All About Guns

Perfecting the Colt Python by ROB GARRETT

The new Colt 3” Python may be the best revolver on the market today!


In 2022, Colt fans were ecstatic when Colt brought back the King of the Colt revolvers. The return of the Python marked a new day for Colt and fans hoped it would be everything the old Python was.

The original Pythons were true works of art. Craftsmen took oversized parts and, using stones and files, carefully fitted them to the frame. The original Python was probably the most labor-intensive revolver of its time. Unfortunately, Colt discontinued Python in 2005. Ever since fans have begged Colt to resurrect the “Snake.”

In appearance, the new Python is a faithful rendition of the original. The new model retains the same graceful lines and vent rib that endeared the Python to its fans. However, this is not a remake of the original 1955 gun. In reality, Colt does not have enough skilled gunsmiths to manufacture Pythons in the old method. And, if they did, the cost of a Python would be astronomical.

The new Python retained the appearance of its predecessor while incorporating improvements in strength and production

Instead, Colt updated the Python with some very significant improvements. First, Colt has made extensive use of modern manufacturing technology to make individual parts to a higher tolerance. This eliminates most of the hand fitting that was so costly. Second, there are also subtle changes in design, specifically the frame, that make the new gun stronger than the original. This ensures that the new Python will withstand a steady diet of full house .357 Magnum loads. One great feature is that the user can change the front sight using an Allen wrench. Finally, Colt redesigned the rear sight to be more durable.


When Colt introduced a 3” version, I immediately ordered one. I consider a medium frame, 3” barrel, revolver to be the perfect fighting gun! So, I was very excited when the new Python arrived at my dealer.

Taking the 3” from the blue Colt box, I found an absolutely gorgeous pistol. The brightly polished stainless finish is flawless. The pistol is void of sharp and offending edges and there are absolutely no visible machine marks. The double action on the new gun is like glass and the single action breaks nicely at just over five pounds with no grit or excessive creep. For me, the 3” barrel is the perfect length for a carry gun and the balance of the Python is perfect.

The author found the factory ramped front sight difficult to acquire and track during recoil.
In addition, the author found that the rear sight was very shallow and the notch was too narrow for the width of the front sight.

After an initial range visit, I found that the Python was lacking in two areas; the sights and the stocks. While not an issue for some shooters, I found the sights were difficult to acquire and index. The rear sight blade was very shallow and did not allow for a significant amount of light to either side of the front sight blade. I also had difficulty seeing the red ramp front sight blade.

The second issue with the Python was the stocks. I have two issues with the factory stocks. First, the stocks are not properly shaped for optimal recoil control. The taper of the stocks results in the hand riding up on the backstrap during recoil. In addition, the rear backstrap is not contoured. However, the most disappointing issue is the stocks do not fit the top of the back strap. The edge actually extends past the frame creating a sharp edge.


John Harrison, of Harrison Design, is a good friend who happens to own a new model 4” Python. John is my age and we share the same issues with aging eyes. He found he was having the same issues with his Python as I was. While John is known for his custom work and extensive line of 1911 components, he is also a true wheelgun aficionado.

The factory front sight blade is shown in comparison to the new Harrison blade.
The Harrison rear sight blade, shown on the right, is a significant improvement over the factory blade. (left)

John set out to design a better set of sights for the Python. He has redesigned both the rear sight and the front sight for an optimized sight picture. The overall improvement is dramatic.

The height of the rear sight blade has been increased by .040, giving it a deeper notch. The width of the notch has been increased the width by .150” to allow for more daylight on each side of the front sight blade. The rear blade is also thicker than the factory blade increasing the strength against impact. Finally, he increased the size of the dovetail to reduce the play found in the factory blade.

The Harrison rear sight blade not only offers an improved sight picture but is more robust than the factory blade.
The increased height and thickness of the Harrison rear sight blade is shown in this photo.

The front sight blade is also higher to be compatible with the rear sight. The blade is .125” in width and available with a plain black serrated face, a fiber optic rod, or a 14K gold bead. Installation of the new sights can be done in just a few minutes using the supplied Allen wrench and a flathead screwdriver. I ordered a front sight with a flat-face gold bead.

The Harrison rear sight is a major improvement, especially for those with an aging eye. The gold bead had a flat face instead of the more traditional domed bead.


For the first 12 years of my law enforcement career, Hogue’s Monogrips were on my police service revolvers. The Hogues fit my hand well and the shape, when combined with the finger grooves, is very effective in controlling recoil and the pistol shifting in the hand. For the Python, I ordered a set of their over-mold rubber stocks.

The factory stocks, while attractive, are not the optimal shape for recoil control.
Installation of the Hogue Monogrip requires the fitting of a “U” shaped bracket to the bottom of the frame.


The really nice thing is the design of the Python enables the owner to replace the sights in a matter of minutes. Range time reflected just how much difference these two improvements made to my Python. The square front post, combined with the gold bead and larger rear sight aperture, improved alignment and tracking significantly. The Hogue stocks absorbed the recoil and eliminated any shift in my grip. The Python was pleasant to shoot, even with the hottest magnum loads.

With the Harrison Snake sights, and the Hogue stocks, the 3” Python is now perfected!

I shot a modified “Test” from 10 yards, shooting two strings of five rounds each, with a par time for each string of five seconds. I used Speer’s 158-grain, Gold Dot Personal Protection load, which averaged 1,142 fps out of my chronograph. I dropped four points into the 9-ring while making the par time on both strings.


For my revolvers, I’m addicted to custom leather. For the 3” Snake, I contacted Mike “Doc” Barranti and ordered a Chairman holster and speed strip pouch. The Chairman is a high-ride, neutral cant, holster that can be worn both strong side and cross-draw. While my holster was plain finished, for those who like to dress up their leather, Doc does amazing borders and carvings. The pouch for the speed strip is open-top and designed for low-profile carry while keeping the strip easily accessible. The combination was perfect for the “Snake”. Barranti Leather Company

Doc Barranti makes some of the best leather holsters on the market today. The Chairman was the perfect selection for the 3” Python.
Barranti’s quality and attention to detail is evident when one sees how uniform and precise the stitching is on the Barranti Chairman.


The new Python, Cobra, King Cobra, and Anaconda are some of the best revolvers to ever come out of Hartford. I have had an opportunity to shoot several new Pythons, along with a King Cobra and an Anaconda. The consistent quality and finish have impressed me. Having come up in the revolver era, I am encouraged to see a revival of the market. If you own an older Python, consider getting a new one to carry and shoot. If you have never owned a Python, here is your chance to own a classic!

Colt Python Specifications

Model SP3WTC
Caliber .357 Magnum
Capacity 6 Round
Length 8.25”
Front Sight OEM Red Ramp
Rear Sight OEM Fully Adjustable
Action Single/Double
Grip Walnut w/Colt medallion
Material Stainless
Barrel Length 3”
Weight 35.5 oz.
MSRP $1,499

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