Front Sights Are Overrated: the Charter Arms Boomer

Charter Arms Boomer

Charter Arms is now offering an even more compact version of the company’s .44 Special line of revolvers. Called the Boomer, this new handgun is a five shot wheel gun – same as the classic Bulldog – but with a tapered 2″ barrel that is ported and completely bereft of a front sight.

Meanwhile, the gun is still fitted with full size rubber “combat grips” and is on the company’s large frame. The deletion of the front sight and the removal of 0.5″ of length were done to eliminate any snagging during a “quick draw.” The weight savings is only a single ounce.

While I applaud Charter Arms for thinking differently, I’m not sure that shortening the barrel slightly, removing the underlug protection for the ejector rod and deleting the front sight is offering any real improvement to concealability. The gun still has a full size grip and a fairly wide cylinder. Sliming down the barrel doesn’t turn the Bulldog into a pocket carry gun.

I’ve shot and carried the company’s current Bulldog and found it to be a good, but not great, revolver. Compared to a Ruger or a Smith & Wesson, the double action trigger was a bit heavy and less smooth, while the front sight could have been improved by adding a bright orange or green insert. However, it functioned reliably and the single action pull was quite good.

Frankly, I like the idea of throwing 240 grain lead hollowpoint bullets at an attacker – and I’m a fan of the 9mm for most self defense uses. However, for my money, the Boomer gives up a bit too much for an unrealized effort at improved concealment.

Also, considering the Boomer is almost $20 more expensive, I don’t see much of an appeal to it. You may have a different opinion, and that’s what is great about the firearms market – there is something for everyone.


  • .44 Special
  • five rounds
  • large frame
  • full rubber combat grips
  • double action only
  • 2″ tapered and ported barrel
  • no underlug
  • 20 ounces (unloaded)
  • MSRP: $443

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Bill

    Alcoholics, drug addicts and the mentally ill “think differently.”

    • Anonymoose

      Contact distance gunfights are no joke.

      • FightFireJay

        Neither are 7 yard gun fights.

        Me thinks I will take one with sights for more capability, not less. Never had a snag drawing from a good holster.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    This is one of those great ideas for people who don’t think things through. Revolvers need better sight options not worse.

  • Major Tom

    This revolver was built on the concept of Augmented Reality. Who needs sights when you can download an app to your phone that will automagically give you a targeting reticule imprinted into your vision when you draw?

  • DetroitMan

    Stupid. If you can’t aim the gun, you have no business firing it. You are better off having sights and not needing them than the other way around.

    • iksnilol

      Point shooting is a legitimate thing.

      • Will the Charter survive the round count required for its owner to achieve that level of proficiency?

        • iksnilol

          I doubt your eyes would survive the round count. I mean, practically no barrel + porting? I’d use welding googles with it.

          Point shooting really isn’t that hard at across the room distances (IE non-distances such as 3-7 meters). Doesn’t take too much practice to be decent at it.

        • Edeco

          That’s the thing; I don’t think sightless handguns are necessarily ludacrous, but I think one must practice, know the machine really well. I wouldn’t want to try that with a Charter and using uncommon ammo.

      • retfed

        Yes, it is. If you know for an absolute fact that any fight you get into will be at point-shooting distances, then this gun is for you. But if you might get into a situation where your assailant is, say, two Cadillac lengths away from you, and/or partially concealed or behind cover, you might want to be able to aim instead of pointing. After all, you only get five tries.

        • iksnilol

          Eh, I presume these things are meant to help with in your face muggers and people pinning you down. Kinda like a pocket gun. A back up if you will.

    • Bill

      I think a lot of the alleged “legal issues” regarding the way a gun is set up are way overblown, but I’d have serious moral, legal and ethical problems using a gun that intentionally didn’t have sights. Missing is counterproductive in a fight anyway, but if you have no means of physically aiming the gun and hit something you shouldn’t have, your lawyer’s getting a new Porsche.

