The New Colt Cobra-The Premier Six-Shot .38 Snub Returns

Those who appreciate a quality, classic, defensive snubnose revolver should consider the New Colt Cobra.

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1995 was a bad year for Colt Firearms as far as I was concerned. It as the year that Colt decided to halt production of its steel framed six-shot Detective Special double action .38 Special snubnose revolver. The "D-frame" Detective Special had been manufactured through four different series since 1927. Its lightweight aluminum framed siblings-the Cobra and the Agent-had been manufactured from 1950-1981 and 1955-1979 respectively. The management of Colt at the time had decided in the midst of the Clinton assault weapon ban and Brady Law to maintain a low profile. The low profile resulted in them dropping easily concealable Detective Special revolver and the Colt Mustang and Mustang Pocket Lite .380 semi-autos.

Over the course of my career, I carried a Parkerized Colt Agent .38 as my duty-handgun while on the narcotics unit at the Licking County Sheriff's Office, a classic blued Agent as an off-duty revolver while I was with the City of Reynoldsburg PD, and a couple of blued Detective Specials at different times while I was with the Union County Sheriff's Office. I've clearly had an affinity for the Colt .38's, and with good reason.

The Colt .38's, unlike the slightly smaller Smith and Wesson J-frame .38's, were six-shooters. Not only did they hold an additional round, Third and Fourth Series D-frame guns-including the Agent and Cobra-could handle +P .38 Special ammunition when most of the Smith and Wesson J-Frames couldn't. In addition, the Colt trigger pull was superior to the Smith and Wesson J-frame triggers due to Colt's use of leaf-rather than coil-hammer springs. They were great six-guns.

Happily, the Colt D-frame .38 Special six-shooter was reintroduced in 2017 in the form of a redesigned Colt Cobra. While I was happy to see the return of the D-frame .38 Special revolver, I was a bit of a skeptic about the new gun.

The new Cobra was an all stainless-steel handgun, while the original Cobra was aluminum framed. Further, the new Cobra was somewhat less elegant looking than the originals due to the use of modern CMC manufacturing methods. It took obtaining a test sample for me to come around to fully appreciating the new Cobra.

I requested a Night Cobra for evaluation. The Night Cobra is one of five current variants of the Cobra. It features a Matte Black DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) finish over the stainless steel, making it as rust resistant as any handgun out there. The DLC finish is also attractive, and bears no resemblance to cheaper matte finishes that almost look painted on. The Night Cobra features a single white outline tritium dot front sight, and a classic bobbed hammer. The Night Cobra's action has been modified to operate in double-action mode only-there is no way to cock the hammer for single action shots. These three modifications work together to make the Night Cobra an outstanding close quarters combat handgun-especially when +P ammo is used.

The Night Cobra's 24.8 ounce weight and oversized Colt G10 grips soaked up the recoil of the 110 grain +P Colt Defense .38's I tested the Night Cobra with. The front sight is easily picked up day or night, and the shots struck directly to the point of aim at 30 feet. The trigger pull is magnificent! It has the smooth Colt D-Frame feel of the originals that has been improved by a new LL2 Linear Leaf spring design. The Cobra's trigger must be felt to be appreciated, and the cylinder lockup is absolutely the tightest on the market.

The newest Cobra is a three-inch heavy barrel .357 Magnum "King" Cobra with a brushed stainless finish for those who want the option of using the hot .357 Magnum round for self-defense. I think the King Cobra will shine as a trail gun with Magnum loads, and is certainly capable of defending against dangerous man or beast.

The introduction and expansion of the Colt Cobra lineup marks the commitment of Colt to all aspects of the concealed carry and home defense market. Those who appreciate a quality, classic, defensive snubnose revolver can check them out at