It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn towards St. Nicholas and his sleigh full of presents for good boys and girls of all ages. We didn’t keep close track of who was naughty and who was nice this year, so you’re all on the honor system again, OK? I know you’ve all been pretty good . . .
Guns and Gear of Christmas Past
The Christmas Wish List was a hit last year, so I thought I’d repeat the effort for 2022.
Looking back on that list, I’m happy to see that two of the wishes were actually granted—a Python with a three-inch barrel, and a replica SL Variant speedloader. I didn’t get to see the shortened Python at SHOT Show earlier this year, because Colt was absent, but I should get some time on it next month, at the show. I did manage to purchase some of the replica SL Variant loaders, but (shamefully) they haven’t seen much use yet. I’ll try to remedy that in the coming year and will be sure to report on them here in these pages.
There’s still a lot of unfulfilled wishes on that list, though, and I’m hoping that we’ll see a few more of them checked off in 2023, because they’re still lighting fires in my RevolverGuy soul. I’ll mention a few of the biggies again this year, just to remind the industry that we haven’t forgotten about them.
So, with that, let’s get on with the show!
Colt Python Rear Sight
Since we mentioned the Python earlier, that’s probably a good place to start. I’ve been shooting the 4.25” version a bit this year, and while there’s a whole lot to enjoy about Colt’s 2020 reincarnation of this classic, one of the areas that needs some improvement is the rear sight.
The 2020 Python’s rear blade has a very shallow notch, which creates a small viewing window for the front sight. It could really benefit from a taller blade with a deeper notch, and I wouldn’t argue with widening it either, to get a little more light on either side of the blade, because my eyes might twinkle like Santa’s from time to time, but they don’t see as well as his.
The adjustments on the blade are pretty crude as well, for a premium, target-grade gun. A set screw holds the blade in place, and once it’s removed, you simply push the blade over to the desired position (using a set of dots in the sight base and a single dot on the blade as crude references) and lock it back down with the screw. Yuck.
The Harrison Snake Sights are a big step in the right direction, offering an improved window with more depth and light, but are still handicapped by a rather crude adjustment system. Colt was proud to announce they had reduced the number of parts in the 2020 Python, versus the originals, and several of these cuts came from the rear sight assembly, but that was a false economy, I think. This fine gun definitely deserves a click-adjustable rear sight, and I’d challenge the aftermarket to pick up the slack and give us one, please (BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Shortly before press time, we received a press release from Wilson Combat, describing their new, click-adjustable sights for the 2020 Python! Maybe Christmas came early this year? We’ll definitely be looking for these at SHOT Show, in January).
A robust, fixed sight option (paging Dave Lauck, Dave Lauck, please pick up the courtesy phone) would be nice too, for those who want to turn their Pythons into fighting guns. We’ve got plenty of room under the tree for that!
Since we’re talking about sights, I’ll enter a renewed plea for the industry to spend a little more time and effort on these, across the board. Snubs like the J-Frames, LCRs and New Cobra need a better rear sight than just a trough milled into the top strap, and it wouldn’t be tough to do it without sacrificing ruggedness.
We could also benefit from having better sight regulation, since a lot of the sights on the market (and particularly on the snubs) throw the bullet to the wrong elevation, like a nearsighted elf in a snowball fight.
There are signs that the ammunition shortage is starting to improve a bit—I’m actually seeing some products sit on the shelf for more than a microsecond, and prices are starting to correct ever-so-slightly downward—but we’re still in pretty bad shape, overall.
The industry has been so focused on the meat-and-potatoes calibers like 9mm and .223, that everything else has been ignored, by comparison. I understand there’s a lot of niches to fill in this industry, and manufacturers are doing everything they can to spread the love around, but it’s getting really lonely out here in RevolverLand! I’ve seen an infrequent dribble of .38 Special ball here and there, but we could use a lot more of that, and some wadcutter and JHP options in the caliber, too. Our .32, .357, .41, .44 and .45 caliber brethren are looking downright thin these days, like Frosty did when the sun came out. They’d sure appreciate a hearty Christmas feast of “beans for the wheel!”
Justin has a strong hankering for a double action .22 Magnum with a stainless frame, a four-inch barrel, and a good pair of adjustable sights. Smith gets close with a six-inch Model 648 and a blued, four-inch Model 48, but not quite.
Ruger has some .22 LR SP101s and GP100s, but none for the littlest Magnum. Taurus’ 942 is chambered in .22 WMR, but tops out at three inches. Maybe Santa’s elves could do a solid for a bearded brother and add this to their To Do List?
My Little Pony
While they’re at it, maybe they could talk Colt into building a rimfire revolver. We asked for one last year, but they’ve been busy with the Czech immersion classes, I think. A .22 caliber built on the King Cobra Target layout would be super neat—a modern day Diamondback! That would get our eyes twinkling like the lights on our tree!
(BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Well, sonofagun, distributor CDNN Sports just listed one for auction a week prior to press time! The Colt’s website hasn’t been updated to include it, yet, but that should hopefully follow soon. I’m hoping to see this one at SHOT Show, in January!)
A Six, For Sure
While we’re revisiting last year’s list, may I remind Ruger that we’re still hoping for a 6-shot SP101, and the return of a medium-frame, Six-series? Offering a DA revolver catalog without a true medium frame is like trying to build a snowman with only two snowballs, after all.
A Case For A Case
Here’s a simple one that the elves in the saddlery oughta be able to knock out quick, on a lunch break. I’d love to see a “split-six”-style speedloader case in the original Safariland fashion, with open sides that allow you to grip the body of an HKS-style loader with your thumb and finger. My Don Hume and DeSantis pouches, like the tough Simply Rugged pouch, both have reinforcing straps on the sides that provide structural stability to the pouch, but prevent you from gripping the loader on the sides, so you’re forced to pull it out of the pouch by the loading knob.
A pouch built with open sides might be a little drafty, like the North Pole’s reindeer stable, but it would be just the ticket for a cleaner, more positive draw. An option for a Safariland Comp-compatible pouch would be neat too, but would probably need the pinched “shelf” for the loader to rest on, away from the top edge of the belt, to avoid an unintended discharge of the loader.
I’ve been trying to convince a few makers to build an AIWB holster for revolvers that has an integrated speedloader pouch on the leading edge (like some of these so-called, “sidecar” holsters for the autos) but have been unsuccessful, so far.
Our friends at DeSantis took the idea and turned it into the neat FLETC 2.0 holster for OWB use, but I’d sure like to see an appendix-inside-the-waistband version, as an AIWB kinda guy. The open space in front of an AIWB holster, around 1 O’Clock, is a perfect place for a speedloader, and I think an open-top case could retain the loader well enough if it was formed of kydex, or carefully constructed of leather. Santa’s belly might shake when he laughs, like a bowl full of jelly, but I just want mine to pack a J-frame and a reload discreetly.
Shoot For The Moon
I never got the chance to buy one of Smith & Wesson’s Model 625 revolvers in .45 ACP, and I’d sure like to see the gun make a comeback in their catalog. While they’re at it, they can work on a Model 58, a Model 547, a Model 12, a round butt Model 65 with a three-inch barrel, and a bunch of other lost classics that we’re missing. Build them without the lock as the “Freedom Series,” and you’ll hear more squeals of delight from RevolverGuys than the last dozen Christmas mornings, combined!
The new Colt Cobra and King Cobra series guns have been a welcome addition to the marketplace, and we’re thrilled to have the Rampant Pony back in the game, but we find the trigger face on these guns to be a little too narrow, and the corners to be a little too square.
I think that may have been the root of my struggle with the otherwise excellent Night Cobra that I reviewed a while back. I guess some other folks must agree with Justin and I, because gunsmith Dave Fink made sure to round the corners on the special run of King Cobras that he gussied up for the Gunsite crowd.
We’d love to see Colt modify the trigger face to be a little broader and a little rounder, kinda like Santa’s growing belly. Whaddya say, guys?
We’re still hoping that a talented grip maker will take on the challenge of bringing back some of the designs that are no longer being made–or at least not commonly. The old Stark, Hurst, and Farrant designs (the “LAPD grip makers,” along with Hogue), for example, still seem to capture a lot of collector interest, and we’d like to see some modern replicas at reasonable prices.
With the passing of Deacon Deason and Ted Adamovich, I’m not sure if anyone is still making Skeeter-style grips any longer, but it would be neat to see those offered, too. Maybe I’m just not paying attention in the right places, but it seems there’s not much variety left in the market, and it would be slicker than Rudolph’s wet nose if we could order some of these older styles to outfit our favorite blasters.
Nope, we’re not talking about the polar bears that saunter around Santa’s zip code, we’re talking about the wonderful SCOTUS decision that reaffirmed the Second Amendment is not a second-class right. There are far too many state laws in effect that conflict with the Constitution, and it’s well-past time for them to disappear, courtesy of a Bruen-based review. Watching our precious liberties get restored as unconstitutional laws get scrapped would be like finding an extra candy in the toe of your Christmas stocking . . . times a million! It’s time for the Grinch to return all the things he stole from Whoville.
Life On The Big Screen
I’d love to see an outfit with an eye for historical detail do some movie documentaries about early 20th Century lawmen, some of whom helped to bridge the gap between the “Old West” and the new. Wouldn’t you like to see a movie that got the details right about a man like Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes? How about an accurate look at the lives and escapades of Depression-era lawmen like Frank Hamer, Jelly Bryce, and Walter Walsh?
We’re fortunate to have law enforcement historian and RevolverGuy Tony Perrin writing here, putting the human element into the revolver story, but it would sure be entertaining to see tales like these come alive on the screen, wouldn’t it? After all, we can only watch White Christmas so many times!
MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!
Featured image from:
Ralphie image from:
Some clever guy on Al Gore’s Internet. This one never gets old!