Read more about the Colt Custom Shop: https://www.colt.com/CustomerServices/ColtCustom/DesignYourOwn.aspx
Buy a 1903 on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=colt%201903
Last year when we dropped by the Colt booth, we were blown away by what we saw. It wasn’t what we expected from a company that often seems to consider its historic guns as part of its past. What we found was a new production 1903 Pocket Hammerless built by US Armament. The old John Browning design was back for a limited run in the configuration that was issued to officers during WWII. These guns are now shipping and will slowly trickle out over this year.
But that is not the end of the story for the 1903. Colt had an awesome cutaway version at the show and they are making some of them for sale as well. What’s the appeal of a cutaway? If you’re anything like me (and odds on that are pretty good if you clicked on this link in the first place) you like to look at guns. Some of us like to look at them and manipulate them and study them almost as much as we like to actually shoot them. They’re intricate mechanical marvels. So we’ve included a massive photo-set below so you can marvel, too.
After the run of 1903s are done, they are going to retool and start making the 1908. If you are unfamiliar, the 1908 is the same pistol as the 1903 but in .380 instead of .32. This will not be a limited run, either. These will be in production and we can’t wait to get our hands on one.
And that is not all. The folks at Colt were blown away (and admittedly surprised) about how much buzz and excitement came from the announcement of the 1903 at last years SHOT Show. We were told that the excitement was so great that the Colt Custom Shop has been told to start building Pythons. That is right, Colt is building Pythons. Apparently there are walls full of original parts, and all of the original tooling is still warehoused. But it is more complicated than just dusting off the old equipment. This is antiquated stuff compared to today’s CNC machines. Also, Pythons were all hand fitted and tuned in a labor-intensive process. Our source said the Custom Shop is working on the Python build now. As of this writing, there is nothing official about the announcement, and no target delivery dates or any information on how many they’ll make. After looking at the 1903, we feel confident in saying they are taking the time to learn how to build them right.
The lockwork on the Python is likely too complicated for the modern factory. Instead, just do what Ruger did with the GP100 Match champion. It’s the same gun basically as the regular GP100 revolver, but with some factory customization. Colt could just re release the King Cobra with a Python barrel. That’s basically what they did, albeit in a larger frame size with the Colt Anaconda.
Colt DOES NOT MAKE this 1903 model. They’re made FOR Colt by Valley Engineering in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
Definitely a point in the pistol’s favor. The vaunted “Custom Shop” has nothing to do with these pistols.
~US Armament makes the current pistol under license from Colt. Tooling is to be given the the Colt Custom Shop as soon as production on the 1903 GOP pistols are complete.
FYI ….. Regarding the Colt Python: My daughter works for Lockheed Martin in security and was home last winter (2016). She is 24 years old ( recently gave her a SW Model 36 38 Cal.) and was target shooting a Colt 38 Cal. Police Detective 2 inch barrel, Colt 45 Cal. 1911, and a Python 38 Cal. Immediately after shooting the Python she turned to me and said, “I want this one”. End of discussion ….. There should be no question as to the quality, value, accuracy, and reliability of a Python. At least a young shooter knows the difference. Very proud of her and the gun belonged to her grandfather.
Oh what foolish things we do in our youth. I owned two Colt Pythons in the early 70’s. I paid 300 each for them. Four inch, blue in pristine condition. Raising a new family and not making a huge salary , I eventually sold both for under 500.00. For forty years I have lived with the regrets. Believe me , whether you own one or not , hang on to it.
I bought a 4″ Python back in the 80’s and had it mag-na-ported. Changed the factory sights for Millet, changed the grips for Pachmeyer. Paid $250 for it. I also have a factory tuned 6″ that I left stock except for the sights. I paid $250 for it too. Still have them both. The 4″ needs some timing work. That is the only drawback of any of the Colt revolvers. Timing on them is sort of mickey mouse.
Hello Mark Cylinder and Slide can fix timing on wheel guns.
