.22 Magnum "Dixie Derringer" from Charter 2000


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

July 19, 2006




The little five shot mini revolvers have been around for many years, from Freedom Arms and North American Arms, and are surprisingly popular with some shooters.  Now, Charter 2000, maker of the famous Bulldog, Off-Duty, Pathfinder, and Undercover revolvers, has introduced their own version of the mini revolver called the Dixie Derringer. Being a Southern-born backwoods gentleman, I really like that name. While all Charter revolvers are built north of the Mason-Dixon line in the beautiful but exorbitantly over-taxed state of Connecticut, "Dixie Derringer" seems especially appropriate today. As I type this, we have just been through another miserably hot, sticky, humid day here in the lush Tennessee valley. I do not know why Charter chose that name, but it just occurred to me that on such a hot muggy day, a small stainless handgun weighing under a half pound would conceal comfortably in the lightest clothing possible. This little handgun could ride unnoticed in a shirt pocket, pants pocket, waistband, or just about anywhere else.

The Dixie is available chambered for the .22 Long Rifle or the .22 Magnum cartridge, with the latter being my choice, and the chambering of the revolver reviewed here. The Dixie Derringer holds five cartridges in its diminutive cylinder. With the Dixie, one can safely carry the revolver fully loaded, with a loaded cartridge under the hammer, as the design incorporates a hammer-blocking crossbolt safety, which prevents the weapon from firing if dropped on its hammer. The Dixie is a single action revolver, which must be manually cocked before each shot. Loading the cylinder requires that the hammer be pulled back slightly to quarter-cock, the cylinder base pin be removed by depressing the spring-loaded latch at the end of the pin, and pulling it from the front of the revolver. The cylinder is then removed, loaded with five cartridges, reinserted into the frame, and the cylinder pin slid into place. It takes less time to load than it did for me to type that description. After a bit of practice, it is easily reloaded in about one-half of a minute. Unloading the fired cases from the cylinder is accomplished by pushing them out with the cylinder pin. This simple design allows for the very small size of the little revolver.  The Dixie Derringer has a one and one-eighth inch barrel, an overall length of just four and five-eighths inches, a thickness of seven-eighths of an inch, and weighs in at just barely over six ounces.  The hammer spur is ample to allow quick use, and the trigger pull measured right at seven pounds, which is okay on a small hideout piece such as this.  The stainless construction makes the weapon resistant to corrosion from sweat or rain, and the black synthetic grip panels are both attractive and durable.

Many people scoff at the .22 Magnum cartridge as a defensive weapon, but I do not. It certainly would not be my choice to carry on a Marine insertion into Syria, but even then, I would like one of these as a backup to my backup gun. The Dixie Derringer is made for the purpose of solving extreme social situations in the owner's favor - in other words, saving your butt when all else has failed. Many uniformed law enforcement officers carry this type of revolver as a last ditch backup, as do other undercover types. The beauty of these little guns is that they can be concealed when other weapons cannot. It is smaller than many pocket knives, but is a much better choice than a blade for most people. At arm's length, it is a very lethal weapon.

At a distance of seven yards, I had no trouble at all keeping all of my shots within the kill zone of a standard human silhouette target. At five yards, placing five rounds quickly into the face of the same target was no problem. Another very practical use for the Dixie Derringer down here in Dixieland is for use on snakes. Poisonous snakes are a real problem in many parts of this country, and the .22 Magnum, loaded with CCI shotshells, is one of the better answers to a snake problem available. I find that the rimfire shotshells pattern much better than do the CCI center-fire shotshells. The .22 Magnum version throws one-eighth ounce of number twelve shot, which is about 275 pellets. These things are deadly on snakes, and the Dixie carries five of them in the most compact package available.

I carried the little Dixie around in my pockets, and also in a dandy little pancake holster from Simply Rugged. In it, the little revolver rides unnoticed on the belt. Also, it just looks really cool! Rob Leahy makes these to fit any of the mini revolvers, and I highly recommend his work.

In addition to the CCI shotshells, I fired the Dixie Derringer with four other types of .22 Magnum ammunition. The chronograph results from the short barrel are listed below. Velocities are in feet-per-second. Bullet weight is listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Hollowpoint 50 715.1
CCI Maxi-Mag TNT Hollowpoint 30 995.5
CCI Maxi-Mag +V Hollowpoint 30 977.9
PMC Predator Hollowpoint 40 957.5

All ammo tested fired without failure in the Dixie Derringer. I was delighted with the practical accuracy of the little revolver. The sights, while small, proved very useful in hitting targets out to twenty-five yards. The mini revolvers are also  really fun guns to shoot, unlike anything else available.

Whether used for distasteful social encounters with the evil ones in our society, for snake protection in the woods, or just as a fun little plinker, the Dixie Derringer is a good choice when size, weight, and concealment matters.  I like it.

Check out all of the Charter products online at: www.charterfirearms.com.

Simply Rugged holsters can be ordered direct at:  www.simplyrugged.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


The .22 Magnum "Dixie Derringer" from Charter 2000.



To unload the Dixie Derringer, remove the cylinder and eject the empties with the cylinder pin. It's a simple, and relatively quick, system.







The Dixie Derringer can easily be carried in a number of ways, including this nifty pancake-style holster from Simply Rugged.





The Dixie Derringer is equipped with a crossbolt safety, shown here in the "FIRE" position.





Sights are rudimentary, but surprisingly quick and easy to acquire.



The Dixie Derringer proved to be very controllable, and plenty accurate for its intended purpose.



Loaded with CCI's .22 Magnum shot shells, the Dixie Derringer would be a very effective combination for those of us who live in "snake country".