Ass, Corporate Head Up

Colt is re-releasing the King Cobra, a .357 Mag version of its Cobra revolver.

I remember trying one of their earlier Cobra .38 Specials, and being rather underwhelmed by the feel of the thing.  It puzzled me, because the Cobra was (still is?) based on the venerable Trooper, which I’ve always had a soft spot for.   Here’s a MkV, with a 4″ barrel.

As I recall, Colt Troopers and Pythons alike shared the 4″ barrel as the most popular version of either brand.  Here’s a Python, similarly equipped:

(I myself always preferred the 6″ barrel, but that’s just me.)

So here’s my question for Colt:  why are you bringing out a .357 Magnum revolver with only a 3″ barrel?

I know, I know:  under the heading of “Bullshit-Stupid Marketing” in the dictionary, you’ll find the Colt logo.  But seriously:  how difficult would it be to have released the King Cobra with (okay) a 3″ barrel, but also with, say, 4″ and 6″ options?  They might even have offered  the longer barrels at a [gasp!]  premium price… or is that kind of thinking too dangerous to contemplate?

When Smith & Wesson re-released their excellent Model 19 Combat Magnum, they released it with two variants:  the “Classic”, featuring a blued 4″ barrel (strengthened so that you can shoot lots of .357 Mag ammo through the gun without the medium-sized frame buckling):

…and the bead-blasted “Carry Comp” with 2 1/2″ barrel — with an integral 1/2″ compensator to reduce the .357’s recoil:

In the past I’ve had lots to say about S&W (not all of it complimentary), but they did this one right.

Colt, on the other hand…


  1. I thought the Cobra was smaller than the Trooper/Python. More of a concealed carry piece which would explain the 3″ barrel. Although I’m no expert on Colt revolvers, I do own a Python. Favorite gun, of course.

    I’ve heard plenty of comments about the new Cobra looking like a Charter Arms knock-off and someone mentioned that Colt is probably out-sourcing the production of it. I don’t possess enough Google-fu to know for sure. That would be a shame. I own 6 or 7 revolvers (I keep losing count) but I am sorely tempted to get one more (ok, several more). The Colt King Cobra is near the top of the list.

    Right up until I saw the S&W model 19. Dang. I already have practice on another Smith in disabling the stupid lock mechanism, so other than aesthetics the lock part is gone. But that’s a might pretty looking piece.

    Of course I recently bought a .45 SAA revolver and absolutely love it. So first on my list is another .45 “long colt” gun, perhaps a Ruger Redhawk (for double-action goodness). And a lever gun for the whole rifle/pistol combo. Then the Smith. Then the Colt. The only issues I see is sneaking them in the house when the wife isn’t looking.

    You should definitely have more posts like this!!

  2. I really love my 4” bbl S&W 686.

    One of the saddest days in my gun life was in Vietnam when I had to order a rouge stainless Python cut up.

  3. I guess I don’t follow the firearms industry much but I thought Colt got out of the private-sale firearms business years ago to concentrate on government contracts only?

    And I thought they gave up on revolvers years ago, too.

  4. My Dad had a nickel Python in .357 with a 4 inch barrel. 4 inches is less than 4.134 inches which is 105mm which is the minimum legal barrel length for a handgun here in Canada.

    That law was introduced about 25 years ago as an intentional punitive attack on handgun owners. Many of Dad’s gun were seized without compensation. I may just be possible however that the Python is still extant is less law abiding hands.

    You Yanks are facing more call for enhanced gun control, aka theft.

    Illegitemi non carborundum and be prepared for some civil disobedience. Keep well stocked with ammo, 6 inch PVC pipe, dessicant and maybe get a yellow safety vest.

  5. Pardon my ignorance but as I look at the pix of the Trooper and Python I really don’t see a functional difference.
    The frames look the same. The barrels, obviously, are the same.
    Is there a difference in the trigger mechanism or some other internal difference?

    1. Yes, very much so.

      The Trooper series used a coil type mainspring. The Python used a V shaped leaf mainspring. Python snobs argue that there is nothing smoother than a well tuned V spring Python’s action.

      If you ever get a chance to handle them there is a very noticeable difference between the nature of the trigger pull in the Python and the Trooper.

      Being a S&W bigot I prefer the single leaf mainspring in the S&W K and N frame revolvers. But I’ll concede that the Python does have a trigger action that is superior to that of the Trooper. It’s also better than a S&W out of the box, but IMO a well tuned S&W is equal to, if not superior to, the action of the Python. And given the ubiquity of the S&W K frame (versus the comparitive rarity of the Python)

      One other difference between the Smith and the Colt revolvers is that on the Colt the cylinder rotates clockwise (as you are looking at it from back-to-front) while on the Smith the cylinder rotates counter-clockwise. I don’t think it makes a real difference but if the lockup is a little loose the Smith tends to rotate “out” of the frame while the Colt rotates “inward.”

      Ruger and Taurus revolvers, AFAIK, also rotate CCW like the Smith. To my knowledge only Colt made DA revolvers with the clockwise rotating cylinder.

Comments are closed.