I originally wrote this post on American Survival Blog in April of 2009. Since then I have abused my Charter Arms Patriot in all the ways a “kit gun” can be (though it isn’t fired often I admit) including keeping it in tackle boxes, pocket holsters for days, tucking it in glove compartments and even not cleaning it for a few days after shooting it. It still functions and it has become my go to gun for those occasions where I feel ill at ease – like the time a couple of teens knocked on my door late at night claiming to be selling school candy.
Recoil in my snub nose with full power ammo is much stiffer than I like – so I load it with reduced recoil hollow points most of the time unless I really think I need penetration. Then it’s 100-gr American Eagle JSP all the way. Of course I’m sure some Internet pistoleros out there are laughing already but I’m a fan of the .327 and of snub nosed revolvers and my two-year-old Patriot has served as my kit gun admirably.
For me a gun needs three attributes to be considered a proper kit gun:
For many decades snub-nosed double-action .22 LR revolvers have been the standard because they fulfilled these three requirements. The small size and light weight made such revolvers less likely to be left behind by campers and hikers looking to shave weight from their “kit” and there are few firearms designs as fool proof as the double action revolver.
Chambered in .22 Long Rifle, a double-action revolver becomes one of the most versatile tools available to the woods loafer, outdoorsman or most importantly, the survivalist. For example, when heading into snake country the first two chambers could be loaded with snake shot while the other four could be loaded with whatever rounds you thought you’d need for the trip, including less powerful .22 Longs and Shorts if you want some extra small game. The size of the .22 cartridge also allows more chambers on the frame of a revolver. I’ve seen kit guns with as many as nine, something gun makers could never accomplish with larger cartridges.
The only problem with the .22 Long Rifle as a kit gun is that it really is a last resort as a defensive cartridge. Don’t get me wrong, any gun of any caliber is better than none when you need it, and many a life has been saved by a tiny revolver firing a tiny bullet, but the .22 LR is, in layman’s terms, about as deadly as a swing with a baseball bat. It may kill an assailant, it may not and when you move up to larger critters it’s more likely luck or divine intervention that will pull you out of a run-in using a .22.
Despite that shortcoming, I’m admittedly a kit gun kind of guy. So you can imagine my glee at seeing a Charter Arms Patriot with a 2.2 inch barrel chambered in the new .327 Federal Magnum sitting in a local gun store. And yes, mine came with the nifty folding knife. For many the new cartridge seems to be a solution looking for a problem, but for me revolvers chambered in this new caliber make kit guns even more useful and desirable. Certainly portable, the Patriot can be fed .32 H&R Magnum, .32 S&w Long and even .32 shorts (if you can find them) which along with the new .327 gives you much more versatility than a .22, especially in the self defense department.
Lower powered .32 S&W Long wad cutters are actually a great small game taking round if you keep ranges reasonable, and frankly I’ve never been one to claim the .32 H&R was under powered. Then again I don’t think any bullet under 9mm bounces off muggers like so much hollow point confetti. And while still not strong medicine for “ol Ephraim” the muzzle blast from the tiny barrel when using full powered .327s should scare off a curious black bear. Those galena pills are also just what the doctor ordered for feral dogs, which in the case of a disaster are sure to be a nuisance in many areas including my stomping grounds where I’ve already spotted a pack.
It is as portable as any .22, with a little more “heft” and weight to it but it can still ride on your hip, in a satchel or a tackle box with no problem. Post-TEOTWAWKI it will comfortably take it’s place among my foraging gear, giving me some added (and covert) protection while gathering wild vegetables or setting up traps for game should the world be more post-Katrina than post-Civilization. It will also carry nicely while bartering with shell shocked post-collapse folks and while simply puttering around in my off time or on an impromptu hike.
So far I’ve had no problems with the gun, though I’ve seen in forums some people claim to have problems with the cylinder, and the Charter Arms is priced right for the price conscious survivalist. Best of all, because it’s so new I have yet to have any problems getting ammunition for it even as gun store shelves empty as Americans go on a ammo hoarding binge in the face of new gun restrictions. As more people find this handy little cartridge that will change, but as of now ammo availability has not been hurt by current events.
Charter Arms makes a 4-inch barreled version but since both hold six shots I stick with the snubby, the trade off in less recoil isn’t worth making it less portable. If you’re looking for a kit gun, I recommend the Patriot.