.357 Magnum revolver made by Colt and part of their discontinued lineup which were all named after species of snakes. The King Cobra was not the only .357 revolver in the family, the Python shares the same caliber but is larger than the King Cobra. Generally a good condition King Cobra with its box and paperwork can be anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. (GRH)
Yes, from the kingpin of the handgun world, we come to the the kingpin of the revolver world. A gun who’s name alone means business. It’s the gun revered as the Cadillac of the Revolver Market. It’s big, blued, and just a bit subdued.
It’s the Colt Python.
It’s an icon of the police force, a force to be reckoned with and while it might not live up to the reputation of some revolvers, it just doesn’t need to.
The Colt Python was built in the 1950′s. Colt was riding off the success of the Colt Cobra and other such revolvers and thought to top the market, they’d make a top-of-the-line gun, a .38 Special Target revolver fitted with barrel ribbing, large target sights, smooth trigger, extra metal and was later changed to .357 Magnum, a brand new cartridge at the time. And in 1955, the Colt Python was released.
It came in bright satin nickel or Colt Royal Blue. Later the nickel was swapped out for Satin or mirror-polished “Ultimate” Stainless Steel. It came with wood or rubber Pachmayr grips and barrel lengths from the 2.5 inch snubbie to the 8 inch one for hunting. Though most you’ll find will be with 4 or 6 inch barrels.
And like any gun, they came in different models. These included the Python Hunter, fitted with a 2X Leupold Scope and 8 inch barrel. The Python Target, a model only in .38 Special. There were custom guns like the Colt Boa, Colt Grizzly, and Colt Kodiak. There was the lower cost Colt Troopers and Colt Lawman’s and there was the .44 Magnum caliber Colt Anaconda.
And on release, the Colt Python was a success with police and civilians across the world. Police Departments bought them, with 6 inch barrels to uniformed police and 4 inch to plainclothes officers. Highway patrol units from Colorado and California to Florida and Georgia had Colt Python’s holstered until their replacement in the mid 1990′s.
And not only cops, but a number of dictators and kings bought their own run of Colt Python’s. Anwar Saddat of Egypt, Sheik Zayed of the UAE, King Hassan of Morocco, King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Khaled and Fahid of Saudi Arabia, Hussein the First of Jordan had their own runs of Colt Pythons. Irish Crime reporter Veronica Guerin was killed by a Colt Python. The King himself, Elvis Presley was known to collect Pythons, with a number attributed to him floating in both Graceland and in private collections.
The Python wasn’t without some faults. The guns had a tendency to “wind down” with heavy usage. Effectively meaning the cylinder wouldn’t line up perfectly with the forcing cone, meaning anything from increase lead spray to the gun not working in DA mode. That and the fact most weighed more than competing S&W revolvers slowly showed Colt that these guns were becoming a money pit.
As the Colt Python was being replaced in Police holsters everywhere, Colt stopped main production of all revolvers, including Pythons in 1999. While their custom shop kept making guns, in 2005, the production stopped. And with that, the prices of Pythons soared to high prices, higher than usual. Your standard Python costs around $2,000 dollars. And while they have stopped production, they haven’t faded from memory.
Especially in film.
The Python’s long history with police make it a common sight for movie and TV cops, whether normal beat cops or high ranking detectives, the Python’s a common sight. And with it’s usage by movie cops and bad guys, it’s not an uncommon sight from zombie flicks to action movie drama. From the hands of McQ to Grimes, a Python is an perfect pistol. It’s big, it’s commanding, and if it’s a nickel/stainless gun, it’s shiny.
Course with fame in media comes fame in video games, and like the 92FS, the Python got a break because of a video game now revered as a classic.
They’re waiting for you Gordon…in the test chamber.
Half Life. The PC Gaming classic. A game that showed what gaming could do. With the Quake 2 Engine, Valve showed that it didn’t always have to be mindless violence, but can play a story on par with Hollywood.
You play Gordon Freeman, a mute 27 year old MIT graduate entering a day of work at the Black Mesa Research Complex. Within around 1 hour it goes from your average Monday to a DEFCON 1 situation, with aliens pouring in from every crack in the wall. And all you have is a crowbar, a HEV suit and a laundry list of firearms from the dead guards and HERC soldiers. The Glock, MP5, SPAS-12 and other guns, but none could really rival the Python.
The bottom of the blast pit gives you the satin nickel handcannon, and it serves as one of the games most solid guns, easily dropping zombies in one shot. And just like the MAC-10 and 92FS, this classic influenced a laundry list of other games.
The Python’s a relatively common sight in video games, with it usually in it’s royal blue finish. It serves as a games magnum, high stopping power, low magazine capacity and firing speed. It doesn’t need to fire fast or be quick reloading, cause 1 shot should be enough. From the arms of the Spy in TF2 to the darkened streets of Alan Wake, the Python’s sure to be there and still firing when others have failed.
And that is the Colt Python, the king of the revolver world. It’s had 50 years of production, and from the zombie filled apocalypse to the crazed factories of gravel fueled proxy warfare, it’s a common sight. It doesn’t need to be fast, it doesn’t need to be new, it just needs to work. And work it does.
“Hold back the night, turn on the lights, I want to dream… Dream about you baby”
One of Colt’s legendary revolvers that was available in several of the popular magnum calibers. A special limited edition run of Anaconda’s were made but renamed as Kodiak, a distinction shared with the Colt King Cobra, that had a variant named the Grizzly. (GRH)
.357 Magnum chambered revolver with a 6″ barrel. According to the seller the mount is an old B-Square model. It’s interesting that the rail extends all the way to the front sight, creating a monolithic appearance. Although the King Cobra is a capable hunting revolver, it’s status as a collector’s item usually means examples like this one won’t sell too easily if the owner prices it out like a mint condition example. (GRH)