Pick a snubbie

Say for the moment that you’re looking for a snub-nosed, compact revolver, and for some reason you’ve taken leave of your senses and have decided to not get a Smith & Wesson J-frame, a Ruger SP101, or a Ruger LCR.  Say that you’ve descended even further into madness and narrowed your choices down to a Taurus revolver, or a Charter Arms revolver.  Which one would you pick?  Taurus, made in Brazil; or Charter, made in the USA?

For me, I’d pick the Charter Arms gun. Not because I think it’s a better or worse gun, although the one Taurus snubbie I owned had the very worst trigger of any gun I’ve ever shot ever on it, which turned me off to Taurus guns. Plus, I figure that both the Taurus and the Charter have a high probability of throwing a part, so when they break I’d rather deal with Charter’s lifetime warranty than haranguing Taurus for 6-9 months to fix my $300 gun.


  1. I have never understood the mindset that allows an otherwise knowledgeable gun buff to turn off his/her cognitive functions when it comes to gun brands, all based on a single bad experience.

    Did the trigger touch you inappropriately? Did it sleep with your wife? Molest your dog? Attempt to overthrow the country and blame it on you?

    Don’t close the door on a brand based on one experience. Just keep it in mind when reviewing future examples.

  2. No, it was just a really, really, really, really awful trigger. I’ve actually owned three Taurus revolvers: a Taurus 905 in 9mm, a Taurus Stellar Tracker in .45 ACP, and a Taurus 627 Tracker in .357 Magnum. Their one universal feature was a poor double action trigger. The Trackers were fun to shoot, out of the box their DA trigger didn’t compare to the GP100 I owned at the same time, or the S&W guns I’ve owned since then.

  3. What a terrible poll question! IMHO if you aren’t getting a S&W J-frame or a ruger LCR/Sp101 you might as just look at a different platform, given that they’re nasty little guns to shoot, and difficult to train for long sittings with, better to go for a very nice gun so you’ll at least get better results faster, than working out for the popeye forarms you need to get a nice trigger squeeze on those gritty knock-offs.

    That being said if I HAD to choose, I’d buy Domestic, so at least Americans were put to work making my shitty snubbie.

  4. In the past, Charter has had as many QC issues as Taurus… and worse ones generally; involving frame failures due to poor metallurgy.

    Both have… under-performing shall we say… customer service; and both have lifetime warranties.

    Personally, I’d probably go for the Taurus just because you can make the trigger better than you can the charter… though it’s likely to start out worse.

  5. ToddG has it! If I were seriously recommending a compact revolver to someone, the conversation starts with Smith & Wesson, ends with “Ruger”, and doesn’t include “Taurus” or “Charter”.

    However, this is a facscinating exercise in controlled choices. I’m really curious about how many people voted Charter, not being knowledgable in the subject simply because I kind of leaned towards Charter in the post.

    Also Chris – you “can” make the trigger on a Taurus better, but why pay $100 for an action job on a $300 wheelgun?

  6. Since I can’t get a Ruger I would select Charter although I have sent Taurus back for repair with no issues what so ever. Always nice and quick to return fixed.

  7. Taurus, because I have a Taurus 605 that works well, and has an OK trigger. And Taurus hasn’t been in and out of business a half dozen times.

    Truely, though, if I can finagle an upgrade to a Ruger, I will, just for the customer service warm fuzzies. I do have a Taurus Customer “Service” saga in my history.

    1. That is a legit critique of Charter – although the company that owns the Charter name now seems relatively stable, in part because they also own Hi-Point.

  8. “why pay $100 for an action job on a $300 wheelgun?”

    Especially since you’d be at the same price as the $400 revolver you should have bought in the first place.

  9. My Taurus has a very good trigger pull, so good it gets light primer strikes.

  10. I’ve got two Charters, .44 Bulldog stainless and .327 Magnum stainless with CT Lasergrips (because the iron sights were way off) and I carry either or both frequently. You couldn’t run fast enough to give me a Taurus. Well, maybe you could because I can’t run fast anymore, but if you did, I’d sell it, trade it or give it away. Taurus customer service is so nonexistent it’s the only brand I cannot recommend to buyers in the gun shop where I work.

  11. We have one of each. My Taurus 85 is really nice. It shoots well, and the trigger (I bought it pre-broken-in) is decent. Wife got a Charter Arms ultralight .38, and I can’t hit a damn thing with it. But nobody else makes pink revolvers, so…

  12. I got dad a lightweight Taurus 2 years ago for Christmas.
    He doesn’t like the DA trigger pull or the recoil.
    He’s got my 9mm Tokarev.

  13. I don’t need a new paperweight as I already have a large rock on my desk for that purpose. I’ll stick with my SP101.

  14. i have shot a few charters and while the trigger is not stellar, for the price they are more then decent, I would take a Ruger over either of them everyday, hell i like Rugers better the S&W(but i like hot loaded firearms :D)

    but every Taurus that i have shot had a sub-par trigger on it, even when you place it against other guns in the same non-sale price range.

    I also think that the Charters are built a little better, and they are made in the USA, and i would rather buy a USA made gun then one in Brazil.

    Charter arms for the win, in this contest.

  15. What a choice! This is like asking if you’d prefer the electric chair or the gallows.

  16. I can’t contribute any Charter arms experience. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting the .44 special Bulldog, but that is as far as it has gone, because of the rumors about varying quality as the company has gone under and reformed over the years.
    My personal prejudices allow me to buy a cheaper semi-auto quicker than a cheaper revolver, simply because I know how to tweak and repair a cheap ass semi-automatic. If a revolver goes tits up on me I don’t think I have the revolver-fu necessary to work it out myself.
    What is my rambling point? I guess go with what you know. If you are seriously buying one just to check it out, then it doesn’t matter whether it turns out to be a piece of crap or not, since finding out what the deal is with brand “X” is the point of the exercise. I’ve owned some stuff that would get me mocked at any number of gun boards simply because I was curious about the damn things.

  17. “What a choice! This is like asking if you’d prefer the electric chair or the gallows.”

    no it isn’t, because Gallows is the easy choice!

  18. My vote is “None of the Above.” I shot both the Charter Arms and Taurus snubbies and both of them suck big green slimey ones. Neither comes close to a S&W for fit, function, reliability and trigger—and that’s even the ones with the bloomin’ lock.

    No thank you. Keep your Charter Arms and Taurus. I’ll stick to S&W.

  19. Crucis – yeah, the point of the poll is to see which two options people would pick when any of the good options are off the table. All my snubbies (two of them) say S&W on them now.

  20. We have had a few Charters coming through class lately, of the samples, they have all had gritty, hard triggers, and we had one that the cylinder had forward play in it, and not getting a good hit on primer. (The student sent it back, and it was returned in the same condition, so it does not fire everytime)

    So of the two choices I’d take the Taurus, I have a 905, that does fairly well, and the ones brought to class shoot well

  21. Find ourself a good used Colt Detective Special… Good trigger and a real 6 shooter…

  22. I’m jumping in to defend my experience with Taurus. I’ve carried a CIA 650 for 9 years and put about 2-4k rounds a year through it without a problem. This summer the mainspring broke, I sent it to Taurus and they had it back in two weeks, no questions asked. I’ll agree the S&W triggers are smoother but for the money Taurus does a fine job.

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