Range Report, Charter Arms Undercover Lite

This is a discussion on Range Report, Charter Arms Undercover Lite within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; All: I posted earlier about a road rage incident that scared the snot out of my Better Half and I: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ad.php?t=38332 Pursuant to the Better ...

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Thread: Range Report, Charter Arms Undercover Lite

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Range Report, Charter Arms Undercover Lite

    All:

    I posted earlier about a road rage incident that scared the snot out of my Better Half and I:

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ad.php?t=38332

    Pursuant to the Better Half's resolve to get and keep a weapon in her vehicle (hopefully on her person full-time, but we make progress by increments), we went out and got one for just that purpose.

    She ended up getting a Charter Arms Undercover Lite. There was some reluctance on my part for her to get that weapon. I have read mixed reviews of Charter's quality, and I was pushing for her to get a Smith & Wesson. Nor is it +P rated, despite some UC Lites on Charter's website that are +P rated. But it ain't for me- -it's for her. So be it.

    I was thinking short-barreled (no room to maneuver between steering wheel and predatory cretin reaching into your car). I was thinking "revolver", too, 'cause they are a little more tolerant of neglect on average than most autos. They are slightly lower maintenace/user-friendly, too. No magazines to buy, no slide to rack, etc. If you get a misfire, keep pulling the trigger. Not an option with an auto. You might not get both hands into play, like to clear a jam, in a carjacking situation, either.

    She was looking for something that fit her hand and felt good to hold.
    The UC Lite fit the bill. It was the lightest revolver out there (12 ounces) and it had a full grip (as opposed to a two-finger). Of course, there are downsides to light weight (recoil can be unpleasant). But in a carjacking prevention situation, you aren't going to pay any attention to recoil. Besides, standard pressure .38 isn't near as bad as some other stuff, even in a light gun.

    Anyway, here's the kicker, and the reason for range report: I couldn't find ANYTHING out there about the UC Lite. Some other Charters have been reviewed. And there are a fair amount of threads out there dealing with Charter quality in general (usually based on experiences with the Bulldog, or the Off-Duty or the Mag Pug), but nothing on the Undercover Lite.

    So here goes (pics attached).

    In order to be fair, I brought along my Smith & Wesson 442 to compare. I'm glad I did.

    The fit and finish on the UC Lite are not what they are on any of my Smiths. Irrelevant, really for the limited purposes of this gun- - (a) be reliable; (b) shoot a basketball-sized group at arm's length. The engraving or electric pencilling or whatever was pretty poor. Some of the exterior surfaces a little what I'll call "pitted" for lack of a better word. The bore, however, was smooth, clean and shining. All screws came from the factory very, very well-tightened.

    The UC Lite, at 5-7 yards, shot surprisingly well. With practice, or with a shooter who was really intent on maximum accuracy or just plain good with guns, it would have one-holed.

    As it was, it shot a very tight group. The target on the right-hand side of the pic at the left is the Charter's group. There is a group of shots cloverleafing toward 5 O'Clock in the ten ring. Those were my first 5 shots, slow-fired, single-action. More than accurate enough.

    Compare with the Smith (the target on the right hand side of the right hand photo)- - a similar group appears at pretty much the same place. That consistency tells us something about the way I shoot, I guess....I pull a little down and a little to the right, at least with those types of guns.

    Ammo was 158-grain FMJ made by Magtech for both guns. That is significant, because when I shot the Charter, the cases stuck in the cylinder. I was thinking "crappy gun". Well, the same thing happened when I shot the Smith. So it's "accurate but suboptimal ammo", not "crappy gun". Like I said, I was glad I brought the Smith for comparison, otherwise I would be tempted to unfairly slam the Charter. Ditto regarding some short-stroking on my part. No revolver will function if the trigger is short-stroked- - just like a pump shotgun, and it ain't the gun's fault.

