Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special (2023)

Its trigger pull, in both single and double-action modes, is pretty light.While there are some critics of the Bulldog because it's not a double-stackedGlock with 15 rounds, I believe that the Bulldogis great for self-defense. This is more true, especially when considering that usually no more than 3 shots are fired in a close combat situation. Which of course, most gunfights are just that.

As for the transfer bar, when the gun is fired, the hammer does not actually strike the firing pin. The transfer baris raised as the trigger is pulled, placing it into a position between the firing pin and the hammer itself. The hammer strikes the transfer bar, which in turn strikes the firing pin, which discharges the weapon.

So if the trigger is not being pulled when the hammer falls, the transfer bar will not be in position, and the weapon will not discharge. And friends, that's why you can load all 5 rounds and not have to worry about leaving the hammer on an empty chamber as they used to have to do with Colt Peacemakers in the Old West.

In the Old West, the hammer of a revolver of the time would be kept on an empty chamber so that it wouldn't fire accidentally when bumped or dropped. Wyatt Earp learned about that very thing. He actually experienced a dropped-gun accidental discharge, andit was reported in the January 12th, 1876 edition of the Wichita Beacon, which read:

As for the accuracy of the Bulldog, I find that it is very accurate for a snub nose. I can hit center mass on a silhouette target at 30 feet with it. And frankly, I've been known to hit a beer can with it at 40 feet. So, all in all, I'm sure at the 3 feet to 7 feet that most defensive shooting is done, it will be very accurate to get the job done.

All Bulldog models have a cylinder of 5 shots. And because most ammunition for the Bulldog has a muzzle velocity between 705 and 1000 feet per second, it is a man stopper with almost any .44 Special ammunition. But for self-defense, I read where some like to use the Blazer 200-grain Gold Dot as a load choice for the Bulldog. The 200-grain load is potent and has strong penetration, and yet the recoil can easily be handled.

Five models of the Bulldog have been produced with overalllengths of 7.2 inches and 6.7 inches with barrel lengths of either 2.5 inches or 2.2 inches.

There is also the positive of all the barrels at Charter Arms line of pistols are machined with eight groves instead of six for higher velocity, flatter trajectory, and better accuracy. All barrels shroud the ejector rod.

Of course, the completely blocked hammer safety system cannot fire unless the trigger is held in the full rear position. That makes it the safest revolver design in the world. In fact, Charter invented the hammer block transfer bar safety system used by almost every revolver manufacturer out there.

For me, I like the wide trigger and hammer spur. And of course, I really like the fact that Charter Arms are 100% American made, using 100% American parts, and the company is 100% American owned.

Since most threats take place at a range of 10 feet or less, you need an effective response. Charter firearms offer rugged, reliable, and affordable personal protection. And frankly, I can attest to its reliability and its durability.

There is no wonder why the .44 Bulldog is considered Charter Arms' trademark weapon. The Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special is known for its rugged reliability and stopping power. It is versatile in that it can be used for personal or home protection, camping and fishing, hiking, or atop a horse in the backcountry looking for cattle.

Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special (1)

Now about my Bulldog!

(Video) Charter Arms Bull Dog 44 Special

Yes, I own one. In fact, I've owned a Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Specialsince 1979. Yes, almost 40 years now. It looks a lot like the one in the picture above with wooden grips. OK, so I'm really Old School. Oh well, you have to be who you are!

For me, my Bulldog has been a companion in the city and in the mountains, camping, out four-wheeling back in the day, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, out finding cattle, and even on road trips into some very unfriendly places. Heck, I even chased a bear off with my Bulldog.

When I bought mine, I was working in the security field, and I had just been asked to do bodyguard work. Yes, what today they call "executive protection" work. Most of the others who I worked with carried small 9mm pistols, and of course, small .38 snub-nose revolvers. Remember, that was 1979.

From what I hear today, those working "executive protection" are armed to the teeth -- all ready to face full-fledged fire-fights like what they see on television. While that might or might not be the case today, back then, we carried -- we only carried a couple of speedloaders or an extra two magazines to back up what we were packing just in case things did get crazy.

But all in all, we were simply not as armed as they are today. The idea back then was not to shoot it out and have a lot of gunplay where the person we're guarding might get hit. Our goal was to get our charge to safety, but that subject is for another day.

As for the company that hired me, they gave me a choice of using a few different service pistols that they had on hand or use one of my own. They offered me aSmith & WessonModel 10 in .38 Special and a Model 28 in .357 magnum, aka the "Highway Patrolman" model.

