Colt Python 6" in use with police?


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Kabal
November 29, 2012, 07:28 PM
I went to a local gunstore a few weeks ago to check out their revolvers. Among the used models, I found a 1972 Colt Python with 6" barrel in excellent condition. The gun looks like it has barely been fired. There was a Ruger GP-100 in a similarly good condition, but after I checked out the Python, I was sold on it. It has one of the smoothest actions I've ever felt, and I could swear it has half the trigger pull weight of the Ruger.

The store owner was so nice as to lend me the gun for a month so I can try it out and decide whether I buy it. I took it to the range and found out that it shoots as well as it looks. He wants 490 Euros ($635) for the gun and sells it with a one year warranty. I'll definitely take it. Here's a pic:

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/6997/pythonrw.jpg


Here comes my question:
I am a reservist in the German military, and we have a shooting discipline specifically for duty revolvers that I would like to participate in with this gun.
The only problem: I have to prove that the Colt Python, preferably the exact version I'll be using, was officially adopted by any army, police department or government agency on Earth at any point of time.

I'm pretty sure that the Python was issued to a few American police units. According to Wikipedia's article on the Colt Python, "[t]he Colorado State Patrol issued 4-inch blue Pythons until their switch to the S&W .40 caliber autoloader.[12] Georgia State Patrol and Florida Highway Patrol issued Pythons to their officers.[12]"

The source listed by Wikipedia is:
Ayoob, Massad (2003). "The Colt Python", The Accurate Rifle Magazine, November 2003.

Is there anyone who has access to this article and can check whether the GSP and FHP issued 6" Pythons to their officers, or does anyone know of some other police force or government agency that did so?
I suppose it needs to be the version with the 6 inch barrel, but I don't know if it has to be the same finish as my gun (Royal Blue).

I've read in other forums about Texan police departments and even Kuwaiti police supposedly using the Python. I'm sure some of you guys know more, and I would really appreciate if you could help me out.

If I knew for certain that a certain unit issued 6" Pythons, I would try to contact them and get some sort of confirmation via e-mail. A scanned-in page from an article or book might qualify as "proof", as well.

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dfariswheel
November 29, 2012, 07:58 PM
As you know, few American police departments issued the Colt Python, which was due to the high price.
Most departments issued the original Colt Trooper or the Colt Trooper Mark III.

Some departments did, notably the Florida Highway Patrol, Colorado State Police and Georgia State Police.

I think these were all 4 inch guns, but a good many police officers and sheriff's deputies bought their own guns and the 6 inch Python was popular with highway patrol and sheriff's officers because of the better penetration through car bodies.

As most departments went to 4 inch revolvers, the 6 inch became a status symbol of older cops who were allowed to still carry their 6 inch guns under a "grand father" policy.

Bottom line is, I don't know of a department that officially issued 6 inch Pythons but several issued 4 inch models, and back in the 60's and 70's you saw a lot of cops with 6 inch Pythons they'd personally bought.
Back then gun magazines and books like the Gun Digest Book of Police Firearms, showed pictures of police armed with 6 inch Pythons.

Since those departments allowed them to carry 6 inch Pythons, the guns were officially authorized. There's somewhat of a shadowy line between "officially issued" and "officially authorized".

Rexster
November 30, 2012, 01:56 AM
I am certain that Houston Police Department, in Texas, allows Colt Pythons to be carried as duty handguns, if the officers started carrying them, officially, before September 1997. This was during a time when Houston officers could carry a wide range of handguns, with only a few weapons excluded. Cadets started academy training with 4" .357 Magnum revolvers as duty handguns, with the Colt Python being one of the acceptable revolvers. After graduating from the academy, officers could opt for any barrel length until 1987, when six inches
became the maximum, for officers already carrying them on duty. Any revolver added after
1987 had to be a maximum of four inches in barrel length. I do not know if any Houston PD
officers still carry Pythons today. S&W and Ruger revolvers are still seen in the holsters of some older officers.

HPD standardized on specified .40 auto pistols in 1997, but no officer was required to transition to these pistols, and can keep carrying their revolvers by firing a qualification at least once a year. HPD officers have always purchased their own duty firearms, which is common practice in Texas.

I will neither confirm nor deny, on a forum accessed by the public, that I work for Houston PD. Having said that, when I used my GP100 in a shooting incident in 1993, and the firearms examiner kept it for testing for several weeks, I carried my 4" Stainless Python on duty, as the Safariland duty holster was made to accomodate both revolvers.

skidder
November 30, 2012, 02:37 AM
Don't know much about the Python history, but I thought I'd drop in and congratulate you on a nice weapon!

