Will Colt Re-Introduce Double Action Revolvers in 2014?

Colt Detective Special

Will Colt’s Manufacturing Company (aka Colt) bring back the double action revolver next year?  It sounds like there are serious moves in that direction, and we could see something in 2014.

Colt abandoned the double action revolver market during the last decade for a variety of reasons that were never made public.  However, popular speculation suggests that the Colt revolvers were not price competitive.  Combined with the flagging demand for revolvers, the manufacture of the revolvers was either not profitable, or maintained only very thin margins.

But now, it looks like Colt is tooling up for a new run of double action revolvers.

Joyce Rubino, the vice president of marketing at Colt’s Mfg Co, made an appearance on Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk last month.  During that conversation, Gresham asked if Colt would ever re-introduce the double action revolver.  Rubino stated “I certainly hope so.”  But, Rubino did not stop there.  She continued:

Yes…We are looking into the investment that would be required to bring back the double action revolver line.  I can’t say which versions or SKUs would be available first.

A short time later, Rubino added that the company was looking “…to see what we can get into the marketplace first.”

If (when) Colt rolls out new revolvers, it would be reasonable to expect just a few models initially.  While Colt had a number of highly respected revolvers, I would expect two different models initially:  the Python and a variation of the Detective Special.

The Python would be, to me, an obvious choice.  This revolver was considered one of the best, if not the finest, double action revolver to ever be made.  I’ve never owned one, but I have shot them, and they are very nice shooting guns.  I’m sure the company could sell a boatload of these with that beautiful Colt bluing.

Colt Python

Even with the damaged finish and the aftermarket stocks, this used Colt Python sold quickly.

The key to Python sales would not be competitive pricing, rather it would be offering the premier .357 Magnum revolver.  Going cheap and competing on price with this revolver would be a huge mistake.

An updated Detective Special would make a lot of sense to me as well.  Concealed carry handguns have been a large driving force in the gun market for many years now, and I do not think that demand will abate in the near future.  Smith & Wesson continues to see very good sales from their line of J-frame revolvers like the 642.  I expect Colt would like to take a piece of that market from S&W.

The Detective Special offered the advantage of six rounds compared to the S&W five rounds.  That one-shot advantage resonated with many buyers in years past, and I expect it would continue today.  If Colt offered a “hammerless” version of the Detective Special, and get the price in the neighborhood of the 642, I suspect they would have a winner with this gun.

What do you think?  Will we see new Colt revolvers at SHOT Show?  What would be your first choice in production?

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About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.

  • Glenn

    Python. I want a new Python. Right. Now.

  • Stephanie

    Ditto to the Python demand! :) My uncle had one that I got to shoot when I was younder and I fell in love with it. It has since passed on to his son, and will go to his son. In other words, it ain’t coming to me. I’ve got to find my own, and finding a good used one has been tough. A new one would be ideal!

  • Meh

    Meh. There is a reason why Colt stopped making the revolvers in the first place: no one was buying them. They are overpriced and not very good. Certainly not better than a quality S&W gun like the 586/686 revolver.

    • SD3

      I agree. If the business model is to produce the finest DA revolver available (not a bad idea), they’ll have to produce firearms head & shoulders above S&W’s performance center guns. And that won’t be easy with price points around $1,400.

      I wouldn’t spend much beyond that just to own the Colt brand.

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  • Michael

    About 3 years too late for the concealed carry market.
    The detective special would be a great product

    • Fred H.

      I think the S&W K-frame speedloaders work with the Detective Special, don’t they? If you are a revolver guy, I would think this would be a pretty good alternative to the Smith J-frames.

  • HeckifIknow

    Nice to hear Colt is getting back into the revolver market.
    What they should make it a re-do of the .22LR Diamondback with a 9 or 10 shot cylinder.
    The Detective Special is a win.
    Python? Meh. I’ve owned a couple. Beautiful guns but they don’t hold up to .357mag use. Won’t be buying one.

  • Nelvin

    Unreal I’ve been lusting after these for a long time. Pythons are too expensive now so I don’t own one. Detectives Specials are tough to come by too. Going to scrape together some scratch for one of em too…

  • Chris C.

    I think for the most part you’re right on the money. A return of the Python would be a boon to the market, and they could pretty well ask, and get, whatever price point they wanted.

