Obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit is a major step in the right direction to augment personal defense for yourself and your loved ones. If you haven’t already done so, the next step is choosing a suitable firearm. However, many shooters go out and buy the most powerful gun with the most accessories that their budget will allow, only to find out later that they are in over their head at the range.
That’s why many experts recommend a double action revolver as a first gun, especially if it’s to be used as a concealed carry personal defense firearm.
Charter Arms produces a line of snub nose revolvers that are made in the USA and offer a combination of concealability, ease of operation, and durability.
The Pathfinder .22 is one of the viable conceal carry models from this line and is available in either .22LR or .22 Magnum.
The Pathfinder is a six-round revolver made of solid stainless steel with a blue-collar matte finish and is roughly the same size as the legendary Smith & Wesson J-frame pistols. The .22LR is recommended for newer shooters because the recoil is negligible when compared to hand-jarring kickback of the Magnum. Author Scott W. Wagner points out the difference in his article “Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 Snubbie: An Affordable and Reliable Revolver” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Not everyone can handle harder kicking rounds in revolvers this size. I would much rather have somebody learn quickly to be extremely accurate and comfortable with a .22, than to be apprehensive and marginally accurate (or worse) with a .38.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
As with all .22 handguns, accuracy was a function of ammo type. At 25 yards, groupings ranged from 3.25 inches using Winchester Dynapoint 40 grain to 1 inch using Federal Bulk Hollowpoint. Interestingly, the normally reliable Remington Yellow Jacket semi-wadcutter hollow point loads did not work well with the Charter Arms Pathfinder with more than half the rounds striking the target sideways.
A fully loaded Pathfinder chambers 6 rounds of either .22LR or .22 Magnum ammunition. A .22 is not known for its stopping power, so it’ probably a good idea to stow some backup rounds somewhere on your person. Speedloaders are available for the Pathfinder, but the ammo is usually lubricated and easily picks up pocket debris, making for a less than optimal reloading scenario, especially under duress.
Quickstrips, manufactured by Tuff Products, might be a better option. These are narrow strips of bullets that resemble miniature bandoleros. For the Pathfinder 22LR, the ammo comes in strips of 10, making it easy to conceal 10 or 20 backup rounds in a pocket or purse.
The Pathfinder is a durable, reliable, and accurate revolver that is also a superb concealed carry weapon. The small caliber also makes it an excellent choice for beginning shooters and with an MSRP of $369, it is hard to not like this little pistol.