Firearm of the Week, the Colt Python .357 Combat Magnum

Kids, do I have something for you this week. These days you would think that the world revolved, no pun intended, around black plastic pistols and rifles. Highly functional but cookie cutter guns, “…there are many like it but this one is mine.” Well back in my day, a gun could be both highly functional and look awesome. In those days, Tupperware was for leftovers and metal was for guns.

Colt Python .357 Combat Magnum

Much as the P-51 Mustang was to the propeller-driven fighter, this gun was to revolvers, the end of an era. Ending an era with the very best ever made. Nothing would surpass it, so back to the drawing board. This gun is functional art. This gun is practical and deadly. This gun is the Colt Python.

P-51 Mustang The Best There Ever Was

From its birth in 1955, all other revolvers were second best. Out of the box the Colt Python trigger pull has no equals. This not only true then but today as well. If you have never squeezed the trigger on one of these guns, then your life is incomplete. Shooting one is a near religious experience for a gun nut.

That same year another iconic revolver made its appearance, the Smith and Wesson Model 29 Combat Magnum. The Model 29, however, was in the massive .44 Magnum, which made it impractical for civilian urban law enforcement, unless you were Dirty Harry. A high-water mark year for revolvers and the Chevy Bel Air, the best there ever was as well.

1955 Chevy Bel Air, The Best There Ever Was

If not for the price at the time, the Python should have been coiled in the holster of every police officer from the mid-1950s through the 1980s. When a Smith and Wesson Model 10, 15 or 19 went for $200 – $350, the Colt Python was going for about $700. It is as though every single one was custom made.

Why the vented rib along the top? I will tell you why-because it was so cool. Smith and Wesson’s front sight was very practical but it always looked like it was a weather vain on the front end of the barrel. If a vented rib looks good on a shotgun why not a handgun? This brought the front sight up with style. Frankly, any gun awesome enough for Samuel L. Jackson, is good enough for me.

Samuel L. Jackson with Python in the Other Guys

Available in Royal Blue, Bright Nickel, and later Satin Stainless as the nickel was a little too bright, impractical and marred easily.

Unfortunately, like many things we enjoy, the lawsuits continued to mount against Colt and other gun makers in the Dark Ages of constitutional reason, the late 1990s. Colt saw fit to eliminate this piece of art in 1999. If you were lucky enough to own one you have seen your investment in art rise and at least double in price. You own the end of an era when things were made by artists in the industry, not by accountants. Yes kids, those were the days.

Two Colt Pythons Royal Blue below, Satin Stainless above
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Comments (18)

  1. I own a 6 inch Colt Python it is by far the best handgun ever made. You go to a gun show, tell a dealer you have one, they will follow you around trying to buy it till you leave.

  2. To find a great Python is a lifetime honor. I got an 8″ Nickel (1981) as new in the original box. I was told by a gunsmith that it looked like only the Colt factory had fired it. I use it to great delight. I have a S/W 44 mag that has been worked over and has a smooth action. It’s a back up pistol for boar hunting, but doesn’t begin to match the Python for class and feel with great respect at the range. I collected the Colt Catalogs of the era and also bought a Colt Sauer bolt action 300 Weatherby Mag as featured in the Catalogs (1976). I got a mule deer buck in Montana with it last Thanksgiving. As far as I’m concerned, these are the finest purchases of my life. I had do overcome California issues to own them, but it’s worth it. See them and more at:

  3. In reply to Glenn Marques, what are you trying to say? Are you talking about the 1850’s or the 1950’s? I lived the 1950’s like so many others and there was nothing raciest about it. Racism *when it comes to people” is just alive today as it was in the 1950’s. Perhaps thing have gotten a little better but all in all, the black race is still their own worst enemy. Are you talking about Civil Rights or manufacturing? I am sorry but I don’t know what your comment had to do with the story at hand. Were talking about weapons here so how in the hell can a weapon be racist? The weapons of every age have been a work of beauty. Some more than others. They were designed to do a job and frankly the Colt 45 was just as deadly in the hands of a gun fighter as it is in the hands of a modern day thug. Please sir, go pedal you BS someplace else, not on this blog.

    Sincerely, A Die Hard Texan

  4. I had a Python. Six inch stainless. Loved it. It was stolen out of the house about 14 years ago. Still makes me sick thinking about it. Lost other stuff including Bose 901s but the revolver still breaks my heart.

  5. Great Gun, never will have one though,, Colt priced everybody out of buying one and stopped production. Current financial crisis -they’ve priced themselves into bankruptcy– and the rest of you providers are doing the same (money hungry gut scroungers) it now seems that the foreign mftrg is the cheapest way to get a firearm

  6. The 3 favorite pistols in my collection is certainly my Pythons! My 1st, a 6″ SS only lead me to my 8″ blue as well as the rare 8″ blue Hunter (1981 only) model. In 1975, while loving the look of the Python, I couldn’t understand such a price difference over a S & W.
    While at a gun shop, I questioned the salesman why the Python cost approximately double. He handed me a “similar” S & W, told me to pull back the hammer, which I did. Then he handed me the Python, and following cocking, I looked up at him and smiled. He said “THAT”S what your paying for”! I’ve been a Colt Python guy (among other Colt’s) ever since. I’ll die with mine, and hope to add to more!
    I’m sad to hear of Colt’s financial woes, and pray they will survive! I can’t help but see their parallel with the auto industry, and suspect their affiliation with the UAW has some effect?

  7. I have two of them . A Nickel 6″ and a satin stainless 4″ . The only way they’ll leave me is when I’m dead .

    They are working pieces of art .

  8. your idealization of the ’50’s makes you nothing but aa racist pig and if you had made comments like does you would of never gotten one single promotion in my Squadron get with the times has a blkman ever saved your life in combat it sure as hell has happen to me you disgust me !

    1. Your understanding the concept of sarcasm is a poor as your use of the English language. Get a grip.

      The Colt Python was in my opinion the finest double action revolver ever made. I have fired four different examples and if I ever have a couple grand just laying around doing nothing I intend to finally own one!

  9. Never owned a Python, though I did own the King Cobra.
    I really loved that Wheel Gun, too bad I sold her while unemployed.

  10. ^^^(Above)Really, the social ills of the ’50’s discredit the beauty of American craftsmanship of the period? Yet you like Rugers (I assume not Blackhawks or Single sixes since they retain their beautiful ’50’s artistry even in the “New models”.) Yet you’d still want to own a Pyton? I’m lost.

  11. Ah yes, the ’50s… when guns were metal, cars had fins, women stayed at home, non-whites ride on the back of the bus, Christians impose their beliefs through government, and rock and roll was the devil’s music. Yep, those were the days.

    Nice gun, though. I can only afford Ruger and Taurus revolvers, but I hope to buy a Python some day.

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