight of contrasting black, along with a 0.38 of an inch-high front blade that’s an integral part of the barrel…