It no wonder that colt Has gone thru Bankruptcy as THEY only make 1911S , SINGLE ACTIONS ANS AR’S . , THERE ARE A LOY OF US LODTIMERS AND NEW ALIKE THAT WOULD BUY THE PYTHON AND TROOPERS….Why the younger generation has gone ape shit over Black guns is beyound me ,,,,,,,,bring back the wheel guns with WOOD and metal…. there is plenty of people that want both , get you head out of you ass Colt , and you can make the where it wont cost a left leg and a nut too , greed and the UAW is to blame ,
I think the market is concealed weapons first and foremost. There would be a market for the Magnum Carry as the #1 seller since those models are currently in Python territory. Colt would have to get with the program and issue it stock with one of those hammer shrouds like you see on old DS .38’s from time to time.
The market for the Python is there, but less than the slam dunk most people expect. Fans like us are in the minority compared to the new shooters looking for something cheap to protect themselves with. They outnumber us probably 100 to 1 from checking what my friend is actually selling at his gun shop. The Python is like a Ferrari: Impractical, uncomfortable, expensive, unreliable, but performs well and is drop dead sexy.
If Colt decides to build the Python again, it would have to be absolutely perfect no matter the cost. No shortcuts taken, period. If that makes the gun $3000 then so be it. I’ll still buy it as I tend to put my money where my mouth is, but most people clamoring for one are just dreamers. I pre ordered a STG44 from HMG Gunworks (seen at 2016 SHOT) purely to support their commendable effort, but there’s the armchair commandos on the forums blasting a company that has the stones to build a close copy based on it’s price ($1800) and the deviations they decided to take to modernize it. I don’t get it. Variety is good.
The 1903/1098 is an interesting development, but a limited market I think if modern safety, etc are not integrated into the design. People are very programmed into polymer these days and when I see new people in the gun shop I hear “My friend told me to get a Glock.” as the #1 response when asked what they are looking for.
It’s a long battle to get quality and interesting designs back into the gun shops, but one I think that will need to take place to ensure the buyer has variety. Hopefully the market responds.
“The Python is like a Ferrari: Impractical, uncomfortable, expensive, unreliable……” – Sorry, sir – but you are dead wrong on your opinion. I have shot Pythons, Diamondbacks, and Anaconda’s by Colt and NONE are impractical, uncomfortable, or unreliable. A Python has the reputation of being “the Rolls Royce of Handguns” for a solid and well earned reason. What you were describing is a pawn shop Glock.
Not a Troll just wondering…… How and why would you call a Colt Python or any name brand revolver unreliable? And not only that but call it unreliable and then say it performs well? I agree that Colts Python’s are super expensive. My dad traded one for a Tiller and 100 bucks back in the late 70,s which kills me cause it should be in my collection now. How beautiful a High polished, stainless, 6 inch is. Again not a Troll. Just curious
~The GLOCK salesmen on here continue to astound ! Comparing that plastic “wundernine” to a Colt is like comparing a VW Beetle to a Rolls……. they both get you where you want to go but the ROLLS does it in STYLE!
If they can make these with CNC machining, cutting out most of the hand work, they may be able to reproduce the firearms. Let’s face it, the better designs of handguns haven’t changed much in 100 years. The changes that have been made had to do with capacity and cheaper manufacturing. Many of us prefer an all metal handgun, many still shoot those that were made between WWI and WWII.
To be able to buy one – new – off the shelf could just be a good thing – if they can keep the costs down. The real problem here is that these were made to last, which is why there are so many.
Tom Gresham from the Gun Talk radio show had previously reported that all the tooling and equipment for the revolver line was intentionally destroyed.
They probably told Tom that to shut people up. He certainly wouldn’t make it up. They could also be lying now…and of course, it may never happen.
Colt should not waste is limited production resources on either a new Python or a 1903. Both were fine guns in their day, but repro models would only appeal to a few collector-type gun buyers, they are not mass-market guns. Some brand-new designs would be welcome.
