To travel without having the ability to defend yourself against an attack is not a smart idea. No matter where I go, I try to pack a firearm with me, just in case I’m ever presented with the need for self-protection.
I have a firearm dedicated to travel, and I thought it would be prudent to do a follow up to Todd’s article on how to fly with a gun, to just go over what I looked for in my dedicated travel gun. This article is part Charter Arms Off Duty Gun Review, and part information on what you may want to look for in your dedicated travel gun.
My Travel Gun from Charter Arms:
My travel gun is nothing more than a 5-shot, snub nose .38 Special revolver. To be more precise, it’s a Charter Arms Off-Duty. It’s perfect for what I need it for, but I do also carry it around town, from time to time, and even in my house whenever I need an lightweight handgun.
It’s main purpose right now, however, is as my travel gun. I’ve been traveling for work a lot lately, and it serves this purpose well. There are a few reasons why it’s a good gun for me to travel with. First, it was a cheap handgun. If I remember correctly, I walked out of my FFL, gun in hand after taxes and transfer, for $325. For a brand new, fully functioning self-defense weapon, that ain’t bad.
This is important because, while the last thing I could ever want to happen is to have my gun stolen by TSA, having a $300 gun stolen won’t hurt as much as having a $700 gun stolen. Seems like a no-brainer to me, and the Charter Arms Off Duty fits the bill well, for this “cheap gun” requirement.
However, I do want to say here, that it’s always important to do as much to prevent theft, as possible, by using a high quality case and following the directions of your airline.
Second, it’s a small and easily concealable pocket revolver, with a long double action only trigger. I have a Sticky Holster that allows me to drop it right in my pocket, tucked out of the way. This is perfect for those states that allow me to conceal a firearm, but not carry one out in the open, or even have brandishing laws.
Please note that my revolver is filthy in all of the photos, because pocket carry is dirty. You may not realize it, but your pockets are filled with lint, and it tends to stick to guns. Clean your pocket pistol or revolver often, to make sure it functions properly if and when you need it to save your life.
I’d like to point out that proper training to make sure you can draw from the pocket holster with your gun, is all important. If you don’t train with it, drawing it from the holster, don’t carry that way. Why? Because drawing from a pocket holster is a different kind of animal and takes a lot of practice to become proficient.
Third, the Charter Arms snub has a capacity of just 5 shots. While this is less than ideal in many situations, it keeps me from breaking the law in any of the less gun-friendly states I’m traveling through, if I’m driving, or my destination is a state that doesn’t allow higher capacity weapons.
For example, I live in Pennsylvania, and we are surrounded by the blue sea. Literally, we are surrounded by NJ, MD, DE, NY, and if I want to go anywhere, the only gun-friendly state is Ohio. I rarely go that way. Therefore, to make sure I don’t go to jail, I want to make sure I’ve got as much on my side as possible, to include a small capacity firearm, like the Charter Arms 38 in all these photos.
At the Range:
To say that the Charter Arms Off Duty is a handful is less than an understatement. At only 12 oz, this aluminum framed revolver doesn’t do a lot to mitigate felt recoil. And, when +P cartridges are involved, it gets to be even more fun to hang onto.
Still, for what the Charter Arms Off Duty is, a pocket revolver or backup gun, it’s a fantastic option as my go to travel self-defense weapon. I am combat accurate with it up to 10 yards, the maximum distance I’d ever consider shooting with a firearm with a two inch barrel.
Please note that mine is configured with the short grip, and there is an option to put an extended grip on this 38 revolver, so you can get your pinky finger on it to tame it more. Of course, if I were to do this, I’d lose some concealability, and may not be able to pocket it anymore. As with all things in the self-defense lifestyle we live, there are gives and takes.
The main downside to this self-defense gun, are also some of it’s positives. It’s small and sleek. When I say sleek, I mean that the trigger guard is small, and tends to beat the snot out of my trigger finger whenever I shoot it. In fact, on numerous occasions my finger pops off the trigger and smacks the guard. After numerous shots it chews my knuckle up.
I do want to point out that this isn’t the only revolver I have a problem with, and is one of the reasons I’m looking forward to Colt’s new Cobra. The trigger guard is nice and big, which is perfect for my fat fingers.
After training with it on several different occasions, I have been able to modify my shooting so it doesn’t happen as much. My fingers are quite a bit bigger than the average shooter, and that, coupled with the overall small size of the trigger guard are a recipe for chewed up fingers.
Carrying Charter Arms Off-Duty:
The overall small stature of the Charter Arms Off Duty pocket revolver makes it an excellent choice for concealed carry or even as a backup gun. As an added benefit, the internal hammer helps prevent any snags on the draw. Which is perfect for me, because I tend to pocket carry this revolver whenever I wear it.
The Charter Arms Off-Duty is an excellent choice for concealed carry, and I tend to use mine as my travel gun because it’s small, affordable, and easily concealed on my person. It goes bang every time, and fits the bill for exactly what I need. It’s not all puppies and rainbows because my finger snaps off the trigger when I shoot causing it to bleed, but I’d much rather have the a bleeding finger than be in a ditch somewhere, dead.
Do you own any of these no frills revolvers? Let me know in the comments below.