Cobra’s Patriot Takes a Bite


by R.K. Campbell

photography by R.K. Campbell

December 16th, 2007




Often pistols are enjoyable on the range and others are a real chore to test. Heavy recoil and a heavy trigger action combine to make testing rigorous. But these are not target pistols or even service pistols but personal defense pistols with a real purpose.

Cut down service pistols are OK as far as the go but when it comes to viability for personal defense a purpose designed compact is often a better choice. The Cobra Patriot is a hammerless double action only pistol with a polymer frame and snag free profile. The DAO trigger action of the Patriot both cocks and releases the striker. Unlike the partially prepped striker of the Glock this makes for a heavy but safer trigger action that makes close carry to the body viable. Trigger compression is a smooth but heavy sixteen pounds with no rough spots or creep. Backlash is not present and reset is rapid. The grip angle of the Patriot allows good leverage for the trigger finger. The Patriot trigger action is controllable at moderate range, making it a good choice for personal defense.

I was impressed with the quality of workmanship and design detail in a pistol that retails for less than three hundred dollars. Initial disassembly shows minimal tool marks and rough spots. I have used the pistol for a few months with good results. The pistol has proven reliable overall but like many short slide compacts it is more reliable with loads it likes. The owner’s manual recommends only full metal jacketed ammunition. The manual states that hollow point bullets may not feed in the Patriot.  The fact is every standard load I tried in both 200 and 230 grain JHP styles worked just fine. Reliability was good. However, quite a few standard 230 grain round nose jacketed bullets did not function the action. As a rule hardball is most often loaded around 800-830 fps while the jacketed hollow point bullets are usually loaded a bit hotter. The hotter loads worked just fine. Initial failures to feed semi wadcutter bullets were cured by a feed ramp polish with the Dremel. Few users of a pistol like the Patriot will use hand loads, but the author uses his lead bullet loads heavily in practice. And the caution concerning standard hardball is certainly worth addressing. With the 230 grain Winchester SXT as an example the pistol is reliable and since the Patriot is chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge effectiveness should be excellent.

In firing tests the Patriot proved an easy pistol to use quickly. The pistol weighs but twenty ounces, so it comes out of the belt and onto the target quickly. The short sight radius makes for rapid sight acquisition at three to seven yards and the sights are adequate for close range combat. I quickly ate out the X ring of a silhouette target at close range. Double taps are easily managed. When firing the Patriot you will begin to understand the cadence of fire that is necessary for good work. Press the trigger smoothly, the piece fires, the slide resets the trigger. Press, fire, reset, fire.  After a few trips to the range you will be able to lob those pumpkin balls where they will do the most good.

At longer ranges, ten to fifteen yards, more concentration is demanded from the shooter. However, I found that the trigger broke cleanly and with proper concentration I was able to address man sized targets past fifteen yards. This type of shooting demands concentration and recoil is more noticeable when you are concentrating and holding the pistol in a ‘death grip’. Remember, This is a pistol that weighs about as much as a snub nose .38. Recoil is a bit more than the .38 but hit potential at close range is greater. Do not compare the Patriot to a 1911 or a Glock .45 but rather to a snub .38 or Makarov. Then you will begin to appreciate the Patriot.

Recoil is not objectionable or painful but this is not a pistol you will wish to spend hours on the range in sport shooting. If you can handle an Officer’s Model .45 or snub .38 with +P loads you will be OK with the Patriot. The Patriot is lighter and more compact than an Officer’s Model and there is no exposed hammer to snag. The Patriot has many advantages in light weight and a smooth outline for concealed carry. The Patriot just may be viable for Mexican style carry with no holster but you need at least an inexpensive Uncle Mike’s inside the waistband holster.  It is not too big for some pockets but probably a bit large for jeans pockets. As a truck gun it is just about right for most dash pockets. The slide is a little stout to rack quickly so chamber-empty carry is not a good idea. If you do not like a chamber loaded automatic pistol your best bet is a revolver.

A good and practical touch is that the magazines are interchangeable with 1911 magazines; at least the 1911 fits the Patriot but extends from the grip handle. Metalform magazines were used for the majority of the test with good results. As for wound potential, the .45 automatic depends upon frontal mass and bullet diameter to do the business. Expansion is simply a plus if we can get it. I have worked extensively with a viable alternative to the hollow point bullet that works just fine in the Patriot. The Extreme Shock bullet uses space age technology to create a bullet that quickly expands and fragments and creates a devastating wound. But Extreme Shock is manufactured in standard weights at standard to plus P velocity, a neat trick.

Overall the Patriot seems to be a workmanlike defense pistol for short range personal defense. You could do a lot worse, especially when it comes to caliber. This is a pistol well worth your consideration.

R.K. Campbell


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Click pictures for a larger version.


Shown with the author’s Spyderco folder, the Patriot .45 is in inexpensive workmanlike pistol with good features.



Working with a solid two hand hold the Patriot gives good results on the range.



With the one hand point the pistol lines up quickly. Be certain to position your hand and trigger finger correctly with the first pad on the trigger finger. 



The Patriot fits into a rather small box and is by no means a heavy or unwieldy pistol.



The Glock slide resets the trigger and the trigger is perpetually half cocked. This is OK for a service pistol but not well suited to deep concealment when the pistol is close to the body.



Contrary to expectations the Patriot worked well with all full power 230 grain JHP loads but not light loaded hardball.



Extreme Shock ammunition is so different it is well worth a try—and as far as we can tell the loads work as advertised.



The bullets that are larger in diameter were fired from a five inch government model, the others from a 3.5 inch concealment piece. Like it or not, expansion is not guaranteed and a bullet that starts out at .45 caliber is a bonus.