Wrong sir, there are tons of gun guys and gals who would love a beautiful resto mod handgun from Colt—1903, 1908, phyton, any of their 25 cals, even the junior. An all metal gun would be very welcome, even a repop but made to Colt Custom Shop standards with the Colt bluing, like a mirror, absolutely gorgeous.
I spoke with a Colt rep. at the NRA Convention here in Indianapolis in 2014. I asked him about reviving the NEW SERVICE revolver and he tooling up to make it as good as the original would cost about 9 million dollars. So take it for what it’s worth.
You are absolutely wrong in saying that there is no “mass market” interest in a new Colt Python! If Colt were to reintroduce it’s premier revolver, at the level of fit and finish that it is legendary for, it would single handedly bring Colt out of the back water doldrums it exiled itself to so many years ago. I for one would happily, (and eagerly), shell out up to $2,000.00 for a brand new Colt 6″ Python in that luxurious Royal Blue for which Colt is so justly famous.
I’ll even go you a step further, I would be willing to venture that Colt, if it made up it’s mind to become a viable and competitive participant in today’s firearms marketplace, could market a new Python, with every bit of the exquisite detail and premium fit that the marque is known for, for UNDER $1500.00! Yes, it could be done! In order to accomplish this, though, Colt would have to make a few very difficult decisions. The first being to fully embrace modernization, not only in it’s production methods, by the introduction and use of CNC machining, investment casting and CAD design, but in it’s business model and labor relations as well. The first steps in this area would be to rescue the Colt company and the Colt brand itself from the corporate raiders that have hijacked it, and have been raping it ever since. Secondly, the single most profitable move that Colt could make would be to move the physical location of it’s manufacturing facilities to a State like Alabama, North Carolina or Texas, so as to remove the company from the deadly effects caused by union control of the workforce.
Put Colt in an atmosphere of free enterprise, where it can upgrade and hone it’s production methods and deal with it’s workforce without the corrupt influences and massive costs associated with union labor, and you would see the rebirth of a legendary company that has been, literally, bled dry by corporate vampires and union corruption. If Colt could do these things, a sub $1500.00 Python would be a reality, along with new Detective Specials, Troopers and who knows what else????
Exactly right – well said and you hit the nail right on the head!!!
Robert Smith – You are a moron. The popularity of the Colt Python, (thanks to tv shows like The Walking Dead, The Gunfather, etc..) the demand, and price value have never been higher at any given time. Also, Colt is not the only manufacture to reproduce their classic revolvers and handguns. Look at the millions of dollars of profits Smith & Wesson, Taurus, and Ruger are making off of their line of current and classic revolvers. Colt is making a long overdue change, starting to listen to their customers again, and will be very successful with their reissue of 1903, 1908, and Python handguns. If Colt added the Python, Anaconda, and Detective Special to their current revolver lineup, the demand would skyrocket so high, they probably would have a hard time keeping up – and that’s a fact.
Well said totally agree with you.
I think the Python is more than just a rumor for the following reason. California has a Roster of Approved Firearms, and if it is not on the list, us “civilians” cannot purchase them (mostly). Colt apparently has updated its manufacturing techniques for its full size 1911s–so much so that they have been dropped from the roster until they incorporate the (currently nonexistent) microstamping technology. The ONLY Colt 1911 still on the Roster is the Commander. And the ONLY other handgun on the roster (1873s are exempt) is–that’s right, the Python. And as far as I know, the Python could not be grandfathered in because it was no longer in production wen the Roster was enacted. Therefore, Colt would have been required to provide 3 sample guns for testing and something like a thousand rounds of ammo each. Testing includes reliability and drop testing. The conclusion is that Colt had to have production guns to send to the testing lab before the Python could be listed. (P.S., revolvers are exempt from the microstamping law.)
interesting observation mark
If Colt brings back the Python they need to pick up where they left off with the same royal bluing and the perfect triggers, making sure anyone released is way above match grade groupings!
