Originally Posted by jbrescue
Also, consider a ported barrel.
While a ported barrel will make it a bit easier on the wrist, I would recommend against it unless it's strictly a range/plinker pistol.
For a self-defense pistol, I will strongly discourage going with a ported barrel. One shot in the dark and you WILL loose your night vision from the muzzle flash. Muzzle flash from a short-barrel revolver is bad enough, with ports it's worse.
I do agree with Conman and JimK. Pick a slightly heavier firearm and that will help tame the recoil quite a bit.
Sure it might be heavier to carry, but if it's more comfortable to shoot it will be easier to hit your target.
My recommendation would be to stick with a steel-framed revolver instead of the lightweight polymer or aluminum models.
As for Charter Arms. I'm not that impressed with the quality of their current models either. It's worth an extra bit of money to go with a Ruger or Smith&Wesson...or even Taurus (and I'm not that impressed with the new Taurus stuff either).
The recoil from a 9mm will be roughly the same as +P .38Spcl out of a similar weight pistol.
.380ACP (I'm assuming you're interested in .380 and not the old obsolete .38ACP) has lighter recoil, but it also has a bit less power too. No revolvers chambering the .380 though that I'm aware of. That caliber would be autoloader only.