Colt Cobra Hands-On at SHOT Show Range Day 2017

Early on Monday I got a chance to put some rounds through the new Colt Cobra before it apparently seized up for the rest of SHOT Show’s Range Day. In the video above, Mark Redl, Colt Product Manager and pro shooter, walks us through the features of their new snake gun, then I put six rounds of DoubleTap .38 Special +P through it. On the range, I thought…

It shot great. The fiber optic front sight is highly visible, and the trigger is very smooth and consistent. The single action is super crisp with zero creep or overtravel, and there’s no stacking in double action. Straightening out the trigger bow feels better for me than one with a sharper curve.

The cushy grips were comfortable and the Cobra was very easy to shoot, even with the stout rounds. Lockup seemed very tight but also smooth. In fact, considering there’s no hand finishing in this gun I’d say I’m quite impressed with the quality of the trigger pull and the really smooth and precise feel of the action in general.

An easily-swappable front sight is a nice touch. If the Cobra falls short anywhere in particular — aside from, of course, the fact that it mechanically broke during Range Day — I’d say it’s the finish. Bead blast stainless is perfectly serviceable and makes more sense for a carry gun than polished stainless or even high gloss bluing, but it just doesn’t scream “Colt snake gun” to me.

comments

  1. avatar joe sixpack says:

    So, the gun broke? Explain.

    1. avatar YZAS says:

      Right? How can you just mention that casually and not elaborate?

      1. avatar LS/HD says:

        Earlier reports had one of the Cobras locking up at 11am on Range Day.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          Yeah, sorry about that guys. We had already posted and mentioned it so I didn’t go into further detail. You mean you don’t read every single article on here?!?!

        2. avatar YZAS says:

          Sorry, I should have caught that. Lots of posts with Shot this week and all…

    2. avatar JIMMY HODGES says:

      I like the COLT very much old fashioned wheel guns .what is the cost. I would love to have one. Do you make it in a 44 cal.

  2. avatar Matt says:

    When is colt going to make a “new” gun that was designed within the last 80 years. Why won’t this company just go away?

    1. avatar LS/HD says:

      I suspect “that company” did go away. “This company” is a shadow of its former self.

      *Maybe* they can pull this back together. I wish them well. I’d be happy if I can buy a Colt with a warm feeling in five years.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      If you want a DA/SA revol ver designed in the last 80 years you’re stuck with Ru ger, Chiappa or Charter.

      1. avatar Dan in CO says:

        Or Taurus.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Sorry, Taur us revolvers are S&W clones. Their design dates back to the 1890s.

      2. avatar Phydeaux says:

        How about the new Kimber revolvers?

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Oh yea, forgot about Kimber, they’re new. Although they only come in one caliber, one barrel length (2″), and DA only. And they’ll set you back $800+ which is a little steep for a snubby. But they’re new. Maybe over the next few years they’ll expand the line a bit.

  3. avatar jwm says:

    I’ve never had a Taurus, Charter arms or Ruger or S&w lock up on me except for bullet creep on a j frame.

    Not a good start for a Colt.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      One of my GP 100s locked up a couple of times in the first 50 or so roun ds. I think there was a rough spot on the firing pin and it was getting stuck in the primers. A little wiggling got it free. Never happened again. Sometimes the smallest things can send a whole plan awry.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        I dumped nearly a full large spray can of Remington Action Cleaner into a Taurus Judge that had frozen after 20 rounds someone had put thru it out of the box at the range. A lot of sticky waxy cosmoline-ish stuff weeped out, then it ran like butta.
        Don’t know if it’s a shipping chem??? It definitely gummed it up.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          It’s always a good idea to clean up a new gun before firing it. And never expect a brand new gun to run flawlessly until it’s had a box of amm o run through it (or from what I hear, 500-1000 ro unds if we’re talking about a 1911).

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          My Ruger MKII definitely took 500ish rounds to break in.

          Fortunately, back in the day those 550 round “Value Paks” from Federal were cheap.

        3. avatar Cjstl says:

          My Taurus Poly Protector had that issue. There was sticky gunk in one of the chambers that kept me from being able to load it. A thorough cleaning and I haven’t had any problems since.