Bill would be the one to teach them about their own gun. I’ve had several different handguns go through his shop, and I dare say they are vastly improved in operation and accuracy than they were going in. It had to be somewhat humiliating for “Old East Coast Money” (Colt) to come to some “old” guy from a Midwestern “farm town” and ask him to teach them how to do it THE RIGHT WAY. As far as I’m concerned, money spent with Bill is better than money in the bank. Every so often I hear some would-be expert critic expound on some error C&S made. I ask “Did you call and send it back?”. “Well, no….” So quit yer bitchin’, especially since you didn’t have the guts to stand up for yourself. He’ll make it right regardless of what it takes. I know – I had to send one back 2 times after the first go ’round, and he did make it right. He also terminated the guy that worked on the gun not too long after that.” Sputter–Sputter-Sputter. I mean, My God, does Mommy still help you go pee-pee and poo-poo??? I won’t say Bill knows it all, but I will say that the workmanship and products that come from his shop are 2nd to none, and light years ahead of all but 99.9% of the rest.
Respectfully, in Bill’s corner
Dear Sam Trisler,
What is the name of the person at Colt that verified that the Custom Shop is CURRENTLY building Pythons in a production run fashion?
Did you even bother to check your source before you published this? What model are they making, how much and how many? If I had the scoop of the century, these would be questions I would be asking.
I didn’t say it was a production run nor was I told numbers. As I said in the article, they are simply working on them. No price, models, dates or any other information was available. The big takeaway form this is that Colt might be finally listening to the public and the want for the classics. Who knows if they ever get up to production numbers on the Snakes. But they are at least working on some.
I would love to see a new Python. I refuse to give 3500 for a Python now a days. But 1500-2000 is totally doable. Espsially 6inch nickel. SAM TRISLER, is there any way you have conformation on this or any way of telling if anyone else knows about this because I can’t find anything else on this on the Internet. Thanks man I appreciate it
The article says Colt is planning on building the 1908 as a .380. Gosh, I dang sure would love to own one of those, with the dark, deep blue that Colt used to put on them. Wonder what they’ll price those at? That, was a great feeling pistola. And it looked like a pistol, too.
I have longed for a 1903, in .380 ACP. Unfortunately this isn’t it. I would love to have this JB design, just not in .32 ACP.
While I greatly appreciate the authenticity, I can’t afford a museum. My purchases must be limited to those calibers I would actually carry, and .32 ACP isn’t one.
I have a .22 Magnum with better external ballistics and terminal performance for that deep concealment or backup role.
Brass, I remember reading an article in a gun magazine from sometime back in the eighties, the article was about/comparing the .32 and the .380. The thing that stayed with me from that article was that even though the .380 seemed to be the better caliber on paper, the real world results from medical examiners offices and emergency rooms, was that the .32 was actually a better performer in the real world. I am surprised that they are starting with the .32 instead of the more popular .380.
I have one of the original .380’s factory parkerized which I purchased 2 of from the San Francisco Police Department years ago for my collection. I wish Colt will come back with the .380 again. No one who understands ballistics gives a damn about a .32 unless it is an old one for your collection. GO COLT!!
My brother just bought a 380 colt , they are making them
The Python is beautiful, but the smaller brother was my first duty gun. The Diamond back is more likely to be used as CCW gun and is accurate as any gun I have owned. Would really like a new Diamondback.
I never owned a diamondback…the python was one of those guns that I always hoped to own one day. I am still kicking myself for not buying (I cannot remember if it was a 3″ or a 4″ barreled) Detective Special, at a gunshow in Charlotte, NC that had a price of $300.00. And it was new! That would have been a fine carry piece.
New Python? I bet you say that to all the boys. You’re such a tease.
now that’s funny!
