Over the past 10 years, I’ve had the privilege to evaluate several newly introduced firearms. Few have excited me more than the reintroduction of the classic Colt Python .357 Magnum. It is available with barrel lengths in 4 inches, 6 inches and, now, 3 inches.
Like the 6-inch and 4-inch, the new 3-inch Python is made from brightly polished stainless steel. The appearance is very close to that of bright nickel. While I miss a real nickel finish, this one is a darn good substitute.
About the 3-inch Colt Python
Atop the traditional Python ventilated rib is a target-type, interchangeable, orange insert front ramp sight. Other available front sights include a Tritium sight, brass bead or fiber optic. The rear sight is a plain black target sight, with slotted screws for windage and elevation adjustment.
The new Python’s hammers retain the usual paddle shape but are not as large as the originals. They have grooved cocking serrations for non-slip traction when cocking for deliberate single-action fire (something at which all Pythons — new and old — excel).
The trigger face has three grooves that are just as smooth as the original though not as curved. The double-action trigger pull measured a smooth 8 pounds, 2.3 ounces. And the single-action pull ran a crisp 4 pounds, 4.1 ounces. All current production Colt double-action revolvers use the same “Linear Leaf Spring Action” as opposed to a coil spring action. This gives Colt revolvers a distinctive smoothness.
The six-shot Python cylinder opens easily by pulling the cylinder latch release to the rear. Like any .357 Magnum revolver, the Python also chambers and fires .38 Special ammunition. The muzzle features the Python’s distinctive target crown to protect the rifling from damage and maintain top-notch accuracy.
The full-sized checkered walnut grips fit the hand wonderfully and feature silver Rampant Colt inset medallions. Though I would have preferred the more traditional gold grip medallions, I am very glad real walnut is used for the grip material and not G10 or rubber. They are gorgeous and not at all bulky.
Firing the Python
I tested the Python with a friend and fellow Colt aficionado at the newest indoor range facility in our area. We started out our using the B-27E target at 21 feet. All groupings below were fired two-handed unsupported and standing.
|Distance||Load||Best 6-Shot Group A||Best 6-Shot Group B|
|21 Feet||Winchester Law Enforcement Only .38 Special 110 Grain +P+/1155 FPS MV/326 FPE||1-inch||2-inches|
|20 Feet||Ted Nugent .357 Magnum 158 Grain Speer Gold Dot Hunting Load/1560 FPS MV/858 FPE (Mike reported these hurt his hand)||2.5-inches||N/A
(only four rounds were left available)
|30 Feet||SIG Sauer Elite 125 grain .357 V-Crown JHP/1450 FPS MV/583 FPE||3.5-inches||5-inches|
Is the Python for Concealed Carry?
Galco was kind enough to supply me with a brown leather Silhouette High Ride OWB thumb-break holster to test the 3-inch Python for concealed carry use. Despite the fact that this particular Python weighs in at 38 ounces, the Galco Silhouette High Ride carried it very comfortably. The bottom of the holster is open, allowing it to easily carry the original 2.5-inch Python, as well as the longer 3-inch or 4-inch models.
I wore the 3-inch Python to work one day for eight hours. The muzzle tilts slightly to the rear when standing up. While riding in the car or sitting at my desk, I noted that draw is closer to vertical, making drawing the Python easier in these compromised positions. The High Ride kept the grip pulled in closely to my side without tilting, keeping it well concealed under my 5.11 shirt. There was no need for any break-in time before use. The new Pythons are definitely meant to be carried and used and not locked away in a safe.
The new Colt Python 3-inch is a spectacular revolver, just as original. MSRP of the new 3-inch Python is $1, 499 (around $1,000 less than you would pay for a used original). Thank you, Colt, for bringing these guns back.