What was the intended market for the Colt Python?


February 28, 2010, 08:37 PM
Although I would never begrudge a cop any weapon, the Colt Python looks too nice to have been meant for day in day out duty.

What was the Python's intended market and what did it compete with?

Thank you


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February 28, 2010, 09:00 PM
Many , many officiers in LE carried a Python in the early 1960s ---- both 4" and 6" while in uniform and some with 2" while off-duty or when undercover.

what did it compete with?

S&W madel 28 & 19 in .357 ----- then in 1970s the Rugers in .357

February 28, 2010, 09:03 PM
In some early Python ads, Colt referred to it as "The Finest Handgun Ever Made" ... I don't believe the original target market was police officers (that was the Trooper). The original market was for whomever purchases high end revolvers. So hunters, target shooters and gun collectors.

attached are a couple vintage ads.

February 28, 2010, 09:05 PM
Very interesting.
Its deep rich beauty makes it look like a specialty gun.

February 28, 2010, 10:37 PM
Don't know who it was intended for, but I love having one!!! :D

Cocked & Locked
February 28, 2010, 10:46 PM
Intended for me?




February 28, 2010, 11:13 PM
I picked up two four inch Pythons that were Colorado State Patrol guns. This was about 1978. Gart Brothers in Denver were selling them for $125.00.
The State Patrol traded them in for Smith and Wesson M-66's.
I sold the Pythons after learning how to gunsmith them in gunsmithing school.
In 1976 I had a choice of buying a new Python or a model 27 S&W. They each sold for $300.00. I bought the M-27.
A new Model 66 was $600.00.
One would be hard pressed to carry a better revolver then a M 66 in 2010.
This was in Omaha Nebraska.

February 28, 2010, 11:20 PM
It may be an example of allowing myself to be too impressed by a movie, but ever since I saw David Soul use one in Magnum Force when I was a kid, I have always imagined them as the ultimate cop revolver. I would still love to get a 4" one day.

March 1, 2010, 01:03 AM
It may be an example of allowing myself to be too impressed by a movie, but ever since I saw David Soul use one in Magnum Force when I was a kid, I have always imagined them as the ultimate cop revolver. I would still love to get a 4" one day.

But Harry's S&W 44 mag carried the day:D Last man standing wins :)
I know only a movie. They were carried by Police in area I lived in early 70's

March 1, 2010, 07:39 AM
and '80s...they were always considered the top of the heap...they may not have been the best (but it was and is to me) but many considered it so...the stainless doesn't hold a candle to the Royal Blue though...



March 1, 2010, 07:47 AM
The market would be that of the "connesseur". The same guys who today will buy a highly-tuned Smith custom-shop wheelgun or a classy Les Baer 1911.

I really wish I was one of those guys. lol

March 1, 2010, 08:19 AM
I know this is heresy, but I dont see why people like them so much.

I mean I like the vent rib barrel, and the blueing is nice, but a nice Smith looks just as good to my eyes. The hammer spur is nice, but I dont know. People think its the ultimate revolver, but it must be in the shooting. I havent shot one.


But yeah I would suspect its target market is the general public.

March 1, 2010, 09:44 AM
It's aimed at the "Luxury or Premium Revolver" market.

The same market as the S&W 27 was aimed at.

When you want the "best" with the most attention to detail, and the nicest finish... these where you went.

March 1, 2010, 09:46 AM
People think its the ultimate revolver, but it must be in the shooting. I havent shot one.

Argualbly one of the best out of the box triggers on a regular production revolver.


March 1, 2010, 09:57 AM
The correct answer is:

The original market was for whomever purchases high end revolvers.

The Python was made to compete with the S&W Model 27. This included LEOs. I knew several LEOs that carried Model 27s or Pythons.

March 1, 2010, 10:48 AM
Back in the late 60's & early 70's, I read Playboy, ate steak, and carried a Python. AHHH, those were the days.............

March 1, 2010, 11:25 AM

Black Knight
March 1, 2010, 07:37 PM
I believe the original market was the competition shooter, target shooter. and sportsman who wanted a high dollar semi-custom revolver. It competed with the S&W Model 27 for the same market. When I started doing private security in 1978 I borrowed a gun from my Dad for about 4 months until I could get my own. The gun I had my Dad help me get was a 6" Royal Blue Python. I paid $385 for it and had enough to buy a Bianchi 5BH holster, drop pouch, and a box of Remington .38 Spec +P ammo, all for less than $450. I still have that gun and holster today.

The Lone Haranguer
March 1, 2010, 07:46 PM
What was the intended market for the Colt Python?
An interesting question. I would say an upscale market, similar to the buyers of luxury cars. They want something nicer than a run-of-the-mill car - I mean gun - and are willing to pay for it.

March 1, 2010, 07:52 PM
The original idea started with Colt's top West coast salesman.

He convinced the company that he could sell a super-premium Colt target revolver even better than the top-of-the-line Colt Officer's Model Match.
The original revolver was to be a .38 Special, virtually a semi-custom revolver, with the finest action and finish ever put on a DA revolver. Nothing was to be spared to make it the most accurate, best finished and fitted revolver even built.
The target buyer was the target shooter wanting the best, most accurate revolver money could buy.
Since the revolver was King of the target shooting crowd, and the target shooting crowd was a big market, sales to them was expected to bring significant sales.

