Since the founding of Charter Arms in 1964 by Douglas McClennahan, the company’s series of affordably priced, compact, double-action revolvers has continued to grow in both its diversity of models and frame sizes. McClennahan had an innovative approach to revolver design that allowed Charter to make its guns lighter and less costly to produce, and the company’s recently introduced Professional is another fine example of this design philosophy.
This version of the Professional incorporates the features that have kept the .44 Spl. Bulldog selling well for decades. The barrel, frame, cylinder and controls are all made of corrosion-resistant, matte-finish stainless steel. Unlike some other double-action revolvers, Charter Arms models do not have a removable sideplate. Instead, the firing mechanism is fitted into the one-piece frame from below, and held in place by the one-piece trigger guard and grip frame. This design has two notable benefits, the first being that the frame is stronger. Secondly, the trigger guard and grip assembly is a separate component, which allows it to be made from a different material, such as the lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminum that Charter Arms uses.
The topstrap of the receiver is deeply grooved with a square notch above the hammer to form the rear sight. The grooved cocking spur of the hammer is relatively short, which reduces the chance of it snagging on clothing. It is positioned relatively low to make it easier to reach with the thumb of the shooting hand. A frame-mounted transfer bar safety, located between the hammer and the firing pin, prevents the revolver from firing if dropped.
The cylinder’s yoke is fitted into a protective slot in the frame rather than being exposed along its front edge like some other designs. The cylinder is supported by a three-point lockup; it rotates clockwise and swings out to the left side when the flat, serrated cylinder release is pressed forward toward the muzzle. A cylinder stop on the frame is not required, which aids in quicker reloads when using a speedloader.
The mid-size Charter Arms six-shot, .357 Mag. Professional is a rugged, simple revolver that is an affordably priced option suitable for concealed carry or home defense. The .357 Mag. chambering allows for the use of soft-shooting .38 Spl. cartridges for casual plinking or target practice, .38 Spl. +P defensive hollow points for more moderate levels of felt recoil or full-power .357 Mag. loads for use in the field. It’s a flexible option for those who are looking for the added power of a magnum revolver without the added weight of an all-steel frame—at a price point that nearly any shooter can manage.