Happy and safe shooting...

skidder

Paul7
November 30, 2012, 11:43 AM
Reminds me of the story of the police department who got all new Glocks. They destroyed the Pythons they previously issued, didn't want them to get in the wrong hands. :banghead:

legumeofterror
November 30, 2012, 02:37 PM
I have a S&W Model 28-2 and Colt Python that were purchased from a former Florida Highway Patrol trooper. According to him he carried them as his service pistol at one time or another. They both have 6" barrels.

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a248/LegumeOfTerror/Pistols/IMG_1197.jpg

SlamFire1
November 30, 2012, 02:45 PM
It would be very difficult to find a $635 Python in the United States. I have heard the things are now going for $2,000.

Finding proof, either in books or pictures, would be worth it to own a Blue Steel Python.

Looks like proof marks on the frame, Colt did not make those stampings.

Pilot
November 30, 2012, 02:45 PM
$635 is a STEAL for that gun. Buy it no matter what!

Dr_B
November 30, 2012, 03:02 PM
*sigh* If only I could find a Colt Python in that condition for that price. Excuse me, I have to clean the drool off my keyboard.

mdemetz
November 30, 2012, 03:15 PM
From local range shop;
Handguns:
*JUST IN* Colt Python Blued 6" Barrel - $2300.00 (Made in 1958, Pictured Below)
*JUST IN* Colt Single Action Army - $1895.00 (Pictured Below)
*JUST IN* Smith and Wesson Mod 851 4" Barrel .357 Magnum - $750.00

TEAM101
November 30, 2012, 04:26 PM
I was told the Cleveland Heights, Ohio PD issued these guns at one time.

hq
November 30, 2012, 04:31 PM
Slightly off topic, but I have to ask: By coincidence, does this happen to be the Python that was sold recently by Waffen Niedermeier? Not that I really wanted another royal blue one but price and condition were fairly tempting...

Bikewer
November 30, 2012, 10:39 PM
The main problem with a 6" barrel for police use is that one must needs use a swivel holster to sit in a patrol car.
Not a huge problem; quality swivel rigs were available from Hume and others.

I had one for my 5" barreled S&W M27....Bit of a pain, but manageable.

ColtPythonElite
November 30, 2012, 10:59 PM
The OP definitely got a deal.... They are still out there. I recently bought a 98% 6 incher for under 900 bucks.

Guillermo
November 30, 2012, 11:17 PM
CPE is a master at finding deals on ponies.

Horse trader extraordinaire

316SS
November 30, 2012, 11:39 PM
The OP definitely got a deal.... They are still out there. I recently bought a 98% 6 incher for under 900 bucks.

CPE is a master at finding deals on ponies.

Horse trader extraordinaire

Did you know that the movie Snakes on a Plane was based on ColtPythonElite's air travel? True Story.

Guillermo
December 1, 2012, 12:01 AM
Did you know that the movie Snakes on a Plane was based on ColtPythonElite's air travel?

If he was successful with Samantha McLeod I am even more impressed with his ability to close a deal than before!!!

351 WINCHESTER
December 1, 2012, 03:25 PM
FHP issued the 4" Pythons along with S & W 28's among others.

19-3Ben
December 1, 2012, 03:55 PM
*JUST IN* Smith and Wesson Mod 851 4" Barrel .357 Magnum - $750.00

Which one is an 851? That's a new one to me.
Unless you mean 581, in which case, that would make sense.

Otherwise, my first thought would be a variant of the model 51, but that would make it a .22WMR (IIRC), not .357.

Iggy
December 1, 2012, 04:58 PM
Colorado State Patrol issued them.

Wyoming Highway Patrol didn't issue them, but we could carry anything we qualified with.. Several Patrolmen carried 6" Pythons and more carried 4" models.

THat is a great price on an outstanding gun.

You did very well.

Kabal
December 1, 2012, 08:13 PM
Thanks a lot, everybody!

It seems to be common practice for cops in the US to buy their own firearms. If many of them chose the 6" Python, and were/are officially authorized to carry it, this might be enough to convince the guys in charge that it qualifies as a "duty revolver".


*sigh* If only I could find a Colt Python in that condition for that price. Excuse me, I have to clean the drool off my keyboard.

Thanks! I was happily surprised by the price tag, as well. In general, guns are much more expensive in Europe. For example, a new S&W 686 would cost me around $1,200... crazy, isn't it?


Looks like proof marks on the frame, Colt did not make those stampings.

Yes, these are regular German proof marks that tell you where and in which year the gun was proofed.


