Friday, January 1, 2010


I wrote of my high opinion of THE ULTIMATE SNUBNOSE: THE COLT COBRA here a while back. I have to do some more praising of this fine gun, and I have to wonder: why doesn't Colt start making this pistol again, given the high popularity of snubbies as concealed carry weapons these days, with no sign of stopping?

And of course, in addition to making the "classic versions" of the Cobra and it's all steel twin The Detective Special, Colt could make a Diamondback version (all are on the Colt "D" frame") that has that has a tasty AND SMOOTH Python trigger. If you really wanna go hog wild, build a Diamondback (the Diamondback features a vented rib and resembles the Colt Python in appearance) with an alloy frame and steel cylinder/barrel and be really fricken' cool!

Folks would pay for it.

There exists several distinct cults of handgun fanciers devoted to the "D" frame Colts like the Cobra, Detective Special and Diamondback. Two of these divide the era of the Detective Special/Cobra into pre and post ejector shroud. I fall into the shrouded ejector crowd. I've never cared much for an exposed ejector rod on a revolver, particularly one for concealed carry. I've seen more than one bent ejector rod on unshrouded guns over the years.

But there is a legion of loyalists to the unshrouded ejector rod Detective Specials and Cobras. And I'll say one thing for an unshrouded ejector rod: if an ejector rod ever "shoots loose" and unscrews into the gun so tightly that the cylinder cannot be opened to change cartridges, then it is much easier to screw the ejector rod back down into the cylinder with an unshrouded rod. But a small bit of lok-tite on the ejector rods of my revolvers has prevented this problem from ever happening to me again as it did once with a Python back in 1981.

The lightweight Cobras and the all-steel slightly heavier Detective Specials with the shrouded ejector rods are the nicest shooting snubbie I've ever fired, and I've shot more than a few from many makers in my life. I think it has something to do with the angle and curvature of the grip.

I own several J Frame Smith and Wesson snubbies and both of them hurt my wrist on occasion to shoot, particularly when sporting the stock walnut round butt stocks. I have medium sized hands that fall on the smallish side of medium, but something about the angle of the grip of J frames make them unpleasant for me to shoot. Even with rubber grips designed to lesson recoil and even with a Tyler "T" adapter (back in the day, at least) and even when shooting Federal Premium Low Recoil self defense loads ( a very pleasant if not expensive load to shoot in almost any gun).

I went shooting last weekend, and I'll post about that great experience later, and came away again amazed at the wonderful accuracy and comfortable shooting experience that is my nickle plated stock wood gripped Colt Cobra in .38 special. Almost 30 years later, she's still rocking and shooting tight groups and frankly, looking damn near like new.

This is not, as some might expect, about the 6 vs. 5 round capability of the Cobra/DS vs. the Smith and Wesson J frame round butt configuration. I also know that a square butt gripped J frame is far more pleasant to shoot than the round butt version, and I also know that SW K frames are also far more pleasant to shoot than the J frame RB.

This is just about a great shooting snubbie (or series of Colt snubbies) that I feel are often overlooked by those interested in revolvers for personal defense, particularly those new to firearms or new to the issue of actually concealed carrying of a gun for self defense. Colt has no snubbies in it's line up now. Most of what you see on store shelves is SW and Taurus, followed by offerings from Charter Arms, Ruger and a few other makers.

I find that Taurus weapons are excellent pistols. Many of their revolvers seem to be modeled on various Smith and Wesson designs. I know my Father for self defense for many years carried a 1970's 3" heavy barreled K-Frame Taurus copy of a square butt K frame revolver, replete in shiny chrome nickle finish with actual mother of pearl grips on it. I laughingly referred to it as his "pimp gun". It was a good shooter.

Likewise, the heavier SW snubbies are easier to shoot than the lightweights, and it is simply that more weight absorbs more recoil. Still, the J frame all metal guns are still plagued, in my humble opinion, by an awkward handgrip angle. But all are fine and excellent weapons revered by many followers.

I'll add these last few observations about the Colt Cobra and it's heavier brother, the DS. I'd like to add a great DS to my collection. It's a bit heavier than the Cobra since made of all steel, but I think as well as the lightweight Cobra shoots the DS has to shoot even better with that little extra bit of weight that an all steel gun has.


  1. I've picked up a colt 1972 series cobra in minty condition-I'm awaitng an andrews leather IWB holster for it, I'll pass the info along on the new holster after wearing it for a while I've shot the cobra twice so far so good-although it came with since wood grips I swapped out for a pair of pachmyars. It's my newest favorite!
    PS Great review on the snubby

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Al. I welcome your comments and perspectives as a fellow Colt revolver fan. I am, of course, very interested in holsters and particularly in a great IWB holster for both Colt and J Frame snubbies. So please let me know!

    I'm going to post tonight about my newly rekindled affections for the Pachmayr Compact grip.