While I loved both guns, I tried the Model 28 under a suit, and that big Smith & Wesson stuck out like a sore thumb. As for the S&W Model 10, I gave that great pistol a lot of thought since I've been familiar with it for many years.

(Video) Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special Review - BIG DISAPPOINTMENT! I Had Multiple Problems With Mine

I knew the S&W Model 10 Military & Police revolver had been around for a very long time, since 1898, and it is known for its simplicity and reliability. But frankly, I wanted something with more punch than a .38 Special.

As for my personal handgun at the time, I only had my .45 Colt Series 70. Yes, that's my 1911 that has been my never-fail handgun. That is the weapon that I was going to go with. And since I had received extensive training with a 1911 in the Marine Corps, I've always felt extremely confident in its reliability and knowing how to use it.

Friends, allow me to sidetrack for one moment and say that that's a big deal when carrying a weapon of any sort. Whether your choice is a Glock, a PPK, an MP Shield, a Ruger,a Berretta,a 1911 from various makers, a S&W Bodyguard, a Charter Arms Bulldog, or some other pistol, being familiar with your weapon means you will be more confident in knowing how to use it during an emergency. And frankly, familiarity with your choice is of the utmost importance at the moment you need it.

That sort of familiarity only comes with shooting your weapon a lot. If it's a semi-auto, then shooting it a lot will help you know how to transition magazines and load on the fly and resolve jams if that does occur. If shooting a revolver, shooting it a lot will help you learn to load and unload easier, use speedloaders easier, transitioning between an empty chamber and being hot again, and even manage trigger pull. And all of the familiarization comes with training and spending time on the range shooting your weapon of choice.

As for how I got my Bulldog? I was about to opt for using my 1911 when a friend told me about a smaller, easier to conceal revolver used by the U.S. Federal Air Marshals at the time. Yes, that was the Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special.

My friend told me about how he used the Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 special on duty before leaving the agency as a former Federal Air Marshal. He talked about its stopping power and the fact that it was extremely lightweight. So since I was contemplating using my 1911 at that point, something smaller and lighter without sacrificing knock-down power was something that I was interested in.

I soon contacted a friend who owned a gun store, and he allowed me to test-fire a Bulldog in .44 Special for myself. To be fair, another friend wanted me to look into getting a Colt Python for the job, and I found it to be as bulky as the Model 28. And yes, I did look into getting a S&W Model 13 in .375 Magnum.

(Video) Charter Arms .44 Special Bull Dog Classic Close-up

Now let me just say that I was amazed at how light the Bulldog was compared to a S&W Model 36 Chief's Special snub, a Colt Detective Special snub, or, say, a S&W Model 13 is one of my favorite pistols ever made. I was genuinely surprised that even with the bigger .44 Special rounds loaded in the Bulldog, just how remarkably light it was compared to those great guns that I compared it to. In those days, quite a few bodyguards carried snubs like the S&W Model 36 Chief's Special and Colt's Detective Special.

After checking out its ballistics, its stopping power, and then actually shooting it there at my friend's gun store, I was so impressed with the way it handled that I bought it right then and there. It was a buy that I've never regretted. For me, I would trust my life to my Bulldog. And friends, that's saying a lot!

I'm sure you can hear my enthusiasm regarding the Bulldog. And frankly, it's all for a good reason. Friends, a .44 Special in a pistol with only a 2.5" barrel makes the Bulldog one of the largest caliber small revolvers for safe, reliable, effective concealed carry. I don't know of a small package that carries that much punch as the Bulldog when it comes to being a man stopper. And frankly, that's why I won't sell mine.

Yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special (2)

(Video) Charter Arms .44 Special Bulldog


Is a Bulldog 44 Special A good gun? ›

44 Special is one of the larger revolvers to qualify for concealed carry. It has potent stopping power, while not being burdensome to carry. This safe, reliable revolver is powerful enough for serious home protection, but has the size and functionality for effective concealed carry!

Who makes the 44 special bulldog? ›

The Bulldog is a 5-shot traditional double-action revolver designed by Doug McClenahan and produced by Charter Arms. It was introduced in 1973. The Bulldog has been available for the . 44 Special and .

What is a .44 Bulldog pistol? ›

Bulldog® is a powerful, but compact revolver. The Bulldog® is ideal for concealed carry and target practice. Its ergonomic, finger-grooved rubber grip minimizes recoil for maximum comfort and control, while the potent . 44 Special chambering delivers almost twice as much muzzle energy on target as the less powerful .

How powerful is a 44 Bulldog? ›

Bullet mass/typeVelocityEnergy
168 gr (11 g) (U.S. factory load)460 ft/s (140 m/s)80 ft⋅lbf (110 J)


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