Slightly off topic, but I have to ask: By coincidence, does this happen to be the Python that was sold recently by Waffen Niedermeier? Not that I really wanted another royal blue one but price and condition were fairly tempting...

No, it's not the one by Waffen Niedermeier, but there seem to be several nicely priced Pythons around here. There was also a private dealer on an auction website who sold an almost unused Colt Python with what looked like very neat Nille grips in a similar price range.

Hatchett
December 1, 2012, 09:57 PM
I seem to recall that the Texas DPS issued the Colt Python, and through them the Texas Rangers. That might be a place to look.

Outside the US, I recall a story about the extravagance of the Kuwait police driving Mercedes' and issuing Colt Pythons. That might be another avenue.

635 is an amazing price, but who's to say what the market in Germany is like. I imagine there are a lot less Pythons to go around, but probably a lot less shooters and fewer interested in American sixguns at that. Sounds like a great deal either way.

For the ultimate high-quality revolver trifecta, grab yourself a pre-27 or pre-28 Smith & Wesson and a French Manurhin MR-73. You'll have a .357 in small, medium, and large frame sizes and you'll have no trouble getting either those two into the same competitions it sounds like.

hq
December 2, 2012, 06:41 AM
No, it's not the one by Waffen Niedermeier, but there seem to be several nicely priced Pythons around here. There was also a private dealer on an auction website who sold an almost unused Colt Python with what looked like very neat Nille grips in a similar price range.

Ok. Just checking. I've bought a number of Colts at eGun.de during last few years. Pythons and Diamondbacks are often real bargains, especially ones in as good condition as yours. I hope you find the service revolver documentation you're looking for, 6" Python is a fantastic revolver and a great choice for service handgun competition.

Lawdawg45
December 2, 2012, 08:48 AM
I went to a local gunstore a few weeks ago to check out their revolvers. Among the used models, I found a 1972 Colt Python with 6" barrel in excellent condition. The gun looks like it has barely been fired. There was a Ruger GP-100 in a similarly good condition, but after I checked out the Python, I was sold on it. It has one of the smoothest actions I've ever felt, and I could swear it has half the trigger pull weight of the Ruger.

The store owner was so nice as to lend me the gun for a month so I can try it out and decide whether I buy it. I took it to the range and found out that it shoots as well as it looks. He wants 490 Euros ($635) for the gun and sells it with a one year warranty. I'll definitely take it. Here's a pic:

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/6997/pythonrw.jpg


Here comes my question:
I am a reservist in the German military, and we have a shooting discipline specifically for duty revolvers that I would like to participate in with this gun.
The only problem: I have to prove that the Colt Python, preferably the exact version I'll be using, was officially adopted by any army, police department or government agency on Earth at any point of time.

I'm pretty sure that the Python was issued to a few American police units. According to Wikipedia's article on the Colt Python, "[t]he Colorado State Patrol issued 4-inch blue Pythons until their switch to the S&W .40 caliber autoloader.[12] Georgia State Patrol and Florida Highway Patrol issued Pythons to their officers.[12]"

The source listed by Wikipedia is:
Ayoob, Massad (2003). "The Colt Python", The Accurate Rifle Magazine, November 2003.

Is there anyone who has access to this article and can check whether the GSP and FHP issued 6" Pythons to their officers, or does anyone know of some other police force or government agency that did so?
I suppose it needs to be the version with the 6 inch barrel, but I don't know if it has to be the same finish as my gun (Royal Blue).

I've read in other forums about Texan police departments and even Kuwaiti police supposedly using the Python. I'm sure some of you guys know more, and I would really appreciate if you could help me out.

If I knew for certain that a certain unit issued 6" Pythons, I would try to contact them and get some sort of confirmation via e-mail. A scanned-in page from an article or book might qualify as "proof", as well.
Issued and allowed to carry are two different animals. Very few departments, well large ones anyway, couldn't afford the expensive price tag, but might have allowed the individual Officers to purchase them on their own. My department was that way, my training Lt. carried a 6 inch Python, while I carried a 4 inch Diamondback as one of my off duty guns. An interesting side note, as silly as it sounds, the reversed cylinder release from the S&W made the Colt feel uncomfortable to many Officers........myself included.:scrutiny:

LD

SaxonPig
December 2, 2012, 10:31 AM
Americans cringe at the proof marks stamped on the frame and barrel but I guess it's unavoidable in some jurisdictions.

rodinal220
December 2, 2012, 11:25 AM
Nice snake,must have been a white shirts gun;)

massad ayoob
December 2, 2012, 03:54 PM
I don't know of any agency where all armed personnel were ISSUED six-inch Colt Pythons. The four-inch Python was at one time standard issue for Colorado Highway Patrol.

