Charter Arms Rimless Revolver

Charter Arms Pitbull revolver

The Charter Arms Rimless Revolver (CARR) took a long time to get to market. There were a number of false starts and premature press releases. However, the revolver that takes rimless cartridges without the need for moon clips finally did make the market in 2012 – almost four years after the first announcement.

The final product was the Charter Arms Pitbull. Although we were promised a .45 ACP version also, the gun is only available in 9mm and .40 S&W. Read more about the new guns here.


This page is dedicated to the false starts of the CARR. Before, there were multiple articles with the latest information from the company. I’ve condensed them down to this one for historical purposes. Anyone doing research on the gun can gain a little insight into the process of getting one to market.

Charter Arms Rimless Revolver Announcement – November 2008

Charter Arms has been showing the willingness to be different and offer consumers revolvers that they can’t find elsewhere.  Earlier this year, Charter Arms introduced the Patriot line of revolvers chambered in .327 Federal Magnum.  The Ruger SP101 was the only revolver chambered for the .327, until the Patriot revolvers which gives buyers a choice in this caliber.  Now Charter has announced a new line of revolvers designed for rimless self-defense cartridges.

Chambering revolver for a rimless cartridge, such as the 9mm or .45 ACP, is not a new idea.  Smith and Wesson, Taurus, and others have done it before.  The problem has always been with the moon clips.  To get a rimless cartridge to sit properly in the cylinder, you would have to snap individual rounds into a full or half-moon clip.  While in theory, this isn’t too bad, a lot of shooters will tell you it will quickly become a pain.

Charter Arms claims to have solved this problem by offering a system that allows you to insert rimless cartridges directly into the cylinder without the need for clips.  Assuming the system functions flawlessly, this could be a serious leap forward for Charter.  A lot of citizens would like to have a revolver chambered for the same cartridge they carry in their Glock or Sig.  Also, add to the equation all of the police officers wanting to carry a back-up gun chambered for the same cartridge they carry in their duty gun.

The revolvers will be offered in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.  The guns will feature a 2″ barrel on the 9mm, with a 2.2″ on the .40 and .45.  The 9mm will be offered on Charter’s lightweight aluminum frame (12 oz), while the .40 and .45 will be offered on the slightly larger “Bulldog” frame.  All guns will handle +P cartridges and will have a lifetime warranty.

An interesting note: Charter states the 9mm will chamber .380 ACP ammunition.  So, if you need revolver dependability but need very light recoil due to arthritis or other issues, this might be well worth looking at.

MSRP will range from $399 to $449, so the guns will be affordable.  Charter anticipates shipping these guns in the first quarter of 2009, starting with the .40 S&W then .45 ACP, and 9mm.  All should be available by the end of 2009.

CARR Update – January 2009

Charter Arms is anticipating shipping the new Rimless Revolver in Spring 2009.

I spoke with their reps at the 2009 SHOT Show.  The Charter Arms reps explained that the revolvers are ready to begin production, but they are waiting on the patent lawyers.  It seems that some of the patents have not been nailed down yet, so before they start showing and shipping the revolvers, they have to make sure their design is protected.  Charter Arms had hoped to have everything finished by the SHOT Show, but they have been at the mercy of the patent lawyers and paperwork.

The current expectation is that the revolvers will start shipping in April 2009.  Initially, the Rimless Revolvers will ship in .40 S&W, followed by the 9mm, and then the .45 ACP.   All revolvers should be in the market before the and of ’09.

Charter Arms said the 9mm will also chamber the .380 ACP.

Assuming these revolvers are reliable, they could be excellent backup weapons for law enforcement and citizens carrying concealed for self-protection.

From the product announcement on the Charter Arms website:

Charter Arms Rimless Revolver (CARR) will be available in April 2009!

Charter Arms announces an affordable revolver that chambers rimless semi-automatic rounds the same way as a standard rimmed-cartridge revolver.

Now the average gun owner can own an affordable, trouble-free revolver chambered in these popular semi-auto rounds without the need for specialized ammunition clips and a specialized gun.

With the patent-pending Charter Arms Rimless Revolver Round System a round is loaded into the chamber and a specialized spring engages the cartridge’s ejector groove. When the cylinder is opened and the ejector rod operated, it extracts and ejects the fired cases

Available Calibers

Charter Arms will first offer the .40 S&W followed by the .45ACP and 9×19 mm Parabellum (the 9mm Parabellum revolver will also chamber factory .380ACP). All three Rimless Revolvers (9mm, .40 and .45) will be rated for higher velocity +P loadings.


