When Colt announced they would be launching the Python once again, I was unashamedly eager to see what Colt would be able to do with the new release. Could the 2020 Python hold a candle to the originals? I finally got the chance to find out for myself.
Quintessentially a target revolver, the 2020 Python has pleasingly proven to be incredibly accurate.
Much like the first edition of the Python, this revolver has a captivating appearance. Also in keeping with tradition, at twenty-five yards the 2020 Python is unerringly lethal. Consistent placement on target was a breeze. It’s no wonder that Colt’s Python is a regular choice by homeowners for home defense.
I was over the moon to uncover what Colt has done well to keep this new Python accurate.
Interchangeable red-ramp front sights are a departure from the original pinned style, smartly derived from the Cobra series. Wide rear sights have very easy to adjust screws for windage and elevation. The strikingly appealing Python can shoot straight with .357 mag. rounds as well as .38 specials. Over, and over, and over.
The reliability of the Colt Python is one of this revolver’s key upgrades in 2020.
The original Python was made to be ready to go to work. I’m not saying that the pinnacle revolver of more than fifty years of production was unreliable. However, in 1955 the Colt Python was created in an incredibly unique way that led to individual Pythons being built to a different level of standards. They were beautiful, powerful, and hand-assembled. Crafted by artists instead of laborers on an assembly line.
This one-on-one production was done by masters at their craft, and in gunsmithing each Python they would leave their personal marks on each weapon. Literally. That individual magic is part of why the line was unable to be sustainable. Frankly, it took a virtuoso to be able to create a weapon as fine as the Python. As the craftsmen retired, so too did the line.
This little history lesson is important to understanding why Colt’s reboot has such a significant impact on the reliability of the 2020 Python. Thanks to improvements in machining and engineering with today’s technology, they can finally move the Python into production with machined parts made from stainless steel alloys. No more idiosyncrasies caused by individuals in assembly. No more quirks to discover when I stepped out onto that range.
Perfection in production has given me perfection in hand. Hundreds of rounds. No squeaks. No failures. No rattles. An absolute marvel of solid craftsmanship and machining.
Another one of the best features of the new 2020 Python is that when it comes to handling, Colt knew to leave most of this category untouched. One of the most redeeming features about the Python is that this revolver has style. And through that style, I have a wheelgun that looks as good as it feels.
A show-stopping full-length cylindrical underlug shifts weight forward. Giving me an excellent balance in handling. The 6” barrel, which is what I’m lucky enough to be enjoying, is encased top and bottom. The top-side ventilated rib gives the overall appearance a stately elegance with its clean lines to the intimidating muzzle end and recessed target crown.
Some other minor changes from ‘55 to 2020 come to play in improving the handling as well. One example is that the 2020 hammer is serrated with an easy texture for manipulation, whereas the ‘55 is checkered.
The feel and excellent handling of the Python are truly remarkable, and its deadly appearance is apt to influence any criminal. Not unlike the sound of my best 20 gauge shotgun, the sight of my pointed Python will unerringly ensure my safety.
Colt made big improvements with the trigger, and the difference is something that can be felt with the new and improved 2020. Smooth pulls from chamber to chamber are noticeable thanks to production tolerances that just weren’t attainable in 1955.
‘55’s smaller tool marked parts have been replaced with 2020’s larger well-machined components. A meaty V-shaped mainspring is now accompanied by a new inclusion to the 2020 wheelgun, the cylinder-stop mechanism. Reminiscent of Smith and Wesson designs, the cylinder stop is above and just forward of the trigger.
The double-action of the Python has a remarkable smoothness to the rearward stroke. No hiccups in pressures, and an excellent pull at approximately 8 lbs in testing. Single-action pull is perfection. With the hammer cocked, the SA pull is just under 3 lbs. The clean break rounds off a resounding triumph throughout my testing.
Magazine and Reloading
This six-shot wheeled revolver is Colt’s opus to target shooting. The classic was chosen as a duty weapon by police agencies across the country. From Hollywood actors to those choosing the best weapon for home defense, part of the appeal to revolvers is the simplicity of loading.
Easy to see if it’s loaded, and easy to operate if it’s not, a simple reload of the wheel is all that is needed to be ready for use. No magazine jams or failures in ejection to worry about with this six-shooter. Classic and effective, with a straightforward use that I greatly value.
Length and Weight
Offered in two barrel lengths, in 2020 Colt has given the world a 6” and a 4.25” barrel. In a practical move by Colt, the seemingly odd short-barreled length was set to match Canadian regulations. For my 6”-barrelled Python, the overall length is 11.5.” Round that off with a 5.5” height and 1.5” width, I have a fine-sized weapon for carrying concealed.
A bit weighty at 46 oz. empty, this revolver is definitely a weapon that I can feel on my hip. Overall, the 2020 Python is remarkably similar to the classic. There aren’t many who would be able to tell them apart without close inspection.
All of that weight and good looks also has a quite practical benefit in a remarkably low recoil for the powerful Colt Python.
For example, excellence in the shape of the grip is more than just good looks. The recoil is easily managed with a good hand position. Some similarities continue to shine in 2020. Not only is 60% of the grip still checkered for hold, but the gorgeous Walnut grip with its distinguished Colt medallion is also actually interchangeable with the 55. I like that decision by Colt, though it is something to be aware of if you’re ever shopping in the collector Colt market. In a bit of an aside, the original and 2020 Pythons are also equal in holster compatibility.
Another significant upgrade for the new release is the addition of 30% more steel under the rear sight to add strength and stability. Needed with today’s high-performance ammo, and effective in keeping me on target with follow-up rounds, the added bulk was integrated so well by Colt it is not something that many will even notice without the 55-era models sitting side by side with the ‘20.
Overall recoil performance is a large part of why the Python was so widely popular back in the day. There was virtually no movement of the gun when fired, and I’m happy to report that for the next generation that ability remains true.
In January 2020, the listed MSRP price for the updated Python is $1,499. Waitlists abound and the reselling has already begun, with prices more than double list at less than a year from the beginning of production.
With much thanks and adoration to the talented men at Colt who created the first generation of Python in 1955, it is with great pleasure that I raise my hat to those responsible for the rebirth in 2020.
Colt has taken a treasured weapon and improved it in all of the best ways, without marring the capability or appearance of the remarkable 2020 Colt Python revolver. What a wonderful job well done by them, and what a remarkable gun for all of us.
Richard Douglas is a long time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.