Payton Miller

The Colt Cobra—introduced in 1950—was the company’s second “snake gun” (the first being the super-premium Python). A lightweight alloy version of the steel “D-frame” Detective Special, the original First Model Cobra featured the distinctively Coltish unshrouded ejector rod, which eventually gave way to the shrouded rod of the Second Model in 1972 (along with improved grips).

My late uncle was a big fan of Colt snubbies and at one time had two Cobras, a Detective Special and an Agent lying around (the Agent was basically the Cobra with a shortened grip). I asked him once why he still preferred revolvers. His answer pretty much reflected a common feeling among wheelgunners:

“I like a revolver because it’s either loaded or it’s not. Plus, it’ll cycle with pretty much anything you can stuff in it.”

I’ve got nothing against autos, but there’s something very soothing about a revolvers “point-and-pull” operational simplicity. But sadly, all of Colt’s snubbies were casualties during their lamented DA revolver phase-out several decades back.

Key features: A red fiber-optic front sight, reconfigured triggerguard and shrouded ejector rod.

Hogue’s Overmolded grips are a definite step up in shooting comfort from the original.

But as of this year, Colt has jumped back into the DA revolver market with their reintroduced Cobra. This updated version is stainless steel instead of alloy, allowing unrestricted (but sensible) use of +P loads. It’s also got an improved mainspring design said to facilitate a smoother DA pull, Hogue Overmolded synthetic grips, a reconfigured triggerguard and a red fiber-optic front sight.

Although admittedly a bit thicker amidships than a 5-shot Smith J-frame, the 6-shot Colt—according to my diminishing math skills—boasts a 20 percent payload increase in onboard ammo. And with snub-nose, small-frame .38 Special revolvers enjoying renewed popularity, thanks to the CCW surge, this resurrected snake from Colt’s Reptilian Era is a welcome addition. It’s an ergonomically improved version of a classic.

The new Cobra is a stainless steel retake on a 1950’s classic.