    2. avatar B says:

      My 637 locked up on me at the range while I was testing out some hand loads using 4227 powder I had laying around for 300BLK. I ended up preferring the H110 loads so I wanted to use up the 4227. It really needed more barrel length to burn it all, so I had unburned powder everywhere. Some of it got into the action and locked it up. Not really the guns fault.

      1. avatar Nick says:

        Off topic, but the unburned powder when using 4227 is usually from it bot being loaded hot enough. You really have to cram that stuff in there to get it to burn correctly.

  4. avatar Jeff K says:

    Absolutely NO reason to buy this over a Ruger, or even a Charter. Looks like a Taurus competitor.

  5. avatar Charles says:

    Yes. More info on the failure. Failure on a press range day is bad since you KNOW they hand picked the revolver for the event.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      ” Failure on a press range day is bad since you KNOW they hand picked the revolver for the event.”

      Yes, indeed, as I noted in my comments at the link above…

  6. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

    Looks like Ttags bias against Remington and Colt shows it’s subjective head again. Good for clickbaiting.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      How is reporting the facts ‘bias”?

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Where have you been the last 8 years? (It’s also racist, BTW.)

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          It can’t be racist. That gun isn’t black.

    2. avatar Tim says:

      Revolver seizing up = fake newz?
      (Teh Russians did ti!!!!!!)

      1. avatar Erik says:

        I came to say pretty much the same thing. I thought everyone knew it was settled science like global warming, only revolvers and Glocks don’t jam.

    3. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Yeah I really don’t know what you’re talking about, Joseph Quixote (if that’s even your real name [sarc]). I liked the gun. It shot great and felt great. I think the finish is lackluster for a snake gun, since I hold those in high esteem and blasted raw stainless doesn’t feel like it’s doing the reputation justice, and both guns seized up completely 2 hours into range day. If anything, I was too kind to Colt since I said “gun” when the truth of the matter is it was “guns.” You’ll also note that we never said anything about a Remington product that was not factually accurate. If you can’t handle the truth, maybe the Truth about guns isn’t a good fit?

      Frankly, I really don’t give a crap what logo is on the side of a gun. It’s good or it isn’t.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “…and both guns seized up completely 2 hours into range day.”

        Ho. Lee. Crap. *BOTH* locked up tight?

        If that’s what happens to the demo guns the factory hand-picked and looked over, Colt has no damn business letting those get out of the factory and into the distributor chain.

        Colt, you have *serious* problems in that factory. This is just as bad as when Remington shipped their ‘new’ model R51, you remember, the one that could be assembled after a field strip and be inoperable, and no way to even tell it would be inoperable until you fired it?

        (Unless you have no problem with having a reputation like the ‘new’ Remington…)

      2. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

        Have you ever heard of the phrase, “thou doth protest to much?” You seem to forget that your “truths” are simply opinions from some guys on the internet.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Like you.

    4. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      Guess you missed our R51 follow up review. Not to mention the write-ups we did of the RM 380, V3 shotgun and Rp9. Try our search function or the gun reviews tab at the top.

  7. avatar Madcapp says:

    While you’re in the Colt booth, lets see some nice high rez images of the 1903.

    1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      Photos of the 1903 remake were widely distributed two years ago when it debuted. I believe it is actually manufacturered with Colt’s permission by Ohio Ordinance.

      I’ve handled them at SHOT, fit and finish are very good.

      1. avatar Madcapp says:

        At the time, it was reported that the tooling was going to be shipped to Colt after the initial production. I’m just curious if they’re making a second batch, or if they’re still trying to sell the first ones? And if they’re going to also offer a .380 ACP version as well which I think is technically the model 1908.

        1. avatar cutlass81 says:

          I hope they do ship it to Colt. Their run likely didn’t sell out though. Even great condition originals could be had for less than their parkerized models. A better price would be in the $700 range where people could justify buying it as more than just a high end collection piece. You can currently buy the new barrels separately and put them in the 3rd version of the 1903 and newer. So the better deal is really getting a beat up original and dropping a new barrel and spring set in it.