  • Aklover

    Everything old is new again. The next thing will be to cut the front of the trigger guard out and you’d have a pretty straight 1920’s custom carry piece.

  • DanGoodShot

    It looks ridiculous

  • The Boomer is a direct knock-off of the Mag-Na-Port “Backpacker” conversions of the Charter Bulldog from the late 1970s.

  • Will

    In defense of this I’m going far out on a very shaky limb.
    In my opinion it was probably designed for very close use, where you have no chance to acquire a good, proper, shooting stance, grip, sight alignment etc, etc. a solution for a non-exist ant problem.
    And yes, point shooting is a very valid method of defensive shooting.
    Would I carry one? Probably not.

  • P161911

    They forgot to add the laser sight grips.

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    I’m kind of a fan of this gun, in a certain context. As a main carry piece, I would avoid it. As a backup gun (B.U.G.)? Awesome. This would be perfect to keep behind my support-side hip for when I can’t draw my main, appendix-carried CCW, in case I was rushed by an attacker and had to get them off me.

    Granted, just using my hands might also do the trick.

  • Jeff

    That would be slimming, not sliming. And my experience is that the Bulldog works fine as an all day, every day pocket gun, if you have real pockets.

  • Ah doi

    It’s a belly gun people! Not sure what that is? Look it up. You don’t need sights when someone is on top of you trying to bash your head in.

    • FightFireJay

      How do you know the threat will be that close?

      Or are you suggesting that we carry a this as a back up to a gun with sights?

      • iksnilol

        I think the latter.

    • Bill

      Well aware of what a belly gun is, and have several, all with sights. One of the principles behind successful gunfighting is building distance, and this particular piece doesn’t work with that. The last shooting my peeps were involved in was about 20 yards.

  • Anonymoose

    Now just cut the trigger guard off and we’ll have a modern Belly Gun!

  • Edeco

    I like lugless/pencil barrels on revolvers, wish that were more of a thing still, but that porting, bleh. Expect about 500 fps?

  • Art out West

    They should have made the grip smaller. That large grip is the main thing preventing this from being a pocket gun.
    I do like the idea of pocket carrying a .44 special. I frequently pocket my S&W 642 in .38 special, and every once in a while pocket my Rossi 461 in .357 mag.

  • DIR911911 .

    took one look and didn’t have to read a word . . . looks like a fat guy with a short pecker

  • Richard

    If they cut the trigger guard it would appeal to people who want some sort of fitz special

    • DIR911911 .

      and open themselves up to hundreds of negligent discharge lawsuits

  • iksnilol

    Front sights are overrated?

    Eyebrows are seemingly overrated as well

  • OJS

    Nah. .357 or even .38+P is comparable energy and significantly better options for ammo. Very nichey, you gotta love .44 specials for this.

  • DW

    They offer a CTC grip version which made much more sense.

  • Joe Schmo

    I’ve never heard anything good about Charter Arms. I’ve felt some of their guns, and they do not feel great, even for the low prices they felt cheap.

  • Bill

    If your front sight is hampering your draw, you are doing something seriously wrong.

  • Goosey

    Front site aside, these Bulldogs are SLOW. This one will be SLOWER. Slow .44 Spl means you either [A] have a hard time finding hollow points that will expand reliably, or [B] have to use loads that are going to put more wear and tear on the gun—which is a concern with the Charter Arms design. Still a neat firearm though.

  • Budogunner

    No, thanks. Not interested in the potential legal fallout in a legitimate self-defense trial. You are responsible for every bullet fired, so I want some ability to aim.

  • AD

    Maybe we’re missing the point? Like, maybe this isn’t a serious self-defense gun, but a fun range toy? I reckon shooting one of these would be a different experience to a more traditional handgun, and might be a decent training tool if you want to practice point shooting.

  • Vizzini

    How likely is it that with years of daily carry of this “carry a lot, shoot little” type of revolver you’ll find one day that you’ve bent the ejector rod? What are the odds that you’ll notice that at the most inconvenient time?