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Sunday, October 11, 2009
2.5’’ Colt Python .357 Magnum
Our memories often paint the past in a more innocent hue than we see in the present. I was sixteen years old when I first saw a snub Colt Python; it was in the window display of a jewelry store near the corner of Hough and Main Street in Barrington, Illinois. It was as elegant as the gems and fine watches displayed beside it. In view of the obvious facts that I was too young and too poor to purchase anything, the storeowner shooed me from the window. I did carry away the dream of someday owning such a gun.
When I saw this used 1964 vintage Python for sale, the low price reflected its poor cosmetic condition. There were many shallow pits of rust on the surface but I figured it would be a perfect shooter. For a couple of years I used it as a gun to take on vacations and occasionally packed it in a hiking kit.
After a while, the surface blemishes started to bother me; no Python should look that bad. A gunsmith of some local notoriety did only a fair restoration job; many have since told me that I made a mistake by not having the refinishing done by Colt. The same gunsmith tried to correct a hitch in the trigger action and said that he "almost got it right,” that someone had done work before him and to do a better job he would have needed to put in some new parts. Well, I was more than a little disappointed that he did not call to ask me if I wanted the new parts before he “finished” his trigger job; I would have said to spare no expense. Shooting a double action Colt that has an imperfect action can cause great damage to the revolver. Since that gunsmith left me to question how good his repairs were, the revolver has since seen very little use. Someday I hope to send it to an expert who can make it as mechanically perfect as humanly possible.
I once showed the revolver to my Dad and watched his eyes glow with approval and maybe a little envy. “We have the same taste in guns. If I were to get one, it would be one like that,” he said. Instantly I offered it to him as a gift, which he refused to accept. Still, his fondness for the revolver made me very proud.
There is only limited concealed carry allowed in the world that I live in. The S&W snub J-Frames work better for me as pocket guns than they do as belt guns, while the 2’’ Colt D-Frames can work for me equally well as pocket guns (with suitably sized grips) or as belt guns (when sporting larger grips). The 2 ¼'' Ruger SP101 with standard grips works better for me as a belt gun but can still (barely) serve as a pocket gun. As with its shrunken brother, the 2 ½'' Colt Diamondback, I find the 2 ½'' Colt Python can only serve me as a belt gun. The rub is that I never found a belt holster for the snub Python that suited me; recently I passed on a chance to have a custom belt holster done by a well-known artisan. I decided against that pricey indulgence because my preferences and tastes have changed; should I have the need for a compact belt gun, I would, in all probability, be a heretic and sport a 9mm Glock-26 or a Sig-239 instead of a snub revolver.