There were rumors at the 2015 SHOT Show that Pietta were planning to offer an Italian made Python replica. My guess is that Colt must have been jolted by the rumors, and decided to at least talk about bringing the Python back, even if they did nothing about it. All the talk about skilled gunsmiths retiring and the Python never coming back, is a lot of bull. “Experts” said that about Damascus barrels, and you now have at least 7 barrelmakers in Europe, and one in Texas, making pattern welded barrels. The Europeans even get their barrels to pass smokeless proof there, in case someone wants a certificate of safety. The American makes his barrels just as well for very satisfied clients here. If Colt – or any other reputable gunmaker – decides to reintroduce the original Python, or an improved version with updated metals and lockwork, we’ll have it again.
I have recently had my exodus from one of the “People’s Republics” , and such firearms with prancing horses have availed themselves to me. I have been contemplating a 1908 for some time, but the rub has been to either overpay for a carry beater, or get one in fine condition that would be too nice to turn into a carry beater, but wouldn’t have the mileage. A new 1908, of the former’s quality, would indeed appear to be a handgun from the cornrows. I would even give such a gun a name like “Shoeless Joe”.
I was at the 2006 Shot Show with serious money to spend. Colt had a Python on display to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Python and I asked to speak to a sales rep. I asked the rep how much it would take to get them to make 50 engraved Pythons for the anniversary. Was told they wouldn’t do it. I offered to order 500 Pythons and they refused. Couldn’t figure out why.
A few months later at an industry meeting, I met one of the senior engineers at Colt. He told me they had no-one at the factory who could build Pythons, even though they had parts and the machinery. Said they had two guys in the custom shop who were overdue for retirement who worked on the Pythons but with the typical Colt shortsightedness, they had failed to retain the institutional knowledge on the guns by not training new, younger folks on the I frame guns. I love the Python but the lock work is out of date. Build a new gun that looks like the Python but with the internals from a Korth or Manurhin MR73 (not to mention the metallurgy and robustness of the MR73) and you might have a winner.
I have a feeling that is what they are really doing: learning how the originals go together to be able to engineer them for modern machinery. That is just a guess really, but that is what they did with the 1903 as it is CNC made and not cut on milling machines. The fact that Colt is even willing to revisit some of these classics is huge because, as you experienced, they have been very dismissive of the whole idea for decades.
I remember reading an article that talked about how Colt had hired Bill Laughridge, the owner of Cylinder & Slide, to come to Colt and teach several of their employees how to properly built and fit a 1911 barrel. He could probably teach them how to build a Python, too. That is really sad, that the company that first introduced the 1911, has completely forgotten how to correctly manufacture and properly fit a 1911 barrel. It might be money better spent to just purchase a really nice .357 Magnum revolver from the S&W custom shop.
I took a real burn in having to pay extra for dehorning a 1911, when ” Quality” should always be part of the purchase price. I’m really tired of enjoying my Colt 1911 collection at the risk of slicing my finger tips open, or letting my friends look with the warning “…. at your own risk”. If the 1903 is more of the same, we would be better served with another brand
Yup. Hit the nail on the head.
This article is a fine example of some poor journalism. A new production run of Pythons using new/old stock parts is not possible. I wish people would let that dream die.
If it is true or isn’t idk. But the dream of holding and owning a 6 inch, high polished, stainless steel, Colt Python. There will always be a huge revolver following of some kind or another and The Python will always be One of, if not the most iconic revolvers
They’re apparently trying to capitalize on the current scarcity and high-aftermarket Pythons are enjoying. This announcement will either kill or further exploit that market. The new one’s will be called something like “the new one’s” and snubbed until the market is full of them, then the prices will fall, Colt will stop making them again, then they too will become collectible in the aftermarket.
I saw it happen with the “Elite’s”. I bought mine for $600 new when regular “old” Python’s were bringing around $1000. Now, the Elite’s are the “rare” one’s and will bring $6,000 if you can find one.
Any new Python will not be the same as the original. Before the revolver left the factory, it went to a “smith’s” bench for final fit, finish and tuning. All those smittys are either retired or dead…not to mention original material being high carbon billet. You can still get a hand built .357 wheel gun today from Korth in Germany for $7K that rivals the original Python, so a $2K Python still looks pretty attractive. We all wish Colt well in their future business plan as the ‘Made in USA” stamp continues to show up less and less…………….
