Charter Arms Pitbull in .45 Auto

Charter Arms Pitbull

Revolvers chambered in auto loading cartridges is really nothing new, but the vast majority use moon clips to hold the rounds in place since auto loaded cartridges are not rimmed. The Pitbull uses tabs machined into the star ejector to catch the extractor groove. Now the cartridge still headspaces off the case mouth but the tab on the ejector adds a great degree of reliability. I have been looking forward to reviewing the Pit Bull for some time now and the test sample is finished in the new Nitride finish from Charter Arms. The Nitride finish is one of the more durable steel finishes used to protect steel. Side note, I hate moon clips. They are aggravating as hell to load, easily lost, can be broken. If lost or broken, your revolver is now an intimidating paperweight.


Charter Arms Pitbull-3

The double action trigger broke between 12-14 pounds in a steady pull while the single action trigger broke about 4 pounds with little take up and some over travel. The double action is typical for what I am used to in revolvers but the single action pull is excellent.  The cylinder release is well serrated for a positive purchase and worked exactly as it should.

Charter Arms Pitbull-4 Charter Arms Pitbull-5

The cylinder is a beefy with five round capacity.  Notice the absence of moon clips, which is exactly my favorite part, instead the round still headspaces on the casemouth while a tap on the star extractor utilizes a tap that snaps into the extractor groove that allows for correct placement and easy extraction.

Charter Arms Pitbull-6

The sights were very nice, especially for a snub nose revolver, and that showed in the twenty five yard groups. There were no issues with snagging on the draw but you have to be mindful of the hammer spur when drawing.

Initial Range Trip

This is my very first time shooting a revolver chambered in .45 Automatic so I began getting used to the revolver at the fifteen yard line. I ran about forty rounds of 230gr  ball rounds from Defender Ammunition to see how it would run and get my bearings on the sights. After several cylinders the Pitbull and I began to understand one another. It is a point of aim point of impact aiming type but it is not a handgun I would take to shoot a bullseye match. With that said, I was pleased with the groupings as shown in the chart below.

Charter Arms Pitbull .45 auto accuracy

Twenty five yard, three shot groups, from a rest.

Second Range Trip  


The Charter Arms Pit Bull is a pretty slick little revolver that I see serving primarily in a defensive role.  The Pitbull is also available in .40 S&W and 9mm Luger as well as in stainless so you have several options. In a snub nose revolver, you are going to lose velocity so I always opt for a big heavy bullet to make up a bit for the velocity loss. Many manufactures have introduced defensive rounds designed for shorter barrels so there are plenty more viable options today than a few years ago. Charter Arms builds a fine revolver that is inexpensive, so if someone on a budget is looking for a good defensive revolver, any of their handguns are worth checking out. The new Nitride finish has held up well over the test and as expected there were no malfunctions throughtout the test. When using the star extractor to unloaded loaded cartridges, you have to be sure the loaded round does not drop below the extractor as it reaches full throw. This is not an issue with the empty cases as they fall out long before the extractor reaches full throw. I realize revolvers have limited capacity and with many of the big bore Charter Arms you will be limited to five shots. That being said, with revolvers you do have some advantages, they tend to be very reliable and are not particular on what ammunition you are running. Some autoloaders are sensitive to limp wristing, where the revolver is more mechanical and less subject to such things. I am not really a fan of off body concealed carry but I know many women who pocket book carry. Many I know will keep their hand in their pocket book while walking along to their car or such. With a revolver if, God forbid, one had to fire through their pocket book to save their life, the revolver would function whereas an autoloader could malfunction. In such a situation, you have gone from a single round from an autoloader, to capacity of a revolver. If you do carry an autoloader in .45 Auto, this Pit Bull would make an excellent back up piece in the same caliber. Recoil was not bad at all and the oversized rubber stocks with finger grooves did an excellent job in helping you keep a solid purchase. All in all, I am very satisfied in this little hand cannon and truthfully have nothing bad to say about it.