However, numerous officers who preferred longer barrels, and could afford the price and had the option, carried their own six-inch Pythons. Two of the California Highway Patrolmen murdered in the infamous Newhall Incident in 1970, Officers Gore and Pence, were armed with privately owned/department approved six-inch Colt Pythons, and used them in the fatal shootout.

This will be documented in Mike Wood's new book, "Newhall: A Tactical Analysis," coming very soon from the folks at Digest Books.

SaxonPig
December 2, 2012, 04:01 PM
Not sure what Wood hopes to accomplish. I recall reading your analysis of the incident many years ago and as I recall you covered most thoroughly.

Thanks for what you've done over the years, by the way. I have enjoyed your writing and have learned a great deal from you sharing your expertise.

Checkman
December 2, 2012, 04:32 PM
Many years ago when my department allowed us to carry our choice (department approved of course) of either pistol or revolver there were a few officers who carried either the 6" stainless steel S&W Model 686 or the stainless steel Python.

However times have changed and we now are issued either the Glock 21 or the Glock 19 depending on our preference. But back in the day you could usually find a few officers with 6" revolvers in their holsters.

The Lone Haranguer
December 2, 2012, 04:46 PM
There is a grey area between department issued and department authorized for private purchase. Regardless of whether you can use it in that particular shooting game, I would snag that gun. In the US it would be worth double your source's asking price.

massad ayoob
December 2, 2012, 07:42 PM
Saxon, your kind words are appreciated. I've enjoyed your posts on a lot of forums over the years, too.

Mike Wood did some very deep research, came up with some details that really flesh out the understanding of the dynamics behind the shooting, and was able to dispell at least one pervasive myth about it that has lasted for more than 40 years. I think you'll find it a compelling read. Should be available in Kindle edition sometime this month, maybe if we're lucky by late December.

Guillermo
December 2, 2012, 07:50 PM
Mr. Ayoob,

SaxonPig is an outstanding ambassador to offer appreciation for your work.

While you may have an idea as to your reach, I was at an IDPA match on the outskirts of Austin this morning and we were discussing the logic of a stage. One fellow said that "Massad would not recommend that" as we talked about the movement of a stage.

(there was a reload in a "hallway")

Please add my thanks.

You have saved untold lives and been a great voice for the gun community.

Thank you

AND thank you for dropping in on this thread.

Kabal
December 2, 2012, 08:27 PM
I don't know of any agency where all armed personnel were ISSUED six-inch Colt Pythons. The four-inch Python was at one time standard issue for Colorado Highway Patrol.

However, numerous officers who preferred longer barrels, and could afford the price and had the option, carried their own six-inch Pythons. Two of the California Highway Patrolmen murdered in the infamous Newhall Incident in 1970, Officers Gore and Pence, were armed with privately owned/department approved six-inch Colt Pythons, and used them in the fatal shootout.

This will be documented in Mike Wood's new book, "Newhall: A Tactical Analysis," coming very soon from the folks at Digest Books.

Thanks for the info, Mr. Ayoob!
I've bought your excellent Greatest Handguns of the World to check what you wrote about the Python. Even if it turns out that I can't participate in the service revoler competition with this gun, I've learned new things while doing my research.


There is a grey area between department issued and department authorized for private purchase. Regardless of whether you can use it in that particular shooting game, I would snag that gun. In the US it would be worth double your source's asking price.

I've checked the rulebook, and the wording is not too precise. It says that the revolver must have been "adopted beyond trial stage". I'll have to make a few calls to find out if the 6" Colt Python qualifies.
I'll buy the gun no matter what - there's much fun to be had outside of service revolver competitions ;)

INMY01TA
December 5, 2012, 12:04 AM
http://talkingwalkingdead.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/rick-grimes.jpg

Kabal
December 5, 2012, 06:01 PM
The Python seems to be very popular with fictional police officers. There's a French/German film called Police Python 357, and of course there's Magnum Force.


I have a question not directly related to the title of this thread:

The frame of the Python doesn't appear as massive as that of, say, the Ruger GP100. It might also be difficult to get spare parts for the Python.

Do you think shooting .38 Special would help reduce stress on the frame and mechanism?
This would probably result in increased cleaning time due to crud rings in the chambers, and I wonder if it's worth it.