As with the other Charter Arms revolvers, the CARR has an industry exclusive lifetime warranty.

CARR Delayed – April 2009

The Charter Arms Rimless Revolver has been delayed.

Originally slated for shipping in April, a company employee revealed that the actual shipping date has been pushed back to “late July.”  Increased demand for their existing products has contributed to the delay the employee said.

Charter Arms excited revolver enthusiasts by announcing the “rimless revolver” earlier this year. The revolver is uniquely designed to chamber and fire rimless cartridges without the need of moon clips.

I had hoped to see samples of this revolver at the 2009 SHOT Show, but the Charter Arms legal advisers encouraged them not to show the guns because all of the patent paperwork had not yet been finalized.

Charter Arms originally announced that the CARR will be available first in .40 S&W, with .45 ACP and 9mm to follow.  The employee I spoke with was unsure how the delay will affect the caliber roll-outs.

Reality or Vaporware? – May 2009

The Charter Arms Rimless Revolver was announced in November of 2008, but since that time, it has not been shown in public.  No samples were on the floor at the 2009 SHOT Show because of “patent issues” company reps said.

Later, when Charter Arms missed their release deadline of April 2009, one of their reps told me that “late July” was the new target date to ship these revolvers.  This time the delay was blamed on customer demand on their existing product line.

Now, all links have been removed from the Charter Arms website that referenced the CARR.  A Google search will still locate the information page, but I could not find a single link to it from anywhere on the Charter Arms site.  Additionally, the information on the page found through Google still shows a shipping date of April.

I sincerely hope that Charter Arms is ready to go with this revolver in July.  The design looks very interesting, and there are a lot of people that would like to have a revolver that can easily chamber the same ammunition their autoloader shoots.

Ed. note: The following is the CARR product page that, as of October 2014, is still visible on the company’s site:

Charter Arms CARR

Still MIA – August 2009

After being announced in November of 2008, Charter Arms has not yet released, or even publicly shown the new Rimless Revolver.  After missing an April ’09 shipping date, a company representative told me that “late July” was the new ship date for the first Charter Arms Rimless Revolvers.

Now that time has come and gone.  So what’s the story?

After I published an article questioning if the CARR is real or just vaporware, Charter Arms sent out a press release two days later stating that the Rimless Revolver “… is tested, patent checked, cleared and ready for production.”  And that “…the CARR is not vaporware…”

[Ed. note – When I spoke with a company representative in 2012, I was told the Pitbull – the new name for the CARR – had not been ready for production, and that the .45 ACP version would not be ready for some time. As of October 2014, the .45 version has not yet been released.]

So, if it is real, why the delay?  Would you believe President Barack Obama?

In the same press release, Charter Arms said:

…since the 2008 election we don’t need to tell you what has happened with sales of firearms and ammunition in our country. Thanks to another terrific firearm salesman like President Clinton was in 1990 [Ed. Note: Clinton did not take office until 1993], President Obama has pushed buying over the edge and companies are working like crazy just to keep up. This buying spree ramped firearm and ammunition demand up to astonishing levels in January 2009, and it has not slowed down.

What I find interesting is that since late May, firearm sales have slowed, but Charter Arms is still pushing back the ship date on this “ready-to-go” revolver.  If during the hot market in May, Charter felt they could reach production in July, then surely with a market slowing back to normal they could meet that deadline.  So, when should we expect to see the CARR?

Speaking to a marketing representative employed by Charter Arms, the new shipping date is “late this year or early 2010.”  The same rep said Charter Arms has re-assured them that the CARR is real, but that Charter Arms is “swamped” with orders on their existing product line and cannot handle the additional production capacity of the CARR.

I hope that is true; I really like the concept of this handgun.  Maybe by the 2010 SHOT Show we can get a look at this promising new revolver.

MIA (Again) – January 2010

Delayed yet again, the Charter Arms Rimless Revolver (CARR) is a “no show” for the 2010 SHOT Show.

Announced in 2008, multiple delays throughout 2009 kept the CARR out of production.  Now at the biggest firearms event in 2010, the rimless revolver is still nowhere to be seen.

According to floor staff, the CARR’s patents are still pending and the gun cannot be shown for fear of another designer taking their idea.  It would seem that some design problems may have caused the delay more than the lawyers, though, as one staffer admitted the announcement in ’08 “jumped the gun” and bugs had to be worked out throughout the past year.

Regardless, I really like the idea of a revolver that can shoot rimless cartridges without the need for moon clips.   I sincerely hope Charter Arms is able to bring this gun to market.  I suspect it would be a good seller for them.

