Firearm: Colt Python 3-inch barrel (MSRP: $1,499)
When Colt re-introduced the Cobra in the latter part of the 20-teens, it ignited a spark of hope. That hope was that the company would be bringing back the legendary Python .357 Magnum revolver, which it did in 2020. With the addition of a 3-inch-barrel Python in 2022, Colt finally brought one of the most sought-after wheelguns back to the market.
The 3-inch barrel .357 Magnum revolver is considered one of the best fighting wheelguns out there, so much so that it was the FBI standard before the Bureau transitioned to semi-automatic handguns. With the 3-inch barrel and attendant extra length for extraction, empty cases can be removed quickly with a sharp rap on the back of the ejector rod. With snubnose revolvers, the ejector isn’t quite long enough to remove spent shells, which means that there’s a bit of luck involved in rapid reloads—the empty casings have to rely on gravity to leave the cylinder in addition to the initial push from the ejector.
Now, I guess we need to address the elephant in the room. Yes. I know. Your favorite 9 mm pistol holds more rounds and is smaller and lighter than the Python. We’re not going to argue that in the least. Even 10 mm semi-autos hold more rounds and are lighter, and the 10 mm is comparable to the .357 Magnum in muzzle energy. This kit is aimed squarely at the revolver enthusiast, someone familiar with wheelguns who accepts the perceived limitations of the revolver’s capacity yet prefers them regardless. We’re allowed to like different things, honest.
If you fall in this camp, the 3-inch Python is a magnificent choice. Adjustable sights including an orange-ramp front allow user modification if desired, while the Python itself has been strengthened to survive on a diet of .357 Magnum. Of course, you can also shoot .38 Special in the Python if you prefer. Walnut grips give plenty of purchase, while a recessed target crown helps with accuracy, which given the excellent trigger should be quite notable. It’s certainly not a choice for everyone, but for the discriminating revolver fan, the 3-inch Python is a work of art you can take with you. And that’s really kinda neat.
Holster: Galco Speed Master 2.0 Paddle/Belt Holster (MSRP: $94)
To carry the considerable heft of the all-steel Python, some 38 ounces, we’ve opted for Galco’s Speed Master 2.0 Paddle/Belt holster released earlier this year for the 3-inch Python. With a sturdy paddle option that braces against the body, there’s more leverage to help keep the pistol in place. Of course, a standard belt-loop attachment option also comes with the Speed Master 2.0 should that be more to your liking. While the Speed Master 2.0 is available in black or tan, it is currently only available for right-handed shooters.
Solid retention is achieved by both custom molding of the leather to the pistol in addition to a single-screw adjustable system that increases or decreases retention as desired. Check the fit when you first receive the holster—often leather gear needs a break-in period or some minor tweaking. Pro tip: Wrap the pistol in a plastic bag and leave it in the holster for a day or two if the fit is excessively tight. This will add a tiny amount of extra space that allows for a rapid drawstroke without compromising retention.
Knife: Buck Paradigm Shift (MSRP: $214.99)
To round out this somewhat old-school kit, we’ve opted for a knife with a bit of a secret. Buck’s Paradigm Shift appears to be a pretty standard pocketknife, with a 3-inch, S35VN steel drop-point blade and G10 scales. However, that changes when you try to open it. Now, if you’ve paid attention, you know the secret – we featured a Buck Paradigm earlier on “I Carry.” Simply slide the top part of the left-side scale and…
Yes, the “Shift” part of the Paradigm Shift is that this is an automatic knife. Obviously, check all local laws and ordinances before carrying the Paradigm Shift, as some areas do not permit “switchblade” knives. Should your locale allow it, though, Buck’s Paradigm Shift is an attractive option that looks pretty traditional, but is quite a bit more than meets the eye.