The price for .357 Magnum and .38 Special is almost identical here.

dfariswheel
December 5, 2012, 07:37 PM
Colt's frames and cylinders are actually some of the strongest ever used in a DA revolver.
Colt used very high grade forged frames so they don't have to be as massive as Ruger's cast frames to have the same or better strength.

What wears, is the action, specifically the hand that rotates the cylinder. This can wear and cause the cylinder to not rotate quite far enough to lock fully.
When the trigger is pulled the cylinder will lock so it's safe to shoot.
The hand in the Colt's is considered to be a normal maintenance item IF it ever does wear to the point where it needs to be repaired.
This is like installing new spark plugs in an expensive car. For the higher performance, you have to do more maintenance.

In any revolver, shooting hot .357 Magnum will wear the gun more then shooting standard .38 Special ammo.
That's like driving a car at 100MPH or 70MPH.
In most revolvers it isn't the fame or cylinder that wear from hot ammo, unless it non-standard extra hot reloaded ammo that damages the frame.

Depending on how much you plan to shoot, I'd either just have fun and shoot standard .357 ammo, or just buy a couple of Brownell's bronze chamber brushes and clean the chambers regularly if you shoot .38 Special.

I've got a lot of rounds through a couple of stainless Pythons, about an even mix of light .38 Special reloads and a good amount of standard factory .357.
Both are in perfect condition.
One thing that "can" be rough on a .357 is shooting the hot 125 grain Magnum loads.
These can erode and even crack the forcing cone in the rear of the barrel. Shooting bullets in the 135 to 158 grain range are much easier on the gun.

SaxonPig
December 5, 2012, 09:51 PM
Back in the early 1980s when I was living in CA I saw a CA. Highway Patrol officer at the range in full uniform (smart to practice dressed the way you will be dressed when fighting) shooting a 6" Python. I never saw anyone use a speedloader as fast as that man did. If you blinked you missed it. He did a lot of practicing, I imagine.

Lawdawg45
December 6, 2012, 09:09 AM
Back in the early 1980s when I was living in CA I saw a CA. Highway Patrol officer at the range in full uniform (smart to practice dressed the way you will be dressed when fighting) shooting a 6" Python. I never saw anyone use a speedloader as fast as that man did. If you blinked you missed it. He did a lot of practicing, I imagine.

If you recall in the Dirty harry flick Magnum Force, the three rogue motorcycle Officers either had Pythons or Diamondbacks. Hollywood coincidence or were they (SFPD) issued 4 inch Colts back then?

LD

SaxonPig
December 6, 2012, 09:53 AM
The only SFPD revolvers I have ever seen were S&Ws. They issued the Model 58 in 41 Magnum and the Model 28 in 357 and they are stamped SFPD on the frames.

Kabal
December 6, 2012, 10:05 AM
Colt's frames and cylinders are actually some of the strongest ever used in a DA revolver.
Colt used very high grade forged frames so they don't have to be as massive as Ruger's cast frames to have the same or better strength.

What wears, is the action, specifically the hand that rotates the cylinder. This can wear and cause the cylinder to not rotate quite far enough to lock fully.
When the trigger is pulled the cylinder will lock so it's safe to shoot.
The hand in the Colt's is considered to be a normal maintenance item IF it ever does wear to the point where it needs to be repaired.
This is like installing new spark plugs in an expensive car. For the higher performance, you have to do more maintenance.

In any revolver, shooting hot .357 Magnum will wear the gun more then shooting standard .38 Special ammo.
That's like driving a car at 100MPH or 70MPH.
In most revolvers it isn't the fame or cylinder that wear from hot ammo, unless it non-standard extra hot reloaded ammo that damages the frame.

Depending on how much you plan to shoot, I'd either just have fun and shoot standard .357 ammo, or just buy a couple of Brownell's bronze chamber brushes and clean the chambers regularly if you shoot .38 Special.

I've got a lot of rounds through a couple of stainless Pythons, about an even mix of light .38 Special reloads and a good amount of standard factory .357.
Both are in perfect condition.
One thing that "can" be rough on a .357 is shooting the hot 125 grain Magnum loads.
These can erode and even crack the forcing cone in the rear of the barrel. Shooting bullets in the 135 to 158 grain range are much easier on the gun.

Thanks for the detailed explanation, dfariswheel!

I think I'll shoot both .38 and not-too-hot .357 ammo. I'll also get those bronze chamber brushes and use them after shooting .38 Special.

Lawdawg45
December 6, 2012, 11:19 AM
The only SFPD revolvers I have ever seen were S&Ws. They issued the Model 58 in 41 Magnum and the Model 28 in 357 and they are stamped SFPD on the frames.
Roger that!

LD

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