Nalley Arms

Arming Pickens County Citizens

Left-handed Handgun Review – Post 1 – Charter Arms Southpaw

As I mentioned in the first post on the subject, I am reviewing some left-handed or ambidextrous handguns.

I am probably a little biased about Charter Arms. The first revolver I was introduced to growing up was my father’s Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special. That gun has been rugged and is still shooting decades later. Despite some troubling business and quality issues between the Douglas Mclenahan days and the current Charter Arms. Charter Arms, at least from my perspective, has several admirable traits. The revolvers are made in America. They even boast that 95% of the components are sourced within a hours drive of the plant. I find it great that they have strived to build up their own local economy. Additionally, their revolvers now have a lifetime warranty.

I’ve known about the Southpaw, Charter Arms left-handed, 2-inch 38 Special revolver for a while, and I am not quite sure why I’ve waited so long to acquire one.


The universal reaction to the Southpaw by myself and everyone I’ve shown it to has been “Wow that’s light”. The corollary to that is that there isn’t much weight there to absorb recoil was also a question in folks mind. The frame is aluminum, but the rest remains stainless steel. I’ve carried lightweight revolvers before, including a titanium Smith and Wesson Airweight, and this is very close to the same weight without needing to resort to rare metals.

So what actually makes the Southpaw left-handed? Honestly, as with most revolvers, there isn’t a lot in the way of controls or bits to twiddle. That said, the latch is on the right side of the revolver, and the cylinder swings out to the right. This means, a left handed shooter can actuate the release, and swing the cylinder without needing to shift hands. Aside from those controls, the revolver remains simple and easy to use firearm. But it is (as far as I can tell) the only left handed revolver available.


I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite being a ‘lite’ firearm, I was able to get my entire hand comfortably on the grip. I am sure that helps manage recoil immensely compared to the petite grips some revolvers have.

I spent several days carrying the Southpaw and forgot that it was even there. It’s lightweight and very unobtrusive.

Of course the real test is shooting. I took the Southpaw along with on a recent trip to the range. The grip remained comfortable, even if the recoil in such a lightweight revolver was noticeable, but not unmanageable. I let several other people shoot it (and compare it to a steel-framed revolver). Most liked the feel of the grip, and shot competently. I was able to keep 5 shots in the 10-ring at 12 yards.

The downside, I now have to undo years of training to reload as a right-hander, otherwise, I am very happy with the Southpaw, and I plan to make it a part of my carry stable.



One comment on “Left-handed Handgun Review – Post 1 – Charter Arms Southpaw

  1. Pingback: UPDATE: Charter Arms Southpaw Review | Nalley Arms

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This entry was posted on March 13, 2015 by .
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