The current timetable for the CARR is June for the .40 S&W revolver, followed by 9mm and .45 ACP.  All three revolvers are scheduled for delivery by year’s end. Retail will be “about $450.”

Dude, Where’s My CARR? – July 2010

Another promised shipping date has come and gone for the Charter Arms Rimless Revolver in what has become a disappointing trend.  The latest deadline, June 2010, came and went without even a whisper of explanation this time.

Charter Arms Rimless Revolver

When I spoke to a Charter rep earlier this week, I was told the CARR project “…got put on the back burner,” and that there is not any time-table for delivery.

While I would really like to see this gun make it to the market, I am extremely skeptical that Charter Arms will ever deliver the rimless revolver.  Take a look at the timeline surrounding the gun:

  • November 2008 – Charter Arms announces the CARR, and states the .40 S&W version will ship in the first quarter of 2009.
  • January 2009 – At the 2009 SHOT Show, the CARR is a “no show.” Charter Arms said “patent issues” were being nailed down, so they could not show the handgun yet.  Charter Arms states the .40 S&W version will ship in the second quarter of 2009 (April), and the other calibers will follow by year’s end.
  • April 2009 – Charter Arms pushes the release date of the CARR to “late July” of 2009.  The company rep explains that demand for Charter Arms’ current products is so high, they cannot dedicate additional production work to the new line.
  • May 2009 – Charter Arms removes links to the CARR from their website.  I publish an article wondering if the CARR will be vaporware.  Two days later, Charter Arms responded with a press release, stating the gun “… is tested, patent checked, cleared and ready for production,” and that “…the CARR is not vaporware…”  No new photos or information about the gun were included in the press release.
  • August 2009 – I speak with a company rep who states the CARR will ship in late 2009 or early 2010.
  • January 2010 – The CARR is missing from the Charter Arms display at the 2010 SHOT Show.  The Charter reps I spoke to said the company had “jumped the gun” with the 2008 announcements, and there had been some bugs in the design they had been working out.  The new delivery date was set at June 2010 for the .40 S&W, with the other calibers following by year’s end.
  • June 2010 – No CARR, no surprise.

If Charter Arms can ever deliver these guns, they will likely sell well.  But the longer the project drags along, with missed deadlines and delivery dates, the more skeptical buyers become.

Final Update

The CARR, or rimless (cartridge) revolver did make it to market in 2012.  It turned out to be a real, functioning product, just very late in getting to market.  The CARR also was renamed to the Pitbull.  This is more in line with the company’s best-known gun, the Bulldog.  Unfortunately, it is less descriptive of what makes the gun special.

There are 9mm and .40 S&W versions of the revolver on the market now, with some rumor about a .45 ACP eventually making it to market.  At this point, I do not know if the company will introduce a .45 or not. The company stated they have prototypes they are testing.  I wonder if we will ever see those hit the market.  The reason why I wonder is feedback on the guns has been mixed.  Some people I have talked to like the guns, but others say the guns are too gimmicky and don’t work very well at the range.

Having shot the 9mm version of the Pitbull, I was impressed by the ingenuity of design but didn’t much care for the function.  Cases did not extract 100% or as smoothly as any of the company’s rimmed cartridge revolvers.  I hope that whatever small hitches in the system will be worked out and the gun will be as good as the company’s other handguns.  This design shows a lot of promise.

My local dealer said he bought a few to sell as backup guns to the local law enforcement officers who carry .40 S&W pistols.  The dealer told me that none of the local cops were interested in the Pitbull, as they could carry a semi-auto pistol that held more rounds for the same weight and size of the rimless revolver.  We will have to see how these guns fare over the long term.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

22 replies on “Charter Arms Rimless Revolver”

Well, it is now earlt December, 2010, and there is nothing on Charter’s website. Is it patent probles or something else. Maybe S & W can revive the 547.

I called them back in September and they told me that any day now they were going to start production and the salesman actually gave me the number to the factory so I could talk to them. He said, the more people that call the factory the bigger bug we put in their ear. So I did and they told me production would start in October…..lot of good my bug did.

Keep your fingers crossed but just got off the phone with them and they are ‘in production’. The lady at the desk said the first shipments should hit stores by the second week of January, 1 week prior to the Jan 18-21 SHOT Show in Vegas.

I recieved this Email from Charter arms on Dec. 28th 2010:
“The .40 cal will be in prodution in January. Look for the 9mm in early summer of 2011.”

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