Revolvers – The Advantages as a Self Defense Gun

Revolvers – The Advantages as a Modern Day Self Defense Gun
A Charter Arms White Paper by Shults Media Relations, LLC

Charter Arms Target Patriot Revolver in .327 Federal Mag
Charter Arms Target Patriot Revolver in .327 Federal Mag
Charter Arms
Charter Arms

Dayton, OH – -( Nowadays with so many sexy new semi-automatics coming out in the market, it is easy to forget so-called old school technology and why it remains efficient and excellent for self-defense in today’s world of nifty new firearms.

Unfortunately so-called old school wheel guns except those in the newer cannon calibers are many times seen as so what guns.

Can this be true?  Is a $395 revolver designed for self-defense really worth anything anymore in this day of high-capacity $900 semi-autos with every option and feature you can think of including even a bayonet lug and fancy $600 revolvers that will hold a ton of ammo?

We think yes.
First, it really is better to NOT to even have to point a gun at a potential or actual attacker or worse yet to have to shoot one.  The real mission is to get out of that mess unharmed and obviously alive. While it makes for interesting macho conversation to talk about filling a drug filled attacker with lead or blowing their head off with bird shot (if their head is a watermelon), the reality is that getting away from a bad situation alive and unharmed is the best option.  If that means having to run from an attacker who is armed with a knife while you have a revolver in your hand and the result is you get away without having to shoot him, that’s still the best deal.

However, if the situation has progressed to the last resort where the time for deadly force self-defense shooting and stopping the attacker (never with the goal of “killing them”) is all you may have left, and then you had better have a reliable firearm in a sufficient caliber to stop the attack with you when you need it most.

Charter Arms Undercover Lite Black Revolver
Charter Arms Undercover Lite Black Revolver

The Advantages of Revolvers for Self Defense
As a deterrent, revolvers are easily recognized as a firearm, even in reduced light, especially if manufactured in a visible finish.  Revolvers are quickly recognized as guns even by dumb bad guys.  The revolver communicates that this is a real gun and not something else like a can of soda, etc.  This recognition may save you from having to fire to convince him further.

No normal person wants to shoot someone.  Many folks forget that even if everything goes their way in a shooting, there are legal costs, potential lawsuits, and the long-term mental stress and strain of having shot someone.  And if the DA feels it was not necessary, or there are other elements in the case he thinks he can prove against you then the problems will get worse.

Bottom line the mere sight of a recognizable real-looking and loaded firearm will stop many an attacker in their tracks!

Here are some points to consider:

  • There is little doubt a revolver is loaded and many times the threat/attacker will see it’s loaded by simply looking at the cylinder and seeing the ammunition in it.  Many people paint a light coating of liquid paper or white paint on the bullet tips to make them more visible for deterrent value.
  • Revolvers are quick and easy to operate. Simply draw, aim and fire. No switches or tricky functioning, stoppages or other malfunctions; they will work when they are most needed!
  • Any trainer will tell you that revolvers require less training than semi-autos to fire competently and safely thus making them the best firearm for the average citizen for self-defense purposes.
  • Revolvers are very fast to get into action, incredibly reliable and nearly foolproof.
  • Some people feel revolver trigger pulls, especially in double-action mode are heavy (you read about it in every gun test magazine article and blog).  But in life and death adrenalin-filled situations the pull of a revolver trigger is not even noticed by the shooter, nor the sound or recoil.  Light triggers are one reason why accidental semi-auto discharges are so common especially when people are under stress (contagious fire from police officers is a sad example of this).  The double action revolver is actually safer because you do not want to accidentally shoot anyone.
  • Revolvers are generally much more affordably priced than most semi-automatic pistols.
  • Today’s revolver ammunition is much more effective than that of just 20 years ago. Charter Arms revolvers offer powerful loadings in compact and lightweight revolvers that include: 32 H&R Magnum, .38 Special +P, .327 Federal Magnum, .357 Magnum and .44 Special calibers. Typically a 2” barrel will lose only 30-85 fps velocity over a 4-inch barrel, so snub barrels are not a significant velocity disadvantage but do present a definite easy carry and quick to action advantage.  Few bad guys will complain that the bullets you hit them with were not going fast enough.
  • Ammunition mix can be significant.  A revolver can digest and fire any ammunition chambered for that particular firearm.  This can be any type of bullet design or ammunition mix you may wish to carry, such as perhaps the first two shots being frangible high-expansion ammunition followed by heavier hollow-point or even solid loads.  Revolvers are not sensitive to the bullet design or velocity (low recoil loads may not function some semi-autos) and when it comes to defending one’s life, this choice of load option is a very real advantage.
  • While high-capacity autos are popular, well known shooters like Jeff Cooper and Mass Ayoob and many other professional shooters have argued for years (and we paraphrase) it’s accuracy that counts, not all of those high-capacity magazine, liability loaded, people-and- property damaging misses.  Bottom line is that you will be held legally responsible for every shot you fire; hits and misses.