    There was recoil, but it wasn't bad. Not a gun for a beginner to shoot at a range all day. But definitely OK for someone to put a cylinder through from time to time and stick by the beside or carry lots and shoot little. I read a comment on a board once by a guy who used to work in a gun store who said they sold Charters to people in the 1970's who indicated they would shoot it every once in a while and put it in a drawer in their night stands the rest of the time. I concur, and it's certainly more than good enough for that- - or carjacking prevention.

    Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the gun's accuracy and reliability. I am also a little sheepish to admit that I had been biased against the little gun. My expectations were pretty low- - I was half-expecting that the gun would lock up if it didn't fall apart first. I guess there is a little insight there for us all.
    Attached Images
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


    Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array sui-juris's Avatar
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    Nice write up, glad the Charter worked out.

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    Member Array RKirk's Avatar
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    Charter Arms

    Randy,

    Thanks for the range report. I am glad to hear everyone in the family RE OKAY.

    -- Richard
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

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    Member Array jarhead45's Avatar
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    I like the bulldog and all its variations. I dont carry one just cause I dont have one.
    Honor, Courage, Virtue. These are what makes a man.
    "The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps."
    Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945

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    Member Array ev239's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good review! I bought my wife the plain jane Undercover which weighs in a few more oz at 16oz so it's no problem with standard pressure ammo. I have fired a few cylinders of +P just to make sure they worked and they do. Charter does OK +P, but just not a steady diet of it. Mine doesn't lockup very tight, but it's been 100% reliable and I trust it.
    Mine: Glock 36............Wife's: Ruger SP101 3"
    -------Ruger SR9....................Ruger SR9c
    -------S&W SW99 .45.............Charter Arms Undercover

    Hidden Defense - Personal gun & holster designs/reviews.

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    Nice weapon for the car...
    Congrats on on the increments...you definitely went up a notch or two...
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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    i have been looking for the new left hand model that they have out for my wife. that way i can get my s&w model 36 back from her.
    An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

    Red State State of Mind

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    New Member Array BSHardi's Avatar
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    Cats can be useful sometimes

    Nice report, I am shopping for a good light revolver and appreciate everyones comments. No one has mentioned the cat yet so I thought I would.

    Looks like the shooting is a whole family affair. The cat did a wonderful job in the photo.

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    Great for you to do your informative and worthwhile report! Sounds like the revolver is a keeper and worthy of consideration for the person who desires a short-barreled revolver for effective concealed carry protection.

    I shot a Charter Arms Undercover .38 over 25 years ago and can't recall much about it. It seems that it felt a bit rough in the action.

    I shot a stainless steel .44 Special BullDog recently and it was slick and tight. Shot 245 grain SWC handloads really accurately and to point of aim. The smoothness of the action was noteworthy and it was just a garden variety, un-fooled with Charter Arms product. I like the .44 Special and would be interested in one of those Charter Bulldogs to take some of the shooting heat off my older S&W .44 Special.

    If their new .38 snubs are also smooth then Taurus had better watch out.

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    BS:

    Yeah, the cat provided the (photographic) backdrop for the targets. I wondered if anyone would notice.

    He is very, very laid-back. My 9 year-old can hold him upside down or on his back, like a baby. I picked him (the cat, not my 9 year-old) out at the pound mostly because he was, by far, the most laid-back animal there. And that is necessary when you have 4 kids.
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


    Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.

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    VIP Member Array cphilip's Avatar
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    I had an Undercover for many years that was my "walking around the property *slash* fishing gun". Never failed me. Use to keep it loaded with Snake shot most of the time. Don't have it any more for unrelated reasons but I never had a problem with it. But... I will say this though.. I had one "Ultra Light" Unobtainium big brand (S&W) gun that just swore me off the light Snubbies. Sold that one fairly fast. I don't like shooting these light snubbies at all. Gimme a full weight one any day.

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Ghettokracker71's Avatar
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    Thank for the writeup---I've been researching the CA revos as a CC peice,..How much did you pay if you don't mind me asking


    "To blame a gun for a mans decision is to foolishly attribute free will to an inanimate object"- Colion Noir.

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