Charter Arms Earthborn

The Charter Arms Earthborn Undercover Lite (MSRP $422) weighs a mere 12 ounces unloaded and just over 16.5 ounces when loaded with five Winchester 158-grain lead round-nose cartridges. In a word: light — and, thus, very easy to carry all day. Ironically, shooting such a lightweight revolver isn’t full of drama, thanks mainly to the rubber grips which fill your hand and accommodate your pinky finger. So you get maximum purchase on a minimally framed gun shooting a defensive round at the bottom of the self-defense-caliber spectrum. Yes, there are better self-defense rounds than .38 Special, but you shouldn’t think you’re underserved by this cartridge. In fact, if you shoot a .38 Special well and like snub-nosed revolvers, you’ll be impressed with the Earthborn.

Carrying the Earthborn is easier than most other concealed carry guns. Besides the light weight, the gun’s dimensions as a snubbie make it easy to hide in either an inside- or outside-the-waistband holster. Carried strong side (either IWB or OWB) at a slight forward cant, the grips are right there, up and ready to grasp. I like carrying the Earthborn (and other snubbies, for that matter) at 1 o’clock or appendix. In this location, I angle the holster back a bit, giving it a slight reverse cant, causing the grip to rest on my gun belt. The Earthborn also easily drops into a winter coat pocket — with a pocket holster, of course — for those quick errands.

You know the virtues of a revolver: simplicity, reliability. And in the past, while some gun manufacturers seemed to have cornered the market on smooth trigger actions, this has leveled out. Like most revolvers available today, the Earthborn’s double-action, single-action is consistent, sure and very smooth. The exposed hammer is relatively wide, offering plenty of purchase for quickly thumbing it to position for a single-action shot.

Fixed sights offer a decent sight picture and, while accurate, the Earthborn is more likely an up-close, defensive tool, where sighting in a shot will be more instinctive or intuitive than with other guns. There’s a host of good self-defense ammo available today in virtually every caliber, including .38 Special. Whether you choose something with a larger bullet or a smaller one, the good news is that you can choose, tailoring the gun to your shooting style.

Besides the larger grips on a smallish gun, the most unique feature of the Earthborn is its color scheme. Black features contrast with an earthy-brown Cerakote frame, giving the gun a subtle tactical look. Not a fan of the larger grips? You can easily swap them out for other Charter Arms grips that further enhance concealability. Not a fan of the brown color? Charter Arms Undercover Lite revolvers come in several other colors. Me, I’m a fan of this gun just the way it is.