Charter Arms Revolvers
Charter Arms’ compact, lightweight revolvers offer tremendous power-to-size ratios and, due to grip and overall design, they are very easy to draw, point and control. Many short-grip and compact autos (especially small autos in effective stopping calibers) can, due to size and especially ergonomic configuration, be very difficult to draw, grasp and control in a real world reactive life or death adrenaline-packed encounter where survival depends on draw speed, correct grip (purchase) and operational control.

We may tend to forget that at the firing range without a real death threat we generally take the extra time to acquire a proper and firm grip with a compact effective-caliber semi-auto. But, in a panic packed confrontation we don’t have that luxury and it consistently shows up in high-stress tactical training and of course in real life and death encounters.  For this reason the lightweight compact revolver is well-suited for the average citizen who wants effective protection and professionals in need of a solid, effective primary and totally reliable back-up firearm in a fight stopping caliber.

Many licensed concealed-carry permit holders may start with good intentions to carry, but the enthusiasm wanes quickly if their firearm is wrong for them:  Too wide of a cylinder or too thick of a slide, too heavy, too big, too long or uncomfortable and many will eventually stop carrying their firearm.

Charter Arms’ revolvers boast the lightest weights and most-compact revolver designs.

Shooters at any level do NOT buy a short-barreled compact revolver to take to the range and plink, hunt or shoot targets with. Yet people will talk and blog endlessly about so-called “excessive recoil,” short barrel sight radiuses, etc. as though target shooting, plinking and hunting are why the person initially bought the compact firearm in the first place. Their technically irrelevant remarks relate to snub nose revolvers with the same credibility as comparing a Ferrari to a dump truck. While each vehicle has an engine, doors and tires but they sure are not the same and to compare these two vehicles against each other is like comparing compact revolvers to larger firearms is just chatter.

Also revolvers are built to fire many thousands of rounds of ammunition over a lifetime. Very few people will ever put more than 1,000 rounds (twenty 50-round boxes) through their handgun. So talking as if they will become the person’s next lifetime 10,000-round shooter is interesting, but not realistic.

Accuracy testing: Many talk of testing handgun accuracy at 25 and even 50-yards. Actually, testing short-barreled revolvers at ranges over 10 yards is sort of like testing an over-the-counter hunting rifle at the 1,000-yard line at Camp Perry.  Ninety percent of big-game kills are made at ranges under 200-yards which is why most writers (who know their audience and their readers’ abilities) test rifles at 100-200 yards—it’s a realistic distance.

Yet, some of the very same people (and bloggers for sure) talk of testing short barrel self-defense handguns at 25 yards (a recognized NRA competition distance) when the intended and real use is at encounter ranges typically (according to FBI data, too) under 5 yards. We have tested 2-inch barreled Charters at 50 yards (hand held off a rest) and the rounds will stay in a 6 inch circle and they will stay in a chest size target at 200 yards, yes 200 yards—but is that realistic?

Let’s Get Real:
The reality is that the bad guy wants you and/or your money. To get to you and/or your money he needs to get much closer. When inserting bullet holes into an attacker at long range, the shooter had better be able to prove that that the attacker was able, capable (had the weapon reach), the willingness and, demonstrated through his actions, was actively trying to cause and could cause great bodily harm at that longer distance. Generally, if not, the defender will get to see first hand how our criminal and civil court cases work concerning their long range shooting skills.

Then again allowing anyone you feel is a serious threat to get you to get within a car length is very dangerous for you unless you have already drawn the firearm.  It has been demonstrated many times in real life and in training that from 20 feet, a guy with a knife will can easily close that distance and cut you to ribbons before you can draw your firearm, let alone fire it effectively to stop him in time.   This is one reason why in a bad situation your first goal if at all possible is to get something between you.  IE: car, desk, trash can, fence, gate, tree, or a great distance!