  8. avatar PROUD chicano says:

    I WANT to like Colt because of the historic significance but unfortunately colt is just that HISTORY. They missed out badly on the ccw trend and haven’t brought anything significant to the market in decades.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Even though Colt turned its back on the civilian market years ago, I wish the company well. Colt has produced historic firearms, from the single action revolvers that established the company’s reputation, to JMB’s M1911, to Stoner’s AR-15.

    The history of firearms in America is the history of Colt (among a couple of other historic brands). It’s just too bad that the company lost its way, and more than once.

    1. avatar TexPatriot says:

      Every day, I drive past the company’s West Hartford plant. There are hundreds of hard working people who are trying hard to correct the mistakes of the past.

      If they get the production right, this is a great first step towards bringing the company back.

  10. avatar Mark N. says:

    The old Colt 1873s would bind up too, I have read. If the gun was put on half cock for loading, and then the hammer was dropped without fully cocking the hammer first, binding happened.

  11. avatar PDW says:

    Buy American. ?

  12. avatar aircooled says:

    This “new” Cobra looks like a ’95 -’98 SF-VI / DS-II with a revise bow and guard.
    So, are the internals the same?

  13. avatar Crowbar says:

    I can’t believe their range day gun broke. I just can’t. Seems like a bad omen for Colt.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      ‘Guns’, as in plural.

      They just took an expensive hit on their reputation…

  14. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

    As much as I’d like to see Colt make great revolvers again, if I was shopping for a small revolver I’d probably go with Kimber. The bead blast finish on the Cobra makes it look cheap. Looks like people running Colt still aren’t sure what they’re doing.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      IIRC between Robert and Dan, one preferred how the Kimber shot and one the Colt. I suppose shooting them back-to-back with the same ammo would be time well spent. They’re fairly different guns though in terms of design, finish, chambering, and MSRP…

      1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

        The Kimber revolvers are much more impressive. Solid-shooting and very nicely finished. Of course, they sell for $300-400 more. Worth every penny in my book.

        1. avatar cutlass81 says:

          But do they rust like their 1911s do/did?

  15. avatar Michael says:

    If I were in the market for a new revolver, I would buy a used Smith….

  16. avatar Biff Baxter says:

    Locked up or not, it’s ugly as sin.

  17. avatar Mike Betts says:

    I see where the MSRP on the “new” Cobra is $699. I bought an alloy-frame Cobra as my first off-duty firearm in 1969. With the Colt LEO discount it cost me a whopping $65.

    1. avatar WTF says:

      https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=65&year1=1969&year2=2016

      Your $65 had the equivalent buying power of $425.08 today.
      A completely reasonable LEO discount.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      $699

  18. avatar Shire-man says:

    That’s really too bad. This was a chance for Colt to get some its reputation back. If this is a flop, especially an overpriced “collectable” flop, Colt is never going to live it down. At least not in my lifetime.

    1. avatar Sprocket says:

      But just think how pretty it will look sitting in between the All American 2000 and Z40 in people’s safes.

      1. avatar bLoving says:

        (puts on devious troll mask)
        Thanx for that! And here I thought I was the only one here sinister enough to keep reminding folks about the All American 2000! May Colt never live that one down – because they don’t deserve to.

  19. avatar Sprocket says:

    Not impressed. Though they did manage to blend the aesthetics of a Charter Arms with the reliability of Taurus. I guess that’s something of an achievement.

    Snubbies have been made for over a century. To establish yourself in this market you need to bring something unique to the table. Kimber did that with the K6S and Ruger did it with the LCR. As far as I can see, this iteration of the Cobra doesn’t have any advantage over what’s already on the market. If you want pretty looking carry revolver, there are vintage Smiths and Colts to be had all day long. If you’re looking for an affordable carry revolver, cosmetically challenged specimens can be picked up for a couple hundred dollars. If you want a minty fresh in the box revolver, I see no reason to choose this over a Ruger/Kimber/Smith, and a few reasons not to.

    Sad to say, this seems indicative that Colt management is still clueless about civilian market.

  20. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Disappointing fit between the grip and frame. Most noticeable at the trigger guard, but it looks off all around the perimeter.

    Some of that will be from choosing a rubber grip. But not all.

