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One word: Nice.  Here’s Bob Itajones’ Winter Carry #1 from Everyday Carry. Look at that Colt Night Cobra with the outstanding VZ Operator II grips.

Initially, I thought Bob shot wadcutters in his little snubby, but when I peeked over at Mr. Itajones’ Everyday Carry page, it turns out they are the respectably performing (out of a snubby) Federal HST .38 Spl +p loads.  And he carries another cylinder full of more conventional Speer Gold Dot hollow points to facilitate faster and more positive reloads using his HKS speedloader.

The gun stands as a classic among small-frame wheel guns. And I wrote about the utility of these classic pieces for deep cover recently. Don’t discount a small-frame, snub-nosed revolver for self-defense, especially as a civilian. They perform well in a host of scenarios and in competent hands, can put shots on target well outside of room-length distances.

Love that ensemble, Mr. Itajones. All you need is a light to illuminate dark places where bad guys hang out.



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  1. What’s better, the holster and speedloader pouch look like they’ve actually been used!

  2. I was sorely tempted to pick one of these up not too long ago, was one of the smoothest factory triggers I’ver experienced. If I were in the market for a 38 only wheelgun I certainly would have no problem with this model.

  3. I have to say, Colt has definitely improved the Cobra, with the introduction of the Night Cobra and the Bright Cobra.

    They look like Colts should, or close to it. It’s too expensive to do deep bluing, or to mirror polish stainless, but they look much better than the first Cobra, which looked like a Charter Arms

  4. I know John Van Zyke. Worked a case for him. Put him a a deer stand on The Farm a time, or two. Really good guy. Product is second to none.

  5. I carry a j frame once in a while but I think it’s silly to support this type of carry. Based on the weight and dimensions there are many better options for gun fighting. Romanticizing someones choice doesn’t change basic facts. Reliable semis have replaced revolvers for defensive purposes. This isn’t to say a skilled person cant defend themselves with a revolver but I am saying most would be better defended with a semi and a backup mag.

    • Really? A small semi auto is better than a small revolver? I own and carried both. Been doing it for a very long time. Had occasion to employ both. Just wondering about your opinion and how you justify it. Please, elaborate.

    • The average DGU is three rounds fired in three seconds. The Cobra offers SIX rounds.

      It’s not going to jam, which is the primary reason for carrying a back up magazine.

      Are you one of these people who thinks your DGU is going to be a running gun battle with ISIS or something?

    • Oh I dont know….. 9mm is superior to 38 special when loaded properly. 9mm expand more reliably in gel tests when compared to 38. 9mm performs significantly better when put through FBI standard testing in both bare and heavy clothing. You can clear a malfunction with a magazine swap, I’ve had 3 revolvers lock up on me and 2 had to back to the factory. They didn’t need to be cleared they were broken. A gp100 Whitley clap edition 4 cylinders into its life and a older Taurus of some kind. As far as statistics are you kidding???????? You may need 1 bullet or 0 bullets. It’s also possible you need several bullets. No one knows how many rounds they will need if faced with a defensive encounter. Again, police and military’s have all gone with a semi auto. Police tend to get into a lot of gunfights or shootings with 1 bad guy. That isn’t so different from what a average person would face. Revolvers are a compromise gun, my 342PD 10 ounce j frames are compromise guns. To my point, the person in the post carries extra ammo. People carry a mag for a semi to clear a malfunction and keep the gun going, in his case hes delusional enough to think hes going to reload that revolver. This is similar to people that argue that bolt action rifles are as good of a choice as semi autos. The only people making the argument are people that have always had the one tool and dont want to consider that there is and has been a better option available. A semi auto.

      • Woody,
        I’ve carried both revolvers and semiautomatic pistols professionally for years, everything you said regarding the malfunction/breaking of a revolver I have experienced in a pistol. Mechanical devices fail no matter the type or who manufactured it, if you think your pistol and it’s components are “bullet proof” you are setting yourself up for failure.

        BTW one of the things you may not have considered is that some people prefer the grip of a revolver versus a pistol, everyone’s hands are different.

        • Ranger Rick, I have had many semis break over the years as well. I dont consider any tool to be bulletproof. I agree with your assessments. With that said my revolver fails were catastrophic while my semis that failed could still be fired. Broken pins in a glock for example. I think revolvers are good if you choose to pocket carry, obvious compromise, regarding semi autos they simply perform better in a gunfight for all of the previous reasons stated. I like revolvers, but I think people romanticize them to help them justify carrying them when they could’ve carried a semi. This is my opinion, it’s definitely not a hard fact, everyone has to make up their own mind and that’s what makes America a great place to live. I would encourage people making the choice to run a timer and consider draw and reloading times. I also carry a second mag with a plastic semi, I dont with the j frame. I used to but I dont think reloading is realistic with a small revolver under any stress.

    • Which has a better chance of NOT going “bang” when pressed against the body of an attacker whos got you pinned to the ground or a wall? Id say the one that can gently be pushed out of battery, but what would I know? Clearly youre more the expert since you carry a revolver but also say they are useless today.

  6. Mr. Boch. You forgot he needed a knife. A good one. The second tool man created was a knife. That tells me it must have been important. Get a very good one.

  7. There’s nothing wrong about small centerfire revolvers for self defense, they’ve a long record of serving well.

    That said, there are better options in semi-autos. More rounds per loading, quicker reloading, less likely to print when concealed.

    • My snubbies disappear in my pockets due to the curves.

      My semi-autos with their hard corners print like nobody’s business.

      • That’s my experience, revolvers print less than semis, whether in the pocket or on the belt.

  8. HSTs in .38 have gotten exceptional performance. I carry them in my K6S, with traditional Golden Sabers in a speed loader for the same reason – reloading with those flat points is a bitch.

  9. I have seen reports in forums of new Colt Cobra hammers cracking/breaking at the spring, and firing pins breaking, both at barely 700 rounds. Anyone here got high mileage on one, or any issues?

  10. I really like the .38 Colt Night Cobra, 2″ snub (black), as an EDC. At the range, it hurt like heck, so I place a inner rubber heel pad from shoes on my hand w/ a gentle rubber band, and then a larger glove on when practice. However, god forbid if I ever have to use in defense, if I have to get off 1-2 rounds, I will never feel a thing of course. The grip does not absorb the blast vibration, which to me is completely different from the concept of recoil, but the grip is superb to me in its ability to greatly reduce snag, as it is so smooth and tightly flat but not too smooth whereby the naked hand can hold well, hold fast.
    I did not realize until recently, this particular sight glows in the dark very well, mine looked white but in the dark is a light neon blue. If I place a flash light on it for a minute, the glow seems to last longer. I find this gun a great look and feel that grows over time, almost a “classic” feeling that will stand the test of time, and become a family heirloom. I’m preferring .357 holsters a better fit for a .38, that’s just me. I found most everyone’s comments herein helpful and interesting to me, as is my new and hopefully growing wheel house (no pun intended) per se. On my new Night Cobra, the lever to open the cylinder is a “little” bit wobbly, but I wonder if over time, it could self repair with more use, but the next time I go the gun shop/store, I plan to have them inspect, repair, and or I can contact Colt and ask them to inspect and or repair, if needed. You all made me think, if needed, my revolvers would be my primary, and smaller semi autos as a back up, almost like a flip/other way around, giving that some thought. Thanks all.

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