Muzzle Flash:
Many feel muzzle flash is a disadvantage. On the battlefield it is because it gives away one’s position and makes the shooter and his unit vulnerable to lethal counter-fire (many times from superior weapons and multiple-attackers). Reduced muzzle flash may be an advantage to hunters since the flash from a high-powered rifle might spook an animal before the bullet or the sound arrives, but muzzle flash has little or no effect on the shooter, even when (if) seen through a scope sight, even for follow up shots.

Handgun muzzle flash (regardless of type of handgun) can actually work to your advantage. If you are under assault it is pretty obvious the attacker knows where you are; well no duh!  If you must fire to protect your life, muzzle flash giving away your position is hardly a concern.

When a handgun is fired at an attacker close in (especially at night or in reduced light conditions) the attacker facing the muzzle gets all of the flash, every glorious bright bit of it. This can cause some temporary blinding (flash-bulb effect) as well as a tremendous psychological effect even if not struck by the bullet.  In addition, if the attacker is very close and if the defender misses (it happens much more than you might think at ranges under 10 feet with any gun—just watch the cop shows where both cops and bad guys spray bullets all over) the attacker gets massive noise, flash, heat, and certainly some hot powder particles all of which may diminish the attack somewhat and that may be all the time you need for follow up shots.

However, the defending shooter will only see some flash over the top of the revolver, not the whole ball of bright light the attacker gets.  Another advantage in dark or low light conditions is the flash silhouettes the defender’s sights. This can help the defender adjust quickly for a second shot (experienced and practiced shooters can routinely take advantage of this, even in total darkness).   This brief instant of flash can be even be utilized by less-experienced shooters also; they just need to be made aware of it and how it can help them.

We feel (regardless of firearm) that a bright muzzle flash is an advantage in nearly all self-defense situations that goes to the defender and is a distinct disadvantage to the attacker—and for what it is worth, shorter barrels deliver more flash.

The key to compact, lightweight self-defense revolver design-and an advantage over compact semi-autos-is that Charter Arms revolvers are comfortable to carry and will be with you if needed.  Think about this: Regardless of size, cost, and bells and whistles, if you get lost in the woods the best knife in the world is the knife you have with you when you need it.  The same applies to conceal-carry self-defense handguns.  If you have a big moocho macho super auto., fat high capacity or fancy revolver and it’s too big, heavy or uncomfortable to carry you may not have it with you if you need it.

The handgun (semi-auto or revolver) must fit.  Revolvers can be quickly drawn with a nearly perfect properly registered grip.  Most trainers instruct their students to draw fast then hit the brakes, aim quickly and shoot effectively.

We hope you can see that the short-barreled self-defense revolver shines even in these days of what’s the latest.  When it comes to close-in self-defense, Charter Arms manufactures the lightest, most-compact, most-reliable, safest, and most effective-reactive self-defense revolvers in the industry.  Charter Arms’ revolvers do the job they were designed to do and that’s all you can ask from any firearm.

Anatomy of a Charter Arms Revolver
Anatomy of a Charter Arms Revolver

Specific Notes On Charter Arms Revolvers:

  1. Don’t Confuse Affordable With Cheap: Charter revolvers are the most affordable high-quality handguns in the market. Period!  If you want to pay more, then just offer your retailer an extra $100, he will appreciate the generosity.
  2. Lightweight: The ultra-light aluminum frame models are made from tough 7075 aircraft aluminum alloy.  They are the lightest in the industry.
  3. Compact: They are, for their calibers, the most compact (easy to carry) revolvers in the market.
  4. Machining: Charter Arms revolvers are 100-percent U.S.A. made and are fully warranted—forever!  That’s right. Forever!  This unique warranty follows the gun not just the first buyer.
  5. Hammer Travel/Lock Time: Fastest in the industry for a factory production revolver.
  6. Fewer Parts: Through advanced engineering they have fewer parts (less opportunity for failure).
  7. Safest Hammer Block System In The Industry: It’s true. Did you know that Charter Arms invented the hammer block system (and concept) you see on all new firearms?  Charter freely gave this valuable technology to the industry (even Charter’s direct competitors) to keep all shooters safer with this new invention regardless of brand or design.
  8. Solid Side Plate: Actually no (screw-on) side plate at all.  The result is a much stronger overall frame (less flex), and it is made possible in part to number 6 above.
  9. Three Point (not two) Cylinder Lock Up results in superior strength and improved accuracy.
  10. The Crane (also called the yoke) is held in place by the frame: Other revolvers use 100-year old technology to hold the yoke in place with a small screw that by itself must resist recoil momentum. While it works the side screw can loosen or fail. On Charter revolvers the yoke is retained in the frame itself resulting in significantly more strength and some accuracy advantage.
  11. Eight Groove Button Rifled Barrel: Only Charter has it.  The result is better gas sealing which results in higher-velocities.  Unlike the deeper and more abrasive lands and grooves in other brands which can distort the bullet some. The result is Charters’ accuracy is better, too.
  12. Manufacturing/Engineering Quality: Highest in the industry. If you want it pretty, shiny, or modified somehow Charter can do that-too, it just costs more and does not make it shoot one bit better. But for a highly affordable, user friendly and effective working self-defense firearm that a person will carry and not be afraid to knock around, Charter Arms makes the best.
  13. About Pretty and Shiny: The U.S. Army Rangers have a saying: “Train like you fight, fight like you train.” It means just that too. Under life-and-death pressure you will act and handle your firearms just as you do in practice or in everyday life. It’s a psychological fact, if you baby your expensive, shiny, pretty gun in practice you will baby it when you need it.

Charter Arms revolvers are made to be used and used hard. This means you can toss one in your tackle box, pack, under your car floor mat, or wherever (as long as it is legal), so it is there to protect your life when you need it.

If you want a high-quality, reliable, affordable and good looking working gun that comes with a lifetime warranty and a gun you will not be afraid to have with you when you need it, well, that’s what Charter Arms makes.

Charter Arms firearms may be seen at or by Requesting a Catalog. If you cannot locate a dealer near you for a Charter Arms firearm, please contact us.

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Great article, everything is spot on. I own a 642 S&W and I only have it to thwart an attack. It’s light, non bulky and can be carried in gym shorts. It’s like an American express card, I never leave home without it.

Kiara Woodsland

The best part of your article for me is when you talked about how revolvers won’t require you to deal with tricky functioning or stoppages because they are easy to operate so you can get an assurance that it will work when most needed. My daughter is interested to buy a gun that she can use for self-defense. It’s important for her to make sure that the type of gun that she will use is going to work the way it should when needed to effectively protect herself. With that being said, I will make sure to share your blog… Read more »


This was great article…having carried a 5 shot S&W 44 though out my entire service in SE Asia, I felt safer than I did with the semi auto’s …never had to use it but infinitely simpler ( to me anyway ) to use in a spur of the moment heart pounder . Don’t have a thing bad to say about semi’s but you don’t have to give as much thought when the need arises to use it and I for one don’t believe there any second place winners.

Earl R.

Ammoland wrote >> “Many people paint a light coating of liquid paper or white paint on the bullet tips to make them more visible for deterrent value.”
In over 30 years of revolver shooting that has got to be one of the dumbest things I have ever read in a gun article. No, “many people” don’t do that.


I have a Charter Arms DAO Undercover , changed out the boot grip for a full size combat grip , better purchase on firearm , carry ccw big guy carry appendix IWB it hides very good , want a 9mm Pitbull for a New York backup just can’t find one there is a long waiting list , worked as a deputy for a long time , department had an open firearms policy I carried a Ruger GP-100 on duty , like autos too but in a confrontational moment a wheel gun is what I want , don’t have to clear… Read more »

kevin dykas


Excellent information shared throughout. This is the first time that I have seen written what I proved to myself years ago in my backyard range… and still practice to this day (or night).

Low light muzzle flash identifies the target and sights just long enough for you to adjust quickly for the next shot. The gun writers, magazines, and ammo makers all push low flash powder. Why? because they never actually tried low or very low light shooting.

Life long shooter, CCW every day possible, and big revolver fan.

Keep up the good work.


Kevin Dykas

Tim Johnson

Very informative, question, I am looking for a self defense revolver. I have heard that it is better to have a concealed hammer over an outside hammer. What do you think?