  21. avatar =BCE56= says:

    I am very happy with my M640, and I have no plans to replace it.
    I got me out of tight situations on three non-consecutive occasions. It has proven reliable and dependable for over 20 years, and now has some sentimental value as well.

  22. avatar strych9 says:

    It broke on range day. And here I was almost believing that revolvers are super reliable. (I kid the wheel gun fans.)

  23. avatar kap says:

    more Junk from Colt, they go cheap on the Metal and the Cranes twist and lock up, or have twisted the Recoil rod etc. or the trigger malfunctioned, or got out of time, hell Charter Arms makes a better Pistol than Colt!

  24. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    Back in the day the King Cobras and Anacondas were scoffed at in favor of the Pythons and Troopers. The MK V was the best actual combat revolver they ever made.

    In the pre Glock days, in semis you had your narrow choice of 1911s, Smith 59 series were around, a smattering of SIGS and CZs , lots of small Davis style throwdown type stuff, various Euro imports, but the bulk of the guns you would see being toted or at the ranges were revolvers.

    Glock brought the concept of extreme reliability, size efficiency, high capacity and ease of maintenance into vogue. It stretches the memory nowadays to recall the pre Glock era of combat pistols, the bulk of which were Smith 66 and Colt Trooper revolvers.

    1. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

      Agreed 99% although all the glock and double stack fan boys forget that triggers, concealment and bulkiness/aesthetics matter.

  25. avatar Mark Redl says:

    I was at range day as a Colt employee. As Product Manager and Pro Shooter I have quite few rounds through our Cobras. The guns we had at the shoot were not cherry picked guns but actual production ones. We used the same guns at our Media Day and they digested thousands of rounds with out any problems. We used only two guns for Media Day and neither one left the line. One digested 3100 rounds and the other 2800. We did have to brush the chambers in the cylinder at about 1500 rounds.

    I did see two or three people not release the trigger completely and had problems, but once myself or Ken Hackathorn reminded them to let the trigger reset they had no problems.

    The new Cobras are very robust and reliable.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “I did see two or three people not release the trigger completely and had problems, but once myself or Ken Hackathorn reminded them to let the trigger reset they had no problems.”

      Mark Redl,

      Thank you for responding here in TTAG.

      “I did see two or three people not release the trigger completely and had problems, but once myself or Ken Hackathorn reminded them to let the trigger reset they had no problems.”

      Ok, that explains that, but it is still a *very* big problem, and here is *why* it’s a problem:

      It’s a very common practice when shooting semi-auto handguns to ‘ride’ the trigger reset for follow-up shots.

      The shooters are *trained* to do that, and that means there’s a good chance, when under the stress of a defensive shooting, when ‘fingers turn into flippers’, that that very training will subconsciously re-appear.

      That makes it a design defect for that firearm. There is *no* higher stress for a shooter to be under than when defending their own very lives, or their family’s.

      In my opinion, Mr.Redel, that firearm has a design flaw that could prove lethal. Colt needs redesign it before shipping it. I *implore* Colt to do the responsible thing and re-design it before shipping it.

      “The new Cobras are very robust and reliable.”

      Until that flaw is remediated, that remains to be seen…

      1. avatar Michael Shill says:

        Geoff,

        Do you have any qualifications or training that should incline anyone to listen to you?

      2. avatar Denis says:

        It has been possible to “lock up” a DA revolver trigger by not allowing it to fully reset/return in DA mode for well over a century, across multiple brands. This is NOT a design flaw, nor is it only specific to the new Cobra.

        It’s nothing more & nothing less than operator error in not working the mechanism correctly.

        If you can’t run a revolver competently because you think it has to be an autopistol, you shouldn’t be shooting a revolver in the first place & have no credibility whatever in transferring your own deficiencies from yourself to the gun.

        I can lock up a trigger in any DA revolver I own by short-stroking the re-set. But I don’t, because I know how to shoot a DA revolver.

        This is NOT a hardware problem in the gun, it’s a software problem in the shooter.

  26. avatar dave b. says:

    I plan to buy one when they come out looking as nice as my Smith 686 Deluxe. I also would want a 4′ barrel.

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