Charter Arms Pitbull-7


Model: 74520
Finish: Nitrite
Frame: Matte
Grip: Full
Barrel length: 2.5″
Capacity: 5-shot
Caliber: .45 Automatic
Hammer: Standard
Weight: 22 oz.


Charter Arms 

Defender Ammunition 


Winchester Ammunition



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14 Responses to Charter Arms Pitbull in .45 Auto

  1. Barbara July 18, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    Enjoyed article, Hunter excellent video and the still shorts were best I have seen in a long time. Keep up good work.


  2. Barbara July 18, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    Excellent article, Hunter, the video was great and the still shots were the best I have seen in a long time. Keep up good work.


  3. Ogre December 22, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    I own two Charter Arms revolvers – one in a Bulldog in.44 Spl and now this Pitbull in .45 ACP. Both revolvers required action jobs to smooth trigger pull and to lighten them up a bit. Both revolvers are good shooters, not recoil heavy and fit my budget very well. If the Pitbull .45 ACP is going to be used as a defensive or back-up firearm, it should be known that reloading is a bit slow and must be done one-at-at-time, since no after-market vendor yet offers a speed loader.

  4. Wayne Benack July 12, 2018 at 6:25 pm #

    purchased a .45 ACP pitbull instead of waiting for the .45 colt to be available as I have had revolver cartridges occasionally move slightly backward thus keeping the cylinder from turning. I figured the ACP model would keep the brass in place.

    I wanted to get rid of some cheap aluminum cased ammo so I used that in spite of the fact that the literature warns against using said ammo. It was very dirty leaving powder everywhere. I knew I might have to push the casings out as they expanded. After 30 rounds or so the extraction star apparently became pushed back a little thus binding the revolver, also, necessitating I give a slight push on the cylinder before the trigger could be fully pulled.

    I cleaned the gun and It was as good as new. I also dry fired about 100 times which seemed to improve functioning. I will not hesitate to carry and depend upon this revolver in the future.

  5. Michael Emperador July 24, 2018 at 4:15 pm #

    What is that speed strip pictured with the Pitbull 45 ACP revolver. Is that what you use to speed load?? No mention of it in the article or video. Why not?

    Mike Emperador

  6. Westerner October 15, 2018 at 2:23 am #

    No speed loaders for it yet ,but I saw a fellow who just took a spare 45 magazine and had a full reload plus a couple in a tidy flat package. Still one at a time but a good idea,IMHO. I am planning on picking one up and I’ll use an old kimber mag that was feeding poorly as my ammo carrier. Reload plus a couple as I mentioned.

    • OW (original westerner) March 11, 2020 at 4:02 pm #

      just picked one up cant wait to go to range .I also grabbed a spare Kimber mag for a reload and a couple then found a 10 round mag I was going to gift to my brother for his Taurus PT145 to use when I want 2 reloads. I did see a few reviewers mention 200 gr. HB. shot right to point of aim. so ordered some from freedom munitions and hopefully will be here tomorrow then off to range!

  7. Michael Gibbs November 22, 2018 at 9:00 pm #

    “The Charter Arms Pit Bull is a pretty slick little revolver that I see serving primarily in a defensive role.”
    What a dumb thing to say. What other role might it serve? Offensive?

    • Hunter Elliott November 22, 2018 at 9:45 pm #

      Are you of the mindset handguns only serve in a defensive role?

    • Robert February 28, 2019 at 8:16 am #

      Defensive as opposed to competition target shooting or hunting is how I took it.

  8. Alexander Martin Fernandez July 27, 2019 at 10:05 pm #

    I picked-up the Charter Arms Pit-Bull .45acp that I ordered , and took-it to the range 3 days later . To say I was impressed would be an understatement ; it is a MAGNIFICENT REVOLVER ! . My NEW E.D.C. !

  9. Don Hayward October 6, 2020 at 7:11 pm #

    I carried and shot an original 44 Bulldog for years and shot so many rounds through it the top strap fractured. Went to a S%W 357 airweight and not a fun gun to shoot at all. Going to get either a new 45 or 44 maybe both. Personally I love the 44 special cartridge.


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