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Colt Python 6" in use with police?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Kabal, Nov 29, 2012.

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  1. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    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:

    [​IMG]


    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    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".
     
  3. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    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.
     
  4. skidder

    skidder Member

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    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
     
  5. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    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:
     
  6. legumeofterror

    legumeofterror Member

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    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.

    IMG_1197.jpg
     
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    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.
     
  8. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    $635 is a STEAL for that gun. Buy it no matter what!
     
  9. Dr_B

    Dr_B member

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    *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.
     
  10. mdemetz

    mdemetz Member

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    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
     
  11. TEAM101

    TEAM101 Member

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    I was told the Cleveland Heights, Ohio PD issued these guns at one time.
     
  12. hq

    hq Member

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    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...
     
  13. Bikewer

    Bikewer Member

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    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.
     
  14. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    The OP definitely got a deal.... They are still out there. I recently bought a 98% 6 incher for under 900 bucks.
     
  15. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    CPE is a master at finding deals on ponies.

    Horse trader extraordinaire
     
  16. 316SS

    316SS Member

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

    Guillermo member

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    If he was successful with Samantha McLeod I am even more impressed with his ability to close a deal than before!!!
     
  18. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    FHP issued the 4" Pythons along with S & W 28's among others.
     
  19. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    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.
     
  20. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    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.
     
  21. Kabal

    Kabal Member

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    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".


    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?


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


    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.
     
  22. Hatchett

    Hatchett Member

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    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.
     
  23. hq

    hq Member

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    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.
     
  24. Lawdawg45

    Lawdawg45 Member

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    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
     
  25. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    Americans cringe at the proof marks stamped on the frame and barrel but I guess it's unavoidable in some jurisdictions.
     
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