I agree. I had a six inch Python. Was out shot at a match by a six inch S&W Model 28, dare say I sold the COLT and bought a S&W model 27. The Python was slick but not good enough. Outdated design. I want to see more COLTS also. I need another series 70 government model.How about a series 70 Combat Commander and a real ACE .22,the .22 Peacemaker, the Woodsman, I could go on and keep the horses at home in the USA !!
I agree on one point – the factory grips are impossible unless your little finger is 5 inches long. Other than that, you don’t suppose the other guy was a better shooter than you, do you? Not picking on you, but could that be the case? Perhaps you’ve heard the old saw that “It’s a poor workman who blames his tools.” Now, if there was something wrong with the gun, and the original grips were some wacked out wastes’ of good wood – getting a good grip was difficult. But easily solved with a custom set made to your hand. I’ve had 2 6”blues and 2 Cold Cup blues, and they shot a hell of a lot better than I could, in the hands of High-Masters. I never have gotten that good. Cie le Vie.
I thought colt was supposed to be concentrating on quality again and lowering their prices. From what I’ve seen the prices are the same or higher and the quality still sucks. At this rate their comeback will be short lived. With talk of bringing back the python it might help them but only if they keep the price down
Sounds like the situation that existed at the old Winchester plant, before it closed. People being paid a very high, union wage, to operate old, and worn out machinery.
I recall in the late 1940’s my dad use to carry one from time to time depending on where he was going. Sometimes my brothers and I (before guns were “evil”) use to put some cans up and blast away with that old 32. I think he traded it for a S&W revolver. Too bad I wish I had it today
On a good day that’s an $800 gun.
Sure, I’d love to see a new Python. If the internals were newly designed, fully CNC constructed and [THEN] fine tuned by hand.
Though the originals are the prettiest revolvers ever conceived by man. They’re by no means the most reliable.
I have to agree that the price is way too high. It is no wonder that Colt went into receivership, and as much as I liked the “General’s issue Pistol” , that is not the way for them to come out of it. I shudder to think what the Python will go for. My most recent shock came when I got the chance to handle Colts M4 which cost time and a half the S&W version. It didn’t shoot all that great either but then I never was all that fond of Stoner’s varmet gun and preferred the M14 platform.
I’ll not be holding my breath as colt can’t seem to produce quality products currently catalogued let alone another Python. Jeez Colt get your head out of ass and start making the magnum carry again you know a gun that the majority of concealed carry holders could conveniently have with them everyday. That gun was a darling and should be a catalogued item again. The python is beautiful however if you’re gonna have a 2000 price tag to cover your exorbitant labor costs I’d buy a used one (pre-1980s) instead that most likely would shoot better anyway. I’d have to admit the last few Deltas have been nicely made compared to the last couple years so you’re on the right track but the last m45 I received for inventory was a disaster and we returned it. It had finish missing on parts and was dropped most likely has it had a dent in the trigger guard before finishing. Oh well luckily your bankruptcy helped keep you from ending an American icon!
32 acp for 1,600 to 2,000.00 dollars. Are they crazy?
At $1600 to over $2000 they can keep it, I don’t care how many cut out they do. Its not a poor mans hand gun for sure.
Intrigued by the possibility of Colt bringing the Python back in any capacity. I owned several back in the 70s and my first duty gun as a young officer was a nickel plated 4″ Colt Python. I also had a 2.5″ nickel Python that I had to part with to pay bills. That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but it was the only option at the time. Sure wish I had that one back. It was the most accurate of the 3. The 3rd one was a blue model that was ‘out of time’ when it was delivered. Took it to the local smith who messed with it and supposedly fixed it. Well it wasn’t 100% right and I got tired of it and by then Colt quality was already going down hill and that was it for me and Colt handguns. With CNC machines and a new attitude I am hopeful that they can make some that match the original ones for quality and accuracy.