    However, if Colt really wants to get they’re product into the hands of the average guy then they need to forget about competing with S&W. Compete with Taurus, EAA, ParaUSA.
    These are companies that produce quality handguns, perhaps not with the smoothness of a Colt or S&W, but they are reliable and affordable. In the case of Para, they ARE now made in the USA.
    We need a return of iconic American weaponry that a guy with kids in college can actually afford, instead of deciding to settle for type instead of name and foreign instead of domestic.

  • Greg Tag

    Anyone who can compare a Colt to a Taurus with a straight face is a more disciplined man than I – Colt was always the Cadillac and that was the goal. Sadly Colt could not maintain labor peace with the United Auto Workers, and strikes and strife marked the last years of revolver production. reportedly the revolver line was finally dropped in order to curry favor with the Clinton-era DOD, in order to win a contract for M16’s.It Didn’t work, Colt lost the contract to FN , and simultaneously dropped their great “concealed carry” guns, just as CC was making major inroads in the market. This once again illustrates how Colt has managed, multiple times since 1900, to snatch defeat from the jaws of business victory.

    In spite of the failings of Colt’s business acumen, the best concealed carry revolver ever is the Detective Special. Its six shots and slightly larger size take it into the realm of “fighting revolver” as opposed to the tiny 5-shot “back-up”, “last ditch defense”, or “belly gun” epitomized by the Smith J frame. The Dick Special is easier to shoot because its just a smidge bigger and heavier, and a properly tuned DS trigger is a slick 8 pounds, an easily managed DA trigger stroke. I regularly carry one of a pair of DS’s converted to DAO by Grant Cunningham – absolutely the easiest double action revolvers I have ever encountered. I have students who come to me struggling with the trigger of their super-duper Unobtainium S & W J frames and they cannot believe any snubby can be shot well. I let them shoot one of my DS’s. This is always an eye opening experience. Then we turn to the task of mastering the J frame trigger.

    The problem with the classic D frame action is that it requires a lot of hand fitting, hence the costs associated with the D frame and its larger brother, the the E/I frame of the Python.

    I would not be surprised if they brought back the SF-VI Detective Special/ DS-II which was a DS with a modernized simplified and cheaper to build and maintain action, with a transfer bar. The Magnum carry also used this action.

    I guess we will see. I look forward to hearing more.

    Regards
    GKT

  • tce

    A competitively priced or even reasonably more expensive Detective Special, if I can dream made in stainless, I’d buy without hesitation. A new Python, depending on price, I’d buy with some hesitation.

  • Marion

    Of course, Colt has always been superior to Smith & Wesson for pistol whipping. A little more weight and a few more sharp edges.

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  • Robert Colapietro

    Pythons coming back? Heart be still! I’ll take mine in blue please. PLEASE!?

  • Go Navy

    Put me down for a Colt Diamondback + Python!

  • Gibby

    Colt needs to take a page out of Sig’s play book. A $2000 P210 Legend looks a lot more appealing for me as a shooter vs. a $4000 Swiss 210.

    The same goes for a Python.

  • Jason V

    I love my snakes – I’ll also take a new Python 4″ SS & with a side of Magnum Carry SS, please. I won’t be able to sleep for weeks & if I do I will be laughing at all those folks who are buying these snake for insane prices on the Internet auction sites. $4,000.00 + WHAT

    Lets go Colt, the market is prime and waiting!!!!!!!

  • Damiano

    FACT is… People all around the known world LOVE Python (s)…
    Colt is Colt, and Colt is HISTORY.
    They ARE bringing back Python, I’m sure. And they could even put FINALLY in production the magical .41 mag. version, the Python that never was.

  • Damiano

    Go on, Colt!!!…
    YOU make Pythons.
    WE buy them.
    And that’s all.

  • Buck Elliott

    Would absolutely buy a Python as long as they’re still quality

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    • Ck

      Walking Dead! Zombie special. That would sell.

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  • Fred Waugh

    With all the autos getting smaller and smaller I think the small wheelguns will gain popularity because the advantage of round capacity is diminishing and the snub nose revolver is as easy or easier to conceal and carry.

  • 191145

    I picked one up in 1983. Still have it. Manufactured in 73. has holster ware and colt last I checked, charging 525.00 for refinish. Absolutely the finest revolver I (and many of my friends) have ever fired.