Colt is back in the double-action revolver
business! After a long dry spell with no double-action revolvers
being manufactured, Colt has the long-anticipated Cobra in full
production. The Cobra is now made from matte-finished stainless
steel, and thus is a bit heavier than the original
aluminum-framed Cobra revolvers, weighing in at 24.5 ounces on
my scale. The weight is more in line with the original D-frame
Detective Special, making the new Cobra somewhat of a modern
Detective Special revolver, with improved internals. Colt calls
the new lockwork the LL2 Trigger System, and whatever they did,
they did it right. Both the double-action and single-action
trigger pulls on this revolver are superb.
I first saw the new Cobra several months ago,
handling a prototype, and it was indeed as smooth as silk, but
it was a prototype, and I have been anxiously awaiting a
production gun for review. As I write this piece, I have had the
production Cobra here for about two weeks now, and it has proven
to be even smoother than the prototype that I handled earlier.
The single-action pull releases crisply at just slightly under
three pounds resistance. The double-action pull releases with a
smooth eight and three-quarters pounds resistance, starting a
bit lighter, and stacking progressively until the hammer drops.
Like most Colt revolvers made over the last
eighteen decades, the Cobra has a six-shot cylinder, so the
cylinder diameter is about one-tenth of an inch larger than that
of a typical five-shot pocket gun, such as a S&W J-frame.
However, that slightly larger cylinder gives you an extra shot,
or a twenty percent greater capacity, which may or may not make
a difference, depending upon the situation.
The fit and finish on this Colt is very good.
The matte stainless is nicely done, with edges that are crisp
and well-defined, without being sharp or abrasive. The
barrel/cylinder gap measures an even twenty-five ten-thousandths
(.0025) of an inch, which is much better than the
barrel/cylinder gap on most modern pocket revolvers. Typical
industry standards allow for a B/C gap four times larger. Again,
The Cobra ships with a red fiber-optic front
sight set into a black post. The front sight is easily
interchangeable with the aid of a small Allen wrench, and
according to the manual, Colt will offer both a brass-bead and a
tritium night sight as replacements. The rear sight is a simple
square notch milled into the frame. Rugged, reliable, and offers
a good sight picture. The grip is a one-piece Hogue Monogrip
synthetic rubber unit. The grip feels very comfortable in my
hand, even when shooting Plus P ammunition.
for the Colt Cobra are listed in the chart below. Weight is
listed in ounces. Trigger pulls are listed as pounds of
resistance. Linear measurements are listed in inches. The
cylinder length does not include the cylinder ratchet. Height
includes the sights. The double-action pull was butter-smooth,
stacking slightly until release.
||38 Special +P
|Barrel / Cylinder Gap
|Trigger Pull DA
|Trigger Pull SA
|MSRP as of July 2017
tested the Cobra with several types of 38 Special ammunition for
velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of
ammunition are listed in the chart below. Velocity readings were
taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air
temperature of eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in
the ninety-eight percent range. Velocities are listed in
feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the
muzzle of the revolver. Bullet weights are listed in grains. LHP
is a soft lead hollowpoint. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX
and Lead-Free use the Barnes solid copper hollowpoint. FMJ is a
full metal jacket bullet. Keith is a cast lead semi-wadcutter
|Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure LHP
|Buffalo Bore Keith +P
|Buffalo Bore Lead Free +P
|Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure CLWC
|CCI Lawman FMJ +P
|Cor-Bon DPX +P
Colt Cobra performed flawlessly. Every cartridge fired and
ejected perfectly. Firing pin indentations in the fired cases
were deep and well-centered. There were no malfunctions of any
kind. While the single-action trigger pull was light and crisp,
this sixgun is built for up close and personal social work, so
all ammo fired on the range was done in double-action mode. In
rapid-fire drills, there was never any tendency to short-stroke
the action, as it is smooth and light, while still being one
hundred percent reliable. Colt got it right. The V-leaf hammer
spring in the action makes for a very nice trigger pull, which
results in more precise hits on target. The wide rear notch
allows plenty of light on either side of the front sight.
Conditions were dark and drizzling rain during most of the
shooting sessions with this Colt, but the fiber-optic front
sight was easy to find quickly.
mentioned above, the Hogue grip on the Colt Cobra is very
comfortable in my hand. That, combined with the weight of the
Cobra makes the sixgun very comfortable to fire, even with the
hottest +P loads. One of my favorite loads for small-frame 38
revolvers is the Buffalo Bore Standard-Pressure Low-Flash load.
It uses a low-flash powder, to prevent temporary blindness from
firing in the dark, but the soft lead hollowpoint bullet expands
well and penetrates deeply in soft tissue. If a copper
hollowpoint is preferred, I like the Barnes 110 as loaded by
Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, and Cor-Bon in the +P version.
it seems that semi-automatic pistols are the rage these days,
there is still a place for a good, reliable small-frame
revolver. Concealed-carry guns are carried a lot, and they tend
to get dirty. A good revolver is not ammo-sensitive, and can
easily be fired, even shooting through a jacket pocket if
needed. In an area where things can get spooky really quick, no
one will notice a person walking with a hand in the pocket, and
no one needs to know that the hand is holding a revolver. Also,
in many jurisdictions, it is unlawful to carry a handgun for
protection. A revolver does not scatter empty cartridges on the
ground with the owner’s fingerprints all over them, should a
person need to use the weapon for defense. The Colt Cobra is
solid, reliable, easy to fire, and easy to conceal. Just
slightly larger than a five-shot 38 Special, but carrying that
one extra round that could make a difference, if needed.
am glad to see that Colt is back in the double-action revolver
business again, and with the new Colt Cobra they are off to a
out the Cobra online at www.colt.com.
the location of a Colt dealer near you, click on the DEALER
FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
order the Cobra online, click on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.
order quality 38 Special ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
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