At the time, the .357 Magnum was a hot selling round and Colt decided to chamber the new gun for that, since it could fire both .357 and .38 Special.
The Colt prototype shop made up a sample gun using an Officer's Model Match with a heavy lugged and ribbed barrel.
The guys making it handled it and decided the gun was slightly too muzzle heavy so they hollowed out the under lug. It was still to muzzle heavy for them, so they started milling vents in the top rib and they decided that was perfect.

Since the decision was made to chamber it in .357, the new gun was built on Colt's then premium holster gun, the Colt 357.
Colt basically installed the Python barrel on the 357 frame, fitted and tuned the action and gave it the best blue job ever used on a factory revolver.
For about the first two years of production all Pythons were built by only two men working in the Custom Shop, until they burned out, then the gun was made a production gun on the line, but still hand fitted by Master fitters and polished only by Colt's very best polishers.

Non target shooters, including police started demanding the gun in a 4 inch version and the Python stopped being a pure target revolver.
The Python didn't get back to its basic idea until the later 1980's when Colt made the Python Target model with a 8 inch barrel and in .38 Special.

March 1, 2010, 09:27 PM
Thank you for that post. Lots of really good information there.

Wouldn't mind a Python but I have this sneaking suspicion that maybe someday I'll replace the Trooper Mk III I sold in a fit of stupidity, but that's probably as far up the Colt food chain my budget will ever get.


March 1, 2010, 09:52 PM
In the old days, you could buy a gun, give it to a cop and he'd use it for his entire career and then retire and keep it. Departments didn't change guns every couple of years back then and the Python was a decent, forged gun put together by old fashioned craftsmen. They were meticulously cared for by department armorers and did the job they were built for.

Alas, time caught up with Colt. Eventually, United Auto Workers were assembling the guns, which meant the same people screwing up your cars were now screwing up your guns. Another problem with the Python is it's very small pawl/hand. It wears so quickly that it throws the gun out of time every few thousand rounds. Ruger made their parts oversized, so they rarely need to be serviced and, if they do, the owners can most likely do it themselves because of their modular design.

As for accuracy, the Python was about as good as you can get. That was true up to the production of the S&W 686, which is, in my opinion, a better gun. When the 686s first came out, I saw a number of 686s tested alongside Pythons, where both were bolted down into Ransom rests, and the 686s did as well as the Colts. I haven't seen any recent tests, but I assume that today's 686s are as accurate. Another problem for the Colt is that it had a grip designed to fit an orangutan! It was widest at the bottom, where a person's fingers were shortest, and made it narrow at the top where the fingers were longer. It didn't make sense, and always reminded me of a single-action plough handle.

Still, I've always lusted for one. The bluing is gorgeous and if I had one, it would never get fired. The bluing is sometimes different on the gun and the cylinder release latch, and that always bothered me, but one can't help but love the gun. In 25 years, our kids will pick one up and say, "Hey, this is pretty heavy polymer! How'd they get it that shiny?"


March 1, 2010, 11:20 PM
So then how about the Diamondback? To my layman's eyes it looks like a mini-python. My father in law gave us one; .38 - 4" bbl, nickel. Very pretty and never fired. It's supposed to be our home defense gun but I like my 3" S&W model 65 well enough.

March 2, 2010, 12:30 AM
the Colt Python started as a competition model meant to compete with the 6" S&W K-38 (M-14).

because of the upgrade to .357Mag and super finish, it then became competition for the M-27

as a LE carry gun, most of my co-workers carried the M-19 compared to my 4" Python. i actually got my Python from a CHP (state patrolman) officer who purchase it and used it until the CHP issued them the M-68.

in PPC competition (stock class) my Python (screwed the 6" tube back on) once again competed with the M-19 and thumped them hard enough that when S&W introduced the M-686, they introduce a version just to compete with the Python.

the Diamondback was built on the D-frame, like the Detective Special, and competed in the market with the S&W J-frame. the D'back was just the deluxe version...it was never intended to ride in a duty holster like the S&W K-frame

March 2, 2010, 07:29 AM
they may look alike but the internals are far different...the Diamondback is like a Detective's Special inside with only the look of the Python...whoops...guess I should read ALL the responses before posting..9mmepipheny got it right...I've not felt a S&W trigger pull I like as much as my Python but I started with Colt so I am partial...I did not care for my Diamondback and sold it off...

March 2, 2010, 11:57 AM
the major difference between the Python action and that of the Diamondback was size/proportion...that and the frame mounted firing pin of the Python vs the hammer mounted one of the Diamondback.

if you're looking at a picture of one without a size reference, the easiest way to tell is looking at the hammer spur. the Diamondback's is swept back at a lower angle

March 2, 2010, 11:58 AM
I know a cop who used to carry Pythons. Went from 4" to 6" because they didn't have Tasers back then...:D

March 3, 2010, 08:04 PM
I have had three Pythons and they were all about as slick as ice on ice.

The cylinder length was, as best I remember, more suited to .38 Spcl as opposed to .357. So was the ejector stroke.

I seem to remember some gun rag talking (typing) head mentioning a tapered bore. I don't know. If true, that'd seem like it'd be a heck of a machining exercise. The Colts did have a tight bore.

My first Python had a bore diameter of 354.5. I could not measure it, but a QC inspector who could, did and the 354.5 is that measurement.

Mostly though, I think the Python was a pretty, slicked-up version of the Officer's Model Match.

The 2.5" version in slick Jordan Trooper grip panels just flat made my wheels spin. So much so, that I gave it to my son, the cop.


March 3, 2010, 09:49 PM
There's a .357 called the Korth. It's very expensive -- even more so than the Python, and I've never figured out why it was supposed to be better. Looks like it was made in a machine shop.



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