I was waiting under a bridge that crossed the
Cumberland river, looking down the rough dirt road for the
headlights of my uniformed contact with the department. We met
once per week, always at some desolate, remote location to
exchange information, cash, and drugs. I was working deep
undercover for the Volunteer state, and my contact was the only
officer in the state who knew who I really was. That was good.
The fewer people that knew, the better my chances of living to
be old and fat. I made it. Back then, wearing a gun on your hip
was like wearing a badge; it was a dead giveaway that you were a
cop, with the emphasis on "dead". I carried a
thirty-eight in my boot, but that was my only weapon. Sometimes,
it seemed like a long reach down to that left boot. The
thirty-eight that I trusted back then was a Charter Undercover.
It was stainless steel, which kept it from rusting in the humid
Tennessee Valley. I had bobbed the hammer and removed the front
sight, to make it as snag-free as possible, knowing that when I
needed it, it would be quick and up close.
That was a long time ago, and I still have that
Undercover, and would still carry it today, except that now we
have lighter weight thirty-eight revolvers that have concealed
hammers, which is much better than a bobbed hammer. I like the
closed top of concealed hammer snub guns. It serves well to keep
dust, dirt, sand, and pocket lint out of the action of a
revolver. My daily carry gun is a lightweight Smith
& Wesson 342PD. It goes with me everywhere. I have
also carried a few of the miniature pocket autos available. They
are good weapons, but I prefer a revolver for a pocket gun.
Could just be an old habit, but they work well when needed, and
tolerate a bit of neglect.
Charter revolvers have always been good,
affordable weapons, but being made mostly of stainless steel,
were several ounces heavier than the lightest snub guns from
Smith & Wesson. Now, Charter 2000 has introduced their
Off Duty model that has an aluminum alloy frame, and also
a concealed hammer. I’ve been carefully evaluating
(playing with) one of these Off Duty revolvers for a few weeks
now, and remain impressed with its light weight and reliability.
The Off Duty wears a two-inch barrel, that has the front sight
and ejector rod shroud integral to its construction. The barrel,
cylinder, crane, trigger, and other small parts are stainless
steel. The cylinder frame and grip frame are aluminum alloy, and
the grip panels are of a black synthetic semi-hard rubber. The
grip panels have two finger grooves, and a section of molded-in
checkering on each side. They feel good in my hand, and offer
good weapon control, without being too tacky, as are some rubber
grips. The Off Duty is about as snag-free as any revolver
can be, with its concealed hammer and ramped front sight. The
rear sight is a large square notch that is easy to use, offering
a quick sight picture. The five-shot cylinder makes for a
relatively thin profile, so the weapon does not print
excessively when carried in a front pants pocket. The Off Duty
weighed in at 13.4 ounces unloaded, which is a full four ounces
lighter than my old Undercover. A third of a pound makes a big
difference when carried in a pocket. The fit and finish on the
Off Duty is very good. The barrel/cylinder gap measured a tight
.002 of an inch, and cylinder lockup at firing is very tight,
with no discernible lateral or rotational movement. The trigger
pull is smooth, but measured just over ten pounds. I prefer a
bit lighter pull, but in a pocket gun that must fire every time,
reliability comes before anything else, and the Off Duty fires
While I like to carry these lightweight
revolvers in my pocket, I borrowed a dandy little belt holster
from my brother Boge and packed the little Charter around
in it for awhile. It is the Silver Dollar Pancake model
from Simply Rugged Holsters. Rob Leahy crafts some
very practical and handy holsters at his Alaskan shop, and I
have featured them here before on Gunblast. The Silver Dollar
Pancake offers an excellent way to carry a snub gun on the belt,
providing good protection and retention, along with excellent
concealability. Rob also offers as an option, two straps that
attach to the Silver Dollar, making it into an inside-the-pants
holster for even better concealment of the weapon. It is a great
little holster, and Rob sells them for not much more than the
price of a good pizza.
I fired the Off Duty using a variety of
hollowpoint ammo, but mostly using Plus P Glaser
ammunition, as it is the best ammo to carry in a snub-nose
thirty-eight for social purposes, in my opinion. The Off Duty
was easy to control rapid fire, keeping all shots within the
kill zone of a standard human silhouette target at twenty-five
yards. At fifteen yards, it was easy to keep the Glasers in the
face area of the silhouette, offhand rapid fire.
The Off Duty from Charter 2000 is a good,
sturdy, reliable, and lightweight revolver to carry for social
situations of the most serious nature; the protection of
yourself and your loved ones. There are some gun
shop commandos who would have you to believe that a .38 Special
revolver is not enough gun. If I knew that I was headed for a
fight, I wouldn’t choose any handgun as my main weapon.
However, a good, reliable, five-shot thirty-eight can be your
constant companion, always with you. It is not the weapon of
choice to carry to a fight, but will serve you well when the
fight comes to you. That is the beauty of these little jewels;
they are always there, always ready. The Charter Undercover was
a good choice twenty-five years ago, and the Off Duty is an even
better choice now. Like all Charter revolvers, they are built in
the United States, are reliable, and are priced under their
Check out the Off Duty and other Charter
revolvers online at: www.charterfirearms.com.
To order one of Rob Leahy’s Simply Rugged
holsters, go to: www.simplyrugged.com.
For a look at the line of Glaser Safety Slug
ammunition, go to: www.corbon.com.
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