Colt Python Handguns

04/2024

When it comes to revolvers, few names resonate through the halls of firearms history quite like the Colt Python. Introduced in the 1950s, the Python has long stood as a paragon of what a revolver can be—blending unmatched craftsmanship, precision engineering, and an aesthetic appeal that has rarely been equaled.

Known affectionately among aficionados as “The Rolls-Royce of Revolvers,” the Python’s smooth action, tight tolerances, and superior accuracy set it apart from its contemporaries and solidified its place in the pantheon of classic American firearms.

Beyond its technical merits, the Colt Python has carved out a significant niche within the culture of gun enthusiasts and collectors. Its distinctive profile, with a full underlug barrel and ventilated rib, contributes to its performance and iconic status. This revolver isn’t just a tool; it’s a piece of art, a testament to gunmaking.

It has been the revolver of choice for collectors, law enforcement officers, and even cinematic heroes. Its presence in popular media, from classic films to contemporary television series, has only added to its mystique, making it a highly sought-after piece both for its shooting capabilities and as a collectible item.

The Colt Python is a symbol of American ingenuity, a piece of history, and a continuing legacy of craftsmanship and quality that stands unrivaled in the world of revolvers.

History of the Colt Python

The Colt Python’s journey began in the mid-20th century, when revolvers were the sidearm of choice for law enforcement and civilians. Conceived as a premium revolver, the Python was designed to offer a level of finish and accuracy unmatched by the competition. Introduced in 1955, it was marketed as the finest production revolver ever made, featuring precision engineering, a tight lockup, and a smooth trigger pull that was the envy of shooters everywhere. The initial reception was overwhelmingly positive, with gun enthusiasts and experts alike marveling at its performance and craftsmanship.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Colt Python solidified its reputation as a top-tier revolver. It became the preferred choice for law enforcement agencies, with some officers purchasing them as their personal sidearms due to their reliability and accuracy.

The Python gained iconic status in popular culture, appearing in numerous films and TV shows. Its distinctive look and perceived power made it a symbol of authority and sophistication, further enhancing its appeal among both shooters and collectors.

As the decades passed, the Colt Python underwent several modifications. While the core aspects of its design remained unchanged, variations in barrel lengths and finishes were introduced to cater to the shooting public’s diverse preferences.

Despite these changes, the Python maintained its high quality and performance standards. However, the labor-intensive manufacturing process and the rise of semi-automatic pistols began to challenge the Python’s place in the market.

By the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Colt Python faced a decline in popularity. The high cost of production, combined with the increasing demand for more modern firearms, led to a decrease in sales. In 1999, Colt announced the discontinuation of the Python, a decision that was met with dismay by its loyal fan base. The end of its production marked the close of an era, with remaining Pythons becoming highly prized by collectors.

In a move that delighted enthusiasts and collectors alike, Colt announced the reintroduction of the Python in 2020. This modern Python retained the classic design elements that had made the original so revered, while incorporating contemporary manufacturing techniques to enhance its durability and performance.

The revival was met with great anticipation and excitement within the gun community. Shooters were eager to see if the new Python would live up to the legacy of its predecessor—and they were not disappointed. The re-released Python has been praised for its improved mechanics and faithful adherence to the aesthetic and functional standards of the original models.

Technical Specifications and Design

At the heart of the Colt Python’s legendary status is its engineering. The Python is built on Colt’s large I-frame, providing a sturdy and robust foundation for the revolver. This choice of frame contributes significantly to the Python’s renowned durability and reliability, allowing it to handle the powerful .357 Magnum rounds with grace.

Frame

The Python’s frame is constructed with attention to detail that is second to none. Its solid steel construction ensures longevity and provides the heft needed to absorb recoil, making for a more comfortable shooting experience. The precision with which the frame is crafted ensures a tight fit for all components, contributing to the revolver’s superior accuracy.

Barrel

The Python’s barrel is a marvel of gunsmithing. Throughout its production history, it has been available in several lengths, including the most popular 4-inch and 6-inch variants. The barrel features a precision-rifled bore that guarantees exceptional accuracy. The introduction of a full underlug not only adds weight to reduce muzzle flip but also protects the ejector rod, merging functionality with design elegance.

The most distinctive feature of the Python’s barrel is the ventilated rib, which serves multiple purposes. It adds a unique aesthetic flair, sets the Python apart visually, and aids in dissipating heat to maintain accuracy over prolonged shooting sessions. This vent rib and the full underlug contribute to the Python’s iconic silhouette.

Trigger Mechanism

The Colt Python’s trigger mechanism is often cited as the best in the revolver category. Its double-action pull is famously smooth, requiring minimal effort to achieve a clean break. In single-action mode, the trigger becomes even more impressive, with a light, crisp release that aids in precision shooting.

This level of performance in the trigger mechanism is achieved through meticulous hand fitting and tuning, a process that ensures each Python offers an exceptional shooting experience.

Ergonomics and Grip

The Python’s grip design further demonstrates Colt’s commitment to both form and function. The revolver’s grip is contoured to comfortably fit the shooter’s hand, providing stability and control. Whether equipped with the original wood grips or later rubber variations, the Python’s grip design helps shooters maintain a firm, confident hold.

Sights

The Python’s adjustable rear sight and ramped front sight are designed for precision aiming. These sights are easily adjustable for both windage and elevation, allowing shooters to fine-tune their aim for pinpoint accuracy. The attention to detail in the sight design complements the revolver’s overall precision-oriented engineering.

The Colt Python Today

As of the latest updates, Colt offers the Python in several configurations, primarily differing in barrel length—from 2.5 inches to 6 inches. These modern Pythons preserve the classic aesthetics, including the full underlug, ventilated rib, and adjustable rear sights, while introducing improvements to ensure reliability and performance with today’s manufacturing technologies.

The new Python models feature a stainless steel construction, offering durability and resistance to the elements. The trigger action has been refined, providing an even smoother double-action pull and a crisp, clean break in single-action. Colt has also improved the strength of the frame and introduced a more robust firing system, ensuring that the revolver can handle a steady diet of .357 Magnum rounds.

One of the most significant improvements in modern the Python is the redesigned and strengthened frame, which enhances the revolver’s durability without compromising its classic lines. The updated trigger mechanism, which benefits from advanced manufacturing techniques, offers shooters an exceptional experience that rivals the hand-tuned feel of the original Pythons.

Owners can customize their Pythons with a variety of grips, from traditional wood to modern rubber, allowing for a tailored shooting experience. Aftermarket sights and custom leather holsters further enable shooters to make their Python uniquely theirs.

Availability and Pricing

The market for Colt Pythons, both vintage and modern, has seen significant fluctuation. Vintage Pythons, especially those in excellent condition or with rare features, command high prices, often reaching several thousand dollars. The reintroduced models, while more accessible, also carry a premium price tag, reflecting their quality and the legacy they uphold.

The availability of new Pythons has improved since their reintroduction, though demand remains high. Prices for these modern classics are generally stable, but the collector’s market for older models continues to see values rise as enthusiasts seek to own a piece of firearms history.